Why Do I Write YA? by Lola StVil – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lola will be awarding a $100 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Why do I write YA? by Lola StVil

The answer is the same for why you read YA. As a teen or young-adult, that life, that environment, those experiences are full of drama, heightened emotion, depth, evolution, growth, mistakes, finding oneself and learning the world. Everything is a big deal. Everything is on the pivot of social escalation or decline. Young Adult is fabulous because you have everything happening all at once, and every emotion is balled into it. The characters can be saving the world, but at the same time, day-dreaming about their crush, or freaking out over a ripped shirt, or having a fight with their parents. That’s the way teen life is. Teens are cramming for tests and having pressures of the world put on them; what college are you going to, what are you going to do when you graduate, I heard a rumor about you, my best friend is dating my crush, what do I want to do the rest of my life, do I want to get married, should I break up with my boyfriend, should I buy this dress…In fiction, the characters face the same thing, just on a bigger, more fantastic scale but it can all be related to the regular lives of its readers. When a character is being attacked or having pressure put on them to save humanity, teens feel that from their teachers or parents for the normal life choices they face everyday. As a writer, I can tap into what I felt as a teen, or what I fantasized as a teen to write these situations and characters readers and relate to and understand. That’s why I write YA. I want it to reach people, to touch them, to connect.

MEDIA KIT Book Cover******OVER 400 FIVE STAR REVIEWS!*******
Sitting there in the car, a part of me bitterly resented what she was doing to me. I knew it wasn’t her fault. But does she have to be so… alluring? I need to focus on something else besides the spot between her earlobe and neck. It looked so soft. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked out the window. I wanted to part them further with mine. I put both my hands on the steering wheel. I could not allow myself to let go until she was out of the car. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me. It was far better than I could even begin to explain to you. I’ve fought and died a slow and painful death on earth. And nothing, NOTHING can compare to how hard it was for me to pull away from her lips. I don’t think any angel could do it twice in a lifetime…

Enjoy an excerpt:

I refuse to blink and miss a moment of him. The water builds up in my eyes. It stings. It burns. No, I won’t blink. It’s like having a thirst so deep water can not quench it. The more I drink him in, the more of him I want.

Tears gather in my eyes, waiting, begging for me to blink. I won’t. So the tears run down my face. My vision gets blurry. No, I won’t blink. My eyes feel like they’re being pricked by hundreds of small pins. It stings badly. But I remain steadfast. The second round of tears falls from my eyes. I won’t blink. I will not move from the vision before me.”

About the Author:Lola StVil is a Haitian born writer and actress. She lives in Hollywood, CA., and welcomes online interaction with readers.

Lola StVil is a Haitian born writer and actress. She lives in Hollywood, CA., and welcomes online interaction with readers.

Website ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon UK

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Strong Women and Boy-Wizards Take on the World – Michael John Grist

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding an autographed print copy of Ignifer’s Rise to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Strong Women and Boy-Wizards Take on the World

Katniss Everdeen showed us young women can fight. Twilight showed us young women can make their own epic, life-altering decisions. Divergent is showing us young women can change the fate of the world. And Harry Potter showed us boy-wizards, and of course also girl-wizards, can always get by with a little help from their friends.

What do these trends tell us? Does it matter?

To me, this is the modern state of Young Adult literature, and it matters a great deal. Stories are our culture, they inculcate our values, and have the greatest impact on the young. And these current trends in YA, all about empowerment, choice, self-respect and individuality through community, are working wonders in young minds. They are reaching out toward younger ages and toward groups perhaps not typically associated with power, choice, and individuality- all still recovering victims of the age-old mantra:

Children are to be seen, not heard.

Yah boo sucks to that!

This has got to be a good thing. It reflects changes in society, and I- an author, a reader – wholeheartedly salute it. That younger people are having input in what their culture has to say about them, to them, is fascinating, because it seems they’re choosing so wisely. It’s not for nothing that there’s been a rash of Disney/Pixar movies of late that put empowering female relationships at the very fore:

Tangled

Brave

Frozen

Maleficent

These stories tell all of us, me included, a 34-year old man, how important all manner of relationships in everyone’s life can be, not only one’s relationship to a man (or woman). Self-determination, YEAH!

I read Ender’s Game growing up, and loved it. I read a lot of heroic fantasy from the likes of David Gemmell, Dragonlance, David Eddings, Tolkien. Most of these were about adults, most were about men, all were about heroes and about what being a hero really means. Most of all though, Ender’s Game struck a strong chord with me.

Here was a boy with only his wits, smaller and weaker than everyone else, and through resourcefulness, cunning, and genius he rises up, all the while maintaining a near-infallible morality.

Man, that is a hero! I wanted to BE Ender Wiggin. And if I couldn’t BE him, I wanted to be like him. I really believe all young people reading, watching, enjoying this current rash of movies feels the same way. They’ll want to love their sister like Anna loves hers in Frozen, love their mother like the girl in Brave does, save those they love like Katniss in the Hunger Games.

As a writer, I wanted to tap into that feeling, and try and put out my own story of empowerment. My book, Ignifer’s Rise, is about an orphan boy whose own mother carved him with a thousand scars before she died. This seems like the most horrible abuse, but still he loves her memory, and still he strives to rise above it.

When he meets five wild children off the streets of his brutal city, each at turns manipulative, murderous, depressed, furious, aloof and disengaged, he seeks to understand why. What made them that way, what broke them, and can he help to fix it?

He wants to be good, and help others. In many ways this boy, his name is Sen, is like Ender: he’s resourceful. The five children that surround him, a girl who is far tougher and more street-wise than he’ll ever be, a boy made of rock who laments the slow calcification of his body and mind, face challenges he can’t always understand.

But together they try, just like Harry Potter and his odd-ball crew. And young women play a central role. The streetwise girl, Mare, is tougher than Katniss any day. But she’s also vulnerable in other ways. As a team, they strive to overcome.

In the book, what they have to overcome is the rise of an apocalypse god, coming for Sen and the world. Like the game for Ender, this is a crucible that tests them all. It gives them all a chance to shine, and show what they’re truly made of. I hope, for some readers at least, that they might be a shining example, like those stories were for me when I was a kid.

I also hope they enjoy it. It’s about heroes and heroines of all stripes, and heck we all need more of those in our lives.

MEDIA KIT Book CoverThe fate of the world is written in scars. In a bleak industrial city where marks in skin are a sentence to death, Sen is a child condemned. Cursed with mysterious scars carved by his own mother’s hand, he leads a fearful hidden life in the city’s last abbey.

Then the King’s brutal Adjunc attack, and Sen barely escapes with his life. Lost and alone in the city’s dark hinterlands, he begins an exhilarating race to find the truth behind his scars. In stinking black sewers and the lava-buried ruins of an ancient civilization, he uncovers a truth far stranger than he ever imagined, laid out by his long-dead mother: an apocalypse god is rising, and only the legendary hero Saint Ignifer can stop it.

But Saint Ignifer is dead.

Revolution rocks the city. The blood of all castes runs in the streets. With a storm of new faith raging out from the barricades, Sen must embrace the terrible fate his mother wrote in his scars- in the volcano’s caldera, at the end of the world- before the black jaws of the apocalypse descend. For the Rot is coming, and the Saint must rise.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sen bolted into action.

His shoulder took the Spindle in the gut before he even knew he was moving. It drove a grunt from the taller boy and knocked him from his feet, sending them both tumbling across the dry spring grass. More images sparked through Sen’s mind, hands stretching through a fence that were his father’s hands, but not, a long and shameful walk led by bloodless Molemen, an overwhelming anger rising up.

Sen fought the images back even as he scrabbled in the grass, reaching instinctively for the weapon. He’d never fought before, but while the Spindle wheezed from the blow he managed to grasp the hard metal tool, wet with blood, and pried it away with both hands. Then the Spindle’s elbow found the back of his head.

It drove Sen face-first into the grass, head spinning. He felt the weapon snatched back out of his hand and rolled away, expecting another blow to fall, but none came. Looking up he saw the Spindle running away back down the path for the gates.

Sen lurched up, catching a glimpse of Sister Henderson closing in. There was no time. He started after the Spindle at a ragged sprint, down through the trail of white chalk dust the boy had left. His vision was blurry from the blow to the head, the world was turning, and his mind reeled from the strange images and anger, but he could still just pick the taller boy out. He was nearly at the gate, and all Sen wanted to do was hurt him. He pumped his elbows hard, thumped his feet down on the chalk, and reached the gates just as the Spindle was about to straddle the top.

He leapt, snagged the boy’s ankle with one hand, and wrenched him off the metal. The boy windmilled down with a thud into the chalk, and Sen threw himself on top, batting away the Spindle’s efforts to lash out, throwing his own wild fists at the boy’s long thin face.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Author PhotoMichael John Grist is a 34-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark and surreal science fiction and fantasy, inspired by authors such as David Gemmell and Orson Scott Card.

In his free time he explores and photographs abandoned places around the world, such as ruined theme parks, military bases, underground bunkers, and ghost towns. These explores have drawn millions of visitors to his website: MichaelJohnGrist.com, and often provide inspiration for his fiction.

You can buy Ignifer’s Rise at Amazon or Amazon UK. Sign up for his releases newsletter and friend him on Facebook

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Background of Model Undercover-Paris by Carina Axelsson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Carina Axelsson, who will be giving away a print copy of her debut US release Model Undercover-Paris. (US/Canada only)

Background of Model Undercover – Paris
At its heart, underneath the twinkling Eiffel Tower and fashionably dressed heroine on the book’s cover, Model Undercover: Paris is a detective novel. I blame Scooby-Doo for this; as a child I was glued to the television on Saturday mornings, desperate to see what case Scooby and his gang had to crack next. From Scooby I moved on to Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes before reading my first Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None. I’ve been a firm fan of the detective genre ever since…although, at the time, I do remember wishing that I could read about a young detective, someone living in the here and now…so I suppose Axelle, my sixteen-year-old fashion detective, is my answer to that yearning.

I’m still completely hooked on detective novels, and read as many as I can, alternating between rereading lovely old classics like Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, to brand new offerings. Right now I’m really looking forward to (finally!) reading J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm.

As for the strong fashion element in the Model Undercover book series…well, I certainly never thought I’d be writing about the fashion world – even if it is a world I know well!

I was living in Paris, France, doing a stint as personal assistant to fashion designer John Galliano (who at the time was designing for Christian Dior), when I wrote my first notes about a girl detective who solves fashion mysteries. No doubt the chaos and color, not to mention the outsized characters I met, all conspired to influence me!

Prior to this, I’d worked as a fashion model for many years, so I had plenty of personal experiences to draw on when it came time to create a believable world for my sassy fashion detective!

Furthermore, I’ve been lucky enough to live and work for many years in beautiful Paris, so it came naturally to me to place the first Model Undercover mystery in this dazzling European capital I know so well.

So is it fun to write mysteries?

Absolutely! I love it!

And what about writing fashion mysteries?

It’s been a blast to be able to recycle and use so many of my fashion memories. It’s as if I spent all those years in the fashion world just to write this series!

Thank you, Long and Short Reviews, for this chance to tell readers a bit about the background of my debut teen series!

Carina x

7_31 ModelUnderCover-FVNancy Drew meets The Devil Wears Prada in the debut of this action-packed mystery series

Axelle Andersen wants nothing more than to be a teen-sleuth despite the influence of her pushy fashionista aunt,Venetia. So when top fashion designer Belle La Lune goes missing, and Aunt Venetia becomes a prime suspect, Axelle must go undercover as a model during Paris Fashion Week to uncover the truth behind Belle’s disappearance and clear her aunt’s name. She’s thrust into a frenetic world of castings, photo shoots, and sequins, while struggling to fit in and track down clues. Can Axelle solve a kidnapping and survive the world of fashion?

 

 

 

 

About the Author 7_31 carinaCarina Axelsson is a writer, illustrator, and former model. She grew up in California with her Swedish father and Mexican mother. After high school, Carina moved to New York City to model, then on to Paris where she published her first book. She currently lives in in the forests of Germany with four dogs and a very large aquarium full of fish.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ YouTube

 

Available at:

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Indigo 

Backward Compatible by Pete Clark – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be giving away one signed paperbacks of the book, two swag packs, and two ebooks of choice of Pete’s from Smashwords to randomly drawn commenters at the end of the tour (5 winners). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

 

MEDIA KIT CoverNot too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close…

It is a time of chaotic hormones.

Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.

During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game’s secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.

Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy…

Enjoy an excerpt:

“These graphics suck,” George says and I look back at the screen. We’re standing in the middle of the Estate, colorful orbs quivering ahead of us. We each have to choose our starting advantage. Waterfalls shimmer in the distance and the sunlight streams over multicolored stones in the courtyard.

“Amateurs,” Lanyon concurs. “I mean, they couldn’t have five waterfalls?”

“Your ironic wit is mind blowing, but choose your damn orbs,” I tell them. I consider. Magic, defense, offense, stealth, and charisma. I always go for magic as a black mage, but I wonder if a druid needs something else. Screw it. I need charisma in real life, too.

“Charisma?” Lanyon asks. “No one ever picks charisma.”

“We’re a party of a thief, druid, and a bard. We’re screwed regardless.”

“You two underestimate the mighty power of my lute,” George argues.

“Did you start with charisma?” Lanyon asks.

“Hell, no. I have charisma in spades. I started with stealth.”

“Great. A stealthy bard,” I sigh.

“She’s right,” Lanyon concedes. “We’re screwed.”

However, it actually isn’t bad at all at first. We power through the Estate and make it to the Yobanaria Dale with no resurrections and all at level ten. I’m impressed. George hasn’t actually fought anything, but he has some pretty awe-inspiring charm mastery already. I think I might have a serious crush. He seals the deal when he buffs my hailstorm spell without even being asked.

“Can you guys watch El Thiefelo? My mom wants me to eat supper,” Lanyon says.

“Yeah, we’ve got it,” I tell him. “The first boss is in the elven ruins anyway, so we should grind a bit. I think he’s a twelve.”

George and I explore the Dale, taking out bats and Joba spores. It’s fairly quiet, except for when we combo with his charms and my spells and he yells out, “Eat lute, bitch,” but it’s nice. We work well, almost inherently understanding each other. I’ve never been able to play this effectively with anyone. I try not to think about his eyes. Stupid boys, being cute and stuff.

By the time Lanyon comes back, we’re all at level 12, although Lanyon leveled up just by standing by a door while we played. Still, we are ready to take on Balsa the Proud. As a black mage, it took me about nine seconds. Trees don’t like fire. However, druids don’t have the same level of black magic and all elemental magic is weakened by the need to draw from the elements nearby. Sadly, trees seem to avoid storing fire runes in their villages. I expect this to be a little more challenging. It might even take fifteen seconds.

“First boss. Also known as the freebie bitch to sucker the young folks into a false sense of security,” Lanyon announces as he runs into the center of Balsa’s lair. The cinema plays and then, in a moment of pure absurdity, El Thiefelo is squished as Balsa steps on him.

“Can someone revive me?” Lanyon whines.

Pete Clark likes writing, animals, potato chips, and cheese. Midnight Riders is his first published novel, although he can also proudly say he finally finished Helix Crashing, the fantasy novel he has been working on for over a decade. In addition, he has written Across the Barren Landscape, a collection of linked Western short stories. He also writes plays, both dramatic and comedic.

When he is not writing, Pete tends to ignore everyone around him and obsess over sports.

Author Social Media Links:

 

Pete’s Website: http://punchmyselfintheface.wordpress.com
Pete’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PeteClarkAuthor
Pete’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/PeteClarkBooks

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, or All Romance eBooks.

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Sleeping in the Morgue by Jennifer Tressen – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer will be giving away a $25 Bath and Body Works gift certificate via Rafflecopter. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Paige Thorton, a sweet overachieving high school senior only has one month to come up with ten thousand dollars to pay for college, but her family mortuary has no business. Desperate to escape her little town and go to her dream school, she decides to take matters into her own hands and drum up some clients. Soon “accidents” begin happening to local residents. However when her boyfriend, Brock Harrington, the rookie hotshot cop begins to investigate things get hairy. Will Paige be able to pull it off in time or will she be doomed to forever sleep in the morgue?



Enjoy an excerpt:

“Well, I don’t know about that but I do know everyone here seems to have a little secret.”

Secret?

“Like what?” Paige asked.

“Patty drowned her baby a few years back.”

“What? Why?” Paige asked, astonished.

Brock shrugged, “No one knows. One day she was pregnant and the next day a baby was found in the stream.”

“Sick.”

“That’s not even the worst of them.”

Really? Her eyes widened at the thought. Brock didn’t even notice her shock; he stared straight ahead at the road as he continued on.

“Wait, how come she’s not in jail then?”

“Innocent until proven guilty. There wasn’t enough evidence to directly link her. So basically it just became a missing person’s case.”

“A missing unborn child?”

Brock nodded, “Mike said she claimed she gave birth while on the toilet and her fetus was dead so she just washed it down the toilet.”

Gross.

“And she got off with that bs?” Paige asked, not believing her ears. “Couldn’t Mike have done some DNA testing and linked the child to Patty? I mean there had to be some way. Fingerprints, skin tests, something.”

“It’s not like CSI, sweetheart. There’s protocol and warrants and lawyers in the mix.”

Paige shook her head, “That’s just not right.”

“Trust me I know. It would be a blessing the day some bird flu epidemic or something came through here and wiped all the scum out. Sure make my job hell of a lot easier. It would be a favor. A huge favor.” He began to laugh, “Charity even.”

“Charity?”

Did he just say that?

“Yeah, charity.”

Paige looked out the window, lost in thought. Does he know? He must. Why else would he have said that…charity. But how?

“But everyone’s got their secrets,” Brock said.

You could say that again.

Paige swallowed hard and gripped the handle on the door. Her nails etched into it.

Get it together, Paige.

“What’s yours?” she said, suddenly cool and curious.

About the Author:

Jennifer Tressen is a wife, mother and writer. A former actor, she spent nearly ten years in the entertainment industry appearing in commercials, print ads and television shows. It was her love of storytelling that pushed her to the other side of the camera and sent her to film school at Chapman University. Although she entered as a Cinematography major, Jennifer graduated with a degree in Screenwriting after a single required screenwriting class forever changed her path. She found a passion for writing she had forgotten in her childhood. Everything she learned about screenwriting and especially storytelling she attributes to her mentor, the late Blake Snyder.

After several years of writing and editing for producers and other screenwriters her curiosity led her into writing novels. As a huge fan of Young Adult and New Adult literature this is where her pen tends to lead her. However, she does have plans to release a few middle grade fiction and adult novels in the future.


Jennifer attributes her love of reading and writing to her mother who always reminded her of the power of literacy. Besides telling her and her siblings that they could do anything they wanted if they knew how to read and write, she said, “You can go anywhere in a book. You can be anyone.”

https://twitter.com/JenniferTressen”>Twitter ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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The Ashes that Remain by A.M. Griffin – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a grand prize of a $20 Amazon gift card and a runner up prize of a $10 Amazon gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

We’re at war against the aliens that have invaded Earth, fighting the only way we can—by surviving. I have more than most people do, but although I know it’s stupid to hold on, I can’t let go of what might have been—can’t help dreaming of something more. No matter how I tell myself it would be easier to do what everyone else wants me to, there’s a part of me that can’t give in.

Making the best of the situation is one thing. Settling, even to make other people happy, is something else.

Then we hear the alien mother ships have disappeared. Of course we have to go and investigate. What we find lands us in a huge mess that we somehow have to clean up and, as our little enclave is rocked to the core with even more changes, I’m learning a hard lesson.

The more things change—for the better or the worse—there’s no fighting human nature, and building on the ashes that remain will take everything we have. And maybe more.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Ridiculous. Forget about everyone else here, okay? What about Mia and me?” I can hear the crack in my voice as it rises. “Do you think we’d be able to go along pretending life could be the same without you?” I reach out for his hands and hold them. “Every time you go up top I pray you come back safely. I’m not talking about close my eyes and say a silent prayer, I’m talking about getting on my knees, clasping my hands and praying—loudly.”

MJ chuckles low. “You sound like Shayla. She was always praying about something or another.”

I give his hands a squeeze and let them go. “That’s where I got it from. That girl knew how to pray away any kind of anxiety I was feeling.”

“A lot of good it did her in the end.”

“Hey! Don’t say that. Don’t you dare do that to her memory. She prayed because it gave her strength and peace of mind. Praying or not praying had nothing to do with the aliens killing her.”

“When the lizards were attacking you guys, Mia and I held hands and prayed for you two. We couldn’t say anything out loud, but we prayed silently. And praying didn’t work. They killed her and took you anyway.”

I can hear the pain in his voice and my chest constricts just thinking about the amount of guilt he places on himself. “MJ, please. She enjoyed praying and she encouraged everyone around her to pray. It would’ve made her happy that you and Mia were praying for her.”

“Sometimes when I think back on it, I think my prayer wasn’t good enough. Like I didn’t pray hard enough… And, because of that, it was my fault.”

I narrow my eyes on him and pull back. “I really feel like slapping some sense into you right now.”

His head shoots up. “What?”

“You heard me. First you come in here telling me I shouldn’t go because I might die and Ian shouldn’t go because Mia is pregnant. Then you say Shayla died because you didn’t pray hard enough. Do you understand how crazy you’re talking right now?”

“It’s not crazy. I’m speaking the truth.”

“I miss Shayla too. Just because I wasn’t friends with her as long as you were doesn’t mean I miss her any less. Are you forgetting that I was there when the lizards attacked? It stepped over me to get to her. Do you realize the guilt I feel every day?” I take in a breath that seems to burn my lungs. “Do you even want to know about the nightmares I still have?” I whisper.

He watches me with wide eyes and shakes his head.

“I should’ve snapped out of my paralyzing fear and crawled to my sword and stuck that thing right in its back. If I hadn’t been so scared Shayla might still be alive today. There was nothing you could’ve done to save her, but I could’ve done plenty.” By the time I finish, my voice cracks and tears burn my cheeks.
I get up and head to my locker, leaving MJ to stare after me. When I open my locker door, I do with it with such force that the door swings and clangs against the side, making the sound of metal ring out through my room.

I snatch up my clothes, not caring if they’re clean or dirty. Right now I just want to go to the showers and sit and let the cool water rain over me to help drown out my tears.

Before I can step away from my locker, MJ’s arms are around my neck. He leans down to bury his face on my shoulder. Right then, all of the anger I feel toward him dissipates. I drop my clothes, freeing my hands to hold onto his arms and rest my head on the side of his.

“Do you think we’ll ever be okay again?” I ask softly.

“I don’t know.”

Neither one of us move as he cries softly on my shoulder and I rub his arms, giving him comfort. MJ hardly ever talks about Shayla or her death but he knows that I’m always here for him. He doesn’t say anything else, he just cries softly and I let him.

I don’t know if we’ll ever recover from anything we’ve been through, but I pray that we will.

About the Author:

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

 

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Ocean of Dust by Graeme Ing – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Graeme will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

MEDIA KIT oceanofdustaudiobook_withlogoFourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.

When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook:

About the Author:MEDIA KIT GraemeIngPhotoGraeme is a writer of speculative fiction. He probably won’t fall into existing pigeonholes, but hang around and you’ll get to read tales of fantasy, science-fiction, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk and who knows what.

Born in England, Graeme now lives in San Diego, California. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, including the development of a dozen computer games for consoles, home computers and online. Graeme is also an avid armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with six crazy cats.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Google+ ~ Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon or Audible.

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What Drives Me to Write for Kids and Teenagers by Catherine DePino – guest blog and giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO WRITE FOR KIDS AND TEENAGERS?

What drives me to write for kids and teenagers is the simple fact that I loved being in schools. Every school I’ve been in as a student and later as a teacher/department head taught me much about living my life and loving it. Up until 11th grade I went to Catholic school. I credit the sisters for a superior English education. However, for high school I went to an archaic all-girls school where the nuns (who spoke about us in Lithuanian to each other) made us walk along the black line of tiles in the hallways. Mother Theophila, one of the more scary nuns, gave us hellfire and brimstone sermons every day, proclaiming that we’d go straight to the devil (is there really a devil?) if we held hands or kissed a boy!

That’s why in the 11th grade I changed to public school. That opened up a whole new world to me because I joined the newspaper, drama club, and the literary magazine. After graduating from high school, due to all the inspiring English teachers I was privileged to know, I studied English and Spanish education and became a teacher. When I was teaching, I came across many exciting books for teenagers. As I read them, I began to say to myself, “I’d love to try writing a book myself.”

Because of my demanding job (teacher, then department head of English and world languages) and the fact that I had three children at home, I reluctantly put writing on the back burner. After working in the Philadelphia School System for 31 years, I retired and took another job, this time at Temple University in Philadelphia as a student teaching supervisor. That left me more time to think seriously about becoming a writer.

I started out writing newspaper articles in my local paper’s Guest Opinion column. Then I moved on to writing magazine articles for The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer, among others. What I really wanted to do all along was try writing a book, but like all new writers, I wondered how I would deal with rejection when it came—notice I didn’t say if. I took a chance and asked an educational company if they’d like to see a grammar book for teachers to use with kids. I hadn’t even written the proposal yet and was just testing the waters. The company said that although they didn’t need a grammar book at that time, they were looking for someone to write a book about the works of Cynthia Voigt, a YA author. Of course, I accepted the offer.

I enjoyed reading Voigt’s books and writing the study guide for teachers to use in their classes. It made me feel like I was still doing what I loved most, teaching, even if it was in a different form. After that, I completed a proposal (with non-fiction you don’t have to write the whole book) for Grammar Workout, a writing/grammar book for teachers to use with their classes to teach grammar in conjunction with writing. (I believe that teaching grammar in isolation is counterproductive.) I was overjoyed when the company accepted that book, and I went on to publish many more books on the topics of bullying (five as of this post) and writing. I also published two prayer books for teens. Eventually, the company gave me the e-rights back, and I put it on the Internet.

I decided to self-publish Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because it’s controversial in nature. For one thing, it takes place in a funeral home as Elliot lives atop the family business with his dad and quirky grandmother, Nonna. There still seems to be a taboo in some circles about dealing with death, especially with kids, but I felt I had a story to tell and wanted to get it out there. The story also takes place in a high school, and I felt right at home there. I know how schools work and all the red tape involved in getting things done, like helping a bullied child, so I felt that I was writing about something I knew. I believe it’s important to give a sense of authenticity to your writing by writing about something familiar. I didn’t feel that I knew the funeral business, so I had to do some serious research about the industry and people working in it to lend credibility to my story.

I’ve written many non-fiction books (three of my bully prevention books target kids, and the other ones address teachers and parents), but I also enjoy writing fiction. I have to say that Elliot is dear to my heart because I feel that I know the characters. Mr. Boardly, Elliot’s friend and mentor at school, is based on the personality of Scotty, a custodian I worked with at Lincoln High School. He later died in a terrible accident, and everyone was heartbroken. However, I feel that my friend lives on in Elliot’s friend Mr. Boardly.

Nonna, the grandmother, is a lot like me in that she’s brash and out-spoken, sometimes even outrageous. She finds love late in life with a quirky plumber who has a goofy walrus mustache. I mainly love Elliot because I feel I knew him in a past life. Some people may consider him a little nerdy, but I think he’s a pretty cool kid. He’s doesn’t feel sorry for himself, and he’s not afraid to ask for help when he needs it. In the book I also address divorce, a topic a lot of kids have to deal with in real life. Elliot’s mother lives on the west coast (she’s into commercials), so his workaholic dad and grandmother provide most of his care except when his mom pops into town for a brief visit.

I love writing books for middle grade kids, and if this book does well, I plan to write a sequel about Elliot’s plan to stage peer group meetings for bullied kids in the funeral home where he lives. I love this guy and want him to go another round.

I’d love to hear from your readers about any questions and comments they have. Please find me on my website www.catherinedepino.com. I’ll definitely write back.

The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother.

Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast.

At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate from entrapment in a school supply closet to a brutal “swirly” (head dunk in the toilet) that lands him in the hospital emergency room.

Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When Nonna, my grandma, and I got home, Dad was standing in the reposing room (that’s where they lay out the dead bodies) admiring his hair and make-up job on his latest customer.

I moved close to the casket and peered in. “Didn’t Mr. Luisi have white hair?”

Nonna frowned. “White, black–he’s dead now. He doesn’t know the difference.”

Dad looked like he was in a trance. He slid Mr. Luisi’s trifocals down low on his nose, like he wore them when he read the sports page on his front porch, and straightened his plaid bow tie.

“Looks like he’s about to pop up and dance the Tarantella like he did at his daughter’s wedding,” Dad said to himself.

Nonna poked Dad’s shoulder with her bony finger. His head spun around like Linda Blair in that movie, “The Exorcist.”

Dad looked at me all teary eyed. I didn’t know if he’d gotten emotional because of what he’d heard happened at school or if he was thrilled with the job he’d done on Mr. Luisi.

“Are you okay, Son?”

Nonna slammed her head with the palm of her hand.

“If you call being abused by a pack of punks okay, he’s fine.”

“I’ll live,” I said.

She motioned for me to follow her upstairs. Dad peeled off his rubber gloves and trudged up after us.

“Sit down,” Nonna said, offering me a plate of oatmeal raisin cookies. “Pour yourself a glass of milk. You’ll feel better.”

About the Author:

Catherine DePino has sold thirteen books for parents, teachers, and children to mainstream publishers. She self-published her fourteenth book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because she wanted to give it a wider forum. Her background includes a BS in English and Spanish education, a Master’s in English education, and a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Development and Educational Administration from Temple University. The author worked for many years as an English teacher, department head of English and world languages, disciplinarian, and curriculum writer in the Philadelphia School District. After this, she worked at Temple as an adjunct assistant professor and student teaching supervisor.

Catherine has also written articles for national magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer.

For many years she served on the board of The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. She holds membership in the Association of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Her new self-help book, 101 Easy Ways for Women to De-Stress, Reinvent, and Fire Up Your Life in Retirement,appeared on the market in March, 2014.

Visit her website at www.catherinedepino.com or on Facebook.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Mary and Madelyn: Compare and Contrast — Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Dream Boy by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenberg (US/Canada only)

Mary and Madelyn

Mary Crockett and I have been friends for a long time. Here are some things we have in common, along with some things we don’t…

Things in Common

Mary and I both played alto saxophone when we were in high school. Viva la band geek! (You can see a high school picture of me playing sax on this Dear Teen Me post).

We both grew up in southwest Virginia. I grew up in Blacksburg and Mary grew up in Salem, about 35 miles away. We didn’t meet until after high school, though I suppose there’s a pretty chance we competed against each other in marching band competitions, or that we were in opposing pep bands during football games. Because we grew up so close in proximity, we both knew a lot of the same landmarks, so when we sat down to write Dream Boy, we knew exactly where everything was.

We both love the mountains and feel kind of naked when we’re not around them.

We are both lousy housekeepers.

We both get migraines and our editing/writing would have been in huge trouble if we’d gotten them at the same time.

Differences.

Mary likes the Yankees, I like the Red Sox. (I lived in Boston for a time. Not sure what Mary’s excuse is.)

Mary is tall and I am decidedly NOT, as evidenced in some of our publicity photos. We had to arrange ourselves on rocks so we were on the same plane.

Mary is blonde, I’m a brunette.

Mary is a poet, I’m a journalist.

Mary is a dreamer and an optimist. I’m a realist and more of a pessimist than I care to admit.

I am Downton Abbey. Mary is Downton Abbey + Walking Dead + Sherlock.

7_8 DREAM BOY COVER 300If dreams can come true…then so can nightmares

One night Annabelle dreams of the perfect boy: tall and handsome with impossible blue eyes. Then, just as suddenly as he appeared, he’s gone…until he walks into her science class the next day. Perfect and REAL. The boy of her dreams. And when he brushes past her, he whispers “Annabelle.” Suddenly, Annabelle’s got the perfect boyfriend and a date to homecoming. Her life is like a dream come true…until her dreams stop and the nightmares begin.

Watch the book video:

Enjoy an excerpt:

I’ve always been a dreamer. Daydreams. Night dreams. Dreams of grandeur and dreams of escape. If I were an onion and you peeled back the papery outside, you’d find layer after layer of eye- watering dreams. And in the center, where there’s that little curlicue of onion heart? There’d be a puff of smoke from the dreams that burned away.

It was all just brain waves, I thought— disconnected, like the notebook that my friend Talon keeps. She draws a line down the middle of the page; on the right she writes everything she remembers about a dream, and on the left she puts notes about the stuff that’s happening in real life, things that might trigger her subconscious. Reality on one side, dreams on the other—a clear line between the two.

But it turns out there are no clear lines, just a jumble of what is and what might be. And all of it is real.

About the Authors: 7_8 marymadelynpub1Mary Crockett likes turtles, licorice, and the Yankees. Madelyn Rosenberg likes cats, avocados, and the Red Sox. Luckily they both like the weirdness of dreams (and each other) enough to write novels together. The friendship has survived three moves, six kids and countless manuscript revisions. Madelyn lives just outside of Washington, D.C. Mary remains in the mountains near their hometowns in southwestern Virginia. You can find them on Twitter @marylovesbooks and @madrosenberg or their blogs at www.marycrockett.com and www.madelynrosenberg.com.

Buy the book at Indie Bound, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

The Fox’s Mask by Anna Frost – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anna will award a $30 gift card (Amazon OR BN OR Kobo) to one randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post. Visit other stops on the tour by clicking on the tour banner, above.

NOTE: This book is on sale for only $0.99 for a limited time.

 

Cover_TheFoxsMaskDemon hunter Akakiba keeps many secrets from his human companion. The fact he’s a werefox isn’t the worst one.

In feudal Japan, magic is dying. As a demon hunter, Akakiba finds this problematic. The evil he’s been trained to destroy is disappearing and, along with it, the shape-shifting abilities of the clan he left behind. With his only companion, a determined young human named Yuki, Akakiba traverses the country slaying demons and performing odd jobs.

But when an army of demon-possessed humans masses to exterminate his clan, Akakiba must put aside old feuds and protect his family–-all while hiding an important secret from Yuki. Will they find a way to defeat the demon possessed before it’s too late? With magic dwindling, will it matter either way?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Akakiba found Jien and Sanae waiting outside, the latter wearing an expression too perfectly innocent to be genuine.

Jien, on the other hand, wasn’t even trying to hide his eavesdropping. “I take it you’re still not interested in marriage, Aki?”

“Don’t make me hit you.”
“I’ll try. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Sanae giggled, and Akakiba gave her an alarmed look. When a young woman started giggling at a man’s stupid jests…

It wouldn’t be bad news for Sanae to be interested in the opposite sex since, as his dear mother said, they needed to produce all the kits they could, but Jien wasn’t a suitable candidate!

Whirling round, he kicked Jien’s legs from under him. By the time the monk hit the floor, there was a sword inches from his face.

Jien peered up at him. “Ow. What was that for?”

“If you ever touch my sister,” he warned with all the threat he could muster, “I will dismember you, piece by piece, and I will leave the remains to feed wild beasts.”

Sanae gripped his sword arm, trying to force it up. “Brother! Put that away!”

“Please, Aki,” Jien said with a snort. “I knew that without you saying it.”

“Good.” His sword slid home. What was it about Jien that rubbed him the wrong way? Everything, possibly.

Lifting himself from the floor, Jien brushed and straightened his clothes. “You make it hard to be your friend.”

“I’m not your friend.”

“You saved my life. In my opinion, that makes us friends for life.”

“If I’d known you’d be pestering me forever, I wouldn’t have bothered.”

“Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”

Sanae was glaring. “Brother, that’s no way to behave with a guest! Jien is an honorable man, and I need no protection from him. I would also say you have no right to pretend to care about my virtue after abandoning me for three years! Honestly! What’s the matter with you?”

It wasn’t his habit to defend himself, but in this case, it seemed important to tell the entire truth. “Jien’s about as honorable as a snake! When we first met he told me he’d been wounded by a demon and beseeched me to carry him over the hill to a village where he might get treatment. I later learned that, in truth, he’d been caught spying on bathing girls. Their guardian had beaten him up and thrown him out of the village so he couldn’t get treatment there!”

“It was an accident,” Jien said. “I got lost, and hearing voices, tried to follow them. That’s how I plunged headfirst into the hot springs. And that old woman was as frightful as any demon I’ve ever seen!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna Frost is a Canadian girl who spends winters writing and dreaming of summer. An overdose of Japanese culture and media has led her to write fantasy inspired by Japanese mythology. In a shocking break with literary tradition, Anna does not live with cats. Instead she lives with chinchillas, which can be just as demanding and evil as cats.

Author links:

www.annafrost.ca

https://twitter.com/Frostanity

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6452110.Anna_Frost

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Foxs-Mask-ebook/dp/B009SZNN5W

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247839

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-foxs-mask-anna-frost/1113580803

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/the-fox-s-mask-1

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