LASR Anniversary: Malia Ann Haberman – Guest Blog and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – For 2 winners:
Digital copies (Kindle mobi or ePub) of the first 3 books in the “Chase Tinker Series”
Chase Tinker and the House of Magic (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 1)
Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 2)
Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 3)

Songs of Summer in Story


I stand in the Summer Sun and twirl with my arms wide open. Summer’s Here! Hey Summer! It’s finally Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer I’ve been waiting for all year.


Giggling, I stumble to a stop and turn my face to the sky as the Summer Sunshine kisses my Summer Fevered skin. Summer Means Fun and I feel like singing a Summer Serenade to the beautiful Happy Summertime day. No Summertime Blues for me. No Siree! I’m going to have Hot Fun in the Summertime. I’ll laugh and play On the Beach in the Summertime along with all the other beautiful Girls in Their Summer Clothes and the interesting Boys of Summer.


I smile as the Summer Wind catches my hair and brushes it across my face, tickling my nose. The wind brings with it a welcome Blast of Summer. It’s like Summer Paradise as the playful wind performs an entertaining Summer Dance in the golden Summer Sand.


Wrapping my arms around my waist, I stare out across the gloriously blue ocean that basks in the Summer Sunshine. My heart fills with Summer Feeling while my mind drifts away to Summer Dreaming. The Summer Days and Summer Nights will surly be filled with Summer Magic, won’t they? I touch my lips. Maybe I’ll experience my first Summer Kiss underneath a silvery Summer Moon, and maybe I’ll have a lovely Summer Romance that will last All Summer Long. I stomp my foot. I refuse to have another Cruel Summer or sad Summer in the City while I cry through too many Lonely Summer Nights. I swear it’ll be a good-time Flipflop Summer of Long Hot Summer excitement.


I close my eyes and imagine meeting my Summer Love while on a delicious Picnic in the Summertime. It will be instant Sweet Summer Lovin’ and Summer Madness will become our Feel Good Hit of the Summer. Of course, we’ll run, laughing in the Summer Rain as Summer Lightning flashes. We’ll fall into each other’s arms and he’ll tell me, “You Have the Summer in Your Smile. I hope this isn’t just another Summer Illusion like I had Suddenly Last Summer.”


malia sunset 10-4-12 003 (2)We’ll spend our Summer Days and Endless Summer Nights enjoying Summer’s Fiesta while wishing it was Always Summer. I shiver with anticipation as I picture us cruising Summer Roads in his red convertible while loving the Summer Side of Life. Then at the end of each day we’ll watch the perfect Summer Sunset as we listen to a Song for a Summer Night.


I know our sweet Summer Voyage must come to end, but as The Green Leaves of Summer turn autumn orange and red, I’ll wish again for The First Day of Summer as my Summer Holiday and the Summer Heat drift away. So as I say Farewell My Summer Love I’ll hold my Summer Souvenirs close to my heart because I know I’ll always remember my first Summer of Love.

malia House of Magic cover (2)In this fun, thrilling middle-grade/tween adventure 13-year-old Chase Tinker and his younger brother Andy learn the truth about their family’s magical heritage from a grandfather they thought to be long dead. This grandfather soon invites them to come visit him in his gigantic, magical house on a remote island in Puget Sound – a house where every room has its own unique power.

When there, the boys also learn that their family has been battling a Dark Enemy for generations, always fighting to preserve the mysterious “Relic” that holds the key to all the Tinker magic. This terrifying enemy is bound and determined to get their hands on this powerful Relic, and the incredibly magical house. Chase can’t believe their dad has been keeping so much from them. Now Chase must find a way to stop these evil beings, while at the same time seeking the truth about what has happened to his missing dad, unraveling even more secrets and lies, and not letting on that he has his own secret crush on the housekeeper’s beautiful daughter.

Not only is this book filled with people characters, and a mischievous ferret, but the house itself is also an exciting, important character.

About the Author: Author of “The Chase Tinker Series” Malia loves reading, writing, dancing, sunsets, ladybugs, Seahawks football, playing video games on her iPad, watching TV, pizza and chocolate. She also has terrible motion sickness and hates onions. She’s always wanted to have the ability to teleport and the power to move things with her mind. She lives in the Seattle area with her three wild and crazy ferrets.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: C. Lee McKenzie – Guest Blog and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – An eBook version of any one of the author’s books: Princess of Las Pulgas, Sliding on the Edge, Double Negative (when available.)

Being a California native, I’ve always had to take trips to experience “weather” in the sense of really hot and humid (Southeast Asia) or really cold (Alaska). Most of the weather we get in our state is of the medium variety (50-70 degrees) with a rare freeze and sometimes a few days in the hundreds during August. And boy do we complain when those days happen. I think we’re weather sissies.

When the chance came to write a summer themed blog post I immediately thought I’d like to write about how summer weather affects my writing, I had to scratch my brain a bit to come up with something. Then I went to my journal and thumbed through a few entries. What I found is I become more prolific on either really steamy days (usually about day three of a heat wave when I could use a cool breeze) or on gently toasted, but sparkly days. And I know this because I have pages that remark on exactly these weather conditions.

mackenzie file1981291126750 (2)I discovered that what I write about during those summery times has a lot of description about glistening foreheads, scenes with overhead fans whirring and characters seeking out large cool bodies of water to submerge themselves in. There are several summer notes that involve warm park benches with fountains playing in the background.

Since I like to write in different locations, I often roam with a clipboard. I do this roaming after I put in a morning (between 4 and 8 is my usual stint) at my desk. Then that sun shines in the window and I head to the garden or on a hike with my journal tucked into my backpack. I can always spot entries I’ve made outside in the summer; they’re smudged with dirt and sometimes, when I flip a page, a leaf falls out–a small token of a day I’ve lived and written about.

One other thing I discovered, thanks to this great idea for a post, is that I’ve made so many notes about the sounds, the textures and smells of what I’m surrounded by on these outdoor days, that I have tons of summer weather to include in almost any book I write that takes place above ground level between June and September.

mackenzie Princess of Las Pulgas-1 (2)Carlie Edmund has everything: a loving family, good friends, a perfect home and wealth and status; then in her junior year of high school the worst happens. Her dad dies and her life is turned upside down as she becomes The Princess of Las Pulgas.

About the Author:A native Californian, I’ve always loved to write. But I’ve also been a university lecturer and administrator. I used to publish articles on linguistics and intercultural communication, but then I started writing fiction and nonfiction for young readers. I was fortunate to have several of my short stories and non-fiction pieces for young readers in Stories for Children and Crow Toes Quarterly. My young adult novels are Sliding on the Edge and The Princess of Las Pulgas. Evernight Teen will soon publish Double Negative, my third piece of fiction for young adult readers. When I’m not writing, I hike in the mountains where I live.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: Ann Herrick – Guest Post and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!
Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize -A PDF copy of my ebook How to Survive a Summer Romance (Or Two)

 Summer Then, Summer Now

             When I was a kid, I just loved summer. It was a time of freedom. Freedom from school, freedom from heavy winter clothes, freedom to read just for fun, with no book report looming. On the last day of school summer stretched ahead like an endless horizon.Ann&Cats

I would wake up and think, “What should I do today? Who should I play with?” I lived in a neighborhood with plenty of kids. One was and still is my Best Friend Forever, though back then we would simply say, “best friend.” Others kids met certain interests. I would play “horses” with one friend. Hunt for rocks and arrowheads with another. Play softball with a group. Sometimes we would just flop on the ground and watch the clouds, imagining them to be everything from horses to giants. Or we’d curl up on a front porch and read. Reading for pleasure was always part of summer.

While I had some chores (clean my room, help my mother hang laundry, iron my father’s handkerchiefs), most of the summer days were for pure fun. I would ride my bike, roller skate, climb trees, make crafts, put on a “show,” for neighbors (and charge a nickel!), build a fort. I could walk down to the end of the street and watch boats in the harbor, or catch a few small crabs to sell to the fisherman and take my money to the little bait store that also sold candy and soda and get myself a treat.

When I was bit older I could walk to the town beach every day to swim, sunbathe, play cards and listen to the radio with my friends. I would stop at the library and pick out books to read. One year a friend and I got into a competition to see who could read the most Black Stallion books (in order of publication!).

My older brother might take me for a ride in the convertible he was working on or the new motorcycle he just bought.

But once I grew up, summer lost a bit of its glow for me. For one thing, I had to work through the summer. There were days when I would look out at a clear blue sky and just ache to be outdoors. But, of course, I had to stay inside and stick to my tasks.

The heat of summer began to bother me. I couldn’t just run through a sprinkler or go to the beach on a hot day. I had to go to and from a job, or do yard work, or raise my daughter—or write books. Now I grumble when the temperature gets to be over 75! And lying in the sun to get a tan lost its appeal once the news was out about the kinds of harm it could do to one’s skin. But reading for pleasure is still a summer delight. Although I read all year, there’s still something special about sitting in the shade with a book and reading just for the pure enjoyment of it.

So even though summer is no longer the carefree season it once was for me, a warm day with a soft breeze, the sound of birds chirping in the back yard, memories of the cherished days of my childhood, and reading a special book still make summer a wonderful season.

Sun, surf, sand and Alex–Katie was swept away!

Katie eagerly agrees to pretend she is Alex’s girlfriend for the summer in order to protect his job. Amid sundrenched waves, they develop a friendship that is on the verge of turning romantic, when who should arrive but Nicole, Alex’s old girlfriend. In three days, Nicole ruins Katie’s relationship with Alex. So Katie gets involved with Logan, Nicole’s handsome older brother, though Alex is the one for her.

Soon enough Katie learns that fake romances can get out of hand and lead to complications she never imagined.

Ann Herrick is the award-winning author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Included in the awards her books have won are the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers, IRA/CBC Children’s Choice and EPIC Best YA Novel Finalist.
Ann grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix and six grand-kitties. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking, the Oregon Ducks and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: Cathy Hird – Guest Blog and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – A digital copy of Moon of the Goddess

I love a soft summer rain. (Hint: because it gets me out of work!)

Don’t get me wrong. I love to soak in the hot sun of summer. On a sultry day, it is wonderful to cool off in the lake. When sun sparkles on warm water, there is nothing better than kayaking among water lilies. Brilliant red sunsets seen from the back of our farm are not to be missed.

But because I live on a farm, summer sun means work. We “make hay while the sun shines,” so a day with blue sky is also a day with the haybine roaring or the baler running hard. It’s a day when after the bales have been rolled into the barn, I spend an hour weeding the garden, or picking peas and freezing them.

When it rains, all that is put on hold. When rain falls warm and soft, I can curl up on the couch with a good book. To be sure, a wind-driven rain brings worry. I run out to chase the sheep in and get the barn door lashed closed. But if gentle drops run down the window, I can pick up my laptop and write another 1000 words on the story that is itching to get out of my head. I can read twitter posts and wander people’s fascinating websites without feeling like I should be outside working.

When it rains, I can make the long delayed trip into town, have a leisurely coffee with a friend. I can stock up on groceries and take my time trying on clothes at the new shop on main street. I can browse the book store, pick up something new for that evening when it is still too damp to get out into the garden.

cathy hird flowers in the rain (566x800) (2)And when I do get outside, the world is refreshed. The world that had been drained of colour by the baking sun, is sparkling and bright. Flowers burst red and yellow, and plants are green and strong.

I love the summer sun because it bakes the cold of winter from my bones. But a gentle soft rain restores life.

cathy hird cover for emailing (2)Thalassai, pampered princess of ancient Tiryns, wakes from a dream and discovers she has been kidnapped. Fear grows to terror when she realizes her kidnappers will use her as a pawn to gain Poseidon’s aid for their valley. The mother goddess who in the past sustained the valley calls a bloodred harvest moon into the spring sky. She will challenge Poseidon for the allegiance of her people and assist the princess.

Thalassai’s brother Melanion rides north to rescue her, and he finds allies among the servants of the goddess. Slowed by bandits, Melanion is forced to take a tunnel under the mountains even though earthquakes have rendered it hazardous. He skirts the edge of Hades’ kingdom as he races to reach his sister in time. Caught between the mother goddess and the rising power of Olympus, will Thalassai break under the strain or find the strength she needs to stand up to her captors?

Set in the days of Helen of Troy and the great heroes of Greece, this story takes the reader on a fast paced journey across the sun-drenched landscape of Homer and deep into darkness.

About the Author:Cathy Hird is a minister and a mother, a weaver and a shepherd living in rural Ontario. She is a story teller who weaves ancient threads into tales that touch modern questions.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Torquere Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: Suzanne van Rooyen – Guest Post and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – An ebook copy of The Other Me.

Summer in South Africa

Since my book is set in South Africa – the country where I spent the first 23 years of my life – I thought I’d tell you all about summer in the Rainbow Nation.512px-Johannesburg_Sunrise,_City_of_Gold

I grew up in Johannesburg, which is the largest city in South Africa, but not the capital. The city is a huge sprawl of suburbs and home to more than 10 million people. Geographically, Jo’burg rests at the top of the escarpment, almost 2km above sea level, in what locals call the ‘highveld.’ This means that every summer we can set our clocks by the thunderstorms. Come 5PM, the sky turns black and Jo’burg starts looking a lot like Mordor. Almost every storm results in torrential rain and epic lightning – did I mention Jo’burg has some of the most violent lightning in the world? And some storms yield golf-ball sized hail that leaves cars battered and windows shattered. Don’t ever plan an afternoon picnic in the Jo’burg summer.

It seems a ubiquitous summer tradition to barbecue, but in South Africa, the Sunday braai is nigh a holy ritual involving traditional sausage called boerewors, fruity meat kebabs we call sosaties, and a generous amount of local brew. Along with the meat and beer, we traditionally serve side dishes like potato salad and garlic bread. Of course everything tastes better when there’s a rugby match on and the Springboks are winning. Traditional dessert typically includes milk tart or malva pudding. Malva pudding is definitely my favourite South African dish. Nothing tastes as good as sweet, sticky malva drenched in vanilla custard.

While it might seem strange to some, a good many South Africans have a swimming pool in their backyards – or in the garden, as we’d say. I grew up in a large house on a half acre piece of land complete with a swimming pool and plenty of room to mark out a cricket pitch for family matches. As a kid, summer began the moment the pool water was warm enough to not turn you blue. Sometimes this happened as early as late August, sometimes it took until the middle of October for true summer to kick in. Given the hole in the ozone, we were never allowed to swim until after 3 in the afternoon and only once we’d been slathered in sun cream.

One of the biggest culture shocks I experienced after migrating north of my home country is that Christmas is no longer the hot, summer festival of my childhood, but a dark and freezing day to hibernate and gorge on rich foods. Although we tried to do a northern traditional Christmas replete with turkey, ham and all the trimmings, it seemed a bit ridiculous when outdoor temperatures were often in the thirties and a braai or lunch of cold meats and salad was preferable given the heat. Who wants to sit inside eating turkey when you can be outside swimming and stealing boerewors off the braai? Some of best childhood memories involve opening my presents Christmas morning, receiving new pool noodles or lilos, and heading straight into the water. Christmas was the one day my mom relented and let us swim all day – provided we were slathered head to toe in SPF 50.

In my book, The Other Me, the story starts after Christmas as my protagonists embark on the new school year, having to endure the sweltering heat of January and February in classrooms, on the cricket field or tennis courts. Inspired by my own high school experiences, I hope that The Other Me is able to provide readers unfamiliar with South Africa a taste of the country and culture that is so much a part of who I am.

The Other Me cover(1)“Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.

But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.”

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller and peanut butter addict from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Her books include Obscura Burning, The Other Me, and the forthcoming I Heart Robot from Month9Books. Suzanne is rep’d by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: Bridie Hall – Guest Blog and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!
Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize -a digital copy of Letting Go

Writing vacation
I’ve always found summertime inspirational. The sun and warm weather make everyone open up to the world, express their emotions more freely, behave more uninhibited. This is especially the case among young adults with most of them being on vacation, the only time of the year they don’t have pressing school projects or the threat of exams hanging over their heads. Since I write young adult novels, summertime is my ideal playground.

Bridie oceanWhile most people relax on their vacations and do nothing at all, I like to write. In the early mornings, with a breeze from the sea toying with the curtains, or after lunch when the rest of the world is enjoying their siesta. The song of the cicadas revives me and wakes up my imagination. I will start writing a scene and realize two hours later I’ve written two or three thousand words without even realizing it. That’s the best sort of writing. The best summer vacation.

Is it any wonder that my next young adult novel that will come out in August from Evernight Teen takes place over the course of one summer? Or that the heroine enjoys the sweltering heat of southern Georgia? I suppose not. I suppose it’s no wonder that the events of my newest work in progress take place during summertime, either. I took my characters to Paris this time, though, on a summer course in fashion design. Perhaps Paris is best visited in spring, but the summer romance my heroine experiences in July is sweet, nonetheless.

My plan was to start writing a story about grief once A Pretty Big Love was published. But things never go according to plan, do they? While on a coffee break a week ago, I suddenly saw an image of a girl discovering a whole new world away from home. What better place for a girl to meet new friends and lovers than Paris? I put the other story on the backburner and started on the new one right away and I’m already very fond of my characters. I plan on taking them on vacation with me.

Since it’s been a couple of years since I was last in Paris, I’m now enjoying my summer travelling on Google maps, reacquainting myself with the streets and sights of Paris. I miss the macarons and bistros, but homemade madeleines are pretty good too. Add a pot of good coffee and I’m all set.

bridie letting-go-teen-small (2)Isabelle is left stranded at the airport, and her only chance of getting home is with her boyfriend’s older brother, Harper. When this good girl and bad boy set off towards home, it turns out that maybe she’s not such a good girl after all. And even bad boys have reasons for their bad behavior.

The road trip is full of shocking revelations and unexpected emotions, bringing the two of them closer than Isabelle ever thought possible. Maybe too close.

About the Author: Bridie Hall sold her first story at fourteen. Since then, she has written dozens more, translated books, studied writing, and started writing novels. Her days revolve around stories and words, her sleepless nights involve plotting and inventing fascinating new characters. The only activity that takes up more of her time than writing, is reading.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: HL Carpenter – Guest Post and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!
Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize -One e-copy of Walled In, our young adult novel.

Summer Weather Forecasting is for the Birds

Weather forecasting is for the birds—bluebirds, that is.

Here in Carpenter Country, the magical place where we write, we offer room and board to local avians in exchange for the pleasure of their company. We built two of our community birdhouses especially for bluebirds, and they’ve been continually occupied over the years.

During that time, the bluebirds-in-residence have followed the same routine. In spring, for warmth, they raise chicks in the box that sits in full sun. In summer, to keep the nestlings cooler, they use the quarters that occupy a shady spot close to a leafy Sycamore.

Last month, Mr. and Mrs. Blue reversed the procedure and built a summer nest at their spring address.Bird House small

We’re pretty sure bluebirds don’t move house because the kitchen in the new place is equipped with great appliances or the bathroom has a hot tub. We think they’re more into the realtor’s creed of location, location, location. They decide—in advance—which location will offer the best conditions for the survival of their chicks.

So, are bluebirds better at long range forecasting than human meteorologists?

Turns out they are. Every day during the month of July, the weather people predicted an occasional shower and lots of sunshine. But the birds knew July would be cloud-covered and rain-soaked.

Perhaps forecasters should watch birds instead of computer models. How about putting bluebirds on the air? A live-stream webcam of bluebird activity would be more interesting than swirling maps of radar simulations. And, given the accuracy of recent forecasts, Mr. and Mrs. Blue would earn their salary of insects and berries.

What do you think? Is employing bluebirds as forecasters an idea whose time has come? Or could it only happen in Carpenter Country, a place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue?

walledin-500 full size 500 by 750Seventeen year old Vandy Spencer lives like a princess. Sheltered by her wealthy family, she happily makes plans to spend a fantasy before-college gap summer with her gorgeous boyfriend.

Then her dad is accused of a huge financial fraud. Vandy is thrust into a frenzy of media attention as accusations and innuendos pile up daily. The victims of her dad’s swindle vow revenge, and her dad flees.

As her perfect life disintegrates, Vandy struggles to separate reality from lies. Was her perfect life truly so perfect? Did she ever really know her father?

When family secrets come to light, revealing an unimaginable betrayal, Vandy learns to appreciate the simple richness of sincerity and truth.

HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. Their latest young adult novel is Walled In. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Their work is featured on their website,

Amazon –

Musa Publishing –

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LASR Anniversary: Sydell Voeller – Guest Blog and Giveaway

anniversary regular banner copy

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Sandcastles of Love

Many readers have commented on the settings in my books, often centered on the Oregon Coast or the Puget Sound area in western Washington. But why these beach settings? Why do they evoke strong memories that fuel my writing?

I grew up near Edmonds, north of Seattle. Many decades earlier, Edmonds began its existence as a logging town. Now this “friendliest town in Washington” boasts luxurious condos with sweeping views of the Sound, unique gift shops and boutiques, antique stores, and scrumptious bakeries–just to name a few. In summertime and early fall, colorful hanging flower baskets adorn the main streets, giving the town a festive, European ambience.

I remember as a small girl scouring the beach in Edmonds for shiny small rocks and shells, and the soft plopping sounds as I dropped each shell into my plastic bucket. Even broken shells would do! I remember the relatives who visited every summer without fail from the Midwest. They loved riding the ferry, even if it were only to the opposite shore and back. Often in the early evening, the women packed up a casserole, a simple salad, and beverages to tote to the beach where we’d spread out our feast onto wind-worn picnic tables. My dad would join us once he returned from work. There we’d eat, laugh, talk and gaze at the gentle waves lapping the shore. We could also see the lines of vehicles waiting to board the green and white ferries.

I also recall my early teen years when my girlfriends and I’d walk to the beach during summertime. We’d spread out blankets, slather on cocoa butter, bake under the sun, and look for cute guys. With a briny breeze against our faces, the warmth radiating up from the sand, and the occasional wail of a train that rode the rails paralleling the beach, we were happy Beach Bums for the day. Later during high school, our crowd I often drove to the beach on warm summer evenings. We built beach fires that scented the air with the salty smell of driftwood. We strolled barefoot, feeling the gritty sand between our toes. Later we huddled around the fire to toast marshmallows and solve the world’s problems–or so we thought.

So what about you? What type of environment awakens your senses and makes you feel alive and inspired? It might be a trail through a majestic Old Growth forest in the mountains, the high desert with its endless miles of tan sculpted hills, a ranching community nestled into a lush green valley, or a beach where, like me, you can commune with the seagulls.

Voeller-Sandcastles400x600 (2)When Logan Becker’s family embarks on a summer “house swapping” vacation in a beach town in Oregon, Logan is overjoyed. Similarly, Tricia Merrit, the daughter of the other family, is thrilled to be in the farm belt of Minnesota.

Logan falls in love with the beach boy surfer of her dreams, but soon she discovers he’s Tricia’s boyfriend. Logan’s dreams are shattered. Meanwhile, there’s another boy who is attracted to Logan—the totally uncool Grant Duncan who is busy trying to launch a campaign to clean the local beaches. Can Logan come to realize that true love often reveals itself in unexpected ways?

About the Author: Sydell Voeller grew up in Washington State, but has lived in Oregon for over thirty years. Throughout her twenty-plus-year writing career, her published novels for teens and adults have reflected her love for the Pacific Northwest’s ocean beaches, inlets and waterways, evergreen forests, and mountains. Sydell resides in Oregon with her husband. They married in 1972 and have two grown sons and five grandchildren.

Pet lovers, the Voellers have provided a home for several cats, a dog, gerbils, hamsters, and a turtle–especially when their sons were growing up. (A small rodent cemetery still occupies one corner of their backyard.) She and her husband enjoy camping, reading, playing Scrabble, day trips to the Oregon coast, and spending time with their two pampered feline.

When Sydell isn’t writing, she enjoys camping, walking, amateur astronomy, reading, and surfing the web. In 1987 after the publication of her first novel, she was named by the Washington County Mushaw Center, Woman of the Year in Communications.

Formerly a registered nurse, Sydell now teaches long distance learning writing courses, sponsored by the Long Ridge Writer’s Institute. Visit Sydell on her website to view her book lists, bio, and photos:

Blog ~ Facebook ~ @SydellVoeller

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Up the Tower by J.P. Lantern – Spotlight and Giveaway

Congratulations to J.P. Lantern as he celebrates the release of Up the Tower with this Book Blast scheduled by Goddess Fish Promotions. One reader will win a $25 Amazon gift card via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Hey, Smellson!”

Samson ignored the jeer, focusing carefully on opening the box. He was twelve years old and he did not want to screw this up; being twelve was important, and people took the things you did seriously so long as you did them well.

“Smellson, hey!” The Crowboy banged his crowbar on the dusty ruins of the factory line where they had set up the six crates from their haul that morning. “Don’t blow us up, okay? I don’t want to die with your stench clogging me up, yeah?”

Again, Samson ignored the other boy, trying to concentrate as he eased his longtool through the gap in the crate before him. He very well could blow himself up; he could blow them all up. Inside the GuaranTech crate he tinkered with was a copbot.

Copbots blew up all the time. If their main processors or power source were damaged, they blew up. If they were being captured, they blew up. If they ran out of ammo and couldn’t refill within about ten minutes, they blew up. When they blew up, they incinerated everything in about a hundred foot radius. The warehouse was not big enough for the Crowboys to keep their distance and still work in the role of protection as they had been hired. So they were in the blast zone as well as Samson.

The copbots, deactivated, were precious and valuable. Strangely, they were valuable precisely because they were so hard to deactivate. A copbot was made almost entirely out of self-healing nanotech, and with enough time, it could repair from almost any wound to its metal shell. So, to keep this sort of power out of the hands of the gangster conglomerate that ran Junktown, the Five Faces, and any other sort of competitor, the copbots had a very liberal self-destruct mechanism.

About the Author:

J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed “rugged,” though he would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.

Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.




twitter: @jplantern

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Key Elements of Young Adult Paranormal Romance by Melissa MacVicar – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win a Red Adept Publishing t-shirt, tote bag, can koozie, and magnet.

Five Key Elements of Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Imagine if you could mix up and bake a book just like you do a cake. What if there was a recipe you could follow and no matter what, you’d have a bestseller? Well, as we all know, that isn’t how it works. Writing is an art form—a craft which one must hone and practice.

There are, however, certain elements that are present in almost all books, depending on the genre. I am particularly familiar with books in my current genre, Young Adult Paranormal. I say current because I reserve the right to branch out to others at random. But for today, I am going to share my personal recipe for an awesome YA paranormal romance. This information is highly classified and will only be shared this one time, here on the amazing Long and Short Reviews blog, so please read carefully. Here it goes.

1. A kick butt Main Character!

Main characters are the life blood of your book. Your hero or heroine must be relatable, vulnerable, and tough all at the same time. I tried to encapsulate all these qualities in Jade, my main character in the Secret Affinity series. I hope I succeeded.

2. A swoon-worthy and sweet love interest

Ahh the romance. The romance in any book is one of my favorite parts. I confess that even at my age, I still love a good romance. Romance is timeless and romance done well needs an awesome love interest.

3. Serious Paranormal Drama

As a writer, you must take your reader to the edge and beyond with your paranormal element. This was very scary to me in writing the first book in the Secret Affinity series. I was scared for Jade, and I didn’t want my paranormal element to be too powerful. Then a beta reader told me I had to take it further. Boy, am I glad I listened because what happened with the ghost Lacey was the climax of my book.

4. Symbols to cling to

Jade has her skeleton key necklace from Gram in the Secret Affinity series and if you think back to many of the YA Paranormals you’ve read, they almost all have a symbol that carries the MC through the book. I added Jade’s skeleton key after the initial writing of the book and I am so glad I did because it adds a tangible element to her powers.

5. A satisfying ending

Wrapping it all up in a nice, neat package in the end after all that conflict and drama is hard. Endings actually come fairly easy to me, but I know when a book has a bad ending with loose ends I get really mad.

Of course, these ingredients seem so easy when written down like this, don’t they? The execution of them in sixty thousand words or more is where all the magic happens. While many books on writing have been penned over the years, in the end, the most important things a writer needs is a love of storytelling and a willingness to work hard. Please visit me at my blog for more information about my writing and the journey of a new author.

8_21 Ever-Lost-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalNew town, new school, new ghost.Jade has a dedicated boyfriend, an overprotective mom, and a full scholarship. Uprooted from Nantucket, Jade is installed off-island at her dad’s new house so she can attend snobby Layton Academy. Leaving Charlie behind is sheer torment, but living with her father has plenty of dangerous distraction—in the form of a terrifying spirit haunting her new school. Hottie classmate Mateo Fernandez can’t see the ghost, but he knows its story. He’d like to know hers, too, but Jade still misses Charlie, even though distance seems to be changing him.

With support from Mateo and the mysterious Noemie, Jade commits to helping the agonized spirit cross over. As she delves into the ghost’s past, the disturbing secrets Jade learns draw her into a deadly confrontation with a desperate man. If she can’t play his demented game, the spirit’s harrowing fate could become her own.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play.

About the Author: 8_21 Melissa Melissa MacVicar lives with her husband and two children on Nantucket Island. She loves classic rock, watching football, and reading anything romantic and suspenseful. She survived prep school, and was brave enough to attend her college reunion.

When she turned forty, Melissa decided to renew her adolescent passion for fiction writing. Having once thought publishing a novel to be an impossible dream, she’s proud to be achieving her lifelong goal. In addition to writing, she’s a full-time teacher, an avid runner, and a somewhat reluctant tri-athlete.

Goodreads ~ Red Adept Publishing ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway