Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KAREN POKRAS TOZ

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karen will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so click on the tour banner for more of Karen's stops.


Writing main characters can be tricky. Sometimes they fall right in line just as planned. Sometimes they misbehave and you have to reel them back in, and sometimes they teach you something about yourself you never realized before.

Take my main character: Nathan Rockledge aka Nate Rocks. At just ten years old, Nathan needed much reeling in. His imagination was crazy. Not that this is a bad thing for a ten-year-old, or anybody really, but he had trouble staying focused – as I often do myself.

I couldn’t truly blame him, however, after all, he is only ten. But then I started thinking: should I let him off the hook just because he is ten? Isn’t that what so many tweens complain about... not getting a chance to prove themselves... prove that they are responsible?

So I decided to give him a chance. A chance to prove he could accomplish something great if he really put his mind to it. And guess what? He did. Now, I don’t want to tell you what that something is -you’ll have to read the Nate Rocks books for that piece of info, but Nathan taught me something very important while I was writing his adventures – two things actually:

1. Even kids can accomplish great things, and even more important –

2. Anyone can accomplish their goals if they just set their mind to it.

I am living proof. Dream big and rock on!


About the Author:
Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut, and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, followed in 2012 by the second book in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NATE ROCKS SERIES: Website: www.KarenToz.com
Blog: http://kptoz.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenptoz
Twitter: www.twitter.com/karentoz
Amazon:
Nate Rocks the Boat:http://amzn.to/NateRockstheBoat
Nate Rocks the World: http://amzn.to/NateRockstheWorld
Barnes & Noble:
Nate Rocks the Boat: http://bit.ly/NateRockstheBoat-BN
Nate Rocks the World: http://bit.ly/NateRockstheWorld-BN
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5009570.Karen_Pokras_Toz



With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister. When his best friend Tommy decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom's awful cooking for an entire six weeks.

Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named "No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals.

Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back in this second book of the Nate Rocks series.

Monday, July 30, 2012

GUEST BLOG: COURTNEY RENE

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This post is a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Courtney will be awarding $5 Amazon GCs to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Click on the tour banner above to see the other stops on Courtney's tour--the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Something I learned from my Heroine
By
Courtney Rene


Abby is the main character in my latest book release, A Howl in the Night. She is strong, and stubborn, girlie and feminine all at the same time. Is that even possible?

When I was growing up, I was a total and complete tomboy. I climbed trees, I hunted for crawfish in the creek, and I swung from frayed and threadbare ropes in hay barns. I loved being dirty. I didn’t want to really be a ‘girl’ because girls weren’t allowed to play football. Girls weren’t supposed to jump off roofs. Girls weren’t supposed to fight. Who wanted to be a stinky ole girl, when you couldn’t do anything fun?

I guess I didn’t really mind the dresses when I had to wear them, but then I wasn’t allowed to do cartwheels or swing from the willow tree branches. Someone might see my undies….gasp! I didn’t mind having my hair done, as when someone else took a brush and shears to it, I actually looked nice, but then I always got in trouble for messing up my hair after all the time it took to tame it. No, I didn’t want to be just a girl. I’d rather have been a boy. They had more fun and were actually allowed and sometimes even expected to get dirty.

So, in thinking I had to choose one or the other exclusively, I chose boy things every time.

Then you have Abby. She is definitely a girl. She is sweet and lovely. She has a grace to her that exudes feminine. I never would have dreamed that a girl, like that, could also be strong and not afraid to fight or get dirty, or even naked. Okay, maybe still a bit embarrassed at the naked, but when push comes to shove, does it anyway.

I want to go back to my pre-teen and teenage years and be just like Abby. She still has a bit of growing to do and she has no idea how to deal with guys, but she is wonderful, both girl and tomboy all at the same time. Who knew that was even do’able? She is the best of both worlds to my way of thinking.

Heck, add in the shape shifter thing and she is darn near perfect. What I wouldn’t have given to have that growing up! So, what did I learn from Abby? That it doesn’t matter what you think people expect or want you to be, you need to be exactly what and who you are. Girlie, boyish, tomboyish, or a mix of in between, it doesn’t matter as long as you are yourself. I wish I had known that growing up. I think I would be a more rounded individual now. I still don’t have any grace, and I still don’t mind getting dirty, but at least at this point, I do clean up all right when I have too. Admittedly, some days better than others.

About the Author:
Courtney Rene lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, and her Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit http://www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com. Feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com Find Courtney online at:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/Ctnyrene
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shadow-Dancer/164433473646449
http://twitter.com/#!/ctnyrene



Sweet Sixteen is supposed to be a turning point in your life. The world is before you in all its glory, just waiting for you to reach out and grab it. Right? For Abigail Staton, no. Not so much. Not only does she suddenly lose her best friend due to a fight, but out of the blue her mother expects her to believe that the father, she has never met, is actually a werewolf. With that revelation, Abby is thrust into the world of two wolf clans who are not only fighting each other, but also fighting for Abby, one of the few females born to the shape-shifters. Her father is determined to pair Abby up with Derek, a very dominant and overwhelming shifter. Abby vehemently balks at this union to disastrous results. When war is declared between the two clans, Abby has to decide what side she is actually on.

Friday, July 27, 2012

GUEST BLOG: CHRIS REYNOLDS

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Chris will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


Ideas are pesky little things. You’ve either got too many than you have time to write; or you haven’t got any at all and are desperately searching for one so you can meet a deadline.

In those desperate situations, it might be comforting to remember that you have, in the past, come up with ideas and some of them have been good. So you might try to figure out how you did that.

Thinking back to the inspiration for my novel, Mind Secrets, I clearly remember wanting to write about teenagers with special powers. I’d always been hooked by those sort of stories and continued to seek them out long after I had grown up. But that wasn’t an idea as such, it was just a theme. At the start, I didn’t have any idea about how I was going to tackle it.

So I sat down a piece of paper and a pen and wrote down “Teenagers with Special Powers”; I underlined it and then circled it for good measure. I realised I needed to work out what sort of powers they would have. I didn’t want anything too powerful; I didn’t want to turn them into comic book heroes; I wanted their powers to be believable, as if they had evolved naturally. The mind, I thought, seems incredibly powerful. The thoughts and the feelings we have seem so strong inside our own heads, that it’s almost conceivable other people could sense them. So maybe the teenagers can sense the thoughts and feelings of others. That would make them special; it would give them a certain amount of power, but it wouldn’t stop them being vulnerable, and it would put them in a position where other people might fear or envy them.

Hang on a minute — was that an idea? I think it was. But, where did it come from? It came from working through the theme and asking myself questions about what I wanted to do within the theme. So, perhaps that’s where ideas come from.

So, once I have the basic idea, I need a story in which it will fit. One type of story I like is The Fugitive-style story, where the main character is both pursuing something and is being pursued. In The Fugitive TV show, and also the later Harrison Ford movie, the main character has been wrongly convicted of murder and is being chased by a policeman at the same time as he is trying to catch the real killer. I love that sort of story because the protagonist is being pulled in two different directions at once. So I decided my main character, Michael, would be on the run from a man called Carter, but also trying to unravel the secrets of his own past.

A-ha! Another idea! But where did I get that from? Well, I sort of stole it. But in a benign, non-plagiaristic kind of way, you understand.

In the meantime, I was working on the background to the story. As I wanted the novel to have a thriller / mystery theme to it, maybe there was more to the teenagers' special powers than at first appeared. I liked this idea, so I wrote it down. But I didn’t know what it was yet, so I thought hard to come with a few possibilities and wrote them down too. After that, all I needed to do was pick the best one.

This is how most of my ideas emerge. I sit down and I think them up. I write them all down and then I pick the best ones. I ask myself questions about my world, my characters and my plot and I try to answer them. And, every time I decide on a course of action, I figure out what the consequences of that action will be and that sparks another idea.

Rare is the time when an idea will hit me out of the blue. A couple of months ago, I remember watching a television drama which was less than engaging and so my mind wandered, and I started to think of an idea for a vampire novel. I really don’t know where that idea came from, as the TV programme had nothing to do with vampires. Unfortunately, I have too many other projects to write ahead of that one, so it’s on the backburner — which is just as well as I suspect the book world is getting a little vampire-weary.

Most of the time, it is simply a case of sitting down with pad and paper and scribbling down whatever is in my head. Even when I have no ideas at all. I will write down themes that I like, such as ghost stories or time travel stories, then I might write down something I’ve seen in the street, something somebody has said, an incident in the news. Until something clicks and I bounce ideas off that until I come up with something firm. Then I write that down on a blank sheet of paper and develop it from there.

Most of the time, if you want some ideas, you just have to think of the little blighters. There’s no use wondering around and hoping the muse will strike, because it probably won’t. A walk can sometimes be a great way to refresh the mind, but if I went for a walk every time I needed to come up with an idea, I’d do a lot more walking and a lot less writing.

About the Author:Chris Reynolds is a lover of adventure stories. Chris spent her time growing up avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. She was often frustrated that stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to write her own. In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and some published non-fiction books. Now her stories are available for all to read, following the release of her acclaimed debut novel Mind Secrets.

Chris lives among the Chiltern Hills, north of London.

Find Chris online at:

http://www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/ChrisReynolds01
Twitter: ChrisReynolds_1



On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.

Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to have mind powers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GUEST BLOG: RENEE PACE

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Writing about something you know and don’t know. Pros and Cons.
By
YA nitty gritty author Renee Pace


When I ventured into writing young adult novels I thought it would be easy. Wrong. Getting that YA voice right is key. I’m not saying it’s perfect but I developed a sneaky trick I’m sure many other writers use when it comes to dialogue. Listening.

Key tips for YA writers:

1. Offer to drive your teens around. Turn on the radio and secretly listen to their conversations but the rule is don’t freak out and listen.
2. Hang out at your local gym and listen to the jock talk. Seriously, it’s another language.
3. If you have a teen, attend their sport games and again listen but pay attention to how teens interact.
4. Boys and girls interact differently so, again, pay attention.
5. To get more intel on girls – hit a mall and you’ll be amazed at the new lingo you’ll pick up.
6. Have lunch at McDonalds – yes, they are still filled with teens and they’re from all walks of life – observe.
7. Research – if you’re writing about a certain sport attend a few games to get a feel for the language and how the teens interact.
8. Don’t flood your novel with tons of teen lingo – KISS – keep it simple stupid. You don’t want to date your book but sometimes when you’re writing YA that’s the only way to get that YA feel so go with your gut.
Warning: doing this for an adult may cause the following:

1. Craving to chew gum and guzzle soda
2. Urge to showcase lots of skin
3. Craving for a tattoo or piercing
4. Coarse language with weird body language grabbing
5. Urge to sleep in well past noon
6. Messy room syndrome
7. Pimples
8. The ability to not smell body odor
9. Urge to watch Much Music videos.

Take a sneak peek at the third nitty gritty book Off Stroke:


“It’s three rotations of five miles,” says the coach. He’s new here and that’s good. He doesn’t know my past and hopefully we’ll keep in that way. “Shannon, can I speak with you privately?”

I’m thinking of playing deaf but know that won’t do me any good. Might as well get this over with. Turning toward him, my right ankle gives out and I almost falter, but at the last moment I grab the wooden rail and stand straight. I’m praying the coach hasn’t noticed. I’m about to walk over to him, but he halts me and comes over to where I’m standing, on the side, slightly there but not fully back with the ‘in crowd’.

“So, I’ve been briefed about what happened.”

Shit. That’s all I can think. Please don’t ask me questions. Just let me do this and get that damn K-1 in the water. I look with longing at my sleek red racing Nelo kayak. The last gift ever from my mom.I’m half listening to what Tyler, that’s the coach’s name, is saying. My gut tells me he’s going to send me home and tell my father I’m not ready. I am ready. I need to do this. Today. Not tomorrow.

“So, I think we should work on more dry land training,” says Tyler.

Christ, that’s all I’ve done for the past three months. If I lift another freaking set of weights I’m going to scream. “Please. Just let me try.”

Tyler, with his shaggy brown hair that seems out of place at the paddling club, leans closer. “You know, I broke my leg once so I get what you’re trying to do.”

I smile. He has no idea what I’m trying to do. I don’t even know. All I know is that after the accident, when I woke up in the hospital with a dislocated collar bone, three broken ribs and smashed right ankle all I thought about while recovering was the stillness of the lake. If I thought about the wreck, about how a drunk driver killed my mother, I lost it. So, I don’t think about that. But in that hospital, I made a promise to my mother. I’ll make her proud of me.

“Thanks. I’ll take it easy.”

“I’ll be in the safety boat shadowing you all the way and if anything hurts, you stop. You hear me? This is day one so don’t push it.”

I smile for real this time. “Got it.

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a copy of Off Leash and Off Limits.

About the Author:
Renee Pace is a multi-published author who likes to tackle real teen issues in her nitty gritty series. She calls Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, home . Mother of four, she juggles writing, deadlines and her children’s hectic schedules. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, and the Society of Children Writers & Illustrators. Her first nitty gritty book, Off Leash was a 2011 semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Her second book Off Limits tackles poverty and sexual abuse, and for her third book, Off Stroke debuting July 2012 Pace writes about young love and prejudice.

Find Renee online at:

www.ReneePace.com
twitter@ReneePaceYA
http://www.amazon.com/author/reneepace
http://www.facebook.com/#!/ReneePaceYABooks
http://www.yabeyond.com

Eternal Spring – FREE YA Anthology- http://amzn.com/B0081FPKME

Friday, July 20, 2012

GUEST BLOG: M.A. GOLLA

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Recycling


So what does recycling mean to you? Does it mean collecting plastic, aluminum, tin, and/or paper? Or does it mean taking your old clothes to resell or donate them? Or does it simply mean taking a product and reinventing it to make it new again?

And how on earth does recycling pertain to writing, for Pete’s sake?

Like many writers, I started writing with a twinkle in my eyes as I firmly believed that everything I wrote was gold—erm, it isn’t—which left numerous manuscripts collecting dust on my hard drive, and the burning question that left me wondering if writing romance was what I was supposed to do with my life.

And then I thought about writing: my strengths and weaknesses, my reading interests, and the types of stories that I loved to write.

So one day in May my then 7-year-old daughter and I were walking to school, she found what looked like a tiny trash bag. We made up a story about Peter the naughty fly and his messy room--considering her school was only three minutes away we did some seriously quick brainstorming. I walked home and wrote the picture book story, Peter’s Messy Room. Over the next few months, I wrote seven more Peter stories. Though I never tried to publish those stories (my daughter still hasn’t forgiven me!), it opened my mind to the possibility of writing children’s stories. This was something I had never considered before.

And then I started thinking about those four manuscripts. They tugged at my heart, because I don’t care if others disagree--every book you write is the book of your heart. And my last manuscript called, THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION, weighed heavily on my mind. It had generated some interest from a publisher, but they ultimately decided no thanks.

That manuscript kept bothering me, invading my thoughts at the most inopportune times. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the fantasy elements. I loved almost everything about that story. I knew it was too fluffy for the romantic trend of dark paranormals, but I still loved it, fluff and all. But it had generated enough “no’s” over a couple of years that I knew it was dead in the water as a romance.

But what about the main character? How had she become who she was?

*snaps fingers* That was it!

I would consider The Leprechaun Connection as my world building device, and I would write the back story of the main character when she was eleven years old and first discovered the Mythicals around her.

No, I’m not simply rewriting the story, I’m making up new ones using some of the recycled ideas and character.

Not every story deserves to be published, but no story is a waste of time or effort as we learn something about ourselves as writers with each word we write.

Have you ever recycled a character, a scene, or dialogue from one of those manuscripts languishing on your hard drive?

About the Author:
After slaving away in a hospital laboratory for over 23 years, Margaret finally escaped with her sanity barely intact. She now plays in the verdant fields of her imagination creating Mythicals, murder and mayhem.

Visit Margaret at her blog: M.A. Golla.

In celebration of the release of FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS, Book Three of the Goblin’s Apprentice series, on July 24, 2012, Book One, TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME, will be a FREE download on July 20/21, and Book Two, THE FAST AND THE FAERIEOUS, will be a FREE download on July 22-23.
Half-elven tween steals a Celestian book to help the ‘good’ side in the war, but inadvertently helps the Dark Ones gain power. Book three, The Goblin's Apprentice

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

GUEST BLOG: SHARON LEDWITH

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Shouldering Author Morale


If you look up the word morale in any dictionary chances are it reads: the degree of mental or moral confidence of a person or group. For me, as an author, morale means much more than that. It is that needed punch in the arm authors give each other, that woo-hoo for a great review, that tweet or share or shout out to help authors with their sales, and that blog post comment to help them get on the cyber map.

So how do you go about bolstering author morale? Simple. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat other authors precisely as you wish them to treat you. If they don’t respond at once, keep at it, again and again and again. If there’s no response, no Esprit de Corps among them, then it may be time to move on and find another group of authors willing to help build your author platform with you. Then, once you’ve establish your team, you go the extra mile.

Going the extra mile is the state of mind you must develop in order to build morale and keep the momentum going in any endeavor. And going the extra mile makes you indispensable to others. You do for them what no one else does. And if they ask what they can do for you, tell them, and be clear about it. So the next time you find yourself perusing your favorite social network — go the extra mile and give an author a boost. Share their wares. Like their post. Tag their books. Tweet their stuff. Comment, friend, follow. Trust me — you’ll get it back in aces.

About the Author:
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not researching, writing, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Find Sharon online at:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com
Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/
Sharon’s Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith
Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/?iid=am-82952056813386643146889016&nid=23+following_user&uid=525750371&utm_content=profile#!/sharonledwith
The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372



When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Monday, July 16, 2012

GUEST BLOG: PAMELA WOODS-JACKSON

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YOUNG ADULT – Guest Blog
Confessions of a Teenage Psychic by Pamela Woods-Jackson




Caryn Alderson just wants to be a normal teenager. She has recently moved from Houston to Indianapolis and hopes to make new friends at Rosslyn High School. Then she meets Quince Adams, the school’s star athlete, and is instantly smitten. Unfortunately, there are two obstacles to a relationship with Quince: cheerleader Kensington Marlow, and Caryn’s Uncle Omar. So what’s the problem? Kensington’s cheating on Quince, and Uncle Omar died in Vietnam at age 20!

Imagine hearing disembodied voices, seeing spirits no one else can see, and knowing things about people that there’s no logical explanation for. No wonder Quince and all her new friends think she’s weird! Then, just when Caryn thinks her psychic abilities are under wraps, her friend Megan blurts out the truth about her on local TV during a staged school protest. Will Caryn finally admit the truth? Does she really have a choice?

That’s my back cover blurb, and it pretty much sums up what my young adult novel is all about. The book was published by The Wild Rose Press in March, 2010, and can be found both in ebook or paperback on their website, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online.

I had a great time writing that book. I was teaching high school English at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis at the time, and the initial spark of the main character Caryn came to me from one of my students. This is how I remember the conversation:

Student: We’re having a fire drill this afternoon, Ms. Jackson.
Me: Really? No one told the teachers. How do you know?
Student: (Name omitted) told me.
Me: How does she know?
Student: (With a shrug) She’s psychic. Didn’t you know?


Now truthfully, I don’t remember if we had the fire drill or not, and I have no idea if that young lady was really psychic, but the whole thing set me to wondering what it would be like inside her head if she was psychic, and what her life would be like trying to deal with that. The result is Confessions of a Teenage Psychic.

I just retired from teaching, but I haven’t retired from writing. I write a blog on the website of the museum where I work part time under Staff blogs; I sit on the editorial board of a local newspaper; I get up on my high horse occasionally and send a letter to the editor of the Indianapolis Star newspaper concerning public education; I submit opinions to Soap Opera Digest; I have another published contemporary romance novel entitled Certainly Sensible which came out in 2011; I’m working on another young adult novel which I hope to finish this summer. So retirement looks pretty busy!

I periodically post comments on my Facebook page under the title of the book, so if you read it, I hope you’ll leave a comment there. I’ll take the positive with the negative. A few months ago my publisher was approached by a Los Angeles production company about purchasing the movie/TV rights to the book. Hollywood moves very slowly, but perhaps if enough people buy/read the book, it will catch the attention of those elusive production folks out there in LA.

I’ve been told my book is a good poolside or beach-blanket read, so I hope you will spread the word. Please feel free to send me a Facebook message or post something on my page there. I will definitely respond.

Best wishes,
Pamela Woods-Jackson

Friday, July 13, 2012

GUEST BLOG: DUSTY CRABTREE


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The Writer’s Zone
by
Dusty Crabtree, author at Musa Publishing


What most people don’t understand is that writing a book is not the hardest part for a writer. It’s probably the easiest. At least it would be if we actually had time to do it. Before my YA novel, Shadow Eyes, was published, I didn’t anticipate all the other things writers have to do that soak up so much of our time. Between promoting, blogging, facebooking, tweeting, commenting on blogs and forums, searching for reviews and places to guest blog, researching, reading about writing techniques, answering emails and checking author forums, promoting fellow authors, and discovering new ways to promote and market…sometimes it seems like we hardly have time to actually do what we love and need to do: WRITE!

Finding a balance between writing and all that other stuff is difficult. Up until recently, I would tell myself I couldn’t write (thinking I was enforcing discipline, since that was my favorite part) until I did some of the other things first. But then time would get away from me, and before I knew it, I barely had time to write anything. Plus, my mind was swimming with the million other things I’d just seen and done, so the time I did have wasn’t productive because I was distracted.

I think I’ve discovered at least a somewhat better way. WRITE FIRST! Let me explain. You’ve heard of the phrase, “In the zone”? Writers have to get “in the zone” too, and this is hard to do. It takes immense concentration and focus with little distraction. The reason why is you have to put yourself in that setting, imagine the way everything looks and smells, get into your characters’ minds, foresee the plot and all the intricacies that will happen. That way you can take the scene in your mind and transcribe it onto paper for the reader to be able to imagine it. Once you’re in that scene, you get on a roll with your writing because it’s just as easy as describing what’s literally around you, only with bigger, more thought-out words and a better flow of sentences.

As any writer will tell you, some days, you just can’t get in the zone. For whatever reason, it’s not happening. Use those days to get all of those other things done, as well as edit or read books in your genre.

However, if you are able to get in the zone that day, milk it for all it’s worth. Take advantage of it like you would if you randomly felt the urge to clean. At some point later in the day, maybe when distractions are getting the best of you, go ahead and pause to do the other writerly things you need to do. But you can’t make good writing happen, and you can’t predict when it will. Give it a chance first. The rest will come eventually.

Watch the video for Shadow Eyes:
About the Author:
Dusty Crabtree has been a high school English teacher at Yukon High School in Oklahoma since 2006, a challenge she thoroughly enjoys. She is also a youth sponsor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City and feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. Her passion for teens has poured into her writing as well. She is the author of the young adult urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes, through Musa Publishing, which she wrote in order to give teens an intriguing and provocative book series that promotes moral messages. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.

Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/
Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dusty.crabtree.1
Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree
Buy Shadow Eyes at http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=176. (also available at all major online bookstores)



Iris thought she could ignore the shadows...until they went after everyone she loved.

Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil. But she is the only one who can see them. She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.

Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters. First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.

As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.

Monday, July 9, 2012

GUEST BLOG: STEPHANIE CAMPBELL


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Teenage Romance in Books
By
Stephanie Campbell


While some of us have learned to grimace when we hear the name Twilight, there is no doubt that the book took the market by storm. That is the case with many YA stories based on teenage romance. Yet if you notice the readers of this genre, many of them aren't even teenagers at all.

The erotic romance market is a big one, but more often than not, it's not those titles that you see at the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. It's the YA titles. What draws us so much to those romances?

I have a theory that, despite all the mass media marketing going on regarding the sensuous state of our culture, it doesn't matter how old you are—sweet romances appeal to women. There is still a part of us, even with the latest trends, that makes us want to be led up to the doorstep and get that simple peck goodnight on the lips. It's beautiful. It's romantic. It's unobtrusive.

There is also the fact that an adult dating situation is way different than a teenagers, but maybe it shouldn't be. A teenage girl is allowed to be nervous. Heck, even goofy. The adult romances many times feature the same female protagonist—smart and attractive, yet afraid of a relationship with a man that apparently is a professional football player and looks like an excerpt from a sports magazine. I think that if a professional football player with muscle tone enough to split a shirt approached your average woman, the most she would be able to say is, "Duh, duh, duh." That is way closer to the scenario put forth in YA romances, and thus, is way more appealing.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against adult romance. In fact, I love daydreaming about the idea that a popular, sexy sports star might walk up to me and wink, but that's not realistic…Though I suppose being seduced by a sparkling vampire isn't either. Yet there is one thing I've noticed for certain. YA romances capture the essence of most true women with our sweaty palms and tongue-stuck-to-the-roof-of-our-mouths behavior. With compatibility between the reader and the protagonist like that, it is no wonder that YA romance is hitting the top of the charts with every release.

About the Author:
Stephanie Campbell is a novelist in Ogden, Utah, where she lives with her family and too many dogs. Her interests include history, traveling, classic movies, and biographies. She published her first book at seventeen and has continued to write with the goal of being a career novelist. She is the author of the novels Poachers, Dragon Night, Tasting Silver, Keeping Freedom, Late but not Never, Case Closed, Icy Tales of Draga, E is for Eternity, Specimen X, and P.S. I Killed My Mother, all of which are being published or have been published by traditional houses. Under a different pen name, Penelope Rivers, she has a love story series with six bestsellers. She has been interviewed by All Romance e-books, Hobbes End Publishing and Night Owl Reviews.

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Lindy Harris is a quiet, studious high school student who’s in love with books. When she sees a note written in her favorite poetry book to “Hot Wheels”, she’s in disbelief. That’s when she realizes the book belonged to the sender—Mark Ferry, the student body president. She’s all but convinced when she finds out that he, of all people, wants to go out with her.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: HEIRS OF PROPHECY

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This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


I think Azazel was one of the characters in my novel Heirs of Prophecy who was a great learning experience for me. His role as the "bad guy" in Trimoria, or at least the biggest of the bad buys gave me a lot of opportunities to express some depth into his character.

As a villain, most villains are not motivated to be bad "just because". Rarely do characters do things without thinking they are doing the right thing in their own eyes. Ultimately when Azazel was completed, and the threads of the story unwind, you would learn that Azazel's motivations were not quite what you thought they were in the beginning. In the end, Azazel ends up being a flawed characters that allowed me as an author to let the story unfold around him and will ultimately illustrate how those mixed motivations lead to a continuing story.

Things are never what they initially seem - and as I wrote the villain, I learned just how much he served as the skeleton framework for the first book and how strongly the motivations the villain followed were absolutely necessary for a believable story to progress from beginning to end and reach into the next book in the series.

About the Author:I am an Army brat and the first person in my family to be born in the United States. This heavily influenced my youth by instilling a love of reading and a burning curiosity about the world and all of the things within it. As an adult, my love of travel allowed me to explore many unimaginable locations. I participated in many adventures and documented them in what will be a series of books, the first of which you have just read.

Some might put these books in the Fantasy genre, and I never had issues with this label. After all, the adventures were, without any doubt in my mind, fantastic. I simply quibble with the label of “Fiction” that some might put on these tales. These tales should be viewed as historical records, more along the lines of a documentary. I’ve learned one thing over the years. Magic is real. Keep exploring, and you too will find your magic.

Find the author online at:

Michael’s Website: http://michaelarothman.com/
Michael on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5778499.Michael_A_Rothman
Follow Michael on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelARothman
Michael on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelARothman



The Riverton family had been enjoying a simple summer vacation when, through a fluke of nature, they found themselves in a strange new land.

The Riverton brothers quickly realize that in this world, they have gained unusual powers. Powers that their parents fear will attract the attention of Azazel himself – the merciless wizard who brutally controls this world.

The two brothers soon learn that an ancient prophecy has finally been initiated by their arrival in Trimoria. As the heirs of this prophecy, they are destined to lead the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and even a misfit ogre against the prophesied demon horde.

Only one thing stands in their way.

The evil wizard who has learned of their presence, and has sent assassins to wipe them from existence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KARI JO SPEAR

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I'm Kari Jo Spear, and I write m/m young adult fantasy and science fiction.

I live in Vermont, and I've worked for twelve years as a writing tutor in the special ed department of a small high school. I also have two daughters -- one in college and the other in high school. My days, my nights, and even my car, are usually full of teenagers. It's no surprise that kids spill over into my writing as well.

I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy -- it's what I've always loved, and so it's no mystery why I like to write it.

Why I write m/m fiction is a little more complicated. To be honest -- I'm not really sure. I wrote my first m/m story a long time ago when a straight character suddenly announced to everyone that he was gay. I was as surprised as his friends. To be honest, I was a bit upset, because he'd just created a lot of work for me. Now I would have to go back through the whole story and change this and change that to better set up his announcement. But when I went back and started to revise, I realized that all the changes I'd been going to make were already there. He'd been gay all along. I just hadn't known. And so I kept writing the story, and I realized that not only could I do this, it was kind of fun.

I think I also do it because I'm a real softy where young people are concerned. When I hear about kids who would rather kill themselves than live as who they are, it really gets to me. I wanted to do something about it, and writing is what I do. So I started writing about kids who are having science fiction and fantasy adventures, but who are also strong and gay and ultimately okay with it.

Here's a link to a book trailer I made for Silent One:

http://karijospear.blogspot.com/2012/06/silent-one-book-trailer.html

Thanks! Visit me on my blog: http://karijospear.blogspot.com/



Gareth's life is violent, frightening, and lonely. Abandoned by his parents and left to a series of harsh foster homes, he becomes as tough as the scar on his cheek. Death and destruction follow him. Sometimes, it actually seems like people are trying to kill him. By the time Gareth is in high school, friends are a luxury he can do without.

But deep inside, Gareth is tender, compassionate, and very gay. The only living soul Gareth lets into his heart is a silent young man who keeps saving his life. Every time Gareth gets a good look at his guardian, the man mysteriously vanishes. Does he even exist? Gareth isn't sure, until the day at school when his world implodes. Teachers suddenly know way more about him than they should. His secret guardian lies wounded on the darkroom floor. Before Gareth knows it, he and his guardian are on the run. Not only is Gareth more important than he ever dreamed, but the future of an entire planet depends on him. It's going to take all the courage and love Gareth has to face his destiny.