Beginning January 1, 2013

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Margaret Fieland


Europe on Ten Words a Day

During my sophomore year at the University of Michigan, now many years ago, I discovered an organization that placed students in math and science in other countries for practical work - for what would now be called co-oping. The organization's primary objective was to exchange students among the various European countries, but somehow we managed to start a branch at U of M. I eagerly joined, and successfully lobbied a couple of professors who agreed to sponsor a foreign co-op student for the summer.

When I applied myself, hoping for a placement the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I thus had a preferred status; as someone who had worked for the organization, I went to the front of the queue, so to speak. Since I speak fluent French, I asked for France, Belgium, Luxembourg, or Switzerland, countries where French is spoken.

But placements for students from the United States were limited, and I was offered a spot in the Netherlands, at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, assisting a professor of mathematics.

Dutch has several levels of gutterals, with pronounced somewhat like the German "ch" and a couple more that are deeper in the throat. Gouda, the cheese, for example, is pronounced something like "How-da." It took me a week to learn to pronounce the name of the town, and until I could, I didn't dare go anywhere. Most people my age and younger spoke English, but many of the older folks in the towns surrounding Wageningen did not.

I still remember my excitement that first weekend when I boarded the bus for a nearby, larger, town, Ede (pronounced Ay-da).

In relatively short order, I found a ballet class in town - I was passionately fond of ballet at the time - and signed up for lessons. It was there that I had my first lesson in cultural insularity.

"I'm an American," I responded when asked where I was from.

"Oh, so am I," a diminutive student replied. "I'm from Nicaragua. How about you?"

"I'm from the United States." And that is how, to this day, I respond when asked what country I'm from.

But soon, being then as now, a voracious reader, I faced the knotty problem of finding reading material in a town without any large bookstores. Hurrying down to the local library, I asked what I needed to do to join: pay a small fee and fill out a form.

The library's supply of books in English was quite small, but fortunately they had a couple of bookcases full of books in French, including a lot of Georges Simenon. So I spent my summer reading through the library's entire supply of Simenon's Maigret novels, some of his others, various memoirs about the war, a memoir by a French doctor, and several French science fiction novel, as well as a French translation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.As my father was an attorney, I was familiar with the difference between the French legal system and ours: under French law, the accused is guilty until proven innocent, making Maigret's investigations, the ones leading up to his arresting the guilty party, all the more important.

I very much enjoyed my summer reading. You simply never know when being fluent in a foreign language well will come in handy.

About the Author:
Margaret Fieland is the author of Relocated, recently released by MuseItUp Publishing and of the companion book of poems, Sand in the Desert.. She is one of six Poetic Museling. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was released by Inkspotter Publications last November. She is presently at work on two more novels set in the universe of Relocated.You may visit her website, or You can find her on Twitter as @madcapmaggie and on Facebook as madcapmaggie.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Sharon Ledwith


What I Did For My Summer Vacation…

Even authors need down time. To think. To process. To plan. To relax. This summer has been both a blessing and a curse. Hot, humid, and pretty much no rain in the forecast. My writing periods consisted of fingers sticking to the mouse pad, fanning myself while doing the one-finger tango with the keyboard, and negotiating with the dog on when I can come out and play ‘throw the stick in the lake’ with him. And then there are those frequent summer guests who invade your space, and actually get you to move away from the computer to interact with them! Really? How can I get my next novel completed with all these crazy distractions?

I guess that’s the point of the summer season. It’s a time of reaping, of enjoying your bounties and family and friendships. It’s a time to chill, to breathe, and to be grateful. This has been such an exceptional summer for me both professionally and personally. And it started off with a bang. Literally. My ebook, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was released on May 18th, which was Victoria Day Weekend for us Canadians. Fireworks were included in this celebration, along with a book release party to thank all my friends and family for their support. Next it was promotion, promotion, promotion of my book, followed by my yearly stint writing in the Muskoka Novel Marathon, an event held every July, which totes the motto ‘Writers Helping Readers’. All money raised through the Novel Marathon is given to the local literacy chapter to fund and develop new programs to help people raise their skills in reading, writing, and math. I’ve been a part of this wonderful fundraiser in some capacity for the better part of eight years.

Finally, as we approach the downside of summer, one of my biggest dreams came true. At the end of July, I received two boxes full of the paperback version of my book, and got to touch, feel, and smell it for the first time. This is pure joy for an author. A true ‘50 Shades of Writer’! But what topped off this milestone – the icing on this summer’s cake – was getting to meet my young readers and sign copies of my book for them. I still can’t wipe the smile off my face.

Now, where’s that darned dog gone? It’s time to play fetch!

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 writing, researching, 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
Sharon’s Blog
Sharon’s Facebook Page
The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



10 Unique Halloween Treats for Trick or Treaters
S.V. Richard

Break away from traditional candy giving, and give trick or treaters something different! Whether it's something they can use in school or something to entertain them at home, there are lots of ways to supplement candy...

10. Creepy spider rings or plastic spiders
9. Small, fall themed picture puzzles (the ones with the moveable squares)
8. Coupons for free food at local restaurants
7. Miniature rulers, preferably in Halloween colors (black, orange, yellow, and purple)
6. Miniature notebooks, also preferably in Halloween colors
5. Stickers - glow in the dark or reflective stickers the kids may wear in the dark are even better!
4. Light up sticks or bracelets
3. Small bottles of bubbles
2. Individually wrapped dried fruit
1. Halloween or fall themed plastic cups

It is important that the treats are age appropriate. Think along the lines of party favors at your local shopping center. A pack of six or twelve items may only cost a couple of bucks, and it makes a great alternative to traditional candy that is passed out this time of year!

And when the trick or treating is over and the goodies are counted, top off your spooky night by curling up in the dark with a book light and this quick, suspenseful read at Wild Child Publishing.

Tristan’s old home old home is not what it appears, and her friends have no idea what this visit will turn into. When the room Tristan’s mother always kept locked is opened, chaos breaks loose. One by one, they are locked away.

Will anyone survive?

About the Author:
After obtaining a master's degree in education, Sarah became interested in writing for children and young adults. She has ten-year-old twin daughters, but the dog is more trouble than the twins combined. Free articles, reviews, comics, and more can be found at her website

Sunday, August 19, 2012



Congratulations to our big winners for this weekend's festivities:

Winner of $25 Amazon or Gift Certificate---Barbara E who commented on CH Admirand's post

Winner of $50 Amazon or Gift Certificate--Lisa who commented on Vala Kay's guest blog --

Remember that our scavenger hunt starts tomorrow (see our Anniversary Page for details on how you can win a $100 Amazon or GC!



One commenter on this post will receive the eBook -- The Quest For Reason: Lily. Open to all readers. Remember, comments will also enter you into the contest for the $50 Amazon GC!! Congratulations, Debby!

Anniversary Blog Fest: Kaitlin Bevis


What happened over my summer vacation? My young adult novel, Persephone, was published by Musa Publishing. Fitting, since I spent last summer editing it and querying my manuscript, and the summer before writing it.

My writing life is ruled by summers. Sure I work on my books during the year, but mostly in 5,000 word revisions with my writers group every other week. Hardly intensive writing. But I'm a graduate student. Now that the fall semester is starting, writing takes a back seat to reading.

But during the summer I can write when, where and what I want to, and for the last few summers I've visited the Underworld and met the gods. My summer vacations are full of myths and legends.

I like the Greek gods. For the moment, Hades is my favorite. But they all had such strong personalities. There was so much drama in Greek myths. It translates into a young adult novel very well. Obviously I'm not the only one to think so. Greek mythology is having its heyday in young adult literature. I sometimes wonder if in hundreds and thousands of years people will find these modern day takes on mythology and think that we never stopped believing in them. Will historians read these books and think the gods simply evolved with the times?

I don't just write all summer. I read a lot too. But the books aren't exactly what I read for grad school. This summer I've been reading the Immortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clair.

My favorite books have always had some supernatural elements but more importantly they've always been young adult. Young adult books tend to have better plot lines and stronger character development. Even between books by the same authors. I love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, but her young adult Darkest Powers series was much better to me. I don't know if it's just a matter of having less length to get everything in, so there's less filler, or if it's just that there's more tension. An adult rarely has parents to contend with so there's less sneaking around.

Whatever the reason, thanks to reading and writing young adult books my summers are filled with fun. I'm already counting down the days until my next summer vacation.

It's going to be a long school year.

About the Author:
Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with her, she rewrote it. She graduated college with her BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and is pursuing her masters at the University of Georgia.

Her young adult fiction novel Persephone, and short story “Siren Song” are available to buy in ebook stores everywhere. She also write for Athens Parent Magazine, and

Find Kaitlin online at

Anniversary Blogfest: Janie Emaus


Summer In Retrograde
Janie Emaus

If your life was bit upside down for a few weeks during this past summer, it’s most likely because the planet Mercury was in Retrograde. For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, it appears as if Mercury is going backwards in the sky. It happens three to four times a year and lasts for approximately three weeks.

This past summer it started on July 14th and ended on August 8th. Every summer, Mercury Retrograde occurs during a different time period but there is no getting away from it.

Since Mercury rules communication, during it’s retro period all sorts of things go haywire. For instance, important mail can get lost, never reaching its destination. Appliances may stop working. Computers will crash. Cars may breakdown. Your boyfriend and you may argue over such insignificant things that when your fighting has ceased, you can’t even remember what started it in the first place.

According to fifteen-year-old astrologer, Emma Seigel, the protagonist of my young adult novel, MERCURY IN RETRO LOVE, “Mercury in retrograde is like an astrological PMS.” Definitely not a good time to start a new relationship.

Unfortunately, Emma sees a boyfriend alert in her forecast and must act quickly to land the boy of her dreams before the retro period starts. Her plan backfires and she is soon faced with breaking up with her “not so perfect star-match.”

Like Emma, every summer, I check the calendar and although, I can’t burrow into a hole during retrograde, I try not to schedule anything too important during that time.

But it can’t always be avoided. And I certainly couldn’t stop writing for three whole weeks.

I can’t tell you how many times during retrograde that Emma seemed to take control of our story. I would be in the middle of a scene, nearing the climax and she would step in, steering the action into a completely different direction.

Not that I didn’t like where she was taking me. But hey, I’m the author here. Right?

But I listened to her and in the end, we were both happy with the finished product.

Happy is the key word here. Summer is carefree time. A time of running barefoot in the sand. Eating late dinners as the sun sets behind the ocean. Taking vacations to places you’ve never been before.

It doesn’t hurt to keep Mercury in Retrograde in mind. But don’t let it rule your life.

Do you have any Mercury in Retrograde stories to share?

About the Author:
I write fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. I am both serious and fantastical.

As a little girl I would read newspaper articles out loud to my family and friends, incorporating them into the stories. By the time I was in junior high, I was creating plots and characters of my own. And I have been a prolific writer ever since, writing everything from poetry to educational videos.

I have written several books for Parachute Press, the book packager for the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. I have been also a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times Kids’ Reading Room Page. My stories for adults have appeared in True Confessions, Woman’s World, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and The Book Breeze.

I am a typical Taurus and excited about my debut Young Adult novel, Mercury In Retro Love.

I currently live in Los Angeles with my wonderful husband who prepares gourmet meals for me while I write.

Find Janie online at

Website –
Blog -
Publisher- Turquoise Morning Press
Facebook -

Saturday, August 18, 2012



We are very excited to give away a new print copy of Ghost Crown by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel! Read our 5-star review of the book here. Leave a comment on this post... and remember, that comment not only earns you an entry for this book but for the $50 Gift Certificate as well! Because of shipping costs, this giveaway is limited to US/Canada residents only --however, the GC is international!! Congratulations Renald

Anniversary Blog Fest: C.C. Marks


Top Ten Best Things About This Summer

10. Put a dent in the towering TBR pile of books I collected over the year.

9. Put my toes in the sand on Myrtle Beach while denting the TBR pile of books.

8. Played, swam, laughed with the fantastic four--my three kiddos and the hubster.

7. Got hit on (and not in a creepy way at all) while sitting in a restaurant, waiting for my daughter. At my age and with what I’ve recently gone through, it was a needed ego boost.

6. Though Dean and Sam Winchester’s pictures are everywhere and gorgey gorgeous, I just discovered Supernatural on Netflix, and now, like everyone else, am hopelessly addicted.

5. The past few summers, my health has been an issue, but this summer was surgery-and-treatment free. Sweet!

4. Grew some good-looking and tasty tomatoes in my little garden plot. Now I just have to learn more ways to use them other than on my sandwiches. Suggestions?

3. Got more freckles (I use sunscreen responsibly, but I love the sunlight).

2. Bought sundresses, wore a bathing suit, and sported halter tops. After a breast reconstruction last summer with various procedures throughout the year, I felt confident again.

1. Published Edge of Mercy, where a girl hides in a community, pretends to be a boy, and protects her baby sister from the hideous monsters outside the walls, as well as the human ones inside.

About the Author:
It all started with an old fashioned typewriter. When my family brought it home, for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do. All those stories rolling around in my head could finally get out. The press and click of the keys were satisfying in their own right, but when I pulled out a finished page, I knew this was for me. Since then, I've graduated to a laptop, but the stories still find a way out.

I'm a breast cancer survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and a writer. I continue to strive for less procrastination and more tact. The battle wages on.

Find the author online at

Charlie hides her true identity, but her very presence places everyone around her in danger. With no other choice but to remain where she is, she stays with a community that might not be as benevolent as it appears. In this new and dangerous version of the world, where a friend might be an enemy and an enemy might be a friend, seventeen-year-old Charlie protects her baby sister and herself from grotesque monsters outside the community as well as human ones inside. Will the truth she discovers about her protectors save her or ultimately doom her to a fate worse than death?

I hope you’ll check out Edge of Mercy.

Barnes & Noble

If you just can’t wait that long, you can get a free sneak peek with my short, Mercy, which is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. Amazon Free Download
Smashwords Free Download
BN Free Download
Kobo Free Download

Anniversary Blog Fest: Vala Kaye


My Summer Vegas Vacay
Vala Kaye

Family vacations are usually boring, right?

Well, not always.:::grin::: When I was 16, my dad decided he would enter a poker tournament in Las Vegas and my mom and I would go with him for our annual summer vacation. A week in Las Vegas in July? Can you say “hot?”

Yep, it sure was. Our first full day there, I dove into the Olympic-sized hotel pool at the deep end, swam a length and climbed out at the shallow end. I was dry by the time I walked back to my lounge chair, which I had oh-so-innocently chosen because it was right next to the lifeguard station, currently occupied by a beached-blond surfer dude named Bradley. Not plain Brad…Bradley. He was 18 or 19 and I was na├»ve enough to think he’d be dying to talk to a chubby 16-year-old in a one-piece who looked not a day over 14.

Needless to say, he wasn’t. When it got too hot by the pool (112 degrees that day, I think), I went back to our room in the hotel and took a nap.

Yawn city, I know. But that night, my dad surprised my mom and me with tickets to the midnight show in the casino showroom. No dinner, but drinks were included. That would be a Coke for me, please? Plus, by the time we got back to our room, it’d probably be 2 a.m. I’d never stayed up that late before.

Walking through the casino with my mom to get to the showroom was the coolest part. Did I mention that I looked about 14 at the time? The security guards sure noticed. It was a trip to see them watching me go from one side of the casino floor to the other, ready to pounce if I looked like I was going to lay even so much as a fingertip on a roulette wheel or a one-armed bandit.

Remembering that summer, I knew exactly how my main character, Malden, felt when her mom insisted she come along for a two-week stay at a Virginia family inn, in my Young Adult novella, Ghost Writer. Here’s what she had to say about it:

“When Dad flies home from Europe in three weeks, he’ll be forced to come looking for us. And all he’s going to find are our dried-up old bones scattered by the side of the road. A few more hours of baking out here and we’ll be ghosts, roaming the countryside for all eternity.” Malden Montgomery wiped away the perspiration on her upper lip, and then swatted at a ginormous green and black dragonfly as it dive-bombed toward the open passenger-side window of the SUV. “And why is it as hot as hell in Virginia when it’s only the middle of June?”

Honestly, forced to leave her friends behind in New York City, who could blame her? But when she arrives at the inn and meets a to-die-for cute Southern boy named Jackson, and they meet a ghost, and then…well, if you’re curious about what happens next, and I hope you are, you’ll just have to download a copy of the novella and find out the rest for yourself.

All I can is that her days in Virginia turned out to be anything but boring!

Ghost Writer is now available as an e-book from and also from

About the Author: Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as a history buff, as well as an avid reader of romance and science fiction. After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now works in ad sales support in southern California. She is addicted to movies, word games, and salsa dancing. In Ghost Writer, her first published YA novella, she explores what happens when the human “spirit” meets modern computer technology.
ValaKaye on Facebook
@ValaKaye on Twitter

Friday, August 10, 2012



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher, Tribute Books. Change your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to the cover of Back to Bataan and be entered for a $50 cash drawing. It could be anytime between June 26, 2012 and September 30, 2012, and must be up for at least a 24 hour period. In order to be eligible, please email that your profile picture has been changed so that we can confirm it.

1. What are your thoughts on the explosion of popularity concerning the YA genre?

I think it might very well be that it started with Harry Potter, that young adult writers are trying to tell good stories and adults have moved into that kind of dream.

2. You are the master of writing across a realm of different genres, what excites you about connecting with different audiences?

I’m not so sure that these are different audiences, I think we all love stories, whether we’re children or great-grandfathers, and when you move from genre to genre you are still telling a story like Scheherazade - and the king is always waiting for the next tale.

3. Your writing is so precise, yet evocative - how do you work at crafting your unique style of prose?

Everything begins and ends with the word, with the music of the sentence and as Tolstoy once said, “I’m always composing.”

4. Being a published author for nearly 50 years, what do you think of eBooks?

I think that this is a kind of logical step as we move from the internet into eBooks.

Publishing is changing even as we speak. I think there now will be a more complicated dance between the eBook and the printed book, and as we’ve seen recently, successes in eBooks allow the author to move into print.

5. What would be your advice to young people who aspire to a literary career?

It’s not worth the money – only write if you’re absolutely in love with it.

6. How much of your life is in Back to Bataan? How did you personally experience New York during World War II?

I think so much of the source of my writing comes from my childhood; I grew up during the War - so many of the terrors and the magic of certain films have remained with me. And all of this appears in the character of Jack.

7. Your older brother was a detective. Did your experiences with him influence the plot?

Not really; I think all writing is crime writing. And Back to Bataan is a crime novel with a very original twist.

8. Why did you decide to include the fascination with the famous as a theme - Gary Cooper, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc.?

These people were heroes to me as a child, particularly Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the most extraordinary women who ever lived, and of course as a child I fell in love with Gary Cooper’s face and with his very slow drawl, that seemed so exotic to me.

9. Jack finds acclaim through his writing, yet feels guilty for exploiting other people (Mrs. Fink). How does a writer starting out work to bridge this gap?

You’re always cannibalizing other people and writers when you start to write, so it’s natural that Jack should be a young cannibal.

10. How important is the New York Times in your own life? Why did you decide to make it a form of connection between Jack and the Leader?

As a child, I didn’t even know that the Times existed – I grew up in a neighborhood without newspapers and books, so that when I first fell upon the New York Times, I was very very greedy, and wanted to include it in Jack’s middle-class life.

About the Author:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Find Jerome online at:


New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012



This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by J. Taylor Publishing.

Julie will give one lucky commenter a signed bookmark as well as a Crux water bottle.

What drives you to write books for kids and teenagers?

Drives is a great word because I definitely feel driven. I love all things YA. This genre takes huge risks. Authors ask you to trust in the impossible and turn around and make you a believer, in other worlds, races, and imperfect yet all consuming love. I started writing for my daughters. I hoped to write books they described as wanting to read but couldn’t find. Their dreams and shared imagination sparked all kinds of awesome ideas for stories. We had a blast together. They are my toughest critics, too , though. They say things to me like, bad idea, mom, or I hate it when the heroine does that.. .Ouch! It stings, but I rip it right out of my story. :-) They’re usually right.

As a young adult, what were your favorite books and how does that compare to your favorites today?

Oh, gosh. Tough question. Books were so different back then. Nobody called anything YA. I loved all the classics and read everything from Jane Eyre and Austen, to every Harlequin romance I could get my paws on. Flowers in the Attic to Go Ask Alice. I can’t say today’s writing is grittier, necessarily, but it is different. There wasn’t a whole lot written about vampires, fallen angels and werewolves, that’s for sure! Today, I’m drawn to tough heroines and lots of action and adventure. I also love romance with heroes that are strong and confident— oh, and with a sense of humor. I don’t want much, do I?

How much of your writing is based on your own experiences as a child or teen?

Not much. Sheeze, I wish it was! I have a big imagination, always have. I spent a lot of time staring out of windows (or at cute boys) at school and dreaming up stories. Time I should have spent listening to the teacher and didn’t, I’m afraid. If I rode horses on my Grandpa’s farm, I didn’t just ride. I was a spy, carrying secret intelligence to the young, handsome commander of my regiment behind enemy lines. And the whole world would just die if I didn’t make it. Uh, yeah, see what I mean?

What do you envision happening in the YA field in the next five to ten years?

I honestly don’t know. New voices are rising from the self published and Indie world, as well as traditional publishing, to shake things up. Certain themes that are popular now will run their course, I guess. You think all that’s been thought of has already been done, but I promise it hasn’t. Somewhere, a writer will have a dream, get a new idea, and some new masterpiece will be born. We’ll be off and running again. We’ll have our next Harry Potter or Hunger Games or whatever it is. I hope I’m the creator! LOL. Seriously, there are amazing books being released all the time. It’s so cool. I’m in awe of how talented today’s YA authors are.

What challenges do you think teens face today that you did not?

I never had to deal with the barrage of information and the technological glut they do. My mom threw us outside, and we’d disappear for hours with our buddies. Now, you have cell phones that have whole freaking conversations with you. They are almost like a genie in a bottle as far as instant help, company and answers. It’s great … to a point. If teens have this many options at their fingertips (TV, DVR, U Tube and internet etc…) will they still dream, goof off, get creative or use their imaginations as much? I hope so. Because I’m looking forward to future generations of amazing writers!

As an adult, how do you keep your finger on the pulse of today’s youth?

I have kids, love teens and love to listen to them talk! Many will, if you draw them out a little. They are hilarious and know so much more than some older people will sometimes give them credit for. They often floor me with their wisdom, and generosity. I think teens are undervalued sometimes. They are strange and wonderful beings. No one’s more fearless and scared, curious and all knowing, wide open and cynical. Could anyone be cooler?

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

Thank you so much for having me today. This was a lot of fun!

About the Author: Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess... or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

I’ve been writing ever since.

Find her online at:

She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.

In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league, Grey Mathews, wants to save her.

Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.

Her heritage did.

Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

Monday, August 6, 2012



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Suzanne will be awarding pair of designer sunglasses to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/Canada only).

Lessons I Learned from my Heroine

In a perfect world we would all know the right things to do for the best possible outcomes. I think that’s part of the appeal to people who go to astrologists and psychics. But in the real world, we have to learn what the right things are, sometimes through painful lessons. In Shades of the Future, Mariah Davis grows through a tragic accident, and becomes a better, stronger young woman for her experience.

I began writing this book thinking that since I was so much older and wiser than her, I would be the one giving advice. But as her story unfolded, and she talked to people in the book about her problems, I began to learn some things about myself. The main thing I learned and reaffirmed is that if you have a valuable goal in your life, it takes work and dedication to reach it.

After writing for several years and not having a novel published, I learned how valuable dedication and perseverance are. I had plenty of short stories and nonfiction articles published, but my goal was to have a novel accepted by a publishing house. That dream came true with this debut novel.

However, sometimes dreams and goals can change, depending on the circumstances in one’s life. I learned it’s alright to give up a goal if it’s not valid anymore. It doesn’t spell failure; instead it means a person is adaptable and flexible. In the book, Mariah’s life takes such a sharp turn, she has to re-evaluate her goals to see which ones still apply to her life. She’s not a failure; in the end she’s a success.

Another thing Mariah learned in the story is no one can do everything alone. Even if you could, why would you want to? Likewise, I learned to rely on other people, especially people from whom I could learn some of the finer points of writing. I still turn to my critique partners, beta readers, and chapter mates for advice and assistance when I’m working on a project. There’s strength in numbers, and as Mariah learned that, I learned it too.

It’s been a wonderful experience, going through the entire process of publication from idea inception to production. There are so many things I learned along the way, and I have my entire team at Turquoise Morning Press to thank for that. They’ve been supportive and helpful, just as the people in Shades of the Future are with Mariah. Whether writing or reading, I hope to continue to grow and change for the better with the help of the people I meet along the way.

I’d love to hear from you. What things have you learned from a character in a book?

About the Author:
Suzanne Lilly is a writer at night and a teacher by day, which is why she’s known online as the TeacherWriter. Her articles and stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print. She writes light romance, young adult, and middle grade novels. When not busy with words, she enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, fine arts, and cooking. She lives in California with her family and furry friends and has yet to feel an earthquake.

You can follow her on Twitter as @suzannelilly, visit her blog at, or her author website at

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Watch the video

What would you do if you could see your future? Would you accept it or would you change it?

Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allow her to see the future.

When she glimpses a disaster looming, she tries to avoid it but fails. She has a car accident that lands her in a wheelchair, smashing her hopes for a running scholarship to the veterinary program at Ohio State University. She pushes Kevin away, thinking he’ll want to end their relationship now that she can’t walk.

Will she ever learn to trust and love again? She could search for an answer in the sunglasses. But she’s afraid what they reveal might destroy her.

Available at Amazon and most online book retailers in digital or paperback.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Ariella Moon whose debut YA novel Spell Check is available. She's currently working on a sequel to Spell Check called Spell Struck. She also has a Middle Grade fantasy trilogy that is as yet unpublished.

Ariella spent her childhood reading everything she could get her hands on, from Archie comic books to Nancy Drew to the Chronicles of Narnia. She loved escaping into other worlds. Her daughter was the same way and, because she was an early and voracious reader, it was difficult to find age appropriate books for her—so Ariella wrote the trilogy and Spell Check for other kids like her.

"I’m driven to provide alternatives to the dark themes out there. I react to vampires the same way I do to mosquitoes – with complete heebie jeebies!" she told me. "Also, when my daughter was a preteen, she loved reading big books, but there was very little out there that was age appropriate. Hence, my love for clean teen fiction."

She writes about the emotions she experienced as a kid and teen: falling in love for the first time, the friendship rollercoaster, math anxiety, and celebrity crushes.

"The main character in Spell Check, Evie, suffers from severe math anxiety, an affliction I have struggled with most of my life," Ariella said. "I was an A student, except in math. Fortunately, my daughter inherited her father’s brilliant math brain."

When Ariella was still married, she took her husband and daughter with her to Scotland on a research trip for her trilogy to Scotland.

"There was one castle ruin in particular I wanted to explore. We could see the tower, but no way to reach it. A local man gave us intricate directions in an indecipherable Scottish dialect. The only phrase we understood was 'Pass through the wee gate.' It became a 'Where’s Waldo?' type search. We finally located the gate and hiked up to the crumbling tower. A sign warned us to enter at our own risk because of falling stones. My daughter, who was seven at the time and an only child, was convinced she’d be orphaned. So my ex and I took turns standing on the bluff with her so if the castle collapsed, she’s still have one living parent."

That wasn't the scariest moment in her life, however. I asked her to tell us about it.

"9/ll was scary. I was still married at the time, and my husband was a few blocks from the towers when they were hit. A month or so later, he returned to Manhattan and broke his leg in an auto accident. I flew to New York to help him while he recovered enough to return to California. In the wee hours of my second night there, we were awakened by the hotel security alert system. Our first thought was that there had been another terrorist attack. A disembodied voice instructed us that there was a fire in the hotel, and that we should prepare to evacuate. Terrified of heights, I crawled to the window and peered out. Many, many stories below, fire trucks with flashing lights surrounded the hotel. Our room was well above ladder height. A fire would prevent us from using the elevator. My husband couldn’t evacuate via the stairs with his broken leg. I knew I would have to choose between abandoning him so our daughter wouldn’t be orphaned, or abandoning our daughter so he wouldn’t die alone. Fortunately, the fire crews gave the 'All Clear' and I didn’t have to choose."

If Ariella were to co-write a book with anyone, it would be her daughter.

"She is a brilliant, award-winning, as yet unpublished writer. We once tried to co-write a Middle Grade novel. The results were disastrous. We couldn’t even agree on which tense to write in," Ariella admitted. "Before she left for college, we divided up our collaborative story ideas and partial manuscripts. I got custody of the storylines I had developed. She loves naming characters and has come up with some great names, so she retained the exclusive use of certain character names. You can tell we are both Aries, and she takes after her dad, who is a lawyer. The girl is a tough negotiator. I loved those character names!"

Ariella told me that every college her daughter applied to was located some place where it snows.

"She's an only child," Ariella explained. "She wanted to make sure I wouldn’t follow her."

Ariella, along with being a writer, is a freelance editor and a shaman and Reiki Master.

"I don’t drink alcohol or do drugs because I’m already functioning in an alternate universe," she told me. "During initiations, one often receives a magical name. When I became a Reiki Master, an otherworldly voice sounded inside my head and said, 'Ariella.' That became my Reiki name. When I decided to use it for my pen name, I added Moon, because magic is often tied to the cycles of the moon. Only later did I realize that I had grown up on Moon Drive. So maybe it was preordained."

" What challenges do you think teens face today that you did not?" I asked.

"When I was a teen, my mistakes and life lessons weren’t played out in social media, and bullies were on the bus not lurking in cyberspace. Smear campaigns were contained, not broadcast over the Internet. Today’s teens face sexual pressure at an earlier age. I sympathize with teens trying to maintain their innocence, individuality, privacy, and moral compass. It must be quite a challenge." Ariella would love help launching her Facebook page. Leave a comment on her wall after you "like" her and tell her you are from LASR to be entered into the drawing for a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. Drawing will be limited to the first 20.

About the Author:
Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, and love in her debut teen romance novel, Spell Check, a January 2012 release from Astraea Press. After a childhood spent searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia, Ariella grew up to become an author and shaman. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.

Find Ariella online at

Ever since Evie’s photojournalist dad died, paralyzing anxiety prevents her from picking up a camera. If Evie can’t pull it together soon, she’ll lose her position as Yearbook Photo Editor and risk academic failure. Even worse, Evie’s supposed best friend, Parvani, wants Evie’s help with a love spell directed at Evie’s secret crush, Jordan. Despite a falling out, Evie never forgot Jordan. Now they are lab partners and the chemistry sparks between them. But Parvani wants Jordan for herself, and she possesses a brimstone-hissing spell book. Soon the moon will be in the optimum phase for a binding love spell. To save Jordan, Evie must join forces with Salem, the school goth. The clock is ticking. Can Evie get her mojo back in time to check this spell?