Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Somebody on this Bus is Going to be Famous!

I'm at my group blog today. I've interviewed J.B. Cheaney and learned about her inspiration for her new book, Somebody on this Bus is Going to be Famous!

Head on over to the files and find out why BRAD PITT is there, too!  While you're there, enter to win a copy of J.B.'s book!

Monday, September 15, 2014

F is for Finish - Tips for Teens!

F is for Finish!

There are two things I'd like to discuss on this topic.

The first is receiving feedback before the manuscript is complete.

I realize everyone is different, but one of the largest barriers to my success is receiving feedback on a manuscript before I've even finished writing it. While some people find early feedback helpful -- it helps guide them in the right direction, lets them know if the story is worth writing, and basically provides them a readers perspective--it tends to be more a harbinger of a doomed manuscript than anything else for me.

Maybe because too much feedback is overwhelming, bordering on discouraging, or simply because all of the opinions and ideas tend to confuse me, but in either case, feedback before I've finished is simply inviting trouble.

There's a difference though in asking for help when you're working on an idea, then when you've written a portion of the story and ask for a critique on it. Brainstorming in the early stages is very helpful and should be sought from trusted writing partners. I would, however, caution you against seeking a critique on an unfinished story. If you're like me, especially if you are frustrated with the story or feeling stuck, the input might be the very thing to throw you over the edge and abandon your WIP.

Stay focused. Finish the story. Then edit and send to beta readers or your critique group. You'll thank me for it later.

The second is on three dirty little words-- Shiny New Idea.

We've all been there. We're plowing through a story, one that we love and are excited about, when PING! Shiny New Idea pops in! We're compelled to put our current WIP to the wayside and devote our time to SNI because...well...because it's exciting! It's new! It's shiny!

I'm here to tell you STOP!

If you abandon your WIP for SNI, before you know it you will have a thumb drive full of partially completed WIPs. Not that I know what that looks like. I'd never leave a story unfinished.  Not me. Nooooo. Never.

Instead, take a moment and write down SNI, as much of it as you can.  Put it in a notebook, a word doc, or a folder in your scrivener software. Then leave it alone. And back away slooowly.

Now resume your WIP. And FINISH it. You'll thank me for it later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Test of Time by Nicole Zoltack - Cover Reveal!

Hi, everyone! This is Nicole Zoltack. I've written
a bunch of romances, a lot in the speculative realm, and finally wrote a time
travel romance: THE TEST OF TIME. And I adore the cover. It's beautiful. Wanna
see it? Sure you do!

I could not be happier with it. What do you think of it?

BLURB: Katia jumps at the chance to go to England with
her best friend after Rose ditches her deadbeat boyfriend. While walking
through the market, she spies a large mansion and recognizes the guy out front
as her high school friend Tony. Just as they start to reconnect, Katia passes
through times and lands in the arms of Lord Landon, who looks like Tony but
certainly doesn’t act like him.
Katia learns that this 1815 is different from the one in history books. Trapped
in a parallel world, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm
proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him,
Katia travels through time yet again.
course of love never did run smooth and if Katia can’t figure out and master
the test of time, she’ll never see or friends again, or worse, never be
reunited with Landon.

So I'm sure you're dying to know the release date
and luckily it's not that far away! THE TEST OF TIME releases September 9th! Be
sure to grab it on the 9th!

it on Goodreads!

BIO: Nicole Zoltack loves to write in
many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When
she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend
time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses
(pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance
Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her
current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and
her writing, visit her blog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Watchers by Deirdra Eden - Release & Giveaway!

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

About the Author

"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles!

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros

Hellllooooo awesome peeps!

Today I'm over at my group blog, From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, with an interview and giveaway. Andrea Pyros has just kicked off the blog tour for her new book, My Year of Epic Rock, and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it! If you have a middle-grade reader with food allergies, or know someone that does, then you'll definitely want a copy of her book!! What are you waiting for? Hope on over to MUF now and enter that contest!

If Life Was Like a Song  

Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.”  

Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer.  

Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well… 

Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Ohemgee guys! I'm sooo excited to be hosting Mary Weber today on my blog! She's talking about her new release Storm Siren. I started reading it a few days ago and let me just tell you -- this is one of those don't-miss-out kind of stories! Unfortunately for me (fortunately for you) I haven't quite finished it yet. If I had, I'd be spilling all the secrets and then you'd be mad, mad, mad!

I know, I know. I'm such a tease.

To keep you salivating with book envy here's the cover and blurb:

STORM SIREN is the story of a seventeen year old slave girl called Nym who was born with a storm-summoning lethal curse. When her power is revealed at a slave auction, Nym is suddenly bought by a royal advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon that the kingdom of Faelen can use to win the war…or be killed. 

Choosing the former, Nym falls into the bizarre world of politics and parties and prepares to fight a monster rumored to be more lethal than she is.  It doesn’t help that she has to deal daily with her smug, but handsome trainer who seems to have the uncanny ability to calm every lighting strike she summons--and the storm raging inside of her.

Struggling to find a place to fit in, Nym seems to have found her place in the world, but what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

*shivers* See? I told you! A.ma.zing!

Amie: Welcome to my...ahem... humble abode. *Clears clutter, dusts cobwebs, wipes counters* Have a seat and make yourself at home! There's chocolate cupcakes and herbal tea. *gets out pen and paper* As if I haven't mentioned already, I just want to say I'm loving Storm Siren. Where did you get your idea for the world building (including a female slave who has super powers!)? Was there a particular event that inspired you?

Mary:  Hi Amie!!! Oh I’m pleased you’re enjoying it!! And thanks for inviting me to chat! Okay, so, let’s see…as far as the world for Storm Siren – that was inspired by my love of history (I ADORE the Middle Ages) and a total obsession with all things steampunk and Last Airbender. Not to mention an old poem titled “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate” in which St. Patrick is calling out the elements to defend him (seriously, how awesome was HE?!).
Regarding the slavery aspect – that was actually strongly influenced by Patrick’s story as well, along with my passionate feelings on the heartbreaking (and horrific) issue of human trafficking that is going on in our world today.

Amie: Fantastic! My husband and eldest daughter are huge history buffs. I slept through most of those classes. What was the hardest part of your writing process? The act of writing and finishing a novel? Querying agents? Finding a publisher? Editing?

Mary: Hmm. I’d probably have to say the act of writing and finishing a novel. I totally know authors who can bust out like four or five novels a YEAR (so amazing!), and I’m over here like, “Don’t mind me – I’m just going to pound my head on my keyboard and beg the words to SPEAK TO ME,” ha!! ;0)
But now I’m curious – what’s the hardest part for YOU?!! And what’s your favorite part?
Amie: And here I thought I was completely alone. Most of my writing days look like this:

Amie: My favorite part is when the story finally starts to come together. It's like my characters keep secrets or something. Why am I always the last to know? *cries* Why do you write YA? Will you ever venture into other genres and reading levels? (Die hard MGer over here!)

Mary: Oh intriguing question!! And my honest answer is that I write YA because it’s primarily what I read when it comes to fiction. There’s just something startlingly authentic and alive about the voice and characters that speaks to my 14-year-old soul. I also have teen daughters and have worked with teens and tweens for the past eight years, so…they are my people.
As far as writing other reading levels, it’s not something I see in the near future. That said, I have a MG son, so, there *might* be a story in the wings for him. ;0) (And yay for die-hard MGers!!!!!! I love that!!) 

Amie: I totally get that! My co-author has morphed from MGer to YAer (when did that happen??!) so I actually see our characters progressing and maturing even though we still write MG. Who is your favorite author?

Mary: Gah! Can I just say ALL of them? No? Okay fine then. Ummmm…J.K. Rowling. Wait, Maggie Stiefvater. Or Marissa Meyer. Or Diana Wynne Jones. Or Dorothy Sayers. Ahem.
Amie: Tee hee. Okay. How about your favorite book?

Mary: Any from the above favorite authors?
Amie: Favorite movie?

Mary: Babe (yes, the pig movie) because I ugly cry EVERY TIME. Also, Lord of the Rings. Cuz Aragorn.

Amie:  My daughter will totally fan girl because you said that. *Lord of the Rings geek mom by default* If forced to decide between the following, what would you choose?  Chocolate or vanilla?

Mary: The answer is ALWAYS chocolate. (In fact, what is this vanilla thing you speak of?)

Amie: Haha! I know, right? Snakes or spiders?

Mary: Ack! Really?!! Um…okay, I vote snakes. *shivers*

Amie: Don't look in your shower. I may - or may not - have snuck one in there. I'm the worst practical joker. Ever. *maniacal laugh* Mountains or ocean?

Mary: I’m going to have to go with the ocean. I live near the Pacific, and that salty sea air and morning fog are just…sigh.

Amie: I was at the OBX for a week recently. I hear that sigh and raise you an aaaahhhhh....Burgers and fries or pizza and wings?

Mary: Burgers and fries!! Particularly if they’re from In ‘N Out. ;0)

Amie: Yum. So, what's next for you?

Mary: Well, today I’ll be hunkered down with my sister, Kati, at a coffee shop, storyboarding Book 3 in the Storm Siren trilogy (because Kati is THE best plotting-type person). After that, I have very exciting things happening – I’ll be heading home to clean some dishes and admire my cute husband’s dinner-making-skills. Afterward, I plan to cuddle up with my kiddos and hold them tight (because is it just me or has it been a very long week??). ;0)
What’s next for YOU, Amie?!!!

Amie: Sounds similar to my life. Ha! What's next for me? Well, Little Dead Riding Hood releases in just a few weeks on October 14th. Eep. I'm currently at work with my 14 year old daughter and co-author on book three - Snow Fright!

Mary: Very awesome! :0) And seriously – thank you so very much for hosting me, Amie!!!!!!

Amie: Thanks for being here, Mary! It's been fun getting to know you!

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives.

In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. 

Find Mary on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


Monday, August 25, 2014

E is for Edit - Tips for Teens!

E is for Edit!

Editing is a key component of writing. The key is that it has to be done.

There's also something to be said for timing. You don't want to waste your time editing while you're still creating and writing your story because....well....because it will be edited later. Often times things you've slaved over--chapters, pages, paragraphs and even sentences--will end up being edited entirely. So instead of worrying about perfecting them now, edit later once the story is complete.

When you're in the revision process, whether it's working with a critique group, beta readers, or even an editor, remember two things:

1) As an outsider they see how your story has come together and the ways in which it is presented in its best light. If pacing is off, trust them, they will know. If a character development is lacking, they're going to see right through it. As the author, we tend to be too close to our stories--and know what we've been thinking and planning--that it takes someone else's perspective to help us see what our story lacks.

2) You're the author and you do know your story best. Trust your instinct. If certain changes don't sit right with you, then they should be discussed. Maybe there's a miscommunication that can be settled through a conversation with your reader. Consider that before you take things personally. If in the end it's simply a matter of personal preference (as many times it is, as writing is a subjective business), then, once again, trust your instinct and listen to your heart. You know what's right for your story.

If you ever find that you're doubting yourself, go back and read D is for Delete and C is for Castles!

Happy writing!