Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: "Accidentally in Love," by Cathy Woodman


About the book:
Accidentally in Love is the latest in the Talyton St George series, and change is underway at Otter House clinic when a new vet moves in. Motorbike-riding, leather-clad Ross looks like a bad boy, but underneath the leathers he’s a good-looking charmer, and he soon wins the hearts of everyone in the village.

Even vet nurse Shannon warms to him. So when he needs a place to live, it makes sense to move in with Ross. Just as a friend, of course. As they grapple with escaped snakes and feral cats, their friendship deepens, until they can’t deny their feelings for each other any longer.

But when a terrible accident leaves Shannon’s life in tatters, it changes their relationship forever. Because how will she ever know whether Ross is staying with her out of love or out of pity?

My thoughts:
Even though I haven’t yet read any other books in Cathy Woodman’s Talyton St George series, I had no trouble at all in understanding this book. I loved everything about it. The characters were entertaining and real. The animals (well, most of them) were loveable, and even the quaint setting felt like a character. As a veterinarian, the author’s descriptions of what happens at an animal clinic felt very realistic. The dialogue was snappy and fun. In fact, I liked this book so much that I ordered the first book in the series!

About the author:
Cathy Woodman was a small animal vet before turning to writing fiction. She won the Harry Bowling First Novel Award in 2002. Accidentally in Love is set in the fictional market town of Talyton St George in East Devonshire, where Cathy lived as a child. She is the author of Follow Me Home and City Girl, Country Vet. Cathy lives with two cats, three mad Border Terriers, and two ponies in England.



Disclosure: I received a complimentary Advance Reading Copy from the publisher but was not obligated to review. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if a purchase is made through my link.

Review and Excerpt: "Writing for Children and Young Adults" (Updated 3rd Edition), by Marion Crook


Self-Counsel Press presents
WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS
by Marion Crook

About the Book:
In addition to the expert advice author Marion Crook shared in earlier editions of Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, Crook explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online.

As well, she revisits the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with updated worksheets and examples. This edition shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone the work for an agent or publisher, and how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy!

Writing for Children and Young Adults helps you create the manuscript that sells!

Excerpt:

Telling stories is an ancient skill practiced in public at community festivals,around the campfire, in religious rites, and in private at the cradles of the young. It involves an innate ability to pick dramatic words in a way that paints a mental picture and gives the tale a sense of pace and tension. The story becomes important, even if only for a short time, to the one who hears it or reads it. It is a way of communicating excitement and the optimistic belief that the world is a remarkable and knowable place. Many writers have an enthusiastic following of readers who want to share in their adventures.

Telling stories is also an age-old method of communicating morality lessons to ensure that a point of view spreads in a palatable manner.Writing can be a way of instructing, advising, and guiding others. Most children don’t want to read stories that are written with such motivation, but many writers believe that teaching justifies their stories. A “moral” story isn’t necessarily a good story. The danger in writing morality tales is that the writer may ignore the needs of children and write from behind a screen of righteousness that thinly hides a lecture. As you may remember from your school years, most of us hate lectures.

Stories also offer an illusion of control as if the world can be controlled by the way we interpret it. Most writers offer stories that have beginnings, middles, and ends describing life as neatly compacted and logical. Perhaps this illusion of controlled life gives readers a sense of order.

You want to write a book that will delight many years later. You want your book to be the best you can produce, written in a style that is uniquely yours, perhaps using ideas that have never been written about or in a format that has never been tried. Writing is about creating.

My Thoughts:

These days, authors need to know so much more than how to write. That's why I was pleased to see that Writing for Children and Young Adults covers not only the craft of writing for children, but also the very important topics of publishing and promotion. An author needs to know not only how to write a marketable story, but also how to get a publisher interested or whether to self-publish. And even if the book is published by a traditional publisher, authors are expected to heavily promote their books just as they would if they had self-published.

The first part of the book, on writing, has the elements you'd expect, such as creating characters, setting and plot. It also covers dialogue, establishing pace, conquering writer's block, tackling rewrites and much more.

The second part of the book really delves into the heart of writing for specific age groups: picture books for the preschool age, ages 6-8, middle-grade, young adults/teens, and new adults. Writing nonfiction is also addressed.

The last part of the book focuses on submitting your book to publishers, contract issues, and marketing/promotion. The importance of having active social media accounts and an updated author website are emphasized.

Writing for Children and Young Adults is essential reading for anyone who is embarking on the journey of writing a book for children or teens. Thanks to the author's practical tips, commonsense advice and a broad range of topics, budding writers will have a realistic picture of the skills that are required of a successful children's book writer.

Find the book on:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29362939-writing-for-children-young-adults/

Writing for Children and Young Adults was released as an ebook on September 20, 2016 and will be available in paperback in October 2016 at Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Chapters Indigo.


About the Author:
Marion Crook has written many books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Here, she offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Crook’s background in child development education as a nurse and her Ph.D. in education give her solid knowledge, but she maintains that a keen observation of people, places, and events can be the author’s most useful tool. An experienced teacher and writer, she gives her readers clear and practical tips, with humor and obvious understanding of what it’s like to write and publish.

Connect with Marion:
Website: http://crookpublishing.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/author_mcrook
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13126.Marion_Crook
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarionCrookAuthor/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marion-Crook/e/B00IPXPH9I


Friday, September 23, 2016

Cover and Chapter Reveal: "The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief," by Charles Day ~ Plus a Giveaway!


Today, Charles Day and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for the Bram Stoker Award winning THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, which releases October 18, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!

A quick note from the author:

When I first saw the cover, I was blown away at just how cool and creepy it was. I mean, it's almost identical to the vision I had of the evil legendary character who shows up in a new town every year for Halloween. As an artist myself, I really dig all the colors and inks. Kudos and congrats to the artist. You rock, buddy. 


On to the reveal!!

Title: THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF
Author: Charles Day
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Goodreads

As the townsfolk sleep, something creeps into the neighborhood. Hidden in shadows, its presence is as old as time itself, its intent not born of goodness.

Nick, a teenager who fancies himself a detective, wakes to find his carved masterpiece missing. Now a mystery is afoot, and Nick has his first assignment, to find out who or what is snatching up the town’s pumpkins and why.

Unfortunately, as with all great detectives, obstacles stand in Nick’s way -- the neighborhood bully and his cronies, and the strange old lady and her dog who share the run-down house at the end of Nick’s block. As Nick investigates, an urban legend unravels.... The Legend of The Pumpkin Thief.

Nick fears the legend as he embarks on the most dangerous adventure of his young life. Collecting clues, getting ever closer to the true nature of evil, he learns that curiosity comes with a high price.

"Charles Day's The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief should be every Halloween-crazy kid's favorite book -- and a lot of us adults will love this wonderful tale as well. Part mystery, part fantasy, and part perfect Halloween scary story, it all adds up to 100% sheer delight. Bravo to intrepid young detective Nick, that black-suited Pumpkin Thief, and Charles Day for putting them together in this sweet-'n'-spooky novella."~Lisa Morton, four-time Bram Stoker Award winner and author of The Halloween Encyclopedia


Excerpt

Chapter One

Nick sniffed the cold air that had started to settle in and around Chesterville, New York, his quaint, upstate hometown located in the Catskill Mountains. Halloween was one day away, a Friday this year. Nick looked forward to the holiday, one of his favorites, next to Christmas, of course. However, today he had something he enjoyed even better: a great mystery.

Nick flipped through the final pages of yet another mystery novel that fed his mind with exciting characters and great plots. As he sat in bed with his new favorite book held in his sweaty palms, the earth could have exploded into smithereens, his house pulled from its foundation by a tornado—it didn't matter what catastrophe might occur at this moment; Nick found himself fully immersed in the final chapter with his favorite characters.

He loved stories about missing people, crazed or degenerate criminals intent on doing their victims harm, or a detective two clues away from capturing his suspects.

Although he was only twelve, Nick had already completed a good number of mystery novels in his short life. He kept his own personal collection in a large cardboard box on a shelf in his closet, safe above wooden hangers holding football jerseys, dyed T-shirts, and ripped blue jeans, and he was about to add this latest mystery to his library. Just a few pages to go and he would know what these characters were up to … until he heard a voice from downstairs.

"Nicky, time for dinner! I'm not going to call you again," his mother yelled up the stairs, apparently for the second time. Yes, nothing interrupted his concentration when he neared the end of a good mystery book—except his mom, with her threatening voice.

Nick's mother was not unlike other mothers in the neighborhood. He had some friends whose moms were the same when it came to gathering their families for dinner, but tonight was not the night. He wanted to finish the final pages before stepping back into reality.

"I'll be down in a minute, Ma!" Nick screamed back, but his eyes still focused on the book. Sure, he knew he'd be in trouble if he didn't heed her call. Dad would eventually come upstairs and yell at him for not showing up at the table on time. So he bookmarked the page, took a quick peek at himself in the mirror on his way out of his room, admired the short blond hair, blue eyes, and thin physique—still looking good, guy—then quickly ran downstairs to join his family.

As Nick walked into the dining room, he saw Samantha, his younger sister, still ten but going on sixteen, already seated at the table with a generous portion of meat and potatoes falling over the edge of her plate. Her dark hair, pulled up into pigtails, bobbed as she inhaled the aromas. And, coming out from the kitchen with freshly baked dinner rolls, was Mom.

"Sit down, Nicky," Mom said, passing him by while the smell from those warm rolls filled his nostrils and made his mouth water.

As Nick suspected, Mom, adorned in a silk blouse, yellow skirt, and high heels, was dressed as if she'd just stepped out of one of those beauty magazines scattered about the house. However, he focused on those dinner rolls she'd placed on the table. He had to have one. As he went to grab a roll, Samantha's annoying voice short-circuited his growing appetite to savor the warm goodness.

"Glad you could make it, snot-face," she said, smiling at Nick.

There she was, in all her glory, his pigtailed brat of a sister.

Nick's appetite suddenly disappeared. He stared at Samantha, who continued to smile, and wondered how … how he could make his sister's life miserable at that very moment.

"That's it, sis. Fill up on all that food you got there on your plate so you can keep getting nice and fat, because—"

"Ma!" Samantha yelled.

"Knock it off, Nicholas. Leave your sister alone and let her eat," Mom said.

Of course, Samantha screaming was always his fault. Whether or not his sister was wrong didn't matter; it seemed that he'd be the guilty one. In fact, Nick knew that even if she stood on the dinner table and kicked the plates full of food to the floor, with his parents witnessing the whole event, he'd still be the guilty one, accused of making her do it.

"Yeah, okay … I know it's my fault. Even though she called me snot-face, I'm the one who's guilty." Nick gestured, using his hands to show his frustration. "Whatever."

Nick watched his father come in while he argued.

"I don't care much who's at fault; what I want is for everyone to stifle it and eat your food … understood?" He sat down at the head of the table.

"Ma, have a seat and join us." He looked to his left. "Nick and Samantha, not another word out of you two, or you're both grounded."

That's what Nick wanted to hear—fairness. His dad was harsh when it came to disciplinary things, but he also was fair. Nick could reason with him on occasion, and he liked that.

"Oh, by the way," his father said, looking confused, "I was coming in from the rain and noticed the jack-o'-lantern on the steps out front is missing. Anybody know where it went?"

He knew his dad wanted an answer from him, by the stare he sent deep into Nick's eyes. The Stare of Death!

Nick felt singled out again. Sure, Dad, blame it on me. Score another win for Sam.

Nick heard the drops of water as they exploded on the roof. Loud tapping sounded against the windows from the windswept rain. Halloween is tomorrow. Maybe one of the local punks in the neighborhood took it to use as a flying projectile. I don’t know.

Nick figured that since eggs were hard to come by on Halloween, especially for kids his age, it had to be a teenager who'd stolen their pumpkin to toss around instead. That would make a nice mess on some unsuspecting neighbor's driveway.

Then it hit him. Here was his chance to find out who may have taken the carved-out pumpkin and, just maybe, assist in the apprehension of the punk. After eating most of his dinner, Nick excused himself from the table and ran up to his room to gather a few items.

He shut his door, surprised his parents didn't question his early departure from their nightly dinner ritual. Not even an evil eye glanced his way from his mom. That had certainly made him feel better. No need to get on Mom's bad side.

There was another good reason to venture out and start his investigation: to be far away from his sister.

She was trouble.

Besides, there was a mystery to solve, the case of the missing pumpkin, and he figured he'd start by checking to see if any of his neighbors were missing their pumpkins.

The new mystery reminded him of the stories he'd heard among his classmates: the urban legend of the Pumpkin Thief. He'd cut out an article about this legend from the school's newsletter a few years ago, when he'd first heard the story, intrigued by the creepiness of it all.

Nick wanted to read the article again. He went to his desk and rummaged through his stack of papers until he located the piece of tattered print, written by some kid, a Jeffery Beamer, in the Journalism Club. He'd certainly done his research on the urban legend. Nick re-read the whole thing while standing.

"Legend of the Pumpkin Thief, by Jeffery Beamer.

"One thing that truly amazes me is urban legends. I've heard a few good ones over the years, some from watching TV, others from Googling urban legends. So when some of my older friends in school shared with me the Pumpkin Thief legend, I just had to do a little bit of research. And this is what I found.

"Legend has it that around Halloween, this evil creature, the Pumpkin Thief—a tall, green-bean-thin figure in a black suit and large, orange tie, with a massive orange pumpkin for a head and carved-out eyes, nose, and jagged mouth—would sneak into a town of his choosing and snatch up the pumpkins at night. He'd collect as many as he could hold, then he'd carry them away to a secret location.

"Why did he snatch up all the pumpkins? Well, my dear readers, folklore said it had to do with him trying to stop the townsfolk from using them to ward off evil spirits. You see, without the pumpkins to protect their homes, they were prey to all the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins that float around on Halloween, having fun on the one night when they get to celebrate all things horror. They run amok and frighten trick-or-treaters. It's their night, and the Pumpkin Thief does what he can to allow them to have fun on this special night.

"Now, although the urban legend has been discredited, I was able to retrieve some stories from people who said they have evidence that he is indeed real.

"It appears that a few local towns had confirmed that this Pumpkin Thief visited them. They had their pumpkins stolen, and on Halloween night, weird things happened to a few of the townsfolk. Some said they saw ghosts peering into their homes through the windows. One person claimed that floating chased about his bedroom Another said his doorbell kept ringing, but no one was there. I even found a few photos from a nearby town that showed strange, large, orb-type lights floating above their homes on Halloween night.

Of course, experts discredited these allegations. It seems no one had concrete evidence of a Pumpkin Thief caught red-handed grabbing pumpkins; nonetheless, the legend continues. Which town will be next?

Nick stopped reading. He had enough to go on. One missing pumpkin certainly did not qualify as a visit from the Pumpkin Thief. But it was kind of cool, getting all worked up the night before the holiday, a special holiday devoted to celebrating evil and dead things. And the article intrigued him. Maybe I should look into this some more, find out who else might have been visited by this legend since Jeffery wrote the article. I need to track down this kid. I'm sure he's got more to tell.

He replaced the article on the pile of papers and went to pack his jacket pockets with all the detective tools he'd need for tonight: a flashlight, cell phone, and a small pair of binoculars. Those were all he had, so far. He'd ordered some other items out of one of his detective comic books, but they hadn't shipped yet. He loved all the detective gadgetry!

He knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. He wanted to be a detective with the police department. He wasn’t sure how to get there, but between his parents, teachers, and those guidance counselors they had in the big high school he’d be eventually attending, he’d find his way. Once he had the title of detective, and access to all that high-tech gadgetry he'd seen on his favorite TV shows, he'd be happier than an ant in a picnic basket.

And now that his family's pumpkin had gone missing, most likely stolen, he’d been given the perfect opportunity for an early taste of detective work. Just the thought of it excited him as he began preparations for tonight's quick investigation.

Nick sat on his bed for a moment longer, still imagining how, one day, he'd succeed at what he wanted to do. Detective work. The girl. The cars. The life.

Nick had to stop thinking so much about the future and instead concentrate on solving the mystery afoot. He already had an idea about who may have put their grubby hands on his pumpkin. Lou, the bully of his neighborhood! He stood and walked out of his room, closing the door behind him, then to the top of the stairs. But when he approached the top step, he saw his evil little sibling with the pigtails at the bottom, looking straight up at him.

Samantha put both hands on her hips and smiled. "Where are you going? I'm telling."

"You've got to be kidding me, Sam. What is your problem? You're ten, but sometimes you act like a spoiled baby. Do you really hate me that much?"

Nick hoped a little guilt would soften his sister up, and possibly keep her from saying anything to their parents. She seemed to have a relentless desire to make his life a living mess.

For real.

"You're playing stupid detective again, right?" She smiled, her arms folded. "Well, you're going to need me if you want to solve a mystery because I know how to be a real detective." She continued to smile while blocking Nick's exit.

He knew her motive. She wanted to follow her big brother through a night of detective work, a complete gathering of clues, and hopefully witness a crime get solved through the quick actions of her detective brother.

He also figured she'd tell all her friends that her older brother could solve any crime that dared to enter her neighborhood. He could see it in her eyes. "Yeah, sure. Get your coat and let's go. It's getting dark out."

Nick wasn't the least bit happy about having to drag Samantha along, but he didn't want her telling her friends and their parents any lies about his motives. Besides, she might be able to help keep an eye on things.

***

Nick and Samantha left the house together, first telling his parents he was taking his sister across the street to his friend's house. He knew they would've noticed Samantha missing, with her always under their feet.

As they crossed the street, Nick took out his flashlight. He directed its yellow beam to his neighbors’ stoops and porches in search of pumpkins. He pointed the light at each home, every porch that may have displayed a pumpkin, as he walked farther down his street, Samantha by his side.

He was having trouble getting a clear view. Although the rain had stopped, a misty fog had taken over, reflecting the beam of his flashlight back into his eyes. That made it difficult for him to check for pumpkins, even with some porch lights on. But as far as he could tell, none of the houses had any pumpkins on their porches, either. That bothered him.

Eventually he made it to the last house on the left, the home of Mrs. Needlewhitter, an eighty-seven-year-old widow who hated children. Nick knew she was a mean old lady, and he usually did his best to steer clear of her. Tonight was different. He needed to check her porch, just like he'd checked the others.

Nick slowly approached the gate, then jumped back in sheer fright, pulling his sister to the ground with him. Baxter, the old lady's German Shepherd, slammed up against the fence, barking, snarling, and showing off his white canines.

Samantha cried and screamed, "I want to go home!"

Her loud voice made the dog bark even more.

"Come on, sis, let's go. He can't hurt you. He's behind the fence," Nick said, lifting her up off the wet grass that left a fresh, green stain on the knees of her white pants. He shined his flashlight on Mrs. Needlewhitter's porch, noticing a few smashed pumpkins by her bottom stoop.

Could that be it? Had he found the culprit? An eighty-seven-year-old, half-crippled, almost blind, gray-haired … pumpkin thief?

Baxter stood on his hind legs, his massive front paws hanging over the top of the gate, snarling and barking at Nick as he came closer for a better look. He shined his flashlight in Baxter's eyes, turning them red as blood, reminding him of a movie he'd seen last week on the Chiller Channel about this dog gone bad, evil incarnate, determined to do harm to those who'd messed with him while he was still a pup.

Nick shook this thought from his head and, instead, focused his attention on the front porch.

The porch light turned on.

"What's going on out there, Baxter boy? You see trespassers, is that it?" Mrs. Needlewhitter yelled through the screen door. "Get 'em, boy. Rip ’em to shreds. Dirty rat punks."

Nick couldn't understand why she said what she did, but he wasn't waiting around to find out what would happen next. He grabbed hold of his sister and ran across the street, not looking back as they sprinted home. He still heard the old lady's dog, barking in the distance.

When they reached their house, Nick walked his sister up the front porch steps, and then opened the door. He gave his tearful sister a nudge inside. "Go, and don't say a word to Mom or Dad, you hear?"

She didn't look back or reply as she walked indoors.

He quickly shut the door, then sat down on his front steps to think of what he needed to do next. He'd found a few broken and smashed pumpkins, and Mrs. Needlewhitter might just be the pumpkin culprit, but why?

How?

How could she manage to sneak around and grab all those pumpkins? Or could this be the work of Lou, the bully? Or worse. Has the Pumpkin Thief chosen this town for this Halloween? My town? Now Nick had even more reason to find this Jeffery Beamer.

In the interim, Nick knew he had to gather some evidence, so he thought up a plan, a great plan on how he'd get closer to those pumpkins scattered about Mrs. Needlewhitter’s yard. This was going to be his first real detective work, and he knew deep inside that he was so ready to accomplish the task.




Charles Day is the Horror Writer Association's Mentor Program Chairperson, Co­-Chair for the NY/LI Chapter, and a member of the HWA Library committee. He is also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association, the American Library Association, and the Young Adult Library Services Association.

He is also the Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of the YA novel, THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF. He’s published his first adult novel, DEEP WITHIN, and the first book in his Adventures of Kyle McGerrt trilogy, a YA western heroic fantasy, THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER, and his first co­authored novel with Mark Taylor, REDEMPTION.

His forthcoming publications and projects in development for 2014 include a comic book series based on the ADVENTURES OF KYLE McGERRT trilogy, his first middle-grade series, THE UNDERDWELLERS, and his third YA novel, IMMORTAL FAMILY.

On the publishing business side of things, Charles is the owner of Day Media and Publishing in New York, which houses the successful imprints, Evil Jester Press, Evil Jester Comics, and Hidden Thoughts Press (mental wellness collections).

He’s also an artist and illustrator, who is passionate about creating the many characters he’s brought to life in his published, or soon-to-be-published works. You can find out more about his upcoming writing projects, check out his illustrations and art, or find out what he’s cooking up next with that evil dude­in­the­box, the evil Jester, by visiting his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/charles.day.92



3 winners will receive an eGalley of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF. International.


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cover Reveal: "Renegade Red," by Lauren Bird Horowitz

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*Want to look closer? Check out the large-size cover graphics at the end of this post.

RENEGADE RED REVEALED!

RENEGADE RED, the sequel to the award-winning novel SHATTERED BLUE, will be available in THREE special edition covers, in both Hardcover and Paperback, in March 2017! Distribution from online sites and into bookstores will be random, so you have a chance to collect them all— the POET EDITION, the WARRIOR EDITION, and the very exclusive TRAVELER EDITION. Happy hunting, and learn more at LaurenBirdHorowitz.com!

Join Lauren and Zoe Cope, the designer of all three covers, for a live Twitter chat at 10am PST/1pm EST Thursday 9/22
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Reckless, desperate, and distraught, Noa Sullivan leaps into a collapsing Portal in the explosive finale of Shattered Blue— the jaw-dropping, award-winning first installment in The Light Trilogy— in wild hope of rescuing her little sister Sasha. Now Noa and the Fae brothers who love her—Callum and Judah Forsythe—must find a way to survive not only across worlds but between them, in places so treacherous and deceptive their own minds are twisted against them. As the three fight to survive their passage, they battle not only enemies but themselves, and their darkest, most difficult secrets.

Surviving, however, is only the beginning: Noa needs to find Sasha. That means becoming a warrior herself, one just as fierce as the magical brothers battling for her love. Across broken cities, underground labyrinths, rushing floods and endless skies; in the face of legions of armies, horrifying tyrants, and the most deceitful of friends, can Mortal Noa rescue her sister—and understand her own heart—in time to escape the most deadly of magic realms?

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Silver Medalist
INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING BOOK AWARDS BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Finalist
USA BOOK AWARD BEST NEW FICTION 2015
USA BOOK AWARD BEST FANTASY 2015
INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD BEST FANTASY 2015
NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARD BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION 2015

"Must-read romances of 2015… I guarantee you'll be hooked and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series”
–USA TODAY

“Anyone who’s ever fantasized about kissing a Fae will enjoy Noa and Callum’s first sexy kiss...Romantic sparks ignite...fast-moving...hip...lyrically concise”
- Kirkus Reviews

"A fantastical tale of love and betrayal...colorful world-building...more than enough emotion and angst to keep any romance-loving teenager glued to the pages, and the promise of a trilogy will keep them eagerly anticipating the next book...VERDICT Librarians with a large fantasy readership should invest in the print version of this title.” - School Library Journal

“A book to fall for”
–BUZZFEED

“Not your average fairy tale… will have you clamoring for more of a story that you didn’t see coming…new and surprising."
–HYPABLE

“Magic, action and a really, really attractive love interest … what more could you want?"
–GLITTER MAGAZINE

“A love story you won't soon forget… A story of protection sacrifice and love."
–SHE KNOWS.COM

A "Book To Lean On When The Going Gets Tough"
–BUSTLE

A "Book for All Ages"
–MARIA SHRIVER.COM

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For Noa and Callum, being together is dangerous, even deadly. From the start, sixteen-year-old Noa senses that the mysterious transfer student to her Monterey boarding school is different. Callum unnerves and intrigues her, and even as she struggles through family tragedy, she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Soon they are bound by his deepest secret: Callum is Fae, banished from another world after a loss hauntingly similar to her own.

But in Noa’s world, Callum needs a special human energy, Light, to survive; his body steals it through touch—or a kiss. And Callum’s not the only Fae on the hunt. When Callum is taken, Noa must decide: Will she sacrifice everything to save him? Even if it means learning their love may not be what she thought?

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Lauren Bird Horowitz, screenwriter and novelist, has won an enthusiastic following for her innovative, lyrical, poetic voice. Her debut novel, Shattered Blue: Book One of The Light Trilogy, won the 2016 Independent Publishers' (IPPY) Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction, as well as Finalist honors in the 2016 USA Book Awards for Best New Fiction and Best New Fantasy, the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2016 International Book Award for Best Fantasy. It was also listed as one of USA Today's top romances of 2015, and selected as a notable book by BuzzFeed, Popsugar, Hypable, San Francisco Book Review, Glitter, The Culturalist, Teen Reads, Maria Shriver.com, Bustle and others.

Bird studied writing at Harvard University with novelist Jamaica Kincaid, where she won several prizes including the Edward Eager Memorial Prize for fiction and Winthrop-Sargent Prize for writing. She’s a proud member of the Writers Guild of America. Bird lives in Kauai and Los Angeles.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Presenting "Writing for Children and Young Adults" (Updated 3rd Edition), by Marion Crook


Self-Counsel Press presents
WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS
by Marion Crook, which releases today!

About the Book:
In addition to the expert advice author Marion Crook shared in earlier editions of Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, Crook explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online.

As well, she revisits the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with updated worksheets and examples. This edition shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone the work for an agent or publisher, and how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy!

Writing for Children and Young Adults helps you create the manuscript that sells!


About the Author:
Marion Crook has written many books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Here, she offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Crook’s background in child development education as a nurse and her Ph.D. in education give her solid knowledge, but she maintains that a keen observation of people, places, and events can be the author’s most useful tool. An experienced teacher and writer, she gives her readers clear and practical tips, with humor and obvious understanding of what it’s like to write and publish.

Connect with Marion:
Website: http://crookpublishing.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/author_mcrook
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13126.Marion_Crook
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarionCrookAuthor/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marion-Crook/e/B00IPXPH9I

Find the book on:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29362939-writing-for-children-young-adults/

Writing for Children and Young Adults is available as an ebook on September 20, 2016, and it'll be available in paperback in October 2016:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Chapters Indigo

Find Your Writing Voice with Marion Crook
and
Stay Tuned for My Review on September 26!

Release Day Celebration: "Looking for Trouble" by Stacey Mosteller ~ with Giveaway

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Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Looking for Trouble by Stacy Mosteller
presented by Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Stacey!

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She’s:
Uptight
Sheltered
Allergic to fun
He’s:
Cocky
Crude
Unapologetic

He’s all dirty jokes and curse words, while she’s quiet and shy. She blends into the background, while he is the center of everyone’s attention.

Clay Mitchell never expected to fall in love. Especially not with a girl he’s known all his life and one who’s always been off-limits.

Opposites might attract, but in this case of explosive chemistry, someone's heart is bound to be shattered.

As enemies become friends and friends morph into more; Clay has definitely met his match.
add to goodreads
Looking for Trouble (Nashville U #1)
by Stacey Mosteller
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Purchase:
Amazon

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Stacey is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Second Chances and Shadows of the Past (co-authored with H.M. Ward), and the Nashville Nights, Two Sisters and Nashville U series. 
She is also a wife, mother, writer and self-professed bookwhore -- not necessarily in that order! As the mother of three growing boys, her Kindle has become her temporary escape from the insanity of boys, dogs and her husband. Stacey can usually be found curled up with her iPad when she's supposed to be writing or creating endless Spotify playlists!

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!


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Monday, September 19, 2016

The Art of Rebellion, by Brenda Joyce Leahy: Spotlight, Excerpt and Giveaway


The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy
Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing

Art is Gabrielle's passion, but her parents have other plans for her future marriage to a man three times her age who holds nothing but disdain for art. Gabrielle is determined to escape life as the baron's trophy wife and the confinement of traditional roles. She flees her privileged home in the French countryside for Paris and the grandmother who understands her passion. When she cannot locate her grandmother, Gabrielle is left on her own in the City of Lights. The art world of Paris, 1900, brims with excitement, opportunity, and risk. Should Gabrielle trust her new friends, or will they take advantage of her hopes and dreams?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:
BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Excerpt:

“One photograph in exchange for a portrait.” I stuck out my hand once again, and we shook firmly on the deal.

Philippe grinned broadly. “Bien. Now, how do you want me to pose?”

“Perhaps you could gaze out the window with your hand under your chin, like this.” I showed him what I wanted.

He took off his glasses and slipped them into his jacket pocket, then sat in the position I’d demonstrated.

My hand hovered over the sketchpad before beginning. I fantasized Berthe Morisot whispering in my ear, tutoring me in the art of portraiture. “Sketch in the outline lightly, paying close attention to the underlying facial structure....”

I flipped to a fresh page and roughed in Philippe’s profile, then his neck and shoulders. I studied his features between each stroke on the page: a sharply defined jaw with faint darkish stubble, prominent cheekbones and curly, dark hair that flopped over his forehead. Combined with his full, carved lips, he could have been the model for Michelangelo’s David, if not for the pale scar from his temple to his jaw.

He straightened his shoulders slightly and rolled his neck. “Can we talk while you work?”

I sketched in his dark eyelashes, straight nose and wide brow. “Certainly, except when I’m drawing your mouth.”

He grinned.

“Can you hold that smile?”

He spoke through gritted teeth. “How’s this?”

I laughed. “Terrible. Go back to your serious look.” I tried to correct his mouth, softening the line of his lower lip. “Tell me, are you a photographer by profession?”

He shook his head. “Photography is my hobby.” He shifted again, forcing me to re-adjust his shoulders in the sketch.

I shaded in the faint indentations left by his spectacles on the bridge of his nose. “Then what is it that you do for a living?”

“All I can say is that discretion and secrecy are at the heart of what I do.” He smiled slightly, as if it were a private joke.

“So, police or government work, perhaps?”

He grimaced. “Surely you don’t think I’m as boring as that? No, something much more exciting.”

I softened the line of his scar with my gum eraser. Discretion, secrecy and excitement? “You’re not a master criminal, are you?” A nervous laugh shook my hand and created an uneven line along his shoulders. I would have to cross-hatch the background to cover it up.



About the author:
Brenda Joyce Leahy has travelled to France five times but finds there’s always more explorations awaiting her. She loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late, but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story.

She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta, but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI): visit her profile there. The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers’ website. Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary.

The Art of Rebellion is her first Young Adult novel, published by Rebelight Publishing, spring 2016.


GIVEAWAY

Contest ends October 7, 2016

* Two (2) winners will receive a physical copy of The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy (US/Canada)

* Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy (INT)

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