August 17, 2017

Change the Conversation. Embrace the Vulnerable.

Warning: Rare personal post

I’m not a political person. My mind doesn’t work that way. I know what I believe in and vote to support that, but if you ask me to explain it to you, my tongue ends up in some strange political knot. There is a political disconnect somewhere between my brain and my mouth.

But I know hate.

During the presidential campaign one of the things that worried me most about Trump was how his actions stirred up the haters. Bigots, racists, oppressors, those who feel they are somehow better than others were feeling empowered by the man’s actions. When the surprise of his win wore off, the dread settled deep in my gut. I knew a lot of things would go wrong with him in office, but my biggest concern was how he empowered mean spirited people.

A president can negate laws and policies meant to protect people. He can put laws and policies in place to further his own agenda and they will have an impact on our lives – but on a higher level. Plus in four years when he’s voted out, the next president can undo everything he did. Our system is a pendulum to protect us – on that higher level – from a president who swings too far to one side or another.

But empowering the bigots and the racists brings it to street level. It plops it right smack dab into our neighborhoods. When he was elected I know I wasn’t the only one who worried about that. So, what happened this weekend was, on the one hand, no surprise. Don’t get me wrong; it’s shocking that we live among a populous that vehemently believes anybody is inferior enough to deserve oppression. Though I truly don’t want to accept there are still so many people with narrow minded, warped, and truly mean thinking – Trump already exposed that during his campaign. So the violence this weekend was just a matter of time.

The thing that worries me is the inflammation. A huge gaping wound was torn open in America this weekend. It’s surrounded by tender, inflamed people who are more likely to become infected and make it worse rather than better. We know our leader is not going to step forward and strongly denounce these actions. So, without proper leadership, we must figure out how to take control ourselves. How do we reject the power given to the haters and create a society of tolerance and acceptance? With more hate and vitriol? No.

Lead by example. Speak up, but instead of shouting, speak with strength and conviction. Why point a finger at people who voted for Trump? That will only put them on the defense. Instead, share a personal experience of how the shift in our culture has impacted you, your family, or friends. Make it real. People react better to stories than to accusations.

We need to change the conversation. We need to protect the vulnerable. Reach out to those in your life who are especially vulnerable; people of color, lgbtq, Jewish, women, (who else, the list seems to grow daily anymore!) Reach out and let them know you love and support them. That you are a safe place for them when they feel threatened. Bullies give up when their target is well protected. As a community, we can warn the haters off.

I’m so sad that we are in this place again. Looking at the images and reading/watching the unabashed hate makes my heart hurt. But at the same time, the fact that we – as humans – continually repeat this repulsive behavior makes me realize that it will always, always be a fight we must wage. Maybe what we learn from our past isn’t not to oppress, but how to oppress the oppressors. It isn’t our leaders who do it. It is the people. It is US. Embrace the vulnerable and stand strong against the haters. Don’t even give our inept leader the time of day. Each time we rise to the bait, we reward his attention monger antics. He doesn’t deserve our anger. Put that energy into the street fight.

Peace.

August 10, 2017

Cover Reveal of This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura + #Giveaway

I'm excited to share the cover for the upcoming #YAcontemporary, This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura.
About the book:
Most nights, when I close my eyes, my dreams are filled with memories from my past life, the one I lived before this. I remember who I was and the people in that life, and I don't want any part of this one. Everly Hope Davis isn't who I want to be, but she's who I am. In the beginning I fought against her and everything in her world, but it's impossible to hate something when you're living it every day, when the people involved make it a life worth living. I'm trying to make the best of it now, but deep down I know this life isn't mine.


Preorder link: (PREORDER FOR 99 CENTS!): http://a.co/hObcR5P



Cover designer: Liv's Lovely Designs



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dominiquelaurawrites
Twitter: @DomLauraWrites
Instagram: DominiqueLauraWrites
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/author/dominiquelaura

Giveaway HTML: a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 7, 2017

August #InkRipples: Author options in Publishing

A quick side note before I get into this month’s topic of author options in publishing. Several lovely bloggers helped my alter ego, LA Dragoni, celebrate the release of Guardian’s Touch with a blog tour and giveaway. Be sure to stop by their blogs TODAY to read my words of wisdom and enter to win one of three great prizes. Today, Monday, is the last day.
Katie Carroll http://bit.ly/2f12JKI
Meradeth Houston  
http://bit.ly/2hgUo6o
Beverly McClure  
http://bit.ly/2vbfZTF
Patricia Lynne  
http://bit.ly/2f1uHpU
Joan Curtis  
http://bit.ly/2uR2Ooj
Erin Rhew  
http://bit.ly/2wlC52M


I’m going to try and take a different approach to this month’s Ink Ripples topic and see if I can address how the expanded options for authors in publishing has impacted the reader. At least from my viewpoint.

Back in the day, not all that long ago, authors really only had one option to achieve successful sales in publishing. The big six (there used to be six, now there are…five?) Anyway, since Amazon paved the way to making self-publishing not only affordable and attainable and others like Smashwords, and Draft to Digital, etc, followed, it also opened the gates to achieve sales success, all sorts of possibilities have opened up, including many small press publishers, and as a result more books are published each month than ever before.

What does this mean to readers?

Selection. Just doing a generic search on Amazon for a few genres I come up with more books than a reader could browse in a lifetime, let alone read. Paranormal Romance: 122,765. Science Fiction & Fantasy: 382,555. Oh, here. I might have stumbled upon a niche market. Young Adult Contemporary only pulls a result of 43,446. Ooo – wait, even better is Time Travel Romance, which only returns 13,130.

I have books published/to be published in each of these categories. Let’s say a reader is interested in my Super Villain Academy books, but can’t remember the name of any of the books – or they heard someone talking about my time travel romance and can’t remember it’s title or the pen name I write under. How are they supposed to find it?! Sure there is a lot of selection, but how do readers narrow it down? Eenie meanie, miney, moe? Throw darts at the screen and see what they hit? Selection can be good and it can be overwhelming.

Price. Competition often drives prices down. Maybe not so good for the authors, who would like to get paid for all the work they poured into that book, but it’s great for the readers. 99¢ is the new black and readers are taking full advantage of it. It isn’t even too disappointing if they end up with a poorly written book or a one that wasn’t edited at that price. And it is a good way to see if you want to invest a whole $3.99 on one of the author’s other books. However, because authors aren't making money, they are more likely to stop publishing altogether, which will impact that author's fan directly.

Services. This is actually a pretty sweet deal for readers. There are now a ton of FREE newsletters readers can join where, when the reader signs up, they tell the newsletter what types of books they are most interested in and they get a daily/weekly email with a list of books in those categories. That helps the reader find new authors or even publishers who they can then stick with. The reader can weed out the newsletters that don’t send suggestions they are interested in and only continue to receive the ones they deem more reliable. Bloggers are also AWESOME. If readers take the time to try a few different bloggers who review books they are interested in, they’ll find one or two they can rely on to feel the same about a book as they do.

Quality. Back in the day it used to be that only quality books were found through publishers and self-published work was generally crap. The waters have been so stirred up now that you will find self-published crap, small press published crap and crap from the big five. But guess what – it also means you can find quality work across the board too.

The interesting thing is most of the time the reader isn’t really aware of how the book got into their hands. They just know that the cover or the blurb or a recommendation from a friend/bookseller/librarian caught their attention. Most readers don’t say, “Ah, but who published it?” before deciding to pick it up.

What do you think? How has the expansion of authors’ options in publishing changed life for the bookworms out there?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

July 19, 2017

Favorite Vacation Spot by Beverly Stowe McClure (Princess Breeze Tour)

I'd like to welcome Beverly McClure to Stands of Thought. She is visiting today to share her brand new book with us, Princess Breeze.


For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school and who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night, she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?
          Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

PRINCESS BREEZE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 4RV Publishing

Since Breeze gets to travel in her newest book, I asked Beverly McClure to stop in today to share with us one of her favorite vacation spots. Take it away, Beverly.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE VACATIONS

I’ve never visited an exotic island like Breeze and her family visit in PRINCESS BREEZE, but one of my favorite vacation spots is Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a paradise for history buffs as well as for people who love to fish or swim in the ocean or wander through beautiful churches and homes built in the early years of the city.

One of my favorite places in Charleston is Fort Sumter, now a National Park where old cannons still exist, and guides take you on a tour through the fort and the museum.

The beautiful College of Charleston, founded in 1770, still stands and students from all over attend.
The Battery and White Point Garden with artillery left from the days of the Civil War and antebellum homes, along with a monument of the hanging of the pirate Stede Bonnet (who is a character in my novel A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT) give visitors a look back at early America.

One summer when we were there, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival with artists, music, children’s activities, arts and crafts was going on and it is a sight to see. One of my favorite places in Charleston is Boone Hall Plantation, built by1681, but no exact date has been found. It reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara’s home in GONE WITH THE WIND. We took a tour and learned some interesting things about the times. The house has a room where the men would go after dinner for drink and talk and such. The door to the room is very narrow. Why? So the women in their full-skirted dresses could not go in. (I doubt that would work today.)

My vacation does not compare to the one Breeze had, but it is a wonderful experience to see how our ancestors lived. If you ever get the chance, try Charleston, SC. There’s something for everyone. 

It sounds lovely, Beverly. Readers be sure to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for sharing your vacation spot and the giveaway with us. And thanks for sharing Princess Breeze.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

For more on Beverly and her writing visit her at her:
Twitter @beverlymcclure
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure

July 3, 2017

July #InkRipples: Heroes and Villains

A quick side note before I get into a favorite topic of mine. My alter ego, LA Dragoni, is releasing a paranormal romance for the adults among us on August 1st. I’m coordinating a blog and social media tour for the release week (July 31 – August 5), complete with a rafflecopter giveaway. If you can help, please sign up here:
The cover reveal is happening all over the internet this week. Please hop over to my Facebook page  to visit the lovely sites showing off the stunning cover for me.



Now, let me ask you, hero or villain?

If any of you have read my Super Villain Academy series, you might garner where I stand of the topic of heroes and villains.

We are all both a hero and a villain. All of us.

And we need to be.

If we were all only virtuous and brave, there would be no inspiration to improve. There would be no room for us to get better. Plus, who would we be friends with? “What cause do you support?” you’d ask a stranger. “Are there any left that we haven’t fixed?” There would be no need to save children from child abuse or women from oppression, because we’d all be impossibly good. The only bad we’d have to fight would be nature born. We’d concentrate our good efforts on fixing cleft palettes and curing cancer and eventually have to concentrate on things like toenail fungus and sun burn prevention. And you wouldn’t be alone if you just pictured this:



Sure, we’d be good – good for nothing that is.

And if we were all only malicious? Evil-doers? Well, we wouldn’t be around anymore because we’d have taken each other – and eventually ourselves – out of the equation.

Writing King of Bad, book one in my Super Villain Academy series, was an eye opener for me. Writing a main character who is inherently bad isn’t exactly the easiest way to attract readers, so I had to make my main villain complex. Sure he’s bad. He’s a pyromaniac, disrespectful, a budding womanizer, and thwarts authority, but when he’s recruited to Super Villain Academy, he learns that he isn’t as bad as most. Or that he’s bad in a different way. Turns out the manners his mother has been pounding into him his whole life are suddenly making an unfortunate appearance and his ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ have identified him as an outcast – possibly even a…hero!

There are supporting characters in the book/series with misleading personality traits meant to make you think they are one thing (villain/hero) when in truth, they are actually the opposite. I tried to keep readers guessing (subtly at least) on purpose. As a matter of fact through out the three+ years I promoted the release of each book, I always asked the reader the question Hero or Villain? because I want readers to consider their own heroic and villainous traits.

Book characters should be as complex as real life people. They should have good traits and bad. Strengths and weaknesses. Endearing mannerisms and annoying ones. There should be stuff they aren’t sure of about themselves – where do I stand on politics? Abortion? Death penalty? And things they are shocked or embarrassed to learn about themselves – Oh my God, I’m a bigot. I need to change that.

If you’ve ever wondered how I wrote an entire series with villains as the main characters, you should know it’s because I gave each of them redeeming qualities as well. Vulnerabilities. They learned. They changed. They defined who they are and what their goals are. Not all of them made good choices – or the same choice you would have made, but hopefully in the end, you understood why they made the choices they made.

So, again I’ll ask you, dear reader: hero or villain?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

June 26, 2017

June #InkRipples: Word Vomit…er, I mean Blurbs


Blurb. “Excuse you.”

The word itself sounds a bit like word vomit, doesn’t it?

Blurb. “Are you feeling all right? Can I get you something?”

Most of the time that’s exactly how I feel about the blurbs I write. They are word vomit. At least in the beginning.

Imagine you just redecorated your living room. New flooring, paint, furniture, clever accent pieces, and a kick-ass color scheme that makes people stop in their tracks. Your mother walks in. Her eyebrows arch and she does a slow spin on her sensible 1 ½ inch pump heel. “Whhhhaaaaatttt? How on earth did you pull off puce as an accent color in here? So unexpected.” You immediately dive into an explanation that includes all the detailed thought that went into the design. Including the colors that didn’t work, how you chose just the right accent pieces, and how varying the height of each puce piece was really crucial. You grin and look around the room and then realize your mother has already left for lunch.

Too much information.

So when your bestie shows up and says, “Giiirrrll, you rocked it in here. Puce? How did you ever?”

You grin. Look around the room and say, “It’s all in the placement.”

She tells you about her cousin who has a man cave to convert after her divorce and says she’ll recommend you.

Blurbs. They are high level. Enticing. They are all about the placement, but never the details on varying heights.

It’s super hard for authors to get high level about a story they’ve just spent countless hours on. I get it. So maybe imagine having to sell the book to your mother. Or whoever it is in your life who has more important things to do than listen to the details.

Happy blurbing.


#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

June 23, 2017

Lost & Found by Sharon Ledwith


Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking... 


The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

Book Details:

Print Length: 203 pages
Publication Date: June 17, 2017
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

Goodreads Link:

Purchase Your Copy:


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS.

Author Tagline:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website:
www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog:
http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith

Sharon’s Author Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Ledwith-210150205690477/

Twitter: @sharonledwith:
https://twitter.com/sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

Goodreads Book Page:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35017082-lost-and-found

Google+ Page:
https://plus.google.com/116758820349834035390#116758820349834035390/posts

Amazon Author U.S. Page:
http://amzn.to/2p9rync

Amazon Author U.K. Page:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO

Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.com/seledwith/

Café Press Shop:

June 21, 2017

The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram & #Giveaway


 The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram How do you tell someone who hates you and blames you for the death of his best friend that you miss him? From the bestselling teen and young adult author of Cinder & Ella comes a new heart-wrenching romance sure to bring all the feels. The tragic death of Spencer Schott unravels the lives of the two people he loved most—his girlfriend, Bailey, and his best friend, Wes. Secrets and guilt from that fateful night keep both Bailey and Wes from overcoming Spencer’s loss and moving on with their lives. Now, nearly a year later, both Bailey and Wes are still so broken over what happened that Spencer can’t find peace in the afterlife. In order to put his soul to rest, he’s given one chance to come back and set things right...even if that means setting up his girlfriend with his best friend. With the emotional resonance of Jellicoe Road and the magical realism of The Lovely Bones, The Ghost of You and Me is a story about overcoming grief, finding redemption for past mistakes, and the healing power of friendship and love. Fans of John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Nicholas Sparks are sure to love this haunting new tale from Kelly Oram. This is a clean young adult romance stand alone novel that reads like contemporary drama romance and has just a touch of magical realism.
   





  Author Kelly Oram Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

   
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
 Ends 7/15/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 24, 2017

Cover Reveal of Princess Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure

Readers! Readers! Readers! This is so exciting. I'm super happy to be sharing with you the cover reveal for Beverly Stowe McClure's upcoming tween sequel, Princess Breeze. I read an early, early version of this book and because it was a while ago and I have a really patchy memory, I can't wait to read it again! Breeze is one of my favorite characters of Beverly's. Here is more about the book to get you as excited about it as I am.


PRINCESS BREEZE by Beverly Stowe McClure

For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school, who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

***
But really, the best way for you to prepare for this release is to read the first book in the series, Just Breeze.

Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. She’s still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her class, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind everyone within ten feet.

Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep. 
***
About the Author:


Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears.  When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

Keep in touch with Beverly: 
https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com
http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

twitter: @beverlymcclure

May 17, 2017

Cover Reveal #MARKEDBEAUTY by S.A. Larsen

I'm so excited to be participating in the cover reveal for S.A. Larsen's debut young adult novel. Sheri is an awesome author, a fantastic person, a constant supporter of her fellow authors. How can I not be excited to help her out? And then you read the blurb for this book and it's like...what...? I have to wait until October to read this?! 

You can get in on the action too. Be sure to look over the easy peasy instructions at the bottom and share the cover love! 

MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen, Cover Reveal 
Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

ADD to GOODREADS

About the Author
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.
Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads

Giveaway

This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:
  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.
***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)
"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0
"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.

May 10, 2017

Three Times A Charm with Danica Davidson

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. Today I’m introducing you to a middle grade and young adult author, Danica Davidson. Thanks for joining us today, Danica. Tell us a little about you.

When I was three, I used to dictate stories to my parents. When I learned how to write on my own, I got even more down on paper. (Learning how to spell well came later.) I have a background in journalism, but fiction writing is where my heart really sings. So far I’ve been writing middle grade and YA books, and I want to write in all different genres and for different age groups.

I think writing for different medias (such as journalism and fiction) really develops a person’s storytelling skill. Tell us about your published work.

I’m the author of the middle grade Overworld Adventure series, also known as “books for Minecrafters.” They take place as if Minecraft is a real world and follow the adventures of 11-year-old Stevie as he finds a portal to Earth and explores the different worlds. There are six books in total: Escape from the Overworld, Attack on the Overworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither.

A spinoff series starring Stevie and new villains will come out later this year, and the first book there is Adventure Against the Endermen. I have a Barbie comic called Barbie: Puppy Party out, and a book on how to draw manga called Manga Art for Beginners. A sequel is coming out next year that will be on manga for intermediates. I have a story in the new Tales from the Crypt #2 comic. And there’s more on the way!

I recommend my book to readers who like: The Minecrafter books are especially for young fans of Minecraft, but they’re adventure stories that take place as if Minecraft is real, so as long as you like adventure, you can read these books without playing the game. (Some parents have told me it helps them understand the game better so they can share a connection with their kids.)  Barbie: Puppy Party has Barbie and her sisters throwing a party to get all the shelter pets adopted, so besides young Barbie fans, I think it would be of interest to people who care about animal welfare. This can help them talk to kids about it. Manga Art for Beginners is for manga fans wanting to learn how to draw in the style. And Tales from the Crypt is for whoever likes horror and wants a good, guilty read.

Now for the 3’s. Share with us your top 3 responses to the following questions to help us get to know you better.

  • Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.

1. Learning never stops when you’re a writer. I’m learning something new every day, and I try to look at mistakes as learning experiences I can grow from.

2. Everyone gets rejected. It took me years and years before I got an agent. I wanted to be a professional author more than anything else, and I have stacks of rejection letters to show it definitely didn’t happen overnight.

3. I didn’t “become” a writer the day I was first published. I’ve been a writer as far back as I can remember. One of the things we all have to learn (and I think we all struggle with) is to not look toward others for recognition and happiness. Which is easier said than done, but a great way to handle difficult issues like this is to write about it!

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

To be honest, the one career I always wanted was to be an author. Sometimes I thought about other careers, but they were always in addition to writing stories. The other two side careers I considered as a kid were paleontologist and marine biologist. I have some real dinosaur teeth and coprolite (which sounds fancier than it is, because all it means is fossilized dinosaur droppings.) And if I could still find a safe opportunity to swim with sharks, I would.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

1. Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is usually attributed to Gandhi. I take it to mean that you can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. We can each do our part to be kind and compassionate.

2. “Follow your bliss.” I love to read mythology, so I love the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell. To me, this is about finding what makes you happy and also knowing you have to go down that path and work toward it. Writing is my bliss, so I follow it.

3. “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." This is from Anaïs Nin, who is one of my favorite writers. Art lets us delve into what is means to be human. It isn’t always pretty, but if it’s honest, it will affect others and they’ll recognize themselves. These are three quotes I think about a lot.

Now, Danica, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find more about you and your writing.

Twitter.com/DanicaDavidson

I’m so glad you stopped in. Best of luck to you and your books.

THANKS!

May 1, 2017

Funny thing happened on the way to publishing books. Fairy tales. May #InkRipples



Simply put (according to Wikipedia)  A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as dwarves, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. 

Once upon a time I didn’t like fairy tale retellings. But one day I was home and bored, sitting on the couch, covered by a blankie, and in desperate need of a new story to read. I picked up a copy of The Curse Girl  by Kate Avery Ellison, a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I sat, and I read, and before I knew it I was done. Imagine my surprise when I enjoyed it! Then I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge  Another Beauty and the Beast retelling. A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn  a Sleeping Beauty retelling. Maybe you see that I was starting to like them.

One day, while reading messages and reviews for my first published book The Weaver. I realized one of the most common comments was how the book had a fairy tale feel. Though The Weaver isn’t a retelling, I thought it would be a good idea to take the series forward with fairy tale retellings. So I wrote The Wishing Well – Cinderella retelling, and then one of my favorite books, The Lumpy Duckling – well, that one’s obvious, right?  Right?

The moral of the story is that I now enjoy fairy tale retellings and have even used it in my own stories. As a special bonus today, click this link to read my Goldilocks retelling, Pillaging https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6NdYVO_8LENVXduc2JQOE51c3M/view?usp=sharing

I’d love some retelling recommendations. Which have you read and loved?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 27, 2017

April #InkRipples Workshop - Revision

Welcome to the last week of the #InkRipples revision workshop. I hope you’ve found the revision tips and exercises fun and enlightening. If you missed the last three week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here. 

Revision Tip #7

Double check the end of each chapter to make sure it lures the reader to continue. Then double check the beginning of each chapter to make sure it stands on it’s own.

As often as possible, you want the end of each chapter to be a mini cliff hanger. There are times where the actions slows to a logical end and a cliff hanger would feel wrong, but in order to keep your reader turning pages you want them to think, “Crud! What happens next?” Or, “Oh my gosh, what is he going to do when he finds out she did that?” Keep them turning pages until the wee hours of the morning. ;)

However the beginning of the chapter shouldn't start in the middle of action and should establish who is in the scene. Even if the chapter before ended with her pulling a gun on her boyfriend, the beginning of the chapter has to state, Leslie’s hand didn’t even shake as she pointed the gun at Trevor’s heart. Because what if your reader did finally close the book and go to sleep at the end of the previous chapter and then the next day they had to take their cat to the vet after it got a reed stuck up its nose and their left rear blinker went out on the way to school, so they had to stop at the auto parts store after work, and then their mom made them go to the fundraiser dinner, so they didn’t get back to the book for two days. You don’t want them to pick up the book and read Her hand didn't even shake as she pointed the gun at his heart and think, “Wait. What? Is this Leslie or Courtney? Trevor or Kyle?” And then have to page back to catch up again. Instead, they pick it up and see that Leslie is holding a gun on Trevor. They smile and think, Oh yeah. Awesome.

Revision Tip #8

Have fun. Seriously. You will experience a myriad of feelings about yourself and your writing as you go through revisions. You’ll alternate between, “I suck – why do I do this?” and “This paragraph is the most brilliant arrangement of words – ever!” But don’t lose sight of the reason you write. Because you love it. If you feel like the manuscript is a crap ton of trash, then stop revising and just read. You’ll find the story you’re trying to tell again and you’ll be positively inspired to dive back in to revisions and chip away at the caked on mud.

***
Now let's get to work. But instead of an exercise, share with us your favorite revision tip. Which tip do you feel helps you bring the best out of your work?

Thanks for joining me this month!

Join us for #InkRipples in May when we talk about fairy tales!


#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 17, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

Welcome back for another week of #InkRipples revision workshop. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but to also stage some revision exercises. If you missed the last two week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here.


Revision Tip #5

Read backward. Start at the last chapter, revise it. Go to second last, revise it…etc. Don’t actually start at the last word and work your way to the first. Too hard. However, by reading backward you will avoid getting caught up in the story making it easier to spot mistakes.


Revision Tip #6

During one of your revision passes: make a timeline. It is so distracting for a reader when your calendar doesn’t add up. If you mention that two weeks has passed and then the character refers to an event as having just happened yesterday, you lose your reader. If you have a pregnant character who is sporting a full belly after only a few months – problem. Timeline inconsistencies are easy for the author to lose track of, but really easy for the reader to spot. We get distracted by things like character consistency, not missing an ‘and’ or a ‘the,’ and trying to remember what season it is. But a reader doesn’t get buried in our story the sane way we do. The story unfolds for them as they go through. Of course they will spot inconsistencies easier – they didn’t see the previous six versions of the manuscript. They’ve only seen the one version and if you have a person training for the Olympics and they are in top form in six months – readers are gonna cry foul.

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Okay let’s get to work.

I’m currently revising the blurb for my time travel romance, Again for Love, which is set to publish under my other pseudonym, LA Dragoni, later this year. I know my weakness is writing a tight blurb. So, how would you tighten this bad boy up?
 ***
A life must be lost. Who will make the ultimate sacrifice?

Lawson lives a simple life; a job at a brewery, basketball and hockey leagues, and an eccentric lifelong friend and roommate intent on discovering time travel.

Then life becomes complicated when Jory enters it. Lawson feels an immediate attraction to her from the first day she starts work at the brewery. Yet their first couple attempts at dating end with him thinking it just isn’t meant to be. Jory however, has a different opinion and continues to pursue him.

When one date ends tragically Lawson turns to his best friend to use the experimental time travel program he’s invented. Except when Lawson relives that fateful night it ends just as horrifically. Each time he resets time, it ends with a loss.

It’s clear a life must be lost and Lawson is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. But he isn’t the only one playing with time. Will he save Jory by giving his own life or will someone beat him to it?
 ***


#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

Cover Reveal - Pirate Island by Katie L. Carroll

I'm super excited to share my good writing buddies new book cover for her upcoming middle grade novel, Pirate Island. I met Katie through MuseItUp Publishing. She edited my middle grade, Beware of the White. I LOVED working with her. Then her book, Elixir Bound came out and I loved it too. I've had the privilege of critiquing a version of another young adult novel she currently has out on submission - that I STILL think about more than a year later. She's that good. In other words, put Pirate Island high up on your to-read list. I am!


PIRATE ISLAND
by Katie L. Carroll (katielcarroll.com)
Cover Illustration by Susan Tait Porcaro (susantaitporcaro.com)
Coming October 2017!

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PIRATE ISLAND blurb:
A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?

For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.



About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll always says she began writing at a very sad time her life after her sister Kylene unexpectedly passed away. The truth is Katie has been writing her whole life, and it was only after Kylene’s death that she realized she wanted to pursue writing for kids and teens as a career. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She has had many jobs in her lifetime, including newspaper deliverer, hardware store cashier, physical therapy assistant, and puzzle magazine editor. She works from her home in Connecticut that is filled with the love and laughter of her sons and husband.

In addition to PIRATE ISLAND, Katie is the author of the YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND. Find Katie on her websiteTwitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.