Friday, July 22, 2016

HEAR THE WOLVES Cover Reveal + Giveaway!!


I'm excited to help share the cover for Victoria Scott's novel, HEAR THE WOLVES! I can't wait to read this, as while I went through a horse phase as a girl (and still dearly love those beautiful animals) I also went through a wolf phase. (aaaaaoooooooowwww!) Okay, sorry, that was terrible. 
Are you ready to see it?
 
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It's survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott!

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn't be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it's been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight -- it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she's already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn't stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that's tied there -- their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That's when the wolves start hunting them . . .



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Thursday, July 21, 2016

BAD BLOODS: NOVEMBER RAIN by Shannon A. Thompson


 

November Rain
Shannon A. Thompson
(Bad Bloods #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: July 18th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.
Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

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EXCERPT:

“She used to tell me that a full moon is when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.” I stared at the little paper in my hands. “Do you think she tells my sister those stories?”

Daniel didn’t respond. He only listened. I had told him before I had a sister. He had probably assumed I lied, but I hadn’t. It was the truth, and it tumbled out like a story my mom created before bedtime. I tried to picture her telling stories to my sister, but nothing came. I only saw the little girl, with Mom’s hair and Dad’s eyes, standing in the road, saying my name.

“I’ve never met her,” I confessed, staring at the writing bleeding through the folded end. “I think her name is on this, but I can’t read.”

Daniel reached for it. “I can—”

“No.” I held the note against my chest. “I want to learn and read it on my own,” I explained, softer than my previous snap.

Daniel’s head tilted. “Robert never taught you.”

I wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, but I responded anyway. “He can’t read.”

Daniel’s eyes swept over me. He took the time to rub his face before looking away.

“He can’t read,” I repeated, studying his reaction. “Right?”

Daniel’s hand lowered to his lap. “I can teach you,” he said, and when he faced me again, he was remarkably closer than I realized. His hand moved to rest on my knee. My heart stabilized. “What else do you want?”

It was a question I had never heard before, and the way Daniel stumbled over the sentence suggested he had never been able to say it before either. Bad bloods weren’t allowed to want anything. Not even life. So, when I was asked, my mind spiraled into obscurity, never actually solidifying an answer even though I searched for one.

“I’ve never been allowed to want anything,” I confessed.

“Me neither,” Daniel agreed, and for a brief second, I was oblivious to the fact that his lips were on mine.

teaser2



Author Bio:
Shannon A. Thompson is a twenty-three-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely sixteen when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson's work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads' Book of the Month. As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.shannonathompson.com.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Excerpt from THE CARVER by Jacob Devlin

The #roadtripwithpeterpan has begun! THE CARVER is a young adult fairy tale retelling that takes you on a road trip with an adult Peter Pan as he and the children of some of your favorite characters. Together, they must find out what happened to their missing family members as secrets of the old world and new are revealed, with only Pinocchio's carvings to guide the way. You can get your copy of THE CARVER by Jacob Devlin on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

about the book:




THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .

THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.

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“Welcome to Sirenetta’s Diner, gentlemen. You boys ever dined here before?”

Liam cut right to the chase. “Are you Mr. Bellamy?”

The man’s face fell into a tight frown, but Crescenzo assumed by the figurine that the frown was just his natural expression. “I am he. The Lord of the Diner.”

“Violet sent us,” Crescenzo said.

“Mm. You mean Heather, yes?”

“Sure?” Crescenzo was still trying to figure out the rule on what he should be calling the Old World people. He supposed Pietro would forever be Pietro to him and he understood why he needed the new name, but he didn’t feel that somebody like Violet, who wasn’t a part of any story Crescenzo had heard before, needed an alias.

Mr. Bellamy plopped two brunch menus in front of Liam and Crescenzo and poured them each a cup of coffee, to Crescenzo’s dismay. Then the old man leaned over the counter and furrowed his eyebrows. In a tense whisper, he said, “Your presence brings ruin to my happy New World life! Where you go, trouble will surely follow. Now, what can I serve you this morning?”

about the author:

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

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Get ready to give up your time to THE SURRENDERED by Case Maynard--a young adult dystopian sure to suck you in further to with every page! Want to be a part of this new release? You can sign up for the Facebook parties, blog tours, or to review. The #taxonkids is coming!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Updates

Sometimes when I don't have any author interviews or specific topics to post on, I just like to shoot the breeze with you all. Here's what's going on w/me lately:

1. No writing. And do I even need to waste time typing how frustrating that is? I mean and intend to write every morning when I get up, but then...I just don't get around to it. I'll know I'll get back in the groove before long, I always do. Sometimes I just have to wait myself out. (hurry up, self)

2. Bathroom renovations. Yuuugghaargh. It's been challenging, folks. A torn-apart bathroom, which equals the rest of the house being a mess. We also had no water in the kitchen for 3 days, as when we turned it on, water would drain out of the open pipes in the bathroom. Fun. The medicine cabinet we bought had a defect and had to be returned, the shower surround takes two weeks to come in, and my husband accidentally kicked a bucket of paint over...on the carpet. Did I mention this was fun? I did, right? So, so, sooooo, fun. But in the end, we will have a nice, new, and fresh bathroom. I can't wait!!!

3. I discovered our town's aquatic center. For some reason every summer I always forgot about it being there on the other side of town. But last week something jogged my memory, and me and the kidlet went for the first time. We loved it!! It's super kid friendly, w/lots of shallow areas, and the cutest 'house' that has a slide and all kinds of water works spraying from it. It closes for the season at the end of this month, so we're making it our mission to visit every Saturday until then. 

4. I just got edits. For my short story "Prina and the Pea", which will be published in the anthology, Circuits and Slippers, in September. I'm so excited for ppl to (hopefully) read this short story. I really enjoyed writing it, and there's a castle, and fancy dresses, and baked goods. It can't get any better than that! Well, except maybe if there were dragons... ;)

5. A new look. You should see one within the next month or so. I've loved my current blog design, and it's served me well for several years, but I'm ready for something new. 
 
Any updates you'd like to share w/me? Let's hear 'em!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

IWSG: Getting an Offer...And Saying No


The IWSG is a community where writers can share their fears and insecurities about the writing life. To learn more, check out their website here.


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Last month, I finally got that magical yes. I had sent out a query and my manuscript. The publisher returned with: "We would like to publish this." And my first feeling wasn't canons firing confetti, angels singing, and me eating all the cake. 

It was, "Oh no..."

And I had sent the query & my manuscript myself. Imps hadn't queried this publishing company in a fit of late-night mischief. I had. But even when I had sent that query-- and definitely in the months afterward-- I'd had niggling doubts. (and if there's one thing I've learned to do in my time writing, is to listen to my gut.) 

It felt like this wasn't the right book. Not the right book to debut with and not the right book to get an agent with-- which when I was finally, truly honest with myself as I stared at that acceptance email-- was what I really wanted. 

I had thought I would be okay publishing without an agent. But when it came down to it...I couldn't say yes. I want an agent. And I want that agent to be my partner in business (b/c me and contract language and math: yikes).
 
I have decided to give my original dream for my writing career one last chance. I'll finish A LOVE TURNED BITTER, which I feel is the best thing I've written yet, and query agents with it. And maybe if I don't get an offer, I'll go ahead and decide to query small publishers again. Or maybe I won't, and I'll try again w/the agent route for my next planned book (a horse racing one, eeee!) 
I don't know what frame of mind I'll be in over the next few years (heck, or even the next two seconds, heh), so I can't say for sure what I'll decide is best for me as I continue writing.  I just know that at this time and moment, that this offer didn't feel like the right way to go.
 
And I know that sometimes we don't always get our dreams exactly the way we want them. But I have worked HARD for this, and I owe it to myself to stay on the path I'm on, until it feels like the right time to depart and take a different one.
 
Because I know when I have it right (whether that be signing w/an agent, publisher-- large, mid, or small--or self publishing) that there will be cannons firing confetti, angels singing, and all the cake I can eat. 

Until that time, I'll be here, writing. Or not here, but yanno, on my couch. *technicalities*

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Q&A with Shannon L. Alexander, Author of LIFE AFTER JULIET



1. What challenges come with writing a companion novel? 

Paralyzing self-doubt. That’s the biggest hurdle I’ve had to cross in publishing a second novel. When writing LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES, I was in a vacuum—no expectations except my own (and eventually those of my critique group). But since I began writing LIFE AFTER JULIET, I’ve been keenly aware of many eyes waiting and watching for this story to unfold. Becca Hanson was a secondary character in LAOUV, but one that most readers identified with (since she’s a bookworm herself). She was the perfect kind of character to use to insert yourself into the story as a reader. I didn’t do that consciously, but I began to realize that’s what she was for so many of LAOUV’s readers—a backstage pass into the action.

Since so many readers identify with her, they’ve brought to her moderately fleshed out character their own sets of expectations and beliefs. Which meant that when I presented my first draft to my critique group, I got ten people telling me I had gotten Becca all wrong. And each of their ten interpretations of how I should have written her was VERY different.

At that moment, I realized every LAOUV reader who picked up LAJ would possibly react that way. I completely froze—walked away from writing the story for months while I worried about what to do with Becca. How could I possibly make everyone like her? How could I possibly fulfill all those expectations? Why did I think I could write this story?

And then I remembered that I was writing this story because it was a story I needed to tell, and Becca—my Becca—was going to help me get it done. In the end, you can really only ever hope to write stories that you yourself will like. If other people like them, too, then that’s an added bonus!


2. Do you have a favorite play?

My favorite Shakespearean play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That was always my favorite unit when I was teaching. I’d bring in these silly costumes and we’d do reader’s theater in class. There was always a lot of laughter and some great discussions that ensued.

In high school, I was a huge musical theater fan (although I cannot sing in any sort of key). That was back when Andrew Lloyd Webber had twenty-two billion plays on Broadway all at once. My absolute favorite was Phantom of the Opera. I listened to it about as obsessively as my daughter listens to Hamilton today.

The success of Hamilton makes me so happy, too, because I felt like it’d been a while since there’d been anything huge that swept up young people and introduced them (in a big way) to musical theater at its finest!


3. What snacks (or rewards) get you through a rough writing day?

All the Swedish Fish in the history of ever.


4. So, Romeo. If Romeo were to instantly fall in love w/one of today's leading lady characters in YA, who would it be? 

Wow! I love this question!

I’m going to say he’d fall for Cath Avery from Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL. Cath, at first glance, is shy, sweet, vulnerable, and a little na├»ve, which feels like the kind of girl impetuous Romeo would swoon over. He’d be able to appreciate her obsession with crafting the perfect romantic scene, too. I don’t think Romeo would be Cath’s type, though. I’m not sure he’s got enough substance for her.


5. I cried while reading LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES (such a fantastic book!). Will LIFE AFTER JULIET have this same effect you think, or would you consider it a lighter book than L&OUV? 

LAJ is a very different kind of book. It’s a book about living with grief, which isn’t so much about the big, painful, heart-wrenching stuff and more about the everyday, small, heart-building stuff of life. In a lot of ways, the highs and lows of LAJ are mirror images to those in LAOUV. Like Becca, it is quieter than Charlie’s story, but just as important.

They are both, I hope, equally funny though. You may not cry as much, but you’ll get plenty of fun and a sweet, swoony romance.


6. What is a fav line(s) from LIFE AFTER JULIET?

“I was just an outline of a girl before Charlotte arrived. She filled in all the lines with color and life and, I don’t know, good stuff. Now that she’s gone, I feel unmade again.” ~Becca Hanson

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The spotlight is no place for a bookworm.

Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people...

Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.

As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world...and happy endings aren't always guaranteed.

The companion novel to
Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.

Early Reviews:

5 stars: "I hung on every word and I'll think about it for a long time to come. Becca was brilliant, and I get her. Darby, she was special, Victor was a great crazy friend. Of course Max, there just couldn't be anyone better suited for her than Max. Listen to me... I’m talking as if they are real! Now that's the sign of a great book." - Natasha Platt

5 stars: "Great read for a book lover... Epic love at it's best!!!" - Socially Awkward
Book Nerd


Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family. 


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Also, Shannon is taking over the the Entangled Teen Fans Facebook page on 06/30, which sounds like a fun time. Swing by and hang out! And if you haven't read LIFE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIALBES yet (and I highly recommend you do!) the ebook will be on sale for only .99 cents from 06/30-07/10.


One more thing: GIVEAWAY! This is a print of one of the Bard's more well-known quotes. ;)



The winner will receive this as an attachment from me, where they can either download it or print it out, if they wish. All you have to do to be entered is comment, and please follow Shannon at one or more of her social media sites. (honor system!) 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Guest Post by AJ Krafton + a Sale!

AJ Krafton's THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, a Victorian paranormal, is celebrating its book birthday...so let's have a spot of tea (and a 99c sale!)


Time for Tea: Victorian Tradition and its Place in THE HEARTBEAT THIEF
Victorian tea time wasn’t always a thing.

Tea has been around for thousands of years. In many cultures, it was customary to share tea with company. Tea was ceremonial, a sacred part of social law.
In England, mealtimes evolved to include two main meals: breakfast and dinner. Dinner became an evening phenomenon, which was held after the work day. In the case of the upper classes, dinner was an event that lasted hours into the night. Afternoon meals tended to light and on-the-go and had no real structure.

What we’ve come to know as “tea time” began with Duchess Anne of Bedford. Anne experienced a “sinking feeling” around three or four o’clock and would ask her maids to sneak her tea and pastries, since supper wouldn’t come until much later in the evening. At first, she had tea alone but eventually the practice was expanded to include her close friends.
Thus, a tradition was born and tea time became a thing. Less food, more talking.

Victorian tea time carried on the tradition of offering tea to guests. Tea was served in wide-mouthed shallow cups (nothing like our 16 ounce paper cups from the coffee shop). That way, tea could be sipped without waiting all afternoon for it to cool (or blowing on it, which could lead to sloppy accidents). Tea time became synonymous with company and socializing and was, in itself, a social event.

And Victorian events were elegant, spectacular things.
It was customary to have tea in the parlor or garden. It provided a chance to show off the hostess’s best china and linens, as well her abilities to command the skills of her kitchen staff.
Tea served not only to quiet the rumblings of a belly, it was food for the social soul. Dishes were customarily light and easy to eat without worry of a catastrophic mess. Eating was a dainty dance in itself.
Tea sandwiches, cakes, scones, biscuits, candies and nuts were usual fare for low tea (named for the low tables around which guests gathered—think “coffee tables” in the living room). I found a website with loads of recipes HERE I refer to it often when I’m looking to create a special little something.

Trays of snacks were laid out so guests could serve themselves. Affluent hostesses could afford an elaborate tea service such as


(By comparison, my tea service looks like this one. Not quite as shiny J but it makes a perfect pot, every time.) The overall goal of these tea parties was to ensure that guests enjoyed themselves so thoroughly that they completely lose track of time, ensuring the hostess’s graceful place in the hearts and esteem of all invited.

Senza and her Tea

In The Heartbeat Thief our heroine, Senza Fyne, took much comfort in the ritual of tea time. Despite her longer-than-usual life, she never lost her affinity for a well-set tea. It connected her to precious memories of family and friends and times long gone by. Here’s a brief excerpt from The Heartbeat Thief, in which Senza prepares tea for company for the first time in a very, very long time.

The Heartbeat Thief by AJ Krafton

The tea kettle hissed, the steam building up to a whistle. She plucked it off the heat before it could reach full shriek. She didn’t like noise. She’d become far too accustomed to quiet and stillness. It had been ages since she made tea, a proper tea with a full service and decorative sugars. She’d missed the routine. 

Grandmother had always taken three lumps of sugar in hers. She’d preferred a Darjeeling, earthy and fragrant, over the milder Assams and startling Keemuns that Father would bring home. Darjeeling, she’d insisted, was an expression of liquid divinity. If you could taste the earth, you could touch the stars. 

Be one with everything. Senza blinked, stirring herself from the hazy memory. Grandmother had always told her to live in the moment. Senza seemed only to live in the past. 

Wrong moments in which to live. 

She rubbed her temple with the bend of her wrist and spooned tea leaves into the pot. Funny that he’d procure a tea service for her in this rustic shanty, a proper set with a silver empress tea strainer and matching sugar and creamer pots. Odd that he’d provide a service for two people, especially since she’d always been completely alone. 

Senza arranged the service on a broad silver tray and arranged a spread of biscuits onto a saucer, next to a plate of cucumber and spread cheese sandwiches. A small bowl of candied fruits completed the tea. All had been conveniently located in the small pantry, as if she’d shopped the list on her own. 

Stepping back, she surveyed her work. Grandmother would approve. A good host always saw to the tea herself, taking every pain to ensure her guests lost track of the time of day. 

Hefting the tray, she carried it into the front room, still startled by its shocking transformation. A small but cozy fire blazed in the simple brick fireplace, near to which an unfamiliar tea table stood. Hand-embroidered flowers trimmed the edge of the linen, matching the elegant bunch of flowers that topped a grey ceramic vase.


Senza enjoyed a small tea in that scene, but I love this post that it shows a full elaborate spread that Senza would really have enjoyed. Now, THAT’S what I call a happy tea time.
Perhaps the next time you’re experiencing a “sinking feeling” you’ll treat yourself to a cup of Darjeeling and a cinnamon scone and have a happy moment to yourself (or, better yet, with a friend). There’s no reason to let go of the past when it’s full of sweet traditions like tea time. No wonder Senza Fyne never surrendered her fondness for the practice, even as the years took everything else away from her, bit by precious bit.

For more images of tea time and the book THE HEARTBEAT THIEF by AJ Krafton, visit this book's Pinterest page!

This week until June 26th, THE HEARTBEAT THIEF ebook will be $0.99!
Find it at any of these retailers:
About the author: Ash Krafton
Ash Krafton writes New Adult speculative fiction under the pen name AJ Krafton. In addition to THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, Ash is also the author of a growing list of poetry, short stories, and urban fantasy novels.
Currently, she’s working on a new series, THE DEMON WHISPERER. First book, CHARM CITY, can be found on Wattpad.com where you can read it free. Find it here: CHARM CITY on Wattpad.com
Find more to love at www.ashkrafton.com.
Follow Ash at:
 
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