Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Guest Post by Kat Hawthorne: The Importance of The Voices in a Writer's Head

All writers hear voices in their head. Don’t try to deny it, it’s true. And it’s not just those that belong to our characters, either, at least it isn’t for me. The most persistent voice in my head has a name. It’s Kirsten, and she is my best writing buddy.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that adage can be applied to writing as well. Writers cannot create believable characters if they do not have the ability to take on multiple personalities. Some folks call it a disorder. I call it life. But I doubt even my extreme degree of weirdness would be enough to get me through an entire manuscript on my own. I get by with a little help from my friends.

If the writer is the soul, the writer’s peers are the body. The body carries the soul around from place to place, showing it things it may not otherwise have seen, giving it experiences it may not otherwise have experienced. The body listens to the soul’s ideas, helps it decide which paths to follow and which to trash. Listens when the soul is saddened, wants to give up, believes it isn’t good enough. Then celebrates when the soul finds success. Without the body, the soul is but a complicated string of thoughts.

I don’t think I’d be able to write without my writing buddy (she’s real, by the way. I think…). Writing is not a solitary occupation. Listen when the voices in your head tell you something. Chances are, the voice has a name. And she knows what she’s talking about.

Does this post make me seem crazy?

Kat Hawthorne tends to lurk (somewhat menacingly) in the darker corners of the literary world. In addition to a smattering of published poetry, Kat’s short fiction has appeared in such literary magazines as Underneath the Juniper Tree, Thrills Kills and Chaos, Infernal Ink, Dark Edifice, Shadows Express, Fiction and Verse, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society. Her literary novelette, The Oddity, was published by MuseIt Up Publishing on July 11th, 2014. In partnership with Enter Skies Entertainment, Kat wrote the narrative portion of Fearless Fantasy, an online role-playing game published by tinyBuild Games and hosted by Steam. As well as being a nerd of the highest order, under her “day name” Kat is a graduate of Ryerson University’s copy, substantive, and stylistic editing programs, and has since earned a specialization in editing books intended for young readers. She is an acquisitions, stylistic and copy editor at BookFish Books LLC and runs her own business where she offers her editing services on a freelance basis.

Please visit www.katmhawthorne.com for more information about Kat’s writing, or www.movetothewrite.com to learn about her editing work.

{P.S. Leandra here, and I just have to say I'm in love w/the spooky little mouse found on Kat's website!}

Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her only friends consist of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier. 

Inventing the Boatman—a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go—probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Muse Party Blogfest!

The lovely Sarah Foster over at The Faux Fountain Pen is throwing a blog hop to celebrate four years of blogging! Congrats, Sarah!

1. Who is your muse (or character)? Tell us a little bit about him/her and why you brought them. My character is Darcy. He's the head trainer for the Key Chain Gang, which is an aerialist acrobatic show. I actually dreamed about him, so we've got a pretty strong connection. (Gotta keep it weird, Darcy, sorry)

2. What are you guys wearing? Dressing up or keeping it casual? 
Casual! I'm wearing a short jean skirt (not that short) and a lace top and cute sandals. Darcy's got on work-out pants and a tank top.

3. It's a potluck! Did you bring something yummy? 
Yes, lemon bars! Gooey ones with powedered sugar across the top. Darcy...? Oops, I forgot. *cringes* Performers are on a strict no-sugar diet. Rules of Mo, the Key Chain Gang owner. So forget the lemon bars! We're going with some apples and a cream cheese dip... Okay, okay! Sheesh. Just the apples.

4. Open bar! What are you both drinking (booze or otherwise)? 
I'm not much of a drinker, so I'm going with a diet vanilla pop. I can drink you under the table with those. Darcy's also passing-- practice starts early in the morning. If it was the performer's free time, he'd go w/a beer, maybe.

5. Wallflowers or social butterflies? 
Me, wallflower. Unless I'm in a close circle of friends. Darcy's kind of a mix, so maybe a wallfly? Is that a thing? *making it a thing*

6. What song(s) will you and your muse sing for karaoke? 
We don't sing out loud in other people's hearing.

7. What's your favorite party game? 
I know none. Lemme, ask Darcy, he throws parties in his room on the monkey's one free night a week. Okay, so it involves who can keep a handstand the longest while having beer poured in your mouth. Sounds messy...

8. Which one of you is more likely to end up dancing on a table top? 
Hahahaha-- never. Darcy said you'd only see it from him if he lost a bet.

9. Has your muse been a good date and would you ever hang out with them again? 
He's been a little quiet, but still nice. He'd much rather hang out with Tam, than me. No hard feelings! I like Tam too. (She's his kinda girlfriend, except she's currently not here b/c she escaped...Sorry, buddy! I'm working on a reunion, promise. Uh, just right after I finish that one MG ghost story. *Ouch! Recieving a death glare right now*)

To join in the fun, or read about more muse/characters pairings, check out this list!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Brave New Girls: Teaser Friday

Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets publishes June 2015 (and I'm part of it, yay!). It's a YA science fiction charity anthology in which all proceeds will be donated quarterly to a scholarship fund for girls through the Society of Women Engineers. Each Friday in the month of May, I'll be featuring teaser lines from Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets. 


Seventeen-year-old Philly Ramirez already has one criminal conviction hanging over her head because of her past as a hacker. Now, she just wants to do her job. There are worse things than being a graveyard hologram technician, taking care of the devices that shine beside the tombstones at a cemetery outside Atlantic City. Then, Zavier, one of the guards at the prison she was held in, barges into her life and reveals shocking information about her brother. The new revelations draw Philly into a web of deceit and danger - even murder - and force her to do the unthinkable: get back into the hacking game.

by Mary Fan

Every student in the galaxy wants to win the A-Comp, an elite cyberengineering contest. 16-year-old Jane Colt is thrilled that her school chose her to represent them in the competition. But not everyone plays fair. After a fellow contestant is sabotaged, Jane is determined to find the culprit and uncover the truth. Her mission takes her into the depths of cyberspace, where she encounters more than she bargained for.

And feel free to check out BNG's website (there are illustrated title pages for each short under the Stories tab) and Goodreads page

Have a great Friday!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Author Stop: Jenny Bravo

On the blog today, we have Jenny Bravo!

1. I am a sucker for porch swings (I grew up on one). Did you always know THESE ARE THE MOMENTS would feature one on its cover?

Yay, that's amazing! I did not know it would be the cover, but I definitely envisioned it when I was writing. When I sent the book off to the cover designer, she came back with four designs, and this one was absolutely ideal. I got the punch-you-in-the-gut feeling and I just knew it was my perfect cover.

2. You're a NOLA girl! What are some of your New Orleans must-sees? {me and the hubs just might be planning a trip there, so this question is for purely selfish reasons...} ;)

I am a NOLA girl! Let's see. I suggest going to the WWII Museum, the Children's Museum, St. Roch's Market and the River Walk. There's so much to see in the city! Make sure to head to Frenchman Street for some local music, and definitely get some beignets from Café du Monde.

3. Pizza & breadsticks or cheeseburgers & fries? 

Hmm. This is kind of tough. Can I just say coffee? I think I'd have to go with pizza and breadsticks.
4. What are three things in your book that you think people will enjoy the most?

Awesome question! I'm going to bullet this one out for you.

 1.  The love story. I still flip back to reread scenes. Without giving too much away, Wendy and Simon are the kind of couple that stay with you. They're the ugly-cry, can't-get-out-of-your-head sort of couple you can't help but love.
 2.  The best friendships. Dear Lord, I love this group of friends. Reese, Wendy and Vivian are in that fun, post-college time where they can't decide if they're grown-up or not. It's fun to watch them figuring it out.
 3.  The sisters. Claudia and Wendy are six years apart with not a lot in common. At first, that is. It's sweet to watch them sort through their problems together, laughing and crying along the way.

5. What is a fav line(s) from TATM?

Okay, I've been mulling over this one. I think my favorite line is, "She looked at him, and he looked at her the way you look at your favorite thing in the world, like he absolutely, decidedly could not get enough of her." It really captures the Wendy/Simon dynamic.

Thank you so much for having me! The book will release on May 26th and is available in ebook and print versions on Amazon.

* * *

There will be a $5 Amazon gift card awarded to one luck commenter! Though plz do follow Jenny @ one of her social media sites.

Jenny Bravo is a writer, singer, and caps lock enthusiast. She writes books, and These Are the Moments is the first one. When she's not writing, she's blogging about writing at Blots & Plots blog. Or singing. Or tap dancing.

You can't go back. You can't go back. You can't go back. Ten years ago, Wendy Lake fell in love with Simon Guidry, who grew up and went away. Now, not much has changed. She's back at home, back from college, almost back to normal. Until Wendy's best friend gets engaged, sending Simon ricocheting back into her life, and leaving Wendy with the questions she's been struggling to ignore. Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, does she even want to?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Brave New Girls: Teaser Friday

Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets publishes June 2015 (and I'm part of it, yay!). It's a YA science fiction charity anthology in which all proceeds will be donated quarterly to a scholarship fund for girls through the Society of Women Engineers. Each Friday in the month of May, I'll be featuring teaser lines from Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets. 


A story of teenage angst, friendship, and dataverse hacking set on a far future Civilization Class vessel. When two young loners team up to investigate a minor mystery, they soon discover they're caught in the middle of someone else's game. The stakes could be a matter of life and death. And courage? Well, courage is Gracie under pressure.

by Leandra Wallace

Sixteen-year-old Viala Chesney keeps her inventions a secret. Because when you're the daughter of a mad scientist who committed murder, it's better that way. The last thing she wants is for people to think she'll turn out just like her father. Not that there are many places to hide when you live on a starship.

Starved for company, Viala invents a way to talk to a boy left in a coma following a shuttle crash. But what she discovers leads her to stumble upon a plot that endangers everyone aboard the ship. And it's up to her to stop the threat - before it's too late.

And feel free to check out BNG's website (there are illustrated title pages for each short under the Stories tab) and Goodreads page

Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Movie Recap

I was super excited when I got this Publisher's Weekly email last week.

I like movies, and so when the literary world is also incorporated, I get super excited! And plus it was about food! I made sure I recorded it the day before, and later on Saturday after watching The Kentucky Derby (yay, American Pharoah! *also, I have not misspelled his name. Oops...*) and getting the kidlet to bed, we settled back in.

Ready. Set. Relax.

{Here you have my beverage of choice. Water. So...plain. And un-vanilla-ly.}

{It's starting! What you cannot see is my thumb pointing at the screen. I swear I'm not about to punch you.}

And... it was okay.

Don't get me wrong, it was cute, and I liked Sam's quirkiness, but it had some major cheese in it. We didn't even watch all of it, turning it off about halfway (my hubs was so relieved). But I did go and finish it later on my own. The back and forth banter between Sam and the detective was fun. I also had a serious case of hair jealousy when it came to Sam's perfect spiral curls. Also, her house. It was decorated so cute!!

I would like to try out this series sometime (there's 18 so far! *TBR pile groans threateningly*), as I do like culinary cozies. And I'm pretty sure the book is better than the movie (as we readers know). Here are two of the covers out of the series that I really like:

There's also a website you can go to if you ever wanted to do a culinary mystery party (found here.) I loved checking this out, it made my book loving/planning get together's heart happy. Though I highly doubt I'll ever throw a Joanne Fluke one, I would like to have a book themed dinner party one day. I would consider it the epitome of my book-nerd status (while my husband would just consider it plain nutty, heh!).

Okay, so there you have it. If you plan on checking out this Hallmark movie, I wouldn't go into it expecting a masterpiece. But if you expect cute with a bit of cheese and lots of yummy desserts to look at, then this will be it!

Do ya'll have any books to movies you recommend? Or major bummers that disappointed you?

Oh, and one last thing before I go, Laura Diamond's ZODIAC COLLECTOR is on sale for just $2.99!!

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance Faire means three things--her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she's going to do things her way. On the eve of the Faire, Anne, along with a reluctant Mary, conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event. Little do they know that it's a literal request.

After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they've invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That's the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac, and the world, will be hers.

Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they'll get a 16th birthday they'll never forget.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Brave New Girls: Teaser Friday

Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets publishes June 2015 (and I'm part of it, yay!). It's a YA science fiction charity anthology in which all proceeds will be donated quarterly to a scholarship fund for girls through the Society of Women Engineers. Each Friday in the month of May, I'll be featuring teaser lines from Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets. 

by Jason Kucharik

Sarah, a sixteen-year-old adrenaline junkie, has a head full of smarts and not a lot to lose. So when a high-ranking military official offers her a chance to join a top-secret program dedicated to cutting-edge technology, she welcomes the opportunity to do something important and exciting. Her job? To use her engineering know-how and improve upon the program's high-tech flight suits, which will be used to patrol the world. But as the program progresses, Sarah realizes that not everything is at it seems. Those in charge, it seems, will stop at nothing to control every aspect of the program - including her.

by Tash McAdam

What would you do if all the lights went off, the doors locked and people started shooting? Abial's not a fighter, but when the alternative is dying, there aren't really a lot of good choices. Street smart and quick witted, she figures if she can just get the electronic doors open, maybe she'll survive. If she had her datapad with her, it'd be a cakewalk, but without her beloved technology to fall back on, well... things might end badly.

And feel free to check out BNG's website (there are illustrated title pages for each short under the Stories tab) and Goodreads page

Have a great Friday everyone!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Stars of Summer Blog Tour

Today I'm hosting the awesome Tara Dairman! The STARS OF SUMMER is the sequel to the fabulous ALL FOUR STARS. I'm excited to read it, as Gladys is such a fun character-- and one who's a foodie to boot! In TSoS, we find Gladys at camp, when she really needs to be scouring New York looking for the perfect hot dog. With these two things in mind, I've asked Tara the following questions!

S'mores or fire-roasted hot dogs?

S'mores are great, but I'll have to go with the hot dogs--especially given the focus of my new book!

Sleeping bag, tent, or a nice cozy cabin?

I've spent time in all three, and definitely pick the cabin.

Relish, mustard, or ketchup?

I'm going to be difficult and say 'aioli.' :)

Crafts or sports?

There's nothing wrong with sports, but I'll have to go for crafts. Especially if the craft involves food and I can eat it when I'm done crafting!

Hot dog in a bun or a blanket?

Oooh, great question. Blankets are flaky and delicious...

Sing alongs or a scary story?

I'm pretty wimpy about the scary stuff, but I don't have much of a voice, either. Sing along wins by a hair.

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Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

ISBN-13: 978-0-399-17069-0
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Release date: May 5, 2015

In this charming sequel to All Four Stars, eleven-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby now has her first published review under her belt and is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley.

As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

Author photo credit: Crowded Studio Photography
Book covers: Kelly Murphy

Monday, May 4, 2015

Exciting Critique Partner Book News!

My lovely and wonderful cp, Kimberly G. Giarratano, has a new book available! And a book on sale! And a new short you won't want to miss! Sorry for all the exclamations, but it's exciting. It's been neat after witnessing all her hard work to see it all coming together for her. She's a stay-at-home mama to three kiddos and I'm in awe of her ability to further her career while still taking care of business at home. You go, girl!

And just look at this cover for LADY IN BLUE: A GRUNGE GODS AND GRAVEYARDS MYSTERY. Isn't it gorgeous?!

The Lady in Blue stole a car and fled Ash.
Out on Devlin Road she emerged from a crash.
She wandered the woods with her head dripping blood.
Then drowned in the river in water and mud.

All her life criminology student Liz Bloom has heard this rhyme, meant to scare young campers. When she's about to take on her first cold case, Liz learns the eerie song is about her great aunt Lana. Liz isn't big on studying, but she does have one advantage most criminologists don't -- she can speak to the dead.

In 1955, Lana Bloom was an eighteen-year-old beauty with Hollywood dreams who fell in love with a stranger. When Lana died in a bloody car crash, all signs pointed to the mysterious man who was never seen again.

As Lana unravels the details surrounding her last week of life, the tale she weaves for Liz is one of desire, betrayal, and murder. If Lana can't identify her killer, not only will a murderer escape punishment, but her ghostly form will cease to exist. And Liz will have failed the most important assignment of all - family. 

And this is her short, ONE NIGHT IS ALL YOU NEED. It's a great read with a bit of sweet and spooky, all mixed in with a Key West setting. If you feel the need to get away somewhere else for a bit, then try it out, 'cuz... it's FREE!!!

As for the next best thing besides free, that'd be on sale. And Kimberly's book, GRUNGE GODS AND GRAVEYARDS is exactly that. It's only .99 cents!!!

If you're interested in any of these deals, please check out Kimberly's bookpage on her website, where buy links are listed. 

And lastly, if anyone would like to help spread Kimberly's good news (which would be awesome!), here are some ready to go tweets. 

Check out @KGGiarratano's newest book, THE LADY IN BLUE: A GRUNGE GODS & GRAVEYARDS MYSTERY. http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Blue-Grunge-Graveyards-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00X042ZSI/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1430670132&sr=8-9&keywords=lady+in+blue

Wanna visit Key West? You can in @KGGiarratano's free short story, ONE NIGHT IS ALL YOU NEED. # free book http://www.amazon.com/One-Night-All-You-Need-ebook/dp/B00UB0QJH2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

GRUNGE GODS AND GRAVEYARDS by @KGGiarratano is on sale! Only . 99 cents! http://www.amazon.com/Grunge-Gods-Graveyards-Kimberly-Giarratano-ebook/dp/B00KPBSGA0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Thanks bunches, and here's to everyone having a great start to the week!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Brave New Girls: Teaser Friday

Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets publishes June 2015 (and I'm part of it, yay!). It's a YA science fiction charity anthology in which all proceeds will be donated quarterly to a scholarship fund for girls through the Society of Women Engineers. Each Friday in the month of May, I'll be featuring teaser lines from Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets. 


Teen science aficionado Fi has made it her duty to protect the honeybees. Not only does she love the little creatures, but her society depends on them for their survival. Something sinister is astir, though, and powerful forces are behind it. With the help of her programmer friend and a surprising ally, Fi sets out to discover the truth and share it with the world.

by George Ebey

Helen's father hoped to find his fortune by sending a robotic rover, controlled from Earth, to mine Mars for precious ores. After the machine is attacked by the Marauders - ruthless rover pirates that steal the caches of others - her family stands on the brink of ruin. But Helen has never met a machine she couldn’t fix, even one that’s fifty million miles away. Though saving the rover - and her family - will take every trick she knows, she's more than ready for the challenge. And she's determined to teach the Marauders how to play fair - a lesson taught at the tip of a miner’s drill. 
* * * 

And feel free to check out BNG's website and Goodreads page. Happy Friday everyone!