Friday, September 28, 2012

BLOGFEST 2012: Check out what's up for grabs

Welcome to Blogfest 2012 hosted by A Journey of Books.  

For my stop I'm giving away an autograph copy of my debut novel, 
EMBRACE, the Embrace hemp bracelet, and bookmark. 
There are six ways to enters.

                                                           Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The next five hops on the tour are:

Happy blog hop!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Challenge

Today's post is in response to Jennifer Lane tagging me for the blog challenge THE NEXT BIG THING. I thought it would be fun to participate and tag five more writers. 

The rules are simple:

Answer 10 questions about my current WIP (Work-In-Progress)
Tag five writers and link their blogs so we can all hop over and read their answers.

The questions:
  1. What is the working title of your book?
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My latest work in progress is almost done, so I'll answer nine of these questions now with the hopes of having the answer to the one I skipped in the next few weeks. Jennifer is answering one question a week, with the hope her WIP will be finished at the end of ten weeks. I think this is a wonderful idea and would follow her lead if I wasn't almost done with mine. Anyhoo, here are my answers:

  • Hold Tight (an EMBRACE book)
  • I had always had an idea of what would happen next in Madison's life, but it wasn't until the positive feed back and readers asking for a second book that I decided to write a sequel.
  • My book is a young adult paranormal thriller/romance.
  • My dream cast is easy, since I already did this for Embrace. Here are the four friends: Emma Watson as  Madison Riley, Selena Gomez as Kaylee Bishop, Kevin Lutz as Isaac Addington, and Ben Jelen's as Josh Corey. 

  • I'm leaving the one sentence synopsis on my to do list. 
  • I'll let you know when I do  :)
  • I was working on more than one book at the time, so I'm going to guess the first draft took six months.
  • Readers who enjoy Sweet Evil, Fallen, City of Bones or Shiver are likely to enjoy Hold Tight.  
  • Readers inspired me to continue Madison's story.
  • In book two, Madison and her friends discover they aren’t the only supernatural beings in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and these new creatures are more dangerous than ever. Let’s hope Madison will be able to hold on tight to those closest to her, because this time she risks losing more than just her friends.

I'm tagging the following five writers for The Next Best Thing Blog Challenge. Tell us about your WIP...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feature & Excerpt: Streamline by Jennifer Lane

I'm excite to be able to share with you this steamy, fun excerpt from Jennifer Lane's newest novel, Streamline. Jennifer is not only an amazing author, but she's one of my pub sisters and I'm thrilled to be able to tell you about her young adult novel...

by Jennifer Lane

Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He's captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother's crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father's abuse, battered and alone. 

Leo's girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida's top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there's an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter-her father-is in prison for murder. 

Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything's on the line . . . streamline.


Darkness shrouded the pool, and Leo led Audrey to the diving well. They kicked off their sandals and stood with their toes curled over the edge. Leo felt strangely self-conscious. A light ocean breeze wafted
across the surface, leaving small ripples in its wake. It was dead quiet.

“I’ve never gone skinny dipping before,” Leo admitted.

“You haven’t? It is the best feeling in the world.” Audrey grasped the bottom of his tank top and lifted it over his head. “It’s a feeling of total weightlessness and freedom.”

“Like going commando?” he asked.

“Um, yeah, I wouldn’t know about that.” Audrey traced her fingers over his chest. “I think I’ll like skinny dipping with you a little better than with Elaine.”

Leo cocked one brow. “Maybe we could call Elaine and invite her? A little three-way action?”

Audrey swiftly shoved him, plunging him into the pool with a resounding splash. She stood on the deck laughing as his head emerged from the depths. “You need to cool off, pervert.”

Leo’s eyes never left hers as he nonchalantly sculled closer to the wall. Quick as lightning, he launched himself out of the pool. She shrieked and sprinted toward the fence, but he soon overtook her. He threw her over his shoulder as she squealed and squirmed.
He headed straight back to the pool and leaped off the deck, crashing their bodies into the water together.

Audrey came up giggling. He kept himself afloat with an eggbeater kick, and she did the same. As she slicked her hair back from her face, her smile faded into a longing gaze. He watched her tongue sweep across her lower lip.

I love this excerpt! It's a great teaser for what's to come!

About the author:
People fascinate the psychologist/author (psycho author) known as Jennifer Lane. Her therapy clients talk to her all day long about their dreams and secrets, and her characters tell her their stories at night. Jen delights in peeling away the layers to scrutinize their psyches and emotions. But please rest assured, dear reader, she isn’t psychoanalyzing you right now. She’s already got too many voices in her head!

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love and empathy. She is the author of The Conduct Series—-romantic suspense for adult readers—-and is currently at work on the third and final installment: On Best Behavior. Streamline is her first foray into writing for young adults, but she’s found this sort of writing even more fun. A former college swimmer, Jen was able to put a lot of her own experiences into this book. 

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and hanging out with her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

Learn more about Jennifer Lane

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe

I'm excited to be able to participate in the cover reveal of Trisha Wolfe's newest novel, Fireblood. Isn't the cover amazing!  

Fireblood: Fireblood #1
Release Date: 2013
From Spencer Hill Press

Book Description from Goodreads:
To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out.

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.

About the Author:
Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk/Paranormal Romance DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing) and the upcoming YA Sci-Fi Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, November 2013. Her published short stories have appeared in YA literary journals, Fantasy magazines, and anthologies. She's written four books in the past two years, and is currently working on a new YA Sci-Fi project.

She the creator of YA Bound, a promotional blog for the Young Adult genre.  Also a proud  member of YALITCHAT.ORGSCWW, and The Apocalypsies.

And she is also a business owner, partnered with her partner, her husband. When she's not busy doing all of the above, she's a wife and the mother of a gorgeous teen boy who's the sounding board for her male characters.

Check out her website for more on her books and short stories. Follow Trisha on Twitter @TrishWolfe

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coming October 6th: OUT OF THE DARKNESS Suicide Prevention Giveaway & Fundraiser!

Hi everyone!

Romance Author, Jessica Dell, and YA author, Sarah Fine, are joining forces to bring you a wonderful opportunity to win cool stuff AND help a wonderful charity.  LOTS of bloggers and authors have donated the cool stuff! To find out more and to see what’s up for grabs, click here.

Do you want get some AWESOME books? Cool swag?

AND help raise money for Suicide Prevention?

Then you'll want to hop over to Jessica Dell’s blog! Where 


Party starts at 12:00 Noon (Sharp! EST) October 6th, 2012
For more information click here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Feature & Excerpt: Twice Upon a Time by James Riley

I'm pleased to welcome James Riley back to my blog. The last time James visited we talked about HALF UPON A TIME, James shared with us how he came up with this laugh out loud series, and told us which fairy tale he'd be transported to if he could choose just one. You can read that interview by clicking here

In TWICE UPON A TIME Jack, May and Phillip are back and in graver danger than before. They get caught in a war between pirates and mermen, hunted by the Big Bad Wolf and a new mysterious villain, and get trapped in the Land of Never, where no one grows up and everyone can eat chocolate all day. And while my first thought is I'd be okay with eating chocolate all day, James has already told me that it's worse than it sounds.

by James Riley

Little mermaids and normal-sized pirates always create the biggest of problems. After the surprise revelations of HALF UPON A TIME, Jack, May and Phillip could use the help of a fairy godmother or two on their search for May's true identity. Only, there might be a snag: The entire Fairy Homelands have been put to sleep by an evil curse, and waking them could be hard. That's only if by hard, you mean escaping from the Land of Never, braving a merman-infested ocean to find a Sea Witch, then fighting alongside the pirate Bluebeard against an army of land-invading sharks with legs, all while trying to outwit one of the Wicked Queen's Eyes who seems to know your every move. So, yeah, a bit hard. 

But what fun would an easy fairy tale be?

TWICE UPON A TIME is the second book in the HALF UPON A TIME series.


The mermaid sighed. "Needless to say, my father wasn't thrilled. In fact, he was so not thrilled with a human stealing away his youngest daughter that he went up after her, took her back, and closed off our world to humans forever."

"That seems a bit extreme," Jack pointed out.

"Welcome to my father," the mermaid said.

I'll be watching for book 3, ONCE UPON THE END. James was kind enough to share the cover and synopsis with us:

by James Riley
Expect release: May 7, 2013

Things haven't been ending happily. (Spoiler) just left to become a (spoiler). (Spoiler) went to live with her Evil Stepmother. And (spoiler) (spoils) (a whole bunch of spoilers)! Is there anything that hasn't been spoiled in the fairy tale world at this point? Especially when we know that between Jack and Phillip, one will betray May, and one will die? ONCE UPON THE END ... if nothing else, "The End" is right there in the title. And that's a promise! 

HALF UPON A TIME                                  TWICE UPON A TIME

Learn more about James and his books
Website | Facebook

I'd like to thanks James for being with us today and for providing the excerpt, cover art, and synopses!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group, September

Hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh

August was a busy month. My agent sent my middle grade ghost story out into the publishing world, I have one or two chapters left of my sequel to share with my critique group and then I’ll be ready to submit it to my publisher, and I’m 40,000+-words into a new project. Add that to my day job and family stuff and I haven’t had time to dwell on the things I’m insecure about.

I’ve been racking my brain for a week now trying to think of what to post today, and I keep coming up blank. So I decided to go with a few random questions and then visit as many IWSG posts as I can. 
  1. Toothpaste: do you squeeze the tube from the bottom or the middle?
  2. Toilet paper: do you care if it rolls from the top or the bottom?
  3. Morning person or evening person?
  4. Shoes on or off in the house?
  5. Reading: if you start a book that isn’t grabbing your attention, do you keep reading or put it down?

 I told you they were random. 

My answers:
  1. From the bottom, most of the time.
  2. Over the top, drives me nuts the other way.
  3. Morning person, although I really don’t like to talk to anyone until after I’ve had a cup of coffee.
  4. Off.
  5. Somewhere around page fifty I’ll stop reading, sometimes sooner if I can tell the story just isn’t for me.

How about you???

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spotlight: And the Crowd Goes Wild!

Today I have the pleasure of having with me the Illinois poets who contributed to the wonderful anthology And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. This collect of over fifty poems is sure to have children cheering!

From rock climbing to lacrosse, polo to ping-pong, and swimming to soccer, this unique anthology pays joyous tribute to a wide spectrum of sports. Fifty poets, representing 10 countries, share a mix of thoughtful and humorous perspectives on all aspects of athletics. A potpourri of poetry styles pay tribute to an athlete’s determination, agony, and exhilaration, celebrate the spirit of spunk and fair play, and more. Award-winning Canadian author/illustrator Kevin Sylvester lends energy to the poems with exuberant pen-and-ink drawings. Here’s a book that’s sure to be a slam dunk for readers ages 8 - 12.

A portion of the royalties from this book will be donated to Right to Play. How awesome is that!!

The book also includes a page called "Poetry Forms and Poetic Devices" that identifies over twenty poetic forms used--a feature I think educators will appreciate and find useful in the classroom. And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems is a book that promotes appreciation of poetry, the Olympics, healthy lifestyles and active participation in sports for children.  

And now for the interview. I asked the Illinois poets to tell me how they got the idea for the poem they wrote for this exciting anthology, and here’s what they said…

Cathy Cronin author of Rock n’ Rappel 

A: I chose rock climbing because it's a fun, challenging sport that has broad appeal.  Once I started brainstorming, the terse verse form really fit the "feel" of rock climbing. 
Then I had the idea to stack the words up, like the reader is climbing a mountain and rappelling down.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out. 

Find Cathy on Facebook | Blog | Website

Eileen Meyer author of The Letter

A: For my sports poem, The Letter, I wanted to combine two interesting themes: first, introduce a situation where a parent is the coach and highlight the awkwardness that may result on occasion, and second, illustrate that we all have had a sports outing where nothing seems to go our way. I was able to weave these two themes together in a humorous fashion in this poem. Volleyball’s fast-paced action provided the perfect setting for this player’s all-too-silly mishaps.

Visit Eileen’s website

Pat Cooley author of King’s Gambit

A: I was inspired  to write a poem about chess in honor of my son, John, who was the MVP of his high school team for two consecutive years.  Chess is an internationally recognized sport that can be played and enjoyed at any age.  

Patricia Murphy author of Ready, Set, GOLD!

A. I've always been fascinated with the thought processes racing (bad pun intended) through athletes' minds as they compete--no matter the sport. Exploring this idea and pairing it with the OLYMPICS theme resulted in my poem for two voices READY, SET, GOLD! Why two voices? I wanted to feature two competitors' voices with one shared goal in mind.

Find Patricia on Facebook | Twitter | website

Claudia Kohlbrenner author of Weighty Matters

A: I confess that I have no particular interest in the sports of wrestling or boxing, so my weight class-related "Weighty Matters" came about serendipitously after I'd tried with no luck to construct a concrete, "wacky wordy" cheerleader poem using the palindrome "pep" in small letters to construct  a visually larger word, "step," ie., cheerleaders have "pep in (their) step." With a concrete poem in mind, I simply scrolled down through many pages of listed sports on the internet until the words "lightweight, "middleweight," and "heavyweight" immediately triggered the visual idea of using different fonts of varying thicknesses to represent each word. "Sumoweight" then popped into my head along with the image of someone underneath that immense poundage which led to my trusty rhyming dictionary providing the word "deflate" for me.

Carmela Marino author of   At the Chicago Marathon

A: Heidi sent out a special call for poems related to the Paralympics, which many people confuse with Special Olympics. As Heidi put it, “paralympians are elite athletes with world rankings in their disciplines, while Special Olympians have mental disabilities.” Her email reminded me of how inspired I felt when I saw Richard Whitehead, an Englishman born without legs, set a new world record at the 2010 Chicago Marathon, and so I wrote a poem about him.  

Find Carmela on Facebook | Blog | Website

Michelle Schaub author of Mono Skier

A: My grandmother spent her entire adult life in a wheelchair, and she often felt frustrated at being labeled disabled because she was a woman of many talents.  I wanted to write a poem that focused on the ABILITY in disability.  I chose the sport of mono-skiing because I was inspired by the courage and determination of paraplegic skiers, and I wanted to capture the thrill of accomplishment felt in flying down a mountain side. 

Find Michelle on Facebook | Blog

Heather Delabre author of The Master Dance: A Poem for Two Voices

A: This poem was born of a lively debate among friends: one friend who loves football, and another who loves formal dance. The latter friend was expounding on how football is a brutish, ugly, violent sport with no redeeming qualities. The former was saying that dance is not a real "sport" and that it's "lame and ridiculous." As I listened to this conversation, it struck me: football and ballet are so amazingly similar, actually, and the athletes involved in both train extremely hard. So, the poem was born. :)

Thanks to these wonderful poets for being with me today! And congratulations on your new anthology! 

How do you purchase
And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems?
I’m glad you asked! See below for the links…

     And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems
     Paperback (color): Available through FriesensPress, Ingram, and  booksellers worldwide
     ISBN: 978-1-77097-953-6

     And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems
     E-book - PDF file (color): Available through various online booksellers worldwide
     ISBN: 978-1-77097-954-3

Meet the editors of this great book:

Carol-Ann Hoyte, co-editor
Carol-Ann is an emerging Canadian children’s poet. Her poems appear in School Magazine Australia, (England), Stories for Children (United States), R.E.A.L. Magazine (Canada), Anansesem: Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine (United States), and Sheree Fitch’s book, Breathe, Stretch, Write (Pembroke Publishers, 2010). When she is not immersing herself in poetry, she works full-time as assistant librarian at a boys’ private school. Carol-Ann loves novels in verse, limericks, and riddle poems and lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Heidi Bee Roemer, co-editor
With nearly 400 poems, articles, and stories in various children’s magazines and anthologies to her credit, Heidi is also a song lyricist and children’s book reviewer. Her debut book, Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems, (Henry Holt, 2004) received starred reviews and was nominated for the Monarch Award, Mockingbird Award, and Great Lakes’ Great Books Award. Her newest books are What Kinds of Seeds are These? and Whose Nest is This? Since 1995, Heidi has voluneteer in various capacities for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; most recently as Assistant Regional Advisor in Illinois. She is a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and currently serves as a writer-in-residence for several Chicago Public schools. “Heidi Bee” has visited hundreds of schools and libraries; her instructional yet playful poetry presentations inspire students to become better readers, writers, and poets. Visit Heidi's website.

To learn more about Carol-Ann and Heidi, check out these interviews:
You can join the fun! Check out the ATCGW Launch schedule below:

Wed., September 26 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Mokena Library— Wendy Asbridge
11327 W. 195th Street
Mokena, Illinois 60448

Tues., October 16 at 7 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop—Candy Purdom
123 W. Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL  60540

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. 
The Arlington Heights Library—Lynne Priest
500 N Dunton Ave.
Arlington Heights, IL

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m
The Magic Tree Book Store—Iris and Rose
141 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park IL, 60301

Thurs. Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Selwyn House School
95 Cote St. Antoine Rd.
Westmount, Qu├ębec  H3Y 2H8

Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
The Toronto Public Library
(Northern District Branch)
40 Orchard View Blvd. (2nd floor)
Toronto, ON M4R 1B9
Thanks for stopping by!