Guest Post: Erica Cameron, author of the new YA release, SEA OF STRANGERS

How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference or Convention

Since I started writing in 2007, I have queried agents, gone on submission to editors, and attended dozens of conferences. Each experience has its own set of rules and expectations, and conference and conventions can be the hardest of them all to navigate if only because there’s far less information available online for them. Today, I have four points to help you make the most out of your next conference or convention.

 

Be aware.

 

There are hundreds of writing-related events all across the country. Some have particular focuses—SCBWI, for example, is a wonderful organization for those writing for children and teens—and others are going to be broader in scope and scale. Research organizations that match the genre you write in and see if they host any annual conferences. Pick the one that will help you learn and grow in your genre as much as possible. Those will also be the events that put you in contact with the people you need to meet.

 

Be prepared.

 

Once you’ve picked which conference you’re attending, start doing research on the attendees. Who’s speaking? Are any agents or editors taking pitches? What does each agent or editor specialize in? What were their recent sales or acquisitions? It doesn’t usually do much good to try selling a dark sci-fi series to someone who specializes in light-hearted women’s fiction. For agents, check out their submission guidelines and create a printout you can bring with you. If you’re meeting with editors and can’t find any submission guidelines, having one chapter and a one-page summary of your book is usually a good place to start. However, it’s expensive to travel. Agents and editors usually have to cram everything they need for the conference or convention into a small bag. It’s hard for them to carry stacks of printed pages and materials home with them again. A business card, though? That’s absolutely doable. Even if you’re coming as an aspiring author, it’s not a bad idea to have business cards. They should include your name, email address, the genre you write in, and any applicable website or social media information.

 

Be respectful.

 

Agents and editors come to conferences to find new talent. That is specifically why they’re there, so it’s okay to approach them with questions or to start a conversation. The thing to remember is respect. It’s business, yes, but they’re also people with lives outside of publishing. Don’t expect hours of attention. Try not to interrupt if they’re in conversation with someone else, though joining a conversation with a group is often fine if you have something to contribute. Whatever you do, don’t try to pitch a book in the bathroom. It sounds obvious, but it happens far more often than it should. I know this because industry professionals talk. They tell stories at events about all of the ridiculous, rude, and outlandish interactions they have had with authors in the past. Good stories won’t be passed around like office gossip, but a bad interaction absolutely will.

 

Be open.

 

Opportunity slips up beside you unexpectedly sometimes, but the only way to take advantage of the moment is to take every chance offered. In 2015, a group of young adult authors organized a lunch during RT, and I ended up sitting next to a debut author named Kate Brauning. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she was also an editor with Entangled Teen. That casual conversation sparked a second, more in-depth discussion, and eventually turned into a three-book deal for my young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles. At the same convention, a panel appearance I did attracted interest from another publisher, and after another conversation and a proposal, I sold the Assassins duology to Riptide’s YA imprint Triton Books. The point is that you may go to an event intending to pitch to one person, but you never know who you might end up talking to. Be open to talking to those around you and ready to discuss what you’re writing, and you never know what a single conversation could bring.

 

Aboutthebook

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About Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles, #2):

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

 

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About Erica Cameron:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: ByEricaCameron.com

Author Blog: ByEricaCameron.com/wp/blog/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ericacameron

Newsletter: http://byericacameron.com/wp/newsletter/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/byericacameron/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/byericacameron/

Author Tumblr: http://byericacameron.tumblr.com/

 

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Review: COWBOY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE by Lori Wilde {giveaway}

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COWBOY, 
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

A Twilight, Texas Novel

by
LORI WILDE
  Genre:  Contemporary Holiday Romance
Date of Publication: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Avon 
on Twitter  ┃ on Facebook
Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde’s Twilight, TX Christmas novels are beloved for their emotional depth and ability to capture the sweetness of the holiday season. In her latest Twilight, Texas novel, COWBOY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the holiday season is once again full of romance and surprises.
Everyone in town knows that Christmas in Twilight has a way of bringing lovers together . . . but will its magic bring this pair from “I won’t” to “I do?”
Wearing a too-tight “Santa Baby” costume held in by a double pair of Spanx, Paige MacGregor runs headlong into a gorgeous, grey-eyed hunk of a long, tall cowboy. And not just any cowboy, but country-western star Cash Colton, visiting Twilight to perform in a charity concert. Most women would melt at his feet, but Paige knows all-too-much about self-assured men with cocky attitudes, so she tells him to get lost.
Cash is in town, nursing his own broken heart, but Paige has knocked him off his feet. He’s convinced she’s perfect—someone to inspire his music and share his now-empty bed. True, he’s not marriage material, but he’s determined to convince her that they’re perfect together—at least for a while. But what he doesn’t count on is falling in love with the one woman who isn’t about to give him the time of day!
“When it comes to striking exactly the right balance between sweet and sexy, Wilde has the equivalent of perfect pitch.” — Booklist 

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Review

Lori Wilde >>>> Twilight, TX + Christmas = MAGIC

I knew before I even got started how wonderful this book was going to be, and I was blissfully right!

Paige MacGregor returns home to Twilight for a new start after a conman scams her out of her money and steals her identity.  The last thing in the world she wants to do right now is hook up with some cocky, self-absorbed male.  But meeting Cash Coulton makes it very hard to remember that.

Cash is in Twilight to perform a charity concert, after taking a hiatus from his music career.  He’s not looking for love, but he can’t control the feelings he gets for Miss Paige MacGregor and the fact that she has awakened his muse.  Her playing hard to get just makes him want her even more.

All he wants to do is convince her to give “them” a shot.  With a little trust and a whole lot of Twilight magic, love is their Christmas surprise.

What can I say about Lori Wilde and the TWILIGHT, TX series that hasn’t already been said?  Country charm.  Cowboys with Heart.  And Twilight is the place EVERYONE wants to visit.  The one thing you can guarantee when you pick up one of her books is that you’ll get that warm-fuzzy feeling all over, and close the book with a sigh and a smile.  As far a Christmas stories go, COWBOY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE is one of the best I’ve read.  With all the magical charm of the rest of the TWILIGHT, TX series all wrapped up in festive Christmas decor, it will keep the hearth burning long after the last page.

HIGHLY recommended for romance readers who love a feel-good story, or any of you Hallmark channel watchers out there.  You’ll be happy you read it.  You’ll be grabbing up the rest of the series.  And you’ll be trying to figure out just how to get to Twilight, TX.

 

 

A fifth generation Texan, Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 82 works of fiction. She’s a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award and has won numerous other awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University, and a certificate in forensics. She is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor, and runs a yoga/creativity retreat for artists at Epiphany Orchards in Weatherford, Texas, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Ten Winners Get Print Copies of 
A Wedding for Christmas
December 9-December 18, 2017
(U.S. Only)

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/9/17 Promo Reading by Moonlight
12/10/17 Review The Librarian Talks
12/11/17 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
12/12/17 Promo Missus Gonzo
12/13/17 Review The Page Unbound
12/14/17 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
12/15/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/16/17 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
12/17/17 Review Momma on the Rocks
12/18/17 Promo Margie’s Must Reads
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Author Spotlight: Margaret Brownley – CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS

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CHRISTMAS 
IN A COWBOY’S ARMS
with stories by
ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY, 
LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT, AMY SANDAS
  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 512

Scroll down for the giveaway!

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 The Beating Heart of Christmas
In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from these bestselling authors.
Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.
*Chick-a-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner * The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday * A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley * Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood * A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt * A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas*

PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS: 
“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” RT Book Reviews, Top Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” Kirkus for Linda Broday


“A great story by a wonderful author.” ― #1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley


“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood


“The perfect read.” RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt


“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” Kirkus for Amy Sandas
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author story spotlight

MARGARET BROWNLEY, AUTHOR OF A TEXAS RANGER FOR CHRISTMAS

Included in Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms Anthology

About A Texas Ranger for Christmas:

Texas Ranger Cole Bradshaw would gladly risk it all for the woman he loves. If only he could gain her trust…
Sadie: Anyone I should notify? A wife?”

Cole: (recovering from a bullet wound) “Not married.”

Sadie: “If you’re smart, mister, you’ll keep it that way.”

                                      – A Texas Ranger for Christmas/”Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms”

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INTERVIEW WITH MARGARET BROWNLEY

 

Why did you choose to write romance?

I love writing romance novels because every theme known to mankind can be explored through the action of two people falling in love. I also like that romance lends itself to every possible sub-genre from paranormal to thrillers, and many of my western romances include mysteries.  I also love writing happy endings and what’s a romance without a “happily ever after”?

 

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I like to tackle serious themes with humor.  A Texas Ranger for Christmas is about learning to trust again after devastating loss.

 

How has Texas influenced your writing?

Everything about Texas is big and bold and that’s how it must be written.  Just using the Lone Star state as a setting makes me want to write characters that are big and bold, too.

 

Where did your love of reading come from?

I grew up in the dark ages without computers, cell phones or video games.  Our main entertainment was books.  My late-night habit of reading under the covers with a flashlight caused me to fall asleep in school. This made teachers wonder about my health. I didn’t know it at the time, but all that reading taught me the elements of good storytelling and helped me to better understand human nature.

 

What cultural value do you see in books?

Readers are exposed to many different viewpoints, cultures and ideas. I’m convinced that is the best way to learn tolerance.  Unfortunately, screen time has replaced reading and I believe that’s one of the reasons free speech is now in danger.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the willingness to listen to each other has declined in recent years along with book sales.  Books have a way of teaching us to be more open-minded, and they do it in the most delightful way.

 

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

My perfect writing spot would be an office smack dab in the middle of a beach.  My actual writing spot is in my Monet purple office, surrounded by research books and seated on a balance ball chair.  This way I can convince myself that I’m actually exercising while I write.

From my window I can see the Santa Susanna mountains where many old-time westerns were filmed, including Duel in the Sun, Bonanza and The Lone Ranger.  I swear that sometimes when the light is right, you can see a cowboy riding off into the sunset.  It’s a relief to know that according to a University of Minnesota study, a chaotic work space encourages originality and thinking outside the box.  I can now happily forget about cleaning my office.  

What projects are you working on at present?

Right now, I’m working on a new series, “Haywire Brides.” Cowboy Charm School is the first book and it will be out in the summer of 2018.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty novels and novellas. Margaret is a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap.  She is currently working on a new series.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

Rosanne Bittner
Linda Broday

Website * Facebook *  Twitter * Goodreads

Margaret Brownley

Website * Facebook *  Twitter * Goodreads

Anna Schmidt

Website * Pinterest *  Twitter * Goodreads

Amy Sandas

Website * Facebook  *  Twitter * Goodreads

Leigh Greenwood

Website * Goodreads

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

December 1-December 10, 2017
Four Winners will each get a prize pack which includes Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms + another book(s) by one of the authors.  Three of the packs will also include a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
(U.S. Only)
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/1/17 Christmas Memories Hall Ways Blog
12/2/17 Review Books in the Garden
12/3/17 Spotlight on Amy Syd Savvy
12/4/17 Review Bibliotica
12/5/17 Spotlight on Anna Missus Gonzo
12/6/17 Spotlight on Linda Margie’s Must Reads
12/7/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/8/17 Spotlight on Margaret The Librarian Talks
12/9/17 Spotlight on Rosanne Tangled in Text
12/10/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
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Interview: Amanda Ashby, Author of new YA Release – THE HEARTBREAK CURE

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Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

From my parents. Both of them were great readers and so I grew up around books. When I was ten my dad handed me The Hobbit and basically said, “if you don’t like this book, then we’re going to have a problem.” He also would take me to the bookshop every Saturday and buy me the new Trixie Belden as soon as it came out. While my mom would tell me about how when she was a child she’d get in trouble for reading books under the sheets using a flashlight – which of course just adds that bit of danger every child reader needs to be totally hooked!!!!

They also never censored what I read so it never became a chore or something that I didn’t want to do.

How long have you been writing?

I published my first book, You Had Me at Halo ten years ago and I started writing seriously about seven years before that. Which is crazy because every time I start a new book it still feels like I’m just getting started – such is the joy (and terror) or writing!!!

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write YA, middle grade and romance books, which sounds like I’m split in a few different directions, but actually I write them all pretty much the same way (though some books have less kissing in them!)

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

I LOVE this question!!!! My spiritual practice is hugely important to me and when I’m not reading YA books I’m reading self-development and spiritual books because that’s what I’m drawn to. I meditate and practice mindfulness (and even try very hard not to kill bugs – though that’s a tough one because bugs are ick!!!)

However, I’d never want to write a book where I’m preaching or trying to teach people a lesson, because that sounds the polar opposite of fun, not to mention hard work! However, my core belief is in the transforming power of love. So, my writing is all about characters who are being pushed out of their comfort zone and forced into transformation as they fall in love and become open-hearted.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I love being ridiculous and I’m a sucker for a good one liner so my writing is always light-hearted with some silly side character shenanigans!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This was one of the easier books I’ve ever written and my favorite part was chapter one. I hadn’t even been thinking about a YA romance and then the chapter almost fell onto the page (which is such an annoying thing to say, I know!) I just really liked Cat’s character and the fact she was sitting under a tree wearing her pyjamas, and that image really drove the whole story.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Ursula Le Guin and Raymone E Feist are some of my all time favorite authors – and I re-read their books all the time. They all create such amazing worlds that make it hard for me to leave. And while my own books don’t really reflect these books in setting, tone or world building (hahaha – or anything) they have all inspired me to step into being a storyteller and to keep learning the craft!

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

When I first started writing I did a short course that was very dry. It gave me lots of character interview sheets and lots of rules of what I should and shouldn’t do and it almost turned me off. In the end the most useful thing I did was to just start writing. And the more I wrote the more I figured it out – and I still did lots of courses and reading along the way, but it was by starting the book that I actually began to work out my own system (which never includes character interviews – so if you ask me what Cat or Alex’s favorite color, I couldn’t tell you!)

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer and this works best for me. I have been a full time writer before and discovered that if I have too much time on my hands I just figure out strange and interesting ways to use that time up (and not by writing). It sometimes involves the internet, sometimes it will be meeting up with other authors and talking about writing instead of actually doing it, and in one very low moment I even resorted to cleaning the oven! These days I schedule in my writing into shorter spaces and while my oven is no longer shiny, the words do flow better. For the rest of my time I help other authors manage their journey on the creative path and also work in a library.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I’m a part time children’s librarian, which, if you’re going to have a day job is a pretty great one to have! And honestly most of the time it doesn’t feel like work at all. I get to hang out with kids and send them home with huge reading piles, while also having great conversations with their parents (because I LOVE parents who make it a priority to bring their kids to the library). It really is such a joy to be part of someone else’s reading journey!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read lots of YA, Fantasy and self-development books. I’m currently reading Into the Wilderness by Brene Brown and Warcross by Marie Lu

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m writing a middle grade series called Midnight Reynolds, under the name Catherine Holt and I’m just about to start book three. Plus I’ve got some women’s fiction small town romance books coming out next year, which I’m about to dive into!

What do your plans for future projects include?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a YA single title and so that is something I’m planning to do.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

There is actually something magical about water and I do a lot of my thinking in the shower and when I’m out walking! But as for daily habits, I must confess that I don’t have a writing desk. Instead I take my laptop and follow the sun around the house! In winter I’ve been known to write in bed. Right now I’m at the breakfast bar because that’s closest to the coffee!!!! Every now and then I attempt to train myself into staying at a desk but so far it hasn’t stuck!

What book do you wish you could have written?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Um, wow! I love that book so much!

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Naming characters is so much fun! There are lots of baby name sites that will break it down by popular names for each year, not to mention meanings. Some of the less obvious places are movie credits. For some reason the people who work behind the scenes in movies have The Best Names Ever!!!! I’m constantly finding cool ideas in the credits. Also, thanks to being in the library I get to meet young kids all the time who are rocking amazing names. I enrolled a young girl the other day whose name was Stevi and you can bet that I’ll be using that one sometime soon!!!

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Can I steal from Buffy? Her tombstone in season 6 read: She saved the world. A lot.

What literary character is most like you?

I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and I’d like to say I was Elizabeth Bennet but I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m more of a Bridget Jones!!!

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Italy! When I was backpacking through Europe we went through Italy on the way to Greece and on the way back and for some INSANE reason, we never stopped there. That’s something that needs to be fixed. And I really want to visit New York City! I

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A red panda. Those guys are soooo cute.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Too funny! I’m from Australia but have lived in New Zealand for a long time, plus in my husband’s home town of Liverpool, England (the land of the Beatles). So I have a very weird accent. I would trade it in for a nice English accent any day of the week!

Aboutthebook

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About The Heartbreak Cure:

How to get over a heartbreak:

Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.

Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer. 

Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend. 

Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.

After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she’s fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time. 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a swoony bad boy who will melt your heart, brownies, and witty banter. One, two, or all three might prove addictive…

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abouttheauthor

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About Amanda Ashby:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

Author Links:

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.ashby.501

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoramandaashby/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandaashby501/

Guest Post: Heidi R. Kling, author of the new YA Release, WHERE I FOUND YOU

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Writing About Underrepresented Groups in YA Fiction

WHERE I FOUND YOU takes place after the historic tsunami of 2004. The tsunami, a series of powerful waves that killed thousands of people, happened on December 26, “Boxing Day”. The fact that such an astounding tragedy occurred around Christmas greatly affected me and my husband, and he got a group together and flew to Indonesia, on his own dime, to help the many orphans with their PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

He came back a changed man.

Back then, disasters weren’t as plentiful, and we certainly weren’t suffering from any form of “disaster fatigue” In fact, most of us had no idea what it would be like to survive a nature disaster. I wanted to write a book that personified the tsunami. I wanted to create characters, like Titanic did so successfully—we cry because we love Jack and because Rose loves Jack, not because of a historic ship sinking— to bring a disaster to life in a way that profoundly affected the readers.

The fact that Deni is Muslim is almost an afterthought in the book, and this is what I wanted.

If the tsunami had occurred in Japan, perhaps he’d be Buddhist, or have no religion at all. If the tsunami occurred in Greece, he might be Greek Orthodox.

Religion comes up when Sienna and Deni explore the temple. Here we learn about all the major religions in the world sharing almost an identical origin story (most people in the world do not know this) and how we are all much more alike than we sometimes think.

Deni is Muslim because he was born in Indonesia.

Sienna is a child of hippies because she was born in a coastal hippie town.

What binds us together and attracts us to other people transcends religion, culture, background, race etc. and that’s what I try to convey in WHERE I FOUND YOU.

Thanks for reading!

☺ Heidi

Aboutthebook

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About Where I Found You (Sea, #1):

After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call. 

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami. 

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her. 

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again. 

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

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abouttheauthor

heidirkling

About Heidi R. Kling:

Heidi R. Kling writes about normal young women in not-so-normal situations – books that beg the question: what would I do in her shoes? Heidi majored in literature and creative writing in college and in grad school, where she earned her Master’s in Creative Writing from The New School in New York City. She’s honored to be included in New School Writing Program’s 2015 list of faculty and alumni. She works too much, reads a ton and is way too dedicated to serial TV (The Affair and Homeland are her faves) and dark chocolate. She lives in the California Bay Area with her lovely husband, two children and shaggy dog, Sailor Lily, right over the coastal mountains from the sea. She’s very grateful.

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Author Links:

Author Website: http://heidirkling.com

Author Blog: http://heidirkling.com/blog

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HeidiRKling

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Review: THE SECRET ROOM by John Alexander {giveaway}

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THE SECRET ROOM
(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by
JOHN ALEXANDER
  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book
Date of Publication: October 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 159

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Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.




PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

 “The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

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Review
Wholesome Fun, for Middle Grade Girls or Boys, who love a good Mystery.

In a continuation of the Amber-Autumn chapter book series, we dive into the mysteries of historical East Texas through the narration of the youngest of the two siblings, Autumn.  The two curious young girls find adventure in solving the mysteries they encounter in Historic Jefferson and the Bed and Breakfast where they are staying.

What a great little book.  I enjoyed following the story of these two siblings through their adventures in the historic town.  In similar fashion to the great MG mystery series, the two inquisitive girls find one mystery after the next, keeping the reader’s attention going from one page to the next.  The photos added to the book add a perfect touch to give the reader a feel for the setting and mood in the story.  Quite fascinating to the adult reader, I can only imagine more so to the child reader.  Although it is book four in the series, it reads well as a stand-alone.

Highly recommended for your middle grade/upper elementary readers.  Mysteries always keep the reluctant reader turning those pages.

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.
After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
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Review: TOO FAR DOWN by Mary Connealy {giveaway}

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TOO FAR DOWN
Cimarron Legacy Book 3

by
MARY CONNEALY
  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 322

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With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.
When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?
PRAISE FOR TOO FAR DOWN
“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly 
“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews
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Review

A fine blend of suspense, action and romance, all wrapped up in classic Western fashion.

Cole Boden might have been raised on the Cimarron Ranch, but he left that behind for Harvard and a refined life on the East Coast.  Family duty has begrudgingly brought him back home to the New Mexico Territory and his new endeavor owning and running the gold mines on the family property.  Until he spends time with Mel, that is…Melanie Blake is the daughter of successful ranch owner, and a lifelong friend to the Boden family.  She’s 100 percent cowgirl, but finds herself falling for “city boy”, Cole.
The Boden family is fighting to save their ranch, and their lives from an outside threat.  Mel is determined to help Cole save his family, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way.
Another hit by Mary Connealy.  The story has the perfect amount of action and suspense to keep the pages turning. The story picks up after the Boden family has been targeted by kidnappers and several members of the family shot, in multiple attempts at their lives.  Cole is trying to make his way in back home by running the mine when the “bad guys” blow it up and try to shut it down.  The romance picks up naturally and develops as the two characters work together to find out who is fixed on ruining the Boden family and taking Cimarron Ranch.
I enjoyed getting to know the Boden family, and the romance between the main characters.  I did feel a little lost at the beginning, not having read the first two books, since I didn’t know much about what transpired previously or about the other Boden family members.  I’d suggest grabbing the first two books, because it looks like I missed some good stuff there!
I highly recommend TOO FAR DOWN to lovers of great Western romances.  You’ll be flipping those pages faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind!

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

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Review: :LAMAR’S FOLLY by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr

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LAMAR’S FOLLY

by
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
  Genre: Texas Historical Fiction
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
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Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Mirabeau Lamar seeks nothing less than a Texas empire that will dominate the North American continent. Brave exploits at the Battle of San Jacinto bring him rank, power, and prestige, which by 1838 propel him to the presidency of the young Republic of Texas and put him in position to achieve his dream. Edward Fontaine, who works for and idolizes Lamar, vows to help his hero overcome all obstacles, including the substantial power of Sam Houston. Houston and Lamar are not only political, but personal enemies, and each man regards the other with contempt.
Edward’s slave Jacob likes and admires his master, but cannot share his hatred of Sam Houston. The loyalties of both Jacob and Edward are tested by President Lamar’s belief that a righteous cause justifies any means necessary to sustain it. Lamar becomes infatuated with a married woman who resembles his deceased wife. He sends the woman’s husband on the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition, the failure of which humiliates Lamar and provokes a crisis in his relationship with Edward, who in turn jeopardizes the trust that Jacob has placed in him. Edward laments the waste of Lamar’s genius, while Jacob marvels at the hypocrisy of both men.
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Review
Growing up Texan gave me a certain deep-rooted respect for its history.  It’s like that with just about every Texan.  Just ask one.  So, given the opportunity to read/review a piece of historical fiction featuring this subject was not only an opportunity to read a story, but my duty as a Texan (I know, I know.  You’re rolling your eyes.  Seriously, go ask another Texan, and you’ll get the same thing.  It’s just how we are.)
I love a good fictional account of a period of history I know a lot about, and LAMAR’S FOLLY delivered.  As any good fictional account of real events should do, the story left me guessing.  Who were these people REALLY?  Texas history is always larger than life, as are the stories of the major players, such as Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar.  LAMAR’S FOLLY gave these characters back a semblance of realism, with character flaws and personality that the history books just can’t teach.  It was fun to imagine these men, especially through the alternating point of view of Edward Fontaine and his slave, Jacob.  What I really enjoyed was seeing what each character perceived from the same situations, each with their own notion of right and wrong, and each with their own hope for the future.  The alternating point of views gave this story the perfect balance of realism, keeping Fontaine’s aspirations from taking over the story with Jacobs straight-forward accounts of what he witnessed and felt in reaction to the same situations.
If you change the setting and characters of the story to another place in history, the story remains the same.  It’s the timeless story of ambition, pride and jealousy causing the ruin of a country, much like Napolean Boanaparte (how strange that Lamar’s shares this surname as his middle name).   Mirabeau Lamar, though portrayed as modest and humble at the start,  fed off the rank and power he gained as he climbed to the Presidency of the Republic of Texas.  This power was fueled by his disdain and all out contempt for the popularity of Sam Houston in the new republic.  What happens with the expedition to Santa Fe is the result of his ambitions for more power and his need to show up Houston, thus turning the outlook of a young nation very dark, and causes rifts in the foundation of his power, his relationships.  Poignant.
I recommend LAMAR’S FOLLY to anyone who likes a good historical fiction, but especially to those Texas History buffs who like to do a little bit of “what if” from time to time.
 
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr is the author of several titles, including Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas, winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts Award and a True West Best Western Book.
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Review: ONE NIGHT IN SIXES by Tex Thompson

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ONE NIGHT IN SIXES
(Children of the Drought, #1)

by
Tex Thompson
  Genre: Epic Western Fantasy
Publisher: Solaris
Date of Publication: July 29, 2014
Number of Pages: 464

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 Appaloosa Elim is a man who knows his place.  On a good day, he’s content with it.

Today is not a good day.

Today, his so-called “partner” – that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has ridden off west for the border, hell-bent on making a name for himself in native territory.  And Elim, whose place is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn’t dare show up home again without him.

The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day, but Elim’s heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

If he ever wants to go home again, he’d better find his missing partner fast. But if he’s caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh – and discovering just how far he’ll go to survive the night.

The first book in an epic fantasy Western series, One Night in Sixes tells the story of the fragile peace between the industrialized east and the indigenous west – and how it threatens to fall to pieces when two strangers cause a terrible accident. Recommended for fans of the Western mythos of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the post-war frontier dynamics of Firefly and Deep Space Nine, and the multicultural fantasy realms of Ursula K. LeGuin.

PRAISE FOR ONE NIGHT IN SIXES:

“Clearly written and engaging” – Publishers Weekly

“This author can really write. If you loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series – or even if you’re a hardened Cormac McCarthy fan – you will find this book right inside your wheelhouse. Living, witty dialogue, and a familiar-yet-strange world inhabited by vivid characters. I loved it.” – Paul Kearney, author of The Ten Thousand, Hawkwood and the Kings, and A Different Kingdom

“Sixes is a tinderbox of a town with tensions just waiting to go off – and Sil and Elim provide the match to set the volatile town ablaze.” – GCE

“One Night in Sixes tears the covers off the Western and Fantasy genres and turns them into something that will grip you from the first page to the last.” – Rebellion

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Review

Complex. Unconventional. Fantastic.

Incredibly rich world-building, and characters that are both familiar and fantastical drive this wild ride of a story by Arianne “Tex” Thompson.  In true fashion of the masters, the traditional Western fiction genre unfolds on the pages as the author skillfully weaves it into a setting of epic fantasy proportions. Sixes is not your typical town on the Frontier.  And things are much, MUCH stranger than you could have expected from a traditional Western trope.  

Not an easy or quick read, and it takes a large chunk at the beginning of the book to get the dust stirred up, good and proper.  But lovers of mixed genres or complex and unconventional fantasies will want to give this one the patience to get past it.  The writing is brilliant.  Highly recommended.

Arianne “Tex” Thompson is a home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for exciting, innovative, and inclusive fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris. Now a professional speaker and instructor for the Writers Path at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex is blazing a trail through writers’ conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic, relentlessly enthusiastic one-woman stampede.
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Guest Post by Christina Mandelski, author of the new YA release, THE FIRST KISS HYPOTHESIS

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Don’t Let Rejection Win!

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today!

I’d like to spend some time talking about rejection. It happens in love – like in my new release The First Kiss Hypothesis, and it happens in life too, especially if you’re in a creative field.

My book, about a girl who trusts that science will find her true love, and the boy who plans to prove her wrong, comes six long years after the release of my first YA novel, The Sweetest Thing. There were a few manuscripts shopped around in those interim years, which were subsequently rejected, and this led to lots of self-doubt.

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As in love, writing rejection can be devastating, paralyzing, and cause you to eat way more cake than anyone ever should.

And reader, I did.

Over the last six years, I’ve often wondered, what is it like to face rejection as say, an accountant?

Like, maybe your boss comes around and tells you your columns don’t add up? I don’t mean to make light of accountancy. As someone who can barely do math, I have huge respect for anyone who can make sense of it – but maybe there’s a comfort to knowing that if the numbers don’t add up, you can always re-work them.

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Not so in writing. If you write a manuscript that no one wants to buy, re-writing is always an option, but it’s not a guarantee. Yeah, that’s depressing. Which is why, if you are determined to see your story published, I highly recommend these three steps:

  1. Surround yourself with encouragers.
  2. Keep doing the work.
  3. Be open to new things.

I am lucky to have in my corner an amazing critique group. I’ve been with them for over a decade now, and we read, comment, edit, assist, chime in, and yeah, we eat cake too. It’s been important for me to have this support system. When our members sell a book, celebrating those sales gives me hope, reminds me not to give up. I also have a few other author friends who will willingly and honestly read my work if I need them, and I have fabulous agent, Danielle Chiotti, who never, ever lets me throw in the towel.

These last years of bubbling self-doubt bring me to bullet number 2 – keep doing the work. Write, write, write and don’t stop, don’t give up! I don’t think you have to write every single day, that’s a lot of pressure. But I do think that the more you write, the more likely you are to be published, and the more often you will be published.

Finally – if you are a writer – be open to new things! When my agent first suggested that I try writing category romance – I wasn’t sure. I’d written a contemporary YA with some romance – but all romance, swoon and heat? I didn’t know if that was for me.

After some thinking, I decided to take a chance. Long story short, I love it! I love working with Entangled – my editor and the staff are fantastic. I love the challenge of writing a fresh and fun romance, and because I was willing to give it a shot, I have a new book out – and another two in 2018!

I know it’s hard to do this job. There are days of woe, and days of pure joy. Today, I’m celebrating a new book, tomorrow I may write 1,000 terrible words that should all be deleted. The important thing is to focus on the successes, the possibilities. Celebrate the little things, like the days when you write a hundred beautiful words that can stay right where they are. When that happens – throw yourself a party – and make sure there’s cake!

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And always, always, just keep writing. Good luck!

Thanks again for having me!

 

Aboutthebook

9781640633568

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About The First Kiss Hypothesis:

Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction. 

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing. 
Game. On.

Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.

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abouttheauthor

christina-mandelski

Christina Mandelski loves to bring the characters in her head to life on the page. When she isn’t writing, she spends time with her family, working as a substitute teacher, eating (sweets, usually), traveling and reading (preferably under an umbrella at the beach).  Chris lives with her husband and two daughters in Houston. You can visit her at www.christinamandelski.com

 

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