Friday, December 20, 2013

At Year's End~

I think it’s always good to take a moment, now and then, to look around yourself, see where you’ve been and where you’re going, to appreciate what you’ve achieved, and to consider new goals you’d like to reach for. 2013 was a good year for me in many ways.
Hush Puppy was published by a small press and I self-published The Last Page, the final Storyteller book. I marketed all my books online with a lot of support from fellow writers and bloggers. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate their help. I attended several book signings, which gave me the opportunity to talk with readers. And then my manuscript Vessel was offered a contract with Month9Books. That was probably the best feeling of all.
I also met my weight loss goal in 2013. I had no idea I could do it, but I’m telling you, exercise is the key. And I mean the kind that makes you sweat, the kind that makes you feel tired when you’re done. If you aren’t sweating, it isn’t going to help you lose weight. For 2014, I intend to stay at my goal weight, which means remaining vigilant over what I eat and how much I exercise. It’s so easy for it to sneak back up on you. Curse you, Starbucks!!
In 2014, my writing goals include working on Vessel edits and getting my manuscript The Color of Water into shape for submission. After that, I’d like to start a new book. I have a few tiny seeds of ideas knocking about in my pocket, but I need to plant one and water it a bit more to see where it goes. Vessel is due out in early 2015, so I’m sure I’ll be gearing up to market it this time next year. I’ll be blogging here and there, but right now I feel like hibernating! I’m so ready for a long winter’s rest.
I also want to read more books in 2014. I tend to read books like a writer now, looking for tips and tricks and voice. I’m always searching to see what I can glean from each author. I did pretty well reading more books in 2013, but I’m sure I could do better. And I want to continue to write on a regular basis, most every day if I can.
How about you? How was your 2013? How will you make 2014 even better?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life A.D. Blog Tour Stop Today~

Today, Michelle E. Reed is visiting the blog to tell us about her new book. Welcome Michelle!

Tell me a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…

Thanks for hosting me on the Life, A.D. blog tour, Lisa! I’m a young adult author from Wisconsin, where I live with my husband, son, and our yellow lab, Sully. Since childhood, I’ve been surrounded by creative people—my dad was a photographer and filmmaker, my brother is a musician, and I even married into it (my husband is an indie filmmaker, too)! It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s, however, that I really tried my hand at writing. I started with a few screenplays, but three scripts in, I just found I wasn’t really made for script writing. In 2008, after my son was born, I really felt driven to try my hand at writing a novel, and began working in fits and starts at what would become Life, A.D.

Tell me what genres you write and why?

I write young adult speculative fiction. It’s a really exciting genre to be a part of (and a big umbrella, so it’s easy to throw yourself into that category without pigeonholing) and it gives my creativity the most latitude to run free. I think I was drawn to it simply because, through trial and error, I found it to be the best fit. It’s the genre in which I’m best able to create worlds. YA drew me in because I’m pretty good at listening to my inner teenager. We’re on good terms. Your teen years are such a turbulent time in your life, full of all sorts of amplified emotions, and it’s a group I love to write for. You just feel more when you’re a teen, and if you can connect with that, it’s a great accomplishment. I love the challenge.

What's your latest book about?

Life, A.D. is the story of seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly, who dies in a car crash in the early spring before high school graduation. Her unprepared soul is transported to Atman Station, the crossroads of the afterlife. She discovers that she’s stuck in a limbo state of existence, where she’ll stay until she learns to let go of the life she no longer has, and accept her death. Dez is thrown into a harsh new existence of strict rules, relentless staff, and a group of fellow teens thrown together by fate. Atman City is a beautiful, strictly forbidden temptation lying just outside the confines of the station complex, where adventure and danger await.

What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?

I love fish out of water stories. I really enjoy throwing characters into worlds that are foreign to them and watching them struggle to find normalcy in the unfamiliar. In Life, A.D. my protagonist Dez is this sensible Midwestern girl who gets tossed into a whole new existence where nothing is sensible. She fights against a reality she doesn’t believe in, and you get to watch her try and come to terms with what, to her, is impossible. I think the reason I like writing these sorts of stories is that I find it rewarding to watch my characters struggle and grow.

When creating characters for your books, how do you go about it?

For Life, A.D., Dez just came to me, and I knew I needed to help her. She was all alone in a terrible, terrifying situation and needed a comforting figure. So those are the characters who came to her first. I knew she needed a friend in those first pages, so I came up with Sam. But I couldn’t have Dez too comfortable, because that’s boring. She needed to be thrown off her game, so as the need arose, the right characters came to mind. I tried to find balance in my characters between a few good friends, and plenty of antagonistic (or those who, at first, seemed that way) types who would challenge her.

What advice do you have for a beginning writer?

I think the most important thing is to find other writers and share your work. Write every day, and read every day. Critiquing the work of others will make you better in your own writing. If you put everything else aside and write with love, passion, and an informed mind, you’ll produce your best work.

Another piece of advice I have is this: be willing to be wrong. By that I mean, don’t get so wrapped up in how your story ought to be that you ignore good advice. Be open to feedback and willing to learn.

And keep going!

Is there anything else you’d like to mention? (i.e. where you get your inspiration?)

Inspiration can come from anywhere, so you need to always be seeking it out. I’m forever looking at the familiar in new ways, and posing what-if scenarios in my head. I try to always see possibilities in the seemingly mundane, because it can lead your mind down creative roads and just might kick start the next great idea.

The beginnings of my upcoming novel, Life, A.D. came to me while listening to a song I’d heard a hundred times before. In a moment of considering the familiar in a new way, I was open to receive the first glimmer of what would become my debut novel. In that case, what came to me was, what if the spirit of this departed soul is sticking around because they don’t know how to move on?

You never know where creative thinking may lead you.

~Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!  Best of luck with your book~


Title: Life, A.D.
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Genre: Young Adult/Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Month9Books
ISBN: 9780988340916
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Formats: eBook and print
In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.
Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.
Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.
Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.
Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.

 Connect:  Website | Twitter |  Facebook | Goodreads

Tour Date:
December 9 - 22, 2013
Link to the Tour Schedule:

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links: 
Giveaway Information:
·        -  Three (3) ebook copies of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (International)
·         - One (1) signed paperback copy of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updates from the Storyteller tour~

The Storyteller books have been making stops all over the internet and there's even a few reviews.
Take a peek below and don't forget to click here to enter the giveaway for a free set of ebooks~
They'd make a lovely gift this holiday :)

About Book I: The True World
I loved Lily. She was a little childish, but very innocent, good-natured and a generally nice person. She’s a daydreamer too, the kind of person who’s always elsewhere with their thoughts, and this gets her into trouble more than once, but also made her rather charming. Peter gets bonus points too for being a supportive friend, even if everyone else was making fun of Lily.
The story was great, with a nice plot, awesome characters and a lot of humor and fun. The fantasy world we encounter in this novel is filled with faeries, elves, and all sorts of other magical creatures. There were plenty of plot twists, and the writing was decent too. An excellent read for middle graders and young adults.

 About Book II: The Quest of Galamar
I loved Lily and Peter in this adventure. They’ve grown a little, matured a little, since the first book, especially Lily. They have an unique, caring friendship that I found very charming. Even Heather has some endearing qualities here, although I continue to dislike her for how she treats Lily some of the time.
The characters may be loveable, but it’s the fast-paced plot and thrilling adventure that urges the book forward. I loved the True World, which is described well and sufficiently detailed to picture it, and the many creatures inhabiting it. There was always something new right around the corner, and when you thought the story would go one way, it twisted into another direction.
A great fantasy read. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get started on the third book in this series.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Interview with Scott Craven, author of "Dead Jed: Advenures of a Middle School Zombie"

Today I've got Scott Craven, author of Dead Jed from Month9Books here for an interview. This books looks like something my zombie-obsessed second grader would love!

Tell me a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…

I was a high school sophomore in search of an elective when I saw that Journalism 1 was offered right before lunch, just the gap I needed to fill. I loved to read but cared little for writing at the time. And as the class went on, I still was disinterested in writing, yet the class would lead to a journalism career that now is in its 35th year. Over the years I’ve heard journalists talk about how they were motivated by a need to tell the truth, to defend the downtrodden, to pursue ideals leading to a better America. But the first time I saw my name in print in the high school newspaper, I was hooked. Turns out I was just 30 years or so ahead of my time when it comes to fashionable self-obsession. (Full disclosure – I am no longer motivated by ego, I swear).

 Tell me what genres you write and why?

 It seems I write in middle-grade speculative, which I had no idea was even a genre when I started writing “Dead Jed.” Even as I dashed out the first chapter, I had no idea who might be interested in such a story. Turns out it’s children in 4th through 7th grades, an audience that seems so narrow. My hope is the book will catch on with parents. Ideally the child asks them to read the first chapter, and adults get such a kick out of it, they grab it after the child’s in bed and continue with the story.

 What's your latest book about?

 My latest, and only, book is narrated by Jed Rivers, a pretty normal 13-year-old whose limbs may fall off when he gets nervous. He had no idea he was a zombie until he blew out candles on a cake, and his lips rocketed into the frosting. Now he is entering the scariest year of anyone’s life – seventh grade. And he has to do it as a zombie. The school bully does what school bullies do, and starts to take Jed apart piece by piece. Fortunately for Jed, all he needs is duct tape and staples to keep it together. He spends his year fending off bullies while teaching students that not all zombies shuffle around eating brains. Some of them just like to fit in, maybe play some football.

 What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?

 As with the genre, “Dead Jed” was not about certain themes. But as writing progressed, the bullying subject came through loud and clear. The second book continues that theme, though Jed is much more confident about himself as he’s learned what it means to be a zombie. I hope young readers take from the book that being different is nothing to be ashamed of. Differences are to be celebrated, because they are what makes us who we are, lending to individual talents that can make the world a better place.

When creating characters for your books, how do you go about it?

 As protagonist, Jed is the most flawed of the characters. Not because he is undead, but because he fails to realize his capabilities by not embracing who he is. As such, Jed needed a strong supporting cast of friends. I also tried to give depth to the bully because cardboard figures are too easy to knock down. 

What advice do you have for a beginning writer?

 Simple. Read and write. Then write and read. “Dead Jed” is my first attempt at a book, and I am told I am very lucky because most authors have a handful, if not a dozen, of unsold manuscripts scattered about their homes. But I’ve been a writer for 35 years. Rather than unsold manuscripts, I’ve had thousands of stories published in newspapers. I write seven days a work, either for work or on my own. This week, for example, I started a story on a physician who happens to be a nun (or a nun who happens to be a physician) that runs a medical clinic for homeless people. On weekends I work on the blog, or marketing for the book (this interview, for example). The more you deal with words, the better you will get. At some point you will find your voice. Congratulations. Success will come any moment now.

 Is there anything else you’d like to mention? (i.e. where you get your inspiration?)

 Don’t tell anyone, but some of the worst things that happen to Jed happened to me in seventh grade. Thrown head-first into a trash can? Check. Allowing the bully to copy off my test to avoid getting beaten up? Check. Stuffed into a display case? Check. Seventh grade was a miserable year. There were days I just wanted to stay in bed. But my only regret was that I never told anyone how I felt. I suffered in silence, made it through, and went on to bigger and better things. But if I’d leaned on a friend, or a trusted teacher, or my parents, I wouldn’t have had to face that alone. It’s true I can look back and laugh at it all, especially through Jed’s eyes, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to go through anything like that again.


Publication date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-0-9
ISBN eBook: 978-0-939765-56-7
Author: Scott Craven

Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed's not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being 'different' for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend's sister's birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.

From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully's “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys' room (Jed's always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he's back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed's had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it's awesome what you can do when you're already dead!

Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.

Link to the Tour Schedule:

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:

Giveaway Information:
·        Three (3 ebook copies of Dead Jed by Scott Craven (International)
·        One (1) signed paperback copy of Dead Jed by Scott Craven (US only) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 2, 2013

Meet Guest Author John Abramowitz~

Today I've invited young adult author, John Abramowitz, to guest post on the blog about his paranormal romance series.  The books will be discounted December 2-10 on Amazon, with the third book coming out on December 10.  I'll let John tell you about them~

For the first few chapters of Weaver, Book 1 of The Weaver Saga, readers might think they're delving into a young adult paranormal romance. The book starts out in familiar enough territory: shy, socially isolated girl meets the boy of her dreams. But from the moment I started writing, my plan was to take this well-worn plot device and twist it into something terrifying. My fifteen-year-old protagonist would meet the boy of her dreams, all right--but the dream would be about him killing her. And rather than a romance, readers would get a thriller. (Though there are plenty of romantic elements for those looking to swoon.)

There were two reasons for the bait-and-switch. First, I'm contrary by nature. When I write, nothing makes me happier than defying reader expectations and genre conventions. The last thing I want is for a reader of mine to say "Oh, I know where this is going"--and then end up being right. Predictability leads to boredom, and if my readers are bored, I'm not doing my job right.

The other reason is that I'm tired of abusive love interests in young adult fantasy fiction. I will admit up front that this is a genre that I watch more than read. I watched The Vampire Diaries until it jumped the shark completely during season 4 and still keep up with its spinoff series The Originals. Until it was cancelled, I also enjoyed The Nine Lives of Chloe King. And maybe it's just me, but when the first thing a character does onscreen is assault someone who's done him no harm (as happened in The Nine Lives of Chloe King), that character should have no chance as a love interest. At least not without some serious rehabilitation first. Similarly, a character who puts his hands around the throat of the woman who is carrying his child (as happened in The Originals) should immediately lose all chance of winning over the girl of his dreams. And I don't think snapping the neck of your lady love's younger brother should be an aphrodisiac, either. (The Vampire Diaries, season 2, episode 1.)

I wrote The Weaver Saga, as much as anything else, to question whether writers should hold up such characters as ideal partners for young women (or role models for young men seeking to "get the girl"). An attractive monster is still a monster. At the same time, though, there's a reason that the "bad boy" character gets re-used so often: "dangerous" and "sexy" often do go hand-in-hand. And sometimes bad people really do find a measure of redemption, so I didn't want to discount that possibility, either. I tried to look at the issue from all sides.

Oh, and I threw in an FBI agent and a secret society and some superpowered kids, too. Just for extra fun. If I haven't scared you away with all the parentheses in this article, I invite you to give Weaver a shot. Buckle up--a new kind of young adult fantasy awaits.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Book Giveaway from UncommonYA~

We are a collective of YA authors who have come together to spread the word about the newest, bold, gritty fiction. Our genres include realistic, contemporary, historical, magical realism, and paranormal--with a healthy dose of suspense woven through all of them.
For an early Christmas gift Uncommon YA is offering YOU the chance to choose your prize. Click on the titles below to learn more about each one.
You can add it to your Goodreads shelf while you're there!
WARNING. It will be a tough choice choosing just one to win!
Sliding on the Edge *NEW RELEASES*

6 people will win their choice of the selected titles.