Monday, August 25, 2014

Newbie Nick


All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone's help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money.
Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his "job" a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau. 
But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick's problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like "Newbie Nick" doesn't help, either. 
Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar? 

Buy Link

Interview:

1. I write because…What else am I gonna do? Sure I knit, but writing is a creative outlet that has no pattern, no rules, and no boundaries. I write to (hopefully) entertain, inspire, and to make others think. We all have something to say – something to share – and writing is how I do both, best. When I was once told an article I wrote helped that person (it was a slice-of-life, inspirational article on depression), I knew what I was meant to do.  My words, my work, helped someone, and from then on, I knew why I had to keep writing – no matter what.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?  Chocolate chip. Good ‘ole tried-and-true. Can’t go wrong with that?
3. Plotter or pantster? A bit of both, but mostly pantster. I need the freedom to let the story go where it will. Sure, there has to be a bit of framework, but I just….go.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? For my teen books, I love to write about a good guy who has just had his world turned upside down, he toys with a dark side, but learns right from wrong and comes out a better good guy – but with an edge.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? I love both. I love the good ‘ole tried-and-true hamburger (just like a chocolate chip cookie), but sometimes I need a bit of an adventure – sushi gives me that.
6. Name three things on your desk. Post-it notes and pen, my cell phone, my watch (because I can’t write with my watch on)
7. What books have influenced your writing style?  Young adult books Janet Gurtler and Susane Colasanti, as well as women’s contemporary  by Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella (I love humour)
8. Tell us a little about your book. Blurb: When 14-year-old Nick Zinsky secretly busks for money on the downtown streets, he soon learns that keeping his "job" a secret is harder than he thought.

All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone's help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money. 
Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his "job" a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau. 
But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick's problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like "Newbie Nick" doesn't help, either. 
Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar?

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? If you want something bad enough, you’ll do it - no matter what. No matter who tries to bring you down; no matter what the ‘next guy’ is doing. Fear is the biggest obstacle – if you can beat it, and you will if you want something bad enough (starting/finishing a book, sending it out, starting a new projection despite ‘rejection’) – you can do anything. Just take a deep breath and dive in.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I just finished another novella for teens about a high school guy, Luke Hannon, who, upon dealing with the aftermath of his girlfriend’s attempted suicide, questions loyalty – from friends and teachers, and most of himself.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.  Top five books: Marian Keyes ‘Under the Duvet’ anthologies; Sophie Kinsella’s  ‘Can You Keep a Secret’; Janet Gurtler’s ‘If I tell’; Jane Eyre; and the thesaurus (yes, the thesaurus).


Excerpt:

"Whatcha doin'?" 
I stopped playing and looked up. Even though I was wearing sunglasses, I had to shield my eyes against the sun. 
It was that little girl again. 
"I'm playing the guitar." I wasn't about to be a rude jerk to her, but I didn't have much time to talk. She hung around me yesterday, but was too shy to talk. Her dad, or uncle, or whoever from the shop next to me kept a watchful eye on her, peeking out the store door every few minutes. 
I figured if I ignored her, she would go away. Traffic wasn't busy on the street, which meant less noise, but the sidewalks were busy with tourists and shoppers. If I was gonna make some decent cash today, I needed to keep playing, but not with the attention of a little kid. 
I had just started strumming, remembering how my grandpa taught me to place my fingers, when she spoke again. 
"Why are you playing?" she sing-songed. Her whiny voice bugged me. 
How do you explain being a street busker to a kid who looks like a kindergartener? 
As she picked her nose, some guy threw a dollar into my guitar case. 
"Thank you!" I called out. 
Some might laugh at getting only a dollar, but it all adds up. Not only was I saving money for a sleek guitar for me, but also a necklace for my mom. And I didn't consider what I had been doing all summer as charity. She always worked hard for us, and taking nothing for herself. I wanted to do this for her and was determined to do it all on my own, without help. I worked for every dime I got. My mom always says money doesn't matter when you have people in your life that care as much as they do. Whatever. 
I looked at the little girl, stalling to think about how to answer. 
"Jessica, are you okay?" Her father or uncle or whoever called from the store. 
"I'm fine, Daddy!" 
Oh, so that's her dad. When I first started coming downtown at the beginning of summer, he would scowl at me from the store's doorway. I was afraid he would call the police, but he didn't. I always try to move spots, but there are only so many sidewalks I can use. I have to be seen and heard, but I also have to be careful to not be seen by anyone I know. 
Her dad went back inside. Jessica was still waiting, so I gave the easiest answer. "I want to buy a guitar and one day play like my grandpa." 
"Whyyyy?" This time she sat down on the sidewalk beside me. 
I strummed a few chords. The people passing by ignored us. I was losing business chatting with her. I figured I would just get my story out quick. I knew she wouldn't care and probably wouldn't tell anyone. And besides, a little twerp like her wouldn't understand, anyways. 
Sweat dribbled down my back, and I knew the peanut butter and jam sandwich in my backpack was gonna be warm and soggy. 
I looked at her again. "Because he was the best guitarist ever. He was a music teacher and taught me how to play when I was a little kid like you." Before I knew it, I was babbling on. "If I want play like him, to be like him, I need my own guitar." 
I barely registered that someone had thrown in a few coins in my case as I kept talking. "Someone stole his old guitar from my grandma's house, and I haven't been able to play unless I borrow a guitar from school. So I want my own." I stopped. Why had I gone on and on like that? 
"Doesn't he play the guitar anymore?" she asked, as if I hadn't rambled on about any of the other stuff. 
"He died a while ago." And I miss him so much, I wanted to add, but didn't. I didn't want to sound like a freak, even if only to a stupid little kid. 
"Is he in heaven?" She looked fearful for a second. 
"Yes, he is," I said, and she sagged in relief, as if worried he wasn't. 
She picked at a worn edge of the guitar case, looked at the money inside, and then said, "Why don't you work at a store to get money? If you have a store like my daddy, you could make lots of money!" 
She was really starting to get on my nerves, though I couldn't blame her for my frustrations. I strummed again. After being without a guitar for a year, not only had I gotten rusty and lost my touch, but I had forgotten how playing made any mixed-up feelings disappear. 
But it was missing my grandpa that had me wanting to play again. My grade nine music teacher, Shark, had loaned me a guitar for practicing on the weekends. He knew my mom couldn't afford to rent one. But it wasn't enough for me. I wanted my own. I hated not having something to play during the week, and I hated feeling like a charity case and borrowing one. 
So when summer came, Shark secretly loaned me the guitar for the summer. The school wouldn't approve if they knew. Even though having a guitar with Mattheson High School in black ink down the side of it wasn't exactly cool, at least I could play. But if Shark knew what I had also used the guitar for, I don't think he would exactly approve either. 
Jessica still watched me. Waiting. 
I gave in. "I can't get a job because I'm fourteen, almost fifteen,” I was quick to add. “Maybe next year I can get a real job. But for now, my mom won't let me. She says school is too important." Just thinking about it was starting to irritate me. I had to get rid of the kid somehow. 
In a nice, fake, happy voice I said, "Hey, I think your dad is calling you. I think you better go now." 
At the mention of her dad, her eyes widened and she jumped up. She stared at me for a moment, and then skipped away. Thank God. 
A leaf fell at my feet, reminding me I didn't have much time left. Soon the crappy autumn rains would start, and my days of busking downtown would be over, along with days of making money. If I wanted to play, if I wanted a guitar of my own, I had to make money. I had already put down $50 toward theperfect guitar I had on layaway at Mike's Music store, but I had a long way to go. It was a vicious circle—playing a guitar to make money to play a guitar. It sounded stupid thinking about it that way, but it was true. 
But none of that mattered right at that moment. 
Because as I looked up, I saw him. My sweat from the summer sun turned to ice. 
It was that stupid jerk, Beau, from school. 



About the author:

Like many authors, Lisa McManus started writing at a young age. When she was nine-years old she wrote a sci-fi/horror story about an acid-spewing spider that attacked her in her sleep—it would be her first and last story for many years. Although the story was never published and eventually met its fate in the garbage dump (paper recycling wasn't around back then), the seed was sown.
Her love of books started when her dad read her The Bobbsey Twins At Big Bear Pond when was too little for such big novels. Within time it was Judy Blume who kept her up well past her bedtime—"Just one more chapter!" An outgoing teen by nature yet a reclusive bookworm at heart, her summers were spent on her back porch reading everything from Nancy Drew to Sweetdreams teen romances (it was the 80's!), to Agatha Christie and Danielle Steele. Her library card took a beating—the path to the Richmond Public Library in Richmond, BC was well worn.
Although not very academic and not destined for the accelerated classes in school, some teachersomewhere along the way must have seen something in her homework for in grade eight, and much to her surprise, Lisa was placed in an advanced English class—with all the "smart kids." There she stayed for the rest of her high school years: dissecting novels, conjugating verbs, and writing essays—which she all secretly loved. She won an award for best poem in grade 12.
But the writing bug hadn't bitten her, yet.
Soon married life and motherhood became her world, but books were still her passion and escape during those busy years. Then, eventually, her deep-seated writing-spirit finally surfaced when her second son was two years old. A slice-of-life story she wrote on a whim was accepted in a local parenting magazine. The call from the editor is something she will never forget.
And from there it started.
Multi-published in magazines locally and internationally, as well as in numerous anthologies such asChicken Soup for the Soul under the name Lisa McManus Lange, her slice-of-life stories of humour, wit and inspiration have been drawn from the world around her.
As a mother to two teen boys, it only made sense to write for kids and young adults—but it took her a while figure it out. It was only upon reading countless young adult novels in recent years - stories that speak to her teenage self - that she started to find her place in the fiction writing world. With a nudge from a fellow young adult author, she wrote Newbie Nick, a novel geared towards 12–15 year olds.
While juggling her family of three men, her office job and her writing world, she also blogs at www.lisamcmanuslange.blogspot.com.  You can find info about her young adult books at www.lisamcmanus.com  or write her at lisamc2010@yahoo.ca


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Genie and the Sandman

Blurb:
After an exhausting journey through an alternate dimension, Payton Wren and Logan McCullough thought they'd finally found their way home only to discover three glowing moons shining down on them from the sky. In this new world, Logan and Payton both discover surprising things about their families that endanger the possibility of returning to their own dimension. To top it off, she learns she has the ability to grant wishes—an ability much coveted by federal agents, who will do anything to obtain the secrets of the well.
When the pair is only one wish away from returning to their own world, they instead have to jump to a new dimension. But will this one kill them before they have a chance to discover what powers she has that might help them?

Buy Link
 

Excerpt:

 My hands gripped into fists as I let rage sweep over me. I welcomed it. It cleared my mind and allowed me to focus. The heat of my glare, if it became a physical thing, would surely have burned through the driver, who regarded me solemnly.
He tucked the gun he held into his belt behind his back and then raised his hands to appear gentle. "I didn't want any of this to happen, kid."
His voice might have sounded contrite, but there was no mistaking the cold, determined look in his eyes. Those eyes spoke volumes to me. Telling me things he would never speak aloud. Whatever it took, no matter who or what got in his way, he would have his answers. The precious well was all that mattered. Several deep breaths later, I asked the fateful question. "Is he dead?"
"Not yet. But he will be if he's not taken to a hospital right now."
"Then take him."
He regarded me thoughtfully. "You're pretty broken up about a guy who turned you in to the feds."
"I know you can grant wishes, and disappear."
"Oh, I can do a lot more than that," I baited him, making my voice soft and mysterious. "I can take you places you can't even begin to imagine. Make your wildest dreams come true." I crept as close as I dared, lest I be sent whirling through space again. From where I now stood I could see the pitiful, strained—but welcome, all the same—breaths Logan took. Faint hope remained. Hang on!
"That's a big promise you make, considering I only get three wishes."
So, he did know the rules. "I am not from this place, this world." Time was running out for Logan, and I had to talk fast.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I am not the Payton Wren from this dimension. And that is not the same Logan McCullough." He appeared intrigued; I could tell by his gleaming, beady-eyed, rat-faced look.
Come closer little rat. Take the bait.
"We came here through a tunnel by the graveyard. It leads to other worlds, other dimensions. There's so much more to all of this than just a lousy wishing well. It's the find of the century. Just think of it."
Come closer...
"It's not true. It's too fantastic to be true."
But a magic wishing well was believable? "I can prove it."
"How?" He practically rubbed his hands together in glee. Closer...
Now was the moment of truth. The time to see if what Logan and I had talked about could actually be done. "You need to make a wish. A very special wish." I crossed my fingers that he would take the bait.
"I don't want to waste a wish. I could make one right now, and you couldn't stop me."
"True. But before the words are out of your mouth, I'll disappear again. You've seen me do it; it's another one of my powers. Next time, I won't come back. If I did, it would be too late. Logan would be dead. There would be no point." I let him stew on that for a moment. "Your choice. All I'm asking for is one wish."

Interview:
1. I write because…    My mind's always been filled with stories and characters.  As soon as I get something down on paper, another bunch takes over, vying for attention.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?     White chocolate chip cookie.
3. Plotter or pantster?      Definitely a pantster.  I love to experience the action as my heroine/hero lives it.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?   I love to write about young women. How they face and overcome difficult situations and discover an inner strength they didn't know they possessed.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?      Burgers for sure.
6. Name three things on your desk.     Picture of my boys. Notebook. Laser light to distract the cats.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?     I love to read historical fiction and romance.  My home library overflows with books by Jude Deveraux, Philippa Gregory, Margaret George, Elizabeth Chadwick, Anne Easter Smith, and Diana Gabaldon.
8. Tell us a little about your book.  Genie and the Sandman is the second book in the series 'The Diary of Payton Wren' about the adventures of Payton and Logan being trapped in a mysterious tunnel, which leads them to different worlds, and their struggles to find their way back home.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?     Write every day, and read anything/everything you can get your hands on.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?    I'm currently working on a ghost story about a young woman who is being audited by the government for her 'ghost busting' tax deductions. The only way to legitimize her 'right offs' and her business is to take the handsome auditor on a ghostly mystery with her to a creepy old house.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.

Books: Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. Remembrance by Jude Deveraux. And Eternity by Maggie Shayne.


Born in Ontario, Julie Parker began her writing career at an early age, creating her first stories as soon as she could hold a pencil. She still lives in Ontario, with her husband, two teen-age sons and two cats.
Julie began writing novels while as a stay at home mom raising her two sons. When her youngest son began grade one, Julie returned to work, spending six years at the neighborhood library, which reinforced her love of books.
She has dedicated a lot of her time to reading about and researching the paranormal and medieval times—her favorite era—and developing her own stories. Her first short story was sold in November 2009, followed by several contest wins and more contracts.
Julie loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at parkerjulie84@yahoo.com, or visit her web page http://julieparker.yolasite.com/ .


Someone You Already Know

Title: Someone You Already Know
Author: Sarahbeth Caplin
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Find on Goodreads
Two teenage girls, two experiences with sexual assault: one committed by a stranger, the other by a relationship partner. Neither girl quite believes the other when she shares her story: wasn’t she ‘asking for it’ by walking home alone so late at night? Why didn’t she just end the relationship if he really treated her that way?
Someone You Already Know is a raw, emotional book that explores the impact of rape culture on modern society. Told in alternating perspectives from two survivors, it unpacks the common myths of sexual assault, revealing important truths that every woman needs to know.
Less than three months now until graduation. I’m “buckling down,” as Mom likes to say, mostly because the distraction of Wuthering Heights is keeping me from losing my mind. I took the novel with me to Starbucks today, intending to read more than what was assigned for the week so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
But lo and behold, a familiar face is standing behind the counter today. “Trevor, what are you doing here?”
I wish I could take it back immediately after I say it. I mean, come on. He’s standing behind the counter wearing the signature green apron; of course he’s there because he works there. I’m surprised he doesn’t roll his eyes at me when he confirms as much. His smile remains warm and inviting, as it always has. “What can I make for you, Katherine?”
“Just a plain latte, please. No flavors or anything.”
“No flavors? You know, you can tell a lot about a person by how they like their coffee–”
“Well if you’re implying that I’m dull and boring, I guess you might be right.” I plunk my money on the counter, and chastise myself for such elementary flirting.
Now he rolls his eyes. “Not what I meant to say,” he replies, but he’s still smiling. As he hands me back my change, he says, “I have a break coming up. Is it okay if I talk to you for a bit? I only get fifteen minutes.”
My first instinct is to refuse, but fifteen minutes won’t kill me, I guess. The drama of Cathy and Heathcliffe will wait. “Sure, why not.”
Five minutes later, he is sitting across from me in a velvet chair. He smells heavily of espresso, which is to be expected, but that plus the hint of cologne is making my nostrils twitch. Oh well, fifteen minutes of breathing through my mouth won’t kill me either.
“How are you, Katherine?” he asks.
Surprisingly, I don’t mind this question coming from him. Probably because I know he actually means it, whereas everyone else asks because they feel they have to. It’s because of this that I feel comfortable answering honestly: “I’ve been all right. A little stressed. I’m just really looking forward to graduation.”
“Yeah, me too. This town is a little small. Know where you’re going to college yet?”
“Still deciding. You?”
“Same.”
The flow stops short. I do appreciate him asking how I’m doing, but small talk still annoys me like nothing else. He doesn’t want to hear about colleges; neither do I. Do I do it? Do I take the chance to be honest about what’s really going on in my life? Well, there is one benefit if I do: he could be completely freaked out by my transparency and go back to avoiding me, thus getting rid of all these conflicting emotions I have about giving dating a chance someday. The longer I am left alone, the more time I have to delay making a decision. Healing is my top priority now.
I decide to just go ahead and take the risk, see what happens. “I’m sort of having a fight with Elisabeth.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Oh?”
I stare into my cup. It’s easier to be honest without making eye contact. “Yeah. She was involved with this guy for a while, and she broke up with him because she says he didn’t treat her right. I guess I just don’t understand…I mean, if he was as bad as she says, why didn’t she leave him sooner? She’s a smart girl, you know?”
“Ahh.” I look up and notice that he doesn’t look about to run away. He actually seems captivated. “Well, I don’t know anything about the workings of the female psyche. So I won’t hazard a guess for why she didn’t leave him. Not to defend this guy if he really was a jerk, but being the guy in a relationship is a lot harder than women think it is.”
I feel my defenses tightening, and for a split second I wonder why in the world I thought talking to him was a good idea. But I can’t help it; I’m intrigued by his statement. “Really? Enlighten me, because in my experience, women are the ones who are unfairly judged and labeled when they don’t deserve it.”
Wow. I actually sound like I’m defending Elisabeth now. What is going on here?
Trevor leans forward. “I have an older brother who went out with this girl he met at an animal rights rally. She was a feminist–a real piece of work, in my opinion. No offense. Anyway, she would always get really defensive about anything Thomas would do for her that was nice: holding doors open, pulling chairs out, helping her with her coat. Stuff I always thought you were supposed to do. But Kelly…man, she really hated when he’d do that. They broke up after two months because she was so radical, and I know my brother is a good guy.”
He shook his head. “I think it’s sad and funny the way women expect men to treat them with respect, but never give them a chance to do so because the media conditions them to assume we’re all predators. I’ve held doors open for women and gotten yelled at for it, because you know, they’re more than capable of opening their own doors. That’s actually what happened the night of that party. I saw a girl struggling to get through the door here at Starbucks with an armload of books, and she chastised me for treating her like she was made of china when I offered to help. So that’s why I was such a jerk to you that night. I was really angry.”
And here I thought that my issues would scare him off. I feel like I should be angry by his assertion that most men are misunderstood. I feel like I should be telling him to spend a day in my shoes, see how the tables are turned.
Surprisingly, I am calm and curious. “Okay, so maybe men are unfairly judged at times. But as a male, the world isn’t a scary place for you as it is for women. We live in a world where a woman is blamed if she’s attacked while walking alone and wearing a skirt, because ‘she should have known better.’ It’s not the same…”
“Looks like men and women are both victims of injustice then. All of humanity sucks. Let’s drink to that!”
I laugh, in spite of myself. “You know, maybe you’re right.”
His smile morphs into a straight line suddenly. “Regarding Elisabeth…” He stares into his lap, wrings his hands uncomfortably. “If women are taught to assume the worst about men–because you know, we’re all bad guys–well, the way her boyfriend treated her wouldn’t have shocked her much, would it? She probably thought whatever he did was normal. Think about it.”
Once again, he leaves me speechless. He stands up before I can think of how to respond. “My break is over,” he informs me. With that, he places a tentative hand on my shoulder that actually feels caring, not threatening. “We’re not all bad guys, Katherine,” he says. “I think most of us are assholes only when prompted to be. Not by default.”
I’m still speechless as he re-ties his apron and returns behind the counter.
Beth holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Kent State University. It was during college that she first saw her name in print as a columnist for her campus newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater. Now living in Denver, Colorado, she can be found in various microbreweries when not chained to her laptop working on future books.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

At the Edge of the World


I’m going to admit something: I don’t really read YA.

It seems counterintuitive, I know that, to write YA while not reading it. YA wasn’t big when I was young—you went from middle-grade/kids’ books onto adult books around 12/13. I started reading Mary Higgins Clark in seventh grade. By high school, my favorite books were by Kurt Vonnegut and Jack Kerouac. I didn’t want to read about people my own age, I wanted to imagine the adult life I wanted to lead.
YA has become much more popular, and broad, since I was a kid. I think that’s fantastic, but I’ve had a hard time with reading it, still. I’ve read the Hunger Games series and the Divergent books (both series my daughter loves), as well as several stand-alones, including the seeming kings of the heap, Perks of Being a Wallflower and anything by John Green.

I’ve made an effort to put myself in my teenage shoes, to remember what I liked and thought about at fifteen, sixteen years old. Overall, reading YA, I’ve felt my sixteen year old self would be insulted, pandered to, and treated to a PSA of some kind by the end of each book.

When I started writing At the Edge of the World, I didn’t immediately recognize it as a YA story. Once I was a chapter or two in, though, I realized I was writing what I would have wanted to read when I was a teenager: something with adventure, but with a heart, with mystery and a mix of grown-up and young emotions. I didn’t want to force a moral, or guild the outsiders.

Writing ATEOTW was a joy for me in this way. I wrote the way I want to talk to my teenage self, and how I would like to believe I’ll talk to my kids once they’re teens. The adventure I remember wishing for as a kid, coupled with things I cared about—including love stories (though maybe I never would have admitted it!).
I don’t believe teens are stupid, or have any reason for child-style moral retellings. Teens are in charge of so much more with every year now that escapism, coupled with an engaging story with relevant details, feels more genuine to me as a writer. And I hope readers feel that too.

I’m thrilled to be releasing At the Edge of the World this month. I loved writing it, and I am looking forward to others feeling the same joy as they read it.



Blurb: 

Lost in the chaos of Venice Beach, among the homegrown freaks and weirdos, the tourists and life’s forgotten people, one runaway is just another face in the crowd—and this is just how Shane likes it. Torn between the home he left behind and lure of the ocean he ran to, something has tied his fates to the beach, and he is not the only one.
She is a famous mystery: the Venice Skater Chick. Shane has loved her since his first night on the beach. Others are watching her, too—and at least one wants her dead.
A mystery unfolds between the famed boardwalk, a dusty record store, a cramped apartment and a hidden cave. Under the gathering storms, Shane makes a desperate attempt to protect the girl he loves, and the life waiting for him on the other side.


Excerpt: 

On each hand she pulled on the fingerless gloves. She tied the skates with those in place, legs covered by jeans, stomach and breasts by the tank top that stuck to her like skin. Maya fastened each piece to her like armor, rose to her feet like a giraffe first testing its legs, before she found her balance and rolled forward, picking up speed down the first slope that led towards the main part of Venice Beach. It was comfort as much as it was a way to move: the wind on her skin and that rumble of wheels over the sidewalk. She never fell, but she suspected she would welcome that, as well, the connection to the earth, like a ribbon keeping her from breaking free entirely. She never timed herself, but it was ten every morning when she appeared at the end of the boardwalk. The air was not too warm yet, and so maybe that was it: it still smelled salty from the ocean tide, the concrete holding the chill of the night. She could see herself at those times, like a bird, and she raised her hands just once, a wave to those she went past and never spoke to. There was much speculation about what she did in the hours between ten and four, between four and ten, and the truth was: not a whole lot. She skated into the city sometimes, and back, but she couldn’t make herself move too far from the ocean at any time. She tried, a little bit at a time, like a child trying out steps away from her mother’s hands, but there was a pull that brought her in sight of the water, and her lungs always ached for the salty air, the wind that brought it in off the white caps. The city was full of smoke and harsh noises and grimacing faces, and though there were things she tried to see, to stare at, stand in, her feet always found her home. Home was Venice. She skated over the little ornate bridges over the canals, up and down the streets of expensive houses and cars, past the flowers and leaning trees and smartly-dressed children. And sometimes she did take the skates off. She stashed them in rental lockers and under abandoned stairs, in gardens no one was currently tending, and she let her feet meet the earth: the scalding surface of blacktop and the cool of grass, the grit of sand. She only did this when no one was around, when her hands were her own and her body was unnoticed. Only Shane had glimpsed her this way. She knew why, and she didn’t, and why she didn’t rush away at first glimpse. She simply couldn’t. 

About the Author:

 L.C. Spoering portrait
L.C. Spoering (generally known as Lorrie) lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, kids, and too many pets. She has a degree in English writing from University of Colorado, and a lesser degree in sarcasm earned from the days of yore on AOL. A storyteller since she started talking, she now spends her days writing, reading and contemplating the universe through various pop culture lenses.
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

After Days

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Book Title: After Days Author: Scott Medbury Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Release Date: May 30, 2014 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Synopsis
15 year old Isaac Race has already lost everyone close to him. He is about to lose a lot more. We all are. A mystery outbreak sweeps North America, it is chilling in both its speed and deadliness. The odd thing is though, it is only fatal to adults. Too late it becomes clear to authorities that the virus is man-made, a biological weapon, and that the United States is at war...a war it has already lost. As his country is invaded and occupied by the Chinese army, Isaac must lead a ragtag group of survivors across three states in the depths of winter, avoiding not only the invaders, but also other dangers unleashed in a world suddenly deprived of adults and authority, to a safe haven that may not even exist. Meet the Author Scott Medbury is a father of four from the beautiful Blue Mountains of Sydney Australia. He started writing as a boy after his Grandmother gave him an adventure book for Christmas but for various reasons didn't actually publish anything until 2012 when he began publishing adult short stories under a pseudonym. Since that time he has sold over 60,000 short stories, collections and books in 13 countries. After Days, his first novel is the next stop in the journey that began so long ago with the gift from his Grandmother. excerpt
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Frozen: A Tale of Two Sisters


Walt Disney Animation Studios presents an epic tale of adventure and comedy with Frozen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a young dreamer, must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, and his reindeer on the grandest of journeys to find Anna's sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. Directed by Chris Buck (Tarzan) and produced by Peter Del Vecho (Winnie the Pooh,The Princess and the Frog), the comedy-adventure Frozen journeys into theaters in November 2013. This Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader brings all the magic and adventure of Frozen to girls and boys ages 4-6 who are just learning to read on their own. 

Review: 

This little book is perfect for kids 4-6 years of age who are just learning to read. Join Olaf, Anna and Elsa as they enter a land of snow and adventure. Elsa has powers and can freeze anything. The only problem is she tries to keep it from everyone because she is afraid of hurting them. In this book, kids learn about being themselves and the love and acceptance from family. An act of love is all that really matters.

This book was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4/5

**Most Barnes & Noble stores are having a Frozen party today at their store locations, so if your little one is a Frozen fan, you may want to check out your local store's time for the festivities. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Release Day Event

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Synopsis
9781254738590
When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self. Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
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9781482761283
Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me. Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now. When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw-out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?
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9781493613205
The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.
Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be. Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.
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Meet the Author
Aimee L. Salter
Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you're really thinking. And she'll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn't ask you about. Aimee blogs for both writers and readers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

 
Heather
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she's published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life. You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

 
Tracy
Tracy Banghart is a cheesy movie-loving, fantasy football-playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began "practicing" her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family's cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.
 
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