Monday 29 June 2015

Welcome to Atlantis…We’ve been expecting YOU!

Sweet Treats at my Book Launch
Hey everyone! I’m fresh off a seven day book blog tour and book launch, and want to express how grateful I am for all the support and kindness I’ve received in the last two weeks from family, friends, fellow authors, readers, and my publisher! I’ve had three incredible reviews ranging from 4 to 5 stars. Not bad for a re-release! If you’ve missed any of the reviews, check them out at BOOKAHOLIC FIX, BOOK BABBLE, and AUTHOR SANDRA LOVE. Thanks again to Amber Marr of Sapphyria’s Book Promotions for helping me garner those reviews and reaching new readers.

During the midst of all the craziness of launching a book, my new publishers at Mirror World Publishing, Justine and Murandy decided I should flex my acting wings and make a cameo appearance in the book trailer Murandy produced. Um. Who? Me act? Although it was fun, I think I’ll stick to writing and let the professionals handle the next book trailer. Kudos go to Brieanne, the young actress who shared the spotlight with me!

See what you think:

Okay, you can stop laughing now. No really. Stop…or I’ll send you to Atlantis. Wink. 

Friday 26 June 2015

In the Limelight with YA Author Melanie Hooyenga…

I want to thank and welcome fantastic young adult author, Melanie Hooyenga for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Melanie’s last book in her Flicker Effect Trilogy, Faded can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: For a chance to win an ebook bundle of the Flicker Effect Trilogy please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview rolling…

How long have you been writing, Melanie?

I first started writing in middle school and wrote a lot of overly-emotional poems, songs, and short stories (didn’t we all?). I stopped writing creatively when I graduated from college and didn’t pick it back up again until I was in my 30s, while living in Mexico. When I was getting ready to move, a coworker said, “Now you can write the great American novel!” I think he was half-joking, but it’s what got me back to writing. It’s been eight years and I haven’t stopped since.

I believe we’re kindred spirits since I didn’t start writing until I was in my 30s too! 
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Faded?

Faded is the third book in my trilogy, the Flicker Effect, so I’ll answer this about the first book, Flicker. You know how when you’re driving on a sunny day, the sun filters through the trees and makes a strobe-like effect? Well that really messes with my eyes, to the point where I have to shield them in order to keep them open (and watching the road!). I experienced it while driving to see my gramma in the hospital in December 2009 and wondered, “what if there was a girl who when this happens, she goes back to yesterday?” The rest, as they say, is history.
I was working on another (unpublished) novel at the time so didn’t start writing Flicker until NaNoWriMo in 2010. When I first wrote it I didn’t plan for it to be a trilogy, but when I realized it had the potential for a series (plus series are very popular in YA) I wrote a one-page synopsis for Fracture and Faded. So while I didn’t write Faded until 2014, I knew how the series would end way back in 2012.

Great foresight, Melanie! What sets Faded apart from other books/series in the same genre?

Parents are often an after-thought in YA -- which makes sense since the story is about the teens -- but when parents ARE present, they’re often cruel, detached, or uncaring. Especially the fathers. That’s why I decided to make the dad in my series the most important person in Biz’s life. I wanted to show that even kids with loving, involved parents have very real struggles and face life-changing issues.

True that! Teen readers need those kinds of stories. As a YA author, what is your writing process?

I don’t have a set process for the actual writing, but I do for plotting and outlining. Writers are split between outliners and pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants), and I am firmly in the outliners camp. I cannot write a novel unless I know how it’s going to end. I don’t need to know all the in-between stuff, but it helps me to know what I’m writing towards. My outline is basically a sentence or two describing what happens in each chapter, so there’s a lot of freedom to change things along the way.

As for the actual writing, I aim for 1000 words per day, but if I only have time for 500, then I only write 500. I have a full-time day-job so I try to concentrate on moving the story forward rather than getting hung up on the numbers. When I’m on a roll, I can write 1000 words in 45-60 minutes, but as all writers know, some days the words just refuse to come.

Oh, I’ve had plenty of those days! How long did it take for you to start and finish Faded?

I wrote the synopsis for Faded in 2012, then outlined it at the beginning of 2014, but I didn’t start writing until the summer of 2014 because I was getting Fracture ready for publication. I finished the first draft on New Year’s Day and edited for five months. So start to finish was about a year, but the plotting had already happened.

Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Melanie?

There are two things I tell writers who are just starting out: try to write every day and set very low word-count goals. When I wrote my first novel I was in a group that had to write 100 words per day. 100 words is nothing. It’s barely a paragraph. Because it’s so short, it’s really hard to make excuses not to write it, and more times than not, once you’ve started, you keep going. And if you don’t, you’ve written 100 words and progressed the story. The worst thing for me is to go several days knowing I’m STILL on the same passage where I last left off. As you write more, you’ll learn what works best for you.

I think it’s important to read a lot in the genre that you write. That doesn’t mean you can’t read other genres, too, but you need to know what works, what doesn’t, and why. It also helps to eavesdrop on teenagers when you have the chance. ;)
Finally, just keep writing! This is a very solitary endeavor and it’s easy to let self-doubt take over, but there’s nothing like the feeling when you type ‘The End’.

Sage advice! What’s next for Melanie Hooyenga the author?

I’m glad you asked! I’m writing a new book that’s more light-hearted, romantic, and (hopefully) funny. Biz (from the Flicker Effect) is very sarcastic and tough on herself, so I have to remind myself to let this new character experience her emotions and wear her heart on her sleeve.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

The first thing that popped into my head was ancient Greece, but I think that’s because I’m craving feta cheese and kalamata olives. If I could go anywhere, I think I’d like to be around when women fought for the right to vote. I recently went through papers I wrote in high school and was surprised to see how strongly I felt about women’s rights. It’s always been an important issue for me, but I wrote a term paper on Title IX and a satire piece where, among other things, men weren’t allowed to speak until women had finished their thoughts. I think it would be inspiring to live in a time when women fought so passionately for a right we now take for granted.

Blurb for Faded:

Biz didn’t think life could get worse after the tragic events that surrounded her last flicker, but when she accidentally flickers on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined.

When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop. Forever.

Book links:

Author Bio:

Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan with her husband Jeremy. When not at her day job as a graphic designer, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.

Connect with Melanie:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 22 June 2015

5 Questions for YA Author Joshua Pantalleresco…

Welcome to Part Two of my crossover interview with young adult author Joshua Pantalleresco! If you didn’t get a chance to read Part One of Joshua’s interrogation, er I mean interview, you can find it HERE. I’m still smarting over his infamous ‘unicorn’ trick he did to me on Facebook, but for the sake of my reputation (if I still have any shred left), I’m willing to channel my inner Elsa, and just let it go.

One thing I’ve learned about Joshua (besides his warped sense of humor) is that he’s a pretty damn fine poet! His epic poem The Watcher, makes you see poetry in a whole new way, and hopefully will reach a younger audience. Joshua also writes comics, which is one of the things on my bucket list. Bravo, Joshua! So let’s get these 5 payback questions rolling…

Welcome, Joshua! What are you working on right now?

I am working on catching up on a bunch of things.  I just posted an interview with an author.  Some lady that likes time travel. 

Hmm…I wonder who that could be? What are you working on specifically?

I got a list of five things to do this week on the literary scale.  I have a bunch of columns to get ahead on.  I write a wrestling column for Wrestling Glory where I focus on the storytelling involved in the rivalries of wrestling.  I am doing a female rivalry that defined a generation and I'm trying to do two or three more columns before it starts posting again.

I am also transcribing two other interviews.  One of them is ready to go and will be up next week.  The other involves a certain publisher you and I are familiar with.  

I'm putting together a comic script for Twyla April, my collaborator on Paradigm.  She is finally ready for the third issue and I plan to oblige.

Finally, I'm acquiring video software to finally finish a trailer that's long overdue.  It will be awesome.  I think it will change how book trailers are done.

I’m sweating just reading what you’ve got in the pipeline! What influenced you?

I was 8 years old and my parents had just been separated.  My dad took me to Fanshawe park in London Ontario.  There was this hill at the bottom by the stream.  My dad just barreled up it like it was nothing.  I struggled.  My dad said to me, "Come on Josh you can do it!"  I denied it and tumbled down it.  I got up and asked for help.  "You can do it!" My dad said.  I didn't believe it but tried to climb the thing anyway.  I said I couldn't do it the whole time I was on it.  Yet, step by step I got closer to the top, and before I know it, I was there.  "I - I did it!" I said, in disbelief.

My dad is the biggest influence in my life.  He told me I could even when many others told me I couldn't.  And I've never forgotten that lesson with whatever I chose to undertake.  I can do it, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think I would be able to say that.

Your father sounds amazing! What are you most proud of accomplishing?

I am making my dream a reality.  I dreamed of being able to write stuff and making a living doing it.  Bit by bit it is happening.  Beyond that, I'm proud that on this journey I've learned so much.  I didn't just learn how to write, I've shot videos, made movies, have had the chance to work with great people all across life.  I've travelled, worked with my heroes, and have been on this incredible journey.  I may not have the zillions of dollars, but I've become someone I wanted to be.

Wow, Joshua, sounds like you’ve lived a full life and are still rearing to go! What is your favorite thing about the changing face of publishing?

Like you said in your interview, the barriers are down.  I can interact with people I never imagined I would meet.  I am interviewing someone from Germany because of twitter.  I got this super cool card from an artist named Asia Alfasi.  She sent it as a place holder for me sending her a book.  It's still one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  It's opened up the world and has forced me to be more than the shy artist type.

It’s a small world, after all! Cheers for stopping by and going head-to-head with me on my blog, Joshua!

If you love poetry, and want to be swept away into a world of imagery, please give Joshua’s book a read. You won’t be disappointed!

Buy Links:

Connect with Joshua:
@Jpantalleresco (twitter and wattpad)

Wednesday 17 June 2015

The Last Timekeepers are Back…

It’s finally here! The world-wide re-release of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis through Mirror World Publishing! I also want to thank Amber Marr of Sapphyria’s Book Promotions for putting this tour together for me. Oh, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter to win some great prizes! Below is the book tour schedule, so if you get a chance, please stop by and connect with me, I’d love to hear from you. Okay, it’s time to rev up the time portal and get this party started…

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis Book Blog Tour Schedule:

June 17

Mirror World Publishing - Release Day Spotlight

T's Stuff - Guest Post

Sapphyria's Book Promotions - Spotlight

Hope To Read - Spotlight

June 18

On Writing and Riding - Guest Post

Kerry Hearts YA - Spotlight

June 19

Jojo Debrazza - Guest Post

Sapphyria's Book Reviews - Spotlight with Excertp

June 22

Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell - Guest Post

A Bookaholic's Fix: Feeding the Addiction - Guest Post

Leigh Goff - Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters - Guest Post

June 23

Clarissa Johal - Author of Paranormal, Gothic Horror and Fantasy - Guest Post

Sapphyria's Book Promotions - Spotlight

June 24

Emily Murdock: Author - Guest Post

Lakeview Times – Spotlight

June 25

Vanessa Kings' Books - Review

A Bookworm's Point of View - Review

June 26

Book Babble - Review

Sandra Love's Blog Spot - Review

Tales from the Bayou - Spotlight

Sara Daniel Romance Author - Guest Post

Sapphyria's Book Reviews - Tour Wrap Up

Tour Coordinated by:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 15 June 2015

Rev up those Time Portals and get Ready for a Blast to the Past...

Well, it’s finally here! Book release week. Or in my case, book re-release week! On June 17th, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis will officially be back on the market through Mirror World Publishing. There’s a Facebook Party happening that day too from noon to 9 p.m., so if you get a chance, I’d love for you to surf by and get to know me, and even enter for a chance to win some awesome prizes. Plus, I’ve hooked up with Sapphyria’s Book Promotions for a virtual book blog tour starting June 17th to June 26th (excluding the weekend), so I’m pumped about that! And just in case you didn’t know, I’ve got two signed paperbacks up for grabs through my Goodreads Giveaway for the whole month of June.

So much has happened since my former publisher closed their doors at the end of February. I was lucky enough to score a new publisher immediately. Since signing contracts with Mirror World Publishing for both my time travel books on February 26th, a lot has happened. Both books got re-edited and polished, and I decided to purchase the image rights and keep my covers because I felt they were beautiful, vibrant, and eye-catching.

I’m really looking forward to a fresh start with another publisher, and hopefully I’ll be as good a cheerleader for Mirror World Publishing as I was for Musa Publishing. As I’ve always said, “Life is a team effort. Period. Nothing is ever done without the help and support of others.” True that. I’m also excited to have an actual book launch party thrown for me! Woo hoo! So if you’re in the neighborhood, I’d love you to come and attend! Here are the details:

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis Book Launch Party
When: June 19th, 2015
Where: Artspeak Gallery, 1942 Wyandotte East, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

From what I understand, my publishers Justine and Murandy will be serving coffee and baked goods (yum), and there will be plenty of chances to win some great prizes and gift baskets. They will also have copies of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis on hand which I would love to sign for you! Plus there will be a reading by yours truly, and a question and answer session. Thank goodness for all those author interviews I’ve done in the last three years—at least I’m primed!

I want to take this opportunity to thank Mirror World Publishing for investing in me and my books, and for breathing life back into my career. Seriously, thank you, Justine and Murandy. I also would like to thank all the readers I’ve got to known in the last three years who have taken the time in their busy lives to read my books, and care about my characters the way I do. Cheers and salute!

Monday 8 June 2015

5 Things to look for in Fairy Tale Retellings by YA Author Kaitlin Bevis...

Retellings of fairy tales and myths are all over the place, but some are better than others. Here are five things to look for in a great retelling.

1)                          The author only borrowed elements from the original version, not copied it entirely. Let’s look at Cinderella for this example. Unless you are affiliated with Disney, chances are, you can’t just retell the same story in a different, albeit gorgeous, format. The foundation of the story may have existed before, but the author has taken those roots and twisted them into a story of her own telling. A great example of an original Cinderella retelling is Cinder by Marissa Myer. Cinder took pieces of the original story and wove it into something entirely new story set in a dystopian future, featuring an alien Cyborg missing a foot for the title character. Liz DeJesus also wrote a fantastic retelling of Cinderella set in modern day. When reading multiple retellings, you should be able to identify the elements that were borrowed from the original, but otherwise they should be entirely different stories.

2)                          Something major is different. That something needs to move beyond the surface. We’ve all seen and read retellings that only genderbent the cast or changed the setting but otherwise left everything the same. When a key component is changed that should force the author and the reader to consider the story from an entirely different perspective. A great example of this is Fool by Christopher Moore. He takes the story of King Lear and tells it from the Fool’s perspective. Almost all the original dialogue is there, but the perspective is so different that the plot arc has completely changed. No one could say Fool is the same story as King Lear. It’s something different entirely.

3)                          It uses the changes to highlight some important social issue, but not at the expense of the story. Westside Story changed the setting of Romeo and Juliet to highlight gang violence as well as racial tension. But Westside Story didn’t go overboard. There are no after-school special monologues hitting the viewer on the head with the message. The comparison is quietly made and the viewer is left to draw their own conclusions from it.

4)                          Most of the stories that are retold have had a profound impact on culture. The absence or repetition of that myth needs to be explained in the universe. In my story, Persephone, the myths are still happening in modern day. Persephone, the character or the myth, didn’t exist until she was born. That made changes to the culture. I used the lesser known myth of Boreas and Oreithyia as a stand in for the Persephone myth in their culture. I also had to consider the myths she was involved with later and consider how removing these from the society would change that society. Other versions use reincarnation or have characters allude to the original myth and the similarities in what they’re going through.

5)                          They go deeper. The story, the motivations, the world building, the characters. A shallow version of the fairy tale or myth already exists. If the author built on it, at all, that should automatically make it deeper. The deeper, the better. A great example of this is Wicked. The Wicked Witch of the West was a very flat character in The Wizard of Oz. And it worked because she was an archetype. She didn’t need depth. But a good retelling forces you to reevaluate the story by adding depth. Elphaba has major depth and motivation and a backstory and flaws and great traits. She’s a three dimensional character at its finest. But the original mythology is accounted for in the story. When watching the Broadway, it’s easy to see how Dorothy would have seen her as the wicked witch caricature.  The original story is acknowledged, respected even, but it goes deeper. That’s what makes it an amazing retelling.

There are many retellings out there, but some are better than others. Share your favorites, and what made them great, in the comments below.

Blurb: The Daughters of Zeus, Book One

One day Persephone is an ordinary high school senior working at her mom's flower shop in Athens, Georgia. The next she's fighting off Boreas, the brutal god of winter, and learning that she's a bonafide goddess--a rare daughter of the now-dead Zeus. Her goddess mom whisks her off to the Underworld to hide until spring.

There she finds herself under the protection of handsome Hades, the god of the dead, and she's automatically married to him. It's the only way he can keep her safe. Older, wiser, and far more powerful than she, Hades isn't interested in becoming her lover, at least not anytime soon. But every time he rescues her from another of Boreas' schemes, they fall in love a little more. Will Hades ever admit his feelings for her?

Can she escape the grasp of the god of winter's minions? The Underworld is a very nice place, but is it worth giving up her life in the realm of the living? Her goddess powers are developing some serious, kick-butt potential. She's going to fight back.

Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book and a pen. If the ending didn't agree with her, she rewrote it. Because she's always wanted to be a writer, she spent high school and college learning everything she could to achieve that goal. After graduating college with a BFA and Masters in English, Kaitlin went on to write The Daughters of Zeus series.

Connect with Kaitlin:

Thursday 4 June 2015

Goodreads Giveaway Announcement…

In anticipation for the upcoming re-release of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis through Mirror World Publishing, I’ve decided to giveaway two signed copies of the first book in my middle grade/young adult time travel series. I’m also throwing in a signed post card and a rubber wrist band with each paperback.

This Goodreads Giveaway starts June 1st and runs until June 30th so you have plenty of time to enter. I’m hoping whoever wins these books may choose to take them along to the cottage, beach, or wherever you’re going on your summer holiday. BTW—this contest is open WORLDWIDE, so if you’re the lucky winner who lives in the southern hemisphere and not enjoying the summer heat, then it’s a good excuse to curl up on the couch with a hot beverage and have a blast in the past!

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to enter to win! Cheers and enjoy your summer (or winter) season!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

Monday 1 June 2015

YA Book Spotlight: Disenchanted by Leigh Goff...

Title: Disenchanted

Author Name:  Leigh Goff

Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Occult

Keywords: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Witchcraft, Wethersfield, Goodchild, Mather, witch, coven, true love curse, white witch, black witch, Sophie, Alexavier, bloodcharm, star-crossed, clairvoyant, outcast

ISBNs: e-Book ~ 978-0-9947490-0-0  Print Book ~ 978-0-9920490-9-6

Number of Pages:  264

Release Date: June 1, 2015

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice...

About Disenchanted:

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.


“You really want to know?” He circled behind me, not touching me, but I could feel him there, just an inch away. He stepped closer, his body heat warming my exposed neck.

I tried to ignore the trembles and craving his alluring voice provoked. Heat and tension continued to roll off him. My breathing quickened.

“Secrets never stay secret in Wethersfield. It’s going to slip out eventually.”

He circled around to face me again and nodded. “Your curiosity is inexhaustible.”

I pressed my hand to my forehead, trying to regroup, which was harder than it should have been. “Look. It doesn’t matter. I can handle whatever it is.”

“Zeke will be thrilled if he finds out what I’m about to tell you.” He shook his head, probably imagining the ugly scenario. “I come from a long line of Mathers who have been more than unlucky in love. A staggering number of them, so many that one cannot blame it on misfortune or bad luck. For years, my father thought it was a genetic fluke until he had our ancestor’s DNA tested and, like his own, it showed nothing.” He rolled his sleeve up enough to show me the pinkish birthmark on his wrist. It resembled a small heart broken in two, exactly like Zeke’s. “You see, from my father’s research, every Mather heir for centuries has carried this mark in this spot. It is something passed down in our family, inherited, but not genetic. That leaves only one explanation. Our bloodline is cursed.”

“Are you sure it’s not Karma or bad luck?” We knew Francis had been cursed for his father’s hand in the hangings. But all of them? I didn’t think a generational curse was really possible.

“I don’t believe in bad luck, but I do believe in the power of this curse. It has haunted us through time.”

“How many of you?”

“After they fell in love?Since Francis Mather, the one buried under the tree next to your ancestor, all of them. Not at first. Some of them were able to bear a child or two before their love deepened and the curse took hold of one or both of them. It is why my father used a surrogate rather than risk a relationship. He, Zeke, and I are the last of Rev. Mather’s direct descendants. It’s too many to make sense so all we are left with is the fact that we are cursed to live a life without love or die from it.”

I staggered backward, staring at the trees lining the path, in shock. Elizabeth warned me about a curse living on. The judge even sputtered on about a problem caused by the witches. Did they both mean a generational curse on the Mathers? Generational curses were only heard of in myths because they required great power and a dark heart. Did Rebecca have that much power? “Let’s say that’s even possible.” I could barely grasp the possibility for the irony got in the way. A curse cast by my ancestor meant to punish the Mathers was now threatening not only my happiness, but my life.

Mirror World Publishing Link:  Disenchanted

Amazon Purchase Link: Disenchanted

About the Author:

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an unusual childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her WEBSITE or at Mirror World Publishing.

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