Monday, December 24, 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

"The Young Adult Writer’s Journey" by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Young Adult Writer’s Journey:
An Encyclopedia for YA Writers
by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and
Janet Schrader-Post

The Young Adult Writer’s Journey: An Encyclopedia for YA Writers by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post

The Young Adult Writer’s Journey by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Finally, an all-inclusive book on young adult fiction must-do, don’t do and how-to. If you want to write a young adult novel, you need to read this book first. Coauthored by an award-winning YA author and an acquisitions editor, both experts on kids and what they like to read, this encyclopedia contains all you need to start or improve a career as a YA fiction author.
From an examination of the market, genre and its sub-genres, to mechanics and the business, everything is at your fingertips. This amazing writer’s resource is written in a relaxed and interesting style, with plenty of contemporary references and examples for clear understanding and easier application.

Book Video


Excerpt
When you talk about world-building, many writers think you’re talking about fantasy lands like Narnia, Westeros, Panam or Middle Earth. For most teens, school is their world. What kind of home life they have is their world and these worlds need to be just as complicated as Narnia. Well-developed teen worlds like Hogwarts, North Shore High School, home of the Mean Girls, Rydell High School of Grease, and Panem of Hunger Games are so well-developed they seem real, and you remember them as though they were a place you visited.
To create a real world for teens in our times, you really need to know them: what they do every day, what they like, what motivates them, the environment in high schools and many other details. Home life for kids is very different from twenty or even ten years ago. It takes two incomes now to support a growing family or to succeed, so both parents most likely work. This leaves kids as young as nine or ten at home alone for long periods of time (or even younger, unfortunately). The enemy of these parents is the school holiday, and it seem like there’s more than ever. These parents have no idea what to do with their children. Many can’t afford childcare, so the kids are home alone. It’s a thing you must think about when writing for them.
Children come from all levels of society. Poor kids will view the world through different eyes than kids who have well-off parents. Kids living with a single parent might have a different view of the world as well as different social structures. The kids with single parents or working parents might have to go hungry on weekends, on school holidays and especially during the summer. It’s hard to think about, but true. There are teenagers out there who eat breakfast and lunch at school and their families provide dinner. Sometimes all they get is their school meals some days. When school is out, they scavenge and fend for themselves or they don’t eat.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“The Young Adult Writer's Journey is a ‘Must Have’ at your fingertip reference for anyone who writes (or wants to write) for or about kids. Engaging text with topical and thought-provoking insights leading from idea to submission ... and beyond to populate a story with believable characters young readers can relate to.” ~ ~ Nancy Gideon, Award-Winning author of the By Moonlight series
“The trouble with ‘how to’ books on creativity is that they usurp creativity. Not so with this very insightful guide for YA writing. If it doesn’t become a standard or even a classic among reference books, it will be an oversight. Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds have all the marinated smarts and credentialed experience to pull this off, and they do! No dictated wisdom from on high here, no grafted creativity, The Young Adult Writer’s Journey is accessible, motivational and a clear map that leaves plenty of room to discover for anyone wanting to explore their creative side.” ~ Thomas Sullivan, Pulitzer-nominated author of The Phases of Harry Moon
“The level of detail makes this a must-have and it addresses some aspects of crafting a story that many similar books miss, such as improving a sagging middle or crafting a series. It also includes a couple of chapters I've never seen in a book of this type, like coming up with a good high concept and writing with a partner. It also goes farther than just writing advice and delves into the business side. It seems destined to become a classic. This is a great book on writing YA, but it's also a great book on writing in general.” ~ J. Jackson
“Easily accessible format. Lots of examples on how to as well as how not to write YA novel. All the basics are here for writing any type of novel and also how to market and sell. Very informative.” ~ Wheresmyluce
“Outstanding book on the young adult genre. Great how too book. The artwork and illustrations were really well done.” ~ Mary Morey

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
The authors lead us through the main features of young adult books. Topics covered include: structure, characters, world-building, setting, language, point of view, pacing, the ending, writing a series, what agents are looking for, writing with a partner, and marketing. The irony is that the authors themselves don’t have much of a social media presence.
Throughout the book, the authors use Harry Potter as a case study, although the majority of examples are from movies - not books - with major spoilers for movies/books the authors assume we’ve all seen/read. While the scope of the information is impressive, the execution is flawed. The content is repetitive, there are numerous editing and formatting errors, and the structure is disorganized. It’s difficult to see how the different areas discussed relate to one another, as there is no flow. In addition, the content would be greatly enhanced by the use of lists and tables. While it’s commendable that the authors wanted to illustrate their own book, the illustrations by Janet, with one by Elizabeth (Chapter 15), are less than impressive, and they would have been better served by employing a professional illustrator.
Major takeaway: “In order to write for young adults, you must know your audience.”

About the Authors
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds knows kids well. She spent decades teaching teens and adults to write and improve their reading skills. As a literacy expert and certified coach, she helped both teachers from elementary to secondary and preservice graduate students learn to improve reading and writing instruction. She has taught at both the secondary and graduate level, everything from rhetoric, essays, and thesis statements, to poetry, short stories, and how to write a novel. She has learned to use both sides of her brain simultaneously, but enjoys the creative side the most, learning to play piano, draw and paint, and find time for her own writing since retiring from her “day” jobs. 
A “true believer” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces mythic structures, she uses that lens when considering manuscripts for Tell-Tale Publishing Group, a company she founded with some friends from her critique group a decade ago.

Janet Schrader-Post
Daughter of a Colonel, Janet Schrader-Post lived the military life until she got out of high school. She lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then moved to Florida where she became a reporter. For ten years she covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed her, and it awed her. “How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens nowadays have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated.”
Janet love kids and horses, and she paints and writes. Now she lives in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and her fifteen-year-old granddaughter. She started to write young adult fiction with the help of her son, Gabe Thompson, who teaches middle school. Together they have written a number of award-winning YA novels in both science fiction and fantasy.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two $25 Amazon gift cards OR one of two hardcover copies of The Young Adult Writer’s Journey by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post.

Book Links

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Scream Muddy Murder" by Lesley A. Diehl


GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Scream Muddy Murder
(Big Lake Murder Mysteries Book 3)
by Lesley A. Diehl

Scream Muddy Murder (Big Lake Murder Mysteries Book 3) by Lesley A. Diehl

Scream Muddy Murder is the third book in the Big Lake Murder Mysteries series by Lesley A. Diehl. Also available: Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.

Dumpster Dying by Lesley A. DiehlGrilled, Chilled and Killed by Lesley A. Diehl


Scream Muddy Murder is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


More books by this author: Old Bones Never Die (read my blog post) and Killer Tied (read my blog post).

Description
Emily Rhodes does it again! This time she nosedives into a mud puddle at a Seminole War battle reenactment and finds she’s sharing the muck with a dead body. As usual the hunky detective she loves to aggravate, Stanton Lewis, cautions her against getting involved in the case, and as usual she ignores him. Emily’s sleuthing pays off, revealing disturbing information about the victim’s past. Is it the reason behind his murder? With the help of her family and friends, Emily sets out to uncover secrets kept too long and puts herself and the people she loves in the killer’s path. Too late she realizes Detective Lewis was right. Her snoopiness proves to be a deadly idea.

Excerpt
THE RAIN POURED down on the combatants as they took up their stances on opposite ends of the field. One side stationed their men behind the palm trees and live oaks, while the fighters on the other side positioned themselves out in the open, preparing to march straight at the enemy—a foolish strategy, but insisted upon by their commander.
Emily pushed wet locks of hair off her face and prepared to advance with the first wave of troops. She held no weapon for defense; her assignment was to beat her snare drum. She grasped her drumsticks tightly for fear she’d drop one and would be unable to beat out the martial tempo she’d been assigned. Emily’s daughter, Naomi, holding the American flag, stood beside her, the two of them dressed as boys from the early nineteenth century, shirts with long, full sleeves and knee britches. Naomi had been smart to tie her blond hair back with a leather thong. Their only concession to modern dress was that each wore a pair of rubber boots. Naomi’s sported a yellow duck pattern, Emily’s were a nautical blue with a thin red stripe around the top.
“How did we get ourselves into this mess?” asked Emily, attempting to lift one foot out of the mud. Her boot made a sucking sound. “This is as bad as quicksand.”
“It was your idea to take part,” replied Naomi. “You said it would be fun and a service to the community.”
“It would have been fun if it hadn’t been raining for three days. The field was so flooded the organizers cancelled yesterday’s performance. It’s not much better today.”
A shot rang out signaling the start of the reenactment of the Battle of Okeechobee, an event held each year at the site of the original battle fought in 1837, a military engagement in the Second Seminole War. Emily started at the sound of the gun and stumbled forward, almost falling to her knees. Naomi reached out and steadied her mother. The announcer thumped the microphone to determine if it was working. It gave forth a screech and again startled Emily, but this time she held her position. With a clearing of his throat and another squeal from the loud speaker, the announcer began his account of the military tactics used by the soldiers of the United States commanded by General Zachary Taylor and the Seminoles led by their chief, Alligator, often called Billy Bowlegs.
“Maybe all this water will shortcircuit the loudspeaker, and they’ll call off the event. We could get electrocuted, you know,” Emily said, but began marching, careful to avoid yet another hole in the soggy ground. She took up a steady drumbeat. The two women staggered forward, the thick mud making their advancement slow and difficult.
“Having trouble keeping up?” asked the tall man in front of Emily, slowing his pace and turning back to address her. How he managed to look dry and comfortable in all this rain was beyond Emily, but she always found Detective Stanton Lewis the other side of comprehensible in her mind. He was a member of the local police department, and the man who had arrested Emily for murder on one occasion, and on another, kissed her with passion.
“If I’d have known he’d be volunteering for this event, I would have stayed home,” Emily said.
“I heard that,” replied Lewis, “and I know you don’t mean it.”
Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t. Emily could never tell how she felt about Stanton Lewis. It seemed that whenever they got together two things happened: first there was the verbal battling, and then there was the warmth she felt somewhere south of her waist. He was about the handsomest man she’d ever met, and the most annoying. It seemed he knew the effect he had on her, and he loved to aggravate her by standing too close or smiling that annoying smile with his full, very kissable, lips.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“In the mood for a protagonist who just won't quit? Who won't let obstacles and naysayers dissuade her from her self-appointed rounds? Who has a strength of character and will power we might all emulate? I give you Emily Rhodes, the feisty and strongly self-determined heroine of Lesley A. Diehl's Big Lake Murder Mysteries. […] Scream Bloody Murder is compelling and heartwrenching, with never a dull moment throughout.” ~ Mallory A. Haws: The Haunted Reading Room Reviews
“This is a great read, with a suspenseful plot and a bit of romance thrown in. Diehl gives her readers a multi-layered plot. […] Of course to have a great book, you need great characters as well. This book, like the previous books, are packed with memorable characters. One reason I love reading a series is with each book, I get to know more about the main characters and even some secondary ones, and this book does just that. […] If you are looking for a great mystery, with great characters, and just the right of romance thrown in, you can’t go wrong with this book, and the whole series!” ~ Christie72
“Everyone seems to know more than they are saying and nobody is willing to spill the beans. Fun characters from previous books return to make things crazier. The tension and relationship between Emily Rhodes and Detective Lewis get more muddied than ever. Who enjoys aggravating the other more? […] Nonstop action as the danger mounts. Emily swears she is not going out of her way to interfere in an investigation. This is my favorite book of the series so far.” ~ Laura S Reading

Guest Post by the Author
Writing in the Swamps
Scream Muddy Murder is a cozy mystery, or at least I think it is. The protagonist, Emily Rhodes, is a reluctant amateur sleuth, the kind of snoopy gal one would expect in the cozy genre. She was a preschool teacher until she retired but finding herself strapped for living expenses because her life partner died and left nothing to her, Emily decided she needed to update her skills. Her good friend and next-door neighbor was impressed with Emily’s mixology skills, so Emily enrolled in a mixology course and found herself seeking employment as a bartender in rural Florida, in a town whose bars catered to country dancing, cowboys, cold beers, giant steaks, and barbecue. Could Emily handle enthusiastic cowboys who had had too much to drink? Apparently not because she lost her first job and would have had to find another post retirement career if the manager of the restaurant and bar at the local country club hadn’t hired her to tend bar there. It was a perfect match for Emily who knew many of the golfers. The patrons tended to be older and the bar catered to an early crowd.
Bartender is not the usual profession found in cozy mysteries, but it’s a perfect blend of the traditional with the unusual and provides the reader with a one-of-a-kind protagonist in a cozy mystery. Let’s say Emily’s profession squeaks in under the cozy guidelines.
But what about the setting for the book? The community isn’t a typical cozy mystery village, but a farming and ranching community set on the edge of the largest fresh water lake in Florida. The swampland of south-central Florida as well as southern prairies creates an environment that is beautiful but somewhat deadly. Think large reptiles, I mean really big reptiles and swamps, lots of swamps. It’s not what we usually view as a “cozy” cozy setting.
Because of the large influx of winter visitors who come during the season to fish the lake, the setting has some advantages for a cozy mystery. It avoids the Cabot Cove problem of small village and too many murders wiping out the meager population. Outsiders provide both suspects and victims, and because the area includes wide flung ranches and farms that often employ migrant workers, an element of international intrigue works here also. Not far from the town nearer to the West Palm polo farms breed and raise horses for polo matches drawing hundreds of competitors and attendees. The community may be small and rural, but the surrounding areas attract people from Europe, Central America and South America. Emily quickly realizes that as isolated as the community feels at first, it is connected to the flashier life of the coast and international intrigue.
Regardless of how I have extended Emily’s life beyond the village to a wider community, I have tried to maintain the feeling of intimacy with the people Emily encounters. There are the folks in the retirement village she lives in, the people she meets at the country club and the locals who have lived in the town for years, sometimes generations. This latter group is most important in providing Emily and the reader with the flavor of the rural south Florida. Donald Green, the bartender she hires to work at the country club with her, fishes the lake in his flashy and fast bass boat, allowing Emily to learn about bass fishing. Winning fishing tournaments is more important Donald than bartending and he lets Emily know this at every turn. If the day dawns sunny, but Donald is scheduled to work at the bar, Emily is likely to find herself without a bartender as Donald takes off for the lake.
Fishing the lake is an everyday backdrop for the series, but special events make the setting unique. Everyone in the area loves barbecue and barbecue contests. What better place to locate a dead body but in a beer cooler truck at the local barbecue cook-off. Emily did just that in Grilled, Chilled and Killed. In Scream Muddy Murder, I bring the history of the area into play by opening the book at the annual Battle of Okeechobee, a re-enactment of a famous Seminole War battle which took place in the 1830s. It is the perfect place for Emily to find her third dead body. Lucky gal. Now she has another case to solve. As with all Emily’s snooping, the man who adores her, Detective Stanton Lewis, will find her interference aggravating. That’s perfect, too. What better an element in a cozy mystery than a little romance?
So, of course, I have written a cozy mystery. Ignore the alligators and swamps. They’re just there for atmosphere to get the reader in the mood for a little rural Florida spin on the genre. No alligators, cattle, cowboys or other innocent characters were harmed in the writing of these books, only a couple of bad folks brought to justice.

About the Author
Lesley A. Diehl
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida - cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She’s presently interviewing for a coyote to serve as her muse for her books and stories set in rural Florida.

Giveaway
Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to have your name used in a future book OR to win an ebook copy of Scream Muddy Murder by Lesley A. Diehl (US only).

Links

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance featuring Rachael Anderson


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
My Brother’s Bride
(Serendipity Book 2)
by Rachael Anderson

My Brother’s Bride (Serendipity Book 2) by Rachael Anderson

During the month of December, we have been featuring 12 authors who write clean romance. Today we feature our final author, Rachael Anderson, with My Brother’s BrideAlso available in the Serendipity series: My Sister’s Intended.

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader and Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams.
But appearances aren’t always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments.
Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband’s brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.

Excerpt
MUSIC PERVADED THE crowded ballroom, carrying couples through the steps of the quadrille, while onlookers clustered around the dancers, talking, laughing, sipping drinks, and observing.
Morgan Campbell, the Marquess of Brigston, did only the latter. He lingered near a door that opened onto a small balcony, where, every now and again, he’d feel a slight draft. Although it provided some relief from the heat in the room, the open door offered no other boon. This was not the country, and London air could never be described as fresh, not even on Grosvenor Street. Too many horses pranced about, too many bodies filled the streets, and too many unpleasant scents lingered as a result.
Only one month more and Morgan could leave his parliamentary duties behind and return to his coastal hometown of Cawley, Hampshire. Most considered the country to be a bore, but Morgan thrived there. The chirping birds, the salty breezes, the peace he felt every time he walked outside—Oakley Grange revitalized him as nowhere else could. It was London that tired him, or at least the endless social obligations. He despised frivolous chatter. It rang in his ears and made his head ache.
A servant offered Morgan a drink, but he declined, directing his attention towards the middle of the ballroom, where his younger brother, Jasper, danced with a paragon of beauty. Her blue eyes sparkled, her golden hair shone, and her sapphire silk dress glittered with the light of the crystal chandeliers. She moved with natural grace and elegance that bespoke good breeding.
It was no surprise she had captured his brother’s attention. Jasper had always been drawn to beautiful women, especially those with fair coloring. He called them angelic. He would dance with them, take them driving in Hyde Park, and shower them with pretty posies—at least until his interest waned or was captured by another pair of blue eyes and golden locks. It had been the pattern for years now, ever since Jasper had finished at Eton. With his good looks and charisma, he’d always been able to charm most women.
Not long ago, their mother had asked Jasper if he planned to settle down at some point. He’d chortled, as though the mere suggestion was laughable, then insisted he had no intention of getting caught in the parson’s noose anytime soon.
Yet here he was, recently returned from Gretna Green with a wife.
A wife.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I haven’t read a book by Rachael Anderson that I didn’t absolutely love and this awesome book didn’t fail to meet that grade.” ~ Vicki
“This forbidden Regency romance was excellent! Once I started, it was hard - almost impossible to put down.” ~ Charissa
“This is the first full-length novel I’ve read by Rachael Anderson, but it definitely won’t be the last. I really enjoyed the story - the writing was really good with no annoying parts or awkwardness, the plot was interesting, the characters were endearing (I loved the banter between Brigtson and Abby!), and this book was just really good. Highly enjoyable. Great choice for those who like clean, well-written Regency romances.” ~ AE2
“This is a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys a clever and heart-warming historical tale that will leave them with a smile on their face. “~ Phyllis

About the Author
Rachael Anderson
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.




Also by Rachael Anderson:

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links