Overexposed Blog Tour (And Guest Post from Adrianne James)

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overexposedIn the tiny town of Willowspring, just about nothing ever happens except for layoffs, hockey games, and your average melodramatic teenage angst.

But that was before.

Vi, Ashley, and Macy are just trying to make it through the school year without one more humiliation when they team up for a simple photography assignment: create a story through a series of photographs. Can’t be too much trouble, right?

Wrong.

The shutterbugs happen upon Willowspring High School’s darkest secret. When everything around them starts to crumble after trying to do the right thing, their only hope is to stick together.


Guest Post – Top Three Books of All Time
It’s hard for me to pick just three books. The closest I can come is to pick three series because I tend to read more series books than stand alones and picking a single book in a series is nearly impossible.

First and foremost, The Harry Potter series has been and forever will be my favorite series of all time. Not only did J.K. Rowling make me fall in love with a group of kids that were five years younger than me (at the time I started the series) but she introduced me to magic and creatures that go bump in the night in a way that no other book I had read before did.

The second series I found through my brother when I was fourteen and devoured every book at a speed I didn’t know I had. I still get excited when a new book based on that world is released. The Ender Series by Orson Scott Card is Science Fiction and amazingly intricate in it’s world building and details. Never once did I find a detail that didn’t make sense with the previous books or a character that felt out of place.

And finally, the third series would be the Southern Vampire Mysteries series (otherwise known as the Sookie Stackhouse Series) by Charlaine Harris. Those books just had a way to pull me in and never let go. The heroine was flawed, there were heroes galore to choose from, and above all else, the mystery plot line was never lost amidst the romantic entanglements.


About the author
adrianneGrowing up, Adrianne couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

Visit Her Online

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Where Lemons Bloom

lemons bloomWhen Eve Anderson meets Adamo de Leone on a ship bound for Europe, she has no idea of the dark secret that will endanger both their lives. She accompanies him to his home on Italy’s Amalfi Coast to open an inn left to him by his grandfather. But then she learns he spent 5 years in prison for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. Could the man she loves be responsible for embezzling eighty million dollars from the investment firm he once owned?
Adamo wants to hold Eve at arm’s length until he can clear his proud family name. But when there is an attempt on his life and Eve is terrorized by a gun-bearing thug, he realizes how much he wants her, and he must accept whatever help he can get to uncover the well-hidden trail of a six-year-old crime.

Review

This is a great romantic adventure, full of exotic locals, swoon worthy leads, and a plot that keeps you guessing. Where Lemons Bloom is the first book I’ve read by Blair McDowell, but I’m very much hoping it won’t be my last.

Eve and Adamo meet early on in the story and end up in Italy together, but the story certainly starts globehopping from there. I loved all of the different places this story went. It felt like this story never really slowed down, there was always something going on. The mystery that was layered over the romance was probably my favorite part, and what really made Eve and Adamo’s story stand out.

Blog Tour: Antidote by Taylor Hondos

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antidote coverLife sucks, and then you rot. No one knows how Dermadecatis is contracted, but its existence has changed everything for 18-year-old Lena, in this riveting debut from Taylor Hondos.

No contact with other people.

Masks must be worn in public at all times.

Four months ago men, women and children alike began to rot from the inside out, and the world as we know it changed forever. Life goes on, but now everything revolves around the need to survive and find a cure for Dermadecatis, the disease that Lena Alona’s father discovered.

Unfortunately for Lena and everyone else who is desperate to survive, her father’s secrets died when he did.

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My Review
This was such a cool book! Please excuse me while I jump up and down and fan girl for a few minutes! I know some people are a little tired of post-apocalyptic adventures, but then a story like Antidote will come along and just blow you away! Taylor Hondos knows how to tell a great story, and I’m already counting down (or I would be, if I knew the release date) until the release of book two in this series.

Antidote follows Lena, the daughter of the man who, in a way, ended everything. Things are far from simple for Lena when the book starts, and only serve to get more complicated as the story progresses. The pacing is slow (in a good way) and creepy from beginning to end. This is an absolutely perfect read for this time of year, though I imagine I would have loved it even if I’d read it around Christmas time or in the middle of summer. Good YA is good YA!

I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Blog Tour – Goddess of Suburbia (with Guest Post by Stephanie Kepke)

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On Living Passionately… by Stephanie Kepke

I was tasked with bestowing three bits of advice for women looking to reconnect with their passions and live authentically – not an easy feat, even though I wrote a novel about just that, Goddess of Suburbia. I’m grateful for it, though. This post offers me the rare opportunity to focus for a moment on how, at forty-seven years old, I finally realized a dream I’ve had since I was eight – becoming a published author.

So… my first key to reconnecting with your passions: think about what captivated you as a child; what you loved in high school; and what you were passionate about in college. Is there a thread? Did a creative pursuit; academic subject; sport or philanthropic endeavor capture your heart when you were very young and continue to bring you joy throughout young adulthood, only to be abandoned when the realities of grown up life – marriage, kids, day job – got in the way? If there’s something you’ve always loved, do it. It’s that simple.

For me, writing is the thread that’s woven through the tapestry of my existence – from childhood through today. As I mentioned, at the tender age of eight I decided I wanted to be a writer. My desire only grew over the years. By the time I had my first child, I had written about forty articles for various publications and studied creative writing in amazing workshops with renowned authors. I was on my way. But, one baby slowed my writing down a bit and two stalled it all together. By the time baby number three came along, I rarely put pen to paper. I wrote here and there, but nothing that I submitted.

I started writing seriously again when my youngest was in nursery school, launching a blog to showcase my personal essays and working on a novel. The day he started full day kindergarten, I set a goal and made my husband a promise… If I didn’t get published by the time my little guy graduated kindergarten, I’d get a “real” job. Writing felt like a hobby, even though it was the only subject I ever studied, the only career I knew I’d ever be good at. Not making money at your job can do that. But…before my youngest donned his tiny graduation cap, my essay, Kicking Superwoman to the Curb, was published in Long Island Parents magazine. After taking off ten long years, I was convinced that it was time to fully return to my passion.

It took another five years (almost exactly) before I got my first book contract – for A New Life, a short story e-book (during that time I posted many personal essays and had a few articles published). I had written it right before my decade long hiatus, during the last workshop I took when my oldest son was a year old. A few months after A New Life came out Booktrope accepted my first novel, Goddess of Suburbia (the novel I started while my son napped in the minivan after nursery school). This brings me to my second key to rediscovering your passions and living authentically…

Don’t ever give up. Even if it seems like you’ll never get to where you want to be, even if it seems like the road ahead is so daunting – surely paved with rejection – don’t give up. There were times for me that it seemed like it would be so much easier to just throw in the towel, just raise the white flag. I was done with the rejection or even worse, no response at all. I never even heard from some publishers who requested Goddess of Suburbia  – not slush pile submissions, actual requests for my work. It took me a few months to work up the courage to submit to Booktrope – I didn’t think I could handle one more endless wait for a response that may or may not come. But, it was about two weeks from the time I submitted to the time a contract landed in my inbox. You just need one yes, and then every no you’ve ever received won’t matter.

My last bit of advice, which has been the hardest one for me to actually follow, is to not worry about what others think of you. This is something that Max grapples with in Goddess of Suburbia. She worries deeply what everyone else thinks of her. It’s her worst nightmare when she’s judged harshly by the other moms. I think in writing about learning to let go of the preoccupation with others’ perceptions, I was perhaps trying to work out that issue for myself. It’s very hard to just do something and not worry about being judged, but it’s the secret to living authentically. If you’re always trying to be what others expect you to be, you’ll never be true to yourself. One of my favorite quotes is, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” by Eleanor Roosevelt. So true – the most important key to living passionately and authentically is to do what makes you happy, free from the crippling fear of being judged.

cover70335-mediumSuburbia meets scandal in this hopeful and honest portrayal of that moment in every woman’s life when it’s time to make a change, even if that means risking losing it all. Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke is a must-read for women looking to reconnect with their passions, and live authentically.

When pillar of the community and PTA mom, Max, allowed her husband, Nick, to record a sex video of them on his cell phone, she thought of it as simply a way to keep Nick interested and entertained during his frequent business trips. But suddenly, Max is trending everywhere-her video lighting up the blogosphere and Twitter, thanks to the fact that she’s a genuine, imperfect woman. Now the paparazzi are chronicling her every move; her daughter wants to disown her; and her marriage has completely fallen apart. Just as things can’t get any more chaotic, Max’s college boyfriend, shows up two decades after he broke her heart. Now Max must learn to stop going through the motions of her life on auto-pilot and start living authentically, or risk forever being a suburban lemming running towards the cliff of old age.

LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository

The Clout of Gen

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“What if major events in modern history were planned decades ago?”

Newspaper reporter John Teddy’s miserable life is turned upside down when he uncovers a voice from the past—a voice that suspiciously knows far too much about the would-be future. John’s natural curiosity to understand the hidden message takes him to places he never imagined seeing, and ongoing conspiracies he never thought existed. The more John gets involved, the more he is led towards mysteries that are beyond his understanding. The circle of people involved grows bigger stretching from west to east; each step forward is like a step backward.

Review
The tagline alone had me interested in The Clout of Gen. Once I started reading, it was the writing that kept me coming back for more. This is a great conspiracy story that spans a pretty epic timeline.

In addition to the grand scale of the plot, I really enjoyed John Teddy as a central character, leading us through the story. He’s all kinds of determined to get to the bottom of everything that’s been going on, even though he’s in fairly dire straights at the beginning of the book. I also really enjoyed the dynamic of his relationship with Hitari.

The biggest downside of this book is the cover. It unfortunately looks pretty home made and might keep people away from this otherwise great book. But if you’re willing to look passed that, I promise you’ll be in for a great reading experience.

A fantastic read from a fresh new author in the literary world.

The Worlds Traveller (Cover Reveal)

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From award-winning author, M.L. Roble, comes a story about a boy, his map, and an adventure.

Life on the run from a madman named Martin gets in the way of everything.

For fourteen-year-old Phillip, it means having to stay hidden, unable to use his gift of moving through maps to search for his missing father.

But the arrival of a stranger named Delroy brings unexpected opportunity, for Delroy is a man with the ability to travel worlds hidden within our own, and he was sent by Phillip’s father.

Now Phillip will do everything he can to find his dad, even if it means tricking Delroy into helping him, or a quest through those hidden worlds.

Even if leaving home means Martin can now find him.

Available for pre-order at a special pre-order price of $2.99! Take advantage of it now at Itunes, Barnes and Noble, & Kobo.

The Worlds Traveler, Cover Reveal

9780988421349

From award-winning author, M.L. Roble, comes a story about a boy, his map, and an adventure.

Life on the run from a madman named Martin gets in the way of everything.

For fourteen-year-old Phillip, it means having to stay hidden, unable to use his gift of moving through maps to search for his missing father.

But the arrival of a stranger named Delroy brings unexpected opportunity, for Delroy is a man with the ability to travel worlds hidden within our own, and he was sent by Phillip’s father.

Now Phillip will do everything he can to find his dad, even if it means tricking Delroy into helping him, or a quest through those hidden worlds.

Even if leaving home means Martin can now find him.

Available for pre-order at a special pre-order price of $2.99! Take advantage of it now at Itunes, Barnes and Noble, & Kobo.

Follow in the adventures of Phillip Stone and Natalie Bristol from the award-winning book, The Magician’s Doll!

The Rabbit Ate My Flip-Flops

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Today I have a special blog tour stop. It’s been so long since I’ve come across a really wonderful children’s series that I wish I could have read myself when I was younger, but The Rabbit Ate My Flip Flops (as well as book one in the same series) definitely qualifies.

If you’ve got little ones in your life who love to read, especially if they love the furry members of their family, you’re going to want to pick up copies of Rachel Elizabeth Cole’s adorable bunny series. As a rabbit love myself, there was no question in my mind that the author has had and loved bunnies of her own, but you don’t need to be a rabbit nut in order to fall in love with Tiny and his family.

As a bonus, the author also stopped by with a list of things to consder when writing for children!


rabbit 2About the Book

You can’t bring a rabbit camping. That’s what eleven-year-old Drew Montgomery’s grandparents say when his annoying little sister wants to bring their pet rabbit, Tiny, along on the trip. And Drew agrees. It’s bad enough that he will miss the release of the coolest video game of the year while he’s stuck in a cramped travel trailer for a week with his grandparents and sister. But Tiny is certain to cause trouble. Plus there are bears and eagles in the woods. And what if Tiny gets lost?

But Libby smuggles the rabbit into the trailer anyway. Now Drew’s got to keep Tiny out of trouble. And that’s not easy to do with Libby always letting him out of the cage and a pair of rabbit-hating bullies ready to let their dog chomp him if he gets too close.

Top it off with never-ending rain, bloodthirsty mosquitos, a broken toilet, stinky outhouses, angry squirrels, terrible food, and an eye-gougingly boring “schedule of activities.” Drew is about ready to take the rabbit and hitchhike home before disaster really strikes.

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Seven things to consider when writing for children

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  • Read as many children’s books as you can get your hands on. Read newly published books, read classics, read debut authors and bestselling authors. Read both traditionally published books and self-published books. Get recommendations from librarians, book sellers, teachers, parents. Analyze what you read. Pick it apart. Figure out what makes it work and what doesn’t.
  • Know your target audience. Are you writing picture books? Early readers? Middle grade? Young adult? Each has their own requirements and reader expectations. You will need to know these to reach your target audience.
  • You don’t have to have kids to write for kids. But you will need to remember what it’s like to be a kid if you’re going to connect with them as readers.
  • Picture books and early readers don’t have to rhyme. Writing rhyme is harder than it looks. Unless you’re Dr. Suess or have studied poetry and know what things like meter and measure and iambic pentameter are, it’s probably best to stick with prose.
  • Children’s books don’t have to have a moral. Lessons can be learned, for sure, but don’t pound your readers over the head with them. It can turn them off reading your book. Entertain first, educate second.
  • You don’t have to kill off the parents. Yes, characters in children’s books need to solve their own problems, but there are other ways to get the parents out of the way so they can do that. Make the parents busy or self-absorbed. Send them away and leave the kids in the care of someone less invested in them. Send the kids to boarding school or summer camp. Give the parents a divorce. Or, better yet, make them part of the problem.
  • Don’t bore your reader. This is true for all books, but especially true for children’s books. Kids don’t have the same attention spans we adults do. You need to catch their attention from page one and then never let it go.