Thursday, February 28, 2013

Author Interview: J.M. Miller, author of Caly's Piece

Today we have J.M. Miller with us, author of Caly's Piece. Caly's Piece tells the story of a young graffiti artist rediscovering who she is by taking a look at her past. Check out the synopsis:

Caly knew her mom would punish her; in fact, she'd planned on it. But a late-night ride in the backseat of a cop car wasn't part of that plan.

Seventeen-year-old Caly Monroe has one passion: graffiti. Her mom hates it. And that's precisely why Caly decides to spray paint a barely dressed portrait of her mom in the middle of town, hoping to change her perspective―or maybe it was just to piss her off.

After Caly's mom picks her up from the police station, she banishes Caly to Gemstone Beach, the run-down bay beach where they used to live each summer. The last time Caly stepped a bare foot onto that beach's crusty sand was five years ago, before her mom opened a bakery and permanently ended their vacations. When Caly returns, she is tasked with manual labor at the boardwalk as punishment; though, she soon discovers the real punishment is facing the people she once cared most about, including her first love, Aden.

While Caly continues to contemplate her artistic future, she has to let her heart choose what, and who, is worth fighting for.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I just might be the only author who didn't like to read as a kid. Every author interview I've read states that they loved books at an early age. Not me. If I were to go back in time to hunt my younger self, I'd find her playing football with the boys, eating ants off the sidewalk,* or diving head first into some new hobby like unicycling (seriously, I begged and begged and finally got one for Christmas one year. I was decent, but I gave it up because I didn't stand a chance at winning any bike races).

My grown-up self is married with three children--only one is of the human variety. I've flown in an F-15 and raised lion cubs, both are highlights from my previous day jobs.** I now get to sit in front of a computer screen and stare at a cursor for hours on end while I dream about writing and search the internet for funny cat pictures.***

What inspired you to make the main character of Caly's Piece a graffiti artist?

I've always been intrigued by graffiti, just like Caly. Some of the murals I've seen are extremely beautiful, some beyond words. In that respect, I think graffiti was an automatic answer. I needed her to have a talent/hobby that was beautiful and that she was extremely passionate about. I also needed that hobby to have a stigma associated with illegal activity. That's why graffiti seemed the most natural choice.

What sort of romance do you like to read about? The real slow burn, drawn out type, or do you prefer love at first sight, or maybe a mix between the two? What kind of romance would you say Caly and Aden have?

I think I like a mix, though I do tend to lean toward the drawn-out type. I need to feel that initial heat, but when something is in the way (conflicting emotions, a current relationship, etc.), it keeps me hooked and waiting, wanting more. Caly and Aden have the drawn-out type for sure! They were together when they were younger. So it's been a few years and all of the feelings are practically brand new. They want to rediscover each other, but they have something/someone interfering and that makes it a slow burn!

What do you hope readers will take away from Caly's Piece?

Most of all, I hope that readers enjoy the story. If they take anything away from it, I would want them to take away the courage to fight for what they want out of their life. And (this might sound cliché, but it's the truth) sometimes when you feel stuck, the only way to move forward is to take a step back.

What is your favorite line from Caly's Piece and why?

I'd have to say that it changes all of the time. I guess it really depends on my mood. Tonight, I'll go with this one:
Even if the end outcome is negative, the beauty always makes the effort worthwhile.

* Yes, I really did this; however, it was really a dare. I don't really recommend trying it. They really aren't fulfilling and they probably hold no nutritional value.

** Yes, I really did these, too! And I'm completely serious. I have pictures, though that might not mean as much as it used to.

*** Yes, I really do this, though lately the cats have all been grumpy.

For more about Caly's Piece check out these sites!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Just AHHHH! The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead had it's cover reveal today and it is so freaking pretty! Here's a (mostly) spolier free synopsis:

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

I love this cover. It makes me laugh every time I look at it because the model portraying Sydney looks SO pissed. I find it hilarious. Especially after reading The Indigo Spell, she sort of has her reasons for looking exasperated. I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Razorbill changes her picture on the cover before November, but hopefully not. Plus Adrian FINALLY gets his whole face on a cover! Yay! Can't wait for November to get here!

What do you think of the cover?

Blog Tour Spotlight: My Wolf's Bane by Veronica Blade

Today we're excited to be a part of the My Wolf's Bane Blog Tour hosted by Crush Publishing! My Wolf's Bane is the first book in the young adult paranormal romance series Shapes of Autumn. Check out the synopsis:

Different species. Mortal enemies. It'll never work, but they'll die trying.

Autumn Rossi thought she was a normal teenager. Suddenly, she can outrun every critter in the forest, making her wonder if she’s even human.

When the new guy at school, Zack de Luca, witnesses a questionable scene, he unfairly pins her as stuck-up. He acts like he hates her, yet he keeps bailing her out of trouble. Not only is Zack both insufferable and irresistible, he seems to sniff her anytime he gets close.

As passion flares between them, Autumn isn’t sure which is more dangerous: her psycho ex-boyfriend, or falling for Zack — who’s risking his life just by being near her.

Excerpt from My Wolf's Bane:

I tossed the makeup bag into my backpack, slung it over my shoulder and whipped open the door. Barreling out of the bathroom, I slammed into what felt like a walking boulder. I ricocheted off the human rock and my backpack hit the wall behind me, throwing me off balance and pitching me forward into the hard, linoleum tile. 
My palms cushioned my fall, but I winced as pain spiked up my wrists. On all fours, I lifted my chin and peeked through my curtain of dark hair. 
He wore a black tee that molded to his wide, muscular shoulders and jeans that fit over powerful legs. Wow. I’d thought my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was cute, but this guy… 
“You okay?” the hottie asked in a sexy, gravelly voice, stretching a hand toward me. His hand wrapped around mine and effortlessly pulled me up, as if I weighed no more than my calculus book. Maybe it was the throbbing in my limbs or the warmth of his hands on my elbows. Or maybe it was his earthy scent invading my senses, but a wave of dizziness hit me and I tipped forward.
His hands shot to my hips to steady me. “Easy there.” 
I stared into his deep, green eyes as my palms rested on his hard biceps for support. Lord, he smelled good, like the forest after rain. 
My breath hitched.

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Veronica Blade lives in Southern California with her husband and children. By day she runs the family business, but each night she slips away to spin her tales. She writes stories about young adults to relive her own childhood and to live vicariously through her characters. Except her heroes and heroines lead far more interesting lives — and they are always way hotter.

For more about My Wolf's Bane check out these sites!

Spotlight & Author Interview: Happily Never After by Missy Fleming

Today we have an interview with Missy Fleming, author of the young adult paranormal Happily Never After. We've also got an excerpt from the prologue, so make sure you check it out! Here's the synopsis:

There's no such thing as happy endings.

Savannah, Georgia is rumored to be the most haunted place in America. Quinn Roberts knows it is. She's felt the presence of spirits her entire life, investigating and photographing them with her best friend. Only none of those encounters ever turned violent, until now. The menacing darkness feeding off her stepmother has promised she won't live to see her eighteenth birthday.

After a chance meeting Quinn reluctantly allows actor Jason Preston into her life, which has complications of its own. She's not used to letting people get close. Falling for him while fighting for her life, and her family's legacy, only complicates things more. Jason shows her exactly what she stands to lose, especially when she's being attacked by the mysterious entity. Each attack is more violent and terrifying than the last.

With Jason's help, she dives into the Roberts' family history, searching for a link between a woman who went missing a hundred and fifty years ago and what's happening now. What they find is a brutal murder and that the ghost doesn't just want to hurt Quinn, it wants revenge.

It wants her life.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been writing as long as I can remember. It started out as poetry and grew into actual stories. I live in Bozeman, Montana, right by Yellowstone National Park so my writing time is often at war with my love of the outdoors. Winter gives me lots of time to hunker down and get stuff done. I'm single, LOVE traveling, and often victim to my overactive imagination. I read all the time, too. I love books and being a part of this community of writers and readers is great. It's a big family.

In your novel, Happily Never After, the main character Quinn Roberts is a paranormal investigator. Have you ever done any paranormal investigating if your own, or run into any spirits?

I haven't done any investigating...yet! I want to. I live near a lot of ghost towns and you can't walk through them and not wonder. I will say I work in a hotel and before working there, I wasn't as big of a believer as I am now. My dream is to go on a hunt with the guys from Ghost Adventures one day!

Do you have a favorite book so far in 2013 or maybe your favorite of 2012?

So far in 2013, it would have to be The Indigo Spell (Adrian...sigh) and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis. Both parts of awesome series that I wish would never end. For 2012, Cinder blew me away as did the entire Game of Thrones series. Yeah, finished all the books in a matter of weeks :)

Do you have a favorite line from Happily Never After and why is it your favorite?

I've always loved the first line for some reason.
Mama always told me Savannah was home to more than just the living.
It sets the tone and has a haunting quality to it. The last line always make me giddy too, but I can't put that one here :)

Excerpt from Happily Never After by Missy Fleming:

Mama always told me Savannah was home to more than just the living. I remember her telling me stories of ghosts and magic, and things that normally belonged in fairy tales. Her rich, syrupy voice would wrap round me with a magic of its own, making me believe. She said all you had to do was step out onto any street and you could feel it in the air, tickling the edges of your imagination, inviting you in. 
We lived in one of the oldest houses in the historic district. A tall, proud home fronted with white columns standing like guards against the unrelenting Georgia humidity. Mama said that besides her, Daddy and me, we also lived with a little boy and a soldier from the War of Northern Aggression. They crept through the house at night, moving furniture or crying. She said they even stood guard at the end of the bed. I never saw that. For me, it was always a flicker of an image, a brush of wind on my face, or the glimpse of something from the corner of my eye. I never gave them a second thought. In Savannah, you were only considered odd if your house didn’t have ghosts. 
I was seven when Mama died of an aneurism. She once told me our loved ones never truly left us, and those words were a comfort to me during that confusing time. At least they were until late at night, when Daddy was already asleep, and the shadows pulsed around me in their silent dance. Those shadows made me wonder what happened to her. 
One night, as I watched the shadows dance, I wondered where she truly went. To my child’s mind, if the city were as haunted as she said, she must still be there somewhere. All I needed to do was find her. 
The following mornings, on my walks to and from school, I searched for her everywhere. I investigated the slightest breeze or tiniest movement of the bushes. Every night, when my house fell silent, I wandered through the rooms asking for her. When I saw something out of the corner of my eye, I begged them to find Mama and bring her back where she belonged. Each time I felt cold fingers walking up my spine or the hair on my arms and neck stand up, I whispered ‘Mama’ into the darkness. 
In all my years of searching, I never found her.

For more about Happily Never After check out these sites!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Title: Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: February 26th, 2013

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Also Known As by Robin Benway is hard not to love. There's spies and tons of espionage, witty dialogue, romance, and an absolutely hilarious main character. What is there not to love?

Maggie is a teenage safecracker who's finally been given her first solo gig. She's excited and terrified all at the same time. The mission rests on her shoulders and when she loses her way it's her new found friends, Jesse and Roux, spoiled rich Manhattanites that they are, who just might be the only ones that can help this spy complete her job.

Maggie and Jesse's relationship was sooooo adorable. Yes, that's a so with five O's. Their relationship is five O's adorable. It's rare for me to like a contemporary novel that has an insta-love relationship in it, but since Also Known As is about a teenage spy and is absolutely hysterical, I let the insta-love go. Besides, they're supposed to be sixteen, and don't most sixteen year olds think they're in love after two dates?

The side characters were great. Maggie's parents were cool and a huge part of the story, which I found refreshing. Angelo, a family friend/uncle type, was Maggie's go to in any and all situations, which I loved! Then there's Roux. Roux is sort of like an insanely perky and less Queen B version of Blair from Gossip Girl and I love it!

Also Known As is laugh out loud funny. But there were a few times (very few, not deal breaking stuff here) that I wish the description had been able to keep up with the dialogue. Sometimes the dialogue would run on for half a page before I saw a single burst of description. The dialogue was entertaining enough to carry those parts all on its own, but still, it would have made the book feel slightly more well rounded. But it was a quick read and it definitely held my attention and made me laugh, so all is forgiven.

If you're a fan of Ally Carter or any an all things spy or thief related, or maybe just looking for a fun read, you need to read Also Known As. It will keep you guessing, and laughing, until the very end. Robin Benway has now been added to my list of must-read authors!

For more about Also Known As check out these sites!

AmazonB&N • Goodreads

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spotlight: Dummy & Me! by Sydell Voeller

Today we have an excerpt from Sydell Voeller's Dummy & Me! It's a coming-of-age contemporary about a girl with a unique gift of ventriloquism! Check out the synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Deanna Lambert is miserable. She can't find her niche with the popular kids at school and believes she is ugly. Then too, after her mother deserted the family to pursue an acting career in New York City, Deanna's father has grown distant and embittered. Now Deanna is saddled with most all the chores at home—and she and her dad barely communicate.

Yet Deanna's one happy escape is her volunteer work at the nearby Children's Hospital. There the activities director convinces her to get back into her ventriloquism, a creative skill Deanna's grandfather had taught her years earlier.

Deanna and her puppet, Ramblin' Roy, entertain and delight the young hospital patients, but Deanna is worried. What if the kids at her school discover what she's doing? Will they think she's just “a baby” who still plays with dolls?

Deanna takes the risk, but one problem soon leads to another. Can she ever gain true acceptance at school, especially from Jason, the guy whom she has a major crush on? And most of all, can Deanna embrace her gift of ventriloquism, and in so doing, come to terms with her mother's leaving?

Excerpt from Dummy & Me! by Sydell Voeller:

Chapter One
That stupid old feeling was haunting me again. I knew it was time to strike head-on. Flopping down on my bed, I closed my eyes and for the hundredth time called forth a picture in my mind. There I was in the school cafeteria with a bunch of kids clustered around me, talking and joking like it was the easiest thing I'd ever done. 
My hair was no longer a mousy washed-out brown, but strands of curls fell, like the commercials say, with rich auburn highlights. My too-large nose was perfectly formed with just a hint of a ski-jump tip like Sally Murdock's, the most popular girl in the tenth grade class. I wore cool looking clothes with the latest designer labels—not the stuff I’d bought at Good Will. But the best part of all, I knew exactly what to say at exactly the right times. Even Jason Middleton, the class clown, laughed at my jokes. I had a major crush on him! The vision suddenly vanished. Negative vibes, the eternal culprit. It happened every time. As soon as I'd managed to concentrate on even a hint of my innermost dreams, there were those vibes, reminding me it was all impossible. My hopes faded as quickly as snowflakes striking a sun-warmed windowpane. During the past week I'd been reading this book about improving one's self-confidence. In it, the author said that you had to imagine yourself the way you wanted to be, tell yourself you'd already accomplished your goal, and then live as if you really believed it. Pretty soon you'd discover you were closer to your dream than you ever imagined possible. 
I sighed, then shook my head. I'd tried it time and time again. Was it really possible for a fifteen-year-old like me? 
Oh, it's not that I lacked friends totally. Tammy Haddon and I'd been best friends ever since second grade. And Delia Zeigler, my locker partner, sometimes joined Tammy and me when we walked to school. 
Yet now at Meadow View High School, I wanted to stretch my wings and really belong to a special crowd. 
The sound of my dad's angry voice jerked me from my thoughts. "Dede, how many times have I told you to start dinner before I get home?" 
Springing up from the bed, I groaned. "Coming, Dad!" 
A couple of years ago, Mom divorced Dad and took off for New York City to become an actress. They had always been so different. My father was contented to keep working at the cannery where he'd landed a job the day he'd graduated from high school. But my mother, who’d majored in drama and graduated from college with honors, was a dreamer.
I know Mom loved my older brother, Bryon, and me. I’ll never forget the look on her face that horrible day she told us good-bye, nor my own helpless feelings raging inside. How could she just walk off and desert us? 
Still, she was restless, just like her grandfather, a famous ventriloquist in the fifties who traveled with the vaudeville. I could never change her restlessness. 
I hurried out to the kitchen, nearly bumping into my father. "Sorry, I guess the time got away from me." 
"Deanna, Deanna," he scolded, shaking his bald head. "The time always gets away from you. What were you doing? Lying in that room of yours and day-dreaming again?" 
"Sort of.” I reached into the lower cupboard and grabbed a handful of potatoes. How could I ever explain to him about my latest attempts at positive action? 
"I suppose your brother is working down at the greasy spoon again." 
"Dad, it isn't a greasy spoon. It's McDonald's. You know, a cherished American institution like motherhood and apple pie.” I'd borrowed those words from a commercial on TV. 
He glanced up from the front page of The Oregon Reporter. Though his gray eyes looked weary, I could tell my dramatic proclamation had caught him by surprise. Or was it what I said, not how I said it? I wondered a split second later. Why had I mentioned motherhood and cherished institutions? I was only trying to get my point across, not open old wounds. 
"Little do you know about motherhood," Dad grumbled. "Certainly nothing your mother ever taught you." 
I sighed, saying nothing. It seemed he was always complaining about her. 
Before she left, Mom had longed to go to the East Coast. Dad insisted on staying in Oregon. They fought about it constantly. 
Yet secretly I couldn't blame him for complaining. Why couldn't she have been contented with her teacher's aide job at Blakely Elementary? Wasn't it enough to direct the annual school play and audition for roles at the community theater? 
Dad snapped open a can of beer. "Better watch that day-dreaming, Dede. You'll end up just like your mother." 
"So? There are worse things than being a dreamer." 
I refused to tolerate his criticism any longer and rallied to Mom's defense. Funny how mixed up inside you could feel about someone you love. But Dad would never understand that. He was much too wrapped up in earning a living and hanging out at the Elks Club on weekends to care about me. 
Dad clunked his lunch box down on the counter. “Did you get an e-mail from your mother today?” he asked. 
I told him I had. 
"What's she up to now?" 
"She's still stuck in that little rooming house, but she's hoping to find something better soon." 
I yearned to be with her, yet I knew it was impossible. She could never afford to keep Bryon and me on her meager income. Dad didn't have extra money to send either. 
"You can read the e-mail if you like," I added. 
"Later.” He dismissed my offer with a shrug. 
I glanced up at the clock on the wall. I'd better hurry if I was going to get this dinner out on time. 
"I hate cooking," I muttered to myself. "Why did Mom leave and dump it all on me?” 
Now that Bryon had turned seventeen and taken a part-time job at McDonald's after school, it was worse. At least he used to do the laundry in the evenings, but not anymore. That chore had been dumped on me too. 
"What did you say, Dede?” Dad's words gave me a start. I hadn't meant for him to hear. 
"Nothing," I answered. I shoved the potatoes into the microwave. "No over-time tonight?" 
"Nope. The swing shift crew is finally shaping up, so I won't need to fill in for them. Good thing they hired two more men after Jarvis and Kettlemen quit." 
The wrinkles in his forehead faded a little and I saw a hint of a smile on his lips. He rarely smiled anymore after the divorce. I'd watched him grow from a peppy, happy man to a bitter old one. We'd all suffered silently in one way or another, but I couldn't help thinking I'd suffered the most. 
"Bryon's getting a raise next week," I told my father. "They told him within the next year, he might work his way up to evening manager.” I opened a box of Hamburger Helper and dumped it into the skillet of sizzling ground beef. The tangy smells of dehydrated onion rose up about me. 
I waited for his reply, but when he didn't answer, I continued, "Bryon's doing a great job there. Remember, you were the one who told him it was time he helped out with the family finances.” I figured that should get a rise out of him. 
"Good. That way he can pay for his own car insurance. Next payment's due come April.” He gave the paper a quick snap. "The rates are getting just plum out of sight. Why, what with that and the price of gas, pretty soon it won't pay to drive a car, I tell you." 
I stirred the hamburger concoction, watching the steam rising from the skillet. "I'll sure be glad when I can get a job. I mean a real one that pays. That way I won't have to bug you for new clothes or money to go to the movies with Tammy." 
Every Saturday morning, I took the bus into Portland, Oregon to the children's hospital. I loved my volunteer job on the orthopedic ward. Lots of the patients stayed there for weeks and weeks, so I'd grown to know them well. It also proved a good escape from my chores at home. 
“Tammy still your best friend?" he asked. 
“Of course! Tammy and I will be friends forever." Though she'd recently signed up to work on the yearbook and because of that, made lots of new friends, I never doubted her undying loyalty. 
"Good." Dad said. "Then maybe Tammy's mother can get you on at the hospital when you're old enough.” Mrs. Haddon was the activities director there and a lot like a second mom to me. 
"She's already talked about that," I answered. "Says I stand an excellent chance of getting hired someday. Someday soon, matter of fact.” I was eager to let him know my efforts could possibly count for something in the long run. I'd always wanted to become a nurse for as long as I could remember. 
That evening, after dinner dishes and homework were done, a bright new idea popped into my head. I'd try still another plan of attack in solving my self-confidence problems. 
I grabbed my diary from the top of my dresser and thumbed through the pages. The blue vinyl covered book fell open to the last page, exactly where I wanted it to fall open. 
I printed across the top in bold red letters, "My Plan for Positive Action.” In my book, the author had said you also needed to put your goals on paper. 
There! It'd be simple. At the beginning of each week, I'd write down a new strategy, sort of adding one on top of the other like building blocks. This first week, I'd concentrate on smiling and saying hi to as many kids as I could, especially kids I didn't know. I wasn't sure exactly what I'd do for weeks number two, three, and so on, but I'd worry about that later. 
As I closed my diary, anticipation stirred within me. It was only a matter of time: Great things were just waiting to happen!

For more about Dummy & Me! check out these sites!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (21): Genesis

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Genesis by Forgive Durden

Forgive Durden is my all time favorite band. They are the only band on my automatic buy list. This song might seem pretty weird but it's actually the beginning of a larger story told over the course of Razia's Shadow: A Musical. If you ever have an hour to kill and want to listen to the whole CD, it's a really beautiful story and features a bunch of artists as different characters, such as Brandon Urie from Panic! At The Disco. Last I heard they were trying to get this on Broadway. I would flip right the freak out if that happened!

What are you listening to?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Teen Author Boot Camp Writing Conference

Are you a teen who loves to write? A librarian or book lover who would love to attend a conference featuring NYT Bestselling authors? Then here's your chance!

Writers Cubed, a writing group based out of Utah, is holding a conference and broadcasting through Live Stream so that everyone can attend! The Teen Author Boot Camp is aimed at teenage writers but everyone is welcome to attend, and it's a steal at only $4.99 for a Live Broadcast Pass and $9.99 for an All-Access Pass. It's the cheapest conference you'll ever attend! And you'll get to attend classes by bestselling authors such as Kiersten White (Paranormalcy), Aprilynne Pike (Wings), and Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)! Find out more about the conference below and enter to win a free Live Broadcast Pass!

Virtual Writing Conference For Teens by Margie Jordan:

There is a famous line from a movie that says, “I was always a band geek. I just never joined the band.” I could relate. When I was in high school I was a president of the dance team, a singer in the choir, a hang-out-with-my-boyfriend-until-mom-and-dad-forced-me-home kind of person. But in my heart, I was a writer. This is why I tell people all the time, “I was always a writer. I just always hated English.”

Because I was a closet writer, I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, no one to tell me when I stank, no one to teach me how to craft a really great story. My teachers were the millions of books I read (not in a closet—but hidden away when my friends were around). And I WISHED I could have had someone to talk to about my hidden obsession.

If this sounds like you…. Then I’m happy to say there is a solution.

The Teen Author Boot Camp, founded by the Utah-based group Writers Cubed and sponsored by Utah Valley University is one of only a few writing conferences nationwide geared solely for teenagers who have a love for the written word. For the first time ever, Writers Cubed is offering the conference to anyone who wants to attend through Live Stream.

Interested? Here are the deets!

When: Saturday, March 16, 2013
From: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MST)
Where: Worldwide via the internet
Who: Teens, teachers, librarians, book lovers
Cost: $4.99 for the Live Broadcast; $9.99 for the All Pass

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors) Class: Imagine and Create.

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother) Class: Bad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy) Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld) Class: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel: Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings) Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog!

Margie Jordan is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. In her spare time, like when she isn’t writing, she is a Literacy specialist for her local school district. Please visit her website at


To win a free subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast (Value $4.99) just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. If the winner decides he or she would like to upgrade to the All-Pass subscription, then they will receive a $5 off coupon to the cost of an all-pass (normally $10). Good luck!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spotlight: The Genius of Little Things by Larry Buhl

Today we're spotlighting Larry Buhl's The Genius of Little Things. It follows the misadventures of Tyler, school geek, who's running for student council in his high school. Check out the synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Tyler’s big dream of becoming a top immunologist could come crashing down if he doesn’t manage all of the little things right now. But when this obsessive-compulsive science geek confronts a school election, a demeaning job, needy tutees, a first girlfriend, and the possible extinction of honeybees, there are suddenly too many things to manage.

Tyler’s catastrophically humorous run for high school student council convinces the principal that he’s a troublemaker, while it wins him the admiration and desire of Rachel, a smart and iconoclastic reporter for the school paper. A new night job at a nursing home puts Tyler on a collision course with his new foster parents, a childless middle-aged couple with an agenda and a tragic past of their own. And the pain of his mother’s death becomes too big for him to ignore.

Set on the mean streets of suburban Las Vegas, The Genius of Little Things is about how you can’t always get what you want. But sometimes, well, you know...

Find out more about The Genius of Little Things at these sites!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blog Tour Guest Post: Recalled by Cambria Hebert

Today we're excited to be a part of the Recalled blog tour. It's a New Adult paranormal romance that was released on February 15th, 2013.

Love or Death? A simple question really. The choice seems obvious. But. What if you never knew love, what if your life was spent just trying to survive? What if you knew your fate before you were fully grown?

And then you died.

And you were given another chance. A better chance.

This new life depended upon one thing: your job. And so you agreed. You thought it would be simple. You thought it would be cut and dry.

It never is.

And now you are left holding the fate of someone else in the palm of your hand and you have to make the ultimate choice.

Love or Death?

Would You Rather by Cambria Hebert:

Have you ever played the game Would you Rather? You know where you ask someone what they would rather do?

Yes, I am a grown adult.

It’s still fun. Ha ha ha.

So for today’s tour stop we are going to play Would you Rather. Actually I am and you get to read it. LOL. But feel free to leave your answers in the comment section!

Today I will be answering these three questions:
Would you rather be a giant hamster or a tiny rhino? 
Would you rather always wear earmuffs or a nose plug? 
Would you rather always win pie-eating contests or always win wheelbarrow races?
And here are my answers!!

Would you rather be a giant hamster or a tiny rhino?

I did a lot of soul searching to come up with this answer, days of sitting quietly to think and reflect. Okay, no I didn’t. I just looked at the question ten seconds ago. But I don’t need to reflect to know which one I prefer. I would rather be a tiny rhino.

Why? Because (and I will probably get hate email for this) but I don’t like hamsters. They are like rats and they just aren’t my thing. Plus, if I were a giant anything I think it would be hard to fit into places, find enough food to fill my belly and I would probably frighten people everywhere I went. Now being a tiny rhino I wouldn’t have those problems. I could find enough food, I could hide if I wanted to be left alone and most people would probably think I was cute because I was so tiny and they would spoil me and give me good stuff. (I don’t know what because I have no clue what rhino’s think is good stuff) lol.

So that’s my answer. Next question!

Would you rather always wear earmuffs or a nose plug?

Earmuffs! (Aren’t those cute?) The reason I would wear earmuffs is because having something pinching my nose at all hours of the day and night would be super annoying and I would be so grouchy. Plus, I would sound like Pee Wee Herman when I talked. Everyone would laugh at my funny sounding voice. Earmuffs have some advantages though, one I could go to a crowded store to shop and the noise wouldn’t bother me. I wouldn’t have to hear kids crying in the aisles, people talking loud, etc. Also, I wouldn’t hear my dog bark in the middle of the night and wake me up (she’s been doing that a  lot lately, grrr) and I could tune out my kids when they start bickering (she touched me! She looked at me! He said I was stupid!….. mom’s everywhere are cringing)

Plus if someone asked me to do something i didn’t want to do I could point to the earmuff’s and pretend I couldn’t hear them.

Sure with a nose plug I wouldn’t have to smell stinky smells again but I wouldn’t be able to smell the good stuff either… like cinnamon rolls and coffee. Talk about a tragedy. So you see the only choice for me is earmuffs.

Final question!

Would you rather always win pie-eating contests or always win wheelbarrow races?

This is very difficult. I mean look at all that mouth watering pie… YUMMY! I can think of worse things than winning pie eating contests all the time. But still…

I would have to choose the wheel barrel races. I would rather always win those.

I know. I’m crazy. But here’s the thing. If I was constantly shoving pie in my mouth I would be unhealthy, I would have a stomach ache and I would probably stop thinking pie was tasty. What a shame!

So I think I would rather always win wheel barrel races because that would mean I was athletic, I had a good friend (can’t do a wheel barrel race alone!) and it also meant I would get so much exercise that I could eat all the pie I wanted and still fit into my jeans!!! Win Win!!!

So that is Would you Rather! Tell us your answers below!!


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About the Author:

Author. Blogger. Latte Sipper.

Cambria Hebert is an author who wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. It was terrible. But the passion for writing never went away so years later when she opened her laptop and started typing she worked until she wrote a book that she hopes everyone will be as excited about as she is.

Cambria is obsessed with werewolves and is terrified of chickens (they are creepy!)She is an animal lover that would choose coffee over food and her favorite TV show is the Vampire Diaries (Hell-O Damon!)

For more about Recalled check out these sites!

Teaser Tuesday (41): Georgetown Academy: Book 3 by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser comes from Georgetown Academy: Book 3 by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz. There were so many great lines in this one that I had a really hard time choosing, so of course I went with a Brooks quote. Love him!

So... how do you think all this is going?" Brooks asked, turning to her, breezily.

"All what?" Taryn gave him a quizzical look.

"Your using me to make Gabe jealous." She was too stunned to even be embarrassed. "How is it going? As a member of the mission, I think I deserve to know." He flashed her a self-satisfied grin.

{Georgetown Academy: Book 3, Chapter 7}

Synopsis of Georgetown Academy: Book 3:
The frosty chill that’s settled over Georgetown Academy isn’t just from the winter weather—growing up in the D.C. fishbowl isn’t for everyone, but a break from the Beltway might just restore some sanity.

Ellie Walker’s suffered through a lifetime of scandal in a few short weeks, and now must watch her true love fall for someone else. But will a dose of fresh New England air—and an irresistible newcomer who plays by his own rules—provide the change of pace she so desperately needs?

Riding high after her smashing D.C. debut, Taryn Reyes hatches a plan to cement her relationship with Gabe. But she may get more than she bargained for when she enlists Brooks’ help.

Evan Harnett would do anything to protect her friends. But one moment of weakness, and now she’s on the outs with both Hunter and Ellie. Hot on the trail of a new story, she’s heartbroken to find it leads straight back to Ellie. Can she save her friend and their friendship?

Brinley Madison’s Clinton-esque downfall was bad enough, but between family obligations, protecting her friends, and managing local gossip, will she be able to regain her social standing without losing her peace of mind?

Privileged kids in a posh hotel with nothing to do but scheme and ski—and they thought D.C. was a pressure cooker? One thing’s for sure: what happens in Vermont definitely won’t stay in Vermont.

For more about Georgetown Academy: Book 3 check out these sites!

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Georgetown Academy Book 3 by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Title: Georgetown Academy: Book 3
Authors: Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz
Publisher: Coliloquy
Publish Date: January 14th, 2013

The frosty chill that’s settled over Georgetown Academy isn’t just from the winter weather—growing up in the D.C. fishbowl isn’t for everyone, but a break from the Beltway might just restore some sanity.

Ellie Walker’s suffered through a lifetime of scandal in a few short weeks, and now must watch her true love fall for someone else. But will a dose of fresh New England air—and an irresistible newcomer who plays by his own rules—provide the change of pace she so desperately needs?

Riding high after her smashing D.C. debut, Taryn Reyes hatches a plan to cement her relationship with Gabe. But she may get more than she bargained for when she enlists Brooks’ help.

Evan Harnett would do anything to protect her friends. But one moment of weakness, and now she’s on the outs with both Hunter and Ellie. Hot on the trail of a new story, she’s heartbroken to find it leads straight back to Ellie. Can she save her friend and their friendship?

Brinley Madison’s Clinton-esque downfall was bad enough, but between family obligations, protecting her friends, and managing local gossip, will she be able to regain her social standing without losing her peace of mind?

Privileged kids in a posh hotel with nothing to do but scheme and ski—and they thought D.C. was a pressure cooker? One thing’s for sure: what happens in Vermont definitely won’t stay in Vermont.

Skiing! That's what Georgetown Academy: Book 3 is all about. Well, really it's about the character's we've come to know and love going on their annual ski trip to Vermont and all the romantic drama and scandals that follow them there. At this point in the series we're far enough in that we know these characters and have a pretty good idea when they're making mistakes. I love all of these characters so it's interesting to see all of their problems finally coming to a head in Book 3. It's also probably my favorite book in the series so far and had me laughing out loud at some of the banter between the characters.

Taryn, one of my favorite of the GA girls, came off pretty whiny in the beginning of this book. But that lasted for, oh, about half a second. Once she hits the slopes with Brooks you really see that carefree, wild spirit that is an essential part of who Taryn is. Regardless of any relationship drama Taryn is always a pleasure to read about.

Poor Brinley. The girl may seem like your standard mean girl on the outside but on the inside she's got more depth than any of the other girls. I was so happy that she went to rehab and was proactively trying to get better after everything that happened in Book 2. And the fact that no one, aside from her brother Brooks, takes her recovery seriously just made me feel even worse for her. But at least she got to meet Shane, the adorable townie from the ski resort. Brinley far exceeded my expectations of her in this book. While her snobbery may know no bounds, neither does her loyalty to her friends and her resolve to do the right thing.

I felt terrible for Evan. For a girl who seems to truly want to do the right thing all the time, she really gets the short end of the stick. That just doesn't seem fair to me. But karma works wonders for sweet girls with crushes on nice boys, doesn't it? Well, it does in this latest installment of the GA series!

There is a bit of a bright side for Ellie finally. After meeting cute Weston and getting back in her mother's good graces things really seem to be looking up for her. Or is Weston really someone she should be trusting? What I love about Ellie is that, while she puts her mother's career ahead of her own feelings, she's not one to make stupid mistakes and I ended this book feeling proud of her.

Is there anything better than a handful of hot guys at a ski resort? No. No there isn't. And that's exactly what Book 3 gives us! The GA guys are out looking good in their ski gear (especially Brooks who Taryn actually compares to a Saks mannequin. Ha!). Speaking of Brooks, holy moly! The chemistry and banter between him and Taryn is off the charts. I always knew he was my favorite GA boy! As I was reading I kept having to pause to screech, Ohmygodhessocute!

If you've read the other books in this series then you'll definitely want to continue the adventure with the Georgetown gang as they travel to Vermont in this fun, drama filled third book in the series. If you haven't started this series yet, then please! Give it a try. I can't stress enough how in love with these characters I am. Also, we're currently giving away Book 2 so hurry over to enter to win a copy or yourself!

For more about Georgetown Academy: Book 3 check out these sites!

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