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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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1. Friday Feature: Fading Into the Shadows Cover Reveal

I'm so excited to share the cover of Fading Into the Shadows because I actually designed it myself and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Check it out!

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance. 

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world. 

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Can Ella save Stellaris before there’s nothing left of her and Avery?

Preorder your copy here.

I love the full spread too! This cover was so much fun to design, but I admit it was a lot of work.

e-ARCs are also available. If you'd like an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review, click here to sign up.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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2. Writer Wednesday: Why NaNo Isn't Really For Me

My participation in NaNoWriMo this month has taught me something. NaNo isn't designed for people like me. I fast draft—sometimes writing crazy amounts of words in a single day. I finished my 50,000 words on November 7th, but NaNo won't let me verify my word count and ultimately win because I achieved that word count too soon. What?!?!?!? I can't wrap my head around that.

So now, I can't earn all my badges, like writing every day this month. I almost feel like I'm being penalized for writing too quickly. And that's crazy! I wrote the entire book in seven days! Of course I won! But yet, I didn't according to NaNo. So I've decided to cheat. Yup. I'm cheating and working on another novel and adding that to my word count. This book is one I started last year and had to put aside. I'm editing for clients right now and so far I've only been writing about 1,500-2,500 words a day on this book. But still, even if I continue to write until November 30 (though I highly doubt the book will take that long to finish) I won't get my badge for writing every day this month. I guess I should have read up on NaNo before I decided to join in on the fun, because I'm going to have two completed novels by the end of the month and I still don't feel good about it.

I most likely won't participate in NaNo again. It's just not designed for me. It's making me feel like a failure even though I've already won, and let's face it. This industry is hard enough on our egos. I don't need this on top of it.

Anyone else find that NaNo makes you feel bad instead of encouraging you to write more? 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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3. Monday Mishmash 11/14/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  So I won NaNo a week ago today, but they won't let me validate and confirm my win. On Wednesday I'll be sharing what I've learned from NaNo and why it's not geared toward writers like me.
  2. Editing  I'm editing for a newish client this week. I did a one-chapter edit over the summer for her, and now I'm editing her full book.
  3. Thank You  I want to thank everyone who visited my daughter's blog. She was so excited to see your comments. Since she has books by several of you, it was even more exciting for her to recognize your names. If you haven't checked out her blog, you can find it here.
  4. Parent-Teacher Conferences  My daughter is home today and tomorrow because it's conference time at her school. My conference is tomorrow morning.
  5. Continuing to Draft  Even though my NaNo book is finished, I'm going to keep this momentum and finish a book I started last year and had to put aside to meet other deadlines.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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4. Friday Feature: Reading...Writing...Loving Life

Today's Friday Feature is a little different because I'm not featuring a book. I'm featuring a blog. My daughter, Ayla, has been wanting to start a blog for a while now, and I finally gave in and let her blog under my blogging umbrella so to speak. ;) Technically, the blog is listed as mine and I'm the administrator, but she's providing the content.

If you want to check her out, the blog is called Reading...Writing...Loving Life.
You can find the blog here. Today she's talking about the new book she's currently writing.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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5. Writer Wednesday: Working With Freelancers

Today's topic comes curtesy of Sheena-Kay. Thanks, Sheena-Kay! She wants to know:

What do you do when a freelancer (cover artist, editor, etc) suddenly up and cancels on you or what advice would you give to someone else in that position?

Okay, this is something you hope never happens to you, but I've seen it a lot. Most freelancers are good because this is how they make their money. They need repeat clients, and so they do their best to meet deadlines and make their clients happy. But...

There are times when freelancers go MIA or cancel on you. The first thing I recommend is trying to figure out why. Life happens. A death in the family can cause a freelancer to go offline. Let's face it. When a loved one passes, the last thing we think about is checking our email, and that's understandable. So if this is a freelancer you really like, try to find out if something like this happened. If you don't know the freelancer and you can't wait for them to respond, do what you have to do. Deadlines are deadlines.

Now if a freelancer cancels on you with no explanation, I wouldn't advise working with them again in the future. And to be honest, I'm in several groups where people share info on freelancers—ones who don't meet deadlines, ones who take payment and then don't follow through on the work, etc. They do get blacklisted, so they don't want to be talked about this way.

I think the best way to get involved with a freelancer is by word of mouth. See who others recommend after having used that freelancer. Like anything else, do some research and protect yourself.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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6. Monday Mishmash 11/7/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  According to NaNo, I'm supposed to finish today. Last week, I wrote way more than I thought I would. Of course, winning NaNo doesn't mean the book is finished, so I'll still be writing after today.
  2. Editing  I have two edits on my plate after finishing one this weekend. One is my backward read, which is the slow read to catch those pesky grammar and punctuation issues. The other is a short story, so I'll be doing a content read and the backward read on that one this week.
  3. See numbers one and two  I don't have time to tackle anything else this week! LOL
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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7. Friday Feature: Life After Dez

Dying is easy; death is hard. Dez is about to learn the difference.

Bleeding to death on the side of a rural highway turns out to be the easiest part of Dez Donnelly’s unexpected Saturday. Swept away to Atman Station, the crossroads of the afterlife, Dez discovers her unprepared soul is trapped between worlds in a limbo existence where she’s given two choices: join the program or face the consequences.

Limbo is no picnic. Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff orchestrating a complex program designed to help transitional souls accept death and move on. Resistance is met with swift consequences, not the least of which is an invasive procedure that links Dez’s mind to that of a senior staff member. To make matters worse, the beautiful and enticing Atman City—a stunning but dangerous metropolis that borders the outer boundaries of the station—is strictly off-limits to underage souls. 

Dez has to choose: go along to get along, or fight for the future she believed in. In an afterlife on hold, the only thing harder than getting out is getting through.

You can preorder the Kindle version, which releases November 8th, or grab the paperback version now!
Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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8. Writer Wednesday: How Do You NaNo?

We are officially two days into NaNoWriMo, so I thought I'd share how it's going and why I decided to finally participate. I wanted to try NaNo as a way to convince myself that I don't have to fast draft like a crazy person in between client edits and do nothing but edit when I have editing jobs on my schedule. I guess I take things to extremes, doing one or the other like a mad woman. I need to stop this. I know it, and I keep saying I'm going to, but it hasn't happened yet. So NaNo is about forcing myself to split my days between editing in the morning and writing in the afternoons. So far, I'm doing it.

The odd thing is that most people do NaNo to get a book drafted quicker than they normally would. For me, it's the opposite. When I draft, I usually hit anywhere between 10,000 and 18,000 words a day. (Yes, you read that correctly!) But splitting my days and committing to NaNo while I have edits on my plate, means I have to aim much lower, like 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. So I feel like NaNo is very different for me than most people. It's forcing me to slow down. Will I like this? It's too soon to tell.

How about you? Are you NaNoing? How do you approach it? (And feel free to buddy me. I'm khashway.)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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9. Monday Mishmash 10/31/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. 
  2. NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!  If you're taking part in NaNo, buddy me. My name is khashway on the site. And good luck! 
  3. Editing  Even though I'm drafting a new book, I have client edits to tackle this month. Eek! NaNo is pretty much my way of showing myself I can find balance between doing work for others and doing work for myself.
  4. Field Trip  I'm chaperoning my daughter's field trip on Friday. Um, when am I supposed to write for NaNo? I'm not panicking. Nope. Not at all. Okay, maybe a little. I guess I'll be writing in the evening on Friday. Send coffee please.
  5. Fading Into the Shadows  Fading Into the Shadows is fully edited, proofed, and ready to go over two months early! I'm so excited for this book. E-ARCs are in, so if you have time to read the book before January 16, 2017 and would like an ARC in exchange for an honest review, sign up here. The cover reveal will take place November 16th-18th. If you're interested in sharing the cover on any social media site, you can sign up for that here.  
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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10. Friday Feature: Into the Fire Halloween Sale

To help celebrate Halloween, Into the Fire is only $.99 today through October 31st!

Grab your copy today!

In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.

Can Cara hide from the Phoenix Hunters long enough to survive her rebirth? And if so, will it mean a new beginning with Logan—or the beginning of the end?

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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11. Writer Wednesday: Writing For Adults

Today's topic comes from Mirka, who said, "...tell us some more about your adult suspense book, and how writing for grown-ups is different than MG or YA, beyond the MC's age."

Great topic, Mirka! Thanks!

Okay, well my adult books are very different from my YA or MG novels. It almost seems like there are different rules for writing for adult. Let me start with what I've noticed from reading adult books. First, things are described in much more detail. Second, backstory is common and often told upfront. Third, there are more dialogue tags. 

I could go on, but these three blew my mind. For years, I listened to everyone say, "No info dumping!" and "Try not to use dialogue tags!" Yet every adult book I've read does both. Now I don't mean pages of backstory. Not at all. But a brief paragraph of who the MC is and how they go where they are is totally common. I've even see the dreaded "My name is..." format. Again, this blew my mind. And no, I'm not doing that. I've been conditioned not to.

So writing for adults is tough for me. I have to remind myself to step back, observe the scene, and give more details than I would to a teenager whose attention span isn't very long. I also need to make sure my characters are all introduced in ways that the reader will remember them from one book to the next, which means reintroducing them in books two, three, four, etc. Again, this is so different for me. But my adult beta readers are telling me this is normal, and from the books I've been reading, they are correct.

The easy things for me are writing characters who are closer to my age. Mine tend to be in the mid/late twenties to early thirties. I know how people this age speak, act, think, etc. Teens can be challenging because they change so much! Adults, not so much. I also think it's fun to write about adults in different professions. I'm exploring some that I've considered but never followed through on for various reasons, and that's kind of amazing. 

In many ways, writing for adults is freeing. I feel like a rebel, breaking rules I've always been told to follow. ;) Who doesn't like to break a few rules, right? And the dialogue and actions come more naturally for me. So yeah, I'm enjoying it, and I think I'll keep writing for adults.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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12. Monday Mishmash 10/24/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  I have decided to officially participate in NaNoWriMo next month. I've unofficially participated in the past, writing a novel in the month of November, but since I have an adult mystery that needs to be written, I'm committing to doing this. Who else will be participating?
  2. Editing  I'm finishing up another client edit this week.
  3. Plotting  I have the research done for my adult mystery, but I need to flesh out my plot before NaNo begins.
  4. Fading Into the Shadows e-ARCs  e-ARCS for my YA paranormal (releasing January 16, 2017) Fading Into the Shadows are being formatted tomorrow! I'm so excited for this book. If you'd like to sign up for an e-ARC, you can do so here.
  5. Cover Reveal Signups  If you're interested in signing up to help me reveal the cover of Fading Into the Shadows on November 16th-18th, you can find the form here. This is a social media cover reveal, so you don't need a blog to participate.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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13. Friday Feature: Don't Fall

In this modern day retelling of Rapunzel, Anya has her books, her photography, and her daydreams. She doesn’t think she needs anything else.

She lives in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother, who goes to extreme measures to keep her daughter safe. Anya doesn’t even go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Anya tries not to acknowledge her loneliness; she puts her efforts into pleasing her mom, and gives her heart to her stories, secretly wishing for a story of her own.

Then one day at the library, the only place she's allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she's lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she's ever cared about.

Grab the book on Amazon.

Here's what people are saying:

"It's sweet, it's got a great heart, it's got cute boys, and great books, and was generally just one of those reads that left me sighing happily as I read. Plus, cupcakes--who doesn't like cupcakes?" -Meradeth Houston

"The story is just so sweet and delicious. It's the perfect YA read and a great one for adults to enjoy too. I accepted it as a fairy tale and just enjoyed it. I'm sure anyone who loves YA would enjoy this one too." -Valerie at Stuck in Books

"Rachel Schieffelbein is so good at creating loveable characters and putting them in situations that make me really care what happens to them. It was fun to see how she'd taken the base story of Rapunzel, a girl kept apart from the world and falling in love for the first time, and made it all her own." -Susan Crispell
Rachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there with her husband, their four kids, three cats, and a perfectly overweight black lab. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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14. Writer Wednesday: Coauthor Projects

Today's topic comes from Sheena-Kay. Thanks, Sheena-Kay!

"What do you think of coauthor projects and have you ever or will you ever do one?"

I fully admit that I'm crazy when I draft a book. Honestly, I'd feel sorry for whoever was brave enough to coauthor a book with me. Part of me really thinks it would be fun. I see authors who team up repeatedly to write together, and they appear to be having a blast. But then that other part of me thinks it would drive me crazy to relinquish control of the story and also to have to wait for someone else to get chapters back to me before I could continue.

There are definite benefits though. You have two audiences you are essentially merging. That's double one author's readership. So the marketing possibilities and the reach are greater than an author writing on his/her own. That part has always appealed to me, and I'm sure it always will. You also have someone to travel with to events to promote the book. I like the idea of having another author with me at book signings and speaking events. Furthermore, writing can be lonely at times, but coauthoring certainly isn't. So yeah, there are definite benefits to coauthoring.

Will I ever coauthor a book? Who knows? For now, I'll say I admire those who do.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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15. Monday Mishmash 10/17/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Fading Into the Shadows  I've set some dates for my upcoming mythology-based YA, Fading Into the Shadows. The book will release on January 16, 2017 and the cover reveal will be November 16-18. More info soon. :)
  2. Editing  I have two edits on my plate this week. I'm finishing round three on one and starting another.
  3. Book Events  I really need a master list of every book convention and expo (Do they make one of those?) so I can plan which ones I want to attend in 2017. So far, I'm doing YA Fest in March and my local book expo, which is usually in April.
  4. Revisions  I'm hoping to have some time to work on revising my adult suspense this week.
  5. Proud Mom  Last week, my daughter got to read the morning announcements at school because she was chosen Student of the Month. I got to hear her do the announcements, and I was blown away by how much feeling she puts into reading aloud. She reads aloud at home all the time, and I feel like it's really help her learn tone and inflection. So proud of her. :)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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16. Friday Feature: Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis

Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion--she's beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona--that of a vigilante--to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

Grab the book on Amazon.

Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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17. Writer Wednesday: Mixing Exercise with Creativity

When I posted that I've been walking while editing, I had no idea it would get such a reaction from people. To clarify, yes, I'm walking on the treadmill WHILE editing on my laptop. My laptop sits all nice and cozy in the magazine holder on my treadmill. I set my speed at 3.2, which is a nice pace for a walk. Not slow, but not power walking.

Now, I know some of you are wondering how I'm doing this since I fully admit to being accident-prone. To be honest, it's not difficult. Typing keeps me in the perfect position on the treadmill so I can't accidentally trip myself and fall, scraping up both knees so bad I have scars. Not that I've ever done that or that my knees are now covered in purple scars. ;)

But seriously, walking while working (either editing or writing) keeps me focused and feeling creative. You know how when writer's block hits and you feel compelled to step away and take a nice long walk to clear your head? Well, I'm essentially clearing my head while continuing to work! And you know how exercise gets your brain working, which makes you feel more creative? See where I'm going with this? It's amazing. I feel so refreshed and focused when I walk while editing or writing.

So I encourage you to try it if you have a treadmill handy. But please do be careful.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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18. Monday Mishmash 10/10/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Thank You!  I want to thank everyone who grabbed a copy of After Loving You during its release week last week. It was such a great release day, and I love you all for it. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, but would like to, you can grab the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.
  2. After Loving You Blog Tour  This week is the blog tour for After Loving You, hosted by Inkslinger PR. Love them.
  3. Editing  October is a packed month with edits, but I'm loving every second of it. My eyes...not so much.
  4. Walking And Editing  I'm so in love with editing while walking on my treadmill. Why didn't I discover this sooner? I walk three times a day (for a half hour at a time), which keeps me focused and energized to work.
  5. Motley Education Release Day!  Happy release day to S.A. Larsen! Motley Education releases today! Seriously, guys, go grab this book. It's a fantastic middle grade read. I fell in love with it on page one. It's that good, and you can't support an author sweeter than Sheri. Grab your copy here
    Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.

    Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad's moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

    When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.

    Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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19. Friday Feature: Sundials and White Cats

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kelly.  I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and the folks that follow your blog.  Some of whom I know, some who I look forward to getting to know.

Today, I’d like to mention a few brief facts about white cats.

White cats are unique in the fact that they’re prone to deafness, especially if they’re blue-eyed.  They’re also prone to skin cancer.  In some cultures white cats are considered good luck.

But what do white cats have to do with sundials?   In general nothing, in this particular story it’s the pet that leads the protagonist, Sarah Miles, to discover the sundial.   

He came through time to find her.

As Sarah Miles drives down Eighteenth Street a stranger materializes in front of her car. She throws on her brakes, braces for impact and...drives straight through him. For a brief moment, his voice echoes in her head, "Saura." Then he's gone. Later that day, she discovers the SUNDIAL and her incredible journey through time begins.

“Meghan, don’t try to come through this, you’ll get scratched. I’m getting the pesky cat and coming out.”

When in trouble, Monet was the pesky cat, the damn cat, or the bad cat.

She walkedover and bent down to pick him up. A flash of color blinded her. She blinked then squinted. For the first time, she saw that Monet had plopped down beside an old sundial.

“Meghan, come here. You’ve got to see this,” she called out.

Meghan gave an exaggerated sigh. “You said not to come in.”

“I’ve found an old sundial. Or rather Monet has.”

“A real one? The rustling began again as Meghan started pushing her way through.

Appears so.” She squatted down to study it. “Looks to be a hundred years old. I bet it’s valuable. You should see the intricate detail. This will make a great piece to paint!”

Words embossed the face of the dial. “There’s writing on it. She read aloud, “Fate cannot be...drat, moss has grown over the rest of the words.”

A wave of superstitious terror washed over Meghan. Suddenly, the pieces all fell into place. And as the old woman prophesied, she believed.

“Sarah, don’t. Get out of there now. Please, Sarah, please,” she cried, her teeth chattering.

What’s wrong with you?

“There’s actuallyheat radiating from it. Surprising, it’s not that warm out.”

“Sarah, please, don’t you remember what the old lady said?” She fought her way throughthe overgrowth, barely feeling the scratches a thorny branch left on her face or the warm blood trickling down her cheek. The thicket conspired to keep her out.

Tears streamed down her face as she pushed at the bracken separating herself and her aunt.

She broke through just as Sarah reached down to brush the moss from the sundial.

“No, Sarah, no,” she screamed.

Later her mind would play the scene over again in slow motion: Sarah’s hand as it reachedout; Monet jumping playfully at her fingers,bringing them both in touch with the sundial; the boom; the jagged streak of white; and then nothing. They were gone, leaving Meghan alone in the clearing with the sundial.

Sundial is on sale for .99 September 19-25 at Amazon.
Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. The last animal member of the family, a kitten, came hurtling out of the woods in southern Illinois to land at her feet. He made the trek back to North Carolina, with her and her husband, and wasted no time settling into the household.

Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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20. Monday Mishmash: 9/26/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Only One Week Until After Loving You Releases!  I can't believe October 3rd is almost here! 
  2. Editing  I'm finishing up a client edit this week in time for a new one on October 1st.
  3. Two Work Days With Extended Hours  This week my daughter has student council and chorus after school, so thus begins my longer work hours on Tuesdays AND Wednesdays. 
  4. 2017 Publication Schedule  I'm going to be releasing books every two months in 2017. Stay tuned for more information on that this Wednesday.
  5. Fall!  My favorite season is here! I love the smell of fall, specifically the smell of October. October has been my favorite month all my life. There's something special about it.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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21. Writer Wednesday: A New Release Every Two Months?

Now that I'm officially going indie, I can do exciting things like set my own production schedule. Why is this so exciting? Because over the years, I've had to either months between releases or releases stacked so close together it was tough to market my books. No more.

I have 2017 and 2018 mapped out and my release schedule looks like this:

That's two months between releases. Will it be tough? Yes! But I think the schedule is going to keep readers happy, and I work better on a schedule so I think I'll be happy too.

Right now, my January 2017 release is so close to being completely finished (and it's only September!). My April release is with my editor, and I'll be polishing up my July release to get that ready for my editor as well. Things are looking good so far. :)

Do you like when authors release books a few months apart?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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22. Friday Feature: Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures

Today I'm happy to share a book I've had the pleasure of reading. The story is fun and has a great message. Check out Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina Tate!

Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike. If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen. McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid. Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

http://amzn.to/2cLG1VR - Soft/Hardcover

Barnes & Noble
http://bit.ly/2d3atWs Soft/ Hardcover

You can also check out Dina's website at lizzieandmckenzie.com to read the 1st chapter!

Dina Cherice Tate spent her childhood reading, writing short stories, climbing stuff with her six older brothers and becoming a cartoon fanatic, which became the perfect groundwork for writing a chapter book series. Today she is an amateur photographer, traveler and has taken her love of Japanese animation and comics to another level. Dina is an Adjunct Instructor at New York University School of Professional Studies. While fine-tuning her writing skills, she won the Andrea Davis Pinkney Chapter Book Writing Scholarship; The Chapter Book Alchemist - Children’s Book Academy.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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23. Monday Mishmash 10/3/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. After Loving You Release Day!  It's finally here! After Loving You is officially out in the world today. You can grab a copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you prefer to buy your books. 
  2. YA Fest  I'm happy to announce I'll be at YA Fest on March 18, 2017! I'm so excited to be part of this event again. 
  3. Editing  I have a lot of edits on my plate this month. Luckily I really enjoy my clients' work.
  4. October  My favorite month is here. I love the smell of October. Sorry to all you pumpkin lovers, though. I'm not a fan of pumpkin anything, unless it's a pumpkin to put out on display. But hey, that means more for you guys. ;)
  5. Allergies  While I love fall, it doesn't love me. The allergy headaches have begun.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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24. Writer Wednesday: How to Write Faster

When I announced my release schedule for 2017, it prompted the question "How do you write so fast?" (Thanks for asking Kristin Smith.) I seem to get this question a lot, and I realized that I usually answer it by saying I fast draft. But since the question keeps being posed, I realized my answer up until now hasn't been good enough.

So let me try to explain. My editing schedule tends to fill up very quickly, which means I don't have a lot of time to draft books. I'll get a week or two here and there. Writing "quickly" becomes a necessity. I don't have any other choice. Sometimes I have a log of ideas I haven't yet written and I'll pull one of those out to work on. From there I type as much as possible whenever I can find a few minutes. When I have an editing break, I get the entire school day to write, and I write for the ENTIRE school day. I eat (when I remember) at my laptop, which means I need to eat food that only requires one hand so I can keep typing. I kid you not when I say I'm crazy when drafting. With a capital C. 

Basically, what I've learned is we can train ourselves to adapt. If your schedule requires you to write at ten o'clock at night each night, then do it. You will train your brain to be creative at that time every day. Or if your schedule means a few minutes here and there throughout the day, do it! You will train yourself to be creative on a whim. It does take training though, so when you are struggling, push through. You have to get your brain to that point where it gives in and says, "Fine, let's do this!" So often I tell myself I have to type faster because I have an edit coming in two days and I need to finish the draft first. I'm tough on myself, but that's because I need to be.

So no matter what your schedule is, if you train your brain to be creative when you need it to be, you will be able to write faster.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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25. Friday Feature: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair

I thought I’d hit rock bottom when my dad died.

I was wrong.

I never dreamed my mom would choose drugs and alcohol over me.

I was wrong about that too.

I thought teachers were there to instruct, to guide, to counsel.

Wrong doesn’t begin to describe what nearly happened that last day of my Junior year. Lesson learned; trust is for suckers and actions speak louder than words.

New plan. Keep up my grades, earn a scholarship, tuck into as tight a ball as possible and roll on out of this town and this life. 

But this boy, this Casanova transplant with a funny accent, who’s way too charming to be healthy for a girl... Why won’t he let me be?

I wish I hadn’t let him in on my secrets...well, most of them.

I wish I hadn’t grown to look forward to our daily walks to work.

But mostly, I wish I hadn’t freaked out when he tried to steal a kiss.

Maybe I wouldn’t be parked in the friend zone. Maybe he wouldn’t be dating a girl I loathe. Maybe I wouldn’t be in this hell of wanting what I can’t have but having what I thought I wanted—to be left alone.

Grab the book on Amazon.

A note from the author:
If this story seems like it was ripped from the headlines, there is some truth to that impression.

The year my son began high school, I learned at a parents' booster meeting that an esteemed teacher had been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student. The teacher's spouse also worked at the high school. Both teachers taught classes in my son's magnet program. The teacher went to jail. A family was torn apart. 

My thoughts, however, were with the student and student body. What led to the affair? Who made the first move and was coercion involved? How did the victim react to the publicity, the criminal charges and trial? What did the other students think and believe? 

Although Louder Than Words is a fictional account, my goal in writing Ellen's story was to use a far too common event as a vehicle to convey strength and courage to readers, especially those whose voices have been hushed by fear, lack of self-confidence or damaged self-esteem.

Thank you for reading!
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night.

No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.

In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.

Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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