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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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26. Monday Mishmash 6/27/16


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  Things are coming along quite nicely for my October 3rd release, After Loving You (an Ashelyn Drake NA contemporary romance). I love the cover so much and can't wait to share it later this summer.
  2. Reading  I've been sneaking extra reading time lately and I'm loving it. I'm reading two books right now, a mystery and a thriller. Really enjoying both. :)
  3. New Planner!  My old day planner ran out of pages. The horror! But I've replaced it, and I'm loving the new one. The inside is so pretty. It has pockets, color-coded sections, plenty of space for notes, and each month starts with a list of important dates for me to fill in. 
  4. Blogging Break Coming Soon  I've decided to take a blogging break. One week off, starting July 8th. Why? It's summer and we all need a break every once in a while.
  5. Summer injuries  I was proud of myself for all the exercise I've been getting between running, walking, tennis, and swimming. But I got a terrible calf cramp on my last run and haven't been able to run since. It's a huge knot in the muscle. And…I have tendonitis in my ankle too. *Sigh* So I'm walking and swimming for now since those don't hurt too much.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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27. Friday Feature: A Love That Disturbs


A LOVE THAT DISTURBS by Medeia Sharif
Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016
Purchase from Amazon (merchant sites will be updated on the author's site)

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.



Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

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

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28. Writer Wednesday: The Line Between MG and YA


Today's topic comes from Sheena-Kay, who asked how to keep the line between your MG and YA works separate, especially when it comes to knowing to what extent you can go with MG vs. YA.

Okay, so we all know the age difference for MG vs. YA. YA is targeted at teens and the characters tend to be fifteen to eighteen. MG is targeted at the nine to twelve age group with the characters typically around the age of eleven to fourteen. (Keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule, but this is a good rule of thumb to go by.) Voice and content are the other two big distinctions.

One of the biggest differences I see is that middle grade is typically more hopeful with happy endings while young adult tends to have a lot of angst. While it's true that many middle grade readers might be cursing and doing things we ourselves didn't do at that age, you don't typically see that in MG books. The stories focus more on the adventures and the character's immediate surroundings—their relationships with family and friends. YA is more about finding your place in the world. There's a lot more self-reflection by the characters, and profanity and even sex can have a place in the story.

I like to think of middle grade as more innocent. A time when you believe the world consists of you, your friends, and your family. YA, on the other hand, is more realistic. You know there's this big world out there and you are struggling to fit into it.

Sheena-Kay, I hope that answers your question. If anyone has any tips for distinguishing between MG and YA, please feel free to leave them in the comments.  


*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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29. Monday Mishmash 6/20/16


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  I'm getting my Ashelyn Drake NA contemporary romance ready for it's early October release. I've gone through edits and now I'm proofing. 
  2. Visions of Mockingbird Point  The final installment of the Curse of the Granville Fortune series is now available. Find out if J.B. and the gang find the fortune and break the curse. Grab your copy here
  3. Father's Day  I hope all the dads had a great Father's Day!
  4. Exercise  I've been running, walking, playing tennis, and swimming. I love that I'm getting so much exercise, but my bedtime has gotten out of hand. I can barely stay awake until nine because I'm exhausted!
  5. The Secret Sister  My daughter is hard at work on her book, The Secret Sister. She's on chapter sixteen now and already has a cover! I can't wait to see the finished product.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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30. Friday Feature: Blues Bones Review by Guest Reviewer Ayla Hashway


As I'm sure you all know, I acquired Blues Bones by Rick Starkey so I can't review it. However, my daughter, Ayla Hashway, is here today to review the book since she chose to read it for her summer reading. Just a little bit about Ayla: she's nine years old, going into fourth grade, and is an avid reader. 

First, here's the cover and blurb:


Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has found the perfect cure for stage fright. Voodoo!

Armed with the stolen finger bones of a dead blues guitar player and a mishmash of voodoo spells from the Internet, he and his best friend enter a graveyard at midnight to perform their ritual. Now, all that stands in his way of winning a local guitar competition is the power of RETURN – a side effect of the voodoo that spells disaster for Rodney.
His cure has become a curse. How else can he explain jamming his finger so bad he can't hold a guitar pick, his part-time dad stealing his guitar, and his mom getting into an accident that could have taken her life?

How much is Rodney willing to risk to achieve his dream of being a guitar legend?

And now, here's Ayla with her review!

Hi,it's Ayla. I read the book Blues Bones for the first time! I kind of felt bad for Rodney when he froze up on stage at the school talent show, but it was funny at the same time. I think people can relate to Rodney with stage fright and other things. I also think it was cool when he played around with the voodoo spells. There were a lot of funny parts to this book. It was fun to read, especially with my mom. So I'm really glad Rick wrote this book. I hope many people get to read it and have as much fun reading it as I did. Have fun reading! Bye!


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

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31. Writer Wednesday: Revising Through Difficult Times


I've been quieter than usual online for the past few days because my great-uncle passed away. While the death of a loved one is never easy, it came at a peculiar time for me. I've been proofing the print ARC of Visions of Mockingbird Point, and while I was doing this, I realized my uncle is all over this book.

The grandparents' house in the story is actually my uncle's old house in Maryland (though in the book, the location is not Maryland). The details of the long driveway and the house with a sitting room in back that looks out over the sloping backyard leading to the dock… They're all from my memories of visiting my uncle. I have a lot of great memories of him, and I was able to get some comfort in rereading my book that was full of those good times. I had forgotten how many things from my time with him slipped into this story.

It wasn't easy to proofread through tears, but they were tears of joy. Happy memories that I'll allow to help me through this difficult time. He will live on in my heart, my memories, and this book. So thank you, Uncle Jerry. This book wouldn't be what it is without you and neither would I.

*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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32. Monday Mishmash 6/13/16


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. My Grandfather's 95th Birthday  Today I'm celebrating my grandfather's 95th birthday!
  2. Editing  I'm editing for clients again this week.
  3. Proofing Visions of Mockingbird Point  Book three in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series is almost ready. I'm proofing the ARC right now.
  4. Summer  I'm still getting used to my summer schedule. I'm not getting as much work done as usual, but I'm exercising like crazy.
  5. Orlando  My heart goes out to all those affected by the shooting in Orlando. 
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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33. Friday Feature: Cover Reveal for At First Blush


Today I'm happy to share the cover of At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer!


Lacey Robbins has one goal for the summer: hit one million subscribers on her YouTube beauty channel. Working as an On Trend magazine video blogger is just the platform she needs to get there, but falling for the cover boy, rock star Tyler Lance, was not part of her plan--especially since his dating history is longer than her Sephora wish list.

She can't avoid him for long though, not when it's her job to film vlogs with him. As Lacey and Tyler grow closer on and off camera, her channel becomes popular for all the wrong reasons, and the two YouTubers she's working with officially hate her. Lacey's only solace is spending time with Kendall Wynn, On Trend'sresident makeup artist. Kendall's scattered, carefree approach to makeup reminds Lacey why she ever picked up a tube of lipstick in the first place.

Nothing about this summer is going according to Lacey's perfect plan, and pretty soon she learns that filming makeup tutorials is easy. It's real life that could use some editing.

Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she's not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn't have a single decent bakery.


Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads



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

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34. Writer Wednesday: Guest Blogger Ayla Hashway Talks About Writing Her First Novel


It gives me great pleasure to introduce my guest blogger today. She's writing her first novel and she happens to be my nine-year-old daughter, Ayla. Please welcome her!

Hi, I'm Ayla and I am proud to say that I am in the middle of writing my first novel! I found out that you should do the book on paper first so it's mostly copying off of the paper. It also helps to write notes so it goes faster. I think picking out a cover once you have most of it planned is easier so you can describe it better. Also, add in a lot of detail to make it more interesting. You also do the cover ahead of time because then it will motivate you to do your best and work on it more. 

I had writers block right in the one part of my book, so my mom and I went on a walk and talked it through. It literally took an hour, so don't rush on the book. It will not do you any good. Writing is a lot of fun if you don't rush, plan it through, and do your best! Another thing is don't always pick out the title first because as I went on I realized that the original name didn't go along any more.

I hope you all have fun writing, so keep calm and write on! I hope you enjoy reading and writing your own books.

Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone, Ayla. I can't wait to see your book once it's finished! <3 span="">


*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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35. Monday Mishmash 6/6/16


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. Visions of Mockingbird Point Cover  In case you missed the cover of the third and final installment of my Curse of the Granville Fortune series, here's Visions of Mockingbird Point (designed by True Poison): 
  2. Edits  I'm working on final edits for Visions of Mockingbird Point. I'm so lucky to work with one of my favorite editors on this series.
  3. Another Author in the Family  My nine-year-old daughter decided to write a book this summer. She's been working on it every day. I'm really excited for her.
  4. Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise!  After taking two month off from running due to breathing issues, I'm back to it. My daughter also has me walking for an hour each day and swimming all afternoon. I'm exhausted!
  5. Reading  I'm so happy to be reading for enjoyment again. I read all the time because I edit so much, but reading a book without having to edit it is very relaxing.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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36. Friday Feature: Visions of Mockingbird Point Cover Reveal


I'm excited to share the cover of the final installment in my middle grade fantasy adventure series, Curse of the Granville Fortune. Check out Visions of Mockingbird Point.


Being grounded for a month is nothing compared to the mind-numbing visions thirteen-year-old J.B. has when he’s not with Edward and Noelle. The curse of the Granville fortune is getting worse, and if the three don’t find and return the stolen property soon, Noelle’s parents will die.

In a desperate attempt to break the curse, J.B., Edward, and Noelle sneak off to Mockingbird Point, the latest location in their visions. But the visions are also showing that Morgan Grimault is on his way. It’s a race to locate the final portion of the fortune and defeat Grimault once and for all.

With everything on the line, the visions might not be enough to save J.B. and the others from dying at the hands of this curse.

Huge thanks to True Poison for creating this beautiful cover! Don't all three look so nice lined up?


Look for Visions of Mockingbird Point coming late June!

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

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37. Writer Wednesday: Summer Reading/Writing


My daughter starts summer break today, so we're selecting books to read together in our own little book club. I love reading with her (we take turns reading aloud to each other) because she has such great insights. It also means I get to read some good middle grade books.

In addition to reading this summer, I need to get my Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance, After Loving You, ready for its September release. This story is very special to me because I'm a firm believer that you don't ever stop loving someone, but you can change the way you love them. If you're not sure what I mean, you'll have to read the book in September to find out. ;)

So my summer will consist of lots of reading and writing, because they go hand in hand. Learning from great authors is my favorite form of research, not to mention the most enjoyable way to improve your craft.

Have you selected your summer reads? Feel free to share them in the comments.

*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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38. Monday Mishmash 5/30/16


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. Memorial Day  Take time today to remember what the holiday is really about. 
  2. Book Signing At Blairstown Elementary  Last Monday I signed close to 100 books at Blairstown Elementary School. It was such a great day. This school has been so incredibly supportive, reading all of my picture books and my MG, Curse of the Granville Fortune, so I donated a copy of Mystery of Majestic Cave to the library so the student could continue reading the series.
  3. Editing  I'm finishing up one client edit and getting ready for the next this week.
  4. Revising  I've been working through my latest Ashelyn Drake NA contemporary romance. So far I've been pleasantly surprised by the first draft. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I swear when I draft I go through periods where I think I'm writing nothing usable, but then I revise and surprise myself.
  5. End of the School Year  My daughter has a half day on Tuesday and then she's off for the summer. I can't believe another school year is finished.
  6. Visions of Mockingbird Point  True Poison, my cover designer for the Curse of the Granville Fortune series, sent me the draft of the cover for book three. As usual, it blew me away. Can't wait until it's finalized so I can share it with you all.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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39. Friday Feature: Tempting Death



The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi pancake, but a mysterious boy named Aaron saved her life instead. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper. The bigger problem? He saved her life so she can take over his job. 

Libbi has just days to choose between dying like she was supposed to or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. The choice only gets harder when she learns Aaron’s reasons for wanting out of the whole morbid business. Basically, his job sucks. 

Still, when Aaron looks at her, there’s something more in his eyes. Something dark and secret. Something he’s hiding. Libbi will be damned if she’ll die without figuring it out. And she’ll be damned if she lets him go. 

Excerpt:

The creep is back.

I may not be able to see him, but I know he’s here, somewhere. Call it intuition. Or maybe it’s just the eerie memory of when the guy stared me down last night. I don’t know, but I’m not taking any chances.

I hunch over my history final and release my thick hair from behind my ears. It swings forward like a dark-brown curtain and hides my face.

Show’s over, buddy.

I can’t look around, not with Mr. Winkler on “cheater duty.” Hopefully, the guy will get bored and go wherever the hell he went last night when he took off.

The final is what’s important. I need to focus on this test.

I read the next question on the page, but the loser’s gaze bores through my dark shield of hair and my arms erupt in gooseflesh. Before I can skim the multiple choice answers, my eyes betray me and shoot up to scan the classroom.

Mr. Winkler sits at his desk scratching at some poor schlub’s paper with his red pen of doom. His bald head gleams in the harsh fluorescent light. God, I hope it’s not my paper he’s destroying. I can’t afford another bad grade in this class.
I quickly scan the rest of the classroom through the part in my hair, but everyone is working. Eerie feeling or not, nobody’s looking at me.

But I know someone is watching. Just like last night, I can feel his stalker stare.

This is ridiculous. I shake my head and rub my arms to dispel the goose bumps. This guy has freaked me out so much I’m imagining his eyes on me now. I don’t have time for this. I have an exam to finish.

The tip of my pencil hovers over the letter C, and something in my peripheral vision shifts. I snap my head up and finally see him.

The guy I caught staring at me at the art show last night, the guy who warned me something bad was going to happen to me today, stands at the tiny rectangular window in the door. He tilts his head and his ice-blue eyes lock on mine, sending a shiver through my body.

Shake it off, Libbi, I tell myself. He’s just a crazy boy with a crush.

Actually, with his tousled black hair and his nose pressed against the glass like that, he looks a little like a lost puppy. If he wasn’t so creepy, I’d almost feel sorry for him. But couldn’t he choose a better time than the middle of my history final to eyeball me? Plus, he said he wanted to talk to me alone, and this is most certainly not alone.

I point to my partially finished test and mouth, “Final exam.”

He nods. A half-smile lifts the corners of his lips.

“Bye.” I wave my hand.

“I need to talk to you,” he mouths.

“No,” I reply, but he continues to stand at the door.

Dude, catch a clue already. I spin away from the door, sneak a peek at Mr. Winkler, and shove the eraser of my pencil between my teeth. I yank the eraser out of its metal holder and flick it at the back of Haley’s head. Her chair squeaks as she jumps and whips around to glare at me.

“What?” she whispers.

“Look.” I point over my shoulder with my pencil to the classroom door. “That crazy guy I told you about is at the window.”

We turn to the door together, but the window’s empty. He must be a shy creeper.

“Where?” Haley says.

“Never mind. He’s gone.” I slump back in my chair. At least I can finish my test in peace.

Grab a copy on Amazon.

Elizabeth Holloway is a maternity nurse, an avid reader, an artist, a karaoke singer, a music lover, and a kick-ass Pictionary player. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

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

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40. Writer Wednesday: Protecting Yourself as an Author

Over the past several months, this industry has seen many publishers go south. I'm referring to them closing for various reasons and/or getting exposed for not paying their authors. First, let's be clear that I'm not going to name any publishers or speak ill of any either. The intent of this post is to simply inform authors and help them in seeking a publisher for their work.

One question that seems to pop up a lot in writer forums is how to know if you're signing with a "good" publisher. To be honest, sometimes you can sign with a great publisher and then that publisher is bought out, which changes everything. Other times you sign with a publisher that has good intentions but winds up going under. And other times still, things look great on the surface but there's another world happening behind the scenes and it's not good in the least. 

So what's an author to do? The best advice I can give you is to find out which authors are with the publisher you're interested in and then contact those authors to hear what their experiences have been like. I have people do this with me all the time, and I'm very honest about my experiences, both good and bad (and yes, there have been bad ones). Also, if you notice an author has left that publisher, find out why. Keep in mind that nondisclosure agreements might keep some authors from dishing the gory details, but that should also send up a red flag. Nondisclosure agreements are set in place for a reason. As a writer, you should question that reason.

Please, research and contact authors to find out what's really going on outside of the public eye. Protect yourself and your work.  


*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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41. Monday Mishmash 5/23/16


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. Book Signing at Blairstown Elementary  I'm returning to Blairstown Elementary today. You may remember I had a school visit there in March. Well, the students had the opportunity to order my books and I'm returning today to sign them. I was amazed at how many ordered books. I'm doing hand exercises to get ready for all the signing. ;) 
  2. Drafting  Drafting at half my usual pace is going well. It's hard for me to not fully jump in and let the manuscript consume me, but I'm forcing myself to only write half the day to keep balance between editing and drafting. So far so good. Or so I keep telling myself.
  3. Editing  I'm managing to stay on pace with edits even though I'm cutting my day's in half. The key is I'm staying sane and healthy. No stress. I'm calling it a win.
  4. Summer Schedule  This is my daughter's last full week of school, which means my summer schedule will be in full effect beginning June 1. My work hours will be early mornings and late evenings so I can spend the bulk of my day being Mom (my favorite job of all).
  5. Visions of Mockingbird Point  I should be getting edits back on the third book in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series in early June. This is the final installment and while I'm sad to see the characters go, I'm happy with how the series ends. Expect the book sometime in July.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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42. Friday Feature: Shadowed Eden



High school senior Avery Miles is ready to spread her wings and prove her worth on a mission trip to Iraq, but when their entourage gets blown off course in a dust storm in the desert, the group finds themselves lost in an inexplicable garden oasis. Along with the luscious fruits and crystal springs, Avery and her friends find poisonous snakes, deadly sink holes, and a group of natives that are almost unearthly—but that’s not their biggest problem. No matter which way they trek, they can’t seem to leave. Avery steps up and takes charge to keep the group safe, but it isn’t long before she begins suspecting things aren’t as they seem. She isn’t the only one seeing the mysterious boy named Rae, and after following her father’s path in the jungle she’s pretty sure he’s sabotaging her rescue efforts. Gathering her courage, Avery must decide what’s most important to her—finally winning her father’s approval, or getting out of the jungle for good.


What others are saying about Shadowed Eden:
"A truly original premise…filled with danger, redemption, and a cast of teenaged characters that I grew to love. I enjoyed Clark's story and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next." ~Jill Williamson, Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid andCaptives

"Shadowed Eden is a unique and intriguing tale that will keep the reader turning pages…and the suspense doesn't stop until its surprising end! I highly recommend it." ~Melanie Dickerson, Carol Award-winning author of The Merchant's Daughter



KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her YA supernatural novel, Shadowed Eden, as well as The Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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


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43. Writer Wednesday: Two Become One


In my Monday Mishmash and all over social media last week, I announced that I'm merging Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway. Why you ask?

When I initially launched the pen name, Ashelyn Drake, I wanted to make sure I could stand on my own two feet as a romance author, separate from Kelly Hashway. Once I did that, I revealed Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway are the same person. And since then, I've been using this banner to show that I'm still one person even though I write under two names: 


The problem is, I wasn't acting like one person. I have separate Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and blogs for Kelly and Ashelyn. Why? My website, newsletter, and Instagram are for both names, so why aren't my other social media accounts?

From now on, they will be. I'm moving Ashelyn over to Kelly. You'll notice my Facebook page now has both names listed. As does my blog. Twitter won't allow enough characters to display both names, but you'll see this banner and Ashelyn's name appear in my bio.

Very soon, Ashelyn's accounts will disappear, so make sure you're following the new links below to stay up to date on my Ashelyn Drake romance books as well as my Kelly paranormal and upcoming mystery/suspense/thrillers (Yes, I'm branching out!):

Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Google+

Look at that. Kelly and Ashelyn are truly merging into one author with two names, just like the slogan says. :)


*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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44. Monday Mishmash 5/2/16


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. It's the Little Things  Sometimes little things make me smile. Like my metallic green pen I just bought. Writing in my day planner in that sparkly green makes me happy. Yay for the little things. :)
  2. Editing  My editing schedule has been CRAZY! I'm not sure how I got through the number of edits I did in April. It's made me realize I need to scale back a bit because I'm seeing physical effects of the stress now and that's not good.
  3. Recovering  So far this year, I've had 5 books come out. The entire Into the Fire trilogy and the first two books in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series. In a word, I'm exhausted!
  4. Shift to Adult  My focus recently has shifted to adult. I still have several YA manuscripts in different stages, but I'm also working on several adult and new adult manuscripts. Maybe I'm finally growing up, but I really like writing for adults. Remember when I said I never would? Never say never!
  5. Writing Time  I'm hoping to sneak in some writing time. Last month was all about editing, and I need to write.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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45. Writer Wednesday: So You Think You Can Edit?

Yeah, I'm cringing at that post title too. ;) You all know I like to amuse myself though, and that's what my brain concocted for the question submitted for today's Writer Wednesday. What is that question? Check it out:

"How does someone go about becoming an editor and how you know how good you are at editing?"

Okay, well answers for this are going to vary, so let me share my journey. First, I went to college to become an English teacher, which is exactly what I was for seven years before switching careers. So, I have a degree in English. While I loved literature, some of my favorite classes were actually grammar courses. Call me crazy but I love grammar rules. Yes, I'm the girl who corrects people's grammar on a regular basis. No, I'm not sorry about it. I love grammar.

From teaching, I moved into proofreading (for a school district actually). That's when I discovered I love to edit. So I set up a page on my website to offer my services, and then I blogged about it with a very special offer. I'd edit up to 10 pages for free so people could try me out. I offered that for one month, and I picked up my first clients. Luckily for me, they were happy with my work and I still work with many of them today, years later.

Once I'd been editing for a while, I started working for several small presses, which looked good on my resume and landed me more freelance clients. That pretty much brings us to today, where I'm in the fortunate situation to have a healthy list of regular clients. I'm busier than ever and even have to turn people away at times because I tend to book months in advance.

As far as how to know how good you are at editing, your clients will tell you. Repeats are happy customers. I can say that in order to be a good editor, you must live on Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style. I check everything against those sites.

That's my journey. A love of the English language, a degree, some free trials, and now more editing jobs than I could ever fulfill. :) 

*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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46. Friday Feature: The May Queen Murders


Today, I'm excited to share Sarah Jude's latest book, which just released on Tuesday. Sarah is awesome and her book looks amazing! Check out The May Queen Murders.


Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.  

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them. 

Excerpt:
PROLOGUE
Now
Kerosene slopped from the rusty pail and splashed against the abandoned stable. Fumes burned my eyes but didn’t blur my father’s silhouette as he faced the building, bucket in hand. It would burn and, with it, the body inside.

     “Go to hell!”

     Papa’s shoulders twisted as he wheeled back, shouting, sweeping the pail around. More kerosene rained against the wood while bile scorched my throat. I was too tired to get sick on the hay, my body wasted from screaming. I wiped my hand over my mouth and something snagged my lip. My fingernail was missing, a ragged root jutting from the bloody bed. Bitten off and swallowed by someone who wanted me dead.

     This ain’t real.

     Yet I smelled the kerosene and felt the spring air and the dust in my nose, my feet firm on the ground. No matter how my mind ached to fly away, it tethered to a stark truth. This was real.

     “Ivy, stay back,” Papa warned, and then looked to Mama, close by with an antique lantern shedding dim light. The night sky swelled with clouds like spiders’ egg sacs ready to burst, but the storm would miss Rowan’s Glen. The hay, the ground, the stable were kindling-dry, and every movement kicked up brown clouds. Mama pulled me until we were safely away. The clink of her silver bracelets racked together as she eased her arm around my shoulder.

     “Don’t worry.” Mama’s still-thick Mexican accent lilted her voice, but her expression was stoic except for a pinch around her eyes. That blankness scared me.

     “This must be done,” she whispered.

     I wadded my fingers into my long skirt. The blue patchwork was smeared with blood and dirt. Last summer, my cousin Heather and I sewed peasant skirts together. They flared when I spun, round and round, always with Heather.

     The last time I saw Heather, she was wearing a skirt with red ruffles.

     Papa trailed kerosene on the ground and retreated from the stable before tossing the pail inside. I couldn’t see into the shadows. The body lying on the stone floor might yet have a pulse. A shiver tugged at my neck, my chest rising and falling with shallow breaths. One clear thought pierced my mind’s muddle, and it sickened me.

     I wanted that body to burn.

     “Timothy.” Mama fished a book of matches from a pocket in her apron and gave them to Papa. He took the matches and stretched one hand to hold mine. He was strong. My throat ached when I swallowed, from being choked in an attempt to silence me. Now I said nothing as Papa struck the match.

     The fire didn’t whoosh to life. First, the match hit the ground and breathed. Then a blue worm of flames emerged from the earth and devoured one blot of fuel before moving to the next. Upon reaching the stable, the worm bloated into a dragon that blazed yellow and orange. The wood planks hammered by my great-great-grandfather when he was young crackled, bone-dry from drought. Fire twisted through the stable while coils of smoke erupted from the windows. The pulse of the body inside thump-thumped in my head. Frantic. Dying.

     “Mama?” I whimpered.

     “It’s only fair,” she said.

 
Papa didn’t speak. Rage had made him do the unspeakable. For me, even though I’d survived. But also for those who hadn’t. Fire was cleansing. Fire was vengeance. The flames burned red, as red as the ruffles of Heather’s skirt. As red as Heather’s hair.
Grab the book on Amazon now!
SARAH JUDE lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath when passing a graveyard. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and folklore. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs. When she's not writing, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders. Visit her website at www.sarahjude.com.


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

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47. Monday Mishmash 5/9/16


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. Mother's Day  I hope all the moms enjoyed their day yesterday. I had a great weekend complete with a shopping day with my daughter while my husband cleaned the entire house. Now that's a great Mother's Day!
  2. Drafting  I'm working on an Ashelyn Drake adult contemporary romance. I wasn't planning to draft right now, but the idea just hit me and I had to write.
  3. Scaling Back  I've been really stressed lately and overworked. I'm making an effort to scale back for the sake of my sanity and health.
  4. PTO Luncheon  This week I'm going to the PTO luncheon at my daughter's school. It's so nice of the teachers to do this for the PTO volunteers.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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48. Writer Wednesday: How to Annoy An Author


The other day I got a message on one of my social media accounts that began with the words "I don't mean to be rude…" Right away, I knew the message was going to be rude. The guy just told me as much. It was yet another person telling me I should give away paperbacks for free. Not ebooks. Paperbacks.

AHHHHHH!!!! I'm sure you can hear me screaming wherever you are. I REALLY wanted to respond, "I don't mean to be rude, but I think you should send me your paychecks from now on." Because seriously, that's what he's asking me to do for him. What's fair is fair, right?

Here's why this irks me so much: 
  • I give away a lot of free books, both in ebook and paperback formats. I tend to reserve paperbacks for newsletter subscribers because I feel your loyal fans should be rewarded. Giveaway opportunities are definitely there and I pay for the cost of the printed books and the postage, which is insanely high when the winner is international.
  • Whenever I have a new release, I provide interested reviewers with e-ARCs. 
  • I also have a bunch of perma free books that anyone can go ahead and download at no charge. They're all listed on my website.

So telling me I should giveaway paperbacks for free… Yeah, I'm annoyed. In the end, I deleted the message, and should I get another, I'll block the sender. I really think if you have to preface a statement with "I don't mean to be rude" you know full and well that you are absolutely being rude. Plain and simple, writers are entitled to being paid for their hard work just like everyone else. 

*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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49. Friday Feature: The Haunted Stepsister


Today, I'm excited to share a book I acquired and edited for Leap Books Seek. I feel in love with The Haunted Stepsister immediately for several reasons. First, Medeia's writing is great. Second, it's about a haunted bathroom! Third, this is a diverse book.

If you haven't checked out The Haunted Stepsister yet, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.


Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father's recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever. 

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets. 

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?

Find it on:
Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she's a public school teacher.


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

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50. Monday Mishmash 5/16/16


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. Ashelyn Drake is merging with Kelly Hashway  Last week I made the decision to fully merge my Ashelyn Drake accounts with my Kelly accounts. That means pretty soon the Ashelyn FB, Twitter, and blog will all be deleted. My Kelly accounts will be for both names now. If you follow Ashelyn, make sure to follow the Kelly accounts to stay updated on Ashelyn's work. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. (You already know this blog, and might have noticed it has both names on it now.)
  2. Drafting  I'm working on an Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance right now. I'm going to call this adult, but the characters are in their mid-twenties so it's teetering the line of NA/Adult.
  3. Balance  I'm really proud of myself because I've been balancing my days with editing in the mornings and writing in the afternoons. I'm so much happier! Balance is good, guys. :)
  4. Field Trip  I'm chaperoning my daughter's field trip to the Adventure Aquarium tomorrow. I'm dreading the two and a half hour bus ride (each way!!!) but I love aquariums.
  5. Cover reveal for MORE by Keren Hughes Check out this gorgeous cover for Keren's July 19th release, More. I love it.
Drake Anderson is all the man Annalise Duncan ever wanted…

Annalise has it all. The perfect husband. The perfect son. The perfect life. After the father of her son Ayden abandoned her to be a single parent, she finally felt like she hit the romance jackpot. Her boss, Drake Anderson, turned out to be more than just a friend. He’s the love of her life, and an amazing stepfather to her son.

But the picture perfect marriage is merely an illusion…

After seven wonderful years, Drake leaves. He doesn’t give her a reason, or even the courtesy of a return phone call. Six months go by without even a single acknowledgement. Annalise is devastated. Her heart and soul belonged to Drake, and he was the only father Ayden ever knew. She’d dedicated her life to him and the family they built together, and she isn’t willing to let that dream go easily.

When Annalise spots Drake out at a café with a woman, her heart shatters all over again. But it’s not what Annalise thinks. He isn’t cheating on her. There are things about leaving that Drake just can’t or won’t explain. Some things should remain a secret. 

He wants his old life back, but Annalise won’t accept anything but the truth…

Drake has to find a way to convince his wife, his Cariad, to take him back, but it may mean facing a truth he wanted to keep hidden. He must prove to Annalise that despite his past, he wants her…

More.
Add it on Goodreads.

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

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