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1. Review: Paper Towns by John Green

With the infamous John Green’s Paper Towns movie releasing so soon (July 16th! So close! Cue ecstatic excitement!), how about we take a small peek at the book?! I read The Fault in Our Stars first and fell completely in love with the way John Green mashes humour and angst together. Relatable? I think yes. And, pfft, you […]

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2. 2015 Nesting Loons

Today, after teaching, and after starting a large order for the campground store, I grabbed my camera and headed to the lake.  No sooner had I pushed off shore, I spied a loon fishing halfway across the lake.

I drifted toward it, as I fiddled with my camera to get just the right settings for a slightly cloudy, slightly sunny day.  Suddenly, it popped up beside the kayak.

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It stretched, and dove and stretched again.

 

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And I must say, this is how I feel to finally feel the sun on my shoulders and the warm breezes on my face.

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It took quite awhile, but I spied the nest, too.  Our loons have chosen a new nesting spot, and I must admit to being a bit relieved.

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They haven’t had chicks in two years, and my fingers are crossed that this new nesting site will be a good one for them.

Only time will tell.

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3. Sheep Hand Fans

Facebook Sheep Contest-01Here's a question for you, imagine you are at the County Fair and it's August and it's hot. All you want is something to cool you down while you wander through the barns looking at the animals and vendors. You come upon a seller of fiber and there are hand fans for sell. Which of these two designs would you buy?

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4. Would You Read It Wednesday #176 - Barnabas The Noisy Ninja (PB)

Avast, me hearties!

We've got a piratically fun pitch up today.  But first, a word from our sponsors...

For anyone who is interested (well, and I guess even if you're not interested... :)), Graduation Weekend was a success.  Everyone from our family who was supposed to graduate did - quite impressively, I might add :)  And some family members were in attendance in all necessary locations.  We took "divide and conquer" to a new level.  After all that planning, agonizing, traveling, etc, I can't believe it's over!

In other news, I'm heartbroken to report I found out yesterday that Punxsutawney Phyllis is going out of print :(  After a ten year run, apparently her time is up :(  I will have to horde as many copies as I can find!

I most definitely feel the need for Something Chocolate after such news, as I'm sure you all do too!   And I have recently heard (much to my delight) that eating chocolate cake for breakfast can help you maintain (or regain) a healthy weight.  I don't know who thought this plan up, but I'm all for it!  I have long suspected this to be the case.  So let's have cake!


I feel slimmer and healthier already, don't you? :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Jason who says, "My inspiration came in part from the many students with Autism I have taught during my 14 years as a special education teacher. I am a member of SCBWI along with a few critique groups out here in Western Massachusetts, where I live with my wife and 5 year old daughter.  When it's not below freezing outside, I love to grill.  (My new favorite is bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, which is as incredible as it sounds.)"   

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Barnabas The Noisy Ninja
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Barnabas has pirate fever.  He loves to wear buccaneer boots, sing sea shanties, and shout avast at passing strangers.  Unfortunately, he lives in Ninjaville, where silence is golden and pirates are most certainly not welcome.  Exasperated by his piratical nature, his parents enroll him in Ninjagarten, hoping Sensei can tame his ruckus raising ways.  Barnabas, however, has other plans.  After enlisting his fellow ninjalings during recess, Barnabas leads them in a mutiny.  But when the things get out of hand, Barnabas must reign in his ruckus crew.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jason improve his pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jason is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing how that chocolate cake eating plan works and figuring out how many copies of Phyllis I can grab before they're gone forever!  For which I will no doubt need chocolate sustenance.  It's the Circle of Chocolate.  A lot like the Circle of Life, but yummier :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)



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5. How Much Should You Earn Per Hour?

money_question(This post is based on yesterday’s Monday Motivations for Writers email. If you’d like more goodies like this in your inbox, plus two free e-books, please join the Renegade Writer mailing list!)

Carol Tice and I surveyed more than 500 content mill writers and presented the findings in a webinar last week. One of the most stunning stats was that 40% of content mill writers earn from $1-$5 per hour.

Maybe another 40% earned somewhere between $6 and $20 per hour, and I could almost hear some writers on the call thinking, “Hey, $15 per hour writing isn’t so bad! That’s how much I make at my day job.”

But here’s the thing: At your day job, you get paid for ALL the hours you work — even those hours where you’re reading Gawker and checking Facebook. As a freelance writer, you get paid only those hours you can bill for — and believe me, far from all hours are billable.

As a freelancer, you’re also paying for your own expenses and health insurance, and your taxes are higher. (Normally your employer pays a 7.5% employment tax rate and you pay 7.5% — but as a business owner, YOU pay the entire 15%. Bummer, I know.)

Renegade Reader Ivonne Cueva let me know about an hourly rate calculator that will help you determine what you SHOULD be charging to reach your target income (Thanks, Ivonne!):

https://hourlyrate.beewits.com/

You just enter your current income and how much you’d like to increase that by, your expenses, and an estimate of how many work days and billable hours you’ll have in a year. Then click “Calculate My Hourly Rate” and voila! — that’s how much you need to be earning/charging per hour.

For example, I entered in $10,000 as the current annual earnings (which is probably actually TOO high for content mill writing) and then keyed in that I want to increase my income to $50,000 per year. I very roughly estimated some expenses and figured the writer would be working 4 days per week, 8 hours per day, with 50% of those hours being billable.

(Keep in mind this is an educated guess for an average writer…you may have more billable hours, or less…you may have more hours to work during the week, or less.)

Annnnnnd: To make this work, a writer would need to earn $133.53 per billable hour.

Now, that’s not impossible — it’s the amount a good copywriter can make. And when I write, I typically earn $250 per hour because I’ve been writing so long that I can create a great article, web page, etc. pretty quickly. So, definitely doable.

And this shows that even earning $20 per hour at a content mill — about 7% of content mill writers earn $16-$20 per hour — well, it sounds good but it really isn’t.

Check out this online calculator (it’s free) and see the hourly rate you would need to bill to earn your target income as a writer. It’s eye-opening, AND it will motivate you to seek out better-paying work.

Happy writing,

Linda Formichelli
The Renegade Writer

P.S. Join us for the beta session of our new e-course Escape the Content Mills, which starts on Wednesday! We’re charging only $29 because we’re looking for YOUR feedback to make the course amazing. (And once we get your input, we’ll redo the course incorporating your questions and comments, and send you a copy of the completed materials.) Next session, the price will go up to $49, so you get a hefty 40% discount if you sign up now. http://usefulwritingcourses.com/courses/escape-the-content-mills/

P.P.S. Even if you don’t want to join us for Escape the Content Mills, visit that class page to get a free copy of our case study report “Escape the Content Mills: 6 Writers’ True Stories of Breaking Out and Earning More.”

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6. क्या है मीनोपोज

मीनोपोज या प्री मीनोपोज के बारे मे जानकारी का अभाव महिलाओं को और ज्यादा तनाव ग्रस्त कर देता है. पर ये जानना बहुत जरुरी है कि बीमारी नही है मीनोपोज पर क्या है मीनोपोज  बेशक, ये भी एक कठिन दौर  होता है जब बेहद रक्तस्राव होने से कमजोरी आ जाती है और बहुत लक्षण महिलाए को तनाव मे डाल देते हैं.

कल एक पार्टी में मेरी पुरानी सहेली मिली. मिली क्या असल में मैने ही उसे ढूढा. एक किनारे पर चुपचाप बैठी थी. मुझे भी उसने सूखा सा हैलो बोला. यहां वहां की बात करने के बाद जब मैने उससे उसका हाल चाल पूछा तो उसने बताया कि कुछ समय से पता नही उसे क्या होता जा रहा है . कुछ करने का मन नही करता एक अजीब तरह की बेचैनी सी  महसूस होती है. उसे न भूख लगती न ही कहीं जाने की इच्‍छा होती है कई बार  आधी रात को पसीने से तर हो जाती हूं और नींद खुल जाती है कई बार सारी सारी रात नींद ही नही आती तो कई  बार दिन मे बहुत नींद आती है. कई बार दस दस दिन रक्तस्राव होता है तो कई बार तीन तीन महीने हो जाते हैं रक्तस्राव ही नही होता.  मैने इस बात को जरा भी गम्भीरता से नही लिया. उसे बताया कि यह भी एक तरह का चक्र है जिसमे हम महिलाओं को धर्य और संयम के साथ  दो चार होना पडता है अब इसे सहर्ष स्वीकार कर लें या तनाव बना कर रखें ये अपने हाथ मे है. उसने बताया कि डाक्टर भी उसे यही कह रही थी. अल्ट्रा सांऊड भी करवाया है वो भी ठीक है …

मैने जो नेट पर पढा था या जो अपने अनुभव थे उसे बताए कि उसे अपना ख्याल कैसे रखना चाहिए

Women in Menopause Need Foods With These Minerals and Vitamins

http://www.empowher.com/menopause/content/menopause-you-need-foods-these-vitamins-and-minerals

 

Plenty of things change as women approach menopause. Fortunately, some undesirable consequences like bone loss and hot flashes may be reduced with a few diet changes.

Menopause is a difficult time for many women. It can be a little reassuring to know that the foods you put on your shopping list can make a difference, and can help restore some sense of normalcy to your life. Read more…

मीनोपोज में सबसे ज्यादा जरुरी है कि खुद को व्यस्त रखें.. खुश रखे अपना ध्यान अच्छी बातों में लगाए और सबसे ज्यादा जरुरी खान पान पर ध्यान देना है आयरन और कैल्शियम का सही सेवन बहुत जरुरी है क्योकि कई बाद बहुत ब्लीडिंग होने से शरीर में कमजोरी आ जाती है सही मायनों में क्या है मीनोपोज प्रश्न आपको तंग नही करेगा और वैसे भी  जिंदगी को pause नही करता मीनोपोज …

 

महिलाओ की छोटी छोटी समस्याओं के बारे में गायनाकोलोजिस्ट रचना सांगवान से लिया मेरा एक इंटरव्यू एक वीडियों

 

 

The post क्या है मीनोपोज appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. Author Websites

What information should you include on your author website?

http://blog.leeandlow.com/2015/04/08/book-marketing-101-what-to-put-on-your-author-website/

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8. Fan Mail Wednesday #209: “I HATED reading (until now).”

postalletter-150x150

 

 

 

 

Dear James,

HI! I’m Sara M. I’m a fifth grader in KY. I’ve recently taken a liking to your books, (meaning I read three of them all in one day this weekend.

Long story short, I HATED reading (until now.)

We just had our school, Barnes & Noble, book fair. I was looking around for some scary stories (because that’s my favorite genre.) I stumbled upon your first book. I read the first 3 pages and I was hooked. BLOODY MARY    BLOODY MARY    BLOODY MARY.  I bought it. I took it home that night and read it. I LOVED IT SO MUCH! So, I immediately got hooked on your Scary Tales series.

I then became obsessed with finding the other books in your series. On Saturday, my dad took me to the library. We found three of your books. The next day at school I started reading them. I read all three of them in one day.I want to encourage you to write a thousand more books ;)

Please write back if you get the chance. Also, if you write back, please list all of the Scary Tales books you have OUT right now and one that you are currently in THE MAKING of.

Looking on library pages to find more of your books,

your #1 fan,

Sara

I replied:

Dear Sara,

Thank you. That’s just about the most wonderful letter a writer can possibly receive. I’m so glad that you found books to love. Goodness knows there are so many great ones out there, it was just a matter of finding the right match. I hope you don’t think it was me, James Preller, because it’s not. I’m just a guy. The powerful thing is reading itself, and books, and worlds opening up before your eyes — that awesome feeling you get when you make that connection.

Illustration by Iacopo Bruno from SCARY TALES: SWAMP MONSTER.

Illustration by Iacopo Bruno from SCARY TALES: SWAMP MONSTER.

I’m proud of you for sticking with it. Also — and this is important, Sara, so listen up — I hope that you are grateful to your father who took time on a busy Saturday to bring you to the library for more books. Not everybody has a parent who would do that, so consider yourself lucky. I guess he wants to see as a reader, too. (Your local librarian did a nice job too, since not everybody is hip to my relatively new “Scary Tales” series.)

There are currently five “Scary Tales” books in print, and a sixth one coming out in early July: Home Sweet Horror; I Scream, You Scream; Good Night, Zombie; Nightmareland, One-Eyed Doll; and Swamp Monster.

I published my first book in 1986, and have written a wide assortment of books since. With this series, I tried to write the most exciting, OneEyedDoll_cvr_lorezthrilling, suspenseful, unputdownable stories that I possibly could. Fast paced, easy to read, filled with twists and turns and incredible illustrations (by the great Iacopo Bruno).

Thanks for your sweet letter. I love your enthusiasm. Keep it up this summer. Just remember that one good book leads to another, and another, and another. Talk to your librarian. I’m sure that he or she will have  recommendations for you in the scary book department. In the meantime, if you want to check out other books of mine, you might like Bystander or, coming this September, The Fall. I have my fingers crossed on that last one; very excited about it!

My best,

James Preller

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9.



Join us Saturday at Reno’s 2015 Lit Crawl for a reading from The Book of Nonsense alongside Heather Petty and Terri Farley (Lake Mansion, 250 Court St. at 5:00 p.m.) The Book of Nonsense reboots 5/28! The new Forbidden Books Series will also be published by the Modern Press, Co. in China. Film news shared Sat. night!  -Dms

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10. Twenty-Five Years Strong

me-and-kev2A May 26, 1990. That was the day my life changed for the better.

Kevin and I have been married for 25 years. And I could write a novel of the events that lead up to this day, but I think instead, I’m going to copy what my sister-in-law did on Facebook and just bullet-point our lives:

  • We worked together at a bank – that’s how we met.
  • Our first “date” was the company Christmas party. And we met there, in separate cars. Because I was a strong female and didn’t want him to think I was easy. *smirk*
  • We lived together for two years before we got married. *gasp*
  • I had to give him an ultimatum – either we get married, or we go our separate ways. (Remember that strong female part? I was terrified he would walk out – but I guess it was better than wasting years together).
  • I had to shop around for a church. We didn’t belong to a church and a friend I worked with recommended a pretty little church in Nixa. Done.
  • Our wedding day: Kevin thought I stood him up since I was late getting to the church. That same friend that recommended the church also did my hair. A fancy little braid number and it took longer than we thought it would. Kevin said he lost a few years waiting for me.
  • We paid for our wedding ourselves. Well. Technically, we used one of my school loans to pay for our wedding.
  • My mom’s wedding gift to me was making my wedding dress.

  • I still have the dress packed away in a garment bag. I couldn’t fit into it now to save my life.
  • We toasted each other with paper cups because I totally forgot to buy glasses for the occasion.
  • Our wedding photographer was horrified because Kevin forgot to wear dark socks with his tux. The photographer had to place my wedding bouquet over his feet to hide them.
  • Whoever was in charge of music played the wedding march (the song you exit to) when my dad escorted me down the aisle. I wasn’t even aware of that faux pas until Kevin and I watched the wedding video afterward.
  • I had to wear ballet slippers instead of gorgeous heels because I didn’t want to be taller than Kevin for our pictures. (At least I was comfortable).
  • I couldn’t wait for the ceremony to be over. And who was the idiot that picked three songs to sing, during the ceremony, so that it lasted WAY longer than it had to? (That would be me).
  • We honeymooned in Cozumel, Mexico.
  • It was the first time I had ever been out of Missouri, let alone the country, and I cried like a baby.
  • I smashed my pinky in a lounge chair on the beach. I later lost that fingernail.
  • We rented a moped to get around the island and I don’t think we wore helmets. (We were young and stupid).

  • We ate lunch at a shack on the other side of the island and wrote our names in this pole. We later went back to Cozumel years later and the shack was gone.
  • I remember Kevin and I being horrified because the little prop plane that took us from Cancun to Cozumel was literally held together by duct tape.
  • I absolutely did not pack the right type of clothing for Cozumel. All of my shirts were too heavy and all I had with me were jean shorts. I’ve since learned tank tops and breezy skirts are your friend if you ever go to a tropical island.
  • On the plane ride home from our honeymoon, the landing gear wouldn’t come out and one of the flight attendants had to open the floor and crank the gear down. That did not help my anxiety over flying one bit.
  • I did not fly again until our 10th anniversary cruise to the Caribbean.

    and lastly …

  • I can’t imagine my life without my best friend, lover, confidante and husband.
  • Thank you for putting up with me all of these years, sweetie. I love you to the moon and back.

    lipstick-mirror


    Filed under: Life

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    11. Cartoon- Sabsidy

    cartoon- sabsidy -monica guptaSabsidy in india … जिस तरह से देश में सब्सिडी की लहर चल रही है तो मिठाई वाला भी किसलिए पीछे रहे … इसलिए …

    The post Cartoon- Sabsidy appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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    12. WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour recap

    I had a FANTASTIC time during my WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour earlier this month. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's for making the book tour possible for me, and to all the schools, libraries and bookstores who participated.

    For those interested, I've posted links to my photos and recap at DebbieOhi.com/2015booktour, including what I learned along the way.

    0 Comments on WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour recap as of 5/26/2015 4:53:00 PM
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    13. Writer Wednesday: The Common Thread


    A while back, Beth Fred and I were talking about mission statements and the common theme in the books we write. Now, you all know I write across genres and age levels, so you can imagine my reaction when Beth said there must be a common theme in all my books.

    Um… Yeah, that was me. I've always said I'm not one to write to trends. I write the stories I feel I need to tell. And that's led me to having a pen name for romance while I write speculative fiction under my own name. But after a while, I realized Beth was right. There IS a common theme in all my books. It's self-discovery.

    In my Touch of Death series, Jodi finds out she's a special kind of necromancer descended from the Gorgon Medusa. She struggles with what this means for her and how she'll have to adapt her life now that she's poisonous to humans.

    In The Monster Within books, Sam dies of cancer at seventeen and is brought back from the dead as a monster who has to kill to survive. She struggles to figure out where she fits into the world and whether or not she's willing to kill others in order to live.

    In Perfect For You (Ashelyn Drake title), Meg is trying to find herself again after having her heart broken in a very public and humiliating way. As much as it's about her finding the right guy, it's about her finding herself.

    In A Lion's Song (my most recent picture book), Amara is trying to figure out her place in the pride when she's the only lion who can't roar.

    I could keep going with all my books, but I think you can see the common thread. All my MCs are struggling to figure out who they are in this world and what that means for them. So I do have a common theme after all, even if I didn't know I did at the time I wrote these books.

    What common theme pops up in your work?

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    14. ‘Fabulous’ Review for Tavia Gilbert’s ‘Maggie’

    Voice actress Tavia Gilbert has received another outstanding review for her performance of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake, this time from prolific reviewer Jennie Mortarotti on her blog, Narrator Reviews and Audiobooks — FULL REVIEW If you … Continue reading

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    15. State Library of Queensland's Young Writers Award 2015

    It's on again! The Young Writers Award is a short story competition open to Queensland residents aged 15 to 25. There's two categories - 18-25 year olds (for short stories of 2,500 words or fewer) and 15-17 year olds (for short stories of 1,500 words or fewer).

    The prizes are terrific* so if you're a Queensland writer between 15 and 25 you should have a go! It'd be silly not to. And if you're not a young Queensland writer but you know a young Queensland** writer, you should tell them to enter.

    Check out the website for more details and to enter (you should, you really, really should). Closes July 17, 2015.

    *Including $2,000 to the Young Writers Award winner in the 18-25 category. You could buy a lot of books with that sort of money. Plus lots of other excellent prizes: memberships to Queensland Writers Centre and Australian Writers Marketplace online, an iPad, a Kindle, and more!

    **I've used the word 'Queensland' so many times in this post it no longer looks like a real word to me. Queens-land? It's quite a strange name, really. What even is the letter Q?***

    ***P.S. I love Queensland, it's great. I most especially love the State Library.

    0 Comments on State Library of Queensland's Young Writers Award 2015 as of 5/26/2015 7:49:00 PM
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    16. Writing and Sitting

    Writing writing writing.

    My time has been spent sitting for long hours writing. With such a large project, it has seemed that I'll never get there. But now that I'm about 80% done, it is finally feeling ...  Can I say it? do-able.
    Best of all I love it more than when I started.   Scary stuff, I know.

    And as I've worked, I  have found a wonderful link with some amazing information I would like to share. Janice Hardy's Fiction University is so full of great, great things, I've bookmarked it way too many times. Thank you Janice. You rock.

    Here's one to start you going-- Ten Traits of a Great Protagonist


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    17. Refine and Broaden Your Keywords for Better Content Marketing Results

    Keywords are what help search engines categorize and index your content. And, it’s what online searchers use to find what they’re looking for. Yes, search engines go by lots of other things to rank your content, but when it comes to searchers, they use keywords. I know I use them personally and for my writing research all the time. But, how do you come up with words or phrases that are what

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    18. New Sneaks

    My new striped sneakers might be cool
    Or creepy, I can’t tell.
    The price was right and socks or not,
    They fit me very well.

    With rounded toe and laces black
    And soles both thick and white,
    They make my feet resemble boats
    Yet still, they look all right.

    I hemmed and hawed inside the store
    And then made my decision,
    Expecting that my spouse would look
    At them with some derision.

    But he was undecided, too,
    So this was his reply:
    “Pharrell* could wear those and on him,
    You know they’d look real fly**.”

    They’re on my feet right now and there
    They will reside a spell;
    But still, they might be creepy -
    After all, I’m no Pharrell!

    *Pharrell Williams
    **cool (not my husband’s exact words, I must admit!)

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    19. Spotlight and Giveaway: When Darkness Ends by Alexandra Ivy

    This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for When Darkness Ends by Alexandra Ivy

    When Darkness Ends
    Guardians of Eternity # 12

    By: Alexandra Ivy

    Releasing May 26, 2015

    Zebra

    Blurb

    The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…

    Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…

    Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…

    Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/when-darkness-ends-guardians-of.html

    Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22859817-when-darkness-ends?ac=1
    Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/40933-guardians-of-eternity

    Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

    Author Info

    ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com

    Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

     

     

     

    Excerpt

    Laigin (Ireland), 1014 AD

    The man woke with a blinding headache, stripped of his clothing as well as his memories.

    With a groan, he sat up, shoving his tangled hair out of his face. It was immediately obvious he was in a damp cave. A strange place to wake. But not nearly as strange as the abrupt realization that something was terrifyingly wrong with him.

    Despite the darkness he was able to see the limestone walls that had been chiseled by the water dripping from the low ceiling as clear as if it were day. And it was not only his sight that was unbearably acute.

    He could smell the distant salt of the sea. And hear the faint scramble of a bug crossing the stone floor. He could even detect the warmth of two creatures that were rapidly approaching the cave.

    What madness was this?

    No man should have the senses of a god. Not unless he was a monster.

    The dark thoughts barely had time to form before they were interrupted by a hunger that thundered through him. He groaned. It was as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Months. But it wasn’t the thought of food that made his stomach cramp, he realized with a flare of horror.

    It was . . . blood.

    His mouth watered, the pain of his fangs ripping through his gums startling him as the image of the red, intoxicatingly rich substance filled his mind.

    He had to feed.

    Aye. That was what he needed.

    Disgusted with the knowledge, he slowly rose to his feet, a virile strength running through his massive body even as his head remained thick with confusion.

    His instincts urged him to leave the cave, to hunt down his prey and bury his fangs deep in their throats, but the tantalizing scent of fresh strawberries kept him frozen in place.

    It appeared that his prey was willingly coming to him.

    And they smelled . . . delectable.

    Like an animal, he warily shuffled to the deepest shadows. From his vantage point, he silently watched the two slender creatures enter the cave. His eyes widened at the sheer beauty of the strangers. The male had hair the color of rust with bold green eyes set in a lean face, while the female possessed long tawny hair with eyes the shade of spring grass.

    They looked like angels.

    His fangs ached, his muscles tensing as he prepared to strike.

    Angels or not, they were about to become dinner.

    But before he could charge, the male held up a slender hand, the scent of strawberries becoming overpowering.

    “Hold, berserker,” he commanded, a tingle of magic in the air.

    He frowned. “I am a berserker?”

    “You were.”

    The confusion only deepened. “Were?”

    “Two nights ago you were attacked by a clan of vampires.”

    He shook his head, his hand instinctively lifting to touch his neck.

    “I survived?”

    The pretty female grimaced. “Not as a human. The local villagers left you in this cave to see if you would rise as a vampire. Even now they are on their way to either witness your corpse or slaughter you.” She held out a slender hand. “Come with us in peace and we will harbor you until you are able to care for yourself.”

    Vampire . . .

    He went to his knees in shock.

    Holy shite.

    Rafflecopter Giveaway (three copies of WHEN DARKNESS ENDS )

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    20. KidLit Author Events, May 26-June 9

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    Well, my neck of the woods got a lot of rain this weekend, but we are fortunate to have made it through with no damage. The news over the rest of Texas and parts of Oklahoma is very sad, though. I hope all of you can stay safe through this rough weather.

    We are getting into the summer slow-down on autor events, but the local Houston arts organizations are stepping up!

    May 27, 10:00 AMlogo-scbwi
    Gentle Critique, 9:30 AM
    Barnes & Noble, College Station
    Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques

    Join the Brazos Valley chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for discussion, news, and encouragement. The topic is “Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques” with Alyson Greene and Candilynn Fite. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time stay for lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome!

    May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMWritespace
    Writespace
    Marian Szczepanski, Writing Workshop for All Genres
    Using Object and Memory as Springboards into the Past
    Cost: $30-$45

    Objects and memories can carry significant resonance for literary explorations into the past – from personal experiences to collective histories. Learn how to use objects and/or memories, both personal and those shared by family members or history, as prompts for imaginative rumination and writing. We’ll consider examples in fiction (“Mortality” by Pablo Medina), poetry (“Mauches” by Angele Ellis), and creative nonfiction (an excerpt from Virgin Time by Patricia Hampl). This highly interactive class also will include joint exercises in creating meaning and exploring literary possibility from a provided object and historical event. As a prompt for individual writing, each participant will be encouraged to bring his/her own object – personal memento, family keepsake, or any item (or image) that interests or intrigues. I’ll have an assortment of new and vintage objects on hand for participants who prefer to consider something unfamiliar. This workshop is intended for writers of all genres, including writers of fiction, short story, personal essay, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry.

    May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMTHE DEATH CODE BY LINDSAY CUMMINGS
    Murder By The Book
    Lindsay Cummings, YA Author

    Young Adult author Lindsay Cummings will discuss and sign MURDER COMPLEX #2: THE DEATH CODE, the action-packed, chilling sequel to her bestselling The Murder Complex. With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ends. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fight fearlessly to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read. For fans of La Femme Nikita, Legend, and Hanna.

    June 1, Monday, 7:00 PMlogo-scbwi
    Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Dr.
    SCBWI Houston: Author Workshop
    FREE

    Join us for the Houston SCBWI monthly meeting where YA authors Rachel Harris & Kristin Rae will discuss Agents: Pros & Cons. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend!

    Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
    Houston Writers Guild
    Short Story Contest
    Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
    Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65

    DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:

    HWG is looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest. Please see their website for more information.

    And a heads up for this event:

    June 5, Friday, 6:00 p.m.
    Blue Willow Bookshop
    Joey Graceffa, YA Memoir Author

    Star of TV and YouTube Joey Graceffa will meet and greet fans as they receive pre-signed copies of his book, IN REAL LIFE. Your book purchased from Blue Willow Bookshop is your ticket to this event. You may purchase IN REAL LIFE in-store, online or over the phone. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow Bookshop will make a color line card that indicates your place in line.

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    21. Freedom


    Stranded mind is more dangerous,
    Than stranded body,
    A curse for the humanity,
    Living continuously in the mist,
    Stupendous attempts,
    Are required to free the soul,
    From lusty deeds and gutsy demons,
    From solemn nights,
    From dreadful dreams,
    To paint the altruistic waves,
    To color the emphatic heaven,
    That sweeps the heart,
    That instills hope in hope,
    Then this world will shine,
    With creativity of the mind,
    Those who are independent,
    Those who are affluent,
    With positivity and peace

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    22. don’t go minding my heart

    Photo by Vicky Lorencen

    Photo by Vicky Lorencen

    You’ve had them. Those dreams of days that exist solely in your mind’s eye. You imagine how you’ll feel, what you’ll say or do as soon as the thing you’ve longed for a long time flips from fantasy to reality.

    Then, that magical day arrives, and in a blink, you realize your mind’s eye was playing tricks on you.

    It was like that for me earlier this month when my dream agent Erin Murphy offered to represent me. I was near tears, but then a surreal calm covered me. Not at all what I expected.  I always assumed I’d hang up the phone and do a squeal/jump/cry combo. (Just picture it!) But I didn’t. I sat alone in my office in stunned silence.  I’ve heard from friends who’ve had a similar experience.

    Why? Well, I’ve pondered on that.

    My best guess is that when your brain has been standing guard over your dream-holding heart for many years, it takes a bit before it can stand down and let your heart be happy. Your mind cares so much about your safety, it goes deaf to the cries of your heart that’s saying, “This is great news! Let’s celebrate!”

    Photo by Vicky Lorencen

    Photo by Vicky Lorencen

    Thankfully, it only took about 24 hours before my mind unlocked my heart and I was free to be both grateful and giddy (yes, I even skipped down the hall with happiness).

    Now, I know there’s still lots of work ahead, no guarantees and more opportunities for rejection, trail and error, and failure. My mind will still be busy watching over my heart, but for now, I’m delighted to enjoy this milestone.

    Let me encourage you to celebrate your milestones too–sending out a submission you’ve spent many months (maybe years) preparing, making the shift from beer to champagne rejections (that is a big deal!), selling an article to a magazine you admire, getting that beloved book contract or whatever achievement makes your heart smile and your dear, overworked mind nod in agreement.

    Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead. ~ Nelson Mandela

     

     


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    23. mad max fury road

    Since everyone is busy drawing amazing pictures of Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max - Fury Road, I thought the world needed a very bad drawing of the Doof Warrior:



    And here is an article about the actor who play the Doof Warrior. I saw the film last week and it's hilarious, I loved it.



    Some Doof soundtrack for you (for ambiance) and here's Philip Reeve's film review.



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    24. #BookADay: WON TON AND CHOPSTICK by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt).

    Today's #BookADay: WON TON AND CHOPSTICK, written by Lee Wardlaw​, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin​ (Henry Holt).

    Synopsis: "Won Ton cat's purrfect life with his boy is changed forever when the family adopts a (gasp!) puppy." More about the book, including a Teacher's Guide & Activity Kit. Lee was kind enough to answer Three Questions for me on Inkygirl.

    ---------------------
    More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

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    25. 2015 Denver Comic Con Highlights

    I can’t believe the 2015 Comic Con is over! It was super exhausting but incredibly fun. It’s not every day that Lou Ferrigno hugs you, you know? I mean, how can you not love being in a place with costumes like this:

    Spaceballs

    Or signing books with awesomesauce authors like Amalie Howard!

    Amalie Howard and Me

    Or having your kids attend their very first Comic Con!

    Comic Con booth

    Or being told that the Barnes & Noble booth of Comic Con sold out of your book! Luckily, they found more copies for the next day!

    Barnes and Noble Booth

    I was lucky enough to be on some amazing panels with authors like Dan Wells, Jim Butcher, Amalie Howard, Sherry Ficklin, Tyler Jolley, Stant Litore, Gail Wagner, DelSheree Gladden, Stephen Graham Jones, Sue Duff, and many more. I met so many fantastic people from fellow authors to fans, to fellow sci-fi nerds, and I already can’t wait for next year! But first…I need a nap. ;)

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