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1. Dash

This post is an archived post with new links.


Someone once asked when I’d write a blog about the one creature who inspires me to write the most (besides God, of course). Today seems like a fine day for a snarky blog, so I’d like to take a walk inside my canine buddy’s head. (Go with me on this one).

Dasher is a 75 pound ex-racer.  He’s a purebred Greyhound striped like a tiger. He was retired early last Fall and found his way into our hearts and home in December. He’s only two and a half, retired about five years prematurely. But he is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.

Dasher, what was it like being a race dog?

Well, there’s not much to say, really. We were kept in our kennels most of the day. We were released to a larger outdoor kennel four times a day for 30 minutes each time.  There would be four or five of us allowed to play in the space which was the size of an average living room. Then it was back inside to the kennel. Of course there was always training. That was fun. I’d get to play with the other dogs and chase their tails. Once in a while the trainers would walk us through the crowd to meet the people who came to watch the races, they smelled like hot dogs, cigarettes and soda. I love to smell things.

We hear you retired early, why?

Apparently, playing with the other dogs and chasing their tails isn’t recommended on the track. Something about a blue ribbon and a number. I don’t know, I got numbers. Usually there were a couple of them like a 1 followed by a 2 (for those of us that are already dreaming of the weekend, that was a twelfth place) . I thought that was pretty cool. The trainer didn’t.

Did you have a racing name?

Yup, I was dubbed Yo’ My Bust ‘Em Up. But when my family adopted me they named me after the fastest reindeer, since it was Christmas and all. I like the new name, it’s much easier to listen to. Especially since they yell it a lot.

What do you think about your new digs?

Awesome! They leave me chicken and fish on the counters. I usually wait until they leave to eat, though. No sense in eating in front of them, that would be rude. They also take me for walks when I tell them to and the short one, they call her ‘shark bait’; she sleeps with me on Friday nights. She makes a great pillow.

Any last words you’d like to leave us with?

Yeah. I just want to say thanks to all those great folks out there who adopt pets from shelters; pets like me. We really appreciate it!

For more information, check out Pets.Answers.Com

*Other interviews: Interview with a teen.

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2. The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Oooh, I’m so excited to be a part of the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Thank you for clicking over. I hope you’re having a wonderful time getting to know your favorite and newly favorite authors. Here’s a bit about me:

What is the working title of your book?

The title to my latest release is Grudges Not Included
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Boerne, Texas celebrates Christmas with a sweet tradition known as their Dickens Event (Link: http://www.tex-fest.com/regional/boerne.html). It’s a week-long celebration in true Dickens culture. When a friend described the nostalgia surrounding the event, Hannah’s story took shape.
What genre does your book fall under?
Grudges Not Included is a Christmas Christian romance novella.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I think the best actress to play Hannah would be young and sweet, like Scarlett Johansson. Oh and the male lead would be great for someone who was mysterious like William Moseley or Jeremy Sumpter.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When the baby-of-the-family steps in to manage her family’s German bakery she must balance the town bully’s plans to squash her business as she clears her former crush, the rootless boy the family believes betrayed them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Grudges Not Included is my first self-published novella.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took approximately three weeks to finish.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Comparative titles may include Lori Copeland’s The Christmas Lamp or Sharon Gillenwater’s Love Wanted, A Christmas Novella.

What else would you like to share about your book? (Here’s the back cover copy)

In this contemporary Christmas tale, Arnwald Family Bakery prepares traditional German pastries and holiday goodies for the annual Boerne, Texas’ Dicken’s Event. Until tragedy strikes and the family bakery struggles without their patriarch at the helm.

The bakery’s success hangs in the shaky hands of the youngest family member when baker Drew Little returns home. Determined to clear his good name, Drew offers to save the bakery despite the owner’s accusations against him.

Hannah Arnwald knows Drew can save the bakery, but to hire him would mean going against her father, grandmother and sisters. Without an experienced baker, the store will fail. Does she dare hire him against her family’s wishes? Could she bear to lose him again if she doesn’t?

Here’s the link. Hope you have fun at your next Blog Hop.

Other Stops:

Susan Baganz

Lisa Lickel


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Wow. December already. Well, I’m excited to report December brings a couple book releases. Just released this week:

(Free for your Amazon Kindle thru December 3, 2012)

In this contemporary Christmas tale, baker Drew Little’s past collides with his future when he returns to Boerne, Texas. Once an apprentice at Arnwald Family Bakery, Drew’s attraction to the owner’s young daughter distracted him from his duties and he found himself jobless and disgraced. Now he’s determined to clear his name.

True to their German roots, Arnwald Family Bakery, located in the center of historic Boerne, prepares traditional pastries and holiday goodies for the Dicken’s Event until tragedy strikes and the family bakery is left without their patriarch at the helm. The bakery’s success hangs in the shaky hands of the youngest family member.

Hannah Arnwald knows Drew has returned to Boerne. Armed with the intent to hire him as lead baker, Hannah must face the long held grudge of her family as well as survive the cunning competition of another local baker. Can she save a piece of Texan history without losing her heart in the mix?


Coming Soon:

From The Adventures of Ally and Cory series…
The Wishing Ring, book 1 (paperback to release later this month)
The King’s Seal, book 2 (ebook and paperback to release later this month)

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4. The New Recruit by Jill Williamson

General Information

Title: The New Recruit (The Mission League, book 1 of 4)

Subtitle: Mission 1: Moscow

Publisher: Marcher Lord Press

Genre: YA Suspense

Here is the back cover copy:

Forced to choose between military school and a Christian spy organization, skeptic Spencer Garmond signs on with the Bible geeks. But before he even boards the plane for Moscow, Spencer realizes this is no Bible club.

These guys mean business.

Stumbling onto a case involving a gang of homeless boys, a chilling tattoo, and the always beautiful Anya Vseveloda, Spencer struggles to find the faith needed to save the Mission League from enemy infiltration.

Here is the link to my website: www.jillwilliamson.com

Website for The Mission League Series:  http://themissionleague.com/

Here is a short author bio: 

Jill Williamson is an author of all things weird. She grew up in Alaska with no electricity, an outhouse, and a lot of mosquitoes. Her Blood of Kings trilogy won two Christy Awards, and she recently released Replication, a science fiction teen novel from Zonderkidz. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer.


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5. Sneak Peek at THE KING’S SEAL

Ready for a quick peek at book two in the Ally and Cory series (Book One, THE WISHING RING)? Here’s a bit from THE KING’S SEAL, releasing December 2012…

Isabelle wiped her hand across her forehead, plastering moist strands of dirty-blonde hair to her temples. “A guest, your Highness.”

Ally laid a calming hand on her maid’s wrist. “Of course there are guests, Izzy. This is the first day of my celebration month. Mother said there would be many guests. No need—”

“She’s different, ma’am. Not from Ur or any of its surroundin’ lands. Her skin is orange and her eyes…yella.”

Ally furrowed her brow. “Orange skin. And yellow eyes? What is she, a drawing? Izzy, is this a joke? Teasing the birthday girl before the party?”

“No, your Highness. This isn’t a tale. I’m not fibbin’. There’s a girl who speaks with your father in the throne room this instant and she is as I says, orange and yella. The queen sent me here. She says your ringing in will be delayed. I’m to sit with you until Margaret comes to get us.”

Ally jumped to her feet. “Delayed? No. I’ve waited forever to get my Teenth ring. It can’t be delayed. Orange girl or not.” Determination pressed her feet forward as Ally made her way to the door. “I’ll just have to speak with them, myself.”

More soon!

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6. Welcome Byron Suggs

Primarily a writer of southern fiction, Byron’s first novel, “Rockapocalypse: Disharmony of Justice”, is a tale of youthful dreams, adult peril, and Divine intervention by a few deceased rock icons. His second novel, Cold Currents, a southern literary mystery/thriller, is in the hands of his agent. He is currently working on his third novel, Bone Whispers,(a follow-up to Cold Currents), and a collection of short stories for future publication.

His short works of fiction have appeared in publications such as Aries: A Journal of Arts and Literature and Black Heart Magazine (e-zine).

A child of the sixties, his first viewing of The Wizard of Oz shaped his outlook of the world and erased any boundaries that could have stunted his imagination. He believes that a good tale should take you on an exhilarating adventure and leave you a bit more enchanted after you turn the last page.

*Byron is represented by D4EO Literary.

Now, on to the fun part…meeting the real Byron Suggs.

Is there a story behind your novel, Rockapocalypse?

Only my childhood (and six million other things.) I had a wonderful, middle-class childhood that spanned the cultural revolution of the Sixties, and part of the Seventies. The music of that era had a profound impact on me. All of my childhood memories have a certain song associated with them. But as with any child, I was not immune to social and political issues at the time: integration in the schools, war protest, Vietnam splashed into our living rooms on the evening news. Yet, amid all the turmoil, there just seemed to be something “hopeful” about all the change.

When I started writing Rockapocalypse, I had just entered my 50’s and felt compelled to take all of that and write a book. I wanted to write something that would allow me to create in abstracts versus cold, hard facts, and still give a sense of that time and place. I also wanted to go along for the ride and Pete provided that vehicle for me. Over a two year span, I wrote Rockapocalypse and revised it twice. I captured a lot of what I intended to, but when it was obvious my story wasn’t attractive enough for the literary agencies, I had all but resigned to put it in a bottom drawer.

Then it happened.

I met my current publisher at a local writers conference. I was going over my schedule when a lady across the table asked another attendee where a certain session was being held that my publisher was leading. I volunteered that information because I was attending that session. Fifteen minutes before the start, she wandered over and struck up a conversation with me. Finally, she asked to see a sample chapter. She loved it. This led to that, and in June 2011, I submitted a proposal to her publishing board. But the book was shot down.

Determined to tell my tale, I took a long hard look at what I had and sat down once again to breathe new life into it. I pushed into the future and wrote a present-day parallel story that wove through the core of the original book. What I ended up with was a compelling, action-filled story of faith, hope and love. Several months passed, I received an e-mail from her. She still wanted to publish Rockapocalypse! Nine months later my book was released and here we are.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)

I read a variety of things. It’s hard to list them all here, but there are some that hold no interest in me: pure romance, Sci-Fi (unless it has a more humanist storyline), books that get so deep in relationships that I’m grateful I’ve never had to deal with them at that level, books about “fads” in our culture, and current vampire themes. I say that because the most interesting vampires I read about or watched in movies were just that, vampires. Not the kind in books and film today. I don’t begrudge those that find those interesting. I simply don’t. But I won’t leave you high and dry. In the last year I’ve read the following authors: John Hart, Mitch Albom, Joe Lansdale, Lee Child, Stephen King, Preston/Child, James Lee Burke, and James Rollins just to name a few.

 Have you read Travis Thrasher or Robert LiParulo? Great stuff!

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

That’s a tough one. Peter Travers was at the core of this book, but at the end of the day I knew Pete too well, if that makes sense. He was too familiar to me. If I had to name one I’d have to choose between Margie McMillan and Arlo Hankshaw. Both evolved in totally different ways, but in ways that made sense when the end arrived.

What is your favorite season of the year?

I have several. Late Spring, early Summer and early Fall. The muggy “dog days of August”, and winter in general, do not rate very high on my list.

I’m with you there!

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

Good over evil. There are many paths to get there, but the end is the same.    

Ooh and underdogs, right? Go Underdogs!

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My second novel, Cold Currents, is in the hands of my literary agent. It’s a mystery/thriller set in the piedmont of North Carolina.

“Thirty years after the shocking murder of Jenny Franklin, followed by the arrest and conviction of his brother Terry, Knoxville Detective Bobby Taylor returns to his North Carolina hometown of Clayton at his aging mother’s request. Reluctant to face his estranged father and make amends after blaming him for not doing more to save his brother, Bobby arrives to discover the head of another young girl has washed up on the banks of the wild Neuse River. Disgusted at the brutality and familiarity of the crime, he realizes the murderous, sadistic monster from his past has returned with a vengeance. His brother’s blood is now on the hands of those who failed to catch the real killer the first time around. Fueled by retribution, and eager to heal his past, Bobby’s determined to bring the true murderer to justice.

Armed with equal parts instinct and desperation, Bobby confronts his broken relationships while chasing a mysterious trail of death that spans thirty years and two continents. Obstacles, lies, and deception face him at every turn as he partners with a tough-as-nails female reporter and a reluctant Chief of Detectives to catch a resurrected killer and vindicate his family’s name. In the end, Bobby finds redemption in a way he could never imagine as the whispers of the river reveal the horrible secrets beneath her swift, cold currents.”

I’m currently working on my third novel, Bone Whispers, which I hope to complete by Spring 2013. It’s a follow-up to Cold Currents.

If you’d like to connect with Byron, you can find him here:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Byron_Suggs
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/byronsuggsauthor
WordPress: http://byronsuggs.wordpress.com/

Thanks Byron and best wishes for an awesome release! Now, I’ll leave you with this…

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7. Hey All

I’m eager to share a couple new books that have either just released or will be releasing soon. I’m in the middle of Jill Williamson’s newest, The New Recruit and a review should be up soon. Check it out, when you get a minute. Another new author will be joining us this week. Byron Suggs’ debut novel, Rockapocalypse, releases 9/22. Watch for a post from him this weekend. Lots of exciting stuff there.

In the meantime, I’ve got a question for you. In the authorsphere, there’s a bit of buzz surrounding book trailers.

Ever watched them? Know what they are? Use them to chose your next read?

I’m curious. I’ve got two trailers out and am planning one for the Ally and Cory series (The King’s Seal, book 2 releases 12/2012) and I’d like to know what you think.

You’ll find a few book trailers (mine and a few friends’) embedded, just in case this is the first time you’ve heard about book trailers. So tell me, do you use book trailers when you choose the books you read?

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8. Life About Town

Hi blog-friends! It’s been such a long time. I’m excited to announce a few new points of interest. Check the list below. In addition, I’ll be back to the blog now that the kiddos are back in school. For now, check out the links below and the new reviews listed under the Book Review tab above.

NextGenWriters (a site dedicated to bettering the writer’s craft of authors under 20) includes a three-part September event on branding and social media.

Barn Door hosts a look at my new hometown, Cincinnati, on September 7.

Proof, See the Evidence takes a deeper look at praying for others, even when it’s not asked for.

And the new book cover is in! The second book in the Adventures of Ally and Cory series, The King’s Seal, is here (releases December 2012). What do you think?

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9. Can’t Believe it Starts Tomorrow!

Is it August already? How many years have I started the month with that sentence? This year, I say it with a new fervor. Tomorrow, August 2, is opening day for the NextGenWriter’s Conference. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s an online, FREE writer’s conference for author’s under 20 (I know, I get so much flack from authors over 20 for this one, but hey, we’re talking about the next generation of literary leaders here…they need their own conference, don’t cha think?).  Want to know how it works? Click here. Or who’s presenting? Here. Ready to register? Here. And of course, want to pick up one of the presenter’s books? Here.


If you’re an author under 20, you won’t want to miss it, and if you’re not, but know someone who is, please pass this along. Yeah, it’s that important. Now, let’s go make some history–NextGenWriter’s!

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10. News for NextGenWriter’s Conference

Curious as to what an online conference is? Well, go check out the explanation page for NextGenWriter’s Conference. Registration is open and attendance is filling up. Hope to see you there!




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11. It’s back!



NextGenWriter’s Free Online Conference announcement is up and they’ll be taking registrations beginning June 15. Check it out.

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12. Pressing the “Hot Buttons” By Guest Blogger, Nicole O’Dell

So glad to have Nicole O’Dell with us as she shares a special ministry devoted to connecting teens, their parents and God. Here’s what she has to say about “Hot Buttons:”

What are Hot Buttons?

Well, in the broader sense, the phrase Hot Buttons means a lot of different things, anything really, that can get a rise out people. Something that charges them up and receives an intense reaction. For the purposes of Choose NOW Ministries, I’ve defined hot buttons as those tough issues that teenagers face–the things parents are often more afraid of and most hesitant to talk about.

Some examples include:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Sex
  • Friendships
  • Racism
  • Internet Activity
  • Faith Matters
  • Divorce
  • Dating
  • Bullying
  • Occult
  • and more

Why press the Hot Buttons?

Why not just leave it alone and let the kids figure it out? We can pray for them and trust it all to work out in the end. In some ways it does work itself out, true. Circumstances happen, pressure hits, relationships change. . .and your teens gets to figure it all out. In the heat of the moment. On their own. Hopefully they’ll make the right choice, but it’s really hard to know what will happen when the prep work isn’t done.

Hot Buttons, Dating, Nicole O'DellTake an issue like dating–we talk about the boundaries. We set rules for curfew and other things. We even make sure we apprrove of the date and talk about saying no to sexual advances. Right?

And that’s great. It really is. But there’s something missing. Our teens need to know what to do and what not to do, and what we expect of them, but they also need to understand why that’s going to be difficult for them. How does the body respond in ways that make it tough to say no? What will the feelings be like that make it difficult to leave the room or douse the proverbial flames?

You see, if we don’t hit those truth head on before they become an issue, our teens will think it’s a secret, it’s specific to them, and we really don’t know what we’re asking them to say no to. But, if we press those hot buttons in advance, if we have the difficult conversations, then our teens will enter those pressure-filled situations armed with understanding and equipped with the words to say to stay true to their commitments.

With every hot button issue, someone is feeding your tweens and teens information–do you really want that someone to be anyone other than you?


How do I press the Hot Buttons?

Now that you’ve made the decision to be proactive about helping your tweens and teens battle peer pressure, I love to share the principles behind the Hot Buttons book series and the method of communicating with your teens it prescribes.

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13. The Man Who Lived in my Basement and a Plea for Help.

Dickens On Main, Boerne, TX

May, a month known for its busyness, is hurtling along at break-neck speeds, but before its gone for good and the kiddos are home for the summer, I wanted to share a couple things and ask for your help. First, if you’ve ever get spooked when you’re home alone, you’ll hate my real life tale of the man who lived in my basement. It’s here, if you’re brave enough to read it: The Barn Door. Be warned, you may get the heebie-jeebies…I know I did.

Second, if you’re a teen looking for that first summer job or your second or maybe your third, check out some interesting facts about teen unemployment: Proof, See The Evidence. And if you’re a teen writer (really any writer under 20), it’s coming…NextGenWriters Annual Conference 2012! August 2 and 3. More information and a list of presenters will be posted in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out the awesome writing advice shared by some of my favorite authors and editors: NextGenWriters.

Now for some fun news. Along with the December release of the second book in the Adventures of Ally and Cory series (the first book, The Wishing Ring, is available in ebook format with print release pending), I’ll be joining two other authors in the release of a Christmas Novella collection yet to be titled. I’m working on the project now and am about half-way through the story. What a challenge. Yes it’s a young adult story, but it’s a romance AND it takes place in a bakery. Um, I don’t typically write romance (ask Lisa Lickel, co-author of A Summer in Oakville). AND I don’t cook. Oooh, I love a challenge.

Here’s where you come in. We need a name for the book. They are contemporary stories set in Boerne, TX during their annual Dickens Event (a holiday tradition of literary proportions). If it helps, the tale I’m writing is a modern-day David Copperfield meets the Cake Boss. What do you think? What would you name this Christmas Novella Collection?

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14. I See You

Haven’t written a post–an honest-to-goodness, nothing-but-me post in a very long time. So I put down the manuscript I’ve been working on and took up a blank sheet. Here’s what spilled out…

I See You

My hand trembles. In it, I clutch a steak knife. Not a fancy TV knife, but the simple kind my parents got as a wedding gift decades ago. She hasn’t noticed the whole in the knife block, the one my knife should be sheathed inside. She never notices. She is never home. Never around. Head stuck in her computer. At her desk. With her friends. In a bottle. I’m dust to her. Flakes of dead skin that rest on her furniture. Annoying and in need of disposal.

To him, I am invisible.

“How’s your day, darling?” He asks her as he presses past me in the hall. Never comes home. Stays with someone else’s family. Lives in another place.

The only time I materialize is when my grades don’t meet their standards. Then they yell.

“You’re better than this.” My report card waves, freshly printed, crackling like a whip before me.

What if I’m not? I want to scream. To cry. I try, but I am that bad. Those marks are who I am. Can’t they see that? They can and they don’t like it. It’s as plain as the furrow between their brows.

The knife scrapes across my skin, lightly at first.

Derek sees me. Tom. Michael. Josh. Tall, dark, and devilish. I loved him. But he…he prefers someone else. Equally tall. Equally dark. Equally devilish.

The knife sinks. A breath. It is enough. Small bubbles of red dot the angry line. Then it comes. The sting and bite of the tool in my hand pressed against the white of my forearm. I tip my head back. Sigh.

I don’t want to die as tears spring to my eyes. I want to be seen. To be like the remarkable dots of red. To sear this world like the pain I feel.  I don’t even notice the sobs that shake my shoulder until the hiccups begin.

I gulp for air.

Set the knife anew and etch another perfect line.

Pain leaks past the numbness. Past the anger, the frustration. Pain I govern. I can master the cut. Perhaps it’s the only thing I can control.

I don’t want to die.

I am weird. The one in the hall that no one talks to, but everyone stares at. I am the one with the strange haircut that spikes my unnaturally-colored hair. I am the one who captains the cheer squad. I am the kid who pushes against wire glasses to see the teacher’s writing. I am the kid who fits in as long as I am not myself. I am the kid who shoves away the crowd even though I desperately want to be part of them.

I don’t want to be afraid. I want to be heard. Seen. But I live in a world that is deaf and blind.

Or…maybe…is it possible? Can you see me? Find me? I let the knife sink to the floor. Raise my eyes. I am your future. Will you be mine?

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15. Second Book in the Adventures of Ally and Cory Series is Coming Soon

We’re excited to  announce that The King’s Seal (MuseItYoung), sequel to The Wishing Ring (MuseItYoung) and book two in the Adventures of Ally and Cory series, is to be released December, 2012. This action packed tween fantasy propels the series to new heights. Introduces new characters. Promises new escapades.  Check it out…

(Back cover:)

Princess Ally’s thirteenth birthday dawns bright with the promise of gifts, parties, and her first royal gift, a signet ring with the mark of her family crest. A crest used to mark every royal decree and law of the kingdom. When Ally’s royal ring disappears, Tallah, a mysterious newcomer, offers to help her find it. Princess Ally accepts, but soon discovers her adventure has thrust them into the center of a dangerous uprising.

Matwau warriors raid Cory’s village, capturing every able-bodied man, woman, and child. When Cory escapes he sends for the King’s help—for Ally’s help. Ally and Tallah agree to rescue his family, but before they can begin Tallah disappears. As mystery and mayhem collide, Ally and Cory realize Tallah is the key to finding Ally’s ring and Cory’s family. If either is to be saved, they must find Tallah.

For more information about The Wishing Ring, check out its Media Page.

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16. New Book Reviews are Up

Check out the new book reviews. Nicole O’Dell’s Girl Talk: 180 Q&A (co-written with her two oldest daughters) and Zoe Mack and the Secret of the Love Letters by K. Dawn Byrd.

Thanks to co-author, Lisa Lickel, we also have new discussion questions to share for A Summer in Oakville. You can find them here.

Stop by and comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Wishing Ring on Penny Zeller‘s blog and while you’re at it, give yourself permission to dream.

Finally, stop by NextGenWriters.com if you’re a writer under twenty and are interested in joining a critique group designed with you in mind.

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17. Where Did all the Tweens Go?

As an author, marketing has become a large portion of my day-to-day routine. That used to mean blogging, online interviews, social media networking, with a few road trips to the brick and mortar stores nearby. With my latest release, The Wishing Ring, I’ve had to do a little regrouping. Rethink the traditional marketing realm and get creative. Still working on that part. Gives me a headache at least once a week. (Or once a day, depending on the day).

One would think marketing is marketing. Get your name out there, brand yourself, grab those followers…That’s all well and good, but with a tween novella, like The Wishing Ring, the audience begins to alter the landscape a bit. Here, let me show you. Up until now, I’ve written young adult (Driven) or contributed the young adult pieces to contemporary stories (A Summer in Oakville, co-written with Lisa Lickel). Blog interviews and social networks are key avenues to marketing both of those. With teens avidly participating on social sites and adults perusing the blogosphere such tactics makes sense.

However, The Wishing Ring is a tween novella. In other words it’s storyline is geared for readers ages 8 – 14. Facebook limits its users to those 13 and older. Makes hitting my readership tough. I could go for their parents, but unless it’s Christmas or their lovelies’ birthdays, parents are generally not as eager to thumb through tween fiction titles or reviews. (I know I don’t…speaking as the mother of tweens:). Twitter is just now capturing the teen market (according to USAToday.com). Until that audience ratchets down from the 12 – 16 to the 8 – 14, I’m still sunk.

So where do tweens hear about their favorite reads? Here’s what I’ve discovered (oh, and the results are in no special order)…

  • Word of mouth–always the best advertisement. If one tween (make that one popular tween and you’ve got it m

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18. Book Release Day!

Whoo-hoo! The Wishing Ring officially releases today. Check out our two new portals to coincide with the new tween fantasy, The Wishing Ring. For teachers, the teacher resource page contains pdf worksheets and activities while the adventurers’ page has games and puzzles for the readers. Check them out (right after you get your copy of The Wishing Ring :D ).

Feel free to visit the portals anytime. Just click the Adventures of Ally and Cory tab above.

**Whoo-hoo, it’s release day!!**


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19. It’s Not Too Late…

It’s not too late to enter the Starsong Character contest. You have until midnight tonight to enter your character. For more information, click here.

AND…December’s NextGenWriter’s event begins tomorrow. This event lasts all week long with some great interaction with author, Jill Williamson. Her latest novel, Replication, releases Dec. 27. Don’t miss it.

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20. DRIVEN to Serve our Community

A few years ago, a small church decided to ask their community how they could serve them. This community had been hit hard by the economy. So hard, that the busing to the local high school had been stopped and many of the lower grades were left without busing, too. BUT in many cases both parents needed to work, so how were parents to pick up their children from school (the ones who were too old for daycare)? What were the teens to do for the hours before their parents came home?

In answer to that need, Wellspring Community Church decided to open a teen center. The Edge soon found itself filled to the brim and within two years, serves to feed and provide for more than 100 teens every afternoon (yup, that’s 100 teens every day…imagine the amount of food they go through:D). Volunteers come to serve the snack bar, mix with the kids, and just love on them. Most volunteers are local youth leaders, some are fantastic parents, and others just have some time to spare and want to serve. There are small groups and classes. I get to  teach a writing class there once a week and these kids are so grateful! I wish I could do more. That’s when it hit me…

During the next two months (until Jan. 31, 2012), for every paperback copy of DRIVEN sold $1 will be given to The Edge so they can continue to support and serve these kids. DRIVEN can be found on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. com (those are probably the easiest sites to pick it up at). At amazon, the PB is only $6.01. If you decide to pick up a copy as a gift for a teen or just for yourself, first Thank You! and second, please send me a note letting me know where you picked up the book, the price it sold for, and when it was purchased (so I can keep track of the monies to be sent to The Edge).

One more thing, if you’re looking for book ideas for teens this holiday season, there’s a list of great books from the NextGenWriters presenters here: NextGenWriters Books


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21. Flittering about…

So sorry, blogosphere. I’ve sorely neglected you this season. Well, not the whole blog world, just my own site, I’m afraid. You can visit my other posts at one of the addresses below:

Penny Zeller’s Christmas Memories

The Barn Door

The Teen Word Factory


Also, don’t miss the cool update on the EDGE fundraiser. Support a local teen center and buy a book.

In the meantime, enjoy this little video a friend sent:

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22. Goodreads Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, Angie from Goodreads.com. You’re the DRIVEN giveaway winner. Please contact me at neumeier dot shellie at gmail dot com and we’ll get that signed copy off to you ASAP.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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23. Zoe Mack and The Secret of the Love Letters

We have a special visitor with us today. Two, actually. First is author, K. Dawn Byrd and she’s brought along her latest heroine, Zoe Mack. Enjoy!

What if we do a character interview about how my heroine feels about my hero or vice versa? Would that work?

My name is Zoe Mack. You asked me what I think about Nate Neitch, the guy I love. I’ve lived with my grandparents every summer for as long as I can remember. I especially looked forward to this summer because Nate kissed me bye before I left last year. The way I see it, he wouldn’t have kissed me like that if he didn’t really liked me.

When I came back to town a few days ago, I was totally shocked to find that Nate had turned into a guy I don’t even know. He’d cut his beautiful dark hair into some kind of military buzz cut that I don’t much like. He has two tattoos, at least I’ve seen two. Who know? He may have more. He never mentioned wanting a tattoo, so where did that come from? To make matters worse, he caught some criminal charges while I was gone. What happened to the sweet guy I left behind? I’m not saying he’s guilty. He’s says he’s not and I’m going to try my best to prove it.

I’ve got it bad. I’m absolutely head-over-heels gaga over Nate, but I can’t let him know that. At least, not until he confesses his love for me first. Things are complicated though because after he gave me that passionate kiss last summer, he ended up dating another girl. Can I ever forgive him? Nate never told me he loved me or that he wanted to date only me, so why am I so torn up over this? I don’t own him. He had the right to date who he wanted. I guess it hurts so much because I didn’t date anyone. All I did was think about him.

Can Nate ever be the guy I need him to be?


Where you can find Dawn:







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24. Join Me

I know, I know. I’ve been blog-hopping so much, my own blog has suffered. Well, one more hop around the block and then we’re going to do some major revamping of the site. Yeah! So excited. Like buying new shoes:D. First, the hopping.

Join me this week on the following sites. When you swing by, drop me a comment or just say, ‘hi.’

January 7: TheBarnDoor.net A look at what to do on those scary Snow Days

January 10: Living the Write Life A little bit about the gal next door

January 12: MuseItUp (Publisher for The Wishing Ring due to release next month:D) Where does inspiration come from? (This post will go live at noon)

January 17: TeenWordFactory On writing the query letter.

January 31: End of The Edge fundraiser. Buy your copy of Driven today, while there’s still time.

See you all, real soon!!

Oooh, and did I mention I get to judge the entries for GoTeenWriters this month? So excited for that!!

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25. New Book Reviews

Have you checked out the new book reviews, yet? Scroll through the menu above for more information. Your favorite not up there? Let me know and we’ll fix that.





Looking forward to next week’s release of The Wishing Ring! On February 1, two new portals will go live. One for teachers and homeschoolers with The Wishing Ringworksheets on verb tenses and character descriptions. The other portal is for readers. There you’ll find games, an online community, and other fun stuff. See you there!

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