Monthly Archives: September 2012

Musa Publishing Turns One, and the Blog Hop Begins!

It’s a celebration! One of my wonderful publishers, Musa Publishing is having its first year anniversary this week! To celebrate, we’re putting on a huge blog hop with over 80 Musa authors and Musa folks participating. If you like books, this is a great blog hop to get into since there are tons of prizes to win.

A bit about what I write: I specialize in the spooky stuff. If you enjoy reading about heroines in danger, tucked away in dark mansions where ghosts abound, you’re in the right place. So, read on to see how you can win books and more…

So, what can I win from Musa Publishing if I hop?

The Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire (US and Canada only)

2 Swag Bags full of books and other cool stuff (US and Canada only)

**For international addresses, the prize is a $50 Musa gift card.

And what am I giving away from my book stash? (See my books page for more info. about these).

1st prize: A copy of the first three Montmoors serials in e-book.

2nd prize: A copy of my two novellas–She Walks the Shore and Pointe of Danger

3rd prize: A copy of Secrets of Summerspelle in e-book

4th prize: A signed copy of Secrets of Summerspelle

5th prize: Bookmarks and a copy of any one of my print books.

 
I hope you’ll enter to win! To win any of the Musa prizes or my books, just leave a comment here on this post.

To win any of the prizes from my Musa book stash that I am giving away, you can also like my Facebook page: LisaGreerAuthor (www.facebook.com/lisagreerauthor), share one of my posts on FB about the blog hop and tag me when you do (LisaGreerAuthor or LisaGayGreer) or retweet my tweet about the Blog hop (Twitter: Gothicked)! It’s that simple. Every time you do one of these things, I’ll enter you to win a prize from my stash. For comments here, you’ll be entered into the big Musa giveaways AND my giveaway.

Now for the Rules and the other sites to hop!

For every hop spot you leave a comment on between October 1 and the 7th @10 pm EST, you will be entered to win the Musa prizes above. That means if you comment on 10 blogs you will be entered 10 times, plus will be entered in the blogs’ you commented on contests as well.

Rules to the HOP

1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (est)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: , October 7, at Midnight (pst)
    Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***
Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes. 
4) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP and COMMENT ON, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
5) Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for US and Canada mailing addresses only. International winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card. Winner will be announced on October 7th  2012 at 11 est at The Romance Review forum.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN?
 ***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***
IF YOU GET LOST ON THE HOP RETURN HERE TO FIND YOUR WAY AGAIN.

This is a Blog Hop!


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Welcome J.F. Jenkins and her Vala Series!

Welcome fellow Astraea Press author, J.F. Jenkins! Her books are available at Astraea Press, Amazon and most other retailers.

Take it away, J.F.!

With everyone going back to school, I thought it might be fun to write about my fictional school of fantasy: The Vala School and Seminary.

When most people think of magical schools, they envision Harry Potter. Vala does not fall into that category of schools. If anything, Vala is more like Professor Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted in the X-Men universe created by Marvel Comics. I’m sure some of you have seen the movies even if you haven’t read the actual comics themselves.

At Vala, the whole purpose of the school isn’t to become an expert in magic. That’s a part of it, sure, but it’s supposed to be a safe place to learn for students who have extraordinary gifts. They learn to control their abilities, their magic, so that they can enter into the “real world” without accidentally blowing someone up or turning someone into a frog. And of course they learn the essentials: Math, History, Science, and more!

So what does a typical student at Vala’s schedule look like?

½ Essential General subject learning.
¼ Private mentoring in their specific field of magic.
¼ Lessons in magical history and politics.

Because not only is there the rules of the real world to deal with, but also those of the magical one. There is a unique system of government, hidden countries even, dedicated solely to creatures of myth and legend. Creatures who fill the halls of Vala.

The school is also a boarding school and acts as a college for students who still want to continue on to take on fields in the magical world. Pretty cool huh? Just be sure to make nice with your fellow classmates, because it’s never a good idea to make a witch angry. Just ask Cheyenne, the heroine of “Vala: Agendas”. She would know all about that one.

The Vala series has three books out now (of 5 or 6, still working on the last couple, hehe). Each details the conspiracy of the gods through the eyes of a different student, and the roles each play.

Book One, Agendas:

Cheyenne Loveless was just a boring sixteen-year-old girl. Then Denver Collins bit her and everything changed. Her plants start talking to her, she finds out she’s a Nymph, and a witch and the angel of death show up at her doorstep to take her away to the prestigious Vala School and Seminary. Oh, and she has no choice in the matter.

All she wants to do is blend in and return to being invisible, but the more time that passes, the harder that becomes. Plus she’s a daughter of the Divine, an exclusive secret society which rules the world of myth, and discovers she is a key ingredient to an ancient covenant created before she was born. A covenant that will reshape the order of the world.

Adjusting to a new school is difficult enough, but adding on everyone else’s hidden agendas is the icing on the cake. Cheyenne must learn to see through the lies in order to find her place — and possibly even love — in this new world.

Book Two, Heritage:

Jewl Dite has always struggled with her heritage. Being the daughter of the goddess of love, she questions everything about the emotion. Which is a bummer because she’s head over heels for Anj Willam, and thinks the feelings are mutual. It’s hard to be sure though when she has magic that has been known to bewitch men into devoting themselves to her. Somehow they’re able to strike a balance in their dysfunctional on-again, off-again relationship however.

This balance is disrupted however when a strange boy named Teague enters her life and brings along with him a group of demons. Demons who want to make a deal with her in exchange for the safety of everyone she loves.

Now to protect those she holds most dear, Jewl must rely on the magic she’s been trying so desperately to avoid. But at what cost? Will the boy she loves accept this dark secret, or will she lose him forever?

Book Three, Appointed:

Identical twins Anj and Zes Willam have always been considered odd, even in a world where myth is real. Their magic is powerful and intense, as well as their secrets. None more so than Anj, who has the biggest secret of them all.

He’s a Fate, and he’s not allowed to tell anyone about what he sees or else the consequences will be great. Which is unfortunate, because it’s been causing a rift between him, his girlfriend Jewl, and his brother. Even more unfortunate because the demons some how have learned about his gift and have made him their next target. 

Lisa Orchard: Writing For the YA Market

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! My name is Lisa Orchard and I’m guest blogging today courtesy of Lisa. I want to take a moment and thank her for allowing me to be here. Thanks Lisa! (Great first name by the way!)

The last time I was here I talked about being a pantser, a seat of my pants writer. Today I’d like to touch on the special considerations that an author must think about when writing for the Young Adult market.

How is writing for the young adult market different than writing for the adult market? That is a very good question. First of all, when I write for this market my lead character should act as a role model for my readers. So, I have to make sure that she doesn’t condone bad behavior. I know what you’re thinking…how would I get someone to read my stories if they were high-brow moralistic dribble? That my friend is the question, how do I get someone interested in my story to read it, teach them a lesson and entertain them at the same time? A tough job for sure! Especially in today’s world, teens are looking for edgy books that reflect the issues that they’re facing today.

The way that I do this is by putting my characters in situations where they must make decisions. Sometimes they make good decisions and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, I show the consequences of those decisions. By doing this, I’m hoping the reader learns the life lessons that are being illustrated right along with the characters.

I also hope that I’m showing young readers that they can survive a bad decision. I want them to know mistakes are actually valuable lessons that can be overcome. Everyone makes them, but not everyone learns from them. 

So, how do I do the above and make the story one that my readers will want to read? I turn it into a suspenseful thriller that will have them on the edge of their seats. My stories have twists and turns that keep the young reader guessing. Below is a direct quote from one reader.

“The Super Spies are like Nancy Drew of the twenty first century but MORE FABULOUS! A must read for all ages.” A review from Paige. 

As you can tell she really enjoyed the story, I think any tween/teen would. Right now I’ve got two available. The covers and blurbs are below. Check them out and let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear your comments.

Blurb for Lisa’s latest book:

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Check out Lisa’s other book in the Super Spies series, too. 🙂

Find out more about Lisa Orchard and Buy Her Books:

“The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Super-Spies-Lady-Killer-ebook/dp/B007JZH61K

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-super-spies-and-the-cat-lady-killer-lisa-orchard/1109518725?ean=2940014338202

Astraea Press: http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662250&mode=product&product=10078468

“The Super Spies and the High School Bomber”

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Super-Spies-School-Bomber-ebook/dp/B008P8O7OY

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-super-spies-and-the-high-school-bomber-lisa-orchard/1112263058?ean=2940014992244

Astraea Press: http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662250&mode=product&product=13594238

Social Media Sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lisa-Orchard/328536613877060

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisaorchard1

Website: http://www.lisaorchard.com/

Get Real

I’ve written some safe novels and stories in my time—a few that don’t push too many buttons or go as deeply as they could. Then I have several that stand out due to edgier themes. I’m thinking of Moonlight on the Palms, for example. Some readers have called it sick and disgusting (if you don’t believe me, head over to Amazon and see the reviews for yourself); others have enjoyed it. The thing is, though, that it appalls some people. In my first novel, Magnolian, I have a romantic relationship that unsettles some people, so much so, that I had readers tell me they loved the novel but they didn’t think so and so in their family would. I was floored by these admissions but happy at the same time. I want to shake things up and present the world as it really is in all its messy glory.

And let’s face it. Life and love are complicated and uncomfortable. I want to tell the truth about the world. I’ve begun focusing on taking risks and showing life as it is…as much as I can. Life is lovely, ugly, scary, revolting, and amazing, isn’t it?  Fiction should reflect those qualities, even as it gives readers an escape, and a happy ending if possible.

So, how can you take risks and “be real” in your writing? These are a few ways I’ve found that work and that help me get into the story and feel I’ve written something authentic.

  1. Avoid perfect heroes and heroines. Is your heroine bossy, selfish, demanding, shallow while still being someone we’d like to know? Is she forty pounds overweight with thinning hair? Show us. Make her human. Is your hero impatient and childish at times? Is he ugly, rather than handsome? Don’t be afraid to let those qualities out on the page. Real people are complex physically and emotionally, with shades of good and bad.

  2. Get down with the sickness. One of my writer friends recently remarked that I’m into this whole illness thing lately with my characters. I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but I suppose I am. The truth is, most people I know deal with physical, spiritual, or mental illness at some point in their lives. I have heroines with cancer, bulimia, and twisted ankles, among other ailments. A few of my heroes have phobias. Some don’t want to leave the house. A couple think their dead relatives are talking to them, and sometimes they are. 😉 These struggles make characters easier to relate to and care about.

  3. Show human depravity as it really is. In To Summon the Darkness which is currently in editing, something really terrible happens to a character. I know some readers will dislike this part of the novel. The truth is that this event had to be written. It was the right thing for the story, and I know of similar, horrible things that have been done by people. Sorry this is so vague, but I don’t want to give away the plot. It’s enough to say that writing that comes from the heart and is authentic will at times be sickening and painful to read. If it is real, though, then readers will know that what you’ve written is not done just for shock value but because your story needed it to be the one it was meant to be.

  4. Think tension. Life can be tense. All of us are striving for different goals, and that leads to conflict and pain. Take some time to think about what each character wants and how that is going to muck things up. Then show the minor tiffs, annoying episodes, and explosions that occur when characters collide.

 

So go ahead. Get real. How are you authentic in your writing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

June Kramin: Pantsing

Thanks for having me, Lisa!

I’m seeing a trend on blogs lately. There’s a term being thrown out lately. I fell under its name long before it had one. LOL *stands up* Hello, my name is Bug & I’m a “Panster”.

I always tease in interviews that my characters bully me and take over the story. I’ve always laughed it off, but it has been far from funny the past couple books. My last release with Musa was Amanda’s Return. It was a sequel to my thriller, Hunter’s Find. With Hunt and Mandy in New York being forced to help the mob, the last thing I expected was for them to have sex all over the city. Even though I try to keep my novels at a “sweet” rating and really wanted this one to be more serious on the thriller side, they would have nothing to do with it. There was plenty of serious business going on, but they still took time for the “important” things. 😉 A character from the first book also decided to show up. I had no idea the part she’d play and how critical she’d be to the plot; I just had to go with the flow.

I can feel a lot of writers shuddering right now. “How can you not outline?” “What about plot development??” Sorry. I tried a few times to figure out where it was going in advance, but it always took a different course. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the writers that outline and totally plot out a book before they start but I have never worked that way. Is there a right or wrong? I don’t think so. As long as it works out in the end!

Happy Reading!

You can find Hunter’s Find, Amanda’s Return, & Double Mocha, Heavy on Your Phone Number at Musa Publishing. http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=69

June

Website: http://www.junekramin.com/

Middle Grade website: http://www.beforehappilyeverafter.com/

http://www.facebook.com/JuneKramin

https://twitter.com/junekramin

http://about.me/june.kramin