Friday, September 26, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffehouse: Best Book of September

Today I'm participating in the monthly meeting of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, where we sign up to write about the best book we've read this month.

I had a hard time finding girly chapter books I was looking for in last month's post. There are plenty of middle-grade books about cupcakes and sparkles. Not so many chapter books.

Seems most chapter books strive to be unisex. A large majority seem to be written in Dork Diaries style, with a combination of drawings and text.

I stocked up on every chapter book I could find. In the process, I stumbled on a boy-oriented book that I loved. I think it was on a "best books" list somewhere.

This author is brilliant. The main character in Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading goes to great efforts to avoid reading. Somehow a book encouraging kids not to read does the opposite. 

It's an entire series, actually.

Unfortunately, like every OTHER great chapter book Google gives me when I search for good chapter books, this series is marked for children between the ages 9-12. Middle grade, in other words. Which means, in my quest for good chapter books, I once again get a big fat:

So if you're looking for a great middle grade book, check this series out. It would be suitable for younger readers, too, which is probably why it came up in chapter book searches.

Did you read a good book this month? If so, join in on the Cephalopod Coffehouse by entering your link below and posting a blog about it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Q&A with Chrys Fey, 30 Seconds

If you're a fan of exciting suspense novels, you're going to love today's guest. Chris Fey, the author of Hurricane Crimes, is celebrating the release of her latest novel. 30 Seconds follows a doctor on the run from the mob. Here's the awesome cover:

Recently, Chrys took time out of her busy promotion schedule to tell us a little about 30 Seconds and her writing process.

Q: 30 Seconds is your second e-book. What did you learn from your first book that will make promoting your second book easier?

A: I know what will work and what won’t work. Promoting on Goodreads really worked with Hurricane Crimes, but submitting to Amazon forums did not because so many other authors are doing the same thing. With Goodreads, I can directly share with people who are interested in me and my writing.

Q: Your hero in 30 Seconds goes undercover in the Mob. Did you do research on the mafia while you were writing the book? I assume that didn’t involve actually going undercover yourself!

A: Luckily, I didn’t have to go undercover in a Mob, but part of me wants to believe I would’ve done a great job! (Or not. Darn!) I actually didn’t have to do much research on the mafia because Blake goes undercover before the story starts, and I didn’t write in the Mob leader’s perspective, although that would’ve been fun. Influences from movies about Mobs and gangs and criminals helped me to write the action scenes involving the Mob as well as nail down the personalities and appearances for those characters.

Q: Tell us a little about 30 Seconds. How is it different from Hurricane Crimes?

A: 30 Seconds is about a woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between a police-force and a dangerous Mob. Throughout the story, Dani falls in love with Blake Herro, the officer who went undercover and is the reason why the Mob is after her in the first place.

Hurricane Crimes is set during a category 5 hurricane and the hero is a murder suspect. The only bad weather that occurs in 30 Seconds is snowfall and a fun snowball fight between my characters. And although there’s a time when Dani doesn’t trust Blake, he turns out to be a true good guy.

Q: You help aspiring writers with writing tips on a variety of subjects. Do you feel like teaching helps you grow as a writer?

A: Definitely! The writing tips I share on my blog are all things I’ve learned, and my readers tend to teach me new things, too. It’s wonderful balance of being a teacher and a student.

Q: What has been the best thing so far about being published?

A:  Getting to know and entertain readers is definitely the best thing. I’ve been writing since I was twelve, so finally seeing my name on a book cover, even an e-book, is also an amazing feeling.

Q: What advice do you have for other writers pursing publication?

A: Take your time! I know it’s tempting to rush so you can bask in the end result, but what you learn as you write, edit, and submit work will be invaluable. And I believe that when it’s meant to happen, it will happen.

About Chrys Fey

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

If you're ready to buy 30 Seconds or add it to your Goodreads list, check out the links below. You can also learn a little more about Chrys by visiting her website or following her on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Time to Take 1,000 Pictures

Young superstar Ariana Grande has earned the "diva" label lately for her session with a professional photographer.

This beautiful young girl has a well-publicized fixation with her left side, reportedly refusing to ever be photographed from her right side. Why? Possibly because her right side doesn't have a dimple.

Her left side does.

But the problem isn't the fact that she demands photographers only photograph one side of her face. The problem is that she reportedly made a scene during a photo session, repeatedly asking to see every picture that had been taken. After a while, she supposedly asked to change clothes and demanded all the photos he'd taken be erased. He refused and walked out. One of her people chased him down, insisting the photographer delete those photos.

The singer/former Nickelodeon star denied the incident, but I believe it. If you have been around a young girl recently, you'll believe it, too. Just agree to take a young girl's photo and you'll go through exactly what Ariana Grande's photographer went through.

You snap a picture. They ask to see it. They tell you to erase it and take another one. This can go on for hours unless you put a stop to it. Ariana Grande is simply the product of a "duck face" generation. A generation that knows exactly how to stand to make themselves look as skinny as possible. A Facebook friend called it the "butterfly pose." The arms are the wings...

This generation has learned to control their photos. But professional photographers aren't proud, patient moms or friends. They are in charge of the photo session. So unless Ariana wants to learn how to take professional selfies...

She is likely going to have to grow up and let her picture be taken like a real celebrity.

What do you think of the way girls take pictures today?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Guest Blog: T.B. Markinson, Confessions

I'm so excited to help T.B. Markinson celebrate the release of her third book! Confessions from a Coffee Shop is the story of a Harvard basketball star-turned-novelist. Check out the awesome cover:

Today, T.B. is writing about my personal favorite subject: her journey to publication. I think it's something that many of us will be able to relate to.

My Journey to Publication
by T.B. Markinson

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In fact, that dream was instilled in me when I was in the sixth grade. Why then did it take me thirty-nine years to finally take it seriously? One word: life.  And excuses. 

The years passed. The excuses continued. Then in 2011, something huge happened. My partner was transferred to London, England. At the time, we were living in Boston, Massachusetts. All of a sudden I was unemployed and away from family and friends. 

My excuses were gone. Before we agreed to move, my partner and I discussed the pros and cons of moving to a different country. One issue was what I would do. I wish I could say I was jumping up and down, shouting, “I’ll write.” Nope. It was my partner who knew my ambition and she strongly suggested that I shouldn’t be a fool and take the time to focus on my writing. It’s not every day someone is handed this opportunity. And my partner urged me not to waste the chance. 

Without my partner’s love and support, I may never have had the courage to chase my dream. No one in my personal life discouraged me from writing. No one put pressure on me to put other things ahead of my dream. I did that all on my own and if it wasn’t for my partner, I may still be doing that. 

Since moving to London, I’ve published three novels: A WOMAN LOST, MARIONETTE, and CONFESSIONS FROM A COFFEE SHOP. 

Turns out once the excuses diminished, I’ve been able to focus on what’s important to me. Now I have balance. I still go out with friends and family. I still have fun. I still deal with life. But I also write.  

So if you want to be an author, don’t let anything stop you. All that matters is chasing your dream. Never give up. 

About T.B. Markinson

T. B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. T. B. has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions from A Coffee Shop.

Sign up to T.B.’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

If you're ready to buy Confessions from a Coffee Shop or add it to your Goodreads list, check out the links below. You can also learn a little more about T.B. by visiting her website or following her on Twitter.