Cover Reveal: Sticks and Stones by Shawn McGuire

I’m so totally thrilled to share this with you!  My friend Shawn’s debut novel is coming out in a few weeks and the beautiful book cover is hot off the presses.

Follow Shawn on Facebook… she’s releasing excerpts from the story as she gets more likes on her new author page. And while you’re at it, add STICKS AND STONES to your TBR pile at Goodreads.

But before you go… behold:

Gorgeous! And, I happen to know the book is great, too. I had the honor of being an early reader and my review is coming soon.

About the book:

Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her.

The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.

Her wish is granted and happiness arrives in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or stopped. And once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. But Lexi loves being alive and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.

STICKS AND STONES is coming JUNE 15!

Writing Process Blog Tour

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by for this week’s stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour. This is a neat blog hop where authors answer four questions about themselves, their process, and their current work. And maybe share a little something that will light a spark of insight along the way.

Sue Duff

I’d like to thank my friend Sue Duff for the invitation to take part in this tour.  Click on over to her website to read a short story, some flash fiction, and get to know her a little better. Sue and I met at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) Colorado Gold Conference in Denver last year. She’s a delightful person and a terrific writer. Her Urban Fantasy novel FADE TO BLACK will be coming out in the Fall 2014.

This blog tour is comprised of four questions:

What am I working on?
I’ve just finished my second novel, a YA fantasy murder mystery entitled COVENTRY TOWN, which is out with beta readers at the moment. I’ll be working on it again in the coming weeks when my readers get it back to me. In the meantime, I am working on outlines for two different projects to see which one comes alive before I decide which I will tackle next. One is a contemporary YA and the other is historical. I’m actually quite excited about the historical story, but that would be totally new ground for me so it is rather daunting from today’s perspective.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My YA writing tends to drift over to the dark side, it seems. The feedback I get from readers is that my stories are fast-paced and visual but not always letting my characters get what they want. Or, if they do get what they want, it comes in a way they didn’t actually visualize. I like to weave creepy elements into my stories. Whether is be setting, or character, I find creepy is something you can count on where I’m concerned!

Why do I write what I do?
I totally write whatever excites me. I have many ideas that I jot down and add to my idea binder that get pulled out when I am in a transition phase between projects like I am now. I then will sit with and percolate on the ideas, and sometimes try to outline a couple until one grabs hold. Sometimes something will come to me out of the blue and I’ll follow that thread to see where it leads. Ultimately, I write the things that I want to read and hope others will find them as exciting as I do.

How does my writing process work?
If you asked me a year ago, I would have something totally different to say. But I learned over the course of this year that I am a plotting girl. Outlines are my friend. That said, I do allow for free flow when it comes to my writing, because outlines can be adjusted, too! I also find that the more strict I get with rules, the harder it is for me to stay in the zone.

On a typical writing day, I will sit down with my tea after the kids are off to school and break open my outline, open Scrivener (how do I love thee, Scrivener…), and read from the beginning of whatever chapter I’m working on until I get to the point where today’s work must start. I’ve had success by looking at the project as a whole, breaking it down into smaller chunks based on my deadlines, and breaking it down again until I have weekly and daily goals. This is especially easy with an outline and I thank Karen Wiesner for making my writing life feel so orderly and manageable after years of chaos.

So, that’s the skinny on me and my writing. You’re invited to visit two fabulous authors who are also on the tour TODAY: Shawn McGuire and Kristi Helvig.

NEXT WEEK, the tour continues!  On MAY 12, please visit my super fantastic writer friends as they share their writing, their process, and a little bit about themselves.

Dean K MillerDean is a freelance writer and member of Northern Colorado Writers. His work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, TROUT magazine, Torrid Literature Journal and other literary magazines. His essays won three separate contests at www.midlifecollage.com. His first book, And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete was released in February 2014.

For 26 years, Miller has kept the skies safe as an air traffic controller for the FAA and received the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Northwest Mountain Region 2010 Archie League Safety Award. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing and he is an avid supporter and volunteer for the veteran’s support group Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Laura and their two dogs, Bear and Snickers. He’s got a BOGO book sale going on until tomorrow!

Anna TanArmed with a laptop, Anna Tan loves to set words to the screen, having eschewed the difficulties of working with pen (or pencil) and paper (they’re never around when needed). Her short stories have been included in two anthologies, “Letters to my Ten Year Old Self” and “Campaigner Challenges 2011”. “Stories from A Place To Call Home”, published in September 2012, is her debut flash fiction collection. She also edited Love in Penang, an anthology of short stories, which was published in November 2013.

Libretto credits include “Star of Persia” produced by FGA in 2003 and “A Place to Call Home” produced by PCC in 2012. She has dabbled in drama since 1995 and loves to pretend that she knows how to dance. She starred as Esther in the 2003 production “Star of Persia” and was also in the ensembles of “Drunk Before Dawn” (SIB, 2004) and YES Broadway Gala (Georgetown Festival, 2012).

C.G. Harris– Chuck Harrelson has always had a passion for fiction, and his books put the fate of the world into the hands of humanity. He has written in many genres, but he has an affinity for writing adventurous young adult novels that navigate through everything from science fiction and fantasy, to magic that exists right here in the real world.

His previous manuscripts won The Ballot Press competition in 2013 and his newest YA Sci-Fi, THE RAX, won the Top of the Mountain Book Award at The Northern Colorado Writers Conference. Chuck pounds away at the keys every chance he gets, and he is working on his fifth book, due to be completed this September, that will have his characters once again fighting for the fate of our world. Chuck can be reached at chuck3131_at_hotmail_dot_com

Lisa Vooght – Lisa started out as a Marine Biology major, pursued a business career, then finally settled down in the field of special education.

Writing was a sporadic hobby until the Washington Post actually published (and paid for) a bit of poetry.  Since then she’s had a few poems, short stories and articles published. You can find her throwing ideas around on her blog Flash Fiction at http://lisavooght.blogspot.com/.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me and my work. I also hope you’ll visit the other authors on this tour, (2 today, and 4 next week) links above.

Happy Monday!

BOGO gifts for Mother’s Day

BOGO gifts for Mother’s Day

Need a special Mother’s Day gift for your Mom, Wife, or Grandmother?

Mother’s Day is on May 11 here in the USA and Hot Chocolate Press has a special buy one get one free offer.*

Buy AND THEN I SMILED ($11.95) by Dean K Miller and get PLANES, TRAINS and CHUCK & EDDIE ($10.95 retail) by Kerrie L. Flanagan for FREE.**

Both will be personalized, signed and sent to you (or directly to your gift recipient) before Mother’s Day.

Offer ends Tuesday (May 6, 2014).

I had the pleasure of meeting both Dean and Kerrie at the NCW Writer’s conference in Ft. Collins CO back in March. Kerrie, the conference director, and Dean are lovely and generous people who made this writer feel like an old friend.  I hope you’re able to take advantage of this terrific offer and make a special gift of these books to the mothers in your life.

Here’s a taste of Dean’s writing, an essay about Mothers.

A Mother’s Patience
by Dean K Miller

A mother’s patience is one of her most under-appreciated traits. It starts at the moment of her son’s conception, as she is the first to know that life has been created inside her. Though her love for the unborn child is strong and the bond of motherhood already formed, she must wait nine months to hold this unique miracle.

She watches as he grows, withstanding sleepless nights of nightmares, his stuffy noses, tantrums and the scrapes and bruises. Someday her son will become aware of the love, the nurturing, and the guiding. And, finally, of the letting go. But she knows it is on his schedule, not hers.

As he spreads his wings and explores the world, the mother continues to wait. Whether it’s late-night phone calls, listening to girlfriend troubles, the lack of money or the feeling of not knowing where to go in life, she is there when called upon. Patiently she watches him, knowing in her heart that the choices are his, and sometimes wishing he would choose differently.

But wisdom, learned perhaps from her own mother, has taught her that the journey is not hers to take. Patiently, she watches from afar, understanding that life will teach her son the lesson he needs at the exact moment he needs it.

When he calls to express his frustration, she doesn’t try to undo the lesson, but instead helps her son capture the learning.

Then, the moment she has waited for arrives. The son has discovered the true source of his inner self and joyfully returns to her doorstep. With patience she listens to the moments of his life that brought him happiness. Subtly, she encourages his story to unfold, laughing silently at his follies and smiling brightly at his courage to face his fears. He tells her things he has told no one and knows his words are protected and safe.

Though it has taken decades, the bond of mother and son has grown to include a friendship which knows no equal.

Now they walk through life together, knowing their love between them transcends all boundaries. It is everlasting and it makes them smile. 

Thank you, Mom, for allowing me to grow into myself, for patiently waiting all of these years for it to happen, and for accepting me each day along my journey. You are the magic behind the story of my life.

To Order Visit: http://hotchocolatepress.com

*Limited quantities available
**Shipping & Handling extra