Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Tale of Bryant Adams: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in 4 Freakin' Days

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an amazingly talented author, Megan O'Russel, and her super awesome book, The Tale of Bryant Adams: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in 4 Freakin' Days.

Check it out!

What if you had an entire magical library available at the touch of a button? Need a quick escape? There’s an app for that. Need a pillar of fire? There’s an app for that, too! No magical school to run to, no being chosen for greatness. Just an unfortunate accident and a magical cell phone.
Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?

Don't worry. I never wanted to either. But if you're ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you've never had the guts to say actual words to, there's an app for that.

I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn't have, burned down the set shop for my high school's theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad's penthouse.

But it gets better! Now I'm stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It'll be a miracle if I survive until Monday. 

If you have all the magic you could ever want at the tap of an app, what would you do with it? And when everyone is trying to kill you for even knowing about such a device, where do you go?

Writing The Tale of Bryant Adams: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days was a fun and enlightening experience. Exploring magic in the technological age, where news travels at the speed of a tweet was fascinating. Do you text your mom for help when witches are trying to kill you? Can you Google directions to a secret underground city?
Where technology and wizardry meet, the possibilities are endless, and I am thrilled to share Bryant Adams’s humorous jaunt through magic in Manhattan with all of you!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Cheat’s Guide to the world of Forsaken

Today, I have my writerly friend and fellow author, Connie Ann Michael, on my blog to talk about her latest book from Anaiah Press, FORSAKEN. If you like action-packed YA with awesome (but relatable) characters, you'll love Forsaken.

And now, Connie is sharing with us...
A Cheat’s Guide to the world of Forsaken:
When I begin a new story I first start by creating a notebook of ideas and scenes. I constantly get ideas for things that will happen in the book but I am not sure where they will go, so I write them in the notebook to use later. I get my best ideas during my commute and use to scribble on napkins, so the notebooks are a step up. I also write down songs that inspire me, newspaper articles and photos, any research I might need to do, as well as scripture verses. As I collect story parts I begin to create what I like to call my scope and sequence.
The book  
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
by Christopher Volger is a great book to use as a resource to build a story.
For the book Forsaken I began researching the oil spills in the United States, primarily the most recent in the Gulf of Mexico. I also began to read examples of how our culture has become caught up with materialism, individualism, and self-advancement. The destruction of values as well the environment are underlying themes through Forsaken. With the idea “the world must begin to listen because time is running out” stated again and again.
Next I begin building my character by what is called the Lost Child Report.
How old are they?
What’s their name?
Describe their appearance.
Anything that distinguishes them from others.
You get the idea.
In Forsaken the ‘hero’ of the story is Oli, and eighteen year old girl who for reasons we aren’t completely sure of, is one of the last light haired, light eyed people in the world.
Next I begin to build the world around her.
The story begins with the creation of an ordinary world. In a sense it’s the building of the backstory. Even though Oli’s world is one which has been destroyed by an illness brought on from the oils spills, it is a safe place for the group of young people living behind a barrier. Due to the fact Forsaken is dystopian, building this alternate world is very important.  The ordinary world is the jumping off point so the reader can see the growth in the characters as they move into a new world of peril and danger.
As I build the world where Oli and her best friend Coi live I introduce the problems pushing their comfort levels and causing their lives to take a turn. This becomes what is called the “Call to Action”. Oli must face a challenge and decide whether she will accept the challenge or turn away. Of course in order for the story to move forward she must embrace it and conquer it in one way or another. In Forsaken I have placed her best friend in the predicament of being infected with the illness and their need to leave the only home they’ve known before he is executed. Coi must be taken away for Oli to realize she can’t control their future, in turn it is her ‘Call to Action’.
The story structure I follow takes the reader on a journey with Oli, where she will meet a mentor to help guide her, while continuing to cross thresholds of challenges. Tests, allies, enemies…all come into play, which is easy in a world where Screamers roam in search of humans for dinner. Ordeals allow my character to grow, eventually leading her to an unexpected place where she will confront a great danger.
Now I can’t give it all away but you can see how the story builds as the hero grows and changes in order to take on the challenges needed to pull her through the story. Friends become enemies, promises get broken, and faith gets tested. I hope you enjoy the adventure of FORSAKEN.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Generation of the Last Hour

day, I'm thrilled to be able to share an awesome #inspy YA novel.
Check out Generation of the Last Hour by Rochele Rosa!
And don't miss the Giveaway below!

In an underground city devoid of adults, fifteen-year-old Raquelle Granger holds the position of Council Member, and thousands of lives within City Ten rest in her hands. Unfortunately, she only has two years left until she’s supposed to join the adults on the frontlines in a war that never seems to end.

But when the enemy army rolls into the area with drills, intent on destroying the city and taking no prisoners, Raquelle, together with her little brother and childhood best friend, must make a choice—Fight, or die a martyr among the Christian youth.
 Book Links

 Nights like these make the war seem like a distant nightmare. The stars swirl in patterns I don’t understand as I stare at them from my perch atop the mountain of rusted and long forgotten machinery. The clashing rings of metal sound off all around as my team of scavengers scour for resources on the ground below. The sound is almost soothing, like a song. If only for a moment, peace washes over me. That is, until the stretch of blue on the horizon reminds me that our time here is limited.
Glancing out at the shadows tumbling around the Graveyard, which expands for miles around the true mountains, I set my shoulders back and stand tall. “Pack it up!”
The early morning sun illuminates the forest stretching across the snow-capped mountainside and the valley we’re in. I tighten the strap of my gun and scale to the ground before pacing behind the six-wheeled wagon. Only a few pieces lie in the back, and I shake my head with a heavy sigh. “We’re not going to make quota.”
“Yes, we are.” My best friend, Faith, smiles with a sense of innocent wisdom as she runs her fingers through her long, black hair. Faith’s blue Medic sash drapes over her shoulder. She shouldn’t be here.
“You have to have optimism.” Faith turns to one of my scavengers. “The engineers need a sprocket rocket spring. Do we have one yet?”
He straightens and salutes her. “No ma’am, but we’re searching.”
She nods dismissively, and he continues his duties.
A boy runs toward me. He stumbles as he runs over uneven gravel, and I step away from the wagon to meet him halfway. I don’t have to see his eager eyes to know that he has found something interesting.
He catches his breath. “I found a couple of relics.”
If we were looters, the relics would be our treasure. We know very little of what the past was like, with the technology they had that was much more advanced than ours. So, I guess that’s why I like being the Head of the Scavenging Department. Occasionally, we find relics, and when someone does, he or she is rewarded with extra rations or precious baked goods, like cookies.
The entire yard freezes, watching the small twelve-year-old. Having only been assigned to the job a few months earlier, finding a relic so soon is unheard of, but he claims that he found two. “Here, ma’am.”
I carefully take the first one from the boy’s shaking hands and sit down on the open tailgate, with him right next to me. One relic is flat, smooth rectangular metal with an engraved apple in the middle. I flip it over, revealing cracked black glass. I dust it off and try to rack my mind with an answer to what it is. “It looks like a mirror.” I turn it back to the side with the apple.
“My grandpa once said that there was a company with that…uh…” The scavenger stumbles for the right word.
“Logo,” I say. Old writings explain of times where a good logo meant a lot to a business. It doesn’t make sense to me, how a picture could make you rich. There are faded words printed onto it. “iPad.” That’s a strange word.
I set it down at my feet, and he hands me the next item. It’s rectangular too, but chunky, and this one flips open horizontally. There is another black screen and buttons. I press them, but nothing happens. Of course, the relic wouldn’t have power after so long. The word “Nintendo” is pressed into the back side.
“So, what does this give me?” He wrings his hands together.
These are great finds. We don’t usually find technology relics. “Five desserts,” I say, getting out a piece of paper and scribbling the order down. “When you’re done here, go see Rosemary.”
His eyes light up. “Thank you.”
“Don’t tell anyone your reward.” I place the relics in my satchel.
He nods and hops down. The other workers wait patiently for the outcome. I kick my feet in the air. Huh, the drop is longer than I thought. Looking out at the faces in the moonlight, I say, “These are excellent additions to send to The Gathering Committee.”
The Elders in the Gathering Committee will know what the items are. They’ll label and store the items for future generations to enjoy when we have returned to peacetime.
The ever-changing sky tugs at the knot in my stomach. A cool breeze raises goose bumps on my arms. Crossing my arms, I swallow the tension. “Faith, the scouts patrol at dawn. We need to pack up.”
I take a deep breath and glance at my friend’s glassy eyes as she watches the morning light emerge. Not everyone gets to experience the surface.
I reach into my leather jacket and take out a pocket watch my grandfather gave me before the elderly were drafted into the army. The relic was passed down to him from his grandfather, who served in a similar war. I wind it, making sure it keeps in perfect time.
The ground rumbles as a squeal of decompressing air echoes from within the trees. Someone calls out, “Spider Scout!” and everyone takes off into drill maneuvers. Some hold defensive positions while others unload our findings from the wagon into bags. I run across the clearing and grip a giant gear on the ground. With a heave, I lift it high enough for the youth to deposit the precious metal into a chute and then scurry down the ladder. Faith stands beside me, helping me hold up the gear.
A searchlight cuts through the dim light as an eight-legged mechanical beast walks the perimeter of the Graveyard. My heart squeezes.
“Raquelle!” Faith snaps me out of my daze. “They’re all safe. Let’s go.”
I shimmy onto the ladder and slide down, anticipating the impact that rattles my bones. Once on the floor of the tunnel, a lone lantern illuminates my twenty scavengers and their finds. Our heavy breaths echo, and they quietly fidget. Just as I open my mouth to say something, Faith lands beside me with a playful smirk.
“That was close,” she says.
Sometimes I wonder if she’s an adrenaline addict.
“Too close.” I take a breath. “Did we get everything the engineers and mechanics need?”
Harland’s the oldest of the bunch. “We’re missing a few gears and pistons, but we can get them tomorrow night.” He brushes the dust covering his jacket.
I close my eyes as heat grows in my face. “Need I remind you that these parts are to repair the boilers? I don’t want to be the one to tell Section Two they have to go another night without power.” Pebbles drop from the earthy ceiling. I’ll request the mechanics add more support beams for this tunnel.
Harland shrugs with an indifferent sneer. “Not my problem.”
I grit my teeth. Nothing is ever his problem.
Faith places a hand on my shoulder, a silent plea for me to calm down.
I sigh, releasing the bubbling anger. “Rest up, because we need to make quota tomorrow.”
Lamps in hand, they begin to walk through the outer labyrinth of what we call home. Our footsteps echo along the arched tunnel that was carved before our grandparents were born. Every few hundred feet, we pass metal beams embedded into the structure. As I watch them go, my stomach churns and my hands begin to shake. I cross my arms to hide them.
Faith puts a hand on my shoulder again. “I can make the announcement for you.”
I shake my head, fighting the nausea threatening to overtake me. “Thank you, but it’s my turn to deliver the war news.”
 About the Author:

Raised in a big family in rural Illinois, Rochele Rosa had equally big dreams to pursue. She's been writing stories since elementary school, considering publication since middle school and building her professional skills since high school. After earning an Associate's at a community college, she transfered out of state for her Bachelor's in Public Relations. Where she'll go from there is entirely up to God.

Author Links:

About Anaiah Press: Anaiah Press is a Christian publishing house dedicated to presenting quality, faith-based fiction and nonfiction books to the public. Sign up for our Anaiah Press Reader Newsletter and/or Blogger Blog Tour Signup Newsletter to be entered into our summer giveaway.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief

Almost two years ago, on a whim, I started writing a little story about a teenage jewel thief who wants out of her life of crime. It was actually, my NaNoWriMo WIP in 2015, which I only got to 13k on during November. I finished it up shortly after and began querying. A few months later, the manuscript found a home with Entangled Teen. And now, my little book baby is ready to make it's debut to the world on August 7th. In some ways, it felt like this day would never come, and in others it feels like the journey to this point happened in the blink of an eye. Soon, Jewel Thief will be out there in the world, and for now, I get to share my cover and some of the information about the book with all of you. The artists at Entangled really outdid themselves; the cover fits the book perfectly! Check it out for yourself:

What do you think? Great cover, huh?

And here's a little information about the book:

Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.

Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin…but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake.

Will could be the next target.

Let me tell you, guys, this book was so much fun to write, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It's available in just a little over two weeks, on August 7th, 2017, from Entangled Teen, but it's available for pre-order now. You can also add it on Goodreads.

And if you do read the book, come back and tell me what you thought of it. I always love hearing what people think about my stories!

Happy Friday, everyone!