Tag Archives: #books #ebooks

Where do I Begin? #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge Week 42

So, last week we discussed when to end the book. This week it’s how to begin it. Or more importantly, where to begin it.

I’ve heard from several traditionally published authors that most editors despise a prologue. They find them wordy, too backstory-laden, and don’t do much to push the story forward or get readers engaged.  They think most prologues are too much tell and not enough show. The editors feel  writers should be able to weave all the story details they want to tell before they tell the actual story, into the actual story and not weigh down the beginning with details that could be divulged elsewhere.

There’s something wise about this, I think.

But….

The very first book I had published, SKATER’S WALTZ, had a three page prologue that showed my heroine winning her first Olympic gold medal. I felt it set up her emotional makeup and allowed the readers to know a bit about why she was the way she was when the book opened in chapter one.

 

My editor ( whom I lovelovelove with all my heart) didn’t agree. For all the reasons I gave above she felt we should nix the prologue and start the story in chapter one. Since this was going to be my first time being published I bowed to her wisdom, bit my lip, and agreed to trash the first 3 pages.

Did I regret it? At the time, yeah. Do I now? No, because she was right. The book started where it needed to start. And I was able to incorporate those winning moments into the story without any problem. Where I placed them actually made sense for the scene, too, so yay for that!

Fifteen books later and I still struggle with wanting to put in a prologue for some on my novels. It still feels right to me and I get all angsty about giving too much info away at the beginning and knowing when to pull back. Or thinking the reader simply needs to know these details now so they’ll understand where the story is going. I think I’d be a better writer if I remembered to simply tell my story the way it should be told – with the reader learning everything she needs to know as she is reading the book and not beforehand. Foreshadowing is a good literary tool when used effectively within the story. But too much is, simply, annoying.

Many famous and well-selling authors use prologues all the time and their readers don’t seem to mind. I certainly don’t. I like a good prologue because to me it sets the story up, let’s me know that something good ( or evil) is coming, and gives me a sense that the past events that happened to these characters is going to mold their story.

I’ll be honest and tell you I haven’t published a book with a prologue yet. Have I written them? You betcha. Published? No.

Maybe one day…..

Let’s see what some of the other authors in the blog hop think about prologues. MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge.

And, when I’m not struggling over whether to include prologues or not in my stories, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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Something new…part 2

Last week I wrote a blog post about a new marketing strategy  I’ve adopted to connect with new readers ( and old ones, too!). Facebook Live Videos. 

If you know one thing about me, you know that I absolutely cringe when I see myself on film and hear myself on audiotape. A perpetually scratchy, whiney voice plus a really crooked face are the reasons I never went into the performing/visual arts. In all honesty, people would have paid me to NOT speak.

But….

In this ever-changing-by-the-minute publishing industry I am now immersed in, I need to not only frequently connect with the people who are already reading my books, but with new readers who haven’t heard of me yet. To that end I’ve been taking a month long author marketing class. It was here I first heard about author facebook live videos for promotion.

 

Now that I’ve started doing the videos, the next step, according to the marketing guru I’ve been listening to, is to find alternate ways of promoting them. Facebook is great, but you want to increase traffic to those videos, and not have them seen by just the people who are already your “friends” nor do you want to solely depend on those friends to share the vids with their friends who might not be your friends.

Confused? Think how I feel.

Next step, then, is to offer them on a bigger, wider, platform. Well, what platform for videos is bigger and wider than You Tube?

Yup, peeps. I’ve become a You-Tube queen. I actually, freely, and of my own volition, put my crooked mug – my videoed crooked mug – on display for all the world to view and comment on. Butterflies have nothing on the nerves flapping in my stomach.

But I’ll be honest and tell you that first video I did had more hits, likes, and shares than any  post I’ve written or put up in over a year, so yay for that!

I’ve added the youtube link to my “find me here” spiel at the bottom of most of my blog pieces and I’m hoping that people who have no idea who I am click on that link if they read one of my  posts.

It seems that the marketing and promo end of the publishing-a-book-business is never going to end for me, so I’m trying to embrace it as best  I can. And I’m smiling while I do it. Well….trying to smile and not cry, at least.

 

If you’re looking for me, here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Romance

#SundaySnippet 10.14.18

Here’s a little more insight to the developing relationship between Hope and Tyler.

“Enough about me,” she said, shaking her head. She speared an asparagus stalk and pointed it at him. “Tell me about you. Aside from the fact where you’re from, I know nothing about you. Out with the details, New York.”

“What would you like to know?” Tyler immediately wished he’d phrased the question differently. He couldn’t take the chance of her recognizing the name of his firm if she asked where he worked. Not yet.

Despite his plan to tell her tonight who he was and why he was in Willow Springs, he continued to keep his identity a secret, craving a few more precious hours of her company instead. Sitting across from Hope, enchanted with the way the tea light on the table bounced little flickers of light off her face and beautiful hair, listening to the sad story of her parents’ accident, and watching an entire series of emotions play across her guileless face and eyes, Tyler wanted to pretend they were simply a couple, out enjoying one another’s company.

The more Hope opened up to him, the happier he felt. From her mother’s behavior, he got the impression Hope didn’t date much and he liked knowing that, liked the thought she was doing something special with him, giving up some of her precious free time to spend it with him.

As she’d related the details of her father’s dismissal from his family, Tyler could feel the anguish and frustration oozing from her on behalf of the man she loved and adored. He hadn’t been told of the attempted payoff to Casey Kildaire. Sloan had to have known since he’d been the family solicitor for decades, yet he hadn’t mentioned it when he’d given Tyler a brief history of the family before he sent him to Vermont. Nor had he related the extent of Casey’s injuries following the crash and the severe financial problems they were still undergoing. He’d simply ordered Tyler to obtain Hope’s signature, nothing more.

He’d pushed her at dinner to answer his question and from the baffled look on her face knew she thought it an odd one. In her mind there was no way she could go back to school and take care of her mother at the same time. He should have told her right then the reason he was in Willow Springs, the subterfuge he’d used to meet her, and handed her the documents he’d brought with him. Tyler fully believed if she knew how easy her life could be with a simple swipe of her name across a legal document, she’d jump at the chance to make their lives better, pay off all their medical bills once and for all, and allow her to get back to fulfilling her dream instead of sublimating it.

“Well, for starters, what do you do?” she asked.

Best to go with the truth at this point. “I’m a lawyer.”

“Surprise, surprise.” She rolled her eyes and gave him the most delightful smirk. “I’d have bet on that without even a thought.”

“What gave me away?”

“The fact you don’t let a question go is one thing.” Her grin turned lopsided, and he got the distinct impression she was flirting with him. “Your penetrating death stare, like you’re grilling a witness on the stand, is another.”

Okay, maybe she wasn’t flirting because that was in no way a compliment.

“Anything else?”

She bent her elbow on the table and cupped her chin into it as she regarded him. “You already told me you’re not a writer, but your word skills are exceptional, so it makes me think you do write stuff. Like briefs, and whatever else they’re called.” She waved her free hand carelessly. “Plus…”

“Plus?” His breath caught when her cheeks colored.

“Well…” She squinched up her nose, her lips pursed at an angle. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was imagining what you looked like in a suit and the first thing that popped into my head was like a lawyer.”

This definitely sounded like flirting, but…

“What do you mean, don’t take it the wrong way?”

“I meant about the imagining part.” The red color in her cheeks blossomed and grew to cover her neck. She shook her head and dropped her gaze. “I shouldn’t have told you that.”

What would she have done if he’d told her he’d had a fantasy-filled night thinking about her in nothing at all?

Buy Links for Hope’s Dream

 

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Nook // iTunes

And if  you’re looking for me, I’m here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

 

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By Reservation Only, by Barbara Edwards #WildRosePress #DeerbourneInn


 

          The Deerbourne Inn. New kitchen, new owner, new future–all rooted in three hundred years of history.

I am so stoked that the first book – the origination novella – for the Deerbourne Inn series from the Wild Rose Press has been released! I’ve got the blurb and an excerpt from the writer of  BY RESERVATION ONLY, Barbara Edwards, below. Sit back and read about this exciting new series that takes place in the lovely New England town of Willow Springs, VT. From now until the end of 2019 there will be additions to the series – some contemporary, some historical, some even paranormal ( yes, the Inn is haunted!) and all of them wonderful! And to celebrate the release of the series, The Wild Rose Press-powers-that-be are having a wonderful giveaway of prizes! The link to the rafflecopter is below. Click on when you’re finished reading about the Inn and enter!

Here’s book 1 BY RESERVATION ONLY

 

Blurb:

It’s the grand opening of The Deerbourne Inn! Award-winning Chef Nathan Harte has worked long and hard to restore this historic property in Willow Spring, Vermont. He’s ready to greet his guests with fine cuisine, comfortable rooms, and maybe even a ghost or two. 

He’s escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life, but is he ready to deal with a broken arm, a quirky arsonist, and a long-ago mystery? And what might he find up in the 300-yr-old attics?

Excerpt:

Since the inn was quiet, Emily pulled on a long t-shirt and opened the door. Her heart fluttered. She was disappointed Nate wasn’t waiting for her in the dark passage. She blew out a frustrated breath and opened one of the bedroom windows to let the fresh breeze blow in. A whip-poor-will called from the hill.

The comfortable bed beckoned her. Flowery potpourri scented the bedroom air. She lay on top of the handmade quilt and stared at the ceiling. Sleep eluded her. She lost count of the times she turned over, punched the pillow, yawned.

An owl hooted from the nearby woods. The call of the whip-poor-will sounded closer. The curtain flapped and the scent of smoke tainted the air. Her watch claimed it was only twelve thirty, not nearing dawn. She swore and rolled over again.

Someone knocked on Nate’s door and called his name. Emily pulled on her pants and sneakers before she opened her door.

“What’s happening?” Her pulse raced. Smoke, she smelled smoke.

Buy links:

Amazon //WildRose Press // Kobo 

About the author

I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I lived in Florida for several years

You can connect with Barbara here:

website // Blog // Amazon // Facebook // Google + // Pinterest 

*** Click the following link for a the WRP rafflectoper for By Reservation Only

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It’s #GoddessFish 10th anniversary and I lovelovelove a party!

 

I’m so stoked today to introduce you to two women who have become very near and dear to my heart – both the real, beating one,  and the publishing one! The powerhouse women behind one of the most successful author promotion companies out there, Marianne and Judy of Goddess Fish Promotions. This dynamic duo is celebrating 10 years in business and they’re on a month long anniversary tour promoting their author services. On a personal note, I’ve used Goddess Fish for 3 of my book releases and they have all been widely and wildly successful, mostly because of these two fab ladies! Let me introduce them to you now, and stick around because even though it’s their anniversary, they’re giving away chances to some really great gifts!

Without further ado, here are Marianne and Judy

Welcome to the Goddess Fish Promotions Tenth Anniversary Month Long Celebration!

Who is Goddess Fish Promotions? And what do we do? We’re glad you asked!

We didn’t want your visit here to be dry and boring, so we decided to have a poetry competition and put what we do into verse. Here are the initial entries:

Marianne:

Roses are Red.

Violets are Blue.

I’m awful at poetry.

Coffee.

Judy:

We can edit your book

find things you didn’t see

It will be fun to look

at the changes from me.

(Yeah, for some reason, Judy won!)

Even better, her poem is correct. We DO offer editing as one of our options. Here are a couple of testimonials from clients:

I worked with Marianne on a complete edit and was very happy with the results. Her feedback was clear, easy to follow, and she probed on things I hadn’t thought of. She was also responsive whenever I had questions and helped me work through a few issues. Her feedback and guidance improved the quality of my manuscript, all at a very fair price. I’m working on my next book and plan to use their services again.

-J B Glazer, author, In Search of Mr. Anonymous

Choosing the right editor for a project is incredibly important to an author. Let’s face it, we want the best for our books. When I was considering editors for my first indie-published book, Regenerate, I naturally thought of Goddess Fish Promotions–and I’m so glad I did.

Marianne Arkins and Judy Thomas are incredibly attentive and professional during the entire editing process. Their input was invaluable and the story is much stronger because they cared enough to help unsnarl plot points and find order in the chaos..

I can’t wait to work with them again. Truly, a top-notch editorial team! – Sarita Leone, award-winning author of Regenerate

We also offer Virtual Book Tours, Graphic Design, Social Media Promotion and more. You can see more testimonials here.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little (more information is below) and we’d like to do the same. We’d LOVE to see a little poem that tells us a bit about you in the comments. We’ll be awarding random book giveaways and $5 Amazon GCs to some of the best poetry we find. It might not be at every stop, but when something really makes us smile, we’ll reward it! Come on, be daring…

And now, more about us:

 Goddess Fish Promotions

Goddess Fish Promotions was established October 14, 2008. Why? Well, when Marianne became a published author and got her the first taste of trying to promote a book on a budget, there was only one other virtual book tour company in place at the time, and their fees were simply too high for a small press author. After coordinating and running her own tour, she knew other authors could use the same service for a reasonable price. Thus, Goddess Fish Promotions was bo

Because both Judy and Marianne were authors and editors prior to running Goddess Fish Promotions, they approach the business with a unique point of view, and treat their clients how they would expect to be treated.

 

The people behind the fish

 

Judy Thomas

Judy has a college degree in English and she’s worked in retail, education, at her local library as well as an editor for a small press and for the now defunct ShadowKeep Ezine. She’s also a published author so can see things from both sides of the fence. In 2013, she “retired” and now spends her days helping authors make their dream come true—as well as working as much as she can with her local theater group.

Marianne Arkins

Grammar freak and coffee lover, Marianne wrote her first novel at ten years old, built her first commercial website in 2000, and published for the first time in 2006. She worked as a professional editor for just over a year, and knows what it’s like to write, edit and promote a book on a budget.

Connect with Judy and Marianne (aka. Goddess Fish !) here:

website // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //Instagram //Google+ 

And now for some fun stuff: Giveaways!!!!

Click on the link(s) that pertain to you below for chances at gift cards and promotional services  

For Everyone: One $50 Amazon/BN GC, two $25 Amazon/BN GCs, Two $10 Amazon/BN GCs

For Authors: 2 $10 GC for any Goddess Fish Promotions service, Winner’s choice of either a free blurb blitz (2 wk) or book blast (5 day), 50% off any tour (excludes Review tour or Full Service Tour), 4 free 25 page complete book edit, 2 Winner’s choice of teaser or social media cover graphic design

I love a good speed round, ala Bravo’s Actor Studio questionnaire, so here goes

Napkins or paper towels?

Judy: Paper towels and paper napkins each have their place. I have some cloth napkins that I use to make the table look pretty at Christmas. Does that count?

Marianne: I honestly don’t use paper napkins… paper towels are so versatile!  They’re towels, they’re napkins, and in a pinch they can even work as facial tissue or a coffee filter.

When it comes to placing toilet paper on a roll – over or under?

Judy:  Over…unless there’s a toddler or kitten in the house

Marianne: Over. Always.  I had a roommate who was an “under” gal, and we nearly came to blows.  We finally decided whoever used the TP roll up got to put on the new one in the manner they chose and it had to stay that way for the duration of the roll. I’m pretty sure we ended up using a TON of toilet paper because whoever wasn’t happy with the way it was put on wanted to get through it as quickly as possible.

How did you two meet?

Judy:  We were in an online writer’s group together at Writer’s Village University and magic was born!  However, since we there are 1200 miles separating us, alas we’ve never had the chance to meet IRL.  Everytime we try to plan something, something happens. I have faith that one day it will happen though.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Judy: Love what you do and do what you love.  If you are miserable in a job, you are going to be miserable most of your life– and life is too short for that.  If you get up and hate the fact you are going to work, find something else to do that you enjoy better.

Marianne: Follow your dreams, and don’t let anyone steal them (especially in the name of practicality).  Do what is right for YOU and not what everyone says you should do. I had a drama scholarship for college that I gave up because it wasn’t something I could ever use to support myself realistically.  I regret that every day.

Follow these fabulous women as they take on the world for the month of October:

October 1: T’s Stuff

October 1: Let me tell you a story

October 1: White Sky Project

October 2: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

October 2: Harlie’s Books

October 2: Independent Authors

October 2: Bookish Reviews

October 3: Romance Novel Giveaways

October 3: Romance that’s ‘Out Of This World’

October 3: underneath the covers

October 3: Tory Richards

October 4: Kimmi Love

October 4: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart

October 4: Books,Dreams,Life

October 4: FUONLYKNEW

October 5: Author Deborah A Bailey

October 5: Rainy Day Reviews

October 5: Christine Young

October 5: Books Direct

October 8: Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

October 8: The Tired Buyer

October 8: The Layaway Dragon

October 8: Lampshade Reader

October 9: Nickie’s Views and Interviews

October 9: Bookaholic

October 9: Writing is my Oxygen  ( hey, that’s me!! HEE HEE)

October 9: Travel The Ages

October 10: Mythical Books

October 10: Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored

October 10: Wake Up Your Wild Side

October 10: Kit ‘N Kabookle

October 11: Beyond Romance

October 11: The Bibliovert

October 11: Dena Garson-Real… Hot… Romance

October 11: Harlie Williams, Writer

October 12: The Book Connection

October 12: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love

October 12: Nana Prah’s Blog

October 12: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’

October 15: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess

October 15: Danita Minnis

October 15: So Many Books

October 15: Reviews by Crystal

October 16: The Reading Addict

October 16: BooksChatter

October 16: Casey’s Corner

October 16: Locks, Hooks and Books

October 17: Just Books

October 17: The Avid Reader

October 17: Linda Nightingale … Musings

October 17: A Hippie’s Bookshelf

October 18: Jane Reads

October 18: Bayou Book Junkie

October 18: Sybrina’s Book Blog

October 18: Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden

October 19: fundinmental

October 19: All the Ups and Downs

October 19: Blog of Author Jacey Holbrand

October 22: Lisa Book Blog

October 22: One World Singles Blog

October 22: Mixed Book Bag

October 22: Books in the Hall

October 23: Fabulous and Brunette

October 23: Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer

October 23: Emily Carrington

October 23: It’s Raining Books

October 24: Erotica For All

October 24: Laura’s Interests

October 24: Book Bite Reviews

October 24: Welcome to My World of Dreams

October 25: Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

October 25: Hearts and Scribbles

October 25: The Pen and Muse Book Reviews

October 25: Straight From the Library

October 26: Bookstanista

October 26: Sharing Links and Wisdom

October 26: Jazzy Book Reviews

October 26: Readeropolis

October 29: Dawn’s Reading Nook

October 29: Regan Black

October 29: Books,Dreams,Life

October 29: Long and Short Reviews

October 30: Andi’s Book Reviews

October 30: Edgar’s Books

October 30: Iron Canuck

October 30: Deal Sharing Aunt

October 31: Bri’s Book Nook

October 31: bookish bibliophile

October 31: books are love

October 31: Two Ends of the Pen

 

 

 

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Filed under Goddess Fish Tours and Promotion

7 books challenge….

I’ve been doing one of those Facebook challenges this week where every day you post a book cover of one of your favorite all time books and no explanation of why it’s a fav.

So, these are the ones I’ve put up:

 

This is a pretty eclectic bunch of reads, no? All of these books MEANT something to me and changed me in some way.

Books: they’re a good thing!

Upload covers, or tell me, some of the books that have influenced you the most over your life. I love to hear how books have challenged people and changed them.

When I’m not reading you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

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New in Audio from Linda Nightingale, plus a little advice!

Today we’re talking about AUDIO Books. Since I’m relatively new to the process I wanted to get the advice and wisdom of some authors who have gone through the process of converting a book to audio, so I sought out one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Linda Nightingale, to help me out. Linda’s a  prolific writer, not to mention a lot of fun, as evidenced by this picture of her at a recent signing. ( she’s the one on your right!)

I wanted to know how daunting this process was, what she had to go through, and if it was worth the effort that it seems to be. Her advice has been invaluable in helping me make the move from print to audio! Here’s Linda in her own words:

(ME) How did you feel about your books going to audio?

I was thrilled! Bowled over even! When my publisher announced that it was possible for our books to go to audio, I immediately signed on.

My experience with audio books was very pleasant with two of my four. I was lucky enough to snag this young Englishwoman with a lovely voice and accent perfect for both Love For Sale and Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody. Her delivery was impeccable. I was thrilled, even though Morgan D’Arcy is told in first person male.

The second two were not as successful. With Gambler’s Choice, though the girl, again an Englishwoman, had the book well dramatized, she didn’t change with the characters, which could be forgiven, but she sounded as if she were in a well. I received many comments on this fact in reviews.

The second, Gylded Wings, was a dark fantasy. However, the narrator read it as if it were a fairytale—has tone and sing-song way of telling the story.

Writing for audio books is different from writing a book seen on a page. Maybe it shouldn’t be but when the reader is looking at the text on a page, they can follow ‘untagged’ dialogue for a time and understand who’s talking. With audio books, this isn’t the case. The listener can become confused if the dialogue isn’t clearly tagged as to the speaker, but when the book is already published, it’s too late to change it. Just something to keep in mind if you are writing for audio.

The process itself, ‘proofing’ your book for errors, can take hours of listening and then listening again to the corrections. I enjoyed every minute. I loved to listen to my characters coming to life.

As to sales—not record yet, but still hoping. If you aren’t a member of Audible, they are quite pricey, and promoting an audio book takes just as much effort and savvy as promoting your eBook or print version. The first thing I did was to sign up for a blog tour, and that worked out well. Unfortunately, many of the hosts couldn’t use the audio files, and I had to come up with an alternative: refer them to my website and hope they hang around while they’re visiting.

Will I do it again? Oh, yes. It’s exciting to hear your book read. Also a confirmation in a way. Look, what I did! Self, listen this isn’t half-bad!

Peggy here: Here’s another of Linda’s audiobooks, Her General in Gray

A little about Linda:

Linda has lived a interesting life—from breeding and showing horses to working for a Circuit Judge—and won some prestigious awards for her writing. Find out more about her on her website and various social media, and she’d love to hear from you via email.

Twitter // Facebook // Web site//  Goodreads // Pinterest // Amazon 

 

Peggy here – Linda thank you so much for all your advice!

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Filed under audiobooks, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with YA author Christine Grabowski

Today I’m so pleased to welcome debut YA author and Wild Rose Press sistah, Christine Grabowski.

Christine’s debut YA Novel, Dickensen Academy, is out and doing fabulously with readers and reviewers alike.

 

Today, she’s brought along two of her characters from the book, Autumn and Ben,  for a sit-down to get to know them – and the book – better.  Let’s eavesdrop on their interviews for some insight into these two and the mysterious Dickenson Academy…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Autumn.

My name is Autumn Mattison. I’m from Seattle, and I just started my freshman year of high school at Dickensen Academy.

Why did you choose to attend Dickensen Academy?

Who wouldn’t? Almost no one gets in the place. So when I got in, it shocked us all. And it made my dad so proud. It’s got this great writing program, which I’m really excited about. And the art classes sound fun too. And I’ve got it admit, it was great to move out of the house. My dad is a control freak and sometimes I feel like I can barely breath around him.

What do you like about boarding school so far?

It’s so amazing to be off on my own. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, and I’ve already made four really good friends. My roommate, Aditi, is so sweet. And then there’s Hannah, this girl I run cross country with. Ben and Ryan usually hang out with us too.

What about the classes?

I’m really liking school so far. The classes are small, and the teachers are super-passionate. Especially Mr. Robbins. He teaches Creative Core which is this art class that is supposed to be the backbone of the fine arts program. To me, it just seems like drawing and art. But the faculty says it’s much more than that.

Anything you don’t like?

Well…there’s something weird about this place that sometimes gives me the creeps. It’s almost like I’ve been here before. I keep having these déjà vu moments. But it’s probably all my imagination. My dad would say I have too much of that. But there are also all these rules. Like freshmen can’t leave campus until Thanksgiving, and we can’t hang out with the upperclassmen. There’s even this huge fence hidden in the woods. It feels like we’re locked in. But the teachers say it’s because up here in the mountains there are lots of wild animals. But it seems a bit overkill to me.

Do you have any goals for the year?

I’m hoping to get good grades. I don’t think my dad believes I can hack it on my own. But I want to prove him wrong. No way will I ever do as well as my brother, Josh. But hopefully I can do well enough to get my dad off my back.

Anything you’d like to add?

Well, there’s this guy, Ben. He’s really cute. We hang out a lot, but usually in a group. Aditi thinks he likes me. He even dreamed about me before we got in. Weird, right? But I doubt he’s interested in me. I’m sure he’ll end up with someone more like Hannah, who is model gorgeous.

(Peggy here: Mmmm… something a little creepy, eh? Sounds intriguing!) Christine sent along a picture of Dickenson Academy to share. 

All those tall trees surrounding it and the way the mist eerily is winding around them and the buildings…..wow!

And now, let’s listen in on the other student Christine has brought along with her…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Ben

My name is Ben Coleman. I’m a freshmen here at Dickensen and turn fifteen next month. My family lives in Seattle.

Why did you choose to attend Dickensen Academy?

This place has a great reputation for academics and fine arts. I’m a focused student and like the challenge. But I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to leave home. I’m really tight with my family, especially my mom. It was just the two of us for years until Jim came along. And then there’s my brother, Calvin. He’d just five. The kid looks up to me like crazy, and I do a lot with him, so my mom can get stuff done. I was worried about leaving them alone, especially because my brother has some medical issues. But then I had this vivid dream where my family was at Dickensen Academy, and I woke up feeling I needed to accept and that everything would work out.

What do you like about boarding school so far?

It’s great. I’ve got an awesome roommate named Ryan. He’s a bit of a goofball. But he gets me to let loose—something I couldn’t do much of at home when I always had to be responsible. Then there’s this girl, Autumn. We have the deepest conversations. But as I’ve gotten to know her, I realize she is beautiful in this I-don’t-even-try sort of way, always wearing jeans and hoodies. But I’m sure she sees me as just a friend, and I’m not really looking for a girlfriend right now.

What about your classes?

Love them. The teachers are fantastic. Most are really strict which I actually like. I’m here to learn. But then there’s Robbins. He teaches Creative Core which is this art class that is highly praised. He’s super laid back, so we get to chat with our friends while we work. It’s a nice break from the academics.

Anything you don’t like?

The rules. I’ve made some friends with some of the older guys playing sports after school. I’d like to hang out with them after practice, but supposedly we’re not allowed to “fraternize” with the upperclassman. What kind of a dumb rule is that? I’ve talked to this sophomore, Gabe. He basically said we could be friends later in the year, but not now. I feel like there’s something big they are hiding from us freshmen. Autumn gets the same vibe as me. She suggested it might be some form of hazing. But I don’t know. It feels bigger than that. Ryan tells me I’m paranoid, so I’m trying to let it go. But sometimes I really wonder if this school is more than it seems.

Do you have any goals for the year?

Good grades. Make friends. Just the normal stuff.

Anything you’d like to add?

Can’t think of anything.

(Peggy here- I can relate, Ben. I hate rules, too!)

 

Dickenson Academy by Christine Grabowski

This secluded high school may be her dream come true…or her worst nightmare.

Blurb

Dickensen Academy isn’t a typical boarding school. The faculty is hiding an unbelievable secret within their fine arts program. When Autumn Mattison receives an invitation to attend the high school, she yearns to escape her overbearing father yet remains reluctant to leave her mother and brother. Her doubts fade away when a vivid dream convinces her she belongs there.

Away from home, Autumn discovers a unique school environment that awakens her creative potential, and her new friends become like a second family. However, as she uncovers more about the dark side of the school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is truly where she belongs.

When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets. Caught between secrets and dreams, can she find her true self?

Excerpt 

“I feel like there’s something big we don’t know about. Something those students were protecting. I mean, really, why are we here?”

I thought it was just me who was confused. “Well…the recruiters said we’re creative and focused.”

“Yeah, that’s what Principal Locke said too.”

“And we have the right personality.”

Ben looked up at the sky, sighed then turned toward the forest. “What did he say…something about how it will soon become clear why we’re here, and there’s some ultimate purpose for our creativity?”

“I know. That whole creativity part was a bit bizarre.”

He shrugged. “It seems everyone is going with the flow. But I have so many questions.” Then he touched my arm to stop me, so I turned toward him. “I’m thinking they’re isolating us for some special reason,” he admitted in an embarrassed tone.

I tried not to laugh—he was acting paranoid. But I didn’t know Ben well. Maybe he was joking, trying to freak me out. Or was he hitting on me? The flutter in my chest moved to my stomach. I was already anxious about being away from home and whether or not I could hack the academics. I didn’t need to obsess about anything else. But I still had to know about Ben’s dream.

“So…I also had a dream about Dickensen before I accepted the offer.”

Ben’s head snapped toward me. “You did?”

Buy/Book Links:

Amazon // B&N // Apple // The Wild Rose Press  // GooglePlay // Kobo

A little about Christine Grabowsk

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

You can visit Christine here:

website // goodreads // BookBub // FaceBook //Instagram // Twitter // Amazon //

 

* Book Trailer:

(Peggy here – Christine, thanks so much for dropping by today and bringing Autumn and Ben with you. I have to say, Dickenson Academy sounds like the kind of place I’d definitely want to visit.)

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Fall Into these Great reads BOOKATHON from N.N. Light’s Book Heaven #giveaway

Isn’t it funny how when we think of back to school stuff we think of all sorts of things, including getting new books? Well, I haven’t been in school in- ahem- decades, but I still like a good book, and Fall is the perfect time to start finding new authors, stacking up on soon to be released reads, and getting reacquainted with all your favs.

N.N. Light’s Book Heaven is having a month-long binge readathon, chock full of amazing authors ( myself included! Heehee) and new books. Plus, there’s a chance for a $150.oo Amazon Gift card!!! I love me a good rafflecopter, don’t you?!

Daily blog posts: Bookathon

Rafflecopter link: giveaway

Open internationally
Runs September 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on October 1.

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Why I write about strong women….

Most people who either know me professionally or who have seen my tagline anywhere, know that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. That’s my writing style in a nutshell.

But…why strong women? I mean, as opposed to just regular, hardworking women? Or weak women? Or down-on-their luck women? I could go on, but really…you get the idea.

The reason is easy: strong women speak to me.

I’ve read too many books – romance and general fiction – where the woman was a doormat who let everyone in her realm wipe their feet all over her, said “thank you” when they did, and then went on to live a hum-drum life. Not me.

I’ve read too many books about weak women who cry if you look at them crooked, can’t get a bead on their emotional immaturity, and play the victim for attention. Never me.

I’ve read too many books about women who go through life complaining, bitching, and moaning in a whoa-is-me voice who never take responsibility for themselves, their problems, or their lives. Nope. Not me.

I’ve read too many books where the women were entitled, self centered, narcissistic biatches who felt the world should drop at their feet simply because they are: beautiful, rich, talented, etc. So not me!!

You get the idea. I’ve read a lot of books about women who simply didn’t speak to me.

Strong women do.

A strong women will fight for what she wants. She won’t let people or the world in general beat her down. She knows what she wants and she goes after it.

A strong woman can’t be stopped when she’s on a trek – be it of discovery or for a purpose – try though people might. She moves forward, through the muck, through the dark, to find the light of desires and wishes.

A strong woman doesn’t rely on a man to take care of her, pay her bills, or fix her problems. She does that all on her own. That’s not to say she doesn’t want a man in her life. It’s simply that she doesn’t NEED one. Get the difference? Yeah, I figured you would! heehee.

So. Strong women. Love them. Be them. Raise them.

And in the words of Destiny’s Child, (who were speaking of Independent women, but you can simply substitute STRONG for Independent):

I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Try to control me, boy, you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh, and I pay my own bills
Always fifty fifty in relationships
The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it
‘Cause I depend on me if I want it
The watch I’m wearin’, I’ve bought it
The house I live in, I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving, I’ve bought it
I depend on me
‘Nuff said.
#BeAStrongWoman.

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