May Preview!

May is looking to be a wonderful month – we’ve got a lot of awesome releases coming up!!!

~ Lisa Gail Green’s Djinn, The Binding Stone will be releasing from Fuzzbom Publishing:

TheBindingStonecoverfinishTricked into slavery by the man she loved, the Djinni Leela has an eternity to regret her choices.

Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.

Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?

 

 

~ Christine Fonseca’s short story Enigma releases from Compass Press on April 30th:

?????????? Lorelei sees things other girls can’t see. She knows about the demons and monsters. She’s met them. Up close. And it’s cost her everything. Torn between protecting her siblings and avenging her mother’s death, Lorelei must decide which path she will take. And no matter what she chooses, her decision will influence more than just her future in this companion short story to the Requiem Series.

**This edition includes a special excerpt from the anticipated book Dominus, the final installment in the Requiem Series

 

And her non-fiction Girl Guide releases from Prufrock Press on May 14th:

Girl Guide finalFinding your unique voice in a noisy world can be hard—very hard. But not if you have a great guide! The Girl Guide: Finding Your Place in a Mixed-Up World is a must-read for girls in grades 6–8 as they enter the tumultuous world of adolescence. Packed with fun worksheets and quizzes, as well as stories from older girls and women, The Girl Guide covers everything a teenage girl needs to know on the journey toward her own identity. Proven strategies for dealing with stress management, confronting relational aggression, being safe online, navigating the changing mother-daughter relationship, and more make this the ultimate guide for any girl to get through the teen years and discover her unique point of view in the world.

~ Ednah Walters’ Runes is releasing on May 20th from Firetrail Publishing:

RUNES_FINAL_mediumSeventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Links: Goodreads

~ Jennifer Allis Provost is in an anthology that releases from Spencer Hill Press May 21st:

holidaymagickcoverPeople don’t usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed.

Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays.

Consider the following…

Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine’s Day?

Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told?

Why do people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival?

Where does Santa get his helpers?

You may think you know the truth, but you can’t be too sure.

~ Leigh Hershkovich’s Shattered Illustions releases from Full Court Press on May 23rd:

shattered illusionsOne murder. Four eyewitnesses. An unknown assailant…A victim with a mysterious secret. Bystanders beleaguered by life’s losses. A killer at large…​​​

When Sam, a propietor of a local cafe is shot dead on the street, four strangers become the unwitting witnesses to a seemingly accidental crime. As the investigation progresses, this quartest of accidental onlookers find themselves not only haunted by the homicide, but pursued by their own pasts.

The deeper into the death they plunge, each is forced to face to face that the loss of Sam is far from their most devastating. Inner anguish reaches a climax point for Ella, Marco, Sarah and Danny as the answers they want continue to elude them, and the evidence they want to escape refuses to retreat.​​​

~ Kelly Hashway’s Advantage Heartbreak is releasing from Swoon Romance on May 28th:

Advantage HeartbreakSeventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan thought she’d made up her mind about love. But with two guys still vying for her attention, she wonders if she made the right decision. Ash is everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend: loyal, loving, and totally hot. But then there’s Noah: fun, sexy, and the more he sticks around, the more Meg wants him there.

What’s a girl to do?

Make up her mind, before it’s too late. Gorgeous freshman Liz has set her sights on Ash, and Noah is beginning to remind Meg of her last boyfriend—the one who broke her heart. Can she figure things out before she ruins not one, but two relationships? Or is she doomed to serve up heartbreak?

~ And Dorothy Dreyer’s My Sister’s Reaper releases from Month9 Books on May 29th:

sistersreaperSixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.

 

Our topic for this month is Mayday, mayday! Obstacles, unseen dangers and challenges. So be sure to stop by and see how all our authors run with this topic 🙂 And definitely check out our May releases! We’ve got an amazing bunch of writers in this group 🙂

An Allusion to the Illusion of Seasonal Allergies…and some Hemingway for good measure

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast

36942884I’m not really sure what to make of Hemingway anymore. His work, at least what I’ve come to swallow, is very hit or miss. Take most everyone’s favorite book to burn, The Old Man and the Sea. I wanted to fucking suicide myself when my English teacher, Mrs. Beans (don’t even get me started on the caliber of torture we put her through on the basis of her name alone) handed each of us a copy of this book. Really; I’d heard enough horror stories about it that by the time I was told part of my grade depended on sifting through the proverbial hogwash of a writer with more self-entitled literary endowment than myself, I was ready to take the risk of actually failing the class just to satisfy my then somewhat pubescent rebellious lust. Much later in life, however, I was able to read it again and marveled at its simplicity, yet very true complex study of more than just what the title offers.

However, I’ve yet to really truly find a reason to respect Hemingway’s work; it’s just not my flavor, and personally I don’t see what the big deal is about him. This might sound self-defeating, as I myself am flirting with a glass full of Jameson as I write this very sentence. And as all us writers know, a liquid-enhanced ego is not always as tasteful as we presume it to be.

The aforementioned quote, albeit a bit wordy and round-about, stung me just the right way. And while I absolutely loathe everything there is that exists Springtime-related, mainly due to my biased hatred of my allergies, these musings throttled my loins especially:

“…if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.”

This does not apply to just springtime alone, or whatever it was Hemingway had been thinking about at the time of spewing this passage. People seem to limit themselves like clockwork; whether it be out of a falsified sense of security or by habit or by curse…people will forever be tormented by the unavoidable mental flytrap of thinking they have to stick by limiting themselves if they are to survive. The saddest part being most of those people acknowledge the presence of their limits, but have never actually considered the alternative lifestyle that bases itself quite poetically on the philosophy of limiting those limits. Having such a narrow mindset, they might as well kill themselves now and get it over with. We all die in the end anyway, so if you aren’t going to take advantage of life’s testicles, then why not?

slaughter-neon-sign

I hate springtime; the allergies, the bees, the hornets, the pansies, the weeding, the neighborhood brats that seem to have a serious lack of parenting about their asses; hell, even the sky takes on a shade of blue I’d rather not be acquainted with. Easter; the celebration of Zombie Jesus. Baseball. The Philadelphia Sillies and their worse-than-dirt “fans”. The HEAT….oh the HEAT. I’m an Autumn Man, full of Fall, I even bask in the occasional snowfall in nothing but m’panties…but spring…NO. Just NO.

The only thing I can say about spring, to sheepishly tie everything together into one massive knot of bullshit for this episode of Dave Matthes’ Brain on Whiskey and Love, and other Drugs, is that springtime always seems to bring about a sense of renewal. Those tragedies we may or may not have had to endure during the dead of winter, making us feel weighed down to the earth and thus limiting our strength to go on…springtime, even the smell of the very air, seems to remind me that everything is going to be okay…

…assuming I can get through spring of course.

Ernest, whatever your drug of choice was during the nights you shat out the literary feast that became A Moveable Feast, forget about the seasons…focus on the sinister super glue keeping our limits attached to our hearts; but then again…     

Write on, my literary lovelies, write on ❤

Love, hope, and quasi-meaningful death,
-Dave Matthes

Spring is in the Air … EVERY BLOODY DAY OF THE YEAR!

Image

Forgive me for not getting spring giddy.

I live in the tropics. So, I wake up to tweeting birds and sunny days, or mild drizzles, or sometimes torrential rainstorms, every day. Every day, it’s between 70 and 85 degrees. The evenings are cool, ideal for a nice warm blanket and even hot chocolate. The flowers are always blooming, leaves are always green, parrots are madly chattering, people always wearing short sleeves … Every day is sandal and skirt weather. (Yes, ladies, no chance at slacking off in the maintenance department). Every day is beer on the balcony weather, wine on the terrace weather, wandering up and down the avenue weather.

The weather is SO BLOODY PERFECT it’s enough to  want to make you choke on your lemonade and spit it out at someone. WHERE THE HELL IS THE CRAP WEATHER PAJAMA DAY? WHAT ABOUT A SNUGGLY, TUCKED IN BED READING DAY? It. Doesn’t. Happen. Because, my friends, spring is not only a time of re-birth, but it’s a constant reminder that I’ve got shit to do and not enough time to do it. The sun rises a bit before six every morning and sets around 6:30 every evening (we’re just two degrees north of the equator). No long, eternal summer nights or short winter days. Just the constant TWELVE HOUR MADNESS OF PERFECT WEATHER.

This much good weather would make ANYBODY CRANKY. And frankly … I WANT BAD WEATHER.

I remember reading A HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE just after college before moving to Colombia. And I remember most of my reactions were, “Huh? Like, um, don’t they want to change someone’s name? Huh?” Then I moved to Colombia, and it all started to make sense. I’m not saying that those who read it and DON’T live in Colombia won’t “get it”. But I will say this, I don’t just get it, I live it.

So. Take your spring and your happiness and joy and rebirth and …

Ahhh, to hell with spring.

S.P.R.I.N.G. Advice for Aspiring Writers

Spring is here, and we should all take a deep breath of fresh air. And for aspiring writers on their path to publication, it’s a great time to freshen up on the important points of their journey. Think S.P.R.I.N.G.

S – Story. Make sure yours is original. Something that pulls the reader in and makes them beg for more. And make sure it’s something awesome an agent or editor has never seen before.

P – Proofread. Dot those i’s and cross those t’s. Make sure your grammar is correct—not only in your story, but in your query letters too. Use an active voice and strong words that make an impact. Get another set of eyes to look at your work. And do your research on what you’re writing. Believe me, someone will check!

R – Read. Make sure you know what’s out there, what’s selling, and what keeps you turning pages. Know your genre! Read, read, read.

I – Industry. Get to know the publishing industry and how it works. Find out what agents do and which ones are the right ones to query. Find out which publishing houses would be best suited for your story. Read submission guidelines and follow directions. Stalk the blogs and Twitter feeds of agents, editors, and publishers, and find out what they’re looking for and how to approach them.

N – No quitting. Everybody gets rejected. Even best sellers got rejected at some point in their careers. Don’t give up. Writers are required to have a thick skin. So don’t let first, second, or twelfth failed attempts get you down. It’ll happen. It happens to the best of us. Pick up that chin and try again.

G – Get out there! Involve yourself with writers clubs, author forums, critique groups, and like-minded people on social networks. Go to writer conferences and book fairs. Surround yourself with creativity, discover contests and pitch fests, and make friends with people trekking along with you on the same path. Just remember to get offline at some point and get back to writing!

Spring Cleaning: The writer way

After having just completed an insane deadline, I’m now faced with the age-old question: What should I work on next. I’m sure I’m not alone in that I like to keep a notebook full of ideas for future writing projects. 

Going through my notebook, I realized there were several commercially viable options. But there was also another idea–you know the one. It’s the idea you can’t stop thinking about, the one with the characters that won’t shut up, and the plot that makes your fingers tingle in anticipation of a keyboard. The only problem is, I know this project might be a tougher sell. 

It’s spring and that means it’s a time of new beginnings  So the question is, do you work on the idea you know would sell no problem, or the one you feel the most passionate about? Please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

“Three Things & a Cupcake” Interview with our own Leigh Hershkovich

Lena Goldfinch here:

Over on my personal blog, I sporadically post author interviews under the theme “Three Things & a Cupcake.” I post everything sort of sporadically over there, actually. (Sorry, World! ;))

Three Things about Leigh and her debut novel, Shattered Illusions

Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich

Leigh’s cover reveal happens to be today, so look what I get to share!!!

  1. I came up for the idea behind Shattered Illusions while I was in a car traveling with my family from the North of Israel to the South. I had a stomach flu, and between that and in the immense heat, I was a bit delusional. I was reading a fantastic book called The Angel’s Game when the idea suddenly struck me like a bolt of lightening. It took me four months to convince myself that the idea was valid and not based on the other realm I found myself in due to the pain and the heat.
  2. I started writing Shattered Illusions when I was seventeen and completed it three weeks after my twentieth birthday.
  3. The characters of Shattered Illusions are loosely based on people that I had met throughout my childhood.

My favorite fantasy cupcake would be a Fountainhead themed cupcake complete with mini-figures of the characters and blue prints of some of their creations.

Lena again:

Wow, the story of your inspiration for Shattered Illusions is amazing. Also, that you started it at as a teen is impressive (but then teens are amazing–a well-known fact). Finishing it proves you’re a professional writer. And finding a great publisher is icing on the…cupcake. (Sorry, it happens. ;))

Okay, I rather foolishly bragged to Leigh that I had once found an Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed cupcake for an interview, so I suspect she tried to stump me. Actually, I admit, the vast photo database of the interwebs failed me, just this once. I found a tribute cake to Ayn Rand, but nary a cupcake. (I know, right??) But, not to be deterred, I bring you my own version of Fountainhead Cupcake…

Lena's Fountainhead Cupcake

Lena’s Fountainhead Cupcake–get it??
(Photo credits: Book image (Signet), Cupcake (Kristin_A, Meringue Bake Shop, Flickr Creative Commons))

Thanks for playing along, Leigh! I wish you all the best with your new release (squee!!).
Learn more about Leigh & her books at www.leighhershkovich.com or visit her Goodreads page.

Jump Into Spring: An Interview with Lena Goldfinch

I had the privilege and honor to interview fellow Scene13 writer Lena Goldfinch. Here are the results:

 

1) How old were you when you discovered your passion for writing?
 
Wow, I was always an avid reader from a very early age and may have written stories then, but I don’t really remember  I wrote a lot of poetry in high school & I kept journals through my young adult years, but I didn’t start seriously writing fiction until my early thirties, when my children were in school, and I decided I wanted to write a novel.
 
2) How long after you completed your first novel did you begin working on publishing?
 
That first novel will likely never be published! It did land me an agent, and it was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, but we weren’t able to place it with a publisher. It took many years of perseverance–over a decade and many books later!– to get to my first book contract.
 
3) What would you say was the hardest part of your experience as an author so far?
 
Dealing with disappointments. You have to have an unshakable drive and an ability to pick yourself up and keep going. When you love it (and you’re stubborn), you keep going.
 
4) What are your other passions outside of writing? 
 
Spending time with family & friends. I also love to travel. I went to Italy years ago & Switzerland, and perhaps, in part, that sparked my interest in ancient Italy, which was my inspiration for the world of AIRE.
 
5) What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the writing world?
 
Write a lot. Finish things. Read a lot. Revise a lot. Write more. Repeat. 🙂
 
Write what you love. Write the stories you want to read. Study the craft. You *can* learn the things that don’t come naturally for you, but you have to practice. You have to be willing to listen to criticism, in fact you have to seek it out! Learn from it and put the effort into changing the way you write. There are writers out there who are naturals and sell their first book. That’s one path. If that’s not your path, don’t worry about it. If it’s something you love and you feel driven to do it, then do it. It’s not a competition.
 
But most of all take the time to love it, to luxuriate in every small success and celebrate it. Did you finish a chapter, awesome! Did you finish your first completed draft of a novel–celebrate. It’s not all about seeing your book on the shelf. If that’s your sole measure of success, you just may miss out on a lot of joy.
 
Also, be willing to share what you know. Writing is a community-taught apprenticeship in many ways. Pay it forward.
 

Thanks, Leigh!

 

Thank you Lena for sharing your wisdom of the writing world with us! You can check out Lena’s books on Amazon and Goodreads.