August 26, 2015

Three Times A Charm with Jennifer Redmile

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome author, Jen Redmile. Jen, can tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up on the beautiful northern beaches of Sydney NSW. After a 2 year stint working in outback NT, I now live in Geraldton WA with my amazing and supportive husband, 23yo son and two gorgeous puppy dogs. I’ve always been an avid fantasy fiction reader, and always worked with children, so when I decided to write a novel, it was a natural progression to combine the two and make it a children's fantasy novel.

In 1997 I wrote a children's musical, entitled Beyond the Stars, for the local Catholic primary school, with a cast of over 300.

I have completed Book 2 in The Children of When series, Valleron, which is awaiting publication, and am currently working on the 3rd book in the series, Dragardia. 

I also have two other YA series in the works, "What Ghost?" and "Morwitch".

Wow, a play for a cast of over 300! That’s impressive. Now, tell us more about your book. The title is intriguing.

The Children of When is the first book in a new MG/YA fantasy series. The story revolves around Leah, Raff, and Belle, who have been raised in separate “foster-homes” until they turn fourteen. On that day, the law states they must leave everything for an unknown future.

When they are magically transported to another world, they discover not only each other, but a prophecy that has waited 1000 years for their arrival.

To fulfill the prophecy, they must find and reunite three missing pieces of an ancient amulet, and in the process learn to control and use their unique Gifts.

Dark forces conspire to prevent the resurrection of the Amulet, and the journey becomes one of survival.

Turning fourteen was NOT supposed to be this hard!

So, you've read the blurb...what else can I tell you? Well there are flying horses, battles with monsters, good guys, bad guys, and some pretty weird but lovable minor characters. And of course, being a story about young teenagers, there might be a slight crush or two going on.

I hope you grow to love these kids half as much as I do, and that you are eager to read more of their adventures in The Children of When - Valleron, the soon to be released 2nd book in the series.
I recommend my book to readers who like:

The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
The Percy Jackson series – Rick Riordan
The Abhorsen series – Garth Nix

Let’s get to know you a little better. Share with us your top three responses to the following questions.

Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.

Okay, so what I’ve learned about the business of becoming a writer could fill a very large and ridiculously thick book. I’ll try to condense some of it into three important points:

1. Writing a book is really hard work!

So many people, at some stage in their lives, decide they should/could/will write a book. Great idea…why not? How hard can it be, right? WRONG!

Hmmm…I remember thinking all those things too. Although I did have one advantage a lot of other writers don’t have when they first start writing…my husband agreed that I should stop working fulltime and just concentrate on writing for a while. Knowing how lucky I was to be in that position, I dived headlong into learning everything I could about writing fiction. Hundreds of hours later, after downloading and reading everything I could find on the internet (and hardly scratching the surface of the information available) I realized that writing a book was one of those things you needed to just start doing and learn as you go.

Anyway, I could go on forever about the highs and lows I experienced during the actual writing process. Needless to say, I got there…all the blood sweat and tears finally behind me as I blithely typed “The End”. WRONG AGAIN!

2. The Self-publishing vs Traditional publishing decision!

Yep, typing “The End” is actually the beginning of a whole new process. So you’ve written a book! Now what are you going to do with it? Therein lies the $64 million dollar question, and the options and suggestions are endless. I was lucky enough to have a few literary minded friends and family members to help me through the editing process, which I’ve been told saved me a fortune.

After listening to various debates about the pros and cons regarding the different roads to publication, I had decided to save myself the heartache (not to mention the blow to my self-esteem) of being rejected by publishers and/or agents and just self-publish.
Then my Guardian Angel (who I believe is a combination of my mum, dad, grandmother and great aunt) brought me to the attention of the CEO of my publishing company, Catt Dahman. She had been watching me interact in various Facebook groups for a while, and when she found out I had finished a book she suggested I submit it to her publishing company (which of course left me gobsmacked, because I had no idea who she was before that).

So, I was also lucky enough to have my book accepted by the first publisher I submitted it to, J Ellington Ashton Press, which I’ve also been told saved me endless hours, days, weeks and months of anguish.

3. The long road from signing a contract with a traditional publisher to the actual book release.

Okay, once again I know I was one of the lucky ones…it only took seven months. But that seven months felt more like seven years! The hardest part was watching others who’d gone the self-publishing route have their books up and released in a week. So…I waited (impatiently). I wrote two more books, got involved in social media and talking to other writers, and engaged in the publishing process…1st edits, 2nd edits, cover art, formatting, and finally proofreading. I suppose this would be a good time to admit that I was one of those ‘nightmare’ authors, you know, the ones who whine and complain about how long it’s all taking until you want to wring their necks. Fortunately for me, and my book, we all came through relatively unscathed (well I hope so, anyway) and my debut novel is now out in the world for all to see.
Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

1. Cup of tea - preferably in a bottomless cup

2. Chocolate…of course.

3. Anything prepared and brought to me by someone else when writing

Top 3 places you find writing inspiration.

1. Inside my characters’ heads

Yes, I know it sounds weird but it's true.

2. In bed when TRYING to go to sleep!

3. In the shower

Oh my gosh, I completely agree with 2 and 3! Okay, so where can our tech savvy readers find you and your book online?

Twitter: @JenRedmile

It was lovely of you to visit Strands of Thought. Best of luck to you and The Children of When!


August 19, 2015

Stuff You Absolutely Must Know

Happy Hump Day!

I have a couple of things to catch you up on.

First, there is a book blast going on for Super Bad; Super Villain Academy Book 3. It's hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. Seriously, Kathy at I Am A Reader is like a blog goddess. I revere her blog skills. Not only has she recruited a gazillion awesome bloggers to share the book info all over the interwebs between now and the 24th, but there is a $100 gift card up for grabs too. Yep, that's right. You might win $100 to spend on Amazon or via Pay Pal. What would you do with an extra C-note?  Well, find out! You can enter all the way up to September 6th. I'd appreciate if you shared the giveaway post you visit too. Help me get Super Bad in front of all the readers! When you see a post or tweet about the giveaway, please click on it to enter. Or, if you'd rather hop on over now, here's a link to just one of the amazing blogs sharing the giveaway.

And on the topic of giveaways, I have a giveaway going on exclusively for my email subscribers. If you already subscribe, scan the last newsletter I sent out to find out how to enter, or drop me an email asking for the giveaway link. If you don't subscribe, this is a good time to start. You get one entry for each of my books you review. Plus one entry of each place you post the review. Plus-plus, when you subscribe, I send you a copy of Ella's Story (a Worth the Effort novella) for free. How easy can it be? You get the first book for free. Read it. Review it and post the review on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog and you get 3 entries. Bam. Done. Next book...You have until September 30th to read and review. Now's a great time to get started. Subscribe here:

Lightning Quick Reads is celebrating the #DogDays of summer all month with short stories related (somehow) to the topic. You can help by posting a picture of your pooch on LQR's Facebook page. We'd love to see what melts your heart. Be sure to read my story, Into the Fire, while you're there. Plus the other great contributions.

August 13, 2015

Cover Reveal - Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager

So excited to participate in the cover reveal of NEXT DOOR TO A STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hager! This Young Adult Romance releases September 1st!

NEXT DOOR TO A STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.

After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.

Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte. 

To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…

He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken. 

So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.



Love gone bad.

Is this really what it’s like to live…
Next Door To A Star?


Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

August 10, 2015

August #InkRipples #Giveaway – Things That Drag You Down

What drags you down? I'll tell you what drags me down.

Mean people. People who need to belittle you to feel better about themselves. People who always have to correct you, almost as if they automatically take the counterpoint to feel superior in their opinion. Those who employ name calling, especially when they label everyone in a group by the name (ex: Blondes are dumb ßuh, I know several who aren’t & I know brunettes who are!)

The current temperament online often falls into this description of mean people and it drags me down. The campaigning for the next election has only just begun and I’m worried that I’ll have to abandon the internet altogether long before we go to the polls. So if I suddenly disappear, you’ll know I just had enough. Maybe I’ll return again in 2017.

Okay, so the funny thing is, though I decided that mean people drag me down, the very first thing I thought of when I looked at this topic was the Devil. In the symbolic way that he is down. You know, under us. In hell. So instead of focusing this month’s giveaway on mean people and sort of glorifying them, I've decided to focus on books I’ve read (and one I wrote) that have an aspect of the Underworld. 

One lovely, randomly chosen winner will receive a Kindle copy of the book they enter to win. Read the descriptions. Enter to win any book that intrigues you. Enter as many times as you want. You have until 11:59 pm on August 23rd.

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. 
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My Sister’s Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer

(This book doesn't take place in the Underworld, but I generally associate Reapers with that address)

Sixteen-year-old Zadie's first mistake was telling the boy 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. And to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara's soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister's Reaper, intent on claiming both girls, or let Mara die . . . this time for good. This refreshing paranormal love story envokes a deeper lesson about sisterhood, consequence, and facing one's responsibilities.

A cheerier version of the Underworld
Beware of the White by Kai Strand

     As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Nature’s Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.
     The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves. Until Blanco, leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming, at Terra’s hand. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.
      With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn out how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. 

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. 

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. 

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the second Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

August 5, 2015

#IWSG Wednesday!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of IWSG. Be sure and visit his blog.
The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne,Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia!

I almost forgot about IWSG this month, even though I have a reminder set for 24 hours prior. What did I do yesterday when it went off? I said, "Oh yeah!" and then promptly forgot again. *Sigh*

I'm not feeling particularly insecure about anything at the moment, but I remain uninspired. I sit in front of my WIP(s) and struggle to find the words to move the story forward. I've never had this particular difficulty before. But you know what? I know it will pass. Whether it's brought on by the constant change in my life or from shouldering the burdens of loved ones - whatever is causing a dam in my word stream - I feel confidant that it will go away again. Break up. Float downstream. 

What challenge are you currently facing in your writing career?

August 4, 2015

Release Day Blast: Travelers by Meradeth Houston

Congratulations to Meradeth Houston on the release of TRAVELERS! 

Travelers_Front Cover

Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive. Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die.

Add on Goodreads

Excerpt: I wasn’t sure if I felt more like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I sure wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but it felt like I’d fallen down a rabbit hole.

Another girl outside the stall brushed her hair in the mirror. It took me a second to realize she wore a very prim and proper school uniform, complete with an ugly plaid skirt and pressed shirt. She looked me up and down but said nothing. Though from her head-to-toe inspection of me, she clearly disapproved. 

I scanned the room, trying to figure out what else was different. The mirrors were clean—no random lipstick marks or haze from cosmetic spray. A deeper flare of panic kicked my heart into high gear as I realized Joan had ditched me. I checked the other stalls, each as spotless as the one I materialized into, but other than the other chick at the mirror, I remained alone.

Travelers Release Image 2My hands shook as I pushed my hair away from my face. A sob hitched in my throat, but I forced it down. I had to keep control of myself until I got my butt back where I belonged. Then I could freak out, preferably in the comfort of my room, under my blankets. I’d make a little fort and bring ice cream. My room—I just had to think about my room. Wait, did I even have a room here, wherever I was?

The other girl threw me one last carefully bland look and left the room. Something told me she would go report me to the school authorities. For a second, I thought about trying to catch up to her, but my voice caught in my throat. I took a deep breath and realized if I wanted to get back to my school I needed to figure out where I was. Pronto. I could Travel from here—I didn’t have to know my starting point—but I’d already managed to get myself in the wrong spot once today. The smartest thing to do would be to stay put until I figured out where I’d landed.

Taking a deep breath and clutching my textbook to my chest, I pushed the outside door open. As I glanced around, goose-bumps rose across my back. The layout of this school looked identical to my own. Lockers lined the hallway across from the bathroom door, and the low murmur of voices resonated from the classrooms surrounding me. Of course, there was one big difference. This place was most certainly not a public high school—and not the one I’d left a minute ago.
Travelers Release Image
“There you are. What took you so long?” 

I jumped and stifled a scream as someone addressed me. “Um, I think you have the wrong person.”

I turned and met the boy’s eyes. A rush of blood swirled under my skin. He had the best green eyes. They were also unmistakable. My heart froze in my chest. Joan’s brother, my boyfriend. Dead boyfriend. Alive and kicking—well, currently he laughed and stood a little too close to me. I struggled to breathe.


Now that you're hooked, buy it here: Amazon

Travelers_Meradeth Houston_Author PhotoAbout Meradeth: I’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me: >I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot. Since I now live in Montana, sometimes this is a problem. >I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love. >I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work! >My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since my day job requires me to teach at the local university. >If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Find Meradeth online: Blog: Facebook page: Goodreads authorpage: Twitter: Google+: Amazon: Smashwords: Pinterest: Tumblr: Instagram: Website: