August, 2014

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ATO Stina Lindenblatt

Hey lovelies! We’ve got another #ATO and this one is totally different than what has come before! Author Stina Lindenblatt has got this one all wrapped up in a great and very helpful package! A must check out. Stina the ATO is all you!

Why Be a Statistic?

When LH invited me to write a guest post, I wanted to do something different. My debut book, Tell Me When, is about a college student who had been stalked and kidnapped while in high school. The book deals with the aftermath.

Just prior to the launch of the book (back in January), I had a blog hop to bring awareness to the problem of stalking, which is all too common for high school and college students. People were invited to talk about stalking, and many shared their own horror stories. This included one person who was friends of a friend of someone who was not only stalked, she was buried alive. She died. The stalker is now serving life in a psychiatric prison and will never be released. Her family will never been the same again.

The best way to deal with a stalker is prevention. I was a victim of stalking in university. I learned my lessons the hard way. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a stalking statistic.

  1. Stalking behavior should never be considered harmless infatuation. It can lead to physical and emotional harm to the victim.
  2. When using social media sites, limit what info you give out. Be vague. Don’t mention when you’re away on vacation.
  3. Always be aware of your surroundings. When running or walking, avoid going alone, especially on routes that aren’t busy.
  4. Keep your cell phone charged at all times in case you have to call 9-1-1.
  5. Stalking can include small gifts or notes left for the victim, vandalism, repeated harassment, watching the victim’s every move, going through the victim’s garbage and studying the victim’s social media sites to learn more about the individual.
  6. If you give a stalker a phony phone number as an easy form of rejection, he might misinterpret the real meaning and think you’re interested.
  7. Just say, “No.” If you come up with excuses, the stalker might interpret that as a yes.
  8. If you’re going to meet someone from a chat room, do it in a public place. Better yet, don’t do it at all.
  9. Don’t be predictable. Predictability makes you easy prey.
  10. When not using your computer, turn it off or make sure the camera lens is covered. Stalkers have been known to watch unsuspecting victims this way.
  11. If you feel like you’re being stalked, keep record of all interactions and situations so that you can give them to the police. If a stalker sends you anything, save it as evidence. Keep a record of when it was sent or found, where it was found, and protect it in a Ziploc bag like on CSI.
  12. Once you suspect you’re a victim of stalking, contact the police. Don’t wait for the problem to go away. Often it won’t! If a stalker threatens you, take that threat seriously.
  13. If you are in an abusive relationship, leave and go to a women’s emergency shelter. Hiding out with friends or family could put you and them in further danger if the abuser knows where to find you.
  14. If you’re being stalked, make sure you tell your family so they can be alert to the individual and possible danger to you and them.
  15. If you become a victim of stalking, be your own advocate. Don’t let anyone treat the situation as unimportant. And that includes the police. You have the right to safety. Exercise that right.

I think this was a great topic to post on because I personally have a very good friend who has gone through this. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, so this is a lot of very good, helpful information. I love that Stina did all this research to get all the facts! That is what helps make a great book! 

BLURB

Tell-Me-When-coverAmber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.

She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.

But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.

When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her—and Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.

To buy Tell Me When go to Amazon  or Nook  or  Kobo  or  iBooks

[insert sales banner here]

Sale ends Friday, August 29th.

Tell Me When teaser quote

Tell Me When is a standalone novel, but there is sequel. Let Me Know comes out September 1st.

BIO

Stina-author-photoBorn in England, Stina loves to travel, and has lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. She spent a semester in graduate school living in central Finland, and a summer during her undergrad degree working in Helsinki. She has a Master’s of Science degree in exercise physiologyand has worked with elite athletes. In her free time, Stina is a photographer, mother of three adorable kids, and devoted wife. She currently lives in Calgary, Canada. You can find Stina here:  Website/blog  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

There you have it lovelies! And we also have a rafflecopter going on! Be sure to enter for a chance to win the prize package! 

See y’all next later!

<3 always LH

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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ATO- Ann Videan

 Hey lovelies! Time again for the #ATO We’ve got another cool one today: Ann Videan and her new YA series Song of the Ocarina!

Take it away Ann!

What do movies, involvement of future readers, and bad-boy rock stars in New Zealand have to do with my stories?

I often tell a story, when I speak as an author, about my emotional reactions while watching the movie Back to the Future in 1985.

I found my life’s inspiration in the scene where Marty’s dad receives his box of books. I remember watching Biff running in the front door, carrying a large cardboard box yelling, “Mr. McFly! Mr. McFly, this just arrived… I think it’s your new book.” The whole family gathers around to admire George’s first novel.

In my mind, a choir sang Hallelujah as he brought forth the first volume from the box. I remember thinking, as I sat in the dark of the theatre, “Someday, I’m going have my own box of books, just like George McFly.”

As a fun aside, I went to college at Arizona State University in the late 1970s with the actor who played the role of Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Tom and I were movie buddies, and I adored his sense of humor. He now does stand-up comedy and voice-over work, among many other creative endeavors. I saw him for the first time on the big screen in Back to the Future and I was thrilled to witness his big break.

I actually experienced my own George McFly moment in 2011 when I received my box of Rhythms & Muse, my first self-published women’s fiction novel.

Not only was finishing a book a thrill, but the experience of self-publishing — doing everything myself except editing and front-cover art — also brought me a new skill set to provide to clients. I’ve owned Videan Unlimited, my own home-based marketing firm, since 1996. Now, in my day job, I help other writers and entrepreneurs write, edit, self-publish and generate word-of-mouth marketing.

This broad marketing background led to a unique aspect in the writing of my pending second novel, Song of the Ocarina. Before I get into all that, though, let me give you a quick synopsis to give you an idea of what it’s about. Here’s the blurb:

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“Desperate to understand her place in the world, teenage musical prodigy Lark Tūrehu unwittingly follows her handsome music teacher Noel Stone into the parallel realm of Delfaerune. With her extreme height and long, silver-white hair, she already considers herself a freak in her Queenstown, New Zealand university, so how can she possibly deal with the added burden of her role as the Noble Fae’s leading musical spell caster?

Not only must she retrieve and master the Kura Ocarina to earn the title of the realm’s “Maestra,” but the faefolk expect her to use the ancient wind instrument to save the human race from extinction at the hands of the Dark Fae.”

This first book in my Delfaerune Rhapsody series represents writing in a new genre for me. It’s a new-adult fantasy — geared to readers aged 18 to 25. So, from a marketing perspective, I felt I needed to look at some different, creative avenues to involve my new audience members. A key aspect of word-of-mouth marketing involves engaging your audience in the process of what you’re creating. So, as I went along, I started asking future readers and young adults I encountered to provide input into the story, with the promise of including their name on my Acknowledgements page.

I requested and received input for a set of Roshambo (rock, paper, scissors) symbols and hand gestures for my Fae characters’ use. Readers sent in their favorite songs to add to Lark’s ever-present iPod playlists. They also shared recipes to feed my vegetarian Fae at parties and events described in the story.

A unique marketing aspect for my Rhythms & Muse story in 2011 was a complementary music CD of five original songs I composed and performed. I plan to compile an original music “soundtrack” for Song of the Ocarina, too. This time, though, I will enlist the talent of a couple young rock bands to help me create the music. You can also watch for a Spotify playlist of all the nearly fifty songs that come up in the story.

Through all this input and exploration I discovered I love, love, love creating new worlds, especially for young-adult fantasy stories. In this series, I got to create a fresh, unique world where music joins with Earth energy to conjure balance among all creatures, extinct and mythical creatures talk and live peacefully, and the Dark Fae bad boys — like Mikk, Kert and Axyl — pattern themselves after burned-out human rock stars.

The setting played a key role in the story as well. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting than New Zealand in which to place my story. My family visited the country in 2008, and I completely fell in love with everything about it. The beauty. The power of nature everywhere. Its straightforward people. Its sense of other-worldness. The sheer magic of the place spoke to me.

It helped me develop the way the magic works — or doesn’t — in a fantasy world. If you’d like a full description of how the magic works, here’s a link to a Song of the Ocarina excerpt from my ANVidean.com blog

So, now you know how my writing was influenced by Back to the Future, bad-boy rock stars, and New Zealand. I hope you enjoy the input provided by my future readers once the book is complete. Watch for it next month on Amazonat www.tinyurl.com/ANVamazon.

Win my second copy of Song of the Ocarina!

When I open my box filled with copies of Song of the Ocarina, I will lift out a copy for me, of course. The next copy I lift out could be yours…signed, sealed, and delivered. J

If you comment about this post on either Ann Narcisian Videan’s or L.H. Nichole’s blogs or Facebook pages, you become eligible to win the second copy of this new-adult fantasy adventure. It’s book one in my pending Delfaerune Rhapsody series.

We will pick the winner at random from among the comments received on these sites:

1174-ann.cropAnn Narcisian Videan is the author/singer/songwriter of Rhythms & Muse a women’s fiction novel and accompanying music soundtrack. Currently, she’s writing the Delfaerune Rhapsody Series, a trilogy of young-adult fantasy adventure novels about an 18-year-old New Zealander who discovers she’s the fae musical prodigy who must retrieve and master three ancient instruments to save her worlds. Ann also serves as a fiction editor for sweet-romance publisher Desert Breeze Publishing, writes and edits marketing content for authors and visionary entrepreneurs, and offers a 30-year marketing background focused on strategic word-of-mouth consulting. Find her at anvidean.com, videanunlimited.com, her blog and LinkedIn

 Alright alright! What a cool post right? Not gonna lie, I’m one of Ann’s critique partners, so I’ve read this book with a red pen. I gotta say, it’s a good one! Perfect for Fantasy lovers.

late lovelies

<3 always LH

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Legendary peak scene

Got another one for you lovelies! Here’s one of my favorite clips of what could be taken as pretty intense scene! Hope you enjoy it!

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“Can your camera capture a human’s image in the same way?” His eyes sparkled with curiosity.

She knew she shouldn’t, but she really wanted a picture of Galahad. “Yes, let me show you.” She pulled the camera off her shoulder and stood, adjusting the settings for night time and pointed the camera at him.

“Stop, my lady!” he ordered.

She did, confused by the sudden change in his demeanor. “What’s wrong?”

Galahad remained silent and it dawned on her—when photography had first been invented, many cultures thought that it would take a part of a person’s soul. Tho
ugh that was long after his time, he might think the same. He was probably afraid it would take a part of him.

“Galahad, I won’t deny that a picture takes a fragment of a person, but it’s not what you’re thinking. Can I show you? Please.” She used her big kitten eyes on him. She wanted him to understand the thing she loved the most—and he would be amazing in her photos.

He let out a small sigh, slowly nodding his head. Aliana bit back a smile as she snapped a few frames, making sure to capture his beautiful eyes.

“All done,” she announced. “Now, did that hurt?”

The corners of Galahad’s mouth turned up in a smile.

If you liked this little clip, then I suggest you check out more! (I wrote it, so of course I suggest you read more ;P ) You can go to my Legendary Saga tab up top and read the prologue of Legendary for free.

Or you can buy Legendary here: Amazon   or   Barnes and Noble

Review and add to your TBR list on Goodreads or even get a signed DIGITAL copy from me on authorgraph!

<3 always LH

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ATO- PJ Sharon

Hey Lovelies! Time for this week’s ATO! PJ Sharon has come a calling with her newest YA contemporary novel, Pieces of Love. Even cooler, PJ is going to be talking about music and how it relates to her book and writing! Award winning author AND she can compose music? Double WOW! Check her out ;P But lets start with a little about her book first! And, like always we’ve got giveaways! One person who comments, and leaves a valid email address will get to choose 1 of PJ’s many books (HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, SAVAGE CINDERELLA, PIECES OF LOVE, WANING MOON, or WESTERN DESERT ) AND will get a copy of Legendary!

Sixteen year-old Alexis Hartman wants nothing more than to smoke pot and play guitar. Getting high and escaping into her music seems the perfect solution when her world is shPJSharon_PiecesOfLove_800pxattered by her sister’s death. But when she’s arrested for possession a second time, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Her mother’s breakdown is the final straw that forces Lexi to spend the summer on the West Coast with her grandmother, Maddie. When Lexi steps over the line one too many times, she’s certain her life is over and that she’s destined for juvenile detention—until Maddie decides that desperate measures are called for. A three week Mediterranean cruise—for seniors.

Eighteen year-old Ethan Kaswell, the poster child for good sons, is stranded on the cruise when his father, a famous heart surgeon, is called away. With his own life perfectly mapped out, Ethan finds Lexi’s unpredictability irresistible. Although he’s smart enough to see that there is no future in falling for a “vacation crush,” Lexi’s edgy dark side draws him like an anchor to the bottom of the sea. As the two embark on the journey of a lifetime, will Lexi finally learn to love someone—even when she has to let them go?

Let the ATO officially begin!

Thanks for allowing me to hang out with your readers today, L.H. I’m happy to be here to chat about two of my favorite things…books and music! I’ve been an avid reader since I could string together a few words to make a sentence, and from my earliest memories I connected books with music. Remember all those nursery rhymes you learned as a child? Or the hymns you learned in church that maybe touched your soul in a way that helped you understand God in a new light? Without the tune, would you be able to recall the words? For me, the words don’t have the same meaning without the melody, nor would I likely be able to hear the message as well. You know what I mean. Don’t you have a playlist or theme song that comes into your head whenever you’re reading/writing a new book?

Music, like beautiful art, is visceral. Songs connect you intimately to the character/story, and every time you hear that song again, you immediately think of the book and your heart sings. It’s almost like the emotions evoked in the story connect with a particular emotion brought to life in a song, and together they strengthen the connection we feel to the characters.

I remember this being significantly meaningful when I was a teenager. A rock and roll, pop, folk, rap, emo soundtrack (take your pick), can get even the surliest teens through hormonal upheaval. Getting lost in my books and escaping into music helped me through some of the most difficult transitions ever! Books and music gave me a way to connect with the world in a safe way and make sense of life…to make me feel less alone.

So in writing Lexi’s story in PIECES of LOVE, a contemporary YA romance, I considered the ways in which she could express the pain of losing her sister to an alcohol overdose in college. I decided that since teens often turn to music as well as drugs to escape into themselves, I needed to write a song for Lexi, who is a gifted guitarist and singer who is too afraid to pursue her dreams for fear of leaving behind the memory of her sister. She’s been using pot to escape dealing with her grief and it is leading her down a slippery slope.

No, I’ve never written music before, but I loved writing poetry as a teenager and I did plenty of my own escaping into drugs and alcohol. Getting in touch with that part of me again was a beautiful thing. Painful, but beautiful. The best part is that a songwriter was born. I have a decent voice—thanks to four years of voice lessons with the fabulous Myrna Reynolds, but I don’t read music and haven’t a clue about music theory. Despite these limitations, the song, PIECES of LOVE was written on a half hour lunch break!

It immediately came to me that the words needed to be put to music. Taking a step in faith, I played with notes and tunes in my head until I could string them together to fit the words. It’s difficult to explain where it comes from—just like fiction writing or any kind of art—but I will say that it doesn’t happen unless you are willing to try something new—like learning to read as a child. Stepping out of your comfort zone, thinking outside the box…it’s what creative people do. A step in faith and believing you can do it. That’s what it takes to become whatever you want to be. That was the message I wanted to share with Lexi and with teen readers (a message that many of us adults need to hear as well). I immediately downloaded a recording app onto my phone and recorded the song so I wouldn’t forget it. With the help of a few musician friends, I was able to create a rather sweet theme song for the book and use it in the book trailer.

The song is available in its entirety on i-Tunes.

 

I’m obviously not alone in making the connection between books, music and teens. There are a slew of YA books out there these days that do just that. Goodreads has a list of over 270 of them! https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2142.YA_Music_Books

From Tawny Stokes, STATIC, to Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s, NICK and NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, music is now at the heart of much of teen fiction. BEIGE author, Cecil Castellucci, in this interview with the Los Angeles Times, names eight such novels, all with a rock and roll theme. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2009/08/cecil-castellucci-picks-young-adult-books-that-rock.html

Jody Piccoult has gone as far as to offer an entire CD along with her novel SING YOU HOME. With audiobooks also gaining momentum for busy readers, I suspect there will be many more artists spreading their wings and writing/recording music into their teen stories. After all, isn’t that the best part of what we do? Create indelible connections between readers and our characters, offer inspiration, and provide that safe haven where escape can lead to our very salvation.

PJ Sharon is the award winning author of contemporary young adult novels, including PIECES of LOVE, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, winner of the 2013 HOLT Medallion Award and the 2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She is excitedly working on 2013 RWA conference picThe Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, a YA Dystopian trilogy. WANING MOON, Book One in the trilogy, was a finalist in both the 2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient. Book Two, Western Desert released in June of 2013 and was a finalist in both the Winter Rose contest and Write Touch Readers contest. Watch for Book Three in the fall of 2014.

Writing young adult fiction since 2007 and following her destiny to write romantic and hopeful stories for teens, PJ is a member of Romance Writers of America, CTRWA, and YARWA. She is mother to two grown sons and lives with her husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA. 

Follow PJ on Twitter:@pjsharon      http://www.twitter.com/pjsharon

“Like” PJ on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks

Well there you have it lovelies! Such a cool, fun and unique ATO today! Much thanks to PJ for taking over and putting up a great prize! You’ve got until Aug 16th to leave a comment here or on PJ’s pages to be entered. AND DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A VALID EMAIL!

Late lovelies!

<3 always LH

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Legendary Teaser

Hey lovelies! Got something special for y’all

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“Who are you?” Aliana and Galahad demanded at the same time.

The lady cackled. “My dear, you did not think that you would simply walk in and awaken him, did you?” She stepped closer. “You have done well with the first two tests, but there is one more you must pass to prove yourself worthy of claiming the title of the Destined One.” Her aged smoky, sultry voice scraped over Aliana’s skin.

“What do you mean test? Are you responsible for that disaster zone back there?” Aliana could almost feel the old woman’s cold smile.

“That disaster zone as you call it was to test your wit and ability to think under dire circumstances. There are still tasks ahead that require both. Your first test was to find the courage to face the unknown and free the lord knight and your guardian. King Arthur’s champion cannot lack the traits he had in abundance.”

Aliana wanted to roll her eyes, but she wouldn’t put it past this lady to do something terrible to her for it.

Hope you enjoyed this little snip it form Legendary and the meme that was created!

You can buy Legendary here: Amazon   or   Barnes and Noble

Review and add to your TBR list on Goodreads or even get a signed DIGITAL copy from me on authorgraph!

<3 always LH

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