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Big News!

As some of you may know, I’ve been pretty ‘blogga-non-grata’ since I started college last summer. I’ve been trying to keep up with life and all the promotional stuff that goes with being an Indie author, while keeping up with my homework, writing new books, and still doing all that stuff that daily life demands that I do.

Basically, I have learned that suck at doing all of it. Well, at the ‘keeping up’ part. The only thing I have really kept up with is my school work.

I have been thinking lately, about how much I have learned …

When I first started thinking about putting my first novel, Between Octobers, out into the universe I found the whole idea daunting.

I was scared of what people would say about this thing  I had spent years secretly pouring my heart into. I had no idea what to do or how to go about getting a book deal.

I had no idea all the work that came after typing “The End.”

The questions were overwhelming:

How does one go about getting a book deal? What is the process like?

Where can I find free resources to help me with the things I don’t know how to do?

As a new writer with no experience, I had no idea all the aspects of writing that came after the words, “The End.” And, honest to God, I wouldn’t have learned a thing if there weren’t so many talented writers and authors out there giving their own little nuggets of wisdom through their own blogs.

And you what they say, “those who can’t DO, teach.” 

So, I have decided to start a How-To blog series on how to do all of the things a new author needs to do. Starting from scratch.

Developing a story. Taking your story from idea to the page. Perfecting that manuscript, building your social media platform, writing the perfect blurb, landing a literary agent–if you think you need one, and hopefully sealing a publishing deal. And all the scary steps in between!

The series begins on Monday, so stay tuned! 

 

Week 8: Summer Audiobook Giveaway

Happy Thursday!

Below are the week 8 audiobook selections. This week’s audiobooks look very interesting to me, specifically the selection by W.E.B. DuBios, as I took a Sociology class last fall and found him fascinating.

Free from SYNC Summer Reading program:

 

By Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Read by Kyla Garcia

The Red Umbrella is a moving tale of a 14-year-old girl’s journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro’s revolution.

In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. And soon, Lucía’s parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

The Red Umbrella is a touching story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.


By W.E.B. Du Bois

Read by Rodney Gardiner

A cornerstone of African-American literary history, The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work by W. E. B. Du Bois. Originally published in 1903, it contains many essays on race and equality, but is also a piece of seminal history as laying the groundwork for the field of sociology. Some of the essays in the novel were even previously published by the Atlantic Monthly magazine. When writing, Du Bois drew from his personal experiences as an African-American in America to highlight the issues of prejudice that were still going on into the 20th century.

Summer Giveaway! Free Audio Books!

 

So you’ve heard me go on and on about the SYNC Audiobooks Summer Reading Program, right?  If you remember, every week in the summer, they give away a pair of audiobooks. Usually fiction and non. Mostly YA, but it’s really great YA.

All you need is a working pair of ears (or just one) and the Overdrive Media App, that you can get absolutely free here.

Well, I have been very behind in my blogging for several months now, and I haven’t talked at all about the audiobooks being given away this summer. So, you’ll find all the info you need below. And since the giveaway for the first two books ends tomorrow, I’m posting Week 7’s Giveaway below, so be sure to read all the way down!

SYNC Selections for week 6 (June 1-6):

 

Beast, by Donna Jo Napoli | Read by Robert Ramirez
Published by Recorded Books
Young Persian Prince Orasmyn lives a peaceful life of quiet duty and thoughtful obedience. Tending his fragrance garden gives him much more pleasure than the bloody royal hunts staged by his father. But a single wrong decision sets in motion an ancient curse that changes Orasmyn’s fate forever. Told he will be killed by his own father, he is transformed into a lion on the day of a great hunt. The prince has no choice but to flee beloved Persia and his precious family. Balancing his fading human memories with his new beastly impulses, he makes his way to Europe-where his destiny awaits in the person of a French beauty named Belle. Donna Jo Napoli once again weaves the magic she has shown in books like Crazy Jack and Zel, transforming a well-known fairy tale into an unforgettable epic of duty, love, and redemption. Robert Ramirez’s narration captures all the anguish and struggle of Orasmyn’s quest to regain his humanity.

 

Of Beast And Beauty, by Stacey Jay | Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Tantor Media
It’s pointless. Hopeless. Even if she weren’t afraid of me, we’ll always be enemies at the core . . .

In the city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra is raised to be a human sacrifice. Her death will ensure her city’s vitality.

In the desert, a mutant beast named Gem fights to save his people, known as the Monstrous, from starvation.

Neither dreams that, together, they can return balance to their worlds. When Gem is captured for trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, he becomes a prisoner of the city. Isra enlists his help, and soon begins to care for him—and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

She’s a queen; I’m her prisoner. I am her monster and she is mine.


SYNC Selections for week 7 (June 8-15):

If I Run, by Terri Blackstock | Read by Nan Gurley

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore. But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run? Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Plus One, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Elizabeth Fama
A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law. Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays, who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol concocts a plan to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to take the baby to visit her dying grandfather. Sol’s violation of the day/night curfew is already a serious crime, but when her kidnap attempt goes awry, she stumbles on a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population. Sol escapes the authorities with an unexpected ally: a Ray who gets in her way, a boy she might have hated if fate hadn’t forced them on the run together—a boy the world now tells her she can’t love. Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama’s Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.


Hope you enjoy the audiobooks. But if audiobooks aren’t your thing, you can always try finding them at your local library or on Kindle Unlimited.
Reading is exercise for the brain!
Until next week …

Flash Fiction Friday: Re-post Part 4

Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis: Part 4

It had been several weeks and still Dee was jobless. Her best friend, Layla, was convinced Dee was doing something wrong. The other day, when Dee dropped by her house for a visit, the two friends were standing in the kitchen as Layla leaned against the counter, beer in hand, grilling Dee.

“You complain about not finding a job, but are you really looking? Because there are jobs out there. I know a guy who works with Steve. He’s a teacher, looking for an aide.”

Dee knew who she was talking about. Well, sort of. She’d never met the drama teacher, Mr. Collins, but she’d heard about him plenty. Layla had asked about setting Dee up with the guy.

“I want a job like the one I used to have. In publishing.” Dee tipped her beer glass up, downing the last few gulps.

Layla waved her hand dismissively at Dee. “I’m trying to help. Not set you up. Although, if I were single….” She didn’t finish, but changed the subject. “I want you to come out with me tonight.”

“Where?”

Layla opened the refrigerator. Pulling out two more bottles of Blue Moon she answered in a deep, television narrator-type voice. “Jimmy’s Pizza is proudly hosting The Corporate Games.”

Dee laughed. “What?”

Layla popped the top off the first bottle and began refilling her friends glass. “Steve and I got invited to the school’s annual game night. Basically, it’s a bunch of high school staffers acting like teenagers. They separate the staff into teams of three or four and all of them have to play Guitar Hero.”

Dee laughed again. “No. I’m not doing that.”

Layla shook her head. “I don’t expect you to. I’m not doing it either. But it’s a chance to hang out and eat free pizza, courtesy Los Angeles Unified. And we get to watch all the teachers make fools of themselves.”

Dee thought about it while sipping at her beer.

“Alright. I’ll go,” she consented, with one condition. “But just to watch.”

Jimmy’s Pizza was not easy to find. Even Google was getting it wrong. The kind voice of the GPS kept telling Dee to go into a Denny’s parking lot. She drove around the block a few times before finally spotting the small, short sign half-hidden by an overgrown Oleander shrub. Apparently, Jimmy was quite confident in his pizza making capabilities and didn’t need to worry about minor things like foot traffic and street visibility. The place was small, with low ceilings and was located right behind the Denny’s restaurant.

The front door opened into the alley. The parking was non-existent. The outside lights were flickering and Dee was sure she saw a group of teenagers drinking at the corner.

The pizza had better be worth it. Dee thought, stealing into a compact space on the corner across from the restaurant.

When Dee opened the front door, there was row after row of long family-style tables in a long room. The center of the long room, was a tall projector and screen. And a Playstation. Dee noted a small group of people in brightly colored punk-rock wigs fiddling around with wires and instrument shaped controllers as she got in line to place her order.

Just before her turn at the window, Dee heard her name being called. It was Layla. She was waving from the end of a long table across the room, near the bar. Dee could see Layla pointing to a large pizza in the middle of her table.

The pizza is free, Dee remembered and set off for the table.

The two friends stuffed their faces and people-watched as the semi-empty restaurant filled up. Dee caught echoes of conversations from all over the room. It seemed every teacher from nearly every high school in the area was present. There were History teachers discussing their political affiliations, several English teachers talking about Romeo and Juliet—which film version they preferred to show once the class was done reading the play—and several other conversations which had nothing at all to do with school or work. The one Dee honed in on was taking place behind her. It was the voices of two men standing nearby. Their hushed tones indicated they were having a private conversation, but rather than deterring Dee’s interest, it piqued.

“… and I can’t figure out why.”

“Wait. You mean she left? Like, for good?”

A pregnant pause had Dee holding her breath, wondering if the responder had nodded his head—yes, or shook it—no.

 “When?”

“Three weeks ago.”

So it was a yes. Someone—a woman—left one of the men who were standing behind her.

“She must have said something—gave some indication. Wives don’t just leave without a reason.”

Dee’s heart thrummed wildly. His marriage ended? How devastating. She shouldn’t be listening. She knew that. But she couldn’t stop herself. Obscene curiosity was one of her many flaws. Hearing other peoples stories made her want to write her own. She lived for that inspiration.

“She did. Give a reason.” The tone of this stranger’s voice was so soft, so poignant, it made her bones ache.

“Are you going to tell me what it was?” The second man asked, obviously just as nosey as Dee herself—only difference being, he had a right to be. He was the one being confided in.

“No.” Sort of.

There was some mumbling, some shuffling and Dee realized that the pair behind her was moving. As she turned her head, she noticed that she’d been leaning far over; an unconscious effort to hear the strangers conversing.

She was the reason they were leaving.

Lifting her gaze, Dee only saw their backs. Even so, she noted that one of the men was clearly older than the other—having thinning grey hair. And the younger man had longer hair, probably down to his shoulders, she assumed but couldn’t be sure since it was pulled back into a low ponytail.

And then Dee had a sudden hunch that she knew that long-haired stranger, een though she’d never seen his face.

What’s Free This Week!

 

Today marks the beginning of week 5 in Sync Audiobooks FREE summer reading programNumber-5

Below, I’ve listed this weeks selections, available through 6/9!


by David Ring, John Driver | Read by Paul Michael

Published by christianaudio

In 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a baby boy was born—dead. The attending physician set his little body aside and tended to his mother for eighteen minutes. Now, more than sixty years later, that boy leads an internationally known ministry that encourages hundreds of thousands every year. The Boy Born Dead tells his incredible story from the perspective of his best friend, David Wideman.

As a teenager in the small town of Liberty, Missouri, in the late 1960s, David Ring grew up with the challenges that come with cerebral palsy, a result of his eighteen minutes of newborn silence. Along with his physical limitations, Ring was orphaned and shuffled from home to home, finally landing in an abusive situation that made him feel unworthy of love and, eventually, unworthy of life. But God had a purpose for Ring’s life, and sent an agent to help him achieve it. Through the friendship of David Wideman, a boy he met in the halls of Liberty High School, Ring found strength he didn’t know he had and went on to face his demons, marry the love of his life, and start an international speaking ministry.

Full of hope, this moving story illustrates how friendship and love triumph over adversity. Anyone who faces tough times will treasure this story of hope and courage.


(This one i am really excited about because I love Trent Reedy’s Divided We Fall Trilogy!)

by Trent Reedy | Read by Ariana Delawari

Published by Scholastic Audio

Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her—”Inshallah,” God willing.

Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha—but can she dare to hope they’ll come true?


There you have it, folks!

Remember to use the free Overdrive Media Console app to download and enjoy these free audiobooks and after you’re finished with them . . .

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Week #2 Freebies

Yeah! It’s Friday! You know what that means …

Suit-UP

Okay. That’s a great guess …. But actually, I was referring to the SYNC Summer audiobook program. It’s week #2 and that means more free audiobooks! If listening to free audiobooks isn’t your thing, you can click the link in the titles to get the books on amazon (which is not free).

This weeks pairing of popular YA fiction and classic literature are:

THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER By Melinda Salisbury 

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.

As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems.

The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies—a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?


DIVINE COLLISION By Jim Gash

Los Angeles lawyer and law professor, Jim Gash, tells the amazing true story of how, after a series of God-orchestrated events, he finds himself in the heart of Africa defending a courageous Ugandan boy languishing in prison and wrongfully accused of two separate murders.

Ultimately, their unlikely friendship and unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda’s criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives and unearthing a friendship that supersedes circumstance, culture and the walls we often hide behind.


Your opinion matters. wpid-img_20150516_142017.jpg

Book reviews are like literary oxygen: authors need them. So if you’ve read a book you love, even one that isn’t mine, go to amazon or goodreads, and let the authors and potential readers know what you think!

 

It’s That Time Of Year Again

Time for the SYNC Audiobook Summer Program! 

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In case you’ve new to the blog, I’ll explain:

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. Running May 5th – August 17th 2016, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week (30 titles) – pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes.  In 2014, 26 titles were given away over 13 weeks. In 2015, 28 titles were given away over 14 weeks.

Last Friday was the kick-off date for this summer’s audiobook giveaway. You can get both of the following titles free, now through  05/12:


The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild

The Scopes Trial, over the right to teach evolution in public schools, reaffirmed the importance of intellectual freedom as codified in the Bill of Rights. The trial, in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925, set the stage for ongoing debates over the separation of Church and State in a democratic society—debates that continue to this day. Peter Goodchild used transcripts from the trial to create this intense docudrama.

 

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.


 

That title is paired with:

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country road trip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivian Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.


Remember, you’ll need an Overdrive Media App to play these free titles!

Don’t have it? Don’t worry! That’s free too!

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Click the link to get Overdrive on your phone, tablet, kindle, or PC. The app offers free cloud storage and doesn’t take up much space on your device.

JNawx6QAND, Overdrive can be used for more than just listening to free audiobooks. It’s also the leading Library app in the nation. If you’ve got a library card, all you have to do is find your library inside the app and click it. Then punch in your card number and BAM! You’ve got access to your local library’s ebook and audiobook collections.

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Week 2 titles…..

 

 

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