IAM Guest Post…Why I Write YA

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest post on about why she writes YA books is by lovely author Ron C. Nieto. We featured a cover reveal for Shattered Silence earlier in 2013, which is Book 2 in the Ghostly Rhapsody series.

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Ron C. Nieto is a fantasy and romance author who has been writing in her secluded fortress for the longest time. Recently, she had a talk with her cat and decided that she should share her creations, because it was selfish to hoard them all for herself.

Why do I write YA?

Because it’s my very own version of Dorian Grey’s portrait: allows me to live vicariously through my characters and be forever seventeen. Mwahahahaha!

Or perhaps not.

You know, the first time I thought about writing YA I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, genre wise. It looks like a ridiculous question now but I spent my teen years reading Homer, Walter Scott and Dostoevsky, so… forgive my ignorance?

The truth is that time passed, I began to read what most normal teenagers do (albeit in my twenties) and, suddenly, YA happened. Only after I had completed my first draft and had gone a first round of revisions and edits I began to consider the “Why” of it:

I realized I wanted to say something.

Which might sound obvious, but cheekiness aside, it isn’t. Up until I began writing YA, I thought I only wanted to tell a story, to meet new characters and have a fun time. Then, all of a sudden, I had this bunch of ideas about love and about dreams and about fighting chances, and my characters wanted to do something more than taking a stroll: they wanted to be passionate, and a little bit crazy, and they weren’t scared of crashing down every time they took a leap.

And when you think about it… isn’t that what being young is all about?

If I remember correctly, ten years ago I saw the world painted in extremes of happiness and sorrow, love was the greatest thing of all, trust was something earned and given over a shared laugh and a can of coke, and if a cause was good enough to believe in it, then it was good enough to fight for it. These days I’m much calmer. I think about crisis and about making it to the end of the month. Worst of all, I usually double-check when confronted with an act of kindness, looking for the catch.

I think I’m not the only one who changed like that overtime. I think it’s happened to all of us—it’s this dreadful thing called “growing up”. And I can’t help but believe that those golden, teen years were much purer, more… genuine.

I write YA because I want to remember what it was to be “me”, to care for the truly important things like friends and crushes and annoying family members. Because I want my older readers (yes, I know a lot of you are there!) to remember, to go back a little and rescue those feelings.

And because looking back, in my memories everything was simpler and easier… but when I was living those memories, some silly things were huge, so I want my younger readers to see themselves in perspective, to find themselves in my stories, to hopefully entertain them and maybe, just maybe, change them a little too, so they stay true without all the extra grief involved.

It took me a lot of time and effort to realize it, but I think I write YA, quite simply, because I need it.

Silent Song

   The princess of the school, Alice, is keeping a secret that could strip her of her high school fame. She is obsessed with the school’s outcast, Keith, but not just him – his music. 

   Since the inspiration for the song hit, Keith can’t get it out of his mind. The song must be played; it demands to be played. He knows the music is changing him, but he is unable to stop it. 

   Music has the ability to move you, enlighten you, and take you to places you have never dreamed of. And this particular piece? It has a life of its own and makes you forget who you really are. 

   As Keith and Alice learn of one another to the notes of that one perfect tune, they can overlook their roles and discover who they could be together. But they also discover someone else is listening and intends on keeping Keith to herself, possibly for an eternity.

 

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Author website
Twitter account
GoodReads profile

IAM Book of the Day…Saving Saffron Sweeting

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest author is Pauline Wiles and we’re featuring her novel Saving Saffron Sweeting – with a mini-interview and peek at the book, there’s plenty to see!

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About the Author and Mini-Interview

 British by birth, Pauline Wiles moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Saving Saffron Sweeting is her first novel.

Night owl or early bird? Early bird. I like to give the day a good talking to, before it runs away with me.

One food you would never eat? Escargot – snails – really do not appeal to me.

What was your favorite book when you were younger? Sparkle the Pony. This was followed by The Digging-est Dog and then anything by Enid Blyton.

What is your favorite Quote? It’s never too late to be what you might have been. True, I’m only 41, but I wish I’d been blessed with knowing my purpose in life when I was 18!

Who are your favorite authors of all time? Enid Blyton and Jane Austen.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. This applies to so much in life, especially these days when I think we’re all becoming more impatient and technology seems to reduce the need to wait for gratification.

Cats or Dogs? Dogs. They’re less moody and more loyal. Also, they’re more likely to keep you company on a three mile run.

Favourite quote from a movie? Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end. ~ Sonny, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

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Saving Saffron Sweeting - Cover

   Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.

   The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness?

With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website: http://www.paulinewiles.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17411115-saving-saffron-sweeting
Facebook: www.facebook.com/scribinglimey
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/paulinewiles

IAM Excerpt…from ‘Bronze’ by B B Shepherd

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest author is B B Shepherd and we’re featuring her YA novel Bronze (The Glister Journals). Earlier this week we posted an interview with her, and now you can check out an excerpt from Bronze…

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 Synopsis 

Allison Anderson is a normal but not exactly average fourteen year old girl. She knows she’s a little different, but it hadn’t bothered her too much—until now. Moving away from everything she has ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it’s her first year of high school too. She’s more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn’t seem to trust or like her at all. Can they be friends? She’s been the victim of bullying in the past. Can she trust them? While her peaceful new home only amplifies her doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem. Her world is turned upside-down by these and other new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!

Bronze

Bronze

Excerpt from the first chapter of Bronze

 

I slowly put the sketchbook down, took the earphones out, and turned my complete attention to the dog. It likewise faced fully toward me and stood, panting, as if waiting for a cue.

“Come here,” I said in a soft voice, patting my leg encouragingly.

The dog stopped panting for a moment, its head coming up and ears twitching forward as if to encourage me in return. I laughed a little and continued to talk in the quiet voice, telling it how pretty it was, and wouldn’t it like to come and see me? It hopped through the decorative split-rail fence at the edge of the yard and walked calmly toward me. As it got closer it began wriggling, its stub of tail seeming to wag its whole body. I was struck by its beautiful, pale blue eyes.

“Who are you?” I asked it.

The dog was so fluffy I couldn’t even tell if it was male or female. I waited for it to sniff my hand which was resting against my knee, then reached to the top of its head and scratched. It tried to lick my face and I laughed again, scratching a little more roughly around its ears and neck. We sat together for quite some time, me stroking and scratching the lovely, soft fur, and the dog obviously basking in the attention, occasionally taking the opportunity to lick my hand, my leg, and continuing to try to lick my face if I bent too close.

It was leaning contentedly against my leg as I stroked it and I was wondering where it had come from—probably from a neighboring property—when the dog’s ears perked up and its shoulders tensed. Its body didn’t move, but its attention turned toward the street and the direction it had come from. After a moment I could hear an engine, a high, uneven revving approaching from that direction, and a rider on a motorcycle came into view around the corner in the road. As he slowly drew closer, the engine noise dropped to a lower, even drone. He was looking from side to side, ahead, and sometimes behind as he drove. He had almost passed the house when he caught sight of me, looked away, did a quick double take, rode the bike in almost a full circle in the middle of the road, then sat staring at me, legs to the ground, his bike idling.

I realized at once, of course, that it was the sight of the dog which had caught his attention, not me, but that didn’t stop my cheeks from feeling like they had burst into flames. It wasn’t a response I was used to and I hoped that he wouldn’t be able to notice it that far away, or that my sunburn was covering it. I thought he was the most attractive boy I’d ever seen. It was difficult to tell how tall he was, but the one jeans-clad leg I could see looked long and slim, and the tanned arms holding the handlebars of the motorcycle were very well-muscled for someone who didn’t look too much older than myself. I guessed he was probably about sixteen, but could have been older. I would be turning fifteen in January, but was sure I looked about twelve.

The boy’s hair was a medium brown and even at this distance I could see highlights of a lighter shade. It was a little on the long side, longer than most of the boys I’d gone to school with anyway, and slightly wavy. His face was tanned too, and while I couldn’t tell the color of his eyes, his eyebrows were dark and finely shaped. From what I could tell, at this distance and with my imperfect vision, he looked really cute.

My mind was racing. Should I just sit here? Maybe he was waiting for me to do something. Should I stand up? Not a good idea. Long expanses of skinny burned flesh with welts and scratches from my ramble the other day could hardly be attractive. He probably wouldn’t see them from the road, but I knew they were there. Should I talk to him?

Um . . . hello . . . is this your dog?’ Of course it was his dog. Why else would he even be looking over here? That would sound way too stupid.

Um . . . nice dog. What’s its name?’ I’d have to yell if I wanted him to really hear me. I didn’t like yelling. My voice would probably crack and squeak; it always did if I tried to talk loudly.

The next thing I knew, he gave a loud, high-pitched whistle—I was impressed that he didn’t have to use his fingers in his mouth to do it—revved his engine twice, and raced back down the street the way he had come. The dog hadn’t shown any inclination to move until hearing the whistle, though it had been watching the boy the whole time. Now it didn’t hesitate or look back at me, but tore after him and soon disappeared from sight.

For some unknown reason, I shivered violently—then mentally slapped myself. I was such a wimp. My friend Brenda was always telling me so. Sometimes I was a dork and a couple of times I had thought her on the verge of calling me a loser, but she was right. I had no social skills to speak of and absolutely zero experience with boys. And, so far, prospects for change didn’t look good.

Aside from Writing: Remember to enter the MASSIVE book giveaway here on the blog, where you could win books by all our featured authors!

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Series website: http://www.theglisterjournals.com/

Author’s Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4984592.B_B_Shepherd

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780982893609

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982893612

IAM Guest Post…Why I Read Indie Authors

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest post about why she reads indie is by Adrianna Stepiano, author of the Memoir of a Mermaid series.

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Recently, I was carrying on a perfectly random conversation with a woman at a dollar store. The conversation began while we were standing in front of a bin of $1 books–mostly novels. In her opinion, the books were not worth reading, her reasoning was based solely on the price of the book. She said as she carelessly tossed the paperbacks around, “Nope, wouldn’t be nothing good, they’re a dollar.” She let out an annoying laugh, she smelled like cheap perfume (perhaps a past purchase from the dollar store), and chomped on a wad of gum.

Really, I didn’t want to look up at her, I didn’t want to talk to her, I didn’t want to try to change her mind–but, in the bin full of books, I saw names, and those names belonged to authors, and those authors deserved more. More of what though? Money? Nah, most authors don’t care about money. They deserved to be “worth reading”, no matter the price of their book, or the store it was being purchased at.

What they didn’t deserve, was a double negative–or maybe it was a triple negative, I wasn’t sure. I took a deep breath and I said, “Anything.”

She said, “Huh?”

I elaborated, “..wouldn’t be anything good.”

Of course, she didn’t catch on to my correcting her, and instead mistook my words for an agreement. “Yeah, there ain’t nothing good in there.”

This is the type of narrow minded thinking that causes so many indie authors grief. (Just so you’re completely in the loop, I am an indie author.) Can you believe that many people have refused to read my book because it was not traditionally published? It’s true. They put my book in a ‘bin’, much like the overlooked dollar bin. The reasoning is this, “Indie authors tend to not know how to write, or they’ve been rejected by the publishing industry.” I tell you, that is absolutely not true.

I read, a lot. I read indie, I read traditional published books, I read blogs…really, I’ll read anything. However, I won’t read past the first few lines if the piece, book, post has been poorly written. The thing is, I don’t care ‘where’ it came from, I care about how it is written, I care about how interesting it is, I care about all the right things. That, in truth, is why I read indie, I simply do not discriminate.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

www.memoirofamermaid.com

IAM Interview…with author Jade Varden

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Jade Varden is today’s featured author – and one of the lovely regular contributors at Aside from Writing. Her ‘Writing 101’ features, which we re-post from Jade’s author blog are a great resource for both experienced indie writers, as well as those people just starting off. She offers advice on everything from grammar to marketing your books, and now you can find out more about Jade and her own writing in our exclusive interview…

Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/ for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.

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What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I have really long nails! I spend a lot of time on them, every Sunday, and they usually look terrible by Wednesday. I think people would find that surprising, because I type all day long. It is difficult to write books on a flat keyboard with long nails, but I’ve totally mastered it. This is why I have to work on them every Sunday. If I skip a week, they get too long and start getting stuck in-between the keys!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? Some flint, to make a fire. A good, sharp knife. And a flare.

How do you react to a bad review? No review is bad. Someone took the time to read my book, at least in part, and then took even more time to share their thoughts. This is valuable to me. I read the review, maybe I grimace a little, and I try to absorb it. I take in the information, and maybe I’ll keep it in mind the next time I’m working on a book.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? Speed. Super-super speed.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Because I know you won’t be able to predict what’s going to happen in it.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published? I got a piece of fan mail. Fan email, to be precise, but still.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? Gone With the Wind. Guess who I’d be.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?  Read what you’ve written. Read it until you’re sick of reading it, then read it some more.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

The 1930s United States. Clothes were still very stylish back then, and laptops didn’t exist but electricity and indoor plumbing did. Then my love of Jimmy Stewart would be much more relevant.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? Since I was 9, a writer. Before then? A ballerina. Sometimes I regret giving it up. I might have made a better dancer than author.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I’m in all of them. Little pieces of me are scattered throughout my books, and I think some of them would surprise my readers. A lot of the really crazy stuff my characters do is actually stuff that I do.

Hidden talent? I can answer any Star Trek question you ask me.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? Catching Fire. It comes out in November, and by that time I will have a handcrafted Mockingjay necklace ordered from Etsy. Wait and see.

Favorite quote from a movie? “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

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Check out Jade’s Deck of Lies series – out now!

Jade Book

IAM Interview…with author B B Shepherd

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest author is B B Shepherd and we’re featuring her YA novel Bronze (The Glister Journals) later this weekThe first feature is her interview, so let’s meet her! 

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 What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?

 When I don’t have to be out in it, I love to be able to watch it out a window, curling up with a favorite book and cup of tea, maybe some Romantic era music on in the background. I’d probably be cuddling with my cat, Buu, too.

You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it?

A TARDIS I hope!  With David Tennant inside? (Sorry, sidetracked . . .)

I would love to go back to Regency England. It’s my favorite historical period. I’d like to explore the countryside as well as London and take lots of notes for a future novel. Can I take a camera as well?

It’s your fantasy dinner party – who are your guests?

I thought this would be an easy one until I really thought about it, and I could have gone in a completely different direction, but here goes: Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, David Bowie, C S Lewis, J K Rowling, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Pierre-August Renoir, Albert Einstein, Robert Downey Jr. and Ellen DeGeneres.  And my closest friends, of course. I think that would make for a pretty interesting and entertaining party. Can you imagine Jane Austen and Amanda Palmer in conversation? LOL.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

I’m not sure if it’s a superpower, but I’d like to fly. I used to have dreams of flying all the time when I was growing up, which is very strange—I’m terrified of heights!

One food you would never eat?

Horsemeat. It would be like eating a human being to me. The same goes for dog or cat.

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I am working almost exclusively on the second Glister Journals novel, but I’m constantly adding to notes on the last two books in the series and write ideas for other projects when I get them. My next, after the series is finished, will be a historical romance.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

It is a thrill every time I find out someone likes Bronze, especially if they write a review expressing their thoughts on it. To have others “get” it, on any level, is extremely satisfying. When they like the characters I’ve created, it’s as if they like me too. Because of that I’ve made some very special friends and I hope I get to actually meet them one day!

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world which would it be?

That’s a really tough one, but my favorite world is still Narnia.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

Oddly, I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything in particular when I was little. At thirteen I had decided I wanted to be an animal conservationist in Africa. I kind of lost interest in future plans through my middle teen years—my attention became pretty equally divided between music, books, horses, and boys!

How did you know you should become an author?

I’ve written in one form or another all my life, but I had begun writing short stories for myself as a form of escape after losing my mother. When an idea I’d had forever seemed to take on a life of its own and began evolving into something bigger than I had ever imagined, I decided to go for it. It became something of an obsession and still is! The characters became so real I had to constantly write to get them out of my head! (Oh dear, that sounds slightly psychotic, doesn’t it?)

Aside from Writing: Come back later this week to check out an exciting excerpt from the opening pages of Bronze and remember to enter the MASSIVE book giveaway here on the blog, where you could win books by all our featured authors!

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Series website: http://www.theglisterjournals.com/

Author’s Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4984592.B_B_Shepherd

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780982893609

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982893612

It’s Coming Soon…Indie Author Month!

OK…so it’s not long now…all of the authors have now enlisted for our huge Indie Author Month event in May and we’re excited to feature a whole range of giveaways as part of the event – including a mega book stash of over 30 books for one lucky winner, as well as opportunities on the day to download free copies of several books featured.

We’d love to have you’re support for the event, so if you run a blog / facebook page and would like to feature our event button, please copy one of the two below and add to you page(s) with a link back to https://asidefromwriting.wordpress.com Then come back and visit us every day in May to meet new authors, find great books and sort out your summer reading list!