I'm super excited for the release of my latest young adult novel. This is one that I've worked on for for the past couple of years. My main character, Tegan, spoke to me a lot at the start of the project then fell silent for awhile. I let the project sit for a few weeks trying to decide if I should just scratch it and start over. With the help of Mary at Ascend Editing, I revived the story and was unable to connect with Tegan again. She helped me to zero in on the most important aspects of Tegan's story and what the readers would get out of knowing her. From the beginning, I knew that this story would deal with the dynamics of a family who lives with an alcoholic. That hasn't changed.
After finishing the novel, I had the dilemma of settling on a title. Something that has always stumped me. I decided to ask my readers, friends and colleagues at work to narrow down my choices for me. It came down to Sketches of My Soul or Art, Love, and Chocolate. You'll have to wait for my cover reveal to see which title won, 😊
My goal is to release the novel in June. I'm putting a call out for readers to join my Street Team in preparation for the release. If you're interested in reading the book ahead of time for free in exchange for your feedback, please click the picture below. I look forward to hearing from you!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Saturday, April 1, 2017
I immediately liked Amira and sympathized with her situation. Not only with her separation from her boyfriend, but her parents, and friends. She cares deeply for the people in her life and loves with her whole heart. I found myself rooting for her Darragh. I wasn't disappointed. You will enjoy this well written story with a message for all of us.
Just Like You Said it Would Be
C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Did you ever want something so much that it felt like a kind of sickness, one you didn’t want to be cured of? On New Year’s Eve the feeling compels seventeen-year-old Amira to text the Irish ex-boyfriend she’s been missing desperately since they broke up at the end of summer, when she returned to Canada.
They agreed they wouldn’t be friends, that it would never be enough. But that was then— back when Amira’s separated parents had shipped her off to relatives in Dublin for the summer so they could test-drive the idea of getting back together on a long haul cruise. Back when Amira was torn away from a friend in need in Toronto only to fall in love with a Dublin screenwriting class and take a step closer to her dream career. And only to fall for cousin Zoey’s bandmate, Darragh, the guy who is first her friend, then her enemy and later something much more complicated—the guy she can say anything to, the guy who makes every inch of her feel wide awake in a way she hadn’t known was possible. The guy she might never see again. Or is there, despite the distance, somehow still a chance for them?
Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major--not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. in Film Studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.
After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always thoughts I'd get around to writing in earnest eventually and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I'd discovered that writing about young characters felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.
Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can. My first young adult book, I Know It's Over, came out with Random House in September 2008 and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and Yesterday. I released Yesterday's sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, was published by Cormorant Books' Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and I'm pleased to announce they'll be releasing my upcoming contemporary young adult novel, Delicate, on September 16th. Watch my website for more details!
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
YA contemporary romance
Published by Clean Reads
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HdfnUqZPKU
“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”
“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.
Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”
“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.
“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”
I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?
“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”
Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.
Paper Back http://a.co/7ZyMdtU
Paper Back http://a.co/7ZyMdtU
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC
Bio: Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she's addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She's also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.
Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” --Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author
"Hager's authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story - complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile." -- Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie
What people are saying about Krysten’s work:
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
“Krysten captures the teenage girl today. The struggles are real, the issues are something children have been dealing with since before I was a teen, and oddly-Krysten captures the readers! I was prepared for another "Mean Girls" story. This is NOT that. This is the real story of teenage girls! You watch Landry flower into a young woman who finds out trust is an invaluable item to find, and friendships are hard to seek genuine realism in. You will learn about relationships with not just friends, but peers, boys, and others. The details put into the book will draw you, and make the story so much more realistic. Krysten expresses emotions beautifully through her writing, and the story flows flawlessly…” By Candice J. Conway Simpson
“Krysten Lindsay Hager understands what it means to be a teen today, and she writes with an authentic voice. Landry, the main character, is funny, lively, and very real. Readers will relate to her struggles with friends and family, self-esteem and self-discovery, boys and school and life in general. It's fun to read about Landry's blossoming modeling career and the changes it brings.” Review by Author Diana Jenkins
Friday, February 3, 2017
With the start of a new year, most people set goals to improve their life in some way. For the past year I've been in a lull with my writing . So my goals for the year focus on that. I've stuck with them for the month of January and feel motivated to keep it up. The hardest thing about any goal is getting started. Once I made the decision to do it, I didn't look back.
My 5 Writing Goals for the Year:
1. Write something every day regardless if I feel motivated or not.
2. Finish projects already started. I've finished one young adult novel I started two years ago. I sent it off for edits and look forward to getting it back. It feels great to know I accomplished this. While I'm waiting, I'm working on a young adult novella I started last year.
3. Improve! I'm sure the goal of every writer is to improve their craft. I took an inventory of my strengths and areas of improvement as a writer, My plan is to zero in on the areas of improvement, focusing on one at a time.
4. Read and review books in my genre. It might seem strange to list this as a writing goal. I've found this really does make me a better writer. Reading in my genre motivates me. Reviewing helps me to focus on the essence of the story and what captured my attention. What worked and what didn't. Looking critically at a story from a reader's point of view gives me the big picture of what readers in my genre are looking for.
5. Connect with other authors. I've slacked the past year on this. Relationships with other authors is so valuable. We support each other and give advice. Share new marketing ideas and promote each other. I miss this and look forward to reconnecting.
There you have it. My goals for the year. One year gives us 365 chances to succeed.
Friday, December 23, 2016
This December Night
by TC Booth
I know without a doubt that Mom is in his room sitting in the dark like she does everyday. Dad probably isn’t home and even if he is, he’d be drunk by now. There are days I want to scream at the top of my lungs and yell, I’m still here! It’s me, your daughter, Harper. I didn’t die with Zane. But they did. Their souls died that day leaving me with a shell of my parents. I not only lost my older brother the day he overdosed, I lost them. A lump of emotion rises and lodges in my throat. Emotion that I can’t release and I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried, but I can’t. I haven’t been able to for a year. The cold December rain trickles down my windshield, reminding me of the tears that remain unshed inside of me.
A voice from the radio slices through my thoughts and straight to my heart. “The heroin epidemic continues with yet another death of a young person in the county…” I snap the radio off and press a hand to my chest. The thump of the wipers is the only sound left in the car as the memories of that night crash down on me. If only I’d told Mom and Dad where Zane was going that night. I knew the party was bad news, but I wouldn’t rat him out. He was home on break from his first year in college and wanted to hang out with old friends. When the doorbell rang at one o'clock that morning, I knew it was bad. Nobody came to your house at that hour with good news.
I squeeze my eyes shut at the memory of my mother’s wail. I’d never heard someone in so much pain. I peel my eyes open just in time to see a blur in my headlights. My car smacks into something, jolting me forward. I throw open the door and rush to the front of the car. A deer lies on the road, its side rises and falls with shallow breaths. “I’m so sorry.” I say aloud in a shaky voice. My teeth chatter from the cold rain as I pull my phone out of my coat pocket. My first instinct is to call Cody. Then I remember I can’t. The one person who stood beside me, there for me even when I lashed out at him. My anger finally drove him away. He couldn’t take anymore and broke up with me last week. Loneliness falls over me like a wet blanket, I have no one. I sink to the wet ground and cover my face.
The faint sound of music drifts into the air. My radio. Startled I lift my head and see snowflakes floating from the sky . The words of the song Mary did you Know fall delicately around me along with the white flakes. The song comes to an end and the song Arms Wide Open takes over. The words bleed into me and seep into my soul. Like someone took a blindfold off of me, I see clearly that I’m not alone. He’s been with me all along. Tears pour from my eyes. I lift my face to heaven and let him carry the weight for me. I don’t know how long a sit there crying before my eyes wander back to the deer. It’s gone. A smile spreads over my face for the first time in forever. I feel light and peaceful. I get back into the car and head home knowing I can face anything after this December night.
Friday, December 2, 2016
My Friends are all Strange is written from the point of view of seventeen year old Becca. This story gives the reader a first-hand look inside the mind of someone suffering with mental illness. The readers gain an understanding of how difficult it is for those who struggle with these issues to navigate the stresses of every day life.
I immediately felt a connection to Becca and rooted for her throughout the entire story. I liked the voice and personality of her character. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the writer wove in humor through Becca’s unique personality. She is smart and witty with funny internal dialogue.
After a breakdown at school, Becca is sent to a facility called Brookside to receive the help she needs. Becca learns the triggers of her struggles and strategies for coping. She also develops friendships with “people like her”.
The story was so well written that I felt like I knew Becca and her friends personally. I recommend this story for middle school age on up. Adults of any age would also enjoy it. I give it a strong five stars!
My Friends Are All Strange
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
My friends are all strange.
Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.
I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange… Like me.
Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.
California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).
She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Poppies For Christmas
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
A celebration of love without labels. It’s easy to be brave with you by my side!
Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously pristine Poppy Paris. Too bad she’s already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family. By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies home by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?
You are invited to read a powerful story about living with autism, but not letting it define you, about being bullied, but carrying on with determination and grit, and about having dreams, but not giving up in the face of adversity. Come celebrate something beautiful with Poppies for Christmas.
Stacy Renée Keywell enjoys spending time misusing, mispronouncing, and misspelling languages, especially in her native tongue, English. When she is not stargazing or daydreaming she creates adventures for her family to conquer. Besides following her whimsical dreams, Stacy likes to sing to the music in her head, dance poorly, and compose non-sensical words. She is also the author of Forbidden Sky- Book One of the Dark Wing Series. Stacy resides in Michigan in a little house in the woods with her husband, and two daughters.
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