Interview | Melissa March | “Love You to Death” + Giveaway

Ryan Petty and Melissa March both have new releases from Fire and Ice.

Ryan took the time to interview Melissa about her New Adult book “Love You to Death.”

Seventeen year-old Arden Elliot is alone, barely surviving life on the streets. All she wants is a place to call home, somewhere she can be safe.

After meeting Det. Cass Bateman, surviving is exactly what she will need to do. He dominates her world, steals her spirit and breaks her body. All in the name of love. She knows if she stays, one day he will love her to death.

On the run she meets Gideon, a Kentucky cowboy. She tries to resist the power of her heart, knowing she doesn’t have the luxury of falling in love, but just when she thinks her life is finally secure, her past comes calling. Now she will have to decide whether to confess everything to her new family or leave them safely behind to run again.

Ryan: What inspires you to be a writer?

Melissa: Everything. I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school. My first award was in the 2nd grade for a bookmark I made with a poem on it.I still remember how thrilled I was when I saw my little blue ribbon.

Ryan: Being your first book, what have you enjoyed about the writing and publication experience?

Melissa: I was blessed to be joined with a small publishing company on my first time out and they have made this an easy road to travel. They answer all my questions, hold my hand, and never make me feel like a bother. It’s a hard business to break into and having good people around you is the key to success, to me anyway.

Ryan: What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Melissa: The freedom of it. I don’t have a filter. I can write about whatever I want; however I want.

Ryan: What can you tell us about Arden, the main character in your book?

Melissa: She’s a got a sassy sense of humor, she’s compassionate and she’s a survivor. But her best quality is that she’ll fight to the very end for someone she loves.

Ryan: Are you working on anything new?  Would you tell us a little about it?

Melissa: I am working on an adult novel. I want to see if I can write in a few different genres. I recently titled the book Uninvited. It’s about a wealthy scientist who finds out her father was murdered because of a life altering medical breakthrough. She picked up where he left off and now someone is after her. Of course there is a guy in the picture. A security specialist hired to protect her, but he has serious relationship hang-ups so it’s a real bumpy ride between the two of them. No hearts and flowers though.

Ryan: You deal with tough topics in your book.  Was there any time during the writing process that you found it difficult to write about things such as homelessness or domestic violence?

Melissa: No, not really. I think everyone knows someone or of someone in either of these situations. But I didn’t start out with either of these issues in mind, they just developed as I wrote. Kinda like: Hmm…Why would this happen to her? What would make her do this or that? I never thought it would end up being the book it became. Which was kind of fun.

Ryan:  Where can readers find out more about you?

Melissa: I have a website www.melissamarch16.com


 

Buy “Love You to Death” here.

Add the book to your Goodreads shelf. 


About Melissa March

Melissa March lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. Love You To Death is her first published novel.

She gravitates toward YA fiction and is currently working on three other novels, expanding her genre to include an adult mystery.

She spends most of her time writing, trying to figure out how to work her blog site, and chasing after her toddler.

Website: www.melissamarch16.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-March/275534429276752


About Ryan Petty

   Ryan T. Petty is a thirteen-year high school social studies teacher in a small town in northeast Texas and an adjunct history professor at a local junior college. He grew up in the country and started doing Civil War reenactments as a hobby at the age of sixteen, traveling across East Texas and surrounding states and participating in national events such as Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Gettysburg. He graduated from college with a master’s degree in history in 2011. Finding Hope in Texas is his second novel. His first, a historical fiction, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in 2012. Ryan is married to his wife, Megan, and they have two boys together.

Website: www.ryanpettybooks.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ryan.petty.988
Email: ryan.petty@hotmail.com


GIVEAWAY

Want to win a free ebook copy of “Love You to Death”? Just leave a comment below!

The winner will be chosen on (or soon after) May 10, 2014.

 

 

Interview | C. S. Adler | “Scarecrow on Horseback” + Giveaway

Author Erin Elliott (“Mira’s View” – Sword of Lumina book 1, due out from Fire and Ice in June 2014) took some time from her busy schedule to interview fellow Fire and Ice author C. S. Adler about her latest book “Scarecrow on Horseback.”

Humiliated by an experience with her stepsister’s horse Mel refuses to become a rider, but she loves horses. When her mother gets an office job on a dude ranch, Mel is happy to scoop poop and do other scut work just to be near her favorite animals.

The trouble is every time she bonds with a horse something bad happens. It seems she is jinxed, that is until she develops a relationship with a mustang that rich Mr. Jefferies has bought. Then Mel risks everything to make that wild horse her own.

Erin: Where did you get the idea for this book?

CS: I could make up a story to answer question one, but the truth is I don’t know how I got the idea for SCARECROW ON HORSEBACK.  Either that or I just don’t remember.

 

Erin: Have you grown up with horses? If so did you have a favorite horse growing up?

CS: I grew up in New York City, an animal lover for sure, but my only experience with horses was falling off a farm horse my cousins let me ride on my grandparents’ farm in the Adirondaks one summer vacation week when I was about ten, and then falling off one in Central Park on an early date with my future husband when I was sixteen.

Erin: Did you ever work on a dude ranch? Or is that something that you would have like to do?

CS: A dude ranch?  To a N.Y.C girl, that was an exotic dream destination, not a reality until I was middle-aged and celebrating an  important wedding anniversary.

 

Erin: What is your favorite type of horse?

CS: The only horse I remember is one who came over and bumped his head against my chest in a field of horses one day. I fell in love on the instant.

 

Erin: How long have you been writing?

CS: I have been writing fiction since I was seven years old,, more than seventy odd years ago.

 

Erin: Are there any other books that you are working on?

CS: I am always working on another book, but none with horses right now.

 

Erin: Will you be making a sequel with Mel?

CS: A sequel with Mel?  Not unless some readers want me to write one.

 

Erin: Are there any words of wisdom you would like to pass on to future writers?

CS: To future writers I would say, keep a journal;  it’s incredible how much you forget, even of the important things in your life that you think are engraved in your memory.


Buy the book here.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

 


About C. S. Adler

Born in New York City at the end of the great depression, I graduated from Hunter High School and College, got married, worked in advertising, had three sons, and spent thirty some years in upstate New York where I was an English teacher at Niskayuna Middle School for nearly a decade. My husband and I retired to Tucson, Arizona where I fell in love with the desert. I am a passionate tennis player, grandmother and nature lover, and have been a full time writer since the publication of my first children’s book, THE MAGIC OF THE GLITS.

That book won both the William Allen White Award and the Golden Kite Award. My novel, THE SHELL LADY’S DAUGHTER, was chosen by the A.L.A. as a best young adult book of 1983. WITH WESTIE AND THE TIN MAN won the Children’s Book Award of the Child Study Committee in 1986 and that committee commended many of my novels. SPLIT SISTERS IN 1987 and GHOST BROTHER in 1991 were I.R.A. Children’s Choices selections. ONE SISTER TOO MANY was on the 1991 Young Adults’ Choices list. ALWAYS AND FOREVER FRIENDS and EDDIE’S BLUE WINGED DRAGON were on a 1991 I.R.A. 99 Favorite Paperbacks list.

ONE UNHAPPY HORSE won the ASPCA Henry Berg Award in 2002.

Many of my books have been on state lists and have also been translated and published in Japan, Germany, England, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, and currently Turkey.

Website: www.c-s-adler.com


About Erin Elliott

I’ve been a preschool special education teacher for the last ten years. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and started writing stories and “books” when I was in high school. I have three books coming out, The Sword of Lumina series. I love spending time with my family, reading, summer and the sun. My lifelong dream is to live in Hawaii someday.

Facebook: Facebook.com/swordoflumina
Blog: erinelliottwriter.wordpress.com
Twitter: @eelliottauthor


GIVEAWAY

Mel, the heroine in “Scarecrow on Horseback” has a fear of riding horses. Leave a comment below sharing your biggest fear to be entered to win a free ebook copy of the book.

Don’t want to share your fear? No problem. Just comment with “Count me in!”

The winner will be chosen on (or shortly after) May 7, 2014.

 

Interview | Caroline Akervik | “White Pine” + Giveaway

Caroline Akervik is the author of “A Horse Named Viking” and the latest, “White Pine: My Year as a Lumberjack and River Rat.”

Fellow Fire and Ice author D. G. Driver, author of “Cry of the Sea” stopped by to have a chat with Caroline about “White Pine.”

After Sevy Anderson’s father breaks his leg in a sawmill accident, the fourteen-year-old must take his place with the rough and tumble lumberjacks and river rats who harvest the white pine forests of Wisconsin. The men of the Northwoods live hard and on the edge, and Sevy must prove his courage and his worth in the company of legends.

Will he become the man he so longs to be?
Will the other men ever accept him?
And will he even survive his first winter in the Northwoods?

 


Donna: I love the use of the slang, jargon and slips of foreign words in the book. It’s also really interesting how you slip them into the story without explaining them, allowing the reader to kind of figure it out. I know there is a glossary at the end, but it was fun to try to read the words in context and put it together. Could you tell how you learned all those terms? Also, why did you choose to use them the way you did?

Caroline: I wanted this story to be as historically accurate as possible. The men who worked the logging camps of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Northwoods were a cultural hodgepodge. One reason that they were not allowed to speak during meals was that there were concerns that miscommunications could lead to fights. So, to be accurate in the setting, I had to include the foreign words and jargon. Now, I don’t speak most of these languages. Thankfully, my editor, Jessica Dall, was both creative and firm about getting the terms right and using them appropriately. I hope that we were successful.

 

Donna: I understand from your author’s note that you did a lot of research into logging and the area up north. The book is full of details that give it so much life. Could you talk about your experience researching the book? Where did you find most of your information?

Caroline: This story was inspired by going with my children on field trips to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp and the Chippewa Valley Museum with my children when they were each in third grade. I am not originally from Wisconsin. So, the history and the lore of the lumberjack era were all relatively new to me. On one of these field trips, I remember sitting in the bunkhouse with my oldest son, and we were looking at the boots and wool socks hanging up around the pot belly stove and my son said: “You should write a book about a lumberjack camp.” I liked the idea and I was also intrigued enough to want to learn more about the era, itself.

I work as an elementary school librarian. We teach children how and why we research. With the kindergartners and first graders, I explain that we research in order to answer questions. And this was exactly what I did. That is, I sought to satisfy my own curiosity about what it was like to work in those white pine forests in the middle of winter and while separated from your family and friends. Then, I thought about what it would be like for a young person.

For my actual research, I read anything and everything about the era in both print and electronic format that I could get my hands on. The actual research took several years and fills two notebooks. I had to consider questions like what sorts of games would lumberjacks play, what they would wear, and even if they bathed over the course of the winter. I did my best to be historically accurate, and I have my fingers and toes crossed that I achieved that goal.

 

Donna: Still on research, were there any interesting things about logging that you learned that you didn’t get to use in the book?

Caroline: That’s a big question. I think of writing as being rather like sculpting clay. You have to give the sculpture shape and form and then keep removing that which is not needed. Now, I am not a sculptor, but this is how I imagine the process. You end up with a lot of clay on the ground. So, of course, there was information that I did not use. I was intrigued by the idea that some women accompanied their husbands to the logging camps, but this fact didn’t work with the story. I would have liked to have spent more time on the river run. There is a great deal about life in the “sawdust city” of Eau Claire that I would have liked to include. But part of the writing process is cutting away the fat, removing that which does not add to the story. White Pine is Sevy’s story, and I had to narrow my focus to that lens.

 

Donna: The book never says what year it actually is. It is clearly before cars, but could you say when the lumberjack era was?

Caroline: In Wisconsin, the lumberjack era extends from the mid to the late nineteenth century. I didn’t want to get very specific about the year, because then I would be tied into specific historical events. I had some specific years in mind, around 1880, but I didn’t want to be tied down to that year.

 

Donna: There is a great juxtaposition between green, young Sevy, and hardened, burly Roget. It is terrific how you keep us guessing if Roget will ever come to respect Sevy. Were these characters based on real people? Why did you decide to make the antagonist in your young adult story a grown man instead of another teenager?

Caroline: The book is intended for a boy audience. I truly believe that most books that are published today for middle grade or YA readers are intended for girls. When my son was fourteen, I remember taking him to the public library and telling him to check out the Teen section. He came back empty handed and when I asked him why, he explained that all of the books up there were about “vampires or werewolves.” He just didn’t go for fantasy or romance. As a school librarian, I am very aware that many boys are reluctant readers. They need exciting and adventurous fiction that is written for them as well.

 

Donna: There aren’t many girls in this story, but the character of Adelaide and how Sevy reacts whenever she is around is precious. Did you always plan to have the little hint of romance in this “boy book”, or did you add it in later drafts?

Caroline: The very first book that I ever wrote was a fantasy. I asked a college professor whom I liked and admired to read it. He wrote copious notes on the book and mentioned in them that he had read very few books in which there wasn’t some sort of romance or love interest. That comment really resonated with me. I like a little romance or sparkle in what I read. Sevy, despite all of his adventures and his courage, is a typical fourteen-year-old boy. He knows he likes Adelaide, but he has no idea of how to behave around her.

 

Donna: In a lot of young adult books at least one parent is dead, or both parents are absent. Could you tell about how you got Sevy away from his parents and why you chose what happened to his dad?

Caroline: Immigrant families in the nineteenth century had to pull together and work hard in order succeed. Sevy’s father supports his family by working at a lumberjack camp through the winter and at a sawmill in the summer. A sawmill was a dangerous place back then. So, what would happen to a such a family if the breadwinner was seriously injured and unable to work? Then, the fourteen-year-old son, in this case, Sevy, has to take his father’s place and work a man’s job. Sevy has to succeed in order for his family to survive. The stakes are incredibly high for him.

 

Donna: I think it’s ironic that I have a book out about environmental activists, and I’m interviewing someone who wrote about logging. I think the sentiment in the final chapter is lovely and poignant. Is there anything you learned about the history of logging that you could share with us that is different from the way logging is done now? Is it more environmentally friendly now?

Caroline: I am deeply concerned about the environment and committed to conservation. I struggled with writing a book about logging as well. I knew that I wanted to have Sevy reflect on the wastefulness of the entire process, but that is a very modern mind set. Still, no matter how one feels about the act of logging or the industry, the spirit of those nineteenth century lumberjacks, their courage, and the exciting and dangerous lives that they lived make for compelling stories. These were remarkable people and they should not be forgotten.

That said, I didn’t study twenty-first century logging. I would certainly hope that it is more environmentally sound today.


About Caroline Akervik

Caroline Akervik has been an avid reader since the fourth grade when a nun named Sister Dorothy introduced her to the magical world of Narnia. Caroline read anything and everything and was a particular fan of Marguerite Henry’s horse stories and, especially, of King of the Wind.

Most of her early adulthood was spent as a professional horsewoman. She competed through the Grand Prix level of Dressage and worked with and trained many horses. Then, Caroline was blessed with a wonderful husband and three incredible children. Spending time with her own children motivated her to return to school to become a library/media specialist.

Now, Caroline shares her love of story and of the magic and power of words with the children she teaches. In her own work, Caroline seeks to write from the heart and to transport her readers and give wings to their imaginations. Caroline writes for young people, but agrees with C.S. Lewis that “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Blog: http://carolineakervik.blogspot.com


About D. G. Driver

D. G. Driver grew up in Southern California only 30 minutes from the beach. As a girl, she used to dream that magic would change her overnight into a beautiful mermaid. Alas, that never happened, but her love of the ocean never diminished. Even though she is landlocked in Tennessee now, she still only needs one whiff of sunscreen to bring her imagination alive. Thanks to the support of her husband and a sweet drawing of a mermaid done by her daughter that was taped on the wall above her desk to keep her motivated to finish, Cry of the Sea is now her first published Young Adult novel. A dragon picture hangs there now, so we’ll see what happens…


GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment below to be entered to win a free ebook copy of “White Pine” by Caroline Akervik.
The winner will be chosen on (or shortly after) May 4, 2014.
Don’t forget you can also enter to win the $10 Amazon Gift Card here!

 

Interview | Julie Otzelberger | “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” + Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to present an interview that author Laura Kennedy (“Double Take”) conducted with Julie Otzelberger in regards to Julie’s February release “The Cat That Went to Homecoming.”

First, a little about the book:

The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family’s poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship and forgiveness are and tells us how Hershey became The Cat That Went To Homecoming.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Laura: Ellen tells us she’s dreamed of a summer transformation for several summers. Why don’t you think she was ever successful?

Julie: Loneliness can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, and Ellen was lonely for many years. Ellen lives in a suburban neighborhood where most of the residents are upper-middle class families. She is bullied over the fact that her clothes and shoes are not designer brand. Her Mother doesn’t receive child support on a regular basis from her ex husband, and her income alone is not enough to support a healthy diet so she and Ellen eat a lot of high-carb foods like Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper. A poor diet can lead to obesity, and unfortunately, Ellen is overweight. Combining her weight with her poverty, Ellen is a perfect target for a bully. After years of being insulted, she built a wall around herself that Hershey helped her break down.

Laura: Do you think that the fact Ellen comes from a low-income, single parent family enough reason for her to have low self esteem? Do you think that a teen with one loving parent can be happy and secure?

Julie: Coming from a low income, single parent home is not the only contributing factor to Ellen’s low self esteem. Teens growing up in single parent homes have every opportunity to be happy and secure as teens in two parent homes do. Their changing hormones, new relationships and new experiences can bring about feelings of insecurity. A parent or parents can only help their child cope with these insecurities if the child communicates with them about the issues. Statistics show that 64% of the victims of bullying never tell their parents that they are being bullied. Ellen happens to be one of those 64 percent.

Laura: What do you think would have happened to Ellen if she hadn’t had Jane in her life? How does Ellen’s cat Hershey help her?

Julie: Jane is the director of a volunteer group of therapy animal teams. It is with Jane’s help that Ellen is able to take the Pet Partners online course and train her cat, Hershey, for work in animal assisted therapy. Jane not only gives Ellen a laptop, she also offers her a summer job to help pay Hershey’s registration fees. Once Hershey’s registration is finalized, Ellen and Hershey become a part of Jane’s team of volunteers.

Ellen could have used the library or found another way to get online to take the Pet Partners course, but since Jane gives Ellen her old laptop, the process is much easier for her. However; without Jane in her life, Ellen may never discover the joy of animal assisted therapy.

Ellen’s work with Hershey creates a relationship with a woman she otherwise would not have gotten to know, and that person will teach Ellen valuable lessons about life.

I like to say that it is BECAUSE of Hershey that Ellen finally goes to homecoming. Ellen’s work with Hershey gives her confidence, and more importantly, a purpose in life.

Laura: What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

Julie:TELL SOMEONE! Don’t just take it and let all the insults and abuse pile up on you until you can’t climb out from underneath it. Your parents will not be ashamed of you. Your school guidance counselor is another person with whom you can talk. He or she can direct you to the proper channels to resolve the bullying. Schools are obligated to address bullying and harassment when the behavior violates federal education anti-discrimination laws.

Laura: What would you do if you encountered someone who is bullying someone else? Have you ever bullied someone?

Julie: I would point out the behavior to the offender, asking them how they would feel were the roles reversed. I taught my daughter to be compassionate and respectful of others and made my expectations of her very clear. When I found out she was being bullied, I went to the school personally and spoke to the principle, teachers, and I even called parents to bring their child’s behavior to their attention. One Mother wasn’t so kind on the phone and made me realize why her child was a bully, but one Mother actually made her son write my daughter an apology letter.

I can’t say I haven’t bullied anyone, bulling is everywhere. It’s in the schools, in the home, in the workplace. I’m ashamed to say I have laughed at jokes made at someone else’s expense. But my experiences as a victim have turned me into a “people pleaser” for the most part. I do not go out of my way to hurt anyone’s feelings and I’m always as polite and as careful as possible given the situation. I do not discriminate against race, religion, political beliefs, appearance, or sexual preference. I won’t discuss politics or religion. To me, FAT is the “F” word, and gay means happy.

Laura: Have you ever been bullied and if so, how has if affected you?

Julie: I had a “Darcel” and a “John” in my life, along with others who followed their lead. To this day I have self esteem issues, there’s no denying that. I will never be satisfied with my appearance, but I have found a way to live with that and hopefully I can help someone else combat their bullies.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Julie Otzelberger

My name is Julie Otzelberger and I am no stranger to bullying. I grew up in a small suburb in Wisconsin and was overweight for most of my life. The comments made by classmates still haunt me after over thirty years. I admit I’ve had self esteem issues all of my life because of the bullying I underwent, and in an effort to overcome it, in January 2010 I underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Anyone with pets will tell you how special the bond between a pet and owner is because of the he unconditional love pets offer. I’ve had many cats during my life, all of them special and dear to me. I currently have four cats, one of whom I am a registered animal handler of through Pet Partners. My cat Bear and I currently volunteer for Heartland Hospice and Health Heelers, and I find this to be the most rewarding experience of my life. Gastric Bypass surgery may have changed my appearance and the way some people treat me, but my work with Bear has changed how I feel about myself and has given me the self esteem I’ve been lacking.

Hershey is a combination of each cat God has blessed me with over the years. My life was similar to Ellen’s, but I did not find anything like Pet Partners until very recently. I hope I help a young girl finds her way to Pet Partners and follow her altruistic path with her best friend.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ladyhawk1967

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

GIVEAWAY

Have you ever been a victim of a bully?

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a free ebook copy of “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” by Julie Otzelberger.

A winner will be chosen via Random.org on or soon after April 9, 2014.

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | D. G. Driver | “Cry of the Sea” + Giveaway

Erin Elliott, author of the upcoming fantasy series. “The Sword of Lumina,” stopped by to interview the oh so talented D. G. Driver about her new novel “Cry of the Sea.”

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”

Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!

Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Erin: Where did you get the inspiration for this story or when did you get the idea for it?

D.G.: When I originally wrote this book, I was in a writing frenzy, coming up with more ideas for books than I had time to write. I had been working on screenplays, novels and doing articles. The 10 year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was all over the news, and the idea just kind of sparked into my head. It took a long time to go from there to the finished product. Interestingly, I originally called the oil company in the novel Effron, but I was told that was still too similar to feel safe, so I changed it.

Erin: Is conservation something that you personally feel strongly about?

D.G.: Yes. I like to keep my personal footprint small by conserving water and electricity. I don’t litter; I do recycle. I use a refillable water bottle. Stuff like that.

Erin: Everyone has a different image when they hear the word mermaids, what made you choose the description for yours in your book?

D. G.: In this book I wanted to represent mermaids as if they were real creatures, not those of fantasy. If mermaids had actually evolved under water, they wouldn’t be white-skinned girls with beautiful hair, wearing shells over their breasts. They would be a lot more like fish, I think. I also decided that they wouldn’t be able to talk. That would hardly make sense, would it? So, I made my mermaids communicate more like dolphins with a touch of telepathy.

Erin: Are there plans for a sequel?

D. G.: I’m toying with it. My original plan was to create a series where Juniper Sawfeather encounters a different kind of mythological being in each book, rather than sticking with further adventures with the mermaids. I kind of liked the idea of it being an X-Files, Fringe-ish series for teens.

Erin: When did you decide that writing was something that you wanted to pursue?

D. G.: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I did it only as a hobby, as I really wanted to be an actress. I majored in Drama and was a professional actress and singer throughout my twenties in Los Angeles. I still do community theater here in Nashville. I wrote my first book, a horror novel, when I was in college and took both a playwriting class and a short story class in school. Soon after college I was asked to write a play for a children’s theater, and that sparked my interest in writing for kids. I began seriously submitting my work after that and eventually started selling some. Once I turned thirty, I decided to focus on writing more than performing.

Erin: Is this your first published novel? If not, what are some of your other works?

D. G.: I published 3 middle grade novels around the turn of the century under my maiden name Donna Getzinger. That very small press was located in Florida and suffered some major losses after hurricanes in 2006. They couldn’t recover, and those books are now out of print. Still in print are 3 of the 5 award-winning biographies I co-wrote about classical composers Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel and a nonfiction work called The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. I have also published a couple plays, many short stories, articles, and I’ve had 4 of my plays produced. Cry of the Sea is my first Young Adult novel and the first one I’m publishing as D. G. Driver.

Erin: Do you have other stories in mind for new books along the way? If so, care to share any blurbs about it?

D. G.: I have more ideas than time to write. Currently I am cleaning up two novels. One is a middle grade fantasy novel about a young surfer who encounters a dragon hiding in a cave on the North California shore. The other is a novel about a girl who is mistaken for a boy when she goes to visit her grandmother in rural Tennessee. She is invited to go along to the annual camp-out on an island in the middle of a vast lake. She gets lost trying to get there and then finds out that the boat she is in might be haunted. I originally wrote this as an upper middle grade book for boys, but I am reworking it to a younger end young adult and changed the main character from a boy to a girl to make it more interesting.

Erin: What advice would you give a new writer just starting out in this adventure through the publishing world?

D. G.: My main advice is to read a lot of the kind of book you want to write. Read the blockbusters as well as the little books to see what makes them different and try to evaluate why. I’m a big supporter of joining Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. They have lots of resources, wonderful support and great conferences both locally and nationally. I highly recommend Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing and Stephen King’s On Writing. These books were very motivational for me when I first started out. Most of all, write. Write junk. Write quickly and blast those stories out. Then put what you’ve written aside and go back and fix it later when you have fresh eyes. I’m doing a blog about rewriting on my web site. It’s just started up, but I will be adding ideas, advice and examples of how to do it every week or two. www.dgdriver.com

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About D.G. Driver

D. G. Driver grew up in Southern California only 30 minutes from the beach. As a girl, she used to dream that magic would change her overnight into a beautiful mermaid. Alas, that never happened, but her love of the ocean never diminished. Even though she is landlocked in Tennessee now, she still only needs one whiff of sunscreen to bring her imagination alive. Thanks to the support of her husband and a sweet drawing of a mermaid done by her daughter that was taped on the wall above her desk to keep her motivated to finish, Cry of the Sea is now her first published Young Adult novel. A dragon picture hangs there now, so we’ll see what happens…

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donnagdriver
Website: www.dgdriver.com
Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor 
Tumblr: d-g-driver.tumblr.com

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About Erin Elliott

I’ve been a preschool special education teacher for the last ten years. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and started writing stories and “books” when I was in high school. I have three books coming out, The Sword of Lumina series. I love spending time with my family, reading, summer and the sun. My lifelong dream is to live in Hawaii someday.

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GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment below and you’re automatically entered to win a free ebook copy of “Cry of the Sea” by D. G. Driver!

Winner will be chosen on or soon after April 6, 2014.

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | Laura Kennedy | “Double Take” + Giveaway

Alice J. Black will be releasing her paranormal novel “The Doors” from Fire and Ice in the fall of 2014. She took some time to read Laura Kennedy’s brand new release “Double Take” and ask Laura some questions. Read on to get the inside scoop on “Double Take” and leave a comment to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take!”

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950′s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

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Alice: What inspired you to write Double Take?

Laura: Two things.

First is the movie Beneath the 12-Mile Reef that was filmed here in the sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1953. Starring Robert Wagner, Gilbert Rolland and Terry Moore, it’s a Romeo and Juliet love story I weaved into the plot.

Second is my friendship with the sister of ninety-year-old actress Sharon Randall who became my inspiration for Double Take antagonist Laura de France. I was fascinated with stories of Sharon’s years as a child star. Known as Janice Chambers, she was signed to MGM during the 1930s where she worked with other child actors such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Alice: Your main character, Brooke, refers to her friends as The Sisters. Which of the Sisters would you say you’re most like and why?

Laura: To begin, the Sisters label came from the fact all four girls in Double Take work at Surf’s Up, the coolest surf shop in Coral Cove. I am definitely Brooke, the novel’s protagonist. Brooke is basically positive and happy, and always tries to do the right thing. She screws up, of course. As she says in Double Take, “Why does everything have to happen to me? I’m a good person, sort of.”

Alice: Do you think you would have liked to wear that stunning green toga yourself?

Laura: Of course I’d like to wear it!

Alice: Was the toga based on a real dress?

Laura: The green toga is real. When writing Double Take, I rented the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, then viewed it carefully. Ms. Taylor wore a dozen or so gowns in the film. I chose the toga because it was one of the more modest, making it a realistic probability that Miss de France could own it.

© IMDB

© IMDB

Alice: Who was the easiest character to write?

Laura: When is writing easy? Just kidding. I’d have to say Brooke. Actually, all of my characters were relatively easy since they’re so real to me. Charles Dickens said that sometimes when he wasn’t writing, his characters would tug on his coat sleeve, begging him to get back to work.

Alice: Who was the hardest character to write?

Laura: I wouldn’t say James was hard, but I thought about him a lot. He is a complex character in a complex world.

Alice: Do you know anyone like Laura De France in real life?

Laura: Even though I modeled Miss de France after Sharon Randall, it was only because of her background as an actress. Sharon is far too sweet to be controlling. As for controlling people, we all know a few.

Alice: Do you think all/many girls of her age would do something like Brooke does just to get to wear that dress?

Laura: We all do things to get what we want. And it isn’t just teenage girls. Brooke was guilty of making poor choices. Her parents knew about her relationship with Miss de France, they just didn’t know about the Patent Leather Room.

Alice: Do you know any teenager who would give up so much time to be with someone like Miss de France?

Laura: At present, I don’t know many teenage girls. Guess I’ll have to hang around the Tastee Freeze more.

As for spending so much time with Miss de France, I think there are girls who would. Remember, Brooke initially went to Miss de France’s every day after school out of a sense of guilt because she felt responsible for Miss de France’s heart attack. Miss de France then created enticements so she’d continue to come. For Brooke, it’s all a matter of vanity, beginning with the Cleopatra dress. What girl isn’t vain? “But I wanted the dress!”

Alice: I felt sorry for Laura and James not really being able to strike up a relationship, how did it make you feel to write about the differences in the way people view different races?

Laura: The relationship between Miss de France and James was both beautiful and sad. Obviously, they loved each other very much, but as James told Brooke, “We live in an unforgiving world of black and white.” James met Miss de France in the 1960s, an era when interracial relationships weren’t just frowned upon, they were often illegal as demonstrated in miscegenation laws in many states that prohibited marriage.

Alice: Nick seems like a genuinely nice guy despite what he did with her mother. Do you think Brooke is really in love with him?

Laura: Nick. Nick is genuinely a nice guy. He’s made his mistakes and regrets them. He’s twenty-four now and is maturing.

Is Brooke really in love with him? As much as a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen can be. However, Brooke is also a realist. She knows that for the present, there’s no chance of a romance between them.So being ever hopeful, she’ll move on.

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About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

Fire and Ice Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/laurakennedy/index.html
Blog: http://laurakennedy17.wordpress.com

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About Alice J. Black

Alice J. Black was born in the Northh East England and even as a child had more fascination with books than the outside world. She writes in the supernatural young adult genre and likes to experiment with other genres. She’s an avid writer on her second home, writing.com. Her debut novel, The Doors, is due for publication in September 2014 from Fire and Ice YA Books. She has had other short works published previously in the Writing.com Anthology 2013.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy!

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | Nancy Pennick | “Stealing Time”

Hi, Caroline Andrus here, web designer/cover artist/acquisitions editor for Fire and Ice. I’m here with Nancy Pennick today to have a chat about her “Waiting for Dusk” series. Just this week we’ve released “Stealing Time,” the third book in the series.

What inspired you to write a book series about time travel?

Visiting National Parks became a recent passion. My husband and I had just returned from the Grand Canyon. A PBS series about National Parks was going to air and we decided to watch. My mind drifted to another place. I began thinking about the recent park visit, the history I just watched on that show and how fun it might be to have a young girl move between the past and present. I had no intention of writing a novel. So it literally happened overnight.

Waiting for Dusk slowly grew and changed into a time travel novel in my mind. My original idea included a dream world and reality. As I continued on, I thought, “Why not make this real?”

Which character in the series is most like you and why?

Katie. I used things that happened to me in the past when I was her age, embellishing them, of course! Tyson is based on someone I dated; Anna and Lindsey are very much like my best friend all rolled into one. I think we are all a little self-centered at that age and are just learning about ourselves. Hopefully everyone will see how she changes in Stealing Time.

How did you come up with the series title, “Waiting for Dusk” and the title for your newest release “Stealing Time”?

Waiting for Dusk was the only title that came easily to me. Searching for a title is one of the most difficult things for me. Katie had to wait until the sun set for the book to work and take her back in time. Maya tells her she has to wait for dusk. The title jumped out at me before I started writing the book.

For the other two books, I began writing them before I had the titles. Call of the Canyon came about when Drew revealed he was having dreams about the Colorado River. He said it seemed to be calling out to him as if he had unfinished business at the canyon.

Stealing Time was the hardest of all. It wasn’t until I had Anna jumping around in her boardinghouse bedroom saying she felt like a thief in the night that it came to me. Traveling through time was like stealing time. You return to the present the exact moment you left but you’ve had all these wonderful adventures.

Aside from your book series of course, which book is your favorite about time travel?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Daughter of Time: A Time Travel Romance by Sarah Woodbury (Self-published)

What about your favorite movie about time travel?

Somewhere in Time –Christopher Reeve plays the main character, Richard, who hypnotizes himself to go back to 1912 to meet Elise (Jane Seymour) again. This movie was also based on a novel. I remember watching the movie a long time ago and it always stayed with me.

I can’t wait to see A Winter’s Tale that was released this month. There appears to be time travel from Victorian to Modern times.

Do you have a favorite scene from “Stealing Time”?

Yes, I do. My favorite is one I can’t reveal because it would be a spoiler. It’s at the end of the book. When you read the book, here’s a clue. It has something to do with Drew and his family. I also give a shout out to Doctor Who (for those of you who watch the BBC series) in a fun way after those scenes, too. I’m interested to see who notices.

Another scene that I can tell you about is when Kate and Drew go to New York City in 1927 to visit his parents.  During that journey, Kate’s eyes are opened for the very first time. She learns life is not always perfect; there are bumps along the way. At that moment, she grows up.


Do you think you’ll write more about Kate, Drew and the rest of the gang from the Waiting for Dusk series?

I want to and would love to know who or what readers would want to know more about. I’m playing around with an idea- a novella about Lucinda and Anna. It would be historical romance- no fantasy.

The “Waiting for Dusk” series takes place much of the time during 1927 at the Grand Canyon. How did you choose the location and year to travel back in time to?

The generations in my family are very spread out. My grandmother had children in her late thirties. My own mother didn’t have me until forty. So I grew up with lots of pictures from that time period. Pictures that didn’t get lost through generations. They went directly from my grandmother to my mother to me. My grandparents emigrated from Sweden, went through Ellis Island and had Swedish accents. They were raising their family in the 1920s.  I didn’t hear stories about great-great grandparents like most people did.  I had people in my life that actually had those experiences.

The Grand Canyon was in the right place at the right time. I had just visited and learned so much about it. It seemed like the perfect place. There’s something magical about it, especially when you stand on the edge taking it all in.

Which character has been the easiest to write and why?

I actually have two. Lindsey and Anna. I split my best friend’s characteristics between the two. The sense of fun was given to Lindsey. She shows up ready to break into Maya’s house dressed in black, hoodie pulled over her head. Anna has the forgiveness and compassion of my friend. Anna realizes everyone has flaws, even herself. She accepts people as they are.

Which character has been most difficult to write and why?

Tyson has been the most difficult to write. I find many people either love him or hate him. He’s the antagonist in all three novels. I wanted to write him as a flawed sixteen year old boy who is spoiled and always gets his way. He grew darker as I wrote. I didn’t want to go too far that I couldn’t use him in the future. In Waiting for Dusk he became a stalker. In Call of the Canyon he steps over the line. In Stealing Time he tries to redeem himself, but can a bad boy ever really do that?

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I hope they take away a sense of loyalty and love. Keep your friends and family close. I want them to see there’s always a way out of things, to rely on yourself but don’t ever think you have to do everything on your own.

If the “Waiting for Dusk” series was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing Kate and Drew?  Do you have anyone you imagine playing any of the secondary characters?

Good question. I’ve thought about this a lot. It’s harder than you think to choose. I’ve finally came up with these two actors.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-steven-mcqueen-mtv-movie-awards-gibson-amphitheatre-universal-studios-hollywood-june-los-angeles-ca-picture-paul-smith-image30078181

Steven R. McQueen ~ © FeatureFlash @ Dreamstime.com

Drew would be played by Steven R. McQueen – Jeremy on the Vampire Diaries

Kate would be played by Emma Roberts – We’re the Millers, Nancy Drew and many other movies

Secondary characters?

When I began writing Katie’s dad, I pictured Alex O’Laughlin who plays Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O. I felt he could easily go between the centuries as Jack Woods the twenty-eight year old in 1927 and the forty-something father, Jackson Roberts, in the present.

The older Maya was always Alfre Woodard. I hope she has a daughter that can play the younger Maya! She’s been in many movies and TV series- most recently 12 Years a Slave and the HBO’s True Blood.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-emma-roberts-image26490914

Emma Roberts ~ © Carrienelson1 @ Dreamstime.com

Tyson, Katie’s one-time friend and nemesis in the present, would have to be someone like Alex Pettyfer (I am Number Four).

Emma Watson (Harry Potter) would make a great Lindsey, but she’d have to lose the accent!

For one of Katie’s best friend in the present – Jordyn- you may have to Google Zhang Ziyi (China)

 

Now let’s pause for a moment and pretend that your characters are real. I mean, as I read the series, they became real to me!

 

Drew, what is the hardest adjustment from living in 1927 to living in the present?

Since I came directly from 1927, I missed many decades of history and technology. Still playing catch up. Not getting to see my brother and sister grow up is tough but I can go back in time to see them whenever I want. They’ll just always be fifteen and eleven in that never-ending year of 1927, but it’s better than never seeing them again.

Kate, how scary was it waking up in 1927 that first morning after reading The Book?

I wasn’t as scared as confused. The dream was so real I had to convince myself it was just a dream. When I continued going back night after night to the same time and place I felt as if my world was spinning out of control. I had no one to talk to and if I did, would they believe me? That part was the scariest.
And now just some fun, random questions for Nancy.

Are you the type of person who makes their bed in the morning? Or are you like me and feel that it’s pointless because you’re just going to sleep there again the next night.

I partially make it? I straighten the bedding and pull up the comforter but leave the shams and decorative pillows stacked on the floor.


What is your favorite part of the publishing process?

I love when I get my cover. It makes it all seem real. The cover artists at Fire and Ice are great and open to working with the author to get just the right look.

Have you done any book signings? If so, how was the experience? If not, do you plan to do any soon?

I haven’t done book signings but have been invited to book club meetings. People brought their books to be signed. Still learning the ins and outs of promotion. Would love to do a book signing in the future.
Are you a part of any writers groups? If so, what does your group do at the meetings?

No, I’m not. I do have people that read my first drafts. I want critiques.

 

What do you do when you get writers block?

I do something else, even if it’s still writing. I have a blog and other story ideas to work on. Rereading what I’ve already written helps, too. Reminds me of where I was going and gets me back on track. Sometimes I have to leave the writing alone for a day or two. Listen to music, have a cup of tea, clear my head. Most of my stories swirl around in my head so that’s a little hard to do!


What book are you reading right now?

 

I just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

 

 What was your favorite book or book series when you were a teenager?

 

I loved so many books, it’s hard to pick one. I read To Kill a Mockingbird and also Animal Farm in school. Those books and their message always stayed with me. I loved Little Women and anything written by Beverly Cleary. Her Henry Huggins series and Ramona books are timeless. Then there was The Incredible Journey, the story of three pets trying to find their way home.

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And now, for your enjoyment, a few excerpts from the books in the series.


Waiting for Dusk
(book 1)

Katie glanced over at the hotel, and leaning against the wall in the shadows was a boy about her age. She got up and walked toward him. She’d show him. Who was he to laugh at her? Look at all the eggs in this basket. She didn’t break one during her getaway.

The closer she got to him, the more clearly she saw him. He wasn’t a boy but almost a man. The cliché “tall, dark and handsome” fit him. His dark brown, wavy hair was long on the top, and shorter on the sides. A strand of hair fell into his eyes. His eyes sparkled and locked onto hers. Her legs felt like mush, and she stumbled. He reached out and caught her.

“Are you okay?” His voice was kind, concerned.

Katie tried to gain her composure. “Yes, yes. Are you one of the vacationers? Because if you are, I shouldn’t be talking to you. It’s against the rules.” Rules? What am I thinking? It’s my dream after all.

“No. No I’m not. I work here at the park doing an internship. My name is Andrew, by the way. Andrew Martin.”

“I’m Kathryn, but everyone calls me Katie.”

Andrew’s brows crossed. “Katie doesn’t seem to suit you. I think I shall call you Kate.”

Katie thought Andrew was a little full of himself, deciding a new name for her.

“Then I shall call you Drew.” She shot back.

“Drew, it is then!”

Kate found him charming. He had a strong laugh and a beautiful smile. It was hard not to stare at him—something she was good at, according to her mother. She felt she would never get tired of staring at him. She wanted to reach out and brush back the piece of hair that fell over his forehead.

Katie blinked and brought herself back to earth. “I need to get these eggs into the kitchen.”

“By all means, don’t let me hold you up. It was very nice to meet you, Kathryn, Kate.”

“And you, too, Andrew…Drew.” Katie started for the door.

“Kate. Are you staying at the boarding house by chance?”

“Yes. Yes, I am.” She blushed and went inside.

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Call of the Canyon (book 2)

Jack’s voice interrupted Drew’s thoughts. “Before we head to the boardinghouse, I want to make sure this is what you want to do. There’s no turning back once everyone’s informed you were lost to the river. Your timeline ends right now in 1927 just as it always has. There’s still time to change your mind and live out your life here.”

“If Kate’s in the 21st century, then that’s where I want to be.” Andrew shook Jack’s hand. “Take me to her.”

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Stealing Time (book 3)

“Senior prom,” she said aloud to the empty room. “Who thought my date would be someone I met in 1927?”

There had been no tears in weeks. She knew she shouldn’t have kept things to herself, but she wanted the family to think she was okay after what happened at the canyon. At times she had trouble shaking the feeling she didn’t exist. No one would remember a Kate Roberts lived on this earth…because she hadn’t. She told no one about the episodes, deep dark depressions that swept over her. Her heart would pound, and her stomach clenched into a tight ball making it impossible to eat. Dreams sent her back to that time and place more than once. Drew’s cabin at the Grand Canyon. 1927. The last day of the year. The dreaded clock ticking in her head. She’d dream she was in a room, and no one could see her. She’d call out to people. They’d look right through her, as if she didn’t exist. She’d wake, crying and have to convince herself she was safe at home with Drew and her family.

   * ~ * ~ *

Stealing Time (book 3)

Kate’s head spun from the shock of it. She felt Tyson’s arms slip around her, pulling her close. It reminded her of her dream, when he was kissing her. For a second, she kissed him back almost like a reflex. Coming to her senses, like in the dream, Kate pushed him away. He wasn’t Drew. This was Tyson being Tyson.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Tears filled her eyes as she struggled for control.

“Showing how much I love you. I’ll never get another chance before we go our separate ways.” He stepped toward her, and Kate took another step back.

“No! Don’t start this again. I thought we had things settled. We’re friends.”

“Yes, we’re friends.” Ty wrapped her in a bear hug and kissed the top of her head. “Friends…for now. One day, you’ll come to your senses.”

He let her go and headed back to the dance. She stood motionless, trying to regain her composure. The last few months had been just a scam so he could lure her into his trap. Kate hoped she wouldn’t always be that naïve.

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Nancy Pennick

About Nancy Pennick:

After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Her debut novel, Waiting for Dusk, was a surprise to her as much as it was to her family. Watching a PBS series on National Parks, her mind wandered to another place and that is where the characters of Katie and Andrew were born.

Nancy’s called Ohio her home for all her life but loves to travel the U.S. She enjoys reading and writing young adult novels with a good cup of tea nearby.

Visit Nancy online:

Fire and Ice Author Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/nancypennick/index.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancypennickauthor
Blog: http://nancypennick.wordpress.com

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Caroline Andrus

About Caroline Andrus:

Caroline is a web designer, book cover artist, Kindle formatter, acquisitions editor, wife and mother of 2. She has recently finished the first draft of her first young adult novel, bringing her that much closer to her goal of being published before the age of 30.

Visit Caroline online:

Website: http://candrus-designs.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineAndrusDesigns

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Giveaway

 

Leave a comment on the blog and you’ll automatically be entered to win the “Waiting for Dusk” book of your choice, plus 3 runners up will receive a “Waiting for Dusk” bookmark.

Winners will be chosen on March 7, 2014.

Waiting for Dusk Bookmark