It's nearly the end of the week, and what a manic busy one it's been, so I'm celebrating by sharing another awesome fun interview with another awesome fun author. Please meet...
Amber Elby was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan but spent much of her childhood in the United Kingdom. She began writing when she was three years old and created miniature books by asking her family how to spell every, single, word. Several years later, she saw her first Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, in London. Many years later, she studied Creative Writing at Michigan State University’s Honors College before earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and two daughters and spends her time teaching, traveling, and getting lost in imaginary worlds. Her favorite tea is Yorkshire Gold; her favorite biscuits are Crawford's Bourbon Creams; and her favorite pizza toppings are corn and mushrooms.
A magical bubble transports Alda through time and place to a realm of witches and curses, pirates and princes, and the lost worlds of Shakespeare. She, along with a cabin boy called Dreng, must navigate the conflicts and characters of Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. But will they escape with their lives? Or will they become lost and forgotten?
An excerpt from
Chapter One: Midwinter Night’s Dream
Alda hesitated on the bridge, alone for the first time, in the vast middle of the night. The witching time of night.
Snow hovered, forming fantastic shapes in the new electric lights that lined the street.
She did not notice the winter’s chill, or the sharp shadows around her, or the static hum that echoed through the longest night of the year.
Instead, Alda focused on the water below as she leaned on the icy railings. The Grand
River swirled beneath the bridge, as black and solemn as the skirt that slapped against her legs, as wild as her raven hair that waved in the wind and snow.
She should cry. She knew she should cry, and she always did as she should. Even though she was sick at heart, she was complacent. Compliant. And calm.
But that was all before she was alone on the bridge.
Even though she focused on the water, Alda did not see it, not really. Instead, in her mind’s eye, she saw the dark soil as it was dropped unceremoniously on her grandmother’s grave. She saw how the earth separated her from the one person she had ever loved and trusted, the only soul she ever really knew. A world was now between her and her grandmother, and all seemed lost.
The streetlight atop the post next to her flickered and went out with a hiss and a fountain of sparks. The new electricity was unreliable and, as Alda had said before, terrifying in its novelty.
As she stood watching the river, wondering at her inability to cry, the other lights likewise flickered and went out.
Now Alda was alone and in near total darkness. It was a sign, perhaps, or an omen, that she should go elsewhere. Leave.
Amber's BEST & WORST
Best / Worst Book
Best: This is such a difficult question, and it completely depends on my mood. My go-to book is Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Worst: I can’t think of a book at the moment that I completely hated, but I disliked many that I read at school just because they were required and not of my own choosing.
Best / Worst Band
Best: A local Austin band called The White Ghost Shivers (you can listen to them on Spotify). Worst: ??? (I don’t know any terrible bands because I simply don’t listen to them.)
Best / Worst Song
Best: I played saxophone throughout high school and college, and I always loved to play “In the Mood.” Worst: Whatever my daughters play 100+ times, which at the moment is anything by Taylor Swift.
Best / Worst Holiday
I’m going to assume this means vacation and not holiday like Thanksgiving, right? Best: Whichever vacation I am about to take because I love the planning stages. Worst: A business trip to England without my family because I kept seeing places that my daughters and husband would love to visit.
Best / Worst Animal
Best: Cats. Worst: Cats. (As the nursery rhyme about the little curly-haired girl goes, “When they are good, they are very, very good, and when they are bad, they are horrid.”)
Best / Worst Item of Clothing
Best: Fuzzy socks. Worst: Pants (especially jeans).
Best / Worst Food
Best: Key Lime Pie. Worst: Cilantro (I’m one of the people who thinks it tastes like soap.)
Best / Worst Drink
Best: Unsweet iced tea. Worst: I recently tried a foreign soda called Beverly. It was awful, but I suppose that it’s an acquired taste.
Best / Worst Alcoholic Drink
Best: I don’t drink much, but I usually choose something with rum; I recently read that rum makes you happy, too. Worst: Anything with cheap liquor because it seems to have more burning and less taste.
Best / Worst Friend
Best: My husband. Worst: [Redacted, Top Secret]
Best / Worst Writing Moment
Best: Coming up with memorable titles. Worst: The feeling of never being finished.
Best / Worst Childhood Memory
Best: One of many was when I used to read under a large oak tree in a field near our house. Worst: When I broke my back ice skating (I didn’t lose mobility, thankfully).
Best / Worst Word
Best: Svelte. Worst: Ruffage
Best / Worst Shop
Best: Any thrift or charity shop. Worst: Any “big box” store.
Best / Worst Sport
Best: Ballet, which my family insists is a sport; I’m currently taking adult beginner classes (emphasis on “beginner”). Worst (to watch): Golf.
Best / Worst Job
Best: Gift wrapper in my hometown’s now-closed bookstore. Worst: Substitute middle school teacher.
Best / Worst Saying
Best: Mark Twain’s “A classic is something that everyone wants to have read but nobody wants to read.” This seems to come up in my conversations quite frequently. Worst: “Like a girl,” which I told my daughter means “doing something with skill and precision.” I’m not sure if she’s yet discovered that it’s supposed to be derogatory.
Best / Worst Teacher
Best: I had many great teachers, especially in college, but my favorite high school teacher was Jen Deja. Worst: A guest lecturer in graduate school who would cross out entire pages of our writing projects and just write “no” in the margins. When we asked what he didn’t like, he told the entire class that he didn’t even read our assignments, and he said this with an unbelievable amount of arrogance and no shame.
Best / Worst Time of Day
Best: Morning, but not too early. Worst: Around 2:00 p.m. because I realize that I haven’t accomplished everything that needs to get done.
Best / Worst Room
Best: Bedroom. Worst: Downstairs hallway that doesn’t have a window.
Best / Worst Day Ever
Best: There are too many. Worst: The day my father died suddenly.
Best / Worst Smell
Best: Roses. Worst: Mold.
Best / Worst TV Show
Best: Veronica Mars (first season). Worst: I don’t watch bad television, but I had to stop watching The Handmaid’s Tale because it made me too uncomfortable (I love the book, though).
Best / Worst Gadget
Best: Coffee maker. Worst: “Easy to use” can opener.
Best / Worst Sound
Best: Wild birds singing. Worst: Any kind of scratching.
Best / Worst Restaurant
Best: Torchy’s Tacos. Worst: I read reviews before I go out, generally, so I avoid the bad ones.
Best / Worst Movie
Best: This is also so difficult! I always enjoy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Worst: This is incredibly controversial, but I don’t like The Big Lebowski because the Dude doesn’t change. Yes, I know that’s the point, but I like characters with arcs. No hate messages about this one, please.
Best / Worst Time of Year
Best: Winter holidays. Worst: The week before school begins in the fall.
Best / Worst School Subject
Best: British Literature. Worst: I disliked geometry in high school but enjoyed all of my other math classes.
Best / Worst Body Part
Best: Hands because I always use them. Worst: My hair, only because I battle with it more than any other body part, and I spend the most money to maintain it.
Best / Worst Thing About Living in Austin
Best: Many options for grocery delivery, so I never have to leave the house. Worst: Traffic, which is why I never want to leave the house.
Oo, I rather like a bit of ruffage! But I'm totally with you when it comes to grocery delivery!
And today I'm back with the next instalment in the BEST AND WORST interview series. I'm very pleased to welcome author...
In his day job, Dr. G. R. Dix is Regulatory Expert and Safety Assessor for a multinational fragrance house. He holds a Doctorate in Health Science and is also qualified in Medical Toxicology. He is an active member of various committees and working groups within the fragrance and cosmetic industry. Outside of work, he considers his most important role in life to be that of proud Grandad to three special boys, to whom his books are dedicated. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
G. R. Dix lives in Northamptonshire, UK and is available for interviews.
Brian Brackbrick is ten years old, and the one-hundred and thirty-eighth cleverest person in the whole world. Oh, and he might be a little bit obsessed with hats.
But - is Brian Brackbrick clever enough to work out why Old Mr. Hatston has suddenly gone missing, and Harry Hatman has appeared in his place overnight? What does Harry Hatman want with Brian Brackbrick? Where is Old Mr. Hatston? Who is the mysterious Mr. Sparker? Does Charlie Chipchase really wear his grandad's old pants?
Join Brian Brackbrick and his best friend George Bum, as they search for the answers amongst the quirky characters and strange goings-on in their town! This is the first book in an exciting new series for children from author GR Dix, who invites you to jump into the world of Brian Brackbrick and stay for fun, silliness, hats, cakes, books and mysteries!
Praise for G.R. Dix...
“A lovely, easy to read book for younger readers wanting something a little bit longer, follow Brian Brackbrick and George Bum as they encounter the hazard of Harry Hatman.”
“This book is brilliant. I bought this book for my 6 nearly 7 year old grandson - he absolutely loved the book and to be honest so did I. We can't wait for the next one.”
“My Grandson loved this book ...a brilliant read and lots of characters that he can't wait to see in the much awaited next book.”
“My 8 yr old son read this book and enjoyed it so much he is looking forward to the next instalment.”
“All the characters were fun and I especially liked George Bum!”
G.R. Dix's BEST & WORST
Best Book ...
For a grown-up book, I would say Wizard & Glass by Stephen King (book 4 of the Dark Tower series). Most King books are masterclasses of writing, but this one is particularly affecting on an emotional level; I don’t remember feeling the same after reading this with any other book before or since.
For a children’s book, it would have to be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I loved it as a child in the early stages of reading for myself, and I have loved reading it as an adult – both reading for my own pleasure and reading it aloud to my grandchildren. There always seems to be something new to pick out every time – our latest theory is that Willy Wonka chose Charlie before the day even started, and the tour was designed to pick off the other children!
Queen, they were the perfect mainstream rock band, with a surprisingly heavy prog-rock flavour in their early days. Also Muse, to my ears a lot of their work is basically classical music played as rock, which is very appealing. The Beatles would have to get a mention too…and early Genesis…I’ll stop there!
Best Song / Worst Song...
This would be a long list!
A few examples:
Queen: Death on Two Legs; The Prophet’s Song
Muse: Space Dementia; Butterflies & Hurricanes
The Beatles: Across the Universe; Tomorrow Never Knows; Something
For worst song: any of the formulaic pop songs infecting the airwaves over the last 2 decades or so.
Orlando, Florida: wonderful family holiday memories. Also, the Grand Canyon – this is something everyone should see at least once, you have to experience it for yourself.
Best Animal / Worst Animal...
Tigers, there is something so dignified about them. Also Snow Leopards…also Leopards and Jaguars…basically all big cats!
For worst animal: I cannot bear centipedes and millipedes, I didn’t even like typing those words!
Best Item of Clothing...
Just treated myself to a Hugo Boss overcoat…
Best Food / Worst Food...
Steaks and burgers in USA, the quality is just levels above. Also, anything cooked tandoori or shish style.
For worst food: mushrooms, they make me very sick, even smelling them makes my stomach turn. I never liked the ‘classic’ English vegetables, like carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; growing up in a boring unadventurous household, it took a long time to be exposed to other veg like spinach, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes and asparagus, which I really like.
Pomegranate tea – wouldn’t normally go for ‘unusual’ teas, but the pomegranate gives it a really nice sweetness. Also, I really got into iced black tea with lemonade on our last USA trip.
Best Alcoholic Drink / Worst Alcoholic Drink...
I don’t often drink, but when I do it would be a pint of Guinness; dark lager; or a good port.
Worst drink would be whisky, whether blended or single malt, doesn’t matter, it’s all disgusting!
This is easy – my wife, Sylvy. I was so, so lucky to meet her, she has been so supportive and patient with all my studies, writing and side-projects, and she makes me try to be a better person every day.
Best Writing Moment...
Can I be cheeky and pick three?
The ‘lightning bolt’ moment when Brian Brackbrick came into being. I was doing one of the regular football car trips with my grandsons, and we were chatting about unusual names on the way home. One of the names that came out was ‘Brian Brackbrick’, just out of the blue, and this character pinged to life in my head and hasn’t left me alone since!
After the first delivery arrived, opening the box and holding copies of my very first children’s book, Brian Brackbrick and the Hazard of Harry Hatman. An indescribable feeling.
Receiving a hand-written review of the book from a happy reader. The fact that a child had taken the time to sit and write this really affected me, and I think I had something in my eye for a little while!
Best Childhood Memory / Worst Childhood Memory...
I had a pretty boring and lonely childhood to be honest, so I learned early on to retreat into books and comics. Discovering the books and worlds of Roald Dahl, Dick King-Smith and CS Lewis really helped, and unknowingly gave me a good grounding for writing my own stories. I also have to credit Simon Furman for his work on the UK Transformers comics – the story arc “Target: 2006” was a masterwork of short, punchy storytelling and plot development.
For a specific memory, I still fondly remember getting my first games console – original NES, none of your Switch or Wii back then – and playing Mega Man for hours and hours.
Hmm. I really like the word “Behold!” It’s one of those words that doesn’t need the support of any other words, it does the job all by itself! Also, “nudgepot” is a great child-friendly substitute swear-word…
We all need to support our independent bookshops, they provide such an important resource to readers and writers, especially the self-published ones. Foyles in Birmingham, UK, is a great bookstore, big enough to host and facilitate events and signings, but with an independent mindset.
Youth football. Two of my grandsons play in local teams every weekend, so I spend a lot of time either at matches or at training sessions. Frankly, watching the kids play is better than the overpaid professionals, they haven’t yet learned all the bad habits!
Although I do have a full-time ‘proper’ job, writing is, for me, the best job in the world, especially writing for children. It’s an enjoyable process and nothing is a chore, and you have the potential to make a positive impact on children’s lives – a real privilege.
This is quoting a film, so it’s someone else’s saying, but I can’t put it better:
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
My Doctorate supervisor at the University of Portsmouth, Dr. Isobel Ryder. A positive presence and influence throughout the course.
Best Time of Day / Worst Time of Day...
Best: early evening. The work day is done, dinner is finished and cleared away, time to relax together.
Worst: first thing in the morning!
My study. I have everything set up to write, and also a turntable with a shelf full of classic vinyl. (Also an Xbox, but that’s not for me, honest…)
Best Smell / Worst Smell...
In my ‘proper’ job I work for a fragrance manufacturer, so I am exposed to a wide variety of smells all the time, good and bad. I really like vanilla as an odour, and red apple, and orange blossom…I could go on! Thinking about finished perfumes, I like either complex ones like Le Male (JPG), or something light and fresh like Issey Miyake.
Worst smell: bad personal hygiene. Absolutely no excuse for it.
Best TV Show / Worst TV Show...
The Apprentice UK: love watching this every year, so entertaining. The contestants had to visit our UK headquarters to complete a task a few seasons ago.
Frasier: smartest comedy around. Essentially a seaside farce at heart, but executed in such a clever way, and it always assumes a level of awareness from its audience.
Worst: any of the many many reality shows that seem to be filling up the schedules. At best, empty entertainment; at worst, quite dangerous if young people hold up the reality ‘stars’ as something aspirational.
I resisted getting an iPhone for quite some time. Now I have one, however, I can appreciate how they can make life so much easier for people. Also, there are apps to improve accessibility for the visually-impaired, so this is an instance of technology making a positive difference.
Kids laughing, when they really properly lose it and laugh uncontrollably.
A grand piano played by someone who knows what they’re doing.
There are a few singers who have a certain warmth and tone to their voice, that you have to stop and listen to – like Otis Redding, George Michael, Dusty Springfield.
The Empire Strikes Back – my favourite film, I could watch this over and over again. A lot of life lessons in here if you pay attention. Also the Godfather; Shawshank Redemption; and I have a soft spot for the Transformers Animated Movie from 1986, or at least the first 15/20 minutes.
Best Time of Year / Worst Time of Year...
Best: The week between Christmas and New Year. I always have time off from work over this period, so it’s a lot of family time and relaxing.
Worst: January and February. Christmas and New Year are over; it’s a long time until the next vacation; and it’s cold!
Best School Subject / Worst School Subject...
Probably English at school. Science wasn’t taught very well at my school, so I have learnt all I know for my day job and career since leaving school.
Worst: P.E.! I wasn’t – and still am not – very ‘sporty’ so this was torture for me.
Best Body Part / Worst Body Part...
Best: the only decent thing is my brain I think!
Worst: my spine is partially fused together (I have AS, Ankylosing Spondylitis), so this makes things awkward and uncomfortable sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself that there a lot of people in the world with much, much worse conditions and illnesses.
O.M.G. I have such a treat for you today! A group of VERY fabulous writer peeps have joined me to talk about their BRAND NEW book venture, which if you LOVE YA, diversity, #ownvoices, finding new reads, and just everything reading, then IT IS FOR YOU! (Sorry for all the caps but I'm a bit excited to have these guys on the blog!) So, without further ado, let me introduce you to all the awesome that is...
I know! I'm honoured to host these guys today. And, more precisely, these guys are...
Gracie, Louisa, Julie, Erika, Shain, Kate, Lorna,
Emily, Heidi, Michelle, Katherine, and Susan.
Just click here to find out more about each writer individually.
Rather than let you listen to me blabbering and rambling on, I'll hand straight over to the LOVE AT FIRST CHAPTER crew...
So go on, tell us in a nutshell … what is LOVE AT FIRST CHAPTER?
Love At First Chapter is a biweekly young adult fiction newsletter that introduces the first chapter of an upcoming or new release to subscribers. With each newsletter, subscribers can “fall in love” with the book and either purchase or preorder it at the end of the email. It’s a fun reader resource that allows a wider audience to sample new, diverse releases -- and introduces authors to more engaged readers who are likely to be interested in their book. A win-win for everyone involved!
You guys are all YA writers and met during Author Mentor Match. But how did you go from not knowing each other to setting up this amazing new service for YA book lovers?
Amidst talk of revisions and drafts, Graci Goldhart, our founder, introduced the idea as a fun way to promote upcoming YA releases we’re excited for. The rest happened pretty quickly after that. We set up the website, assigned roles, came up with a list of our most anticipated releases, and prepared for our Valentine’s Day launch.
Since you’re a part of the AMM family, what advice would you give to people looking to apply next month?
Louisa: Apply, apply, apply! Your AuthorMentorMatch mentor will be there to help you shape your manuscript, curate an agent list, and/or navigate the tumultuous waters of your debut year. The best thing about the program is that it promotes long-term mentorship (and friendship, if we’re being honest), and if there’s anything you need when you’re trying to make it as a writer, it’s a mentor and a friend.
Lisa: My advice is to go for it. My mentor has been amazing and she immediately found some issues I just didn’t see because I was so wrapped up in my story. I’ve gotten great advice and she’s been there for me through every step of the process. That being said, I also want to add that I’ve also bonded with the other mentees and they have been amazing also. When I received feedback from an agent that I wasn’t sure how to interpret, I asked them about it. They all responded with some excellent advice and shared tools that would help me clear up the issues the agent brough to my attention. It has been an incredibly positive experience for me.
Shain: To quote Nike, “Just do it!” You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, including at least one amazing life-long friendship. The other mentees and I have really bonded as well, obviously. Alexa Donne (one of the founders of the AMM program) really works to vet the mentors so, just like with the pieces we share, you can know that they are gems. Although my experience was halted a little by just crazy timing things on both my end and my mentors, we’ve finally gotten started and it’s amazing. Kevin (Savoie) and I are both Pisces, Disney-philes, gamers, and our birthdays are literally days apart. He’s amazing and I even bought him Christmas presents and the same copy of TLM that I have so we can (hah!) be on the same page. And yes, I use the word amazing so much because I’m still in awe about the whole situation.
Michelle: Do. Not. Self. Reject. I had counted myself out when my CP asked if I was submitting. I owe it to her that I applied. I’m still a bit in disbelief that I got in and Gail (Villaneuva) has turned out to be such a blessing. She’s in my corner for the long-term to help my manuscript be the best it can be and is guiding me through every aspect of the industry. And beyond my mentor, I’ve met such an incredible group of mentees who I now consider friends and writing buddies.
Who came up with the amazing idea of LOVE AT FIRST CHAPTER?
The brilliant Graci Goldhart thought up the concept of LAFC and asked us if we wanted to join her -- and we immediately fell in love with it!
Will you share only standalone novels, or do you intend to share books within a series too?
We are open to sharing both. If the first book in a series is highly anticipated and we’re also really excited for it, then we’d love to feature it!
Will it be only novels, or will you share anthologies or perhaps novellas as well?
As of now, we’re focused on sharing YA novels, but may open to anthologies in the future. There are so many good ones coming out lately!
Will you share only traditionally published books or indie and self published as well?
We focus on traditionally published books.
Will you consider adding other age groups in the future?
It is something we’ve talked about and are open to exploring, but we’re currently set on curating YA.
What’s different about the reader service you’re providing?
All the books selected for Love At First Chapter have been recommended by one of our curators. That means we’ve read and can vouch for the book, have enjoyed it, and want to share it with others. We like to think of it as an unconventional book club of sorts: recommending books and building a community based on readership.
Why should readers sign up?
We’re unlike any other YA newsletter or book service -- it’s 100% free to sign up (and will remain that way!) and you get a surprise first chapter of a new or upcoming YA release straight to your inbox. Like the chapter? Purchase or preorder through links in the newsletter. Don’t like the chapter? Feel free to delete the email. It’s pressure-free and only aims to spread our love of books.
What are you guys reading right now?
Shain: Reign of the Fallen and 101 Best-Loved fairy tales… The latter there is a writing reason for and I got it on sale at Barnes and Noble for seven dollars exactly. JUST SAYING. Don’t agree with what they just did to their employees, but think it’s important we not let brick and mortar stores get outright overpowered by Amazon.
Lisa: At this moment my TBR pile is huge. There are just so many great stories out there, but currently I’m reading KEEPER by Kim Chance and it’s a great story!
Julie Abe: My TBR list is miles long! Currently in my queue: Princess Academy (Shannon Hale), The Adventurers Guild (Zack Loran Clark), The City of Brass (S. A. Chakraborty)
Louisa: My next YA read is THIS SIDE OF HOME by Renee Watson, which I found - surprise, surprise! - from a friend’s recommendation.
Heidi: I’m reading an ARC of my mentor’s book, THE DIMINISHED. It’s pretty great so far!
Michelle: My TBR is beyond manageable right now, but I’m pages into S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong and AMM mentor Adrianne Finlay’s Your One and Only.
HOW FREAKING COOL IS THIS?! I'm signing up and I highly recommend you do the same. And, if you sign up right now, you'll be just in time for their next newsletter which comes out on March 14.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Love at First Chapter, and I wish you SO MUCH LUCK with this fantastic new book-loving service.
Welcome back to the next instalment of my BEST & WORST author interview series. It's a very blustery Friday here so really it's the perfect time to get to know another wonderful and talented author.
Savannah Hendricks is the author of Nonnie and I (Xist Pub., 2014) available in English, Spanish, and bilingual editions. She is also the co-author of Child Genius 101: The Ultimate Guide to Early Childhood Development Vol 1, 2 & 3 (Knowonder Pub., 2013). Savannah has over 25 pieces published in magazines and anthologies such as Dear Nana, Highlights High Five, and Front Vision. She has been a member of the SCBWI since 2006, has a Master’s in Criminal Justice, and a degree in Early Childhood Education.
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Savannah-Hendricks/e/B00BO0RQK2
“Mom can I take Nonnie to school? I bet she will learn a lot!”
She shakes her head. “Nonnie must stay here.”
My lower lip sticks out, my head hangs low,
my tummy starts doing flips and feels funny.”
A young girl is afraid that her first day of school will mean leaving her best friend Nonnie, a giraffe, behind. This picture book, set in Botswana is the perfect match for any child starting something new to ease worries and anxiety, while teaching an important lesson.
Savannah's Best & Worst
Nah, I'm not a fan of a screaming child either. Makes me want to pick them up and make it all better! Thanks so much for joining me today, Savannah!
Licks, an all-new Standalone Second Chance Romance by Kelly Siskind
is releasing April 4th!
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
Amazon US - http://amzn.to/2oNpvIc
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/2D4ylWd
Amazon CA - http://amzn.to/2tlbbv5
36 hours is a short spell when racing the clock.
2,160 minutes is an eternity for old friends to fall in love…
August Cruz is the only man I’ve ever loved.
He’s the one who got away.
He’s the one I totally screwed over.
Now he’s standing on my doorstep, nine years later, but he’s not the only thing that turns up. My mother’s lost diary is in my hands, and it might lead me to my father. A possibility I wished for one year ago, at my last birthday.
I have 36 hours to fulfill that wish.
I have 36 hours to drag August on a wild scavenger hunt.
I have 36 hours to protect my heart before I lose him again...because there's something he's not telling me.
LICKS is a full-length, standalone Sexy Second Chance Romance
with a swoony Happily Ever After.
Hello, lovely writers and readers! I've just returned from my fabulous holiday on Fraser Island (what a beautiful place!) and ready to bring you the next in my THE BEST AND THE WORST author interview series.
So, on this tremendous Tuesday, please meet an author whose book is out TODAY!
Tiffany Parks grew up in the glorious Pacific Northwest, but it didn’t take long before she heeded the call to roam. She studied opera in Boston and Montréal and eventually fulfilled her lifelong dream of moving to Rome, where she fell head over heels with the art of Caravaggio and Bernini. When she’s not writing children’s fiction, penning a travel article, or taping an episode for her podcast The Bittersweet Life, she can usually be found exploring Rome’s monuments and museums with her Roman husband and son.
“It’s a charming love letter to Rome with an exciting mystery at its core.”
“Just like gelato: dense, tasty fun that you can eat with a spoon.”
“A cross between E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.”
“[A] compelling girl-power mystery…Armchair travel detectives and fans of Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer and its sequels will delight in this.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB)
Mysteries abound in this exciting race through Rome!
Beatrice Archer may love history, and Rome may be chock-full of it, but that doesn’t mean she wants to move there!
Too bad Beatrice’s father got a job as the head of the history department at the American Academy in Rome—now, Beatrice has no choice but to get used to the idea.
When she arrives in Rome she explores her new city as much as she can, but it isn’t until she hears talk of a strange neighborhood legend that Beatrice perks up. A centuries-old unsolved mystery about the beautiful turtle fountain outside her window? Sounds like fun!
Before Beatrice has a chance to explore, though, she sees a dark figure emerge from the shadows of the square in the middle of the night—and steal the famous turtle sculptures that give the fountain its name.
When no one believes her story, Beatrice knows that it’s up to her to solve the crime and restore the turtles to their rightful place. With the help of her new friend Marco, she navigates a world of unscrupulous ambassadors, tricky tutors, and international art thieves to unravel one of Roman history’s greatest dramas—before another priceless work of art is stolen.
TITLE: MIDNIGHT IN THE PIAZZA
AUTHOR: Tiffany Parks
PUB DATE: March 6, 2018
AGE GROUP: 8–12
PAGE COUNT: 304
Tiffany's BEST AND WORST
1. Best Book - That is an impossible question!! But I would have to say that truly the “best” book I have ever read is Possession by A.S. Byatt. But that doesn't mean it’s my favorite! 2. Best Band - Queen. There’s simply no competition.
3. Best Song / Worst Song – Best: Another impossible question! But if had I had to pick I guess it’s “Mi Chiamano Mimì” from La Bohème, Worst: “Anything” by Kenny G
4. Best Holiday / Worst Holiday – Best: Christmas, Worst: Thanksgiving. I actually adore Thanksgiving. But celebrating (or rather not celebrating) it in Italy where it doesn’t exist and is just a regular Thursday, it’s truly depressing.
5. Best Animal / Worst Animal – Best: Baby seal (the white, furry kind with the huge black eyes), Worst: Big hairy spiders
6. Best Item of Clothing - Hermès scarf
7. Best Food / Worst Food – Best: Anything my Italian mother-in-law makes, Worst: I’ve never eaten but I’d have to say pajata, a traditional Roman dish made with the intestines of milk-fed calves—with semi-digested milk still inside!
8. Best Drink / Worst Drink – Best: Black Tea with milk, Worst: Fizzy soft drink.
9. Best Alcoholic Drink / Worst Alcoholic Drink - Best: Champagne, Worst: Anything with gin
10. Best Friends - Katy Sewall and Suzanne Morrison
11. Best Writing Moment - Completing NaNoWriMo 2017 literally 5 minutes to midnight on November 30th.
12. Best Childhood Memory / Worst Childhood Memory – Best: The first time I ever performed in a play. It was Bye Bye Birdie at the Village Theater in Issaquah, WA. I was 8 and in the chorus. It was one of the happiest times of my life, and even today, the smell of sawdust transports me back to rehearsing while the set was being built, Worst: When I was two, I wanted pointe shoes for my birthday. Not pretend pointe shoes, but real ones. When I got a stuffed Grover instead, I was so upset I donated it to charity.
13. Best Word - Synchronicity
14. Best Shop - Any bookshop with a big cozy armchair where you can curl up and read.
15. Best Sport - Curling. Just kidding. Baseball.
16. Best Job - Author
17. Best Saying - Dum Spiro Spero (While I breathe, I hope)
18. Best Teacher / Worst Teacher – Best, Edie Delegans, my first voice teacher, and the person who made me fall in love with opera. Runner up: Mr. Ulstein, my high school English teacher, Worst: Mrs. Fridell, my high school French teacher. I don’t think she even spoke French!
19. Best Time of Day / Worst Time of Day – Best: Dawn, Worst: Middle of the night when I should be sleeping
20. Best Room - Library…obviously!
21. Best Day Ever / Worst Day Ever – Best: May 29th, 2011. The day I got married. (I should say the day my son was born, but that day was waaaaaaay too painful to be the best.), Worst: October 15th, 2017. The day my dad died.
22. Best Smell / Worst Smell – Best: Gardenias, Worst: Cigarette smoke
23. Best TV Show / Worst TV Show – Best: Moonlighting. Runner up: Sherlock, Worst: If a show is bad I don’t watch it, so I have no idea!
24. Best Gadget - Wireless speakers that let me play music anywhere in the house.
25. Best Sound / Worst Sound – Best: Kiri Te Kanawa singing Puccini, Worst: The hum of florescent lights
26. Best Restaurant - Taverna Trilussa in Rome
27. Best Movie / Worst Movie – Best: A Room With a View, Worst: Anything with gratuitous violence.
28. Best Time of Year / Worst Time of Year – Best: September, a time of new beginnings! Worst: The dead of summer when it’s too hot to go outside
29. Best School Subject / Worst School Subject – Best: Creative writing, Worst: Chemistry
30. Best Body Part / Worst Body Part – Best: Collar bones, Worst: Elbows
Fantastic! I'll see you in the library with a glass of champagne,Tiffany!
Hello writing and reading world! It's been so long since I've blogged. What with all the fabulous new authors I've been working with this year already, I actually can't believe March is next week! But, I have some fun stuff planned for the next couple of months with plenty of interviews and cover reveals and book releases and other author news. So please stay tuned and join in the awesomeness that is the writing world. :)
Today, I'm kicking off a new author interview series called THE BEST AND THE WORST. A bunch of fab book peeps will be popping by to share with you their list of best and worst. It's quick, it's fun, and should hopefully help you get to know these guys so much better! Importantly, I want to know if you agree with their choices or maybe you're the complete opposite... Leave a comment.
First up, I'm delighted to introduce you to...
West Australian author Tamara Moss has been writing seriously for over a decade. After majoring in Asian Studies at the University of Western Australia, Tamara has taught Japanese, interned at indie publisher Twelfth Planet Press, and worked at many different schools. She is currently teaching relief. Lintang and the Pirate Queen is her first novel. Lintang and the Forbidden Island is out now.
Lintang dreams of having adventures on the high seas. When a deadly mythie attacks the same day the infamous Captain Shafira visits her island, Lintang gets her chance, defending her village with a bravery that earns her a place on the pirate queen’s ship.
But they’ve barely left the island when Lintang discovers her best friend, Bayani, has stowed away. Telling Captain Shafira means betraying her friend, but keeping Bayani’s secret risks everything . . . including their lives.
'A wonderful book with deliciously unexpected twists and turns, and the best pirate queen ever!' Lian Tanner, bestselling author of THE KEEPERS
'Combine a pirate adventure of mythic proportions, a uniquely charming cast of characters, and a vivid new fantasy world and you get Lintang and the Pirate Queen. Magical, inventive, and positively unforgettable.' Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE LUNAR CHRONICLES
'Tamara Moss has created a rich and diverse world full of memorable characters and magical creatures. A delight to read.' Claire Fayers, author of THE ACCIDENTAL PIRATES
Tamara's BEST AND WORST
Urgh, yes the magpie-swooping season is the pits! Thanks so much for joining me today, Tamara, this is such a cool list!
As I sit staring out at a hefty storm smashing my home town and contemplating the year to come, I wanted to quickly thank everyone who's entered my life throughout 2017; to those I've worked with as an editor through my business, Lakewater Press, and through contests such as Pitch Wars; to those I've interviewed or who have guest blogged for me; to those whose books I've read and those who've read my book; and finally to those I've connected with on social media and other writer-y book-y events.
It's wrong for me to say that this year has been a bad one, because compared to 2016, a year would have to truly go some with a sack full of Molotov cocktails to out-do that rotten bag of poop. So, 2017 hasn't been terrible. In fact I've been blessed with many wonderful moments, both personal and professional, for which I will always be grateful and remember fondly. It's been challenging at times, to say the least, and has definitely been my and my family's year for catching sickness bugs! But, I've learned some important lessons, and, most excitedly, have rekindled my love with writing and dug out a confidence that I buried a while back beneath a constant workload borne of never saying no.
All in all, I'm not turning my back on 2017 with a heavy heart or bitter tongue; more a tired, drained, and relieved spirit waving a very shout-y "GOODBYE, I won't miss you", and whispering a tentative "Hello, 2017. Friends?"
I am looking forward to 2018 in many ways. I have heaps planned and hope to achieve as many of my goals as possible. I'm not going to list them as I always consider that to be some kind of jinx. But I have some amazing people in my corner, and whose corners I will forever occupy.
I'm a grateful, soppy, and sentimental bunny as this final day of 2017 comes to an end, and full of appreciation for all the special, glittery, life puzzle pieces that I've discovered this year.
Good luck to you all and I hope that we'll continue to be best buds in 2018. If you need me, you know where I am!
Today, I'm delighted to welcome my lovely friend Taryn Bashford to the blog! Her debut YA contemporary novel, THE HARPER EFFECT, is out now and to help celebrate this awesomeness we're having a bit of fun with a quickfire round of questions. Here we go!
Best Book: I have a new one every year. This year, without doubt, it’s Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue
Best Band: I know Adele’s not a band, but I’m still saying Adele.
Best Song: I Can’t Make You Love Me - Adele
Best Holiday: A ski season in Colorado
Best Animal: Dog
Best Item of Clothing: Handbags – you wear them right? Don’t leave me alone with a credit card in a book shop – or a leather goods shop
Best Food: Sushi – the seafood ones
Best Drink: Coconut Water. I’m addicted.
Best Alcoholic Drink: French Champagne of course!
Best Friend: My laptop. We’re very close. She’s seen me through everything.
Best Writing Moment: Being offered a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan. My throat ached for two days from the shouting.
Best Childhood Memory: Swimming the waterfall pools with my cousin.
Best Word: I’m not sure I have a best, but I do have a ‘most-overused’ which is JUST
Best Shop: Any bookshop with coffee and sofas
Best Sport: Running. Yep. Been doing that a while now.
Best Job: Being a writer. Sitting down at my writing desk every day feels like I’m coming home.
Best Saying: This too shall pass – courtesy of my Grandma. Whenever I’m having a tough time of it, this saying makes my spine straighten again.
Best Teacher: The Deputy Head, Mrs Nichols. She inspired me to be the best I can be.
Best Time of Day: 4.30am. Writing time.
Best Room: Writing room. I feel calm and love what happens in there
Best Day Ever: Days – because I had two children, so their births.
Best Smell: Limes
Best TV Show: Billions
Best Gadget: My Bullet for smoothies
Best Sound: Singing tenors – a bunch of them together. Heaven.
Best Restaurant: Any decent sushi train, preferably on the beach
Best Movie: Forrest Gump – I get inspired every time I watch it.
Best Time of Year: January – the start of all new things.
Best School Subject: English. Seriously. I studied it at University too. It has something to do with the books!
The Harper Effect is in-stores today in Australia and New Zealand. If you don't feel like going out to do more shopping after the Christmas craziness, but you fancy curling up with a fab summer read, then you can also order it online right now.
This debut novel is an inspiring and heart-warming story of a girl who learns to win from a boy who has lost everything. Set in the world of international tennis, it's Million Dollar Baby meets the movie Wimbledon.
Harper can’t have happiness and the US Open.
Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court until her coach dropped her, leaving her feeling abandoned by the sport she loved. Even worse, she now finds comfort in the arms of her sister's ex-boyfriend—a secret that could start a family war.
But when Harper is offered a chance to get back in the game by training with young tennis phenom, seventeen-year-old Colt, she throws herself back onto the court . . . and into his family’s scary world of steroids and alcoholism.
As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must choose between her past and her future, two boys who tempt her heart, and whether the cost of winning will actually cost her everything.
THE HARPER EFFECT should appeal to readers of Stephanie Perkins, Cath Crowley, and Heather Demetrios.
Aria turns to switch off the music.
There’s a rap on the door. But when I open it to find Jacob on the other side I’m overwhelmed by the image of him and Aria kissing – doing it. I gulp against a pinched-up feeling inside and swing away from the newly showered, lemon smell of him, from his tousled wet hair, from his Aria-kissed lips and those eyes that seem to search for something in my face.
‘Ready for pizza?’ Aria asks, taking her earrings out and keeping her eyes in the mirror.
Jacob leans against the doorframe, arms crossed, lazy grin settling in place. ‘Does Mr Greedy need pudding?’
Want to know more? View the book trailer now.
Want to read more? Click to buy The Harper Effect.
If you’re in the US/UK you’ll need to wait until May 2018 to purchase The Harper Effect. But for now, you can mark it ‘to-read’ on Goodreads to get reminders and giveaways.
Check out Taryn’s website! www.tarynbashford.com