Catching Up

26 07 2018
Jan 2018 releases

January 2018 releases

I apologize because it’s been ages since I’ve blogged, but that’s because I’ve been under contract for quite a few books. In 2016, I wrote 8 books. In 2017, that jumped to 12 books in one year. Of course, that meant I also had that many book launches. Since the beginning of 2018, I’ve written 7 books and had 8 books releases.

Many of the book launches over the past two years included book tours, school and library visits, blog tours, magazine interviews, TV and radio appearances, book festival visits, and conferences. So blogging end up getting pushed aside.

Oh, and I write under 4 different names, which meant adopting different personas for the various book tours and signings. Not to mention all the social media platforms and websites I need to maintain for each pen name. It’s not always easy to keep all the names straight when I autograph books, so if you ever come across one of my books with a flower in front of my name, it means I started writing the wrong name.

Here’s a list of the books I’ve written since 2016:

Picture Books

Mystery of the Missing Parathas (2017)

MG books

Second Chance Ranch series (written as Kelsey Abrams; North Star):

Taking Chances (2018)

Wild Midnight (2018)

Bunny Buddies (2019)

Llama Drama (2019)

Exploring Ancient Rome (12-Story Library, 2018)

YA Nonfiction (Cengage, 2016)

Imperial China

West African Kingdoms

Ancient Egypt

Anthologies

Love & Profanity (Capstone, 2016)

Strange Magic (2016)

Amish Novels (written as Rachel J. Good)

Love & Promises series (Hachette/Grand Central)

Amish Teacher’s Gift (2018)

Amish Midwife’s Secret (2018)

Amish Widow’s Rescue (2019)

Sisters & Friends series

Change of Heart (Charisma House, 2016)

Buried Secrets (Charisma House, 2017)

Gift from Above (Harlequin, 2019)

Big-City Amish (Harlequin, 2019)

Amish Queen (2019)

Hearts of Amish Country series

Secret Identity (2018)

Hearts Reunited (2018)

Anthologies

Springs of Love (2017)

Love’s Thankful Heart (2017)

Plain Everyday Heroes (2018)

Plain Christmas (2018)

Nonficition

Amish Quilts Coloring Book (Book 1 in the Amish Quilts & Proverbs series; 2016)

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

And that doesn’t count the books I’m working on now, works I’m hoping to sell, or the proposals my agent is working out contract details on. So 2018 and 2019 are shaping up to be equally as busy, but I’m going to try to blog once in a while.

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Overcoming Depression

1 11 2016

As the days get shorter and colder , many people find themselves getting depressed. Marshall Rosenberg explains some causes and cures for the blues. Well worth the 7 minutes it takes to listen:





When Politics Goes Low, Children’s Books Go High — Lee & Low Blog

27 10 2016

Well, we have finally reached the day after the last presidential debate. It’s a slow crawl to the finish line after the longest election cycle in the history of election cycles. Just a few more weeks, friends! No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you probably feel a little (or a lot) disappointed with how…

via When Politics Goes Low, Children’s Books Go High — Lee & Low Blog





Black Flowers, White Lies

4 10 2016

bfwl_releaseblitz
Today we’re celebrating the release of Yvonne Ventresca’s latest novel with a special giveaway. Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below to win. Doesn’t this look intriguing? Be sure to read about Yvonne’s path to publication. Sometimes stories take a long time and a lot of rejections before the magic happens. Kudos to Yvonne for being willing to revise and rewrite.

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The Evolution of Black Flowers, White Lies

By Yvonne Ventresca

Black Flowers, White Lies started as a middle grade mystery about a daughter searching for her mother who recently disappeared. The story was set in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Emma lived and worked in their family-owned bookstore. The premise: Emma was reluctantly psychic, but she needed to use her abilities to rescue her mother, even if she didn’t quite believe in the supernatural.

Over the years, I submitted versions of the story without success, writing a nonfiction biography in the interim. I continued to revise the novel based on feedback from my critique group and from workshopping the story at multiple conferences. I eventually abandoned the psychic angle, making it more of a haunting instead, and I made the cause of the mother’s disappearance less obvious. But despite the many improvements, it still didn’t sell. Some editors questioned the plot. Some questioned the voice. “While the voice is clearly teen, the adventure is middle grade,” one editor said.

After 60+ rejections, I didn’t know how to fix the novel and lost the enthusiasm to try. I put it aside and started something new. With Pandemic, I moved more definitively into the young adult world, in voice, in concept, and in length. After I finished and submitted it, I reread the previous story and realized it was not meant to be a middle grade mystery. Creating Pandemic allowed me to see the novel’s potential as a YA thriller.

Sky Pony Press acquired Pandemic, and the sale bolstered my confidence. I opened a new document and started from scratch. The story remained set in Hoboken, and her mother still owned a bookstore, but Emma got a fresh beginning as Ella. I decided that instead of being reluctant, Ella adamantly believes in ghosts. The mother is no longer missing or divorced—I started earlier in time so that she remarries and goes on her honeymoon, leaving Ella with her new stepsibling. One of my original characters, a charismatic stepsister, became a stepbrother instead. This resulted in another major rewrite, but sparked some creative changes.

In this new version, I focused on the relationship between Ella and her stepbrother, a belief in her father’s spirit, and unexplainable events that make Ella question her perception of reality. I finally found her voice and the heart of the story. Instead of rescuing her mother, the way I originally planned, Ella needs to rescue herself. Over nine years, Black Flowers, White Lies transformed into a journey of strength and self-belief, for Ella as a character and for me as a writer.

 

blackflowerswhitelies_finalcoverABOUT BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

yvonne-ventresca-photo-for-downloadABOUT YVONNE VENTRESCA:

Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES will be published by Sky Pony Press in October 2016.

Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In PANDEMIC, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Ventresca’s other works include the short story “Escape to Orange Blossom,” which was selected for the dystopian anthology PREP FOR DOOM, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News).

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Prize pack includes a three panel rustic chalkboard with a $25 Amex gift card, a $25 Sephora gift card, and a signed copy of Black Flowers, White Lies.

Click on the link to enter:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Jen Halligan for hosting the book tour:

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Catch-Up Post

29 09 2016

aaBUGGY2I haven’t posted for several months because I’ve been busy. I have 8 books releasing this year, plus stories in 2 anthologies, and I’ve been busy writing next year’s releases. It’s been one round of deadlines after the other, interspersed with book tours, conferences, and research trips. Because I write under several pen names, all my alter-egos have deadlines too.

As Rachel J. Good, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Lancaster County’s Pennsylvania Dutch country. And I’m headed back there in October for more events. The list can be found on my website. Change of Heart came out in May 2016  and Buried Secrets will release in March 2017, but is available for preorder now. My Amish Quilts Coloring Book also released in the spring.
Change of Heart - Comp - Dec4buried-secretsAmish Quilts Coloring BOOK cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to 3 nonfiction books for teens that came out in January, I’ve been working on some picture books. I wrote the story for The Mystery of the Missing Parathas, which will be coming out in November and I’ve been working on illustrations for another picture book that will be coming out in before Christmas.

missing-parathas2

The two anthologies for this year are the paperback version of Love and Profanity and an anthology whose proceeds benefit Perry County Council of the Arts. Strange Magic will release in late fall.

LandP cover 2016strange-magic





Diversify Your Nonfiction With These 5 STEM Innovators of Color — Lee & Low Blog

28 09 2016

How diverse is your nonfiction collection? Often when we look at biographies featuring people of color, they repeat the same themes: slavery & civil rights, music, sports. But people of color have contributed positively in every field, including the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. These contributions should be celebrated all year long, not…

via Diversify Your Nonfiction With These 5 STEM Innovators of Color — Lee & Low Blog





Paper Dolls!

24 04 2016

Any fellow paper doll fans out there? I’ve loved paper dolls ever since I was old enough to work with scissors. I sometimes made my own dolls and clothes with the help of the Sears catalog. O…

Source: Paper Dolls!