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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Dreaming of a special romance?

9 02 2015

heartHere’s THE PERFECT ONE. From February 9 to 14, fourteen writers will embark on a heart-stopping blog tour that will hook readers up with great romantic reads and cool SWAG.

Grand Prize GIVEAWAY: one lucky winner will receive a free Kindle, as well as a $20 Amazon gift card. That’s a ton of heartbreaking reads… 😉

Who can resist a heartbreaker?

2015 TOUR ROSTER

Participating Authors:

Eileen Cook: Remember (Simon Pulse, 2015)
D.G. DriverPassing Notes (Fire and Ice, 2015)
Laurie J. Edwards: writing as Erin Johnson. WANTED series: Grace and the Guiltless (Switch Press, 2014); Her Cold Revenge (2015)
Janet Gurtler: The Truth About Us (Sourcebooks Fire, 2015)
Sara Hantz: Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up (Entangled Teen, 2014)
Brenda HiattStarfall (Dolphin Star Press, 2015)
Denise JadenForeign Exchange (Evernight Teen, 2014)
Jen McConnelHer Secret Inheritance (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)
Judith TewesMy Soon to be Sex Life (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)
Ashley PostonThe Sound of Us (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)
Dawn IusAnne and Henry (Simon Pulse, 2015)
Shari GreenFollowing Chelsea (Evernight Teen, 2014)
Vanessa BarneveldThis is Your Afterlife (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)
LS MurphyReaper (J Taylor Publishing, 2013), Pixelated (Bloomsbury Spark, 2015

Participating Bloggers:

Reading is My Treasure
YA Yeah! Yeah!
A Glass of Wine
Little Library Muse
Jennzah.dot.net
Tales of Yesterday
The Reader Bee
Words of Mystery

Click here for the THE GIVEAWAY!





Halloween Madness: Little Dead Riding Hood

31 10 2014

Because it’s Halloween, I wanted to showcase something scary and literature-related. What could be better than announcing a friend’s new book called –yep, LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD? So welcome to Amie and Bethanie Borst, who agreed to talk about the book and share some of their secrets about how they came up with such a creative idea for their SCARY EVER LAUGHTER series, which also includes CINDERSKELLER and SNOW FRIGHT.

Oh, and be sure to read all the way to the end for a chance to win a free copy. Just enter your info in the Rafflecopter and maybe it’ll conjure up an autographed book just for you.

So take it away, Amie & Bethanie…

Thanks so much for inviting us to your blog, Laurie, as part of our tour for LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD! We’re glad to be here!

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.
Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?
Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here Purchase LDRH at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie bookstore!
***
Bethanie was only 9 when she came up with the idea for our first book, CINDERSKELLA. She had written the title on a packet of paper and drawn a skeleton in a casket. I knew immediately that she was combining the Cinderella story with a skeleton. Images of Tim Burton’s THE CORPSE BRIDE came to mind, and it only felt natural to write the story as she intended it.
But that was the hard part. There weren’t a lot of monster stories in middle-grade novels. There were plenty of fairy tale retellings, but finding other comparable books was difficult. We knew that the story needed to have this paranormal element for it to work properly, so we went with it despite the odds!
Coming up with the series was easy at that point. We brainstormed cool monsters, our favorite fairy tales, and then tried to come up with ways to change their titles to reflect the monster element. LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD with her red cape just had to be a vampire.
Currently we’re working on book three, SNOW FRIGHT, where Snow White will be a zombie!
We hope middle-grade readers will love our paranormal/monster stories as much as we do. Hopefully they’ll find a laugh or two, as well!
About us:
Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessorizes in pink, and eats too much chocolate. 
Bethanie Borst is a spunky 14 year old who loves archery, long bike rides, and studying edible plant-life. She was only 9 when she came up with the idea for Cinderskella!
Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013.
You can find them on facebook. Amie can be found on twitter, pinterest, and her blog***

We’re having two great giveaways as part of our blog tour! The first is for a copy of LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD! So be sure to enter the giveaway by following the steps on the rafflecopter form below.a Rafflecopter giveaway
THEN – as soon as you finish that, be sure to stop by my blog for a second contest! I’m having a SCAVENGER HUNT that you won’t want to miss with lots of extra great prizes! All you have to do is make sure you enter the contest below first then hopping over to my blog and filling out the rafflecopter form there! Super easy! Here’s the rafflecopter form for my blog just in case you missed it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you soon!

Fingers crossed that YOU are the lucky winner.
And thanks so much, Amie and Bethanie




Hot Author, Cool Deal

13 08 2014
Judith Tewes Author

Judith Tewes

Jumping for joy that one of my friends has a new book out under her pen name, Judith Tewes. And she’s doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (scroll down for details). To celebrate, I invited her to my blog. I was planning to serve a cool glass of sweet tea to cool us off in the summer heat, but as you’ll see, Judith prefers the frigid weather of the north, so hot chocolate may be her beverage of choice. In spite of her preference for cold, Judith’s writing remains HOT, HOT, HOT. If you pick up her latest release from Bloomsbury, you’ll see what I mean (details below).

But first, I’ve asked Judith to tell us a little bit about herself so you can get to know her better.

How has where you’re from and/or where you have lived (or visited) influenced your work?

I’m the daughter of an army brat, so my family moved around quite a bit. We’ve lived across Canada, from coast to coast – Summerside, Prince Edward Island to Nanaimo, British Columbia. But I’ve spent most of my adult life in Alberta. We currently live in a small northern Alberta town…lots of forest, lakes, and wildlife, cold temperatures…and lots of snow.

I think that’s been the major influence on my writing. The cold. The snow. Every book I have published thus far is set in the late fall / winter. I even have a feature film project set in the dead of winter. Lol Fall and Winter are perfect seasons for paranormal stories or contemporary tales of finding yourself. Maybe it’s the added sense of isolation, or quiet, the extra challenge of trying to get the simplest task completed when your fingers are frozen, or the comfort of a hot mug of coffee on a cold afternoon – or – I just like to make my characters suffer on as many levels as possible. 😉

What sensory details do you surround yourself with while writing?

I always have music cranked or a movie playing in the background while I write. I respond to the tones, moods of the music or scene playing. My typing speed even picks up with faster paced songs. I’ve tried to write in absolute silence, and it just doesn’t work.

I do have playlists for certain projects – dark/ haunting tunes for my paranormal and lighter/ romantic/ angsty ballads for my contemporary.

However, the fact that I get up super early in the morning to write means I always have my earbuds in, so my blasting music doesn’t wake the entire house.

You manage to wear many different hats (screenwriting, asst. publisher, author with multiple pseudonyms, library tech, musician/ songwriter, etc. How do you balance your various roles and why/how are each of them important to you?

Balance is a constant struggle. Sometimes there are deadlines that take precedence, and everything else has to be put on hold until “mission accomplished,” but I’m usually able to divide up projects/ promotional tasks by day of the week or focus on a few things in the morning and others in the afternoon. The beauty of my day job (elementary school library technician) is that it relates to my publishing efforts.

My background as an author comes into play at the school where I’m often asked to do writing workshops for classes and makes it very easy for me to present to schools during author visits. I can switch hats – talk as an author, share tips with the teachers, talk shop with the library staff – and am familiar with most of the titles the students are reading, from picture books to young adult fiction. I’m lucky to have a career that compliments my passion and my art.

Oh, and I’m a firm believer in to-do lists.

How is your Judith Tewes’ release different from your other books?

Judith Tewes is the pen name for my edgy contemporary young adult and new adult fiction. Judith Graves is the name I use for my paranormals, so genre is the main difference and is the main reason I chose to write under different personas. All the better to market with. 😉

How are they similar?

Well, there’s winter. Lol. But also, across the board my characters are quirky and sarcastic. I love to write strong female lead characters with snarky attitudes that mask their vulnerability. And I can’t seem to resist throwing in some serious heat/ romance.

I know you’re a dog lover. Can you tell us what you like best about dogs? (Feel free to share pics & talk about how they came into your life & what they mean to you.)

Follow me on any social media site, and you’ll soon meet my crazy pups. I’m one of those fur-moms. lol My husband and I have three labs. Here they are below. Willow is our sweet yellow-lab female, and the boys are Higgins (chocolate), and Grimm (silver).dogs

Aww…

You know your question about balance? I’d say our dogs provide that the most for me. When I’m sitting too long at the computer, they’re nudging my elbow to be walked. When I’m mulling over a plot hole, they’re game for a round of fetch at the lake. When I’m celebrating the sale of a new project, they dance around the house along with me.

They keep me grounded, and my clothing accessorized with tri-coloured dog hair. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks so much for visiting, Judith and for sharing a bit of your life! It’s been great to have you.

And here are the details of Judith’s latest release from Bloomsbury Spark:

About My Soon-To-Be Sex Life: Charlie is down to her absolute. Total. Last. Resort.

Judith 500x500

Despite a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential cherry poppers, er…suitors, and careful plotting, Charlie is three weeks into her devirginzation campaign, still untouched, and getting desperate. In the movie of her life, this aspiring screenwriter is giving herself a PG, for please, get some.

Her project goes into freeze frame when her mom checks herself into rehab and packs Charlie off to live with her estranged, or just plain strange, grandfather, Monty. How is she supposed to get a date when she has to go pick up his Depends?

Enter Eric, a hot rehab grad on the road to redemption, and the only one who can make Charlie rethink her strategy. The more she gets to know him, the more convinced she becomes that is the one, and not just another to add to the list of people who will abandon her.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of one girl’s detoured road to womanhood, Charlie’s list develops a life of its own – right when she realizes there’s so much more to lose.
MSTBSL Final Cover

Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21462279-my-soon-to-be-sex-life

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Soon—Be-Sex-Life-ebook/dp/B00LL2VNBG/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-soon-to-be-sex-life-judith-tewes/1119856111?ean=9781619635388

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-soon-to-be-sex-life/id894192283?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/my-soon-to-be-sex-life

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/My-Soon-Be-Sex-Life/Judith-Tewes/Q244464221?id=6059783024487

Here’s the book trailer:

Click on this link for

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Judith Tewes: Multi-published, award-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright, Judith Tewes resides in small town Alberta, where she: writes, sings, plays bass guitar in an all-woman band, walks her three crazy labs, and suspects she’s living the life of a superhero’s alias. A commercial writer writing under several pen names, Judith’s work includes: paranormal, steampunk, and contemporary young adult fiction, as well as thriller, horror, and dramatic comedies for the stage and screen.

 

Visit Judith here:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

Author Page

TWITTER

TUMBLR

PINTEREST

GOODREADS





Little Dead Riding Hood Cover Reveal

3 03 2014

Little Dead Riding Hood cover

BLURB

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.

Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20860725-little-dead-riding-hood

GIVEAWAY –

To celebrate the cover for Little Dead Riding Hood, Amie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The more ways you share, the more points you earn!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BIO –Borst Family (7)

Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate.

Bethanie Borst is a spunky 13 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life.

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013 and has been nominated for three awards.

You can find Amie on Twitter, Pinterest, From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, and blog. Together they can be found on Facebook.





Heartbreakers Tour Begins

9 02 2014
Curl up with a romance. Fourteen free books and a Kindle. Enter the rafflecopter below to win swag for yourself or for your sweetheart. Then check out the participating blogs and author websites for more chances to win.heartbreakstour1

B.A. Binns: Minority of One (All The Colors Of Love, 2014)

Tina Bustamante: As Waters Gone By (Leap Books, 2013)

Eileen Cook: The Year of Mistaken Discoveries (Simon Pulse, 2014)

D.G. Driver: Cry of the Sea (Fire & Ice Young Adult Novels, 2014)
Christine Duval: Positively Mine (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)
Laurie J. Edwards: writing as Erin Johnson. Grace and the Guiltless: Wanted Book 1 (Curious Fox, 2014)

Janet Gurtler: 16 Things I Thought Were True (Sourcebooks Fire, 2014)

Sara Hantz: In the Blood (Entangled Teen, 2013)

Brenda Hiatt: Starstruck (Createspace, 2013)

Denise Jaden: Never Enough (Simon Pulse, 2012)

Jenny Kaczorowski: The Art of Falling (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)

Jen McConnel: The Secret of Isobel Key (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)

Jeri Smith-Ready: This Side of Salvation (Simon Pulse, 2014)

Judith Tewes: My Soon to be Sex Life (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)

Participating Bloggers:

For What It’s Worth

Judith Tewes

A Life Bound By Books

Ashley Poston

A Simple Love of Reading

Little Library Muse

Jennzah.dot.net
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 





Cover Reveal and Swag Giveaway

25 06 2013

It’s always fun when a critique partner has exciting news. Here’s a cover reveal of my CP Tracy E. Banghart‘s YA paranormal novel BY BLOOD.
To celebrate her release, Tracy’s giving away a bunch of swag. To participate in a Rafflecopter giveaway, just click on the link. NOTE: the first set of prizes is for US readers only, but the second prize pack is for international entrants. So wherever you live, you can enter to win. Here’s the list of awesome prizes.

GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
Giveaway Prize Pack #1 (US only)
Signed paperback copy of By Blood by Tracy E. Banghart along with hardcover copies of:Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Jane by April Lindner

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Giveaway Prize Pack #2 (International)

Signed paperback copy of By Blood + $50 Amazon Gift Card

About BY BLOOD:

For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.

Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby
half-brother, and it’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather
jacket can’t fix. Even worse, there’s (hot) live-in research assistant
Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than
drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he’ll witness her
family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.

But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her
vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she
anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of
freedom… and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s
all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family
dinners.

Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.

By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others – or tear us apart.

About Tracy:

Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy
movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.
 

Tracy’s Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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