Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Review: The Queen Bee of Bridgeton

Author: Leslie DuBois
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing (May 17, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0615460534
ISBN-13: 978-0615460536


When fifteen-year-old Sonya Garrison is accepted into the prestigious Bridgeton Academy, she soon discovers that rich girls are just as dangerous as the thugs in her home of Venton Heights. Maybe more so. After catching the eye of the star, white basketball player and unwittingly becoming the most popular girl in school, she earns the hatred of the three most ruthless and vindictive girls at Bridgeton. Can she defeat the reigning high school royalty? Or will they succeed in ruining her lifelong dream of becoming a world class dancer?

My Take:

Sonya, a shy, black ballerina, who's been cleaning a studio for years in exchange for dance lessons, might actually be able to escape her real life in the ghetto and fulfill her dream of becoming a world-class ballerina, thanks to her dance scholarship at the prestigious Bridgeton Academy. Her older sister, Sasha, who spent years trying to get in through academic achievement, finally made it too. So, both sisters spend their lives in glam by day and return to cockroaches, nearby gunshots and ketchup sandwiches by night.

But, with Sasha having acted like a second mom to Sonya for years, by shrouding her from the dangers surrounding them and making sure she keeps up with her studies, Sonya has been skirting through life with her head down.

So, when she attracts the attention of the star, white basketball player and unwittingly becomes the most popular girl in school, the queens who rule her school don't like it one bit and take no hesitation in letting her know it. They've literally ruined the lives of others, and Sonya has become their number one target to destroy. And this shy girl must reach inside herself to find strength and the ugly in order to beat them at their own game. But even if she can, it may be too late to save her dream and her relationship.

What stands out immediately in this novel is the voice. It's full of humor, but also laced with a little bit of pain, which is hard to pull off. I find Sonya a relatable protagonist in that she has awkward moments, a passion for something and often underestimates her own worth. Growing up with a deadbeat father in a neighborhood of crime with no guys even glancing twice at her, she's felt invisible and bumbly her whole life, except when she's dancing. That's when she comes alive. And at Bridgeton, and in everything, dance is her sole focus. So, when she catches Will's eye, she's shocked and doesn't even know who he is. She blows him off at first, but something about him intrigues her and she soon becomes as smitten with him as he is with her.

I liked several things about this novel, but the things that stand out are the romance, the dashes of humor and the emotional journey the reader can experience.

If you want a YA book that's different and fresh on the familiar fish-out-of-water theme, that is packed with surprises and little bits that will make you laugh out loud, The Queen Bee of Bridgeton is definitely one to put on your to-read wall.


~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: Wake

Author: Lisa McCann
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing (December 23, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0615460534
ISBN-13: 978-1416974475


Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody- notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

My Take:

This was a quick read for me. Finished it in about four hours. I really liked the concept. That's the best thing about it.

The characters are hard to relate to because they're so paper-thin. Janey??? (not even sure if I got that right and I just read it and have photographic memory)the MC was solely defined by her ability and there wasn't much else given. Another character Cabel in the novel had the most dimension of anyone and I found him to be the most interesting. The other characters are forgettable.

I did enjoy the MC's arc and her struggle to figure things out and turn a curse into a blessing, but I felt at times, her emotions rang flat within all that.

The fragmented style took some getting used to, and I did, but I got tired of the passive voice and seeing so many ISes abound. I just think a greater attention to wording would've made the prose much more compelling and pleasing to the ear. WAKE is described as lyrical by the New York Times and I wouldn't consider this lyrical in the least. Choppy is more like it.

The dreams were also so very linear and too perfectly drawn out, and Janey always took them at face value. Dreams in real life are often symbolic and chaotic and far more bizarre than the ones shown in this book, and in most of the dreams she gets sucked into, they were actual scenarios that took place in the past or very closely linked to them.

You may like this book if you don't mind a sparse read, one that gives just enough for readers to be entertained and no more. Some readers don't care, as they can be gripped by the hooky concept alone. If you like more depth in your reads, you'll probably be disappointed in WAKE.

Overall, I didn't find this book terrible, it just wasn't amazing, and I think it could've been.


~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Swearing... any given novel can be…





...and then some. But it is NOT…LAZY.


So why do I keep seeing this statement everywhere I look from readers and writers alike? To blanketly write off EVERY swear as being “lazy writing” is not only incorrect, it’s infuriating. I'm so sick and tired of hearing this.

Sometimes, swears just fit. Sometimes, they’re meant to be funny or understated. Sometimes, a setting or mindset demands it. Sometimes, nothing better conveys pain, frustration or anger. And sometimes, no offense is intended and there's a contradiction in the reader's response. Like if your story features a dog show, yeah, that's fine, but ‘bitchin’ can't stand in for ‘to complain’? Or an ass can heehaw but you’d better not talk about its rear. What is with that? It’s the same word.

Sure, there are books with swears that run amuck in prose and dialogue like verbal diarrhea, when the writer DID take the easy way out, when a story got ruined because of absolutely no restraint, but to say any and all writers are LAZY if they use ANY swears means you were too lazy to come up with your own reason for not liking them. That is parroted talk. And it needs to stop, damn it! Right now.

(Oh, and BTW: swears are okay in YA. It rhymes, so that should be easy to memorize. Let's say it together, "Okay in YA.")

I really don’t want my characters or stories to be censored by ME and MY moral code, my comfort level or my mom. I am not my characters. And they are not me. And if one of my characters needs to swear, given the circumstance, that doesn’t make me lazy. It makes me gutsy and FREE, in letting the story be told the way it needs to be told.

So, stop being a parrot. If you don’t like swears, that’s perfectly fine and up to you. No big deal. But please stop calling writers LAZY, or even thinking that way. Your tainted poison is unnecessarily and wrongly spreading to other weak-minded trolls.

Writing is never LAZY. It is a rush of creative breath, a gift from one soul to another, an exertion of energy, blood, sweat and tears. So how are you seeing laziness in that?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Early Buzz About Kings & Queens

Wow. I know my book and my weird way with words is not for everyone, but I got a totally sweet and awesome review for my novel Kings & Queens from Missy at Missy's Reads & Reviews. She is one of the gracious bloggers hosting me for my tour.

Here's a tidbit from her review: I think the best way for me to describe the book is quirky. "Beautifully unique" would be another term I'd use. I just.. I love this book, and I don't know how to review this book without giving away too much.

Hop over to it if you'd like to read the rest. I am super psyched!!!! It's really freaky to finally have my book out there for critical eyes and minds. Every book gets less than favorable reviews, but my first two, at least, have me over the moon!

Here's my other review at Star Shadow Blog in case you missed it.

~ Signing off and sending our cyber hugs.

First Draft vs. Polished

Man, I am so super embarrassed by the awfulness of my first draft. It is...terrible. I wrote Kings & Queens before reading books on craft, before knowing it would be YA, before having a great group of critters at my disposal. Wow. What pure awfulness that I never even saw in the beginning.

Originally, I had 5 scenes in chapter two, and these were scenes 3 and 5, but now they're combined to create 4 of 4. I ended up hacking it down to the best bits and it is soooo much better. What I had before makes me cringe, it's choppy, the dialogue is so painfully babyish and the narrative is crap. Not even craptastic. Just plain crap.

One of the things I decided to do at some point was eliminate as many be-verbs as possible. And it's amazing how a little change like that can bring so much more life and pizazz to the prose. And it's not even something readers notice on a conscious level. Yet, overall, it makes your work much more colorful and engrossing. I also infused more showing and decided to write with a closer Third Person narrative, so now each perspective reflects the voice of each POV character.

So, without further adieu, here are my two hacked and sacked scenes, if you care to read them and promise not to throw tomatoes, that I turned into one:

The next morning at first bell, Majesty shut her locker door and felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned and said, “Hey, Alec.” His charming grin warmed her.

Fresh from the shower, his light brown hair was still damp, and he smelled deliciously like masculine soap. She inhaled deeply to take in more of his scent as if it could infuse her with strength.

He canted, “Way up in the sky, the big birdies fly; while down in the nest, the little ones rest.”

She tilted her head and muttered, “The sun comes up, the dew goes away. “Good morning, good morning,” the little ones say.”

“Why you so glum, Brown Eyes?”

She shrugged. “What do ya mean?”

“You’re not smiling and cheery like usual.”

“I’m smiling. See?” She exhibited a faux smile.

“, after the birdies pecked ya.” He flicked her nose. “You certainly don’t look like the manager of a winning team. You realize we won, right?”

“You know,” she said, rubbing the sting out of her tip, “my life doesn’t entirely revolve around baseball, ya know. Did it ever occur to you, I might have some personal problems?”

“Ohhh. Like that...The cotton pony thing?”

“Shut up!” She slapped his chest and rolled her eyes. “No, not that, you idiot! Just forget it. Saw you in the cage this morning. Troy’s suggestions have definitely made a difference.”

“Hopefully the adjustments stick.”

“They will. You’re amazing. I’m sure your little hitting slump is only temporary,” she said as they began moving towards the theater.

He huffed. “Yeah.”

Students streamed around Majesty and Alec. Thanks to the athletic director’s sensible decision to market paraphernalia, Colts shirts were plentiful, making Majesty feel less exposed wearing one of five she owned. Majesty cringed taking note of the guys. The smaller town of Megan’s Corner, which abutted Cedar Creek, didn’t have its own high school. Depending on zone, some kids came here, others attended a school in the city of Edgewood. According to the school records Majesty had looked up this morning after practice, males totaled 254. Finding them won’t be so easy. With more girls than guys, maybe Derek’s right. What are the chances they’ll find me?

“Hi, Majesty.”

“Oh hi, Hannah,” she answered as Hannah passed.

Majesty backhanded Alec’s shoulder. “She’s cute. Ask her out.”

“Heidi of the Alps? No way.” He scrunched his brow. “Bet she yodels and clog dances.”

“She does not. Cut it out…I know. I know. You gotta have a sports nut.”

“Just stop going all Aphrodite on me.”

She snickered. “Her son, Cupid’s the real romantic, ya know? Aphrodite enjoys causing havoc. If I went all Aphrodite on you, you’d be fawning at my feet, burning with desire, getting harder by the…”

“Okay! Gotcha!” The tan on his face was vanquished by pink, and his eye color, which teetered between blue and green and appeared to shift with emotional swells more reliably than any mood ring, yielded to green. “Quit matchmaking. Alright?…D’ya memorize all your lines?”

She beamed relishing her flair to beckon a blush. “Hope so, Red, but I had a hard time focusing last night.”

“That happens to me too,” he said carrying on as if she’d called him Alec. “Um, since we’re arguing, you could just storm off the stage and pretend that’s what you intended to do.”

She huffed and glanced at the Our Town poster on the bulletin board in the performing arts wing. “Sure. That’ll go over well. Mr. Hanson may renege and choose another Emily.”

“Doubt that. You’re perfect, ” he cleared his throat and added, “uh, for the part. Maybe we’ll be called on last and you can cram. We’ll figure something out…Come on, sweet goddess. Let’s get inside, or we’ll make a dramatic entrance if we’re late.”

She laughed. “Ooooo, Alec, your corniness totally turns me on.”

His cheeks went flush again. “Yeah, mock me all you want, baby, but my groaner gave you your first gut-wrench of the day.”

She smiled but started losing grasp of it once Alec opened the theater door and ushered her in with a nudge to her back. She wished she possessed the capability to enfold herself in the cozy humor like it was a thick quilt, but the wispy organza of delight blew away with a gust of anxiety.

As soon as they sat on the maroon, velvet cushions, joining about thirty fellow students, Maj felt the heat of eyes on her neck. She looked over her left shoulder to see if she was indeed being watched and found Preston Reilly staring at her. He smiled. She sneered and faced forward again. She crinkled her left cheek. That’s weird. Why would he look at me like that or pay any attention to me? He never has before. No guy does. She glanced over her shoulder again, but this time, he was so close, his golden hair feathered her cheek when she turned. She jolted.

“D’ya find the invitation to my party?” he whispered in her ear.

She nodded.

“Hope you come. Won’t be as fun without you.”

Some concern, jerk! Then why is this my first invite?
She watched him sit back and cross his arms looking satisfied and pretty darn cute too. If you weren’t such an egomaniac, you might actually be hot.

“What’d he want?” Alec muttered.

“He actually invited me to his party this time,” she said in his ear.

“Yeah. Derek and I found his junk mail in our lockers this morning.”

“Ya goin’?”

He coughed and shook his head. “Not a chance.”

“Well, then I don’t want to go, but Derek’ll want to for sure, and you know how easily I cave.”

He gawked at her like she was crazy. Yeah, it was dumb to follow Derek around like a tagalong puppy, but it was better than nothing.
“I’d ask you why you torture yourself, but I already know why.” He kissed her forehead and swept her hair out of her eyes tucking it behind her ear. “Can’t help it cause you’re madly in love with him. Want me to beat the crap out of him, or some sense into him, I should say?”

“No,” she moaned. She slumped her head on his shoulder and sighed.

“He’s been so detached and serious lately. He rarely laughs anymore.”

“Maybe your jokes just suck.”

“You know what I mean. I don’t know where his mind is.”

I do, she thought as she slouched in her chair.

After school, Majesty waited for an opportunity to use the payphone in town. When no one was in the vicinity, she ran to it and called the police.

“Police Department,” a male said. “We’re recording.”

She peered around, then hunched and shielded her mouth with her hand. “Hi, um…I was jogging in the woods last night around six-thirty and overheard two teens, who I believe attend Cedar Creek High, talking about some plan involving a church. They didn’t name any specific one, but they mentioned bullets and shooting up the place. That’s all I heard before they chased me away. I just wanted to let you know so you could warn the churches. Bye.”

“Wait a minute! Miss...”

She shivered as she hung up. I hope I did the right thing, but now I’m petrified. What if they find out I ratted? And figure out who I am? While her hand was still on the receiver, the phone rang making her jolt and shriek. Gosh! They traced it? Stupid caller ID. She gasped and did a double-take when glancing over her shoulder. "Oh no! The gas station cameras!" Cops will know who I am in five minutes. It's fine! Stop overacting. Be cool. “He-hello.”

“Tell anyone else, anything, even the fact that we found you, and someone you love will die,” said an electronically-altered voice. “No one can stop us…least of all, you.” In the midst of his freaky, warbled laugh, she slammed down the phone.

Panic overwhelmed her. How did they find out it‘s me? Her eyes grew wide as she scanned the area. Aside from Smitty, who was changing gas prices on his sign, no one else was in eyeshot. They have to be watching me now. They must’ve followed me. She was terrified as she ran home, the long way. “Oh my gosh!” Are they going to kill me? I can’t think. I just need to find out who they are before they hurt me or anyone else. But how? Who on earth could they be?

And here's the scene tightened up, beefed up, with me keeping just the necessary parts or conversation pieces I liked. In chapter 1, Majesty saves Jase from jumping off a building, so the scene opens up with her response to that.

Jase’s brown eyes, dull as mud, turned Majesty into organza when she said hi. Well, if he wanted more friends, he should try, um, returning gazes or replying when spoken to. She felt no itch to sweat it.

Unlike him, she didn’t mind skirting under the radar, not with killers-in-the-making on the hunt. Her neck ached from the protective slouch she’d lugged around all day.

Though her victory shirt, one of five Colts shirt she owned, screamed flamboyance with its sparkly MJ on back, she figured not wearing it would’ve beamed brighter to whomever the deadly sickos were. But thanks to the Athletic Director’s good sense to market paraphernalia, Colts shirts flooded in plenty, making her feel less self-conscious. Still,
she feared she held some other exposing tell.

According to records, males totaled 254, which included invaders from Megan’s Corner. Finding ’em won’t be easy. With more girls, what are the chances they’ll find me?

The dismissal bell rang. Finally.

Leaning against the lockers, Alec adjusted his Red Sox cap and squinted at her.

Majesty was about to snap, “What!” when a passerby said hi. “Oh, hi, Hannah.” She backhanded Alec’s chest. “She’s cute. Ask her out.”

“Heidi of the Alps? No way. Bet she yodels and clog dances.”

“She does not. Cut it out . . . I know. I know. Gotta have a sports nut.”

“Stop going all Aphrodite on me.”

“Actually, her son Cupid’s the real romantic. She enjoys causing havoc. If I went all Aphrodite on you, you’d be fawning at my feet, burning with desire, getting harder by the—”

“Kay. Gotcha.” Pink conquered the tan on his face, and his irises, which volleyed between blue and green, fell to the hue of colder oceans. “Quit matchmaking, all right?”

“For now,” she laughed. Being able to floor this rock among mere men sparked a thirst for even greater stun power. “Hey. I got my first invite to a Preston smash-n-bash today.”

“Yeah. Derek and I found his junk mail this morning. I’m not buying.”

“Then I don’t wanna go, but Derek might, and you know he kinda sorta weakens my will.”

He swept strands of her hair off her face and tucked them behind her ear. “Lovesickness. Tackles the best of us. Want me to beat some sense into him, Brown Eyes?”

“No,” she moaned.

He removed his cap and wiggled it onto her head. “Cuter on you.” He smoothed his golden brown hair but missed some wisps on top. “He’s beh…” She took care of ’em. “…um…been so detached and serious lately, rarely laughs anymore.”

“Maybe your jokes just suck.”

“You know what I mean. Don’t know where his mind is these days.”

“I do. Think fake boobs . . . Gotta go. Bye.” She one-shouldered her backpack, stuffed with books and letters of warning for every church within fifty miles.

“I can give you a lift,” Alec said, reaching for it.

She recoiled. “No! I’m good. I’ll walk. It’s gorgeous.”

“What the heck? Rob a bank?”

“No. I . . . have lots of locker crap . . . cleaned it out. It’s not heavy.”

He sneered at her and said, “Okaaay. You cool or what? You’ve been weird all day. Kinda jumpy and quiet actually. And you, quiet? With the title recapture a couple of wins away? Not like you at all.”

“I’m fine. Just tired. Need fresh air. See ya.” As she turned, faces warped like deranged clowns in a fun house mirror. She clenched her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. Though her vision reset, anxiety stuck. Her pulse raced as she jogged to the Don’t-Blink Zone.

With no one near the payphone, she darted there, kissed her Carlton Fisk keychain for luck and called police.

“Cedar Creek Police Department. Recording.”

Peering around, she hunched and shielded her mouth. “Hi. Uh, I was jogging in the woods last night around seven-thirty. I overheard two guys, who I believe go to Cedar Creek High, talking about some plan involving a church. They didn’t specify, but they mentioned guns and shooting. That’s all I heard. Just wanted you to know. Bye.”

“Wait a minute! Miss—”

She hung up and gnashed her teeth. Load off me now. But what if they learn I ratted, figure out who I am? The phone rang, making her jolt. Stupid caller ID. Casting a glance over her shoulder, she gasped and did a double-take. “Oh no. Gas station cameras.” Cops’ll know in five. It’s fine. Be cool. She jerked Alec’s cap down on her brow. “He-hello?”

“Tell anyone else, anything, even the fact that we found you, and someone you love will die,” said an electronic voice. “No one can stop us . . . least of all, you.”

During a diabolical laugh, she slammed the phone down. Aside from Smitty changing gas prices on his sign, no one appeared in eyeshot. The letters, now affixed with a death sentence, suddenly weighed like lead.

Majesty couldn’t stop shaking, as she ran home, the long way.

I know that first one was super long, so imagine if that were still in my book? Yuck. I'm so glad I learned how to spot what was most important, SHOW more than tell and kill my darlings. Have you done any major gutting like I have and seen your stuff for the horror it really is?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog Tour: So Far, So Good

I'm having a total blast on my blog tour so far. The Teen Book Scene is awesome for helping me with the start of it, for the next four weeks.

For my first visit at Rex Robot Reviews, I had to write a bio using only lines from my YA novel, Kings & Queens.This would have been so much easier with a First Person narrative because that gives you so much commentary to draw from, but mine's in close Third.

Well, the first bio I had written, consisted of mainly thoughts, since they're in First. But all the posts I had written weeks ago for my blog tour are on my zapped computer, so I had to redo them.

For my next go around, I decided to do something completely different: a Q&A. It's much, much better than what I originally had. A mock Q&A allowed my to use more chunks of dialogue to make the bio more quirky and weird like me.

I Love it!

Well, here it is, in case you missed my links all over cyberspace.

Barbie? Well, Totally Toxic. Not Malibu.
Another dreamer? Yep. I always fight for my deepest desires.
Excited? Getting more colorful by the hour.
Peculiar? Totally. And hot as fire and a bundle of laughs too.
Clothes? I don’t have the best fashion sense, but I’ve been so blinded by gorgeous face in the mirror, I didn’t stop to look. Bask in my awesomeness.
What about shoes, boots? Running shoes. Oldies. Though retired due to high mileage, they’re the comfiest things to beat around in.
Haven’t been in much trouble? Obviously.
Ever been prone to violence? I’ve thought about bashing a few brains in—today even. Never actually done it.
Where’s your sense of adventure? Ha. I’ll go half-naked…or skinny dipping in a Hawaiian lagoon.
Can I get tickets for the show, princess? Don’t count on it.
Got a secret lover or somethin’? Yeah, sure. Last night. We slept together.
You’re a sick freak, ya know that? Indeed. So weird. Gotta have a sports nut. Baseball, friendship and love…Little delights me more...Oh, and maybe one cookie. Yum.
Ya on drugs or somethin’? You’re not acting right. No. What’s right? That’s way lame.
What do you want? Everyone to love me.
Favorite thing? A lingering kiss, so amazing, so enrapturing, so perfect. The sudden closeness, the hardness of his chest and arms, the sexy scent of his skin and the taste of his mouth, all cinnamon from recently chewed Big Red or something. Mmmm.
Biggest regret? Life is so short, we never know what’s going to happen and I’ve been an idiot, wasted opportunities, didn’t take chances..I’m tired of being pitiful and listless. I wanna have fun for once. It must be freeing to be so uninhibited…so that’s what I plan to do.
See? You were nervous for nothing. You did great. Am I supposed to clap now? I forgot to bring flowers. My bad.

* * *

Yay!!! And today I got my first online review for Kings & Queens. I'm nervous because it's do or die time and the only feedback I've really gotten is from my way-awesome critters. I know my quirky writing style isn't for everyone and some negative reviews will likely come out, as they do for any book, but I did get a recommendation from Reagan Star at Star Shadow blog.. You can follow the hyperlink to her blog if you'd like to read it.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Whirlwind Starts Here:

...The Teen Book Scene. This site and these bloggers are so awesome. They organized everything for FREE and my debut YA novel, Kings & Queens, will be featured for four weeks in a site-sponsored blog tour. I am soooo excited, but also a little bit stressed. I planned to have my eBook out already and my paperback by June 30th, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen because some of my files are in limbo.
I live in Western Mass, and in case you haven't heard, we got plastered by an EF-3 tornado last week and another EF-1. The big tornado bypassed my town and it had a narrow path of destruction, though a very long one--39 miles. Anyway, there was also a vicious electrical storm going on at the same time with hail, rain, creepy yellow sky, the craziest lightning I've ever seen.

So, needless to say, my computer did not survive the power surge. I am thankful that I only lost a few electronic devices. Some of my friends and family lost homes and cars.

I'm bringing my PC to my tech today, who lives right in one of the strike zones. It didn't feel appropriate to be bugging him last week about something so insignificant. But, he's cool, wants the work, so I'm bringing it, praying it can be fixed. Even if my computer's toast, I'm pretty sure my data can be recovered, and I just bought a new laptop for $100 so I can work on that, but it's just a pain having to hunt down fonts and lost bookmarks and stuff like that that I was collecting for my launch. So, there will likely be a delay in my output.

It will be a little weird to have a book tour with no book available, but they understand and are cool with it. I had already written out all my posts and will have to rewrite them. I should have my eBook out very soon, just can't give an exact date.

Here's my tour schedule with them, along with what will be featured at the host site. Please stop by at a few and leave comments. Thanks.

Monday, June 13: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (In Her Own Words)
Tuesday, June 14: Reagan at Star Shadow Blog (Review)
Wednesday, June 15: Mariah at A Reader’s Adventure (Tens List)
Thursday, June 16: Missy at Missy Reads & Reviews (Review)
Friday, June 17: Lisa at Baffled Books (Teenage Garage Sale)

Monday, June 20: Missy at Missy Reads & Reviews (Guest Post)
Tuesday, June 21: Corrine at Lost For Words (Review)
Wednesday, June 22: Lindsay at Just Another Book Addict (Author Interview)
Thursday, June 23: Serena at Pensive Bookeaters (Review)
Friday, June 24: Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (Character Interview: Majesty)

Monday, June 27: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (Review)
Tuesday, June 28: Crystal at My Reading Room (Character Tweets)
Wednesday, June 29: Lisa at Baffled Books (Review)
Thursday, June 30: Mariah at A Reader’s Adventure (Review)
Friday, July 1: Reagan at Star Shadow Blog (This or That?)

Monday, July 4: Crystal at My Reading Room (Review)
Tuesday, July 5: Lindsay at Just Another Book Addict (Review)
Wednesday, July 6: Corrine at Lost For Words (Character Interview: Derek)
Thursday, July 7: Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (Guest Post)
Friday, July 8: Serena at Pensive Bookeaters (Guest Post)

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wanna get some cool YA and Middle Grade reads to jazz up your summer reading for FREE? The Kindle INDIEpendence Day Giveaway is a month-long celebration of the hottest Indie Middle Grade and YA books of spring and summer, culminating in a grand prize giveaway of a Kindle. And on top of that awesomeness, it's loaded with seventeen eBooks, including my very own debut novel Kings & Queens! Collect points in various, fun ways to increase your chances of winning. On July 3rd, names will be drawn from the pool for the Grand Prize, as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. And we will also be giving out special goodies along the way. Yesterday, all entrants were entered in a giveaway for a $25 iTunes giftcard. So, sign up, have fun and start collecting points! Winners will be announced July 4th.

The Prizes:

Grand Prize: 1 FREE Kindle with all authors' books loaded onto it

First Place: 1 FREE copy of each eBook (from participating list)

Second Place: 10 FREE eBooks of their choice (from participating list)

Third place: 5 FREE eBooks of their choice (from participating list)

To Enter: sign up the the Kindle website and get your first point. FOLLOW THE BLOG AND FACEBOOK PAGEFOR 2 MORE POINTS.

Other ways to Collect Points:

Reading one of the sponsored books and leaving a review for it on a blog, social networking or retail site will give you the most number of points.

  • One posted review on a retailer site gets you 20 points

  • Posting that review on different sites (such as Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords, etc) gives you 5 extra points per site

  • Posting a review on your blog gives you 20 points

  • Tweeting the number of stars you gave that book (like "just read this book, 3/5 stars) gives you 1 extra point

  • Talking about a book on FB, Twitter, etc (like "This book looks great!") gives you 1 point

So for example, you could read one of our books, leave a review on Amazon (20 points), then also leave a review on Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, and Shelfari (for 20 points), then post a review for that book on your blog (20 points), then tweet the review (1 point), for a total of 61 points.

NOTE: Please send an email to kindleindiependence(at)hotmail(dot)com every time you leave a review for a book (ex: read "Wayward", left review on Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing) to make sure your points are tallied!

You can also get points for blogging about our sponsored books, sponsored authors, or the contest in general.

  • A guest blog with one of our sponsored authors gives you 20 points

  • A blog post about the contest gives you 5 points

So, for example, you can make a blog entry about the contest (5 points), and do a guest blog with one of our authors (10 points), for a total of 25 points. There is no limit to how many guest posts you can do with authors, and there is no limit to how many times you can blog about the contest. For example, if you blog about the contest 3 times, you will get 15 points.

NOTE: Please send an email to kindleindiependence(at)hotmail(dot)com when you blog about the contest to make sure that your points are tallied! When you do a guest blog with one of our authors, our author will keep track of your points.

Social Networking:
You can also get points for tweeting abut the contest and talking about it on facebook.

  • Liking the Kindle INDIEpendence Day facebook page gives you 1 point

  • Liking any of the sponsored authors facebook or book pages gives you 1 point

  • Tweeting about the contest or our books or authors gives you 1 point

  • Following the blog gets you 1 point

So, for example, you could like the INDIEpendence Day fb page (1 point), like two of the author's fan pages (2 points--1 point for each author), like one of the author's book fan pages (1 point--1 point for each book page), and tweet about the contest 5 times (5 points--1 point for each tweet) author's fan page, for a total of 9 points. There is NO limit to how many times you can tweet/talk about the contest on fb/etc. For example, if you tweet about the contest 10 times, you will get 10 points. If you tweet about a book you really like (or don't like) 10 times, you will get 10 points.

Legal Disclaimer:

CONTEST BEGINS June 1, 2011 at 12:00 A.M. EST, and will run until July 3, 2011, 11:59 P.M. EST, with the winner to be announced on July 4, 2011.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Sign up-sheet for Kindle Indiependence Giveaway can be found at  No further action is required to enter, however, optional actions can be taken by any participant to gain additional entries and improve chances of winning.  These include: 1.) Liking Kindle Indiependence Giveaway on Facebook, 2.) Tweeting about Kindle Indiependence on Twitter, 3.) Blogging about Kindle Indiependence and 4.) Purchasing a participating eBook and writing a genuine customer review on

This contest is open to (...)   Void where prohibited.  Participating authors and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter.

One (1) Grand Prize Winner will be chosen at random on July 4, 2011, from all eligible entries received by the entry deadline. Odds of winning depends on the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor will notify Winner by sending an email and announcing the winner's name (but not email address) on the contest website and blog within a week of the contest deadline.  Winner will be required to provide his/her home address for mailing of the prize.  First, second, and third prize winners will be required to provide a valid email address for delivery of prizes.

The one (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive a Kindle ebook reader (Retail value $150.)  Sponsor is not responsible for delays of shipping from the manufacturer to the winner or in any issues related to the prize or its use or malfunction. The winner will be solely responsible for the prize's use, any downloads, any purchases, etc., as well as applicable taxes related to the winning of the prize. Any problems with receipt of the prize, functionality of the prize and further use of is not a responsibility of the Sponsor.

One (1) First Prize Winner will receive all 17 participating authors' eBooks, one (1) Second Prize winner will receive 10 participating authors' eBooks of their choice, and one (1) Third Prize Winner will receive 5 participating authors' eBooks of their choice.

By participating in this contest, entrants agree to abide by these official rules. Sponsor is not responsible for injury or damage to any computer, the prize itself, other equipment, or person relating to or resulting from participation in the contest, or participating in the Kindle Indiependence Day Giveaway email newsletter. Entrants release Sponsor, its agencies, and assigns from any liability, damage and/or loss resulting from participating in this contest and/or the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize. Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to publish, post online, or otherwise refer to the name of the winner in any and all forms and media throughout the world, and for any and all publicity or promotional purposes, without obligation or compensation, except where prohibited by law.

Good luck!

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.