Friday, May 22, 2015

Krysten Lindsay Hager on Writing About the Teen Years

As the author of the the Teen Wytche Saga, I know how difficult it can be to write about teens. So I'm especially happy to welcome back guest blogger, Krysten Lindsay Hager, author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. 
Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children's Books on Values.True Colors is an international bestselling book.

Writing About the Teen Years: Guest Post By Krysten Lindsay Hager

The Landry’s True Colors Series is all about self-esteem, friendships, crushes, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, values, and self-image. It’s not always easy for me to go back in time and revisit those memories, but it’s part of the process. I knew I wanted to be a writer at a very young age, but I got serious about it right when I graduated from high school. The hardest part for me was finishing a story, but I did that for the first time in college with a novella while doing a one-on-one study. It was then that I decided to write young adult fiction and I started re-reading my old journals and going through old memories. When I got married I thought that even though I had started getting published under my maiden name, it would be easier to write about those teen years if I wrote under my married name. Then, one day after the wedding, I got an invitation to join Facebook and I was all, “What’s this? This looks fun!” Two months later and people I shared crayons with in pre-school were friending me and all possibilities of me using my own actual real-life experiences in my stories were out the window. Sigh. Stupid Facebook. So now I must write Landry’s experiences as her own. That’s not to say my own memories don’t infiltrate and inspire certain plotlines though. My mom saw a lot of things I had been through in a new character in the series.
    I may not use my actual experiences word for word, but I channel those feelings into the books. Writing about the teen years means going back and sharing the awkward and insecure feelings I had like wondering why someone who was supposed to be my friend was saying passive aggressive things to me—the whole, “Just kidding!” statement made after a mean spirited comment was thrown my way. Or how I felt while modeling and then feeling expectations to always look a certain way. And, of course, all the boy drama. Nothing like hearing rumors about another girl going after the guy you’re with, right? There’s a part in the first book in the series, True Colors, where Landry has been left out by her two best friends. Landry has to get up and walk across the room and ask another group of girls if she can join them. I remember an editor told me, “My heart was in my throat as I wondered, would these new girls accept her? Would they let her sit with them?” As this woman told me how she felt emotionally connected with Landry, it hit me—that moment I had written about was based on my own feelings. I had done that incredibly long walk back in middle school to another table to see if someone would let me in their group after my own had stopped talking to me for a day (who knows why, but at the time it seemed catastrophic). That awkward, uncomfortable memory that I wasn’t even sure I should write about had brought up something in this woman who was reading it for the first time. It was then that I realized that Landry’s (and my) vulnerabilities were the only way to bring truth and honesty to the story.

However, I never could have written this story back then because you need time to process all of those things and realize why they happened and what you can learn from them. While writing the story, it hit me that Landry’s parents could share with her what they had gone through themselves when dealing with self-doubt and insecurity when Landry talks about her fear of failure. As a teen, I never really picked up on what my own parents went through even though I witnessed my mom have “frenemy” moments of her own. It began to hit me how all these things never really stop, they just change a little as you get older. Recently, I’ve had friends share emails that hurt them from other adults and honestly, they could have been written by 14 year old mean girls. I realize now how important it is to learn how to handle these things early on and to know you’re not alone in having to go through these situations. I wrote the books I wished I could have had at that age to let me know I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling and going through and I hope now it helps someone else.

Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.

Blurb:  Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
    Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?
Excerpt:
I was so nervous the night of the basketball game. At first, I didn’t even want to go into the gym, but I mustered up the courage just as the game ball went streaking past my head and I almost got knocked over by a referee. The ref blew the whistle and went to hand the ball off. Vladi was standing right there and he nodded at me. Peyton squeezed my arm as we sat down, but I didn’t think it was that big a deal because he didn’t smile at me or anything.
         “Duh, he was playing basketball, but he acknowledged your existence,” she said.
        “Kind of like how that cheerleader who keeps screaming out his name is acknowledging him?” I pointed to the girl with glossy straight brown hair who was doing back flips on the sidelines.
       “Forget her. He must like blondes anyway. He didn’t check me out after all,” she said.
        I checked around to see if Carey was there, but I didn’t see her. I did see India sitting with Doug and Cristian though. I poked Peyton, but she had already seen them.
        “Devon would kill her,” she said.
        “Um, should we tell her? They just started talking again,” I said. I didn’t want to get in the middle of another fight and I could tell that Peyton felt the same way. Besides, it wasn’t like Doug was Devon’s boyfriend. I’m sure India thought she would be safe since other than her and Devon, the rest of us hadn’t gone to the away games before. Peyton said we should try to avoid them after the game so we could pretend that we never saw them together. However, I ran into her on my way out of the bathroom at halftime.
        “Landry,” India’s aqua blue eyes widened. “Are you here to see Vladi?”
        I nodded and we both stood there. Peyton came in to see what was taking so long and almost passed out when she saw India.
        “You guys, could you not say anything to Devon about this? I came by myself and I just ran into Doug here,” India said.
        Peyton and I acted like we hadn’t even seen Doug. I knew India had to be lying because who would go to a game by herself? We agreed not to say anything. The whole time I worried about what would happen if Devon found out that I knew about Doug and India. Peyton told me to relax because we weren’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t sure which was worse: keeping a secret from Devon or breaking up her friendship with India?
Buy Links:
Amazon international: http://authl.it/B00UIP1N5S
Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Connect with Krysten:


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Award-Winning Author Christi Corbett Returns with Tainted Dreams


I am pleased to welcome back to the spotlight 2014 RONE Awards Winner, Christi Corbett.
Tainted Dreams is Christi's second sweet frontier romance. 


They survived the Oregon Trail, but claiming a legacy would be their biggest challenge yet…

Back cover copy:
Sometimes, the end justifies the means…

Kate Davis arrived into Oregon City transformed from a pampered daughter of fortune into a determined woman with a plan--fulfill her father's dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory.

She quickly discovers a harsh truth--even thousands of miles from home, on an unsettled land America doesn't yet own or govern, gender still takes precedence over ability. Refusing to be ruled once again by the stifling laws and societal norms she'd escaped by leaving Virginia, Kate begins creatively claiming what is rightfully hers.

Until a visit to the land office changes everything.

Jake Fitzpatrick guided Kate across the Oregon Trail, and fell in love with her along the way. Now he wants to marry her and build a life together, but a ruthless man from Jake's past threatens to reveal a dark secret, and destroy everything he's worked so hard to achieve.

Excerpt: (Jake, Kate, and two people they rescued on the Oregon Trail, William and Margaret, have entered Oregon City. They are looking for the hotel.)

At the end of the block a man burst from the saloon and stumbled into the street, stopping mere inches from Jake's horse, Plug. Instead of backing away, the man lurched forward and reached for Jake's saddle horn.

"Hey there!" Jake said. Raising his left leg, he ignored the resulting twinge of pain and shoved the stranger aside with his boot heel. "Watch it!"

The man drew back and stared at him, his eyes bloodshot and unfocused. He raised an unsteady finger, slurred an unintelligible response, and then fell face-­first into a patch of mud.

"Drunken fool," Jake muttered, then faced the others. "Let's keep moving."

High-­pitched squealing foiled his plan.

On the upper deck of the saloon a horde of harlots stood clustered together, giggling and shrieking as they pointed toward him. Clenching his jaw, he focused on the street ahead, all the while hoping Kate didn't notice one woman in particular who'd separated herself from the others and was now hanging over the railing, calling him by name.

Jake pressed his boot heels into Plug's side, urging him to a steady trot. Thankfully the others followed and they quickly left the saloon behind.

Minutes later, Kate motioned to the end of the street. "William, we're running out of road and I still don't see a hotel."

William pulled a rumpled paper from his pocket. He studied it briefly and then eyed the surrounding buildings. "My uncle sent me a rough sketch of where it's located, but there are so many new buildings, it's useless. Jake, do you know where it's at?"

Jake shook his head. "There wasn't a hotel the last time I was here."

"Perhaps one of those men sitting in front of the apothecary would know?" Margaret suggested.

"We'll find it ourselves," Jake replied. He led the group around the corner and onto the next street.

Buildings, so new their fresh pine scent still hung in the air, lined one side of the street while the other side held only two—an enormous livery and a two-­story building with the word Hotel prominently displayed on a white sign with black lettering. A matching sign beside a light-­rimmed window read Rooms Available by the Day or Week.

They dismounted, secured their horses to the empty hitching posts in front of the hotel, and headed for the door. William reached for the glass knob, then turned to the others with a worried frown.

"I haven't seen my uncle in over seven years, so I don't know what to expect. Though from what I've observed so far, living out west doesn't seem to improve manners." He stepped inside and ushered Margaret and Kate through the doorway. Jake followed them, then stopped cold.

Behind the hotel's front desk sat Theodore Martin—the one man Jake never wanted to see again as long as he lived.





About the Author:
Christi Corbett, winner of the 2013 RONE Award for Best American Historical novel, lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. The home's location holds a special place in her writing life; it stands just six hundred feet from the original Applegate Trail and the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.



Social Media Links:
Email: christicorbett@gmail.com


Available from the following retailers:









Along the Way Home

They lost everything but their dreams on the Oregon Trail…

Back Cover Copy:
Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father's mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia's elite society.

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he's eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation--he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother's heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs--even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice--go back to everything she's ever known or toward everything she's ever wanted?

Buy Links:







Author Endorsements for Along the Way Home:
In Along the Way Home, author Christi Corbett unfurls an unforgettable epic romance inside of an epic Western adventure. Beautifully crafted, this debut novel is a tender journey of the heart as well as a treacherous journey of many miles. Along the Way Home is a squeaky-clean historical romance with authentic period details and deep emotion. Much danger, risk, courage and compassion will make you long for more books from this talented author. As heartwarming as Christy."
Eve Paludan, author of Taking Back Tara (Ranch Lovers Romance series)
*************************************
A breathtaking account of courage and adventure along the Oregon Trail. Travel this dangerous journey with characters you will treasure as they cope with heart-wrenching difficulties they never thought to encounter in a search to fulfill their hopes and dreams. Christi Corbett’s debut novel, Along the Way Home, will both surprise and delight.    
Jillian Kent, author of The Ravensmoore Chronicles.
************************************
A dash of action! A touch of intrigue! Loads of sweet, clean romantic promise…
Reid Lance Rosenthal, Winner of 15 National Awards, #1 Best Selling Author of the Threads West, An American Saga series.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Delve Into the World of Cornerstone Deep

Charlene A.Wilson returns to my blog today with a new release, The Transformation of Anna.
Be sure to enter her Tour Wide Giveaway (below) for the chance to
win a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card.

The Transformation of Anna
Cornerstone Deep book one
Audio Edition


For centuries, Cole Shilo has mourned the loss of his wife, Mianna, and drowned himself in his work as Head Sentinel of Cornerstone Deep. But when he is sent to harvest a second-class woman who has broken curfew, her soul calls out to him. His response couldn't have been worst timed. The Lords and the Gods are not happy.

Rebirth isn't possible on Cornerstone Deep…

Is it?
“My life is a mirage of endless time. But you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.”


Book Trailer


Audio book sample excerpt


What they’re saying:

“The Transformation of Anna is first-rate fantasy, with a healthy dose of romance added in. Wilson has created a plausible, multi-dimensional world complete with gods, mythologies, and engaging characters. The world Wilson has created in The Transformation of Anna is complex, but infinitely and easily accessible to the reader. It's quite an amazing and impressive work with lots of action and adventure, heroic characters, and an elegant and satisfying romance.”—Jack Mangus, Readers’ Favorite

"The Transformation of Anna by Charlene A. Wilson is a beautifully stunning and deeply touching story of the darkest of treachery, the rebirth of lost love, and the discovery of hidden secrets. Being left absolutely breathless and deeply astonished after reading such an extraordinary story is a new experience for me. I am anything but disappointed in this superbly enchanting and endearingly exhilarating tale of deeply true and lasting love. My heart was captured and lost to this spellbinding journey!"—Amber McCallister, The Wonderings of One Person.


Buy links:
Audio book Amazon: http://bit.ly/TofAAudio





EXCERPT



Cole unstopped the slender vial and gently lifted Anna’s head to administer the potion. As he carefully tipped the container to her lips, tremors traveled down his forearms. His hands quaked. The amber liquid jumped to the brim and he quickly tilted it upright. Gods, Cole, control yourself. She needs every drop.

A soft palm rested on his wrist and Cole’s gaze shot to Elaina’s. When had she returned and how did he not pick up on the strong compassion emitting from her when she had? Her blue eyes looked deep into his, understanding with a touch of sadness. “Let me do that, Cole. You’ve been through enough.”

He wasn’t sure if the tremors were from anticipating a fortunate outcome or from sheer anxiety over the whole ordeal, but he accepted her tender attention as a blessing. Vincent’s intervention with her was evident. He watched as she patiently poured small measures into Anna’s mouth.

Elaina turned to Cole and lifted the emptied container. “Well, that’s it. She got it all.”

He sighed. “Thank you.”

“Anything, Cole.” She smiled and set the vial on the bed stand. “What about you? Can I get you a drink? It might calm you some.”

Nodding, he offered a small smile.

“Good, then. I’ll be right back.”

As she closed the door behind her, Cole eased himself onto the bed. “Don’t give up, Anna.” His faint words were swallowed by the silence of the room. “I’ll fix this and see to it nothing ever happens to you again.” Brushing his fingertips over her hair, he solemnly whispered a plea. “Don’t leave me.”
Her soft locks sent countless memories rushing through his mind—her smile, cheeky comments, blue eyes dancing as if life itself was a game. Her Arylinite spirit embraced every moment of love, able to see beneath façades that others deemed as truth. He sighed, knowing that side of her may have been unique to that lifetime—a result of her specialized upbringing in the Arylin colony of the northern territory.

He tilted his head and gazed over her still face. Her features were remarkably similar to Mianna’s. The gentle slope of her nose, the way she chose to wear her dark hair long, and he couldn’t deny her blue eyes when she’d looked at him. He cupped her cheek with his hand, gently stroking her lips with his thumb. They curved from a bow-tie center into a natural smile. So soft. Inviting. He leaned to her and lightly kissed them, then leaned his cheek to hers.

“Talk to me, Anna.” His breath was a plea. As much as he knew no answer would come, his heart called to her with his deepest wish.

He brushed his fingers down her neck to her chest, tenderly caressing her pale skin at the neckline of her gown. A strained pause caught his throat as he lightly followed her breast to her ribcage. “What’s in your heart?”

The tiny circles he drew on the thin fabric fed his longing for her touch. Supple creases followed his motion. To have her arms around him, the love they brought, had given him unmitigated comfort in a past life. It could be so again.

“My life was yours.” He kissed the circles he created. “Every moment, I found joy in you.”

He looked at her closed eyes. “Please, don’t leave me. Please promise you’ll be mine again.”

No emotion showed upon the visage of his love, but distant echoes of vows lighted his soul.

“Open to me.” He wondered if his whispered thought could possibly reach her unconscious mind. “Speak to me with your soul.”

Her lips parted and a chill flew through him. He waited, listened intently. Weak sensations touched his senses. “Anna,” he said aloud, hope rising. He cupped his palm to her cheek again. “Fight for it. Call to me.”

Anna remained silent.

Cole’s heart ached. Yet, that small reaction spurred his resolve. He framed her face as he lowered to take her lips with his. “I’ll help you.”

The scent of licorice and cream fell from his lips as he called on his Breath of Zephyr. His soul’s voice owned his words. “My life is a mirage of endless time. But you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.”

She inhaled his sensual gift and gasped for deeper intake.

Yes. Hope impossibly filled him. His muscles tightened with expectation. His heart pounded against his chest. “Call to me!”



~Tour Wide Giveaway~

$15 Amazon Gift Card

Rafflecopter code :








AUTHOR INFORMATION



Charlene A. Wilson is an author of tales that take you to other dimensions. She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters.
She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so amazing she brought them to life through her books.
Charlene resides in a small community in Arkansas, USA, with her two beautiful daughters, husband, a cuddly Pekingese, and a very chatty cockatiel named Todder.

Author Links