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Blog tours, bushy tails, and frozen green beans.

Good day fellow Scriveners, friends, and any rodent-like creatures with bushy tails, who might be reading my blog,

I’m breaking the rules. Two posts in one day. But I felt disconnected. I promoted two books this week on Wednesday and Friday, but you never heard from me. Not really.

A big part of the reason I started blogging was to help promote my fellow friends and I don’t think I’ll stop. I might just be more selective? Not sure about that. What do you feel about the promotion? Has there been too many in general on the blogosphere?

Possibly. But if it’s a book I might like, then I’m glad. I’m really looking forward to reading Ali Cross’s book, BECOME. And that is fully because of the blog tour and reading the sample chapter. Loved the writing. Loved the cover design.

What do you think? Can there be too much promotion?

On a different note, my house is under somewhat of an emergency. One I don’t like being in. Squirrels have invaded our basement. I’ve seen the shine of the green army helmets on their heads. I’ve seen them in a huddle outside, laughing at me as they make their evil plans. I know they plan to jump on my head if they catch me trying to grab some frozen green beans so my kids get their daily allotment of veggies, because I don’t believe in lying to our pediatrician.

But I might have to start lying soon.

And I’ll close on a third random note by saying there is a right and a wrong to end a book, as in cliffhangers. Some work extremely well. Some are just attempts to keep interest into the next book.

What marks the difference in a great cliffhanger for you? And did you know that squirrels in New England love camo pants?

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HAPENNY MAGICK-What if trolls were to invade your village?

Welcome author Jennifer Carson and her soon-to-be-released middle grade novel! She’s a friend, crit partner, and an incredibly gifted artist and writer. You name it, she can do it. Read on to find out about HAPENNY MAGICK and Jennifer’s decision to fund her project with Kickstarter.

UPDATE: HAPENNY MAGICK HAS BEEN FULLY FUNDED! YAY!

As the tiniest Hapenny, a race of little people, Maewyn Bridgepost spends her days from breakfast to midnight nibble scrubbing the hearth, slopping the pigs, and cooking for her guardian, Gelbane, who never spares a kind word. As if life as a servant isn’t bad enough, Mae learns that Gelbane is a troll—and Hapennies are a troll delicacy.

Years ago, a spell trapped Gelbane in Mae’s village. Ever since, Gelbane has been chiseling away the magic spells that guard the village and now Mae’s community is destined to become a smorgasbord for half-starved trolls.

Tell us a little history behind the story.

Hapenny Magick began its literary life as a picture book manuscript, which is kind of funny, because so did To Find A Wonder! I wonder when I’m going to learn that I’m long winded? Anyway, I had asked a writing friend, who is a picture book author, to look it over. I kept thinking that something was missing–it just wasn’t right. And she said, “It sounds like the synopsis of a longer story.” The lightbulb went on and three years later, here’s Hapenny Magick. Thanks, Deb!

How did your love for the Renaissance and Middle Ages develop?

I’ve been enamored with these time periods since I was thirteen. That fall was the first time my parents took my to the Ren Fair in Michigan where I grew up. It became a tradition after that to go on my birthday. I love the richness of the language and the fact that, before REAL scientific methods were introduced, anything was possible.

Why the decision to publish through a small start-up small press?

I tried for a couple of years to find a traditional publisher that would pick up HAPENNY MAGICK and run with it, but deep down I knew this book wasn’t meant for mainstream media. There were no farting dogs, butt cracks or vampires. The story unfolds like a classic fairy tale and the market for these kinds of books right now are seen by the mass media as too slow to gamble on. Mass media outlets are great, don’t get me wrong, but they tend to not take risks and to produce the same kind of media message over and over again–the “payday” message if you will. That’s why we have not just one CSI but three. HAPENNY MAGICK isn’t a trendy book. It is a classic story that I’m hoping will become one of your favorites.

I went through a small press with TO FIND A WONDER and I could have gone back to that same press and published HAPENNY MAGICK, but I decided to give it a shot myself. I had the art connections and a husband that was supportive of the idea. I just needed the money to get the project through its final stages, and that’s where Kickstarter.com came in.

What exactly is Kickstarter? I’m curious.

Kickstarter is a site where people can support the arts and invention through donations that earn them rewards from the creators of the projects themselves. And the great thing is, when you pledge your support, if the project doesn’t meet its funding goal, you don’t pay. So you aren’t donating to something that may not come to fruition.

You can check out my Kickstarter site here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jennifercarson/hapenny-magick-a-story-with-humor-and-heart

Thanks, Laura, for having me on your blog and for helping me spread the word! I’ve got 6 days to go to meet my goal!

Laura again. I’ve read this story from the first draft to the final. It’s a whimsical fun story filled with danger and magic. The illustrations through out the story are incredible. I’m buying one for niece. And for myself, of course.

And did you know that your donation will buy you copy? Pretty cool. Her first middle grade book, TO FIND A WONDER, is for sale on Amazon. The Kindle version is only 2.99! Check it out.

Please check out Kris Asselin’s blog for more information on Pugalicious Press. They are accepting submissions!

Here’s an illustration in progress from HAPENNY MAGICK.

And here’s the cover with Jennifer’s hand crafted doll of Maewyn, the hapenny.

Thanks Jennifer for sharing your work. I hope you get this book fully funded because kids are going to love it!

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Friday 5 – Tough questions about “brand” for you to answer.

I’ve seen lots of posts on branding. Everything from it’s a must to just be yourself. I’ve seen many different ways to go about it, the strict brands of paranormal romance, horror, classic middle grade, dystopian; to it being more about great writing.

Here are five questions swirling around in the gray matter of my brain. Pick one and answer in the comments.

1. Do you believe a writer can create a true brand before they even have a book or two out? Do you think about brand before you start a story?

2. Do you think brand equals genre you write in?

3. How many of you find the idea of a brand a bit constricting? Or do you not worry about it at all?

4. Have you ever been upset with an author that wrote a different story from what you were expecting? And did you get over it?

5. Do you think creating a brand is a make or break thing for a writer? Do you think an author can brand their career to a certain death when the trends change?

Share your thoughts. Curious minds want to know.

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What if you took your secret crush back in time with you?

CLOCKWISE  by Elle Strauss

“A teen time traveler accidentally takes her secret crush back in time. Awkward.”

CLOCKWISE is launching electronically this week and it’s only 2.99 on Amazon , £2.17 on Amazon.co.uk! To celebrate, Elle Strauss is giving away five debut books by authors that you can meet on her blog tour which is happening now.

LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden

THE CLEARING by Anne Riley

THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL by Heather McCorkle

PERILOUS by Tamara Hart Heiner

THE HATING GAME by Talli Roland

How to win? Sign up for Elle’s newsletter to enter. For extra entries just comment on any blog in the tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on the more chances you have to win.

Five books, five days, five winners!

I love it when books surprise me. When I think I have the plot all figured out. Because I’m smart like that. #notreally I didn’t see the plot twist in CLOCKWISE coming. At all!

My Review of CLOCKWISE.

Casey has a problem. A big problem. She time travels and she can’t control it. She deals with it the best anyone can, traveling back to the 1800s, until the day she brings back her crush, Nate. #agirl’sworstnightmare  #ordreamcometrue

And I’m not going to tell you what happens after that. You’ll have to read it.

I will say that I loved the development of Casey’s relationship with Nate. Traveling through time has a way of changing a person and adding perspective. They both grow as people. A secondary character, Samuel, enters the story, and I absolutely love how the author tied the subplots together.

Not going to say anything else about that either. #sorry #i’mmeanlikethat

I will say that by the end I was in tears in a moving, sentimental ending.

If you like time travel, suspense, a sweet romance – you’ll enjoy CLOCKWISE.

Plus, the cover is all sorts of awesome.

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Friday 5 – Some rockin’ new MG and YA must-read blogs!

It must the cool breeze stirring up all the awesome new websites. Who realized that other writers were plotting and planning during the summer heat while I splashed around with my kids?

Without further ado, here are the rockin’ new websites I’ve stumbled upon.

Sleuths, Spies and Alibis

A group blog of middle grade and young adult authors talk about…you guessed it….mysteries. They post every day of the week with book reviews, writing prompts, guest authors, and writing tips. Sounds terrific!

YA Curator

Ever wondered how to find the good stuff worth reading with all the self published and small press titles? This group blogs does it for you. Every Wednesday they post a review. So far they’ve reviewed THE BOYFRIEND THIEF by Shana Norris, DREAM SMASHERS by Angela Carlie, and RED by Kait Nolan. They all look great! Worth checking out every week.

Reel YA

A website where YA books and movies rule. They’ll cover hot topics/open threads, movie news, guest posts, contests and movie/book reviews. They kicked off with vampire week and a guest post by Lisa Gail Green.

YA Confidential

I know you’ve heard of this one. They had 100 followers the first day! They’ll be about everything teen including teen spies, YA books, critiques, giveaways, round tables – pretty incredible with a lot of buzz. In fact, they’ve kicked off their blog with a HUGE agent critique and arc giveaway.

Book Recs of the Rock and Famous

Ever wanted to know what the stars are reading. Don’t look any farther than this blog by the rock star expert, Kelly Polark.

DIY-MFA

Do-it-yourself degree in Creative Writing.

This blog will cover How-to tips, in depth articles, and writing prompts. It will offer a newsletter and down the road some webinars. Many of us can’t afford to get our MFA but this might help. Looks interesting. It’s just getting started but worth checking out.

Any cool new blogs that I missed?

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