Crossed Out

Crossed Out

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday Five

1. This week I've been SICK.  Ugh.  I swear our house sounds like a pack of seals with all the barking coughs.

Not fun at all.  Apparently there is some viral thing going around.  Not sure where I got this but came down with it on Monday and then, of course husband said he wasn't feeling well.  Then yet more family drama in which didn't exactly help.


2. Almost done with the revision of CROSSED FIRE

At one of my favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leafs and my drink yesterday was their hot NSA mocha latte with almond milk.

I feel so author-like, with my drink and writing at a coffee house!

***True fact: After I finish this revision?  That will make not one but two novels I've finished at this coffee shop.  Uh, yeah, it's getting a nod in my acknowledges this time around!

3.  Just found out that YA Books Central is giving away 10 copies of READ BETWEEN THE LINES.  Loved this book!

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: I loved the story behind the inspiration for this novel. Who hasn't been flipped off? Knowles takes one crude gesture and spins her magic to create a novel that is sure to resonate and stay with you.

A must read for Knowles fans and those who love engaging, heart-felt stories with realistic characters that give us a glimpse not only into their worlds but our own.

4. Picked up the latest Julie Kagawa's novel: TALON

As a Cybils panelist I was introduced to Kagawa with her BLOOD IN EDEN series.  I thought I was over vamps/dystopias but her writing showed me that it doesn't matter if a story line is over done if the author breathes her/his own magic into that novel.

TALON is about dragons that live among us and the organization that is determined to slaughter all of them.



Started watching this and it's hilarious.  Chinese family moves to Florida told through the eyes of their eleven year old 'black sheep' son. 

I know some are up in arms over the stereotypes but like YA author Malinda Lo said on Twitter, when I mentioned I worried about the stereotypes: 

" What stereotypes? I didn't see any Asian stereotypes.  I saw skewering of white folks' perceptions of Asians."

Twitter Feb. 11th.

Malinda is right.  

She also said on watching the show:

"Everyone should watch Fresh off the Boat at least so we'll get another show about Asians sooner than later."
Twitter Feb. 11th.

**Guilty pleasure:

Hope to see THE DUFF tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Friday Five

1.  Been busy working on my revision of CROSS FIRE(sequel to CROSSED OUT).  My motto these past few weeks has been this:

I've entered Stage IV of my story--I'm using Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure.

Stage IV is Complications & Higher Stakes and moves steadily into essence.  Basically Stephanie has made a huge decision and she can't go back now.  Which leads into a major setback...real soon.

Hoping to capture an equally magic scene soon!

2. Finished reading FROSTFIRE:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Fast-paced action along with likable characters in a lush fantasy world that only Hocking can create. Once again, another winning tale! Can't wait for the next book in the series.

3. Loved Heather Brewer's latest!

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Twisted walk into a psychological horror tale where the power of belief can take a very wicked turn. A sure must read for other minions out there.

4. Listening to INSURGENT on audio tape while commuting with son to his classes.

My younger sis got me the tapes last year and only now have I started listening to them.  Basically the story takes right off after the ending of DIVERGENT.  Lots of inner struggle with Tish and Tobias(Four).  Action packed throughout.  One huge thing I'm really loving has to be Tish's conflict with all the violence going around her.  She's not quick to kill but struggles with how this is a war and that she'll have to continue to make tough decisions that will stay with her forever.


LOVE!  Can't wait to see movie next month!

5. Speaking of loving a book, one that totally exceeded my expectations?

I'm so in love with this series!  Author told me book three depends on sales of this book.

Here's Melissa Landers on a book three in the series:

That depends on sales. Publishing is a business, and Disney needs to see strong numbers for INVADED before they'll buy a third in the series. If you'd like to see more of Aelyx and Cara, here's what you can do:

1. Order the books. If you can't find them in local stores, Book Depository ships worldwide for free.

2. Ask your county and school libraries to order copies, too. Library sales are a HUGE deal for publishers, but many libraries will only order a book if you specifically ask them to do it.

3. Talk about the books. Post pics online, and leave reviews on retail sites like Amazon, B&N, and Book Depository. This helps new readers discover the series. Nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising!

Fingers crossed for a third! I'll post an update as soon as I know more. And as always, thanks for your support!

So, what's stopping you all?  Go out and buy!  You won't be disappointed.  It's an interstellar romance that has action, intrigue, mystery, and of course a hot love story!  Reminds me of STAR CROSSED (only written better)

 You can purchase the TV series on Kindle Fire!  I have!

Now revisiting book one in the series:

**Guilty Pleasure:

Today have my dreaded yearly exam.  I always hyperventilate over this, stressing that there might be something wrong.  Wish me healthy vibes!  I think it's because not one but two friends of mine have been dealing with the dreaded C word.  Getting older is a real bitch.  That's for sure.

But one 'good' thing is my center has facials for right after the exam!


Photo Courtesy of Orange Coast Women's Medical Group

Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Five

1. Ugh. Looks like we're going to have an expensive dental bill. Husband cracked his tooth and it's turning grayish. Never good.

2. Cruising through the revision of CROSS FIRE. I'm a fourth of the way done! My goal is to finish by Feb. 16th, which is a Monday.

3. Right now reading FROSTFIRE by Amanda Hocking:

Book Blurb: Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

I'm totally hooked with Bryn's quest for revenge and her growing attraction to Ridley.

4.Finally picked up my copy of INVADED!

5. Been hearing awesome things about this new YA horror book. Downloaded 'free' sample.

Book blurb: Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying. for one hell of a week

Finished reading latest Heather Brewer book:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Twisted walk into a psychological horror tale where the power of belief can take a very wicked turn. A sure must read for other minions out there.

**Guilty Pleasure:

Going to try one of these Starbucks new drinks. FB has a group that shares different combos.

I want to try the Cake Batter one:

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

INVADED Launch & Giveaway

INVADED Launch & Giveaway!

I am so thrilled to help Melissa Landers with her release week launch party for INVADED! See a note from Melissa below and make sure to enter the giveaway!

Hey, fiction lovers. I’m Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated series (YA sci-fi from Disney-Hyperion), and today I’m bouncing with excitement because THE SEQUEL IS FINALLY HERE!

It’s been a year since we left Aelyx and Cara onboard the intergalactic transport, and INVADED begins with an emotional goodbye as they part ways—Aelyx returning to Earth to salvage the alliance, and Cara continuing to L’eihr to serve out her part of the student exchange. While they’re apart, our star-crossed lovers will face assassination attempts, betrayal, crippling self-doubt, and a sadistic alien Phys Ed class. (Because there’s no escaping PE, even in another galaxy.) When Aelyx and Cara finally reunite…well, let’s just say it’s combustive. ;-)

What do reviewers think? I’m glad you asked!

“Readers will love the seamless blend of suspense, humor, and romance set against an interstellar landscape. Dual narratives and a tightly plotted mystery keep the suspense running high, and the chemistry between Aelyx and Cara smolders.” –Booklist

“Excellent character development and integration between modern reality and science fiction. Teens will be rooting for the galactic couple while enjoying the action and suspense that runs through the two volumes.” –School Library Journal

“The protagonists' forced separation gives greater depth to their romance. Each learns to turn a critical eye upon the flaws of their native societies while confronting genuine obstacles to a future together. These complications only underscore the growing sense of menace that propels the narrative to an action-packed climax.” –Kirkus

I hope you’ll make tracks to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of INVADED! If you’re snowed in, here are some easy links to bring the sequel right to you:

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)
Indie Bound

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble and an autographed swag pack, complete with mini posters of BOTH books! This giveaway is open internationally, and due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

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Best of luck, and happy reading!

Bio: Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Friday Five

1. Excited to get this package from YA Books Central:

2. Right now reading:

Loving this book!  Best part has to be the Italian setting with hints of a 'vacation' romance!

3. Also reading this:

This book so far is reminding me of a 90s TV sitcom--

Lots of similarities only in UTOPIA it's told from a teen's POV.  Town is filled with people with paranormal abilities.  Lots of movie references throughout that, to me, took me out of an otherwise entertaining tale.

4. Loved this novella!

CAN'T WAIT for INVADED that comes out next week.

5. Getting into mood by ordering episodes of STAR CROSSED for my Fire:

**Guilty pleasure:

Plan on having lunch with some friends!  Should be fun to get away for a few!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Curse of Ash & Iron Cover Reveal

Excited to help with the cover reveal of author friend Christine Norris's upcoming book!

Scroll down for the reveal!






Isn't it gorgeous?

Book Cover Copy: 

Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn't believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before  New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press ( )

Author website:
Author Twitter: @cnorrisauthor
Book Trailer link:

YABC blog:

Here's YABC giveaway:

Release date: May 21, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day & UNTIL THE ROBIN WALKS IN THE SNOW review

LET’S PARTY! We are hosting a Twitter party! Join us for Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th at 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 awesome multicultural children’s book packages.

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice.

What else happens on January 27th, 2015?? There will be a huge Linky that can be seen on the MCCBD site, on all nine of our CoHost’s sites and also on the Co-Founders sites as well. You can view our CoHosts here. Over 150 book reviewers will link up their book reviews and multicultural activities to form an amazing resource and activities list for parents, teachers and librarians to enjoy.

Follow Us!

-Our new Facebook page
-Our new Twitter


BOOK DESCRIPTION (Paperback released September 2012; eBook October 2012)
It is 1922. An immigrant family and their devoted midwife struggle to save a tiny premature baby. Inspired by real events in Norwich, Connecticut, this historical fiction novella about determination, family, faith, and friendship includes a story chapter about the family's Polish and Lithuanian Christmas Eve traditions. Appendices include a List of Sources Consulted and Author's Notes about the facts, family history, and research behind the story. Age 10 and up.

2013 “Gold” MOM’S CHOICE AWARD for YA Historical Fiction
2013 FINALIST in National Indie Excellence Award for “Faction” (fiction based on fact)

My take:

This novella reads very much like a historical narrative of a young immigrant family's struggles in Connecticut in 1922. There's lots of insight into this family--the scene where the grandfather going over Polish Christmas traditions was interesting. A young mother tries to keep her premature baby alive--using an eye dropper to get the baby to take milk--reminds readers how hard and difficult life was without modern medical advances. Mostly though, it shows the determination and strength of a midwife against great odds. Faith plays a huge part of this families life and helps them draw closer together in hard times.

The author calls this 'Faction' (fiction based on fact) but it read more like a collection of reflections to me. This historical account would be perfect for a student, genealogist, or anyone looking into their own Polish roots to use as a source of research.

There is the outline at the end that goes over each chapter with detailed notes to identify which parts of the story are fact, based on research, and which provide further background.  Some of these facts are fascinating the skin-to-skin approach used to help premature babies and how it is on the increase(also called the kangaroo technique).  How less than one percent of extremely premature babies are born with surfactant--a critically needed substance that coats and lubricates the lungs,  Also how the infant mortality rate for 1922 was 76 deaths per 1000 births opposed to 2012's 6 deaths to 1000 births.  This fact only reinforces how hard it was for a premature baby to survive. These facts are fascinating especially her links to family members.

This book provides, an intriguing glimpse into the difficulties of an immigrant families life and the hardships they faced to keep a premature baby alive.

About author:

Bernice L. Rocque is an educator, family historian, writer, and avid gardener. She grew up in Norwich, Connecticut in the surroundings described in her novella, Until the Robin Walks on Snow. She has authored numerous business articles associated with her work in libraries, training and development, and project management (PMI certified PMP). Articles she has written about her family have appeared in the Norwich Bulletin, Good Old Days magazine, and Family Chronicle. Ms. Rocque has served as Adjunct Faculty at the iSchool, Syracuse University since 2006 and on the iSchool’s Board of Advisors since 2010. She lives in Connecticut.

LOVE, LUCY Release Day Blast

I'm really excited to be a part of the LOVE, LUCY Release Day Blast!  Just downloaded my own copy on my Kindle Fire!


Author: April Lindner
Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

About April Lindner

April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, releasing January 27, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.

Guest Post from April Lindner

Some Rules of the Road

Like Lucy Sommersworth, the heroine of Love, Lucy, my parents gave me the gift of a lifetime: a backpacking trip to Europe. I was a bit older than Lucy—22, and just out of college—but when I arrived in Milan, Italy with a Eurail pass, a copy of Let’s Go: Europe, and a seventy-pound backpack I could barely lift, I was a wee bit terrified. Like Lucy, I spoke only a little bit of Italian, just barely enough to get by, and I wasn’t particularly good at reading maps or train schedules. Unlike Lucy, I was travelling solo.
Luckily, my journey began with training wheels. I’d just taken a college Italian class, and my professor had offered a safe crash pad for the first few days of my trip—in her family home in the Alps. Less luckily, when I reached Malpensa airport, nobody was there to pick me up. Giddy with excitement and jet lag, I wandered around the airport, eavesdropping on Italians as they hugged each other hello and goodbye, and had noisy arguments. I’d never felt more alone in my life. Where would I sleep that night if my ride didn’t show up?
Luckily, my professor’s brother arrived at last to whisk me away to the family home in Domodossola. The extended family welcomed and fed me, gave me tours of their city with its charming medieval center, helped me practice my Italian, and, when the time was right, brought me to the train station where my solo travels began for real. It was time to take off the training wheels.
If I’d felt alone back in the airport, I was even more so on that train to Verona, a city where I didn’t know a soul. In those pre-internet days, I could disappear into thin air and nobody would even notice I was gone. The thought was chilling, but oddly exciting.
By nightfall, I’d made it to Verona. I’d figured out the public transportation, found a youth hostel, and booked myself a bed. Best of all, I had introduced myself to a handful of other backpackers. We hung out together in the hostel’s common area, sharing bread and cheese, exchanging stories, discussing the rules of the road—those bits of practical wisdom our travels were teaching us. Here are a few.
Time passes differently on the road.  Spend a few very intense hours seeing the sites with strangers and by the end of the day, those strangers have become a part of your story. Years later you’ll see their faces in your photo album and still remember stray details of the adventures you shared together, even if you can’t quite recall their names.
Spontaneity is key.  There are few things as magical as showing up at a train station with no idea where you’re headed next, picking a random train, and hopping on.
Janis Joplin said it best: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.  When you’re carrying all your possessions on your back in a city where you don’t know a soul, you’re absolutely free. You can go anywhere, do anything. That freedom has its lonely moments—but it can be the doorway to all kinds of adventures.
Embrace misadventure.  As carefully as you plan there will be crazy mistakes: wrong turns, slept-through train stops, multilingual misunderstandings, and all kinds of other blunders—and these will make the best stories. My misadventures are some of my favorite memories. The time I missed curfew and had to climb into my hostel through a second-story window. The morning when, hanging out my recently washed clothes to dry, I dropped my wet underthings out the window, onto a stranger’s head. The night when, with no room to stay in, I slept on Venice’s train station steps with about a hundred other backpackers, the stars above us and the Grand Canal stretched out before us.  
Would I trade that last memory for a safe, comfy night in an actual bed? Not on your life.

The Giveaway

A blast-wide giveaway for:
1 copy of LOVE, LUCY to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository – Int’l
3 JANE posters (signed) – US only
Ends February 6 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 4 of #Wipmadness

Thanks so much for stopping by during this month of #wipmadness! I'm cheering you on!

For my final post of this month, I thought I'd talk about karma. You know the saying: What you do comes back to you?

Photo courtesy of

In this biz, it can be tough at times. The ups and downs are like being on a roller coaster ride. You get on the coaster, not sure what to expect and then experience highs(like signing with an agent, signing a book deal, successful author speaking/signing engagements, landing on the NYT best sellers list) and then the lows(rejections galore, low book sales).

You have to be tough.

I've found it really helps to cheer on my fellow authors when they have successes and hope that karma will come back and bite me some time later on.

I really love what is posted in

The Giving Game

The idea of giving first is as old as time. What we give returns to us. You know how karma works. Karma says that what we give out is what returns to us.
What an opportunity! If we focus on giving, on sharing, on helping – then that positive energy will return to us. It may go against our natural grain to put ourselves aside and promote another author’s book, but that’s what activates the karma principle and sets things in motion. It’s the essence of karma and the subject of numerous proverbs, as well as some contemporary thinkers..International Book Marketer, Public Speaker, Book Coach and Author Advocate, Nancy Baumann’.

So, for today, I'm sending out mega fairy dust to all
Photo courtesy of Fairy God Blogger &
of you.

Here's to some great successes to everyone. Be it getting through that writer's block, to finishing that revision, first draft, deadline. To just feeling motivated to get back in that chair and write.

Si, se puede! You can do it!!

Remember what actress Gina Rodriquez said, "Why not me?" Exactly. Why not you?

Now since no one claimed the first week's prize, I'm opening it up again. Just comment here and RT on Twitter for a chance to win! I'll announce the winner on Twitter next Monday!