An Open Letter To My Book Boyfriends

Dear Book Boyfriends,

The other week I wrote a letter to Nancy Drew, the female character that influenced my life the most. I thought it fitting to also write a letter to the male character who influenced my life.


I couldn’t name any of you.

All my male book influencers just turned out to be book boyfriends. A shallow relationship that made my heart pump a little faster but left my soul untouched.


photo found here


This included all of you–from Flynn Rider to Lewis from Meet the Robinsons to John in I Am Number Four to Jonas in The Giver to Kvothe. Don’t get me started on Ender’s Game. The kid is, like, 6? 8? I’m not convinced you’re that young, Ender. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Nancy Drew @HerInteractive

Dear Nancy Drew,

I am a huge Emma Watson fan. I love just about everything she does, especially on the gender equality front. Seeing a sneak peek of her role as Belle in Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast got me thinking about what female character influenced me the most growing up.

To my surprise, it wasn’t Belle. It wasn’t even Hermoine.

It was you.


Thank you for teaching me I didn’t have to love the boring books my mom wanted me to read, like Jane Eyre or A Tale of Two Cities, in order to love reading. I mean, somebody else loved artifacts and archeology as much as I did!

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Blog Tour: Brainwalker by Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast

Do you remember the episode of The Magic School Bus where the kids and Ms. Frizzle travel into the nervous system. That one was one of my favorite episodes. Even as a kid, I loved all things brain related. Partly because of my own neuro disorder, partly because there is so. much. we. haven’t. discovered.

So when I read about Brainwalker, a YA Sci-Fi novel, I knew I had to sign up for the tour. I mean, wormholes?? a brain at war?? Gimme gimme.

Read more about it below!


Fourteen year-old Bernard is full of out of the box ideas—ideas that nobody appreciates. Not his ultra-rational father, not his classmates, and definitely not his teacher, who’s fed up waiting for Bernard’s overdue science project. You’d think with a hotshot quantum physicist for a dad, the assignment would be easy as “pi”, but with his relationship with his father on rocky ground, Bernard is under more pressure than a helium atom.

And Bernard’s impulse control flies out the window when he’s stressed. So instead of turning in his project, he moons the class and gets suspended. Now his dad’s got no choice but to bring him to his work. At the Atom Smasher. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Bernard, who knows smashing atoms at the speed of light can—theoretically—make wormholes. How about that for the most mind-bending science project ever? But when he sneaks into the particle accelerator and someone hits the power button, Bernard ends up in the last place he’d ever want to be.

Inside his father’s brain.

And it’s nothing like the spongy grey mass Bernard studied at school. It’s a galaxy, infinite and alive. Like, people live there. A mysterious civilization on the brink of extinction, as unaware of their host as he is of them. But there’s zero time to process this. Bernard’s about to be caught up in an epic war between the two sides of his dad’s brain over their most precious resource:

Mental Energy.

With his father’s life at stake, Bernard must go up against the tyrannical left side of his father’s brain to save the dying, creative right side. But how the heck is he supposed to do that when he’s just a hopelessly right-brained kid himself?


Add to Goodreads.

Buy Links: Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback

About the authors:


Robyn Mundell is an award winning playwright. A graduate of New York University, she performed in dozens of plays in New York and was part of David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company. She studied with such theater legends as Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler.

Robyn wrote and performed in several of her own plays including Pieces of O and Traveling Bowls of Soup, produced by Pulitzer-prize winner Beth Henley. Traveling Bowls of Soup opened at the Met theater to rave reviews and received several Drama-Logue awards. Robyn has since been selling original screenplays and TV pilots to major film companies and networks. She is the daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, and is married to actor-playwright Raymond J. Barry. Together, they have four children.



French-Born Stephan Lacast likes to think of himself as a geek, which depending on your dictionary means either “knowledgeable about computers”, or “boring social misfit.” At the age of twelve his idea of fun was building computers and programming, and by fifteen he was a contributor to a computer magazine. A graduate of Paris-Dauphine University, he holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information Systems.

After teaching at Dauphine University, Stephan went on to work as a consultant and engineer for one of the top ten Information Technology services companies in Europe, before deciding to leave Paris and move to the United States.

Book-or-Treat: Book Heist #Giveaway Blitz!

October means Halloween means free stuff! And not just free candy. FREE BOOKS!! And, just like trick-or-treating, everybody comes away with something! So, can we call it book-or-treating?


Young Adult books come in all shapes and sizes. Some star werewolves or vampires. Some feature magic. Sometimes the world is new. Sometimes it’s a twist on everything you know. There is family. Friendship shows up in spades. Most of the time, you can be sure you’ll fall in love.

It’s a world of literature that so many miss out on because they think the name describes the reader’s age. In reality, YA books are for those who appreciate the wonders of youth. They strive for the optimism and the courage in the face of danger. Yes, teens read these stories in droves, but they aren’t the only ones who can learn from the perpetual hope these characters see. To see the world through the eyes of someone who wants to make it better is an astounding thing.

Nineteen young adult authors have banded together to show their little corners of the world, their hope and courage and optimism. It is shown through the actions of teenagers who are ever changing. They love with the same fierceness that they hate and forgive easily. They believe they can do anything. Who doesn’t want a piece of that?

When you enter the giveaway, you not only have a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite, but so many more prizes from paperbacks to swag. Every entrant will also receive five FREE eBooks. You can SIGN UP TO WIN HERE.


By entering, you are also helping each author donate books to The Lisa Libraries. It’s an organization that provides books to people in underserved communities who may not otherwise have them. They supply youth centers, women’s shelters, and so much more.

Like the Facebook page where you can learn more about the authors and where we’ll announce our winners throughout the giveaway!

Introducing the mixed bag of YA authors!

Michelle Lynn – Dystopian

Rebecca Jaycox – Fantasy

Michelle Bryan – Dystopian

Gina Azzi – Contemporary Romance

Melissa Craven – Paranormal

Kelly St. Clare – Fantasy

Susan Faw – Fantasy

G.K. DeRosa – Paranormal

T.D. Shields – Dystopian

Patrick Hodges – Contemporary

Amalie Jahn – Science Fiction

Claire Luana – Fantasy

K.J. McPike – Paranormal

Michael Bailey – Super Heroes

J.A. Culican – Fantasy

Elysabeth Eldering – Paranormal Mystery

Rita Goldner – Children’s

K.R. Conway – Paranormal

T.L. McDonald – Fantasy



5 Ideas To Try When The Creative Well Tuns Dry

A dry creative well is a real problem to us creative types. As much as we want to be able to create forever, we are not bionic. Yet. So how can we refill that creative well when it runs dry and takes our energy and inspiration with it? Here are 5 ideas:


image found here

1. Creative Cross-Train by switching mediums:  When we switch mediums we give our minds a small mental break from our current project but are still engaging in another form of creative activity. This means our brain is still participating in a creative act, though it is being used in a different way. Sometimes, simply engaging our brains in a slightly different manner is all we need to jump start that well again. If you want to learn a little more, I wrote an entire blog post devoted to  creative cross-training.

2. Dump your rhythm. Having a creative rhythm is one of the best ways to make sure you are producing. But when we create in the same place, every day, at the same time, while it gets our brain in the habit of creating, it can also become boring. Don’t be afraid to dump the rhythm you’ve built. Moving to a new coffee shop (and people watch!), trying to create at a different time of day, may provide that spark you needed.

3. Check your energy tank. Many times I’ve believed I had no creative drive. The truth was my creative energy was being stolen by Twitter, answering email, doing dirty dishes. We only have so much energy in a day (and so much negative news we can withstand). When we let this energy be sapped, we can’t put it into our creative work, and then we wonder where our creativity went when we can’t get anything done. The problem isn’t a lack of creativity or inspiration, but a lack of pumping the well with energy to get out that creativity and inspiration. Double check how much time you’re spending on social media or even doing energy sucking projects such as cleaning and laundry. You may have an energy leak somewhere without even realizing it.

4. Live a little. The best art is a reflection of life. But showing a reflection of life is almost impossible when you forget to actually Go to the beach with friends, go on that date, buy those concert tickets. When we live, we fill our basin with events we can draw on so we can actually create.

5. STOP. As artists, we have the best job in the world. We love to create, we love what we do. How many get to plot worlds or pin down the color of a mountain at sunrise or take down a dystopian government for a job? However, when you create regularly, especially when creating is your profession, no matter how much you love it, it is still work. Work always has the potential for burnout. If you’ve done all the above suggestions and still have an empty well, it’s a good indication you need a break. Not an afternoon off to binge watch Dr Who, but an honest-to-God vacation. Think–sabbatical. If your stomach just threw up a little reading that sentence, take it as a clue that you’re in need.

Sometimes, our brain needs a break. Our brain needs to recharge. Our brain needs a time of rest. Even CEO’s of billion dollar companies need time off in order to maintain healthiness. I promise you, Earth will not implode because you disappear for a while. What you don’t want is to ignore your dry well until it cracks and becomes unusable for years. Which is a real danger for us creative folk.

Have you ever dried out your creative well? What did you do?

#Giveaway! Beyond the Red by @Ava_Jae @skyhorsepub

I mentioned in an earlier post I wanted to wanted to bring more attention to other fun sci-fi/fantasy books out there in the world my book, When Planets Fall, is a YA Science fiction novel. So, when I stumbled across Beyond the Red by Ava Jae, and saw there were a lot of elements in common–war, humanoid aliens, ultimatums, even the red landscape–I knew I had to run a giveaway for a copy of the ebook!

Beyond the Red

Here’s the Good Reads blurb:

A story of betrayal, love, and loss—all on a technologically advanced alien planet where monarchy reigns, but lies rule.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. But that doesn’t stop him from defending his people—at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He is given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Leave a comment below by 11:59 PM MST on September 4th to be entered into the giveaway! Winners will be selected by a random number generator.

Here’s a bit about the author:


I’m Ava Jae.

I write. I read. I Photoshop. Then I tweet/blog/tumbl/post/vlog/instagram about it and some pretty awesome people like and read and watch it. I’m also a Freelance Editor and an Assistant Editor at Entangled, and I’m represented by the wonderful Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.

I write YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels because I love writing about self-discovery and the complicated worlds of young people. Then I like to take their emotionally-ridden lives, rip them apart and set them on fire. My debut novel Beyond the Red was published in hardcover and e-book by Sky Pony Press in March 2016. It has aliens and kissing and explosions and you can add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

I also have an addiction to movies, but that’s another matter entirely.

To The Hot Christian Camp Directors Who Inspired My Book

One of the most-often-questions asked a writer is “what’s your inspiration behind the book”? Most of the time we give a blank look. “Uh. I looked in the fridge. Put in a little bit of this. Little of that. Some leftovers here. And look! An omelette-book!”

At least. That’s how I feel :)

But When Planets Fall is one of the few projects I can actually trace an “origin” story to. I thought it’d be fun to share it. So let’s strap in our time machine and take an adventure back to Abby’s high school years.

Going into my freshmen year of high school, I attended summer camp at Hume Lake, a Christian camp in California near my home. There were water blobs, competition, one-piece bathing suits, and, oh yes, boys. The theme of this camp was Abby’s-not-in-junior-high anymore. Kidding (sort of).

DCF 1.0

That’s me on the right in red.

Xenoviv. That was the theme. A mashup of Greek and Hebrew words to create the idea that this world is not our home.

DCF 1.0

Promise I’m thinking of Jesus, not boys. *snicker*

The camp directors, besides being super-hot according to teen me, created a mini movie series about characters in an alien land, space suits, the works. I loved it. And not just ‘cause of the thick facial hair onscreen. That idea of Xenoviv stuck with me.

Abby, Chelsey, Kaitlyn, Lora

I’m on the far left

Fast forward seven years.

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Book Blitz & #Giveaway: The Retreat by @KellyStClare


Happy Labor Day everyone!

I hope you are spending time with loved ones and taking a breather :)

Here’s another YA Sci-Fi I wanted to bring attention to. Like When Planets Fall, there’s aliens and betrayal. *giddy giggles* Also, look at that cover. I’d kill for eyelashes for that. There’s a Blitz-wide giveaway for a $50 Amazon giftcard and book swag. You can enter here. Don’t forget you can win another giftcard by signing up for my monthly newsletter!


Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

Romy’s life is simple—for a genetically enhanced space soldier; pick up space junk with her four friends, and stave off the invaders fixated on stealing Planet Earth.

It isn’t much. But it’s temporary—only another 850 years to go, give or take.

When her crew tangles with a gulp-worthy alien mothership, Romy’s return to Earth is brought forwards at hurtling pace.

Strength comes from the unlikeliest of quarters.

As does leadership.

…As does betrayal.

Annnnnnd here’s some Q&A with Kelly!

1. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled?

Oh…so many things. Once I googled, ‘do lips turn blue before or after people die’. At the moment the top in my history is, ‘chicken with a ponytail’ and just under it is ‘Alexander Skaarsgard’.

2. What book are you reading now?

What is the whole world reading right now? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I just finished The Mortal Song by Megan Crewe.

3. How do you work with an editor without the pride thing getting in the way?

Firstly, for those who don’t fall under the category of artist, you have to realise that when you show people your craft – be it music, art, or a story – you are sharing a bit of your soul. To show it to an Editor, who will pick it apart is the ultimate friction against your natural instincts. For me it comes down to two things; Do you want your work to be the best it can be? (If you do, then pride gets knocked down the ladder). And how good is your relationship with your editor? I think a good editor knows how to deliver criticism concisely and constructively … M&Ms also help.

4. How do you balance the craft of writing with the business of writing?

I love marketing! My craft:business balance depends on where I am in the writing process. I am like a rabid dog during the first draft. During this time, I tend to only spend an hour marketing each day. On follow up drafts it is more like 5 hours writing to 3 hours marketing. When I’m gearing up for release it is more 2 hours writing and endless marketing. I try to operate via the mantra that releasing more books is the best marketing.

5. Do you write every single day?

Yes! Not necessarily fiction, however. If I’m not working on my latest manuscript, then it is normally on blogs. Sometimes it is on things like my blurb, a synopsis, a fun unrelated thing, and I also write reviews for YA Books Central.

6. Ballpoint, uniball, or fountain tip pen?

Is fountain tip like a quill? That one.

7. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Sure! The Retreat is the first novel in my new series, The After Trilogy. The story follows an
early twenties genetically enhanced space soldier named Romy – don’t call her Rosemary,
you’ll make her mad. The story is set in a future where Earth has been desolated by Global

Warming. Now the last slice of humankind exists in space, protecting Earth—turns out some unfriendly visitors rather like the look of this new Earth—and waiting until they can return to solid ground.

During a battle Romy’s ship is shot down and she crash-lands on this supposedly unliveable Earth … let’s just say she doesn’t find what she expects.

8. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

I do a massive brainstorm where all my initial ideas explode. This usually spans several
pages and builds and develops as I go. From there I do a chapter by chapter outline. I
know, when I do this, that there is no way I’ll stick to it, in terms of storyline. But it helps me to see the overall story, and make sure the structure is sound. For The Retreat I did heaps of research, contacted astrophysicists and environmentalists and other clued uppeople. I don’t have a logical bone in my body, but I would say my novels are 25% planner, and 75% intuition.

9. What do you like to read in your free time?

I review 3-4 books a month for YA Books Central—and find some great new Authors via that. Like every reader, I search for that magical story that sweeps me off my feet. #bestfeelingever. I read in any genre (but mostly fantasy and science fiction).

10. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?

Ooo, okay! Uhm…a steaming and rather large cup of tea, a vanilla candle, printed cards with reviews from my readers to motivate me, inspiration pictures for whatever story I’m
writing hung up behind my computer, and of course Alfie the Writer’s Rabbit (probably
chewing on an essential cord, or three).

11. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?

I would ask JK Rowling who made her angry enough to kill Dobby.

12. What brought you to write this book?

Excitement to pull the piece of string and see what it’s attached to.

13. What’s next for you?

Soooo many stories. The fourth novel in The Tainted Accords releases October 10th. Then I’m writing a couple of Tainted Accords novellas…and then the sequel to The Retreat. I
aim to have some semblance of a life in there, too.

14. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the

Haha, maaaaybe. When I first plan out a story I need, like, the most majestic notebook I can find, and a life-changing pen. And during first draft I lose roughly 98% of my marbles. This month I have put mixed berries in my tea instead of a smoothie, and I got into the shower with my underwear and socks still on. It’s hard to be in two or three worlds at once. . .

15. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Writing isn’t something where you reach a certain level and know you’re a good Author. You know you’re an author when you keep going no matter what.

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