Monday, September 1, 2014

It's STILL Summer!

For most of the country, the arrival of September means cooler weather and turning leaves, but here in Southern California it just means that summer weather has finally arrived. Over the next 30-45 days, I have the pleasure of suffering through 90-100 degree temps. I know, I know, you've been dealing with that since June, well...sorry! I'm a little bit diva and I don't do hot weather!! (have you seen my hair?!)   Anyway, because summer has finally arrived in San Diego, I thought we'd celebrate with a HUGE summer reads book giveaway!!

Unless you've been living under a rock, or in Utah *snorts* (my friend Precy will think that's funny), you know that I'm all about contemporary books. With that in mind, I've stockpiled some of the hottest, freshest contemporary summer reads ever!  We've got road trips, chance encounters, life lessons, self-discovery and ALL the feels!

Here's what you can win:

A signed copy Jennifer Salvato Doktorski's, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES plus fun nail polish and other bookish swag,

Rebekah Crane's, ASPEN,

a signed copy of Adi Alsaid's LET'S GET LOST, 


and, of course, my very own SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS, signed, along with other Short Bus swag.

The contest runs the entire month of September and is limited to the United States.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

A tour through Cricket's 'hood (+ A GIVEAWAY)

If you've read SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS, you know that besides being bitchy opinionated and painfully honest, Cricket Montgomery is also LOADED. (well, her dad is)
We're talking major duckets. Serious cash. Loads of money, yo! Which is exactly why her transition to a life of bugs, cots, and wrinkled clothes was so entertaining.

I'll be the first to admit that Cricket's reaction to two weeks outside the city limits was a bit extreme, but after a recent trip to Cricket's stomping grounds, I know why.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of touring Cricket's hood with some dear writer friends I was traveling with. *nods to the world-renowned Goat Posse* She lives (and plays) just a few blocks from the famous Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. (Vince Vaughan, Stedman Graham (Oprah's I-will-never-marry-you beau) and Jerry Springer are just a few inhabitants of this neck of the woods.)

I thought it would be fun to take you on a pictorial tour of Cricket's world and then top off the post with a giveaway. Cause, nothing says "You're a poor loser and could never afford to live here" like a free book and a bookmark.

 The sidewalks are quiet and lined with street lamps and beautifully manicured plants,

the buildings and storefronts unique in their heritage and understated snobbery.

There's no shortage of shopping, so long as your wallet can hang with the big boys...

Pretty sure I saw a sign on the door here that read, "Our most valued customer: Cricket Montgomery"

After ogling over bags and shoes that would break my retirement account, I ventured
over a block to Astor Street, where Cricket lives.

(Side note: I had to take a moment here. Seriously--this was SUCH a cool experience)

 The houses on Astor street are old, one of a kind, beautifully maintained and EXPENSIVE!  (Also, the neighbors we encountered weren't very nice. #grumpyoldfarts)

  It was great fun strolling around this quaint street, especially when we rolled 
up to Cricket's house:

Because of the size of the house and the angle of the street, I couldn't get a full-frontal image of the house. This is a side view of the first (of three) floors. The house sits on the corner of Astor and Banks streets and is as big and grand as it is charming.
The window boxes were overflowing with happy, sun-drenched flowers and the front door
was obviously designed with our big-headed main character in mind.

Now, the giveaway:

A signed copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS + swag pack
(if the winner is international, the book will come via 
Book Depository and will not be signed)

The contest runs until August 22!
Good luck to all!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Before Netflix...

I thought that the Clintons were the most power-hungry couple in politics.
I assumed my Family Ties watching days were over.
I had no idea that orange jumpsuits could be so entertaining.
I didn't know what a Cumberbatch was...or why I'd want to lick him.
I never knew that the kid from Third Rock ended up becoming a brilliant actor.
I had $11.99 more a month in my bank account.
I had no clue that James Van Der Beek didn't drown in Dawson's Creek.
My family watched TV in the same room.
I didn't realize you could tattoo a map of a prison on your body to aid in an escape plan.
I slept.

 God bless you, Netflix.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Girl, just...NO! (A giveaway)

Sweet girl,

Because I love you, I cannot let you go out in public looking the way you do.

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I know that it's hard to keep up with appearances when you've spent the last eight months surviving the elements in your jeans, long-sleeved hoodies and those ridiculous Ugg boots you thought would make you look cool, but really only declare to the world that you paid a sh*t load of money for some really ugly boots,

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but fear not, Auntie B is here to help, so let's get down to business.

First of all, your legs are in need of a good shave.

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I don't care what those laid back chicks who work at The Coffee Bean told you,
the natural look is never in.

Secondly, it's beach season, baby, and that two piece you picked up at Forever 21's end-of-season clearance sale last September isn't going to cut it.
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Finally, let's talk about those feet!

Seriously, sweetie. Did no one ever tell you that you're allowed to get pedicures year 'round?!

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Yeah, you even scared the dog, and he eats his own poop!

Alas, don't completely freak out. I'm here to help.

Because I love you as much as I do, I'm going to  fancy you up so you can enjoy the summer sun without causing retinal damage to the rest of us.

While I can't afford to buy you a new suit (we all know how picky you are), and the thought of gifting someone a razor and shaving gel makes me want to gag, I can help you out when it comes to the condition of those paddle boards you call feet.

I'm giving away a custom bottle of CAMP KILL-ME-NOW PINK nail polish (as inspired by SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS) and some other pedicure essentials, along with some SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS swag.

Obviously, this prize pack won't solve all your problems, but it's as close as I can get without actually touching you. And let's face it...there's no way I'm touching you in this condition.

The giveaway lasts until July 1st!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

PRESS PLAY cover reveal & HUGE Giveaway

Ohmygawd. Ohmygawd.

Guys, this is such a good day for you to stop ignoring my blog and pay me a visit. 

My very dear friend, ERIC DEVINE, has hijacked my blog to unveil the 
cover of his thrilling new novel, PRESS PLAY!

Besides that, there's a HUGE, and I mean HUGE, giveaway to help celebrate.

So, buckle-up and hang on, kids...
This is what epic looks like.

I threw a party and want to give you my gifts.  

So I finally got to see the awesome, amazing, and intense cover for my next novel, Press Play. And then the Book Buzz 2014 Young Adult edition released, which has the first two chapters in it. I was so excited that I threw a party to celebrate.  

Bethany Crandell came with a signed copy of her novel, Summer on the Short Bus and a swag pack with bookmark and pin.
 Shortbus book & swag

AG Howard brought an awesome 18x24” Unhinged poster, as well as a Splintered series swag pack.
 Unhinged posterSplintered.UnhingedSwag                      

Lisa Ann O’Kane rolled up with an e-copy of her debut, Essence and some sweet swag pins. Essence. Book imageESSENCE Pins          

A. Lynden Rolland rocked the place with a signed copy of her debut, Of Breakable Things and her swag pins and bookmark.
Obt.BookImage  OBT button                                                  


And then Justin Holley scared us all with his contribution: a signed copy of the horror anthology, Amanda’s Recurring Nightmares, in which his short story, “Wildflower” is featured.
 Amanda's Nightmares                      

We had a blast, and because I’m so thrilled with my cover and the sample chapters, I WANT TO GIVE ALL MY GIFTS AWAY. So let’s reveal my cover and then you will have a chance to win all that you saw above, as well as a signed copy of Press Play
Awesome, right?

*Drum roll* 

And for the teaser...
  Press Play cover teaser
 Scroll for the real deal * * * *


****Keep scrolling****


****Stop whining, slacker, you're almost there****

  Press Play cover  

Let me explain: About Press Play:  

Does the truth really set you free? Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Ton.” But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?  

With unflinching honesty, author Eric Devine explores the debatable truths and consequences of the choices we make to get through each day intact.  
You’re pumped now. I can feel it. 

Well, if you need a fix, here are the first two chapters. But don’t forget to enter, below, to win the prize pack.

 Thanks for stopping by, and happy winning, and even happier reading :) a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author  
Eric Devine is the author of multiple works of Young Adult fiction, most recently Dare Me. He is also a veteran high school English teacher, where he spends as much time teaching as he does completing field research for his novels. His work has been listed by YALSA and Booklist for reluctant readers and for Best in Sports. He and his wife have two wonderful daughters and two not-so-wonderful Labradors. Eric’s next novel, Press Play, will be released 10/28, and he is currently working on two novels. Find out more at his blog, his Facebook fan page, or Twitter: @eric_devine  

About the Giveaway Authors  
Bethany Crandell writes young adult novels because the feelings that come with life's "first" times are too good not to relive again and again. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two kiddos (one of whom is differently-abled), and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. She believes that avocados are better than chocolate and that Jake Ryan is going to show up at her door any minute now…. twitter: @bethanycrandell website facebook  

A.G. Howard is the author of the Splintered series, a young adult gothic spinoff of Alice in Wonderland. Here are her online haunts: Goodreads FaceBook Pinterest Twitter Tumblr Website  

Lisa Ann O'Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.Find out more: Website Twitter Facebook Instagram Pinterest

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She spent much of her childhood compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a notebook she still keeps. As a former English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing and publishing. When she isn’t writing or chasing her two young children around town, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. Of Breakable Things is her first novel. You can connect with A. Lynden Rolland online through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.  

Justin Holley is the author of several scary books and short stories, many of which are published in magazines and anthologies around the world. Outside of writing, Justin likes to spend time with his family, investigate the paranormal, and play volleyball pretty much year round. You can interact with Justin at his website, at Minnesota Ghosts or on Twitter: @Justin_Holley









Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In which we celebrate, OF BREAKABLE THINGS

Guys, guys, guys!! 

Have you heard the news?!

A. Lynden Rolland's stunning debut, 
is out in the wild...TODAY! 

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Here's the Goodreads synopsis to whet your appetite:
A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective. When Chase dies tragically, Alex embraces her own mortality. What she didn’t expect was that she’d have to make a choice: forget the years of pain and suffering once and for all, or linger as a spirit and get another chance at life and love. Alex doesn’t hesitate to choose; she’d follow Chase anywhere. But the spirit world is nothing like she expected, and Alex finds she's forced to fight for her life once more. For even in a world where secrets are buried much deeper than six feet under, a legacy can continue to haunt you—and in a place this dangerous, no one is resting in peace. 

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I know, right?!

This book is a mind-bender, guys. 
As someone who doesn't dabble much in paranormal because, 
truth be told it sort of scares me, 
I was BLOWN AWAY by the tenderness and humanity in this incredibly unique, life-after-death story. 

On its own, the storyline is fresh and lays the groundwork for an incredible series 
(or a movie?! ME THINKS, YES!) 
but it's the rich prose and beautifully crafted characters 
that make this story sing.

There's action, drama, humor and one of the most intense, swoonable scenes I've ever read. Straight was HAWT.
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 Do yourself a favor and order this book today!! 

 I'm not saying the kitties will cry if you don't but...
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The fate of the kitties is in YOUR HANDS, Man.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process (Contains no Amish bread dough or dishtowels)

I'm not usually one for chain mail-based activities (Amish bread in a bag anyone?! *vomits*) but when my good pal Mindy McGinnis tagged me in this one, I have to admit...I was sort of excited.

The idea behind this blog tour is for writers and authors to share their writing process through four simple questions. (Click HERE to link up to Mindy's writing process) It's short, sweet, and to the point, which is why I like it. Nobody's got time for rambling these days.

So, here we go...

What am I working on? 
I'm currently reworking the first manuscript I ever wrote. Back then it was called STALKING PEGGY FLEMMING, now it's called STALKING WHITNEY HOUSTON. It's a fun, dark-humored story about a seventeen year-old girl who's trying to claim her own identity; and it's not the one her mother wants it to be.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I write very honest characters who present themselves in an equally honest way. I'm not sure that my style is that unique, but I do think there are too many vanilla characters in the book world. If people were really nice, sweet, thoughtful, sensitive-to-others feelings all the time, we'd have no reason to read. Life would be so freaking wonderful there'd be no need for literary escape.

Why do I write what I do?
I've actually tried to write more dramatic, less humor-based books, but within a few pages one of the characters ends up burping their ABCs and it's all over. I write what I do, good or bad, because it's what wants to come out of me.

How does your writing process work?
I have to have at least a rough outline before I sit down at the keyboard. Without that, I might as well be trying solve a calculus problem. 

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From there on, I edit as I go. 
I will typically write a few hundred words, then view my document as a .pdf file to make sure it makes sense. (For some reason it reads very differently to me in .pdf form than a Word doc.) Once I ironed out what I've just written, I move on.

This method probably isn't typical, and definitely takes longer than just sitting down and knocking out a rough draft, but it helps me keep the story on track from the get-go, something I struggle with if I get too far ahead of myself.

Okay, so now you know how I make the magic happen (now would be an appropriate time to roll your eyes), mark your calendars for next Monday, April 21, so you can see how the following awesome chicks make their magic happen.

Kristi Helvig

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.

Lynne Matson 

Lynne grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.

A. Lynden Rolland

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats, booze, and blue crabs. As a child she spent much of her free time compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a weathered notebook which she still keeps.

As a former high school English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing, and publishing. When she isn't chasing her two boys around town or arguing about sports with her husband, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. She is represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services. Of Breakable Things, her debut novel, will be released by Month9Books in the spring of 2014.