Tag Archives: young adult

Guest Post Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Guest Post: What does a writer know about teaching art?

On its surface, An Intention of Flowers (Book One in my Work of Art series) is a story about artists and art students and art teachers, about painters and sculptors, amateurs and professionals – none of which I know a single thing about!

And you may find yourself wondering: Why? Why write about artists? Isn’t the rule for writing, after all, to “write what you know”?

Indeed, it is. And I found myself wondering over my motivations as well, even as this story filled my mind with its twists and turns, details and mysteries. What could I, certainly no expert in the visual arts, understand about artists?

Well, as it turns out… There’s not as much a difference as you might think. All artists, be they visual artists or musicians or actors or film-makers – whatever you want to call them – all artists share a lot more in common than their mediums might suggest.

And nothing makes that commonality more clear than the current under-valuation all art is experiencing. Musicians can’t make a buck. Authors can’t sell books. Photographers find their work propagated on the Internet before they can earn anything from them. We find ourselves at a time in which art is certainly in crisis.

And then, one day as my wife and I were driving over the Sixth Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, I looked down into a parking lot to see a group of children painting the pavement. What if they decide to become artists, I wondered. What will art mean to them? How is the next generation of artists, be they painters or writers or singers, supposed to make their mark when the tide of commerce so easily sweeps them away?

These are questions I face every day as an independent author. I decided to strike out on my own after spending years trying to work within a publishing industry in disarray. While there are definitely strategies that can help you succeed in the business, reconciling that business with art is more difficult when there’s a business telling you what that art should be.

And so, the meaning of art has become far more important as the meaningfulness of art becomes diminished. Where are artists to go when galleries have to compete with Instagram and every live theater produces live-action versions of animated films? For an artist to stand out, they must truly stand up.

An Intention of Flowers is not just about students or teachers, artists or otherwise; it is about people of passion standing up in a world that believes them to be invisible and saying “I am here.” As far as that goes, I know at least a thing or two.

 

About the Book

Title: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Author: Ken La Salle

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

 

Author Bio

Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.

 

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Guest Post Monsterland

About the Book

Title: Monsterland

Author: Michael Okon

Genre: YA

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

 

 

Author Bio

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

 

 

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Release Blitz Monsterland

About the Book

Title: Monsterland

Author: Michael Okon

Genre: YA

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Author Bio

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

 

 

Links

Website: http://www.michaelokon.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAmMichaelOkon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammichaelokon/

Amazon (Kindle)

 

 

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Book Excerpt Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail

Book Excerpt

As she held the lantern up over her head, she could see old carvings on the cave walls. She raised her hand to touch one of the walls and noticed a strong dampness in the stone. It was cold and damp to the touch. She wondered if there was a good bit of water behind the rock causing all the dampness. But, then again, as dark and hidden as the cave was in the coolest section of the woods they had so far discovered, it didn’t really surprise her.

Magdalena happened to notice a second lantern a few feet from where she was standing and asked Gabriel to grab the lantern and light it. Maybe with two lanterns there would be enough light to get a better view of the cave drawings. Curiosity was in overdrive now. It was the same kind of curiosity that would leave her teachers scrambling crazy by the end of the school day. She continued to study the cave walls waiting on Gabriel. The carvings felt as though they had been etched very deeply into the rock.

Meanwhile, Hubert stood in the cave entrance chanting something over and over that sounded like, “Lord, help me, please. Get me out of here. I won’t eat everything ever again. I promise!”

Gabriel had just finished lighting the second lantern and walked over to stand right behind Magdalena. He stood looking over her shoulder as she was crunched down trying to get a better view of the drawings. She squinted her eyes as her brain was trying to process what she was looking at, and then it came to her. The drawings seemed to resemble some sort of sacrifice, which seemed so odd to her in this day and time. Did those things really exist back in the day? Especially in or near a small, quaint town like Lily Brooke. She had always assumed that sacrificial rituals were something that really only happened in scary mystery books or horror movies. Of course, these things didn’t happen in real life. Was this her mind trying to calm her nerves, or the shock of what was in front of her own eyes causing denial?

Gabriel and Hubert must have realized what the drawings were resembling about the same time as Magdalena because as she turned around to speak, she was face to face with four very frightened eyeballs. Hubert had decided to move in closer to get a good look. Boy, he was really regretting it, at the moment. Scary woods, crooked paths, cold temperatures and breezes, shrill ringing noises, cave drawings resembling rituals, and mumbling ghostly voices. Hubert was now praying out loud.

“God, please, please take us home. Please let me never remember this place again. God, please make Magdalena decide to leave this place before we get eaten alive, or worse!”

 

About the Book

Title: Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail

Author: M. Gail Grant

Genre: YA Fantasy

The enchanted secret of Lily Brooke was safe and sound, until Magdalena and her thirteen-year-old friends accidentally unleashed the revengeful demons of the past. How were they supposed to know that a friendly expedition in the woods on a stress-free Saturday morning would lead to the most intense and scary moments of their lives? So many mysterious happenings have occurred ever since they found that crooked trail leading to the sacrificial cave, and hidden monstrosity of a treehouse. With the chanting voices and shrill noises that only Magdalena could hear, the friends decide there is something sinister living amongst them. Time is of the essence to save Lily Brooke and their childhood club, the Mystical Alliance of Lily Brooke, knows it is up to them to capture the demons hiding in their community and set the town free. Witches, wizards, and some black magic may just be what it takes for Magdalena and her best friends to save the day.

 

Author Bio

Melinda Gail resides in Canton, Georgia with her three daughters, husband of over twenty years, and two adorable fur babies.  Surrounded by the north Georgia mountains, the scenery provides for inspirational settings for her novels. Being raised in the south, she brings a little southern flair and tradition to her characters, all the while remembering the adventurous nature of middle grades to young adult age children. With a passion for the extraordinary and imagination, Melinda hopes you enter a world of fantasy as you see life through the eyes of the characters.

Writing has always been her underlying passion in life. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and a minor in Sociology, she felt understanding and studying human behavior on the individual and collective level, would apply to anything and everything chosen to do in life. Identified as being a strong writer for her age at the time, she attended a summer literary writer’s camp around age twelve. She flourished and loved every moment of the experience and it has stayed with her throughout adulthood.

The desire to write has always been an integral part of who Melinda is, and about eight months ago she decided it was time. Having always been an avid reader of topics from intense young adult fantasy and thrillers, to light hearted summer romances, she chose juvenile to young adult ages for her book. In middle school summers, she would stay up to the wee hours of the morning reading because she just couldn’t put the book down. This basic idea, not being able to put a book down, is the principal she built on while writing Magdalen Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail. It has moments of ease, moments of intensity, moments of humor, striving to offer some of her own personality in her writings. There is a time for sweetness, a time for seriousness, and always a time for kindness and life lessons. Her style isn’t made up. It is simply who she is, on paper.

 

 

Links

For author signed paperback and hardcover editions:   http://www.MelindaGailBooks.com

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Promo Right Text Wrong Number

Title: Right Text Wrong Number

Author: Natalie Decker

Genre: YA Romance

High school juniors Layla and Tyler are complete opposites. Sure she’s a cheerleader and he’s a football player, but she thinks he’s the biggest jerk in the school and he thinks she is too high on her horse to even be worth of a second glance from him. And when the two of them are near one another, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. They are NOT interested in speaking to one another, let alone date.

But when Layla unknowingly sends Tyler a smack-down text meant for the girl sending naked photos to her then-boyfriend, Adam, Tyler has no idea it’s Layla and decides to play along. After all, Tyler cannot resist messing with the pissed off girl firing off texts about junk pictures, cheating, and girl code.

As the fallout from Adam’s sexting scandal plays out in front of the entire school, Tyler and Layla secretly continue to text one another using fake names. But as days and weeks pass, things take a turn for the serious between them, and suddenly, their texts mean more. They both begin to consider revealing their true identity to the other and taking the relationship from texts to dates, then kissing and maybe more.

They say there’s a thin line between love and hate. Can reality live up to the fantasy, or will Layla and Tyler be forever offsides?

Links

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Author Bio

Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
Find out more visit: www.authornataliedecker.com

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Promo Post The D.B. List

Title: The D.B. List

Author: Rebekah L. Purdy

Genre: YA Romance

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Gebhardt has spent the last three years of high school in psychotherapy, trying to fix a very broken her. And her shrink (or therapist as she likes to be called) seems to think that in order to totally heal, she needs to recognize all the good and bad things that have led her to this point. As if a trip down memory lane will suddenly make her better.

She’s given a “homework” assignment to create two lists. One with nothing but happy memories and thoughts on it (otherwise known as the ‘happy rainbow farting unicorns list’). And the other with everything negative that Ellie thinks contributed to “the” day she could no longer cope.

So begins Ellie’s Douche Bag list (or D.B. List for short). And once she gets started, it’s hard to stop remembering all the jerks, the petty crap, the times she’d been bullied or the main focus of the rumor mill.

So when nice guy, Ky Laramie, walks into her life, Ellie instantly puts her shields up. But as she gets to know him and his family, she wonders if she can dare to put herself out there again. Because as everyone knows, once a candle is lit, the wind can always blow it out. And Ellie couldn’t handle it if Ky ends up atop of the D.B. List.

Links

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Author Bio

I was born and raised in Michigan (just look for the giant mitten on the map—it’ll likely throw a snowball at you). I spent most of my time in Michigan, but while in the army got to call KS, SC, MO, and CA home for awhile as well.

As a kid my family moved around a lot. Try spending both your freshman and senior years at new schools (yeah, loads of fun). I could’ve changed my name to “new girl”.

I love writing for teens because those are the years I remember falling in love with most of my favorite books. Some of the authors I couldn’t put down were L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Richie Tankersley Cusick, Joan Lowery Nixon, Lois Duncan, amongst several others.

My husband and I have a large family. There are six kids total! So we have LOTS of fun on vacations (although hours on the road, cooped up in the Expedition is kind of stressful—although we pass the time with MAD LIBS and hoping no one gets carsick).

Website: http://www.rebekahlpurdy.com/

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Guest Post Black Dawn Tour

Please welcome Mallory McCartney to my blog. Mallory is the author of YA/NA Fantasy “Black Dawn”. I’ll leave the word to Mallory now, who will talk about editing process.

Guest Post

As all first-time authors, the editing process was a lovely learning curve for me! The Clean Reads team is very supportive throughout the entire process, and I can’t thank them enough for that! When I first submit my manuscript, I made sure it adheres to the submission guidelines (formatting etc.). After this it goes through three rounds with three different editors with the Clean Reads team, so every time it’s a fresh pair of eyes. This is where, with editor you go through line edits, content edits, formatting, grammar etc. This takes a couple of months, and once you complete each stage (on time! 😊 ) you go into the final look through of the book. This is where I call on my beta readers, and make any small final changes with the novel. Once this is done, it is submitted to the final stages of publication.

To me the editing stage is an amazing process, I see my manuscript go through my initial draft rewrites prior to this, which is anywhere from four to six times. To see it become a clean and final draft six- eight months later is an amazing feeling, and wouldn’t be possible without the team at Clean Reads, or my beta readers!!!

 

About the Book

Title: Black Dawn

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Author: Mallory McCartney

 

The end of an Empire, the rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long-lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows

 

 

Author Bio

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

 

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormalmccartney/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MalMcCartney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormalmccartney/?hl=en

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