The Rebirth of Hope: Scrapbook

THE REBIRTH OF HOPE

My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen

By Sau Le Hudecek

  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

Date of Publication: June 15, 2017

Number of Pages: 160 

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Born in a demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and American soldier, Sau Le arrived in the United States as a young woman with only twenty dollars in her pocket. Though bullied and abused since childhood, she nevertheless came to her new homeland armed with courage and determined to build a decent life for herself, her infant son, and her traumatized mother.

This is the story of how she overcame every conceivable hurdle—significant culture shock, a daunting language barrier, serious illness, heartbreak, and betrayal—to become a landlord, a successful business owner, a joyous wife and mom, and a woman blessed with generous, loyal friends. She describes an arduous journey, both physical and emotional, from a place of terror and utter despair to a life overflowing with love and prosperity.

Ultimately, this is a story of hope, something Sau Le thought she’d lost long ago in the minefields of Vietnam. Her goal is both to uplift and to remind everyone born on American soil that anything in this land is possible for those willing to put dedication, faith, and passion to work.

Praise for The Rebirth of Hope:

“Sau Le has an innate abundance of beauty, wisdom, loyalty and dignity which led her to overcome unbelievable challenges and fully realize her dream in America. Thus proving once again that adversity builds character. I couldn’t put it down.” —Dan Jenkins, bestselling author of Semi-Tough

“Sau Le lifted her head and walked through years of hard work and determination, inspiring other women along the way! Every word of her personal journey was written to remind all of us!”  —Robin Sanders, Sanders Travel Agency

“An inspiring story of a Vietnam refugee’s journey to achieve the ‘American Dream.’ This book is a lesson for everyone.”  —Martin C. Bowen, financial executive

“To have written this remarkable story is one more example of the focus and tenacity that Sau Le Hudecek has shown in achieving her previous goals. You will remember this gripping tale of resilience and courage.”  —Gail Williamson Rawl

“A truly inspirational story of a fearless person who overcame unbelievable odds to make a better life and obtain the ‘American dream.’”  —Janie Beggs

Purchase Links

TCU Press    IndieBound    Barnes & Noble    Amazon

Sau Le Hudecek owns a successful salon in Fort Worth, Texas, while still serving her own elite clientele.  In 1993, she arrived in the United States at the age of 22 and was sworn in as a citizen in 2001. She lives with her family in Granbury enjoying the sunsets from their home on the lake.

 

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6/7   Author Interview   StoreyBook Review

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6/12  Excerpt  Missus Gonzo

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6/14  Scrapbook 2  Texas Book Lover

6/15  Promo    CGB Blog Tours

6/16  Review   Forgotten Winds

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Nowhere Near: Excerpt

NOWHERE NEAR

Stories
By Teddy Jones

  Genre: Short Stories / Literary Fiction / West Texas

Publisher: Midtown Publishing, Inc.

Date of Publication: May11, 2017

Number of Pages: 206

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Characters in the eleven stories in Nowhere Near act in ways that some might call “divinest madness.” Some of them have been pushed near their limits by years of stress. Others mourn and grieve and discover feelings they can’t admit aloud. A sense of duty drives another to believe in aliens, at least for a while. Some of their behavior is simply laughable, other flirts with death, and the rest ranges from dangerous to near heroic. These characters vary widely, yet all have in common that they live in or come from West Texas, where spaces are wider and tolerance for strangeness seems just a bit greater. Whether readers agree these characters are nowhere near crazy, they may admit they all are doing what humans do—what makes sense to them at the time.

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Praise for Nowhere Near:

“Teddy Jones writes about plainspoken people whose lives are entangled and wrought and marked by routine—routines they cherish, routines they wish to escape—and who glimpse, now and again, a sense of something beyond their ability to reason. The stories in Nowhere Near are deep, honest, and unsentimental, and they pierce you to the bone.—Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards

There’s so much goodness in these stories, the kind of goodness that grows out of characters who endure hard lessons leading them to revelations and deep understanding. You’ll find real people here, with real heartaches and mistakes and regrets. With language as true as music, a steady and perceptive eye, and at times a blazing humor, Teddy Jones creates fully imagined and realized worlds. Subtly, she makes strangeness ordinary and the ordinary strange. You will recognize the people in this book the way you recognize your own neighbors and friends and co-workers and family: full of annoying quirks and surprises and, finally, a saving grace.”—Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell From the Sky

“Teddy Jones is the real deal. With her characteristic wit and goodhearted characters, Jones draws a bead on West Texas life as it’s currently lived. Her precise ear for the rhythms of life and language guides the reader confidently from dry land farming to the double life of dreams and secrets. These stories stuck with me and left me wanting more.” –Summer Wood, author of Raising Wrecker

Excerpt from “Between Us,” a short story in Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones

Author’s note: I tend to resist writing (and reading) stories in which the protagonist is a writer. For some reason they often strike me as tales of the misery some attribute to choosing to be writers. They belong in the same category for me as victim memoirs—perhaps therapeutic for the writer, but not entertaining to me. But this woman spoke to me and said to tell her story.

One hundred seventeen. Another record! Until now, the greatest number of new emails for a single day on her Gia Caraway fan site had been sixty-nine. That was three years ago when her third book came out. The writer, subject of the fans’ interest, wasn’t the only one who kept up with the numbers. Her editor had administrative access to her website and could see the incoming mail and Jean’s responses. Occasionally the editor furnished Jean, who used the pseudonym Gia, a report that showed the number of views of her website correlated with sales of her print and e-books. Website views demonstrated a weakly positive correlation with sales. Fan e-mail numbers correlated strongly with sales.

Plus, now that Jean’s publisher supplied a person to tend to her social media presence, the reports also contained far more than she cared to know about the number of page views, likes, and followers for her author pages and/or her books on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, and Twitter. For all she knew, her editor, Audra Camp, could also document a running inventory of the contents of Jean’s underwear drawer. 

What Audra didn’t know was that Jean was as much a fabrication as Gia. Johnnie Lyn Berry had created Jean Barlow just as surely as she had birthed Gia Caraway. Jean dealt with the editor, signed contracts, owned a telephone and a bank account of her own, had a g-mail address and a social security number, and employed her own accountant. Gia, whose name stood in bold print on more than 400,000 copies of paperbacks and electronic books, had no time for those details. She lived an exciting life that her fans were certain was the source of the erotic, romantic escapades her heroines enjoyed.

If Johnnie Lyn hadn’t done another smart thing in her life, deciding to create Jean qualified. Johnnie Lyn thought of Jean as the buffer who represented her in the world of romance fiction. Since the amazing numbers of sales of her first book with the publisher, Jean had complied with all of Audra’s wishes, accepted all her guidance. Audra used the words “guiding your career development.” Jean thought about Trilby and Svengali.

So far, the only disagreement between her and her editor had been about having a social media person at the publishing house respond to her fan mail. Jean preferred to do that herself. …..So here she was, at nine o’clock on a perfectly beautiful Monday evening in June, 2011, sitting in her writing room, dealing with fan mail. She should be outside enjoying the West Texas sunset. The first one she opened said, “Dear Gia, I’m sixty-two this year and have read every one of your books since the first. You’ve outdone yourself with this eleventh one. I love that you’re telling MY story without our ever having met. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s clear to me that somehow you know about the adventures I had in my earlier days. I often said I should write an autobiography. Thanks to you, honey, I don’t need to. Keep up the good work. Your fan always, Carla in Ft. Worth.” 

This wasn’t the first fan who was certain she was the subject of Gia’s novels. Her template file held a response which she quickly personalized, assuring Carla in Ft. Worth that it was all fiction and congratulating her on having led such an interesting life.

The next email in the queue replaced Jean’s smile with a wrinkle between her eyebrows. Not fan mail, it was from Audra, who usually wrote to her Jean Barlow email address, or just called Jean’s phone. (Gia didn’t have a phone.) This email, here in Gia’s fan mail, was flagged High Priority—in red letters.

It didn’t even begin with Audra’s usual gushy greeting Dearest Jean, my star of stars. This one opened with Jean, This is important for both of us.

Jean scanned the first paragraph. Her publishing company had wangled a spot on the program at a romance fiction conference coming up in San Antonio in September. It was to be a huge event, bringing together fans and authors—presentations for writers on the first day, the next day open to fans, also. THINK STAR TREK CONVENTION! THINK SALES OPPORTUNITIES!! Audra had been assigned, as Editorial Director of Body Heat, the company’s line of erotic romances, to make a major presentation. 

Gia didn’t attend conferences and neither did Jean, ever.

Teddy Jones has been a nurse, nurse practitioner, university professor, college dean, and occasional farmhand. She grew up in a small north Texas town, Iowa Park, and gained college degrees in nursing at Incarnate Word and University of Texas, a Ph.D. in Education at University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She held nursing, teaching, and administrative positions in Austin, Denver, and Lubbock and as a family nurse practitioner in Texas and New Mexico. Writing fiction was her “when I know enough and have the time” dream all those years. Now she and her husband live near Friona, in the Texas Panhandle, where her husband farms and she writes full time.

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One Grand Prize: Signed copies of both Nowhere Near and Jackson’s Pond, Texas, set of 10 hollyhock notecards, and a 11×15 print of the cover art from Jackson’s Pond.

1st Runner-Up: Signed copy of Nowhere Near + choice of notecards or print

Next Three Winners: choice of notecards or print

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5/11 Author Interview 1 Texas Book Lover
5/12 Review Hall Ways Blog
5/13 Scrapbook Page 1 Chapter Break Book Blog
5/14 Promo Missus Gonzo
5/15 Review Books in the Garden
5/16 Excerpt The Page Unbound
5/17 Scrapbook Page 2 StoreyBook Reviews
5/18 Review Reading By Moonlight
5/19 Author Interview 2 CGB Blog Tours
5/20 Review Forgotten Winds

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The Unseen: Excerpt and Giveaway

The Unseen
Jacob Devlin
(Order of the Bell #2)
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Crescenzo and his friends may have survived their confounding journey to the enchanted realms of Florindale, but now they find themselves fighting for their sanity and lives while stuck on the other side of the very mirror they set out to destroy.

With their families trapped by a former ally with a crippling fear of the queen, Enzo, Rosana, and Zack must play a deadly game in Wonderland, where shadows are on the move, kings are at war, and one of them wants Rosana dead.

As darkness hovers over the world, the friends must lean on each other and stop the King of Hearts from following through on Avoria’s orders: Break them.

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Sequel to:

EXCERPT:

Zack wrinkled his brows. “Who are you? Why have I come to see you? I don’t even know you.”

“You wouldn’t know of Madame Esme. But she certainly knows of you. Lady Fortune keeps painting your name in the cosmos. It would appear there is an important role for you in the journeys of Pinocchio’s son.”

“Enzo,” Zack said quietly.

“Yes.” A chill rippled through the air, and Madame Esme cast a wary gaze around the tent. “Now, Madame Esme has very limited time to speak to you. Please listen carefully.” She lowered her voice, reached across the table, and then seized Zack’s elbow. “I have predicted the death of one of your own . . . the son of Pinocchio. Madame Esme cannot be sure of the circumstances, but it is to take place soon in the realm of wonder.”

Zack yanked his elbow out of Madame Esme’s grip. “What are you saying? Why would you tell me something like that, even if it were true? That’s . . . an evil thing to say.”

The woman edged forward, impossibly calm given the horrible news she delivered. “Madame Esme is never wrong, Son of Pan. Oh, how often she wishes she were! Avoria arrived seven days ago, and what a mess we have become! The lands of Roma are falling to ruins once more. The Grand Canyon crumbles to dust as we speak. Avoria seeks a territory in which to build her citadel, and nothing will ever be the same. But the son of Pinocchio is destined to lead us all to battle. Thus, we need you, Son of Pan. We need you all to dethrone Avoria and restore peace. But if The Carver dies, hope dies with him.”

 

Author Bio:

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

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Breaker and the Sun: Excerpt and Giveaway

Breaker & the Sun
Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(Paper Stars #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: Clean Teen Publishing
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Times means nothing. It’s just the sun and moon changing places.

New from Lauren Nicolle Taylor, the best-selling author of Nora and Kettle, comes a fresh take on a classic tale.

Breaker Van Winkle is a recently returned Vietnam vet, struggling with PTSD and the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life with his mother. Sunny is a high-achieving eighteen-year-old Chinese-French immigrant who fled Vietnam during the war. Sunny is usually as cheerful as her name implies, but she has her struggles too. Haunted by violent memories of the bombing that killed her parents, and chafing under the rule of her eccentric grandmother, she finds solace deep in the Catskills, at a place she calls the Ugly Tree.

When Breaker stumbles upon Sunny and the Ugly Tree, things start to change. They are drawn to each other, and feel called to the tree. As they spend more time together and their relationship deepens, they notice that their time at the tree is becoming twisted somehow. Sunny’s mind yawns and her ambitions begin to slip away. Breaker feels safe and carefree, his memories finally burying themselves in the distant past. They are being lulled toward a tempting, peaceful sleep—but there is a cost to this magical serenity, and it may be more than either of them can bear…

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EXCERPT:

ONE GOOD MEMORY

BREAKER

An older man in full uniform approaches us, looking stern and judgmental. He frowns at Tien, and I feel like I want to stand and defend him. Tien stands and salutes the older man, whose crinkly face cracks into a smile. “No need to stand on ceremony here, Tien,” he says gruffly, ruffling his spiky black hair. Then he looks at me. “Don’t let his looks fool you! Tien will take care of you. He’s one of the good guys.”

I frown then. Not sure how to take that. Tien doesn’t seem to mind though.

When the old guy is gone, I nudge Tien. “Are you cool with that? I mean, shit, this must be a little awkward for you sometimes,” I mutter, watching all the white men strolling between groups, their uniforms in varying states of spit and polish.

He shrugs. “It was at first. And yeah, looking like I do, I have to work harder at getting some people to accept me, trust me, but once you know me, well…” He gulps down the rest of his coffee and crushes the cup in his hand. “You can’t help but love me!”

It doesn’t seem fair that he has to work harder. “Doesn’t seem right, man,” I say, shaking my head.

Tien knocks my leg with his knee. “Nope, it isn’t. But what you just said. That right there is enough of a reason to keep trying. Things will change. Name by name. Face by face. I like you already, Breaker!” He’s intoxicatingly hopeful.

I run a hand through my hair. Who would have thought I’d be on this side of the argument?

Tien knocks my knee again. His laugh is full of light. Not sunshine exactly. More like the light from a cluster of stars. It sparkles with magic.

Heart steady. A smile, tinted green, but a smile just the same.

The sun hits the sand, and it sparkles. Palm trees bristle in the warm breeze. If I squint, if I look past the stacks of wooden crates piled on the beach, the dirty men draped over them, it looks like a postcard.

I snap that image for later.

Booze is poured into tin cups, and we sip. We wipe our brows of sweat and tell stories, swap the most mundane details of our lives with each other, building something. This foundation we have to rely on.

Kicking my shoes off, I bury my toes in the sand, watching it cascade over my white, shriveled skin. My feet look like they’ve been in a bath for hours.

I’m staring at them when a disk with colored feathers sprouting from it lands at my feet.

I look up into the expectant grin of a kid, about the same age as Red. He beckons me with his hand, asking me to join the game he’s playing with his friends.

Sarge nods an okay.

Towering over these little Vietnamese kids, I jog to where they’re playing. Quickly, I realize the aim of the game is to keep the feathered disk in the air using whatever I can.

The kids are amazing, back-flipping, twisting, slapping at it with their hands and feet. I try to keep up, and they laugh but encourage me to keep trying.

We’re just kids, playing a game.

Our shouting rattles across the waves. We kick and slap at the ball, we laugh when someone falls over, but offer a hand to help them back up.

My smile cracks open my chest as some fear spills out onto the sand to be collected by the sea.

Some of the other guys join us, and we play until it’s too dark to see.

The sun sprays red and orange over the water, and the kid who invited me slaps my back and winks. He hands me the feathered disk and runs away, laughing and shouting at his friends.

Tien taps my back gently. “Breaker. Where’d you go?”

My mouth feels strange, turned up into a smile.

I’d forgotten about that kid. That good memory.

“Sorry. I was just remembering something,” I mutter.

“Must’ve been a good something,” Tien says, pointing at my mouth.

I chuckle. “Yeah, it was.”

 

Author Bio:

Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

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Empty Threat Book Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
Empty Threat 
by Danny Bell
(The Black Pages, #1)
Publication date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Book one of The Black Pages

Elana Black has the power to make herself fictional. But when she decides to start saving all the people in books and TV shows who die just for the sake of advancing the plot, she quickly learns that she’s not the only one with her powers.

All Elana wants to do is save people. But these others don’t want the stories to change, and they’ll do everything they can to stop her.

If you had the power to change fate… to create a happy ending where there wasn’t one before… would you do it if it meant risking your own?

 

Purchase Link:

Amazon

Excerpt:

My fears, by comparison, had always been irrational. The fear that someone will think my nose is weird. The fear that I’d hid in the bathroom too long or too many times and everyone at the party will notice. The fear that even my closest friends would one day leave or decide I wasn’t cool enough anymore. The fear that a group of strangers won’t like me, but then will only pretend to be nice to me, and I’ll never know it. They’d say something awful behind my back, and one of them would tell a lie about me, which would make someone else believe that lie, so they’d repeat it. Then two people would tell the same story, and the third and fourth people would also repeat it and then it would become something different, and soon entire groups of people I’d never met would be poisoned against me before we ever even had the chance to meet, before anyone knew I wasn’t some huge jerk, and—

My heart was pounding just thinking about that scenario. My breaths were hard and shallow, my fingers hurt from where I’d been clutching the steering wheel. At least I’d stopped crying.

My point is, that for as terrifying as my fears were to me, I’d always found a way to get past them and function. Even when I was so afraid that I almost couldn’t move, I could fake bravado. In a bit of irony, the fear of being seen as afraid made me move on as if I wasn’t. To do otherwise would mean to just stop, and I’ve lived that life before. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months at a time… and you don’t get that time back. So ultimately, you were afraid for nothing. If I could impart a piece of advice onto the world, it is that more than the crowds, more than fake smiles and unheard whispers, even more than our own base, loathsome selves, what we should really fear is stasis. Life will always move forward, whether we move forward or not. Even stumbling and flailing about, unable to find your balance and rolling down a hill head over heels is still moving forward. It might not be graceful, but at least you’re not stuck with whatever you were trying to move past.

AUTHOR BIO:
 My name is Danny Bell. I want to tell stories and avoid writing author profiles. I read—when I should be interacting with people, I named my cat after a cat I liked in a book, I’m pretty sure I saw a ghost one time—though I’ll never admit it publicly, I’m too tall for the earth, and I’ve never eaten a vegetable. I lied about the vegetable part. Wait… is someone going to read this?
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Serenade Promo Post and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
Serenade 
by Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.

Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.

 

Excerpt:

With every shifting of the breeze, my heart sped up. Every shadow made me jump. The small campfire crackled and smoked, playing with my vision.

“It’s him, isn’t it?” Luke said quietly. “Your fiancé… you think he’s out there somewhere?”

“Yes. My father would have sent him.”

“Why?”

“Because he will stop at nothing to get me back.”

“But the sky has been quiet for a while,” Luke said softly.

I looked up. There hadn’t been the sound of helicopters this morning, even though the sky was clear now and vibrant blue above the treetops.

“Do you really love this guy?” Luke asked softly, and I heard him hold his breath.

I forced my head to nod. “Yes.”

“Then you have my word that I won’t hurt him,” he said.

I adjusted the blanket and stayed by his side while he fell asleep. On the edge of my nerves, I kept a watchful eye on the bushes and the gun ready in my hands.

 

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INTERVIEW

Interview with Heather McKenzie, by Dwight Bueckert

 

What genre/category is SERENADE? 

YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance Thriller and Suspense

Release date?

April 17, 2017

Please describe what the story is about in one sentence.

When the teenage daughter of a corrupt billionaire falls in love with her kidnapper, she fights to stay alive in the Rocky Mountains while her devoted bodyguard vows to stop at nothing to get her back.

Briefly, what led up to this book?

SERENADE is my first novel. Leading up to it was a career in music.

What was the time frame for writing this book?  Tell me an interesting detail or two.

Writing SERENADE took about four years. I had a good idea of what I wanted to write, but I had no idea how to write it. I researched writing tips and advice from other authors, and wrote and re-wrote the manuscript at least twenty times– the first draft was 210,000 words! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was absolutely determined to get this story out as best as I could, so I kept at it, and in the end I just had to go with what felt right to me. I think that worked.

What was your biggest learning experience and/or surprise throughout the publishing process?

The most incredible experience was working with the editors. I got a massive dose of education during the process and they were kind enough to explain their reasons for the edits. I was in class every time I sat down at the computer and was in awe over the wealth of information they shared with me. My biggest surprise was the dedication from my publisher to assist me with anything I needed. I had been used to trudging it out alone in the music business for years, and their desire to help make SERENADE a success, and answering all my crazy questions and offering such great advice, was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t doing this all on my own.

What inspired you to write SERENADE?

I was in my local bookstore one afternoon with my daughter and watched as she searched the Teen/Young Adult section in frustration. She didn’t want vampires, or witches, or dystopian worlds, she wanted a modern day adventure with characters that felt real. So, being the doting mother that I am, I started writing her a book. One month into the process, I was quitting my day job and focusing entirely on learning how to write. I fell head over heels in love with this avenue of storytelling. Being a musician gave me many life experiences to pull from, and my love of Stephanie Meyer’s work fueled the passion to forge ahead and get the story on paper. A love triangle, the romantic setting of the rocky mountains, the art of survival and a character whose strength builds with each page… it all began to come to life every time I sat down to write. I realized when I completed the first manuscript, that what I was essentially trying to get across to my daughter –through the magic of reading– was the understanding of true love; what it feels like and how you know when you’ve found it.  And, I am happy to say, that my knowledge of that is born of my own, real, experience.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to keep the books in the trilogy with music related names, as it is called The Nightmusic Trilogy. A serenade is a piece of music played at night. It is romantic and supposed to woo a prospective lover… in the book the main character rests her head against the chest of the man she is falling for and his heart beat is music to her ears. It is her own, perfectly written, SERENADE

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I have tried to touch lightly on the effects of chemicals on our bodies and bring to light the correlation between what we do to the earth, and how it ends up affecting us. I also want show readers what is true love, real and healthy and how you know when you’ve found it – which is based off my own experience.

How much of the book is realistic?

I tried to make the book feel like it could actually happen. The characters are completely fictional, but the setting is not. Caves and underground hot springs and the castle in the mountains? All real. The Death Race that takes place every August in Grande Cache? Real.

What book are you reading now?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s fantastic!!

What are your current projects?

I have just finished book one of a new series of adult fiction that I am very excited about. It is about to enter the editing process. I am also close to finishing NOCTURNE, the second book in the Nightmusic Trilogy. Next up, book three!

Where are you from?

Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA! I was born in the city, then moved to an acreage just outside it and lived an absolute fairy tale childhood in my own ‘castle’ until I left to join a rock band and play professionally. Eventually I moved back, got married there, and got to watch my children have the same amount of happiness as I did in my childhood home.  

Where do you write from?

I tiny little bedroom I claimed as an office when my kids moved out, with books galore, guitars, a piano, countless empty coffee cups, and three dogs sleeping at my feet.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Sitting for countless hours every day. I gained about fifty pounds and think I broke my butt at one point. But it was worth it.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Apparently I am obsessed with smells…?!?!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you love it, it’s good. Take opinions with a grain of salt–trust your gutt.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I am still actively involved in music, writing and being loud and aggressive with my band on weekends and recording whenever I can. It is my first love, and I can’t let go! I also teach classical piano and voice to youngsters one day a week, which is an incredibly rewarding experience. When I need peace and quiet– which is often– I paint. 

AUTHOR BIO:
Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.
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At First Blush Book Blitz

At First Blush
by Beth Ellyn Summer
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: April 4th 2017
Bloomsbury Spark

Summary:

Who would have thought that a teenager could have a successful career creating makeup tutorial videos on YouTube? For Lacey Robbins, this dream has been her reality. An up-and-coming YouTuber, she has thousands of fans and can’t wait for the day when her subscriber count reaches the one million mark. And when she is offered a high school internship at On Trend Magazine, she figures that this could be the make it or break it moment.
But sometimes your dream job isn’t all that it seems. Her editor is only interested in promoting junk products, and her boss in the Hair and Makeup department introduces her to the larger world of makeup artistry, making her wonder if making tutorials online is all she is meant to do. To top it all off, when the magazine’s feature subject, musician Tyler Lance, turns his broodingly handsome smile her way, falling for him could mean losing her fans, forcing her to make a decision: her YouTube life or her real life?

Fans of Zoella’s GIRL ONLINE will fall right into the world of this YA DEVIL WEARS PRADA and stay hooked from the first blush to the last glossy kiss.

 

Purchase Links:

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About the Author

Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she’s not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn’t have a single decent bakery.

 

Author Links:

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YA Bound Book Tours

The Ivory Queen Book Blast

Ivory Queen (Order of the Bell #1.5)
By Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

 

Book Summary

Twenty-five years ago, the venomous Queen Avoria was banished from the enchanted realms of Florindale and sentenced to spend eternity inside a cursed mirror.

After a seemingly endless tumble through the mirror’s abyss, Avoria awakens in a gloomy metropolis in the darkest corner of Wonderland. There she meets the shrewd King of Hearts, Cornelius Redding, and the two strike a turbulent alliance. As Avoria helps Cornelius execute his conquest of Wonderland, she plots her own vengeance against the world that cast her out. In the city’s cold shadows, Avoria finds pawns in the souls that defied her, truth in the reflection that calls to her, and power in the past that forged her. And thus, the Ivory Queen begins carving a path to the ultimate throne.

 

What Readers Are Saying

“a well-written glimpse into the magic mirror.” – Janelle

” Avoria is a really fascinating villain”Samantha

About the Author

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake.

Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Giveaway

Contest ends April 7, 2017

One (1) winner will received a Blaze swag pack and $5 Amazon card (INT)

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YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO CHECK OUT…


The Surrendered by Case Maynard
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.


BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


The Carver by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

Crescenzo never would’ve thought his father’s figurines were modeled after real people, but when his loved ones start vanishing from his life, he must unite their real life counterparts and seek their aid to save his family.


BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


Shadow Fall (Shadow Fall #1)
by Audrey Grey
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.

The question is who?

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Marked Blitz

Marked 
By D. Laine 
(Apocalypse Assassins Trilogy #1) 
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic

Book Synopsis

 

For trained assassin Dylan Romero, business is good. As the agency’s top warriors, he and partner Jake Walker are the last two people evil wants to see on the other side of a gun.When a mission takes them to the college town of Bozeman, Montana, they discover that there is more than just another mark in another town to keep them there. With a heavy concentration of vessels doing their demon masters’ dirty work and flesh-craving monsters lurking around every corner, the secluded Midwest town is set to become the first battleground of the apocalypse.The last thing Dylan needs is a distraction. With the fate of the world at stake, the life of one girl shouldn’t matter – until the day she changes everything.

 

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Excerpt

Seconds later, the bartender set two matching drinks on the counter in front of the guy from the parking lot.

He wordlessly slid one of the glasses toward me. My eyes darted to his in surprise, and he shrugged. “You look thirsty.”

I picked up the glass with a grateful smile, and helped myself to a sip of the cool liquid. Jack and Coke—exactly what I wanted. He was observant. “Thank you.”

As he nodded, his eyes moved over my shoulder, in the general vicinity of Vivian. A small grin tugged at the corner of his lips. He glanced up at me briefly before giving undivided attention to his drink. “How’s your boyfriend?”

“Who? You mean the guy from earlier?”

“Well, I’m not talking about him.” His head nodded across the bar, where David was doing his best to catch the waitress’s attention. “That poor fucker doesn’t stand a chance, does he?”

“David is my friend,” I responded defensively. “And Kyle isn’t my boyfriend. You’re wrong on both counts.”

His eyes snapped to mine, then slowly lowered. Heat followed his gaze as it swept across my lips before settling on my neck. I was forced to sweep the hair off my shoulders in an attempt to cool off. It didn’t help.

He squinted at my neck like he considered devouring me right then and there. With the hot ball of lava tumbling through me, and ultimately settling in my core, I considered letting him. One look. That was all it took.

No guy had ever . . .

Oh, God. Vivian was totally right.

His mouth curved like he had read my thoughts. Then his hand shot out to mine as he stated, “Dylan.”

I accepted his hand with a smile. “Thea.”

His head angled closer to mine. “Thea?” When I nodded, he leaned back with a smirk. “Are you a librarian, or something?”

“What?” I demanded, suddenly on edge.

Hot librarian,” he corrected with a lazy shrug, as if that somehow made his comment less insulting. At my unamused glare, he used his hand to cover the smile spreading across his face, and muttered, “I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Thea before. It’s, uh . . .”

“A librarian’s name, apparently,” I finished for him sourly.

He chuckled. “I like it, alright? I do. In fact, you’ve given me a new standard to associate with the name Thea. Next time I hear it, I won’t imagine a ninety-year-old librarian. I’ll picture you instead.”

He somehow made me like the sound of him thinking about me, despite the example he used. Some small, gullible part of me liked it. The rest of me reared back with revulsion.

“Need to picture me to get you through the night, huh?” I quipped.

His lips pursed as he considered my question. Then a broad grin turned his lips up. “Never really gone for a good girl before. Unless it’s an act . . .” His eyes swept down the length of me with obvious interest, and I folded my arms over my chest to interrupt his uncensored gaze. When he finally made it back to my eyes, he hooked an inquisitive brow.

“It’s not an act,” I stated firmly, “and I don’t play games.”

He shook his head at the counter, and muttered, “I didn’t think so.”

“Not like it would matter anyway.” My eyes lowered to his lap in mock consideration, then to the drink in front of him. “You’ve had so many of those, I doubt you could even play your part at this point.”

Dylan’s head rolled back as a deep laugh rumbled through him. I refused to acknowledge how sexy it sounded.

“First of all . . .” He lifted a finger in the air. “I’m always up to playing my part. Got it?” I kept my arms folded, my face unreadable, as he lifted another finger. “Secondly . . . I find it interesting that you know how much I’ve had to drink tonight.”

My arms slowly uncrossed under his amused and knowing gaze. His eyebrows shot up in silent inquiry, and when I offered no explanation, his grin broadened.

“I thought so.” With a flirty wink, he turned in his seat to face the bar.

 

About the Author

 

I write relationships. Whether contemporary or fantasy, they are always real and never easy.When I’m not writing, you can usually find me with my nose in my Kindle – reading romance of course – or running around after my three little boys, or catching up on an episode of Supernatural or This Is Us.

 

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State of Allegiance Blitz

State of Allegiance
By Summer Lane
(Collapse #9)
Publication date: February 24th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult

Synopsis

Be brave. Be vigilant. But above all, be loyal.

In the wake of a dangerous but successful mission to Yukon City in Alaska, Cassidy Hart now finds herself back in California, at the naval air station in San Diego. Together, she and Chris now face their most terrifying threat yet: nuclear destruction.

Surviving in a world gone nuclear is easier said than done. Faced with the prospect of being wiped off the face of the earth by Omega’s nuclear arsenal, Cassidy, Chris and their fellow rebel friends stage an incredible, daring journey into the Pacific Rim with the hope that they will be able to seize a weapon that could turn the tide of the war in the militia’s favor.

The clock of the apocalypse is counting down.
Choices must be made. Relationships will be strained. True love will be put to the ultimate test.
It’s militias versus Omega. Hope versus destruction.

Where does your allegiance lie?

Choose carefully.

 

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Interview with Author Summer Lane

How does it feel to publish the 9th installment of the Collapse Series – and your 16th overall?

It feels unreal! When I was a kid, I always pictured myself as an author, sharing my stories with readers, but I admit I didn’t really think that would materialize until I was much older than I am right now. I’ve been really blessed – and I’ve worked really hard!

What’s a typical day in your life like?

I do manage a business, so while I do a lot more than simply write manuscripts, writing certainly is the base of everything that I engage in. I just got a German Shepherd puppy named Kona, and she gets me up early in the morning (earlier than usual, haha!), and I’ll start work then. If I have a good day, I’ll be done with work around 2:30 or 3. If it’s a long day, I’ll be working until 6.

What is State of Hope going to be like – and is it the last book in the series?

State of Hope is going to be long, intense and flushed with adrenaline. There are so many secrets to be revealed, so many character plots to be tied up neatly, and most importantly: Cassidy’s conclusion in this apocalyptic war. While Hope is indeed the final installment in the Collapse Series, it is not the last book in the Collapse universe. I certainly do have some plans for Cassidy in the future – they may not be as huge as Collapse, but trust me: I have plans.

How do you stay motivated and healthy in your career as a writer?

I stay motivated by keeping my eye on the prize: I remove negativity from my life, because nobody needs that. I try to surround myself with people who really care about me and support what I do. Staying healthy, for me, at least, is actually really difficult. My profession requires a lot of sitting, so I have to make an extra effort to get up, walk and move. It’s also tempting to snack on junk food working in an office (am I right?). I try hard to indulge only with healthy snacks: I have celery sticks and apples in the fridge, I like cheese, and any gluten-free cracker in combination. I also just discovered baked parmesan crisps. Oh, my heart!

Advice to aspiring authors?

Don’t let anybody bring you down. Never take no as a final answer. Work hard, and it will pay off, one way or another.

About the Author

Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of the Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy, Bravo Saga, Collapse: The Illustrated Guide and the adventure thriller, Unbreakable SEAL.

Summer owns WB Publishing. She is an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher. She also owns an online magazine, Writing Belle, where she has interviewed and worked with countless authors from around the globe.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, where she enjoys reading, collecting tea, visiting the beach and the mountains, and counting down the days until she has her very own puppy (if you’ve read Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, you’ll understand).

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Giveaway

Grand Prize: Collapse Prize Pack; $20 Amazon Gift Card, Collectible Collapse Tote Bag, Magnetic Cassidy Hart Calendar, Collapse Tee-Shirt, Special Edition Pen, Autographed Copy of Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, Bravo Plush and Wristband, and Personal Note from Summer Lane, the author.
Runner-Up 1: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Runner-Up 2: $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

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