Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Yin Yang of 2013

It may take 365 days to usher the calendar pages along, but I only need the minutes that hang in the balance between this year and next to consider the things that defined 2013 for me.

It was a year of givers and takers, movers and shakers. Of first tries and second chances. Of good news, bad news and no news. There were smiles of honesty and smirks of deceit. There were goodbyes and good-to-meet-yous, healthy gains and growing pains.

2013 was the year of The Word. Sentences were strung, dismantled and re-strung time and again. The Muse was mostly gracious, though ever unpredictable.

Change became the new constant. Novelty and nostalgia made for strange bedfellows.

There were resolutions kept and those quickly dismissed. Food, fun and games juxtaposed with exercise, work and more work.

I saw some dreams become wishes and wishes turn into success stories. I saw silent requests become prayers and prayers turn into urgent pleas.

Love dressed itself up and down to suit the seasons - tempted and tested, yet never absent.

2013 was more or less, more and less. It was every bit positive and negative. Hot and cold. Dark and light. Black and white.

I wish it all the best as it hurries off to that great Yin Yang in the sky.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Time to Rewind - The Christmas March

There's a place in my mind I visit every year right about now. It's a pine-scented, crisp white scene. Music is always playing and somebody is always laughing. It's warm. Cozy. And a girl is there. She's already too old to believe in jolly men in red and flying reindeer. However, she's still young enough to savor a secret anticipation for what Christmas will bring her. A doll that feels just like a real baby. This girl has always had a thing for dolls and she knows that soon enough the dolls will end. The scene will change. But, the girl in my mind thinks that these changes are light years away. And in some respects they are. She is still on good terms with Time. They're friendly. She's growing into the years, and the years into her. Kindly. Gently. She collects sweet holiday memories and tucks them beside the other moments of her life she prefers to recall at will. This girl is already beyond the impatient whims of little children who wish away the days with their frantic pleas to hurry things along. Yet she does wonder why Time sometimes moves so slowly.

Before long this girl has amassed an impressive collection. Scenes that now include real babies who feel like dolls. Aromas of holiday feasts shared with the family type. The lightness of being when lightness is a gift in and of itself.
Time still respects her space, though it hints at a certain surliness. At the inevitability that it will bear down sooner rather than later. There's no way to heed the warning except to try and slow the pace, stamp the scenes with brightly-colored ink that won't fade. Is there such a thing?

These days the girl is known as a woman. She hasn't the luxury of pretending away Time. She's grown too learned of its willful ways. She's watched many scenes come and go - too many to ignore what they've meant on a larger scale. How each precious one has attached itself to a moment that Time has taken along with it in a sudden heated rush. She wonders what the big hurry is all about.

Today I lit a candle. Pine-scented. I closed my eyes and hit rewind. I found that young girl in my mind again. If only for a few minutes, we reminisced. Handmade tree-toppers and popsicle ornaments. Snowball fights and hot chocolate chasers. Wishes and wonders.
I shrugged off the years around my shoulders and danced with the memories. Quickly, before the music stopped playing.

It'll all be here and gone in a flash. Christmas and it's goodness. Take from it what you'll want to keep for later. Time maintains a steady march forward. Tuck your scenes away for safe keeping. Experience and enjoy the splendor.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and blessed holiday season.

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cover Reveal/Blog Tour - THE TEARINGS


I'm so pleased to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book by V.C. Repetto and brought to you by Evernight Teen! Here's the 4-1-1:

From the moment the black vans appear to take the sick away, Maya knows there is something wrong. A high school sophomore, she seems to be the only one to question the sudden disappearances at school and the masks everyone is forced to wear to keep from catching the new disease spreading through the entire United States. Even when word of the new “healing centers” reaches the public, no one dares to ask what is happening.

But when Maya catches the disease, the one they call The Tearings, and is taken to one of these centers along with her mother, the truth becomes all too clear. She is separated from her family and forced to work, becoming one of the more fortunate ones who is not sent to the testing wings. Bullied by the guards to the point of death, she meets David Summers, the enigmatic young Captain who appears to loathe his position of power in the camp and who seems as drawn to Maya as she is to him.

When Maya suddenly becomes the disease’s only survivor, she must put her trust on David to find a way to escape the camp and get the truth, and the cure coursing through her veins, out to the world
.


Sounds SO good! I can't wait to read it. I hope you'll add this one to your TBR list. We wish V.C. all the best of literary success!


Purchase here:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Tearings-V-C-Repetto-ebook/dp/B00GU2YRV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385656249&sr=8-1&keywords=the+tearings

Check out the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmTje-yaoFQ

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop
















This year I've had the pleasure of getting to know some fantastic authors and their equally fantastic books. And now thanks to this cool giveaway hop, you'll get to know them, too! We are celebrating our favorite reads of the year and I've chosen to highlight two books, both brought to you by the impressive and dynamic Immortal Ink Publishing. The first title is THE FOREVER GIRL by Rebecca Hamilton. http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/books.php?id=3 and the second is AFTER THE FEAR by Rosanne Rivers. http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/books.php?id=16  Both of these books were bestsellers this year and The FOREVER GIRL had just been optioned for film! Now you can see for yourself what the readers and reviewers have been raving over. We are giving away a copy of EACH amazing novel right here! Enter below (read more) for your chance to win.

Don't forget to hop over to the other blogs participating in this awesome event. http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/2013/10/sign-ups-now-open-best-of-2013-giveaway.html

Have fun, y'all. And remember to be good because you-know-who is watching...
.
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pizza, Puppies & Wishes


She said her name was Allyson, but that I should call her Ally. I knew right then she was a mighty little thing. Especially precocious, eight years old, dressed in a plaid jumper and matching headband, woolen socks pulled taut at her knees. Blonde hair, still baby fine, slipped casually over her shoulders. Her father instructed her to be seated in a chair in our office's reception area and she started for it - pausing just long enough to peruse our reading material. I pointed out the most recent Highlights magazine to which she replied,

"No, thank you," and then selected the latest edition of People, instead.

"Are you getting excited about Santa?" I asked.

Ally dipped her chin and squared one cross brow in my direction. "I'm eight. That stuff is for little kids."

"Ahh - I see. Well, then I suppose that's that," I said.

She paid me a patient smile exposing a quarter of a front tooth dropping from her gum at a razor-sharp angle. Her father's cell phone rang and he stepped out into the hallway to take it.

"You know," I began, "Santa Claus isn't so much a person as he is a feeling."

The child looked up from the open pages in her lap. I went on,

"Like a wish coming true or your favorite memory playing in your mind. Something that makes you warm on the inside. Like puppy-dog kisses."

"Like pizza?" she asked.

"Sure - I guess. If pizza makes you super-duper happy."

I watched her silently weighing it out. Was pizza really as special as a wish coming true?

At that moment her father came back into the room. "That was Mommy," he said, folding into the chair beside hers. "And guess what? The doctor told her that she will definitely be home with us in time for Christmas."

Every bit of the light around her filled Ally's eyes. "Goody, Daddy! I'm so glad!" The magazine slid off her lap to the floor and her father lowered to retrieve it, a grin spread wide along his jaw.

I looked over once more before I headed for my office. Ally's gaze met mine. Without a word she admitted that the pizza had been trumped. We shared a smile.

"Merry Christmas, Ally."

"You too," she said. And just like that Santa Claus had come and gone.


 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Kindleday - Giveaway


I suppose by now you guys may have surmised that this holiday season I'm crushing on the Kindle Fire HDX. And why not? As reader/tablets go - this one is tops in user-reviews. So I'm sharing in another giveaway hosted by my fave blog hop hostess, Kathy: http://www.iamareader.com/2013/11/holiday-kindle-fire-hdx-amazon-gift-card-or-paypal-cash-giveaway-229-value.html. These contests are super-fun and I'm so happy to take part! There is also the opportunity to win some cash, too! With December looming - who couldn't use a little bump in the wallet?

This time around I'm asking you lovely folks who drop by to sign-up for release notification of my New Adult/Mystery novel THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN which is nearly ready to be hatched! Yikes! We are getting SO close now, gang. I can practically smell the corn basking beneath that pretty Midwestern sky. I can nearly taste the sweet Italian wine. Wondering why? You will be! You will want to know more about Ana - or is she Ann Leigh?  Her story will keep you guessing, and hopefully keep you entertained. This isn't just a book for the young readers out there. It's a mystery/suspense for all ages. Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of what TMONB is all about.

I truly appreciate your interest and support. I do hope when the time comes you will give it a read and let me know what you think. Good luck to each one of you. And Happy Kindleday :)

 
                                                                                                                                                                                         
 
 
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

 
 
I'm happy to be a part of http://www.iamareader.com/2013/09/4th-annual-gratitude-giveaways-hop-sign-ups.html this fab giveaway which pays tribute to YOU - the sweet and kind folks who follow this blog and/or have taken the time to become a Facebook fan.

November is all about giving thanks and being mindful of our many blessings. Let's face it - life can be hard. There is no denying the suffering on this earth that comes along with the human condition. That said - who among us can argue that even when - and perhaps especially when - times get tough, we each have a stockpile - be it large or small - of blessings we turn to which help us through. For many these include our families, our friends, our pets, our faith. And let's not forget our books that we escape to when we absolutely positively need a break from the rigors of reality. These are all on my list of things for which I am thankful. I'm also ever-grateful for the bounty of new friends I've made and continue to make through the many internet venues I roam - the likes of Facebook, Twitter, my website, this blog and so on.

So - here's your chance to win a $10.00 Amazon e gift card, a small token of my esteem. All you need to do is choose ONE of the options on the Rafflecopter below (read more,) Just one will give you an entry.

I hope you will all take a moment to think about and perhaps share with us, some of the things you are grateful for in your life.

Peace and love to all :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Free Fiction Delivered with Hope and Faith

Hey gang! I'm bringing you a quick-note today. I just had to be sure you knew about this fabulous website -
http://www.faithhopeandfiction.com/article.asp?articleid=260&Section=Fiction.



That link brings you to my featured short story in this issue entitled THE TROUBLE WITH JOY.

faithhopeandfiction.com/  offers beautiful, quirky, and FREE stories and essays monthly or bi-monthly for your reading pleasure. The CEO of this fine eZine is Patricia Crisafulli - an amazing best-selling author who has a gorgeous gift of prose.

If you haven't as of yet experienced this site, please do so! You won't be sorry. Make it a great day :)

 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

BLAST Bullying - Imagine

It isn't often that I utilize this space for things serious in nature. Rather I prefer to indulge this blog with the lighter slices of life. Yet every now and again diversity strikes a chord in me and I think, "mix it up." It's then I'll notice a certain something that begs to be devoted to. A cause. A gripe. An axe to grind.

My axe is quite large today. It's directed at the mean girls and boys out there. You know who you are. You're the ones for whom the crafty and careful hand of karma will one day come calling. You are the bullies that skulk among us. You choose your words and deeds without regard for others. You demean. You taunt. You cause unjust and unspeakable pain.

Each day another story of the devastating effects of bullying makes itself known. Sometimes it even hits a bit too close to home. With the ease of access and the convenience of hiding behind a computer screen - online bullying is at an all time high. Young people launch relentless attacks on their contemporaries using the keyboard as their weapon of choice. Even older bullies posing as mature adults with an opinion have been known to wreak havoc.

We are a society who thrives on critiquing others. We judge. Often harshly. And we do so publicly and without apology. Our popular television shows not only exemplify this behavior, they glorify it. Is it any wonder the up-and-coming veterans of the grown-up world behave so poorly?

I'm here with two simple words of advice. STOP THAT. Bullying Leaves A Scar. It may be old and faint or fresh, new and raw, but either way it's there with you for life. That is why I present the Bloggers BLAST Bullying Campaign. The T is for talking about this dreaded disease. It is only through an open and honest dialogue accompanied with a no-tolerance approach that we will begin to bring bullying to an end. I urge other bloggers to share this post or one of their own on this urgently important topic. Help the victims of bullying to know that they are not alone. They do not need to resort to unimaginable lengths to deal with their grief. We are here. We are your friends. We care.

To those mean boys and girls out there - here's a newsflash - we don't care about your excuses. We don't want to hear how you were unloved as a child, or pushed around and now you're returning the favor. One bad turn does not beget another. If it's help dealing with your unresolved aggression you require then seek counseling. But leave those innocent bystanders alone. Or don't. But know this - one day your personal justice will find you. And it will not be lenient.

With this post I also pose an open-ended invitation. If you have suffered a scar at the hands, words or actions of a bully and would like to share your story either anonymously or otherwise, my blog is open to you. Always. Simply drop me a note to through my "Contact" page at my website: www.louisecaiola.com In return I will be happy to send you an autographed bookmark as a small token of my esteem.

I will close with a song lyric from the late great John Lennon: "Imagine all the people, living life in peace."

Yes, imagine that.




 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY


First off I'd like to thank ALL of you sweet people who joined the Spooktacular Giveaway. Our winners have been selected and will be notified shortly. And there's more winning right around the bend. Thanks to Kathy at :
http://www.iamareader.com/2013/09/november-kindle-fire-giveaway-sign-ups.html - you great folks have a chance to win one of TWO Kindle FIRE HDX's or cash!! Follow above link for deets.

In the meantime we are getting closer and closer to the birth of my novel THE MAKING OF NERASKA BROWN. I hope you'll each take a moment to sign up for the RELEASE NOTIFICATION to be alerted the second this baby is out of the gate!  Simply go here and join in the fun.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TgACib-I47t3fEDcccJI5B_gUBW-AdHXvIxSGRes_7E/viewform?embedded=true

You could win a free book and more!

So tell me, now that Halloween is over...how many of you guys have already started putting up Christmas decorations? Are you a Turkey-disser? Do you pretty much blow off Thanksgiving for the fa-la-la of Santa and all?

No judging. I'm pretty excited about the holidays, too. Don't forget to save some love for the Big Bird himself. No, not the guy from Sesame Street!

Good luck to everyone! Glad you dropped by :)




 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop



Welcome Hoppers! I'm excited that you're here. Actually there's so much to be excited about! My next book is coming out soon :) This is always the time for me to pause and appreciate the momentum. It's like the calm before the storm - so to speak. Let me introduce you to my newest work: THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN. http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/books.php?id=27

This novel truly has something for everyone. Is it spooky? In a way, yes! Will it promise to have your heart beating faster? Absolutely. This tale is cloaked in mystery, suspense, emotion, intrigue, and a cast of characters you won't soon forget. To celebrate this season of all things dark and dangerous I've joined this fabulous hop along with so many other fine blogs here:http://www.iamareader.com/2013/08/4th-annual-spooktacular-giveaway-hop-sign-ups.html! Plus, I'm giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner AND two lucky winners will receive a beautiful signed TMONB bookmark!

To enter all you have to do is sign up to be notified the EXACT moment this title hits the shelves. Yup - that's it! Easy peasy! By doing this you'll be able to purchase this book at an initial DEEP discounted release price. You will also be eligible to win a free e book. Cool, right? And no worries - you won't receive any other emails from us other than this one! Unless of course you want to become pen-pals or something, which we could potentially arrange ;) (Joking, of course.)

There's also extra entry points for anyone who'd like to become a Facebook fan.

So sign up right here. Be sure you use the scrollbar to click the "SUBMIT" tab! This one is a MUST:


Then join the Rafflecopter if you choose! Thanks for being here! You guys are BOOtiful!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

#MSWL - Manuscript Wishing - Open Call

I'm more excited than ever for the opportunity to scout out Immortal Ink Publishing's http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/next great read! As an author with a title under contract with this AWESOME press http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/books.php?id=27, I can personally vouch for the unsurpassed passion the IIP staff has for their books and their writers. Providing marketing support is just one of the fabulous things they do. Turning out work that consistently nails a spot on Amazon Kindle's bestseller list is another. And keep watching for MORE exciting happenings coming soon! (Ah - a cliff-hanger) Having been invited to become a staff member is a thrill and an honor.

Now - down to the nitty-gritty. What would I LOVE to see? I'm a sucker for emotionally-charged literary fiction, potentially fact-based is good, too. (Recent faves - The Help, The Art of Racing in The Rain.) I'd adore a contemporary New Adult/YA starring main characters whose voices are so big they leap off the page. (I'm a huge Laurie Halse Anderson fan. Also TFIOS was supreme!) I'm looking for a character-driven mystery with a strong, quirky plot (think GONE GIRL meets NANCY DREW.) I'm open to something UNIQUE that might have trouble fitting into conventional genre guidelines. That said - I'm not the best advocate for steampunk, dystopian, or fantasy. Yet, elements of these traits will not offend me. NO erotica, gore, vampires, mythical beings or dragon-slayers, please.

How to contact me directly: Visit my website - www.louisecaiola.com and click on the tab that reads MORE and then the sub-tab that says "This and That." You'll find the Reach Out form waiting for you. Drop me a line with your query and a 10 page sample in the body of the mail. No attachments, please. If I think we have a potential love connection, I'll request to see more :) It's that easy! I will reply either way. Please note that this is a limited-time submission event. I will notify you here when we've closed again. If your work is not chosen now, I hope you will consider us in the future.

And while  you're here I also hope you'll take a sec to join in our Nebraska Brown Pre-Release Contest going on NOW. See post below.

I'm looking forward to reading your work and helping you join this amazing team.
 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting Back to You - Release Contest



If you've never taken a moment to look back at yourself, perhaps watch a video shot at some point ten plus years ago, I highly recommend it. Not for the sake of vanity or to quench a morbid desire to see how much you've actually aged. When we revisit the part of ourselves that time forces us to part with it's like being reunited with an old friend. Years and circumstance bring changes to who we are - like it or not. And sometimes we forget that the young girl who wore a bad perm and an incurable grin ever existed. We start to believe that we arrived at this point in our lives by accident and that those moments gone-by did not shape us. Truth is - they did.

As a writer I've honed my skills by visiting the works of other writers who have carved a successful path within this vast literary jungle. Great stories have shaped me, too. They have seeped into the ink under the words I've wrangled. They have provided the motivation for myself and writers everywhere to seek that moment of authorly truth within themselves. When we complete our first or second book we know that we did not do so alone. We recognize that inspiration is often sent via a curly-haired, smiling muse or from the bindings of the stories that have entertained us over the course of our lives. These books are the film and photo footage of ourselves as we once were.

As I await the birth of my Book Baby #2 - THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN - I've decided to celebrate some recent novels that have a similar vibe - and/or that reminded me why I ever fell in love with reading to begin with. And of course, of course - there's a contest here. Why wouldn't there be? All you need to do is sign up for release notification which will mean you'll receive your chance to purchase TMONB as soon as it's born- AT SPECIAL RELEASE PRICING! In addition you will automatically be entered to win a FREE COPY! So - how many of you have read and enjoyed GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn? What about SHINE by Lauren Myracle? How about my first book, WISHLESS?  Well, if any of those books made you happy then I promise you will be STOKED about Nebraska Brown. Here's your chance to win a $10.00 B and N gift card, a signed paperback copy of WISHLESS and an autographed MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN bookmark! One lucky winner will score all three. Plus two runners-up will receive signed bookmarks too :) Now if you're outside of the U.S. and you win you will receive the gift card only but we'll bump it up to $15.00!


Please join in the fun and be sure to buy TMONB as soon as it's released to take advantage of the initial price cut and to help put this book on the top of the charts. TO ENTER GO HERE: http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/notify.php?book=27

BE SURE TO FILL OUT THIS FORM FIRST AND THEN ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER BELOW UNDER "READ MORE." THIS WAY YOU'RE CERTAIN TO BE INCLUDED. THANK YOU :)



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cover Reveal - Circus of Lost Souls

COVER REVEAL: Circus of Lost Souls by bestselling authors @RileyJFord and @InkMuse #amreading #horror #books

 

CIRCUS OF LOST SOULS

horror ebook


Cirque du Lune is killing off teenagers, but it’s all part of the act.

Or is it?

As the body count rises with each performance, one girl at this infamous theater-based summer finds herself contemplating what’s real and what’s not.

What if it’s not just a horror show, but a live snuff performance? What if the murders . . . are real?


I just had to share this great cover with you guys since I knew you'd love it as much as I do! I can't wait to read this book. Don't hesitate - sign up to be notified when this title hits the virtual shelves. The initial pricing will make it worth your while!

* * *
Sign Up For Release Notification — When you do, you are automatically entered to win a free copy of the book, and you will also have an opportunity to purchase the book at the new release discounted price. We will only email you once for these purposes, and your email from this list will not be used for any other reason at any other time. Click "Read More" to go to sign-up form!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fighting Destiny by Brittany Booker

So, if you're sensing a giveaway theme here on The Hook of late, you're not mistaken. We've been lucky enough to have some fabulous authors donate their books and gift cards to all of you fortunate followers. Our latest guest is literary agent/writer Brittany Booker (also known as LJ.) You may recall the interview we did with Brittany and her partner Jordy Albert of Booker Albert Literary. http://www.thebookeralbertagency.com/  Don't sweat if you missed it. Check the archives here to read it! Brittany's New Adult Paranormal Romance- FIGHTING DESTINY - had just been released in paperback and to celebrate we're sharing an excerpt here AND Brittany is offering a couple of awesome prizes - a paperback copy of this awesome book AND a $10.00 Amazon e gift card!
http://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Destiny-ebook/dp/B00DW388GK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380150237&sr=8-1&keywords=fighting+destiny

After you read this, I promise you're going to want to read more! Excerpt from FIGHTING DESTINY:

“Hey,” I heard half way toward my dorm. “Codi, come here.” Aiden stumbled out of the house, throwing down a red empty cup. He spotted me and had started to run, making me run faster. I dug my feet into the pavement, they screamed in pain when I would hit random rocks. I didn’t know if Aiden would do anything other than hang on me, but I sure as hell didn’t want to wait and find out.
    “Codi,” Aiden said, grabbing my wrist and slinging me around to face him. His green eyes wide, his mouth close to my face. “I need to talk to you.” He didn’t seem as drunk, but he was still swaying a bit.
    “Sober up and then we’ll talk, okay?” I tried to turn but he gripped my wrist tighter. “Aiden let go of my hand, okay? I want to go to my dorm. “
    “I knew your brother,” he blurted out, his words loud and foreign.
    My heart stopped mid-beat. I glanced up at him, my eyes wide. “What did you just say?”
    “I can’t tell you much but I--,”
    I slammed my right wrist against his chest. “Shut the fuck up! Don’t you dare try and say you knew my brother. You would have been a child when he died! Don’t talk about him!” I screamed. My voice was shaking, my body raging.
    Aiden gripped my shoulders, trying to steady me. “I knew of him, Codi. You don’t understand. Let me explain it to you---,”
    “No!” I yelled, slamming my heels that were in my hand against his chest. He grunted stepping back.
    “Calm down, bitch!” he said, making my anger double in my veins.  He reached out trying to restrain me, but when I went to hit him he wasn’t in my reach. Someone was standing beside Aiden, through my teary eyes I saw Aiden’s head pop back twice, and then he fell to the ground.
Shaking, I squinted my eyes, trying to get a good look at the shadow in front of me. “Are you okay?” His voice was calm and steady.
    He stepped forward, the street light hitting his face just right. His brows were furrowed, a worry line wrinkling his forehead. Blinking his big grey eyes twice, he parted his full lips and said again, “Are you--,”
    “I’m fine,” I said, shaking my head, looking at Aiden rolling on the ground holding his nose.
    “Fuccckkk, stupid bitch,” Aiden grumbled into his hand.
    “Did he hurt you?” Grey Eyes said. I shook my head, watching him look down at Aiden. He clenched his jaw then scratched the back of his neck. “Do you need help?”
    “I can take care of myself,” I blurted out.
     Grey Eyes glanced down at me, tilting his head to the side. “Really, now? Because it looked like you were trying to get little guy off you and couldn’t manage that.”
    I snorted. “Well, shows how much you know because that’s not what happened at all.”
He smirked and looked off to hide his laugh. I took this chance to give him the once over. He was tall, really tall. His black hair was in a messy mop on top of his head, he had a lot of scruff going on and he smelled like rain.
    “See something you like?” he asked.
    Heat swarmed my cheeks. “No!” That made him smile. “What are we gonna do about him?” I asked, watching Aiden try and get up twice.
    “I’ll take care of him. You get inside your dorm and lock the door. You’re bruised, are you sure you’re okay?” He stepped forward, his calloused hand touching my arm.
    I shivered. “Yeah,” I mumbled, stepping back. “I’ll—thank you,” I said, reaching up and grabbing my brother’s necklace.
    Grey Eyes looked down at my necklace then back up at me. His face serious, and calm.         “You’re welcome. You need to get inside, okay? Go get some rest.”
    I nodded, stumbling backwards toward the dorm. When I looked over my shoulder, Grey Eyes had Aiden over his shoulder, with Aiden cussing the entire time.
 
WOW! Thank you, Brittany for sharing this juicy scene with us!! Please don't leave without entering the Rafflecopter below (see more) for your chance to win! Congrats to Brittany and may her book be a best seller :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nebraska Brown Trailer Party Premier

The next big thing to hit the small screen is here! No, not Jaws the 15th. No, not Carrie Underwood as Maria Von Trapp, though that IS pretty big.

I'm super pleased to bring you the debut of The Making of Nebraska Brown's Official Book Trailer! And were celebrating with a contest, of course!

Watch, and enjoy. And then, enter the Rafflecopter below (see more) for your chance to win a $10.00 Amazon e-gift card :)



 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stuck in a Good Book Hop


I'm especially excited with this giveaway hop since we get to highlight a book that was so amazing we just couldn't put it down. This was an easy choice for me! We at The Hook are celebrating Rebecca Hamilton's phenomenal hit: THE FOREVER GIRL. http://www.theforevergirl.com/
http://www.paranormalfantasybooks.com/p/the-forever-girl-reviews.html Here's the synopsis:
 
Sophia's family has skeletons, but they aren't in their graves.
 At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her.
 Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she'd settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.
 One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor's hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him.
 Survival in his world, she learns, means not asking questions and staying out of the immortal council's way. It's a line she crossed long ago. If Sophia wants to survive the council and save the people she loves, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom.

The Forever Girl is a full-length Paranormal Fantasy novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, witches, vampire fiction, ghost stories, paranormal mystery, and paranormal horror.
 
 VOTED ONE OF SUSPENSE MAGAZINE’S BEST BOOKS OF 2012! VOTED READER’S CHOICE ON UNDERGROUND BOOK REVIEWS! RECOMMENDED SUMMER READING FOR 2013!
 
"This is a great book. A MUST read!" ~ Brian Witten of WITTEN PICTURES, producer of American History X, Wedding Singer, Final Destination, Friday the 13th, Chernobyl Diaries, and soon, Stephen King's CELL with John Cusack.
 
"I was really drawn in by the writing from the first instance. The voice is clear and easy-to-read; it’s rare to see such natural flow and tempo from a debut author." ~ HarperCollins
 
“The Forever Girl” is an enticing read of Wiccan fiction, very much recommended reading.” ~Carl Logan of MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
 
This smartly written, expertly paced, thrill-ride captivated me from the first page. And for those of us who are craving more - well, we won't be craving long. This is part of a series by the same name! Please visit Rebecca's website above for the exciting details.

I'm super happy that my upcoming novel, THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN is also being released by Immortal Ink Publishing, the same press that brought THE FOREVER GIRL series to its loyal readership! Rebecca has kindly donated 3 eBooks for our hop giveaway. Just enter the Rafflecopter below (see more.) In addition you could win a $10.00 Amazon e gift card by entering the Trailer Release Party below. So many chances to win in one place :)

Thanks to Stuck In Books for bringing this hop to life! Be sure to keep on hopping! http://stuckinbooks.com/

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Skyline To Remember


As a New Yorker, born and raised, I saw it so many times. That gorgeous skyline, especially pretty at night, all lit up and shining with hometown pride. If only for today I want to pretend none of the madness ever happened. I want to make believe monsters only exist in Stephen King novels. I want to forget we have enemies who hate us simply because we aren't them.
As a New Yorker who watched a horror unfold, too close for comfort, I want to offer a kind word to those people whose lives were forever altered by monsters and madmen, by hatred and plots far more sinister than any story ever written.
Twelve years ago I lost a skyline. So many here lost a hell of a lot more.
We will go on. We will be stronger for the pain. But we will never forget.
God Bless the USA.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Immortal Ink Publishing Pitchfest

Immortal Ink PITCHFEST is here!
Sept. 14th, 15th and 16th
at the IIP Facebook Page
Be concise: 150 words or less. Be sure: to include your Facebook contact info. Be dazzling: Make us simply HAVE to request more.
Don’t forget to LIKE us while you’re there. Tell a friend. Tell the world.
 
 
 

Do you have a story you think would be perfect for Immortal Ink Publishing? Here's your chance to query. Mark your calendars for this coming Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and dust off those queries until they shine! Follow the link above to the IIP Facebook page and we'll see you there!


 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bottled Time - The Art of Being Remembered

We here at Hook Central have been undergoing some outdoor construction. Our old patio has recently been excavated and a new one formed in its place. I kept wondering if there would be any exciting treasures discovered in the process - not like gold or diamonds or cash - though that wouldn't have been such a bad thing - but more in the way of an artifact from days gone by. Yet all we found was a dirty old comb. Excitement level - 0.

So I thought, here's my chance to leave my mark. Now, I'm hopeful that the books I've written will act as a placeholder for my life long after I'm gone. Yet, I imagined how cool it would be to have someone, the next person to own our house maybe 100 years from now, decide to tear down the gorgeous new steps we just had built, and discover a note rolled up neatly inside a bottle.

 In case you're wondering...here's what it said:

I don’t suppose I’ll ever know if this note goes on to be unearthed and subsequently read. A voice buried deep within a cocktail of concrete and dirt isn’t one destined to be heard. Yet I’d be remiss, at this moment in time, if I didn’t seize the opportunity, and etch out some small fraction of tangible posterity. In the long run it may not make a difference one way or another, but it’s something inherently human, to want to be remembered, isn’t it?
The steps surrounding this letter were built in August of 2013, along with this patio, for the sake of our family being able to further enjoy the gorgeous backyard view you’ve by now come to appreciate. In case you’re curious as to what a project like this goes for these days, I’ve written the cost on the reverse side of this page. Warning: you may prefer to be seated while reading that one. I know my boyfriend did.  Yes, it’s a pretty penny indeed. (Nobody actually still uses that expression, so I’m not sure why I put it that way.) Phrases change. Vernacular is reshaped with each generation and before you know it you have an entirely new language to learn. I imagine by now technology has brought its fair share of changes too. The way you get from point A to B is different I’m certain, as is the onslaught of entertainment options. Know this: Jaws and The Sound of Music are still two of the best movies ever made. That may be considered a matter of opinion, I know. Believe me, as a writer I am intimately familiar with the definition of subjectivity (see also: rejection.) The reality of life right now is that the internet and cell phones have altered the way we communicate. They have expanded our universe and shortened our attention span. The art of conversation has morphed into a virtual type-fest and is often limited to 140 characters (research Twitter for a broader explanation of this one.)
However, the greater issues have and I suspect will always remain the same. Love is still vastly popular and most often misunderstood. Health and Happiness have retained their spot as two of the most sought-after states, followed closely by Hope. Family Relations are ever grounded in equal parts comfort and complication. Some things, I guess, are impervious to the revisions of life.
Speaking of family, my plan is that ours - those of us who inhabit this home right now, will come and go from these steps a million times over. My wish is that we’ll be here long enough to see our grandbabies climb them and hover close to be careful they don’t fall.
When the day comes that we’ve moved on, somebody will know that we were here, and that we loved this house.
And with any luck, for whatever its worth we will be remembered.

That, my friends, is how we bottle time, here at Hook Central.


 Louise Caiola writes YA and NA contemporary fiction, mystery, romance and drama. Be sure to visit her website: www.louisecaiola.com

Monday, September 2, 2013

Booker Albert Literary is Here!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome the lovely ladies of Booker Albert Literary Agency to The Hook today. Agents Brittany Booker and Jordy Albert, formerly of Marisa Corvisiero Literary, combined forces to bring this awesome agency to life back in December 2012, and since that time have signed a terrific gathering of authors and an impressive sales list. http://www.thebookeralbertagency.com/ . They are currently open to submissions and would love to hear from you. I’m super-excited to be interning with these girls and their other fabulous interns, Sam Farkas and Caitlin Hemphill, and look forward to many great things ahead for this team.
That said, let’s begin by telling us if there is any agency news you both are particularly thrilled about? (Upcoming releases, new clients, etc.)

Brittany  - This is a very hard question for me, because I feel all thirteen of my clients are amazing and have had accomplishments this year. Cassie Mae’s Friday Night Alibi recently released from Random House on July 29th, and she also has Pulling The Switch, and How To Date A Nerd coming out this year from Random House and Swoon Romance. Theresa Paolo’s (Never) Again is releasing from Berkley in October. I can’t leave out Melissa Giorgio whose novel The Sight Seer is climbing the chart on Amazon. We’ll be announcing another big deal soon, just waiting on the go-ahead e-mail. I’d also like to say that I’m just thrilled to have the amazing clients that I do have with me. 
 
Jordy - We are excited about Jayne Denker’s book Down on Love coming out on November 21, 2013!
That sounds fantastic! As the literary landscape is constantly changing, are there any noteworthy market trends you notice that could prove to be relevant?
Brittany - Well, I would definitely say that New Adult books have become very trendy as of lately. My last few deals have been NA books, so I think any genre NA has a great chance of selling, or landing an agent.
Jordy  - NA is definitely strong right now; contemporary especially.
To each of you: Fill in the blank: “If I see one more manuscript starring a seventeen-year-old paranormal badass witch/ghost/vampire hunter_, I’ll run screaming from the room.”

Jordy - Totally agree! I would also say characters that have had a terrible home life.
And while we’re on the topic, what would you say is the most common Query glitch you come across?

Brittany - I would say just not reading the guidelines. It’s a very simple process to follow them and it helps us out in the reading. Also, when authors pitch to more than one agent at a time, it’s not a great way to start your pitching process.
 
Jordy - Agree with Brittany! However, one of the oddest glitches I’ve come across is a query with no name. It’s happened more than once.
On the other hand, what does your dream list look like?
Jordy: YA/NA (sci-fi/fantasy, contemporary)...especially with a strong romantic element. But mainly I’d love to see great chemistry between characters.
Brittany: My dream list consists of any genre NA, YA Contemporary with a male perspective, and YA multicultural. 
What element makes a submission stand out most in your mind? Plot, voice, pacing, prose? Or some combination of each?
Brittany - I would say for me, I like to see a little bit of the voice in a query. Having the plot written nicely into the query, without bombarding the query, is always refreshing. However, I like for the author’s voice to be portrayed in the query, so I see a little bit before I request a partial.
Jordy - Voice. Definitely voice. Something in the sample pages just has to click.
Is there any advice you can offer to writers facing the unfortunate, yet unavoidable sting of rejection?
Brittany - My advice is pretty generic. Never give up and be patient. There are so many agents and editors to look at your work. Most likely, you’ll get plenty of rejections, but it only takes one yes for you to move forward.

Jordy - Keep writing!
 
Finally, what do you consider to be your favorite book of all time?
Brittany - This is the hardest question out of all of them. I would probably say The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I recommend everyone to read this.

Jordy: Hmmm this is reeeeally difficult! I loved To Kill A Mockingbird. One of my most favorite recent reads is Poison Princess by Kresley Cole.

Wow! What a terrific interview! To thank all the readers for coming by Jordy and Brittany have provided the chance for you to win two awesome prizes! Be sure to take a moment to check the Rafflecopter below (READ MORE) for your chance to win! Also "like"the BA Team on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Booker-Albert-Literary-Agency/366791766746553
It’s been awesome having the ladies here. Stay tuned for more wonderful things to come from Booker Albert Literary Agency.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Making of Nebraska Brown Is Coming!

So this is where things get super-exciting, Hooksters... (always mindful of the all-important S wedged in the center of that word ;) My second novel has just been contracted by Immortal Ink Publishing! http://www.immortalinkpublishing.com/index.php I'm completely thrilled to be working with this awesome team to bring this project to life :)

Deets, you say! THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN is an upper-YA contemporary mystery. Here's the 4-1-1:

The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory. All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family - each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.

            Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn't know who to trust especially when Tommy's lies become too obvious to ignore.  And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.

            The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.

And check out the oh-so-phenomenal cover as designed by IIP's editor-extraordinaire.




Is this the coolest, or what?? I adore the artistic flair behind this scene! We have a target date of early next year for release, but you can rest assured I will keep you tuned in to the latest updates as they become available. Or, better yet, sign up below to be notified of up-to-the-minute release info.

This novel has something for everyone. You want romance? We've got it. You want suspense? We've got that, too. Mystery? Yup. Drama? Yes, again. Humor? But, of course. Intriguing and fun, engaging and well, yeah - evocative. These are some words being used by readers to describe the book. Think Under the Tuscan Sun meets The Wizard of Oz. And think about adding it to your TBR list.


Thanks to Immortal Ink for their confidence and enthusiasm. Good things lie in wait!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Interview with Author JAMES POTTEBAUM


Hello James, and welcome to The Hook! Since we are super-close friends, I am already aware of the many fantastic children’s books you’ve written (quite the impressive collection!) but please tell our readers a bit about them and the wonderful world of Junkyard Junction.
 

Thank you! I have written more than 30 picture books. Putting Junkyard Junction onto paper was a long process that took three years. Each Junkyard Junction character is passionate about something. Squirt is into sports, Hugo loves animals and gardening, Stanley is a handyman, Betty and Belinda Booger love to cook and entertain, Sally Star is an actress and model, while Bug, who is Sally Star’s biggest fan, is into the arts. I hope the characters inspire the reader and encourage them to pursue their own interests and dreams. This is important to me is because I was born and raised in extreme poverty. Although I had many childhood dreams, they were often overshadowed by my worries and made them appear beyond my reach.
What inspired you to write books for children?

I have always been a writer and I have always loved picture books. In fact, I give my husband a picture book every year for Christmas. My mother was an avid reader who encouraged all of her children to read. Dubuque Iowa had a book mobile that stopped in my neighborhood every week and I never missed it. To this day, I am still inspired by and enjoy reading anything “Peanuts” or “Dr. Seuss.” One of my most prized possessions is a “Peanuts” book signed by Charles Schulz.  
 You also have other interests as far as writing goes, other exciting projects you’ve created. Fill us in on these, too!

My screenplay “The ABC’s Are Everywhere” is currently in production in India. I have a completed horror script entitled “The Patch” as well as a cartoon series called “Silly Square." I am never short on ideas for a writing project.
In this very crowded literary marketplace, what is necessary, in your opinion, for any one book to stand out among the rest?
I have seen too many writers trying to follow trends. Be a leader not a follower. Start the next trend and let everyone else follow you. 

Fill in the blank: If for some reason I could no longer write I guess I’d have to ___________________ instead.
I think it would be fun to be a celebrity chef. However, I honestly have no desire to be famous.  I love to cook and entertain. My mother taught all eleven of her children to cook at an early age. I remember her watching over me as I fried an egg in a cast iron skillet when I was five years old. I am “almost famous” for my homemade cookies and banana zucchini bread. I get more excited about the food I plan to make than the gifts I will receive during the holidays. 

Fave quote (any topic): I don’t remember where I read this or who said it, but the quote that resonates to me the most is “The difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is persistence.” I recite this to myself whenever I get discouraged.

Which famous book (aside from your own, of course) do you wish you could say you’d written?
“Charlotte’s Web” It was read to me and my 3rd grade class by my teacher Mrs. Malone. She would sit on an old couch situated between two classrooms and read to us every day after lunch. It was my favorite part of every school day. It has an important message that is told through a beautiful story. It made me believe that someday, I would find a way out of poverty and do extraordinary things.  

Okay, we’re snacking now – salty or sweet?
Hello! Both! All four food groups are represented when you slap them together! LOL!

How can we find you?

http://www.junkyardjunction.com  My website is currently in a redesign process. The new website will be more animated and have some really cool stuff on it. I am not sure when it will be completed but I can hardly wait to show it off.
Follow me on twitter @duffertweets  But be advised, I love politics and I am not afraid to voice my opinion. Besides using Twitter to promote my own work, I follow many other writers and try to promote their work as well. I seriously need to check myself into a Twitter rehab facility. I absolutely love it! 

Junkyard Junction is on Facebook and Myspace.
The first book in the Junkyard Junction series “Squirt’s New Home” is sold on Amazon.  

Thank you so much for being here, James! Best of luck to you in your writing career :)