Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Once Upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich

Ready for something exciting? Author Cherie Reich has a book out called Once upon a Nightmare, a paranormal horror/thriller collection. Check out this intensely awesome cover:

Curious what it's about? Read on:

A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.

Disappearances every ten or so years make little impact on the small town of New Haven, Virginia. Hikers get lost. Hunters lose the trail. Even when a body is discovered, the inhabitants’ memories last about as long as the newspaper articles.

No one connects the cases. No one notices the disappearances go back beyond Civil War times. No one believes a legendary monster roams the forests in Southwestern Virginia.

I don’t either until the truck breaks down on an old mountain trail. Cell phones won’t work in this neck of the woods. It’s amazing how much a person can see by starlight alone. So what if we can’t feel our fingers or toes as we hike toward the main road. How many more miles left to go?


Hear that noise?

Purchase Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich at Amazon.

Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction author and library assistant living in Virginia. Visit her website and blog for more information.

I can't wait to check this out! It sounds like the kind of book I will think about long after I've finished it. Congrats, Cherie!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Interview with Author Linh Nguyen-Ng!

I'm happy to introduce my friend Linh Nguyen-Ng, author of the adorable picture book, MOMMY'S LITTLE WORDLINGS! I bought a copy of her book, and her illustrations are SO cute, and the message is really sweet. Go ahead and check it out on Amazon!

MOMMY'S LITTLE WORDLINGS was published by Anaiah Press on April 7, 2015. Here's what it's all about:

Little words hold big meanings. The Little Wordlings are children who use their simple words to express their feelings for loved ones. No one is more adored than the first person who made them smile. No one is more cherished than the person who gave them life. There is no one like Mommy. Join the Little Wordlings as they show Mommy how much she is appreciated and loved.

So. Cute.

You can buy the book here, or add it to Goodreads here.

And that's not all! Today, Linh is answering some questions on my blog. Welcome, Linh!

Thank you Shelley for hosting me! ^_^

Linh, how do you come up with your ideas?

I have several sketch books where I store my ideas. In those books is a collage of things—simple words, a leaf I found while walking at the park, a tear sheet from a magazine or a color that resonated with me. The important thing is to keep an open mind, let ideas flow into it.
The idea for MOMMY’S LITTLE WORDLINGS came to me as I was creating some greeting cards that featured these children called “Little Wordlings”. In my mind I saw them acting out scenes, so I decided to write a story.

What do you find easy and challenging writing for children?

I’m not sure there is an “easy” part about writing for children. Children’s minds are full of wonder, so in that sense, there are so many things you can write about. However, because there are so many ideas, how do you know which one is the right one? There are certain trends you can follow, but I think if you write from your heart, it will always end up where it’s supposed to go.

In longer children’s novels, I find it hard to balance out character, plot and world building in the beginning stages. So when editing, I try to do it in chunks; character review, plot review, and world building. I’m not sure if that is the most effective way. But it is one way that is working for me. Hopefully, I’ll find a faster method one of these days.

Did you go to school for writing?

No. I studied fashion design in college. It was a creative outlet for me. I learned form, function and creative ways to transform a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional object. I’ve applied that knowledge into my writing-- perspective, discipline and hard work. Did I wish that I went to school for writing. I think I would have wanted to take more writing classes. I think we all have passions that take us down different paths that somehow magically lead us to where we’re supposed to be. At that time, I wanted to be a designer. That passion guided me to be an author today.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day. Try is the magic word. Sometimes it’s only ten minutes, other times it’s longer. I discipline myself to at least write something every day so that I don’t lose the momentum. However, things often occur that alter my plans. When that happens, I say “plot twist!” and move on.

Thanks so much for visiting today, Linh! It's a pleasure to have you here.

More about the fabulous author:

I live with my family in Massachusetts where I get to enjoy the four seasons. I love unique and interesting things—things that make a lasting impression. I am constantly looking for inspiration that I can use in my writing. Everything has a story to tell.

Twitter: @linhnguyenng

And if you live in the U.S., feel free to enter the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wait, Let Me Write That Down!

A question for my fellow creative types:

Have you ever been in conversation with someone, or listened to someone else's conversation, and heard the person say something that gives you an idea for whatever you're working on? Maybe it's a line that a character would say, or maybe it's a perfect description of something you could incorporate into the story. But whatever it is, it lines up perfectly with what's in your head.

And you don't want to be rude or creepy and write it down right away. Especially not in front of them.

So you make a mental note to make a physical note about it later.

And you forget it completely. (Okay, maybe that's just me. But if I'm not alone, please let me know!)

That's where I am right now. I was in a conversation with someone, and she described something so perfectly that I just had to write it down. Except I didn't, and I lost it. Now I'm desperately trying to jog my memory. Hmm... maybe something having to do with shoes? Or clothes? I can't remember.

Can anyone else relate? Anyone have any tips for forgetful people? What was something interesting you've heard lately?

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Change In Seasons

Boy, it was an icy cold winter on the east coast this year. But as I write this (I write posts in advance, so I wrote this weeks ago), I'm hearing birds chirping outside, and the snow has finally melted. Soon, I'll be living out west, in 100+ degree summer heat. ("But it's a dry heat," they say. And it is. But still...)

The weather sometimes makes it hard for me to focus on whatever season it is in the book I'm writing. My current WIP takes place in the fall and early winter, so I'm not in that mindset at all. School starting? Halloween? Leaves falling? Yup, I definitely have to use my imagination.

I'm glad, though, that I'm not writing yet another book that takes place during the summer. Since I write for kids and don't always want to incorporate school scenes in my stories, I tend to choose summer and use the two-month vacation as an excuse. (Although I did recently write a winter story and a spring story, so I've branched out a bit this year.)

What seasons do you enjoy writing about the most? Do you center your stories around certain holidays? What kind of seasonal imagery (snow falling, birds chirping, the warmth of sunshine) do you enjoy the most?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Interview: What It's Like To Be a Self-Published Author

Today, my friend and critique partner, Kristi Wientge, is interviewing me on her blog about my self-publishing experiences.

If you're interested, go ahead and check it out. But if you're not, I still encourage you to stop by anyway.


Because Kristi recently had some awesome news -- she signed with agent Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency! You guys will love Kristi's book! It's incredibly heartwarming and sweet and so true to life.

So, I highly recommend that you head on over and say hi to Kristi (even if you ignore my rambling, it's okay, haha.) Chances are, you'll be hearing a lot about her book in the future!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Upon A Time: Excerpt & Guest Post by February Grace

I am ecstatic to feature February Grace on the blog today! February Grace is not only an extraordinarily talented writer with the most amazing ideas, but she's also one of the sweetest people I've ever "met." Today, she's here to talk a bit about her newest release, UPON A TIME, and to share an excerpt of the book.

The floor is yours, my friend!

“For every soul whose heart defies the limits of their body.”

It is with that dedication that UPON A TIME begins, and those words are more than just words to me.


Because I myself am one of those whose soul is travelling around in a physical shell that feels too weak to hold it.

I have struggled with health problems all my life, and the list is too long to get into here. Most of them can, collectively, be attributed to a genetic disorder that I was born with but not finally diagnosed with until I was 38. The rest are just an unlucky roll of the Universal dice, I suppose.

Whatever their cause, I know what it feels like to be judged by your appearance and by your disabilities, visible and invisible. Anyone who has ever experienced such discrimination and humiliation can tell you that it definitely feels anything but good.

I wrote UPON A TIME to challenge the long-standing fairy tale myth that beauty equals good. To show that the notion is just that, a myth, and those who have physical challenges can often be stronger at heart than those without such obstacles to overcome.

I also wanted to show through the story that help, and yes, even love can come from the most unlikely places and people, and that those who seem most unlikely to lead can step up, take the mantle of leadership, and wear it with grace and dignity.

Brilliant minds, loving hearts, and amazing souls all dwell within people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. If I could send one clear message through UPON A TIME that would be it. Don’t judge people by their exterior, get to know their heart. That is where true strength, and beauty, lies.

About the Book

A blacksmith’s apprentice who would be a knight. The heir to the throne, at death’s door. One woman who would save them both, if she could… Charlotte was number sixty-four in the second group of young, hopeful maidens intended to meet the Prince at a grand ball in his honor. That introduction was not to be. She returned home to her tiny village—and her visions of a future limited by it—without any warning of the drastic turn her life was about to take. Soon she would be fighting against the odds to help keep a gravely wounded stranger alive; and waging war with her own heart, as he stirred feelings in her she’d never known. When the stranger’s royal identity is revealed, Charlotte is faced with an entirely different battle: one to keep her family, village, and the injured Prince in her care all safe from a madman set on taking the throne by any means necessary.

Excerpt from the book:


The proclamation was nailed to the largest tree in every village square, announcing the Prince’s betrothal.

“Well, good for them, I hope they’ll be happy,” Charlotte said, reaching into the bag at her waist and pulling out an apple for her horse. Poor old Beau was still expected to keep up his daily duties, even though he’d barely recovered from the long trip to the palace and back for the ball a fortnight ago. Still recovering as well, it seemed, was Charlotte.

“So, he’s going to marry her, then?” A familiar voice spoke nearby, and Charlotte looked up to see her friend, the young apprentice to the village blacksmith. She had known Thomas since they were both too small to climb the tree they now stood before. It became a contest between them as the years went on, until work took the place of play full time. Now, neither could remember when last they’d raced to that tree and grasped bough after bough until they overlooked the whole of their little village.

“Looks that way. They never even made it this far out with the slipper to try it on anyone. Not that I’d have bothered. I knew it wasn’t mine.” Charlotte shook her head. “Imagine, leaving a party in such a rush you lose your shoe.” She reached out as Thomas repeatedly tossed an apple he had brought with him into the air. She snatched it away and held it out toward Beau.

Thomas patted Beau’s swaying back, noting that the horse looked wearier every time he saw him. He didn’t know what Charlotte was going to do when Beau’s days upon Earth came to an end.

The horse gobbled up the fruit and whinnied his approval, nuzzling his nose into Thomas’s hand. “You’re not really disappointed, are you? About… you know?” Thomas let the question hang in the air. He hadn’t liked this idea of the Prince selecting a bride based upon one initial meeting under such strictly controlled circumstances. How could a man ever expect to find a woman to be his partner, his equal, in such a way? Someone with the strength to stand beside him and rule the people justly? For the life of him, Thomas couldn’t fathom the idea, and he was glad that, for Charlotte, any dreams of becoming royalty had ended the night they began.

“About the Prince?” Charlotte shrugged. “I didn’t even get a very good look at him, they had him sequestered in another room most of the night, and then he just danced the golden-haired maid past us all and was gone. I know nothing of him; nothing of his character or spirit. So I can’t say I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to marry a stranger...” her voice trailed off.

“But?” Thomas looked away, examining his rough-hewn hand as if he’d never seen it before.

“The idea of a different life, for just a moment...”

About the Author

February Grace is a writer, poet, and artist from Southeastern Michigan. She has created characters with clockwork hearts, told the romantic tale of modern fairy godparents, and has now put her own spin on a classic tale in UPON A TIME, her fourth novel published by Booktrope. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with colors, music, and meteor showers.

Find out more about February Grace by visiting
Or find her on Twitter and say hello! @FebruaryGrace

Amazon (Paperback)
Amazon (eBook)

Thank you to February Grace for sharing with us today! I can definitely relate to the message behind your writing, and I can't wait to read this book!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nerds Rule! Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

Today, I'm swapping blogs with the super cool & fabulous Stephanie Faris! Stephanie is the author of 30 DAYS OF NO GOSSIP and 25 ROSES and the creator of a very fun blog!

We're both blogging about nerd-related topics today. I'm over at her place, talking about nerd conventions. Meanwhile, she's here today to talk about how much nerds rule!

The floor is yours, Stephanie!
* * *
Thank you for having me today, Shelley!

Since the first time I saw the Internet, I’ve questioned the use of the term “nerd.” After all, the guys behind the technology we use every day are the same ones who were playing video games on their Commodore 64s in the 80s. We made fun of those guys then. Today…

We still make fun of them? Really?

Shows like The Big Bang Theory have tried to make a mockery out of super-smart people who lack any social sensibilities whatsoever. Sheldon and his team of physicist buddies dress up in superhero costumes, hang out at comic book stores, and spend way too much time on online role-playing games. In other words, typical “nerd” behavior.

But when you break it down, nerds are merely people who are passionate about their hobbies. The only difference is, a passionate interest in video games gets someone labeled a nerd, but a passionate interest in sports doesn’t. What’s the difference?

Both nerds and sports fans set their lives aside for events related to their hobbies.

Both nerds and sports fans dress in costume for events.

Both nerds and sports fans spend an excessive amount of time talking about their hobbies.

Of course, without the social skills necessary to make it into the top social cliques in school, nerds will likely always be seen as outcasts…until they graduate. At that point, they go on to excel in college, land top jobs, make six figures, and serve as presidents and CEOs of the companies that power the products you use every day.

Perhaps books like Shelley’s are the key to changing all that. Once kids start to realize nerds are a lot cooler than they seem on the surface, they might try to get to know them. They might realize nerds are much more interesting than they ever realized. Even if those nerds are their own dads.

Yes! As a nerd, I definitely hope that people will start to see that nerds aren't so different from non-nerds after all. Thanks, Stephanie!

Here's more about Stephanie's latest book (which I will be reading very soon -- can't wait! I loved her first book!):

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

Find Stephanie and her books here:

Buy (Autographed)
Buy (Amazon)

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