Monday, August 29, 2016

Author Interview with Nicky Peacock

Today I have YA author Nicky Peacock here to answer some fun questions. And check this out—today I'm over on HER blog answering some of her questions. So be sure to stop by and say "hi"! You can find me HERE. Now on to the interview!
Welcome, Nicky! :)


What are you currently working on?
I'm doubling my writing efforts at the moment and working on the last in the Battle of the Undead series, Bad Karma and also the next book in The Twisted and the Brave series, The Assassin of Oz. I'm also still promoting the first in this series, Lost in Wonderland. So it's all go!

What is your favorite go-to snack when you’re writing?
I enjoy a good ol' slice of cake, but to be honest I'm not all that fussy when it comes to snacking. Chips, sandwiches, fruit, anything smothered in chocolate and I'm happy :)

If you could be anyone other than yourself for a day, who would you be?
If it's just for a day, I wouldn't want to be another person as a day isn't long enough to appreciate who they are and what you can learn from them. I'd rather be an animal, like a wolf in the wild. I'm a bit of a wimp, so a day would be perfect to experience what it's like to hunt and run free with the pack.

Name five favorite movies. Why are they your favorite?
Only five? Hmm. I guess all time top 5 would have to be:

Aliens - my older brother and I bonded over this movie, and it was such a great idea for a sci-fi/horror - I watched it again recently, and it's still not dated.
Sinister - best horror movie I've seen in a long, long time. Atmospheric and original concept. Some of the images in it are truly terrifying!
We are the Night - German vampire movie that depicts female vampires at their best, without them being overtly over the top and degradingly lusty.
Big Business - my favorite Bette Midler comedy. Every time I'm home ill; I watch this movie, and it still makes me laugh.
Ant-Man - The best Marvel movie out there right now. Not just superhero antics but a super-powered heist movie too.


As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
It was always an author with a teacher being a close second. I grew up in a working-class family, and although I tried to go to college to study to become a teacher, unfortunately, I couldn't afford to stay for more than a year. I'm now finishing my degree through distance learning. It's taking a while, but will be worth it in the end.

Tell us something you hate doing. Why?
Exercise. I know it is good for you and pretty necessary if you want to live beyond 50, but I hate it. Everyone tells you that endorphins take effect when you exercise, and I've waited for them, but they are noticeably absent every time I get on that treadmill! I also get frustrated, as I'll use the time to think through scenes or plot devices and inevitably have to get off the machine to write stuff down.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To have boundless energy and be completely motivated all the time! Wow, what a life I'd lead then...I'd be unstoppable!

If you could plan your ultimate vacation, where would you go?
I'd do a three location themed hop: New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Mexico for the Day of the Dead and Venice for their carnival. Lots of tasty food, music, dancing and cool costumes. I'd also like a stop at Loch Ness to do some monster hunting.

If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, what year would you choose and why?
I never lie in interviews, so I have to tell a hard truth on this one...2002. I met a great guy that year, but the timing wasn't right, and I didn't give him the chance he deserved. I'd go back to that year to change this. Nothing might have come of it, but it is one of my biggest regrets. Great guys are hard to find.

Please share with us your favorite quote (or one you find inspiring).
"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." Muhammad Ali

What books would we find in your TBR pile?
Oh, far too many. The ones that are to be read next are Tremors by Bonnie S Calhoun, Autonomy by Jude Houghton, Much ado about the shrew by Elizabeth May and The Diabolical Ms. Hyde by Viola Carr.

Listener or talker? Beach or mountains? Sweet or salty?

Listener
Beach
Sweet



 Thank you, Nicky! It was great to get to know you! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Release: Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

I've been waiting for this release for a while now, and I'm so excited to share Mark's book with you! Super BIG congrats to Mark on the release of his debut novel, Between Two Fires. If you haven't picked up your copy yet, you should!

 
And now here's a little about the book and its author. 

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires


“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin


Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.


Places to Order Between Two Fires
Release Date: August 23, 2016


Bio
Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.


Social Media Links 

Monday, August 22, 2016

CTP Author Smoothie Challenge!

If you follow me on social media, you're probably already aware that I'm participating in a Smoothie Challenge. Several Clean Teen Publishing authors, along with myself, have been assigned RANDOM ingredients to go in our smoothies. Here's a look at the options:


Based off comments from fans and readers, Sandy GoldsworthyAuthor Erica Kiefer, Julie WetzelAbby Arrowsmith, and myself have now been assigned our ingredients and videotaped ourselves mixing our smoothies.

Here are the ingredients I've been assigned:

-baby food
-olives
-garlic
-egg
-ice cream
-lemon
-lime

To view me mixing my ingredients and my reaction to the sight (and smell!) of the smoothie, check out my video on my YouTube channel:





Also, be sure to watch the videos of my fellow authors who have been assigned equally interesting ingredients. Pickled herring, anyone? Poor Abby got that one! And Sandy? Sardines! Yikes!

Please join us for the LIVE drink-off on Tuesday, August 23rd at 8:30/7:30c at our Google event HERE.

You won't want to miss this! Hope to "see" you then! :)

So, what do you think? Will my smoothie be delicious or absolutely disgusting??

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pitch Wars 2016 #PimpMyBio

Hi! If you're reading this, you either follow my blog regularly or you're considering me as a potential #PitchWars mentee! So welcome!

My name is Kristin Smith, and I write YA contemporary and science-fiction novels. My debut novel, CATALYST, releases November 2016 from Clean Teen Publishing! Can I get a WOOHOO?!

The novel I've entered into Pitch Wars is a YA contemporary called MIDDLE OF KNOWHERE. It's a modern-day Beauty and the Beast story of summer love, where a city teen discovers that falling for a poverty-stricken country boy—and the secrets he’s hiding—could tear her world apart. It would appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen or Stephanie Perkins.

I love YA. I love the thrill of falling in love for the first time and, of course, I love the kissing! Whether I'm writing a YA near-future thriller or a YA contemporary, all of my books have an element of romance and enough kissing to make my mother blush. I love to read the romance, and I love to write the romance. 'Nuff said.



When I'm not writing or reading YA books, you can find me beating my kids at Just Dance, sneaking way too much chocolate, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of my own home). I'm the mother of five loud but fun boys, and I currently reside in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina.

Here are a few of my favorite things (cue the music!):

Favorite TV Shows:

Modern Family
Gilmore Girls
Vampire Diaries
White Collar
Reign
Castle
Drop Dead Diva




Favorite Movies:

Okay, this is a hard one! I LOVE to watch movies but I tend to gravitate towards the romantic comedies or the dystopian books turned into movies.

You've Got Mail
Life As We Know It
Hunger Games
Divergent
Kate and Leopold
My Best Friend's Wedding
And many others that I can't think of right now!



Favorite Books:

Another hard one! I love so many! But here are a few on my shelf that stand out to me.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
CINDER by Marissa Meyer
THE SELECTION SERIES by Kiera Cass
TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
FRACTURE by Megan Miranda
THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant
THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver
Anything by Sarah Dessen
LEGEND by Marie Lu


Books in my TBR pile:

My pile is HUGE! But here are a few...

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater
IF I STAY by Gayle Foreman
HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
THE HEIR by Kiera Cass
THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

MORE STUFF ABOUT ME:

I love sushi, overdosing on chocolate, all things girly and sparkly, music, being creative, throwing parties, and decorating. If you looked in my closet, you'd notice that I have a major scarf fetish. And if you peeked at my bed, you'd discover that I have WAY too many pillows. I'm always up for a little adventure, and I'm slowly knocking things off my bucket list, including ziplining through the Guatemalan jungle. So FUN!!

I also love small towns, yummy bakeries, and one of my favorite places is New York City. HELLO BIG APPLE! :)



WHY YOU SHOULD PICK ME:

I am ready, willing, and able to work hard. I welcome your critiques, thoughts, changes, suggestions... I WANT IT ALL! I know that it takes an incredible amount of perseverance, dedication, and hard work to whip a manuscript into shape, and I'm ready to do it! I'm willing to put in the time and effort (and blood, sweat, and tears!) to get it ready for submission.



WHAT I OFFER:

I like to think that I'm a friendly, positive person. I love to laugh, and I love to have fun, but I also know when to buckle down and get serious. I'm a hard worker. I know how to meet deadlines. I'd love a mentor that I connect with as a person because it would be awesome to walk away from this with not only a perfectly polished manuscript (and maybe an offer of rep!), but a new friend as well.



So, if you think I'd be a good mentee, I guess there's really only one thing left to say...



Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG August: First Piece of Writing—Where Are You Now?

Hey everyone, it's that time again! It's time for another group posting of the IWSG. A huge thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for creating this group, and to all the co-hosts for this month ( Tamara Narayan,Tonja DreckerEllen @ The Cynical SailorLauren @ PensuasionStephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!) If you'd like to join our little group, it's never too late, and you can find all the information about it here.

I've been away from the blogosphere for a while. With all my kids home for summer break, I find it much harder to spend time on social media. But with an end of the summer deadline for the sequel to CATALYST looming, I've been working hard on writing and now revising the sequel. And when I'm immersed in a project, I tend to ignore social media. I tell you all this as a very long, drawn-out excuse of why you haven't seen me around much. :)


So here's the IWSG question for the month:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?


This is a great question! I always tell people that the very first manuscript I wrote was an adult contemporary romance (a sweet romance.) But it's actually NOT the first. My first piece of writing was a YA contemporary novel about a girl and a boy living on two different continents. It was inspired by my husband's life as he lived for a while in South Africa and graduated from high school there. But I got three-fourths of the way through and never finished. Then I had the idea for the adult romance and started writing that one instead.

They are both collecting virtual dust on my laptop, with the hope that someday I can take those ideas and write a better story. I was a newbie when I wrote those stories. I had no idea how much I needed to learn and how much I would yet learn. And even now, I'm still learning and improving my craft. With each story I write, I can see the improvement.

In truth, I'm almost scared to go back and reread one of those first stories—I have a feeling I'll be cringing much of the way through!! Lol.



What was your first piece of writing? Is it published?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG July: A Compliment Goes A Long Way

Hey everyone, it's that time again! It's time for another group posting of the IWSG. A huge thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for creating this group, and to all the co-hosts for this month ( Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! ) If you'd like to join our little group, it's never too late, and you can find all the information about it here.


The IWSG recently decided to include themes for the monthly blog hop (a concept I LOVE, by the way). No more wondering what I should post about the night before, because NOW, I have a question that I'll answer which will make this so much easier! :)

The question for July is: "What is the best thing someone has said about your writing?"

Writing can be a grueling process. You spend months crafting the perfect story, falling in love with the characters, and enduring sleepless nights. In the end, you want to love your story, but more so, you want someone else to love your story too. And when they do, it makes it all worthwhile and gives you that momentum to keep doing what you're doing.

I know I"m probably only supposed to pick one, but there are actually two things I'd like to share with you. The first was an email I received from an agent, right when I was at a low point with my writing. This agent is one I went on to do an R&R for. She said this concerning Middle of Knowhere, the YA contemporary manuscript I'd sent her:

"There is a lot to love here—you are a GREAT writer and I loved Ryker and Hailey's relationship."

Okay, so yes, I did love the fact that "great" was in all caps. Lol. And even though she ultimately decided to pass after the R&R, her words still gave me a boost.

The second was from my editor as she was editing Catalyst. Now let me preface this by saying that my editor doesn't just throw compliments around. She digs in, makes changes and suggestions, highlights parts that need to be revised, and leaves me comments and questions. When I got the manuscript back after first edits, I scrolled through the entire thing. It wasn't until the very end of the story that I saw what she thought of it. I'll paraphrase, but she basically said that she loved the story and loved the ending. Then she said this:

"One of my absolute favorites of CTP, ever. Can’t wait for the next!"

Wow. Just wow. CTP is my publisher, and I know she's edited probably hundreds of books. I think I was floating the rest of the day.

I think we all tend to doubt our writing from time to time, but it's little nuggets like these that help us continue on, plowing forward to that next deadline. I'm thankful for anyone who has ever said anything nice about my writing, for all those who've encouraged me through the years, and for wonderful critique partners and beta readers who are always there to help make my writing better.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Made To Cruise

I recently returned from a week-long Caribbean cruise with my family and all of my husband's family and can I just say how utterly AMAZING it was?! I think I was made to cruise! From the excursions to the shows to the constant food, (which you DO get sick of after a few days! Lol.) it was a great family vacation.

I'll admit, I was a little worried about doing some of the excursions like snorkeling or hiking waterfalls with small children, but they never missed a beat. I felt like it was ME trying to keep up with them! Lol.

We went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, and Nassau, Bahamas. We snorkeled, swam with sting rays, hiked waterfalls, cliff jumped, ate authentic Mexican cuisine, and swam in crystal clear waters. And since my husband lived in Mexico for two years and is fluent in Spanish, he enjoyed speaking Spanish to all the locals in Cozumel! :)

The nightly performances were amazing. I loved the music and dancing and various costumes. And on the last night, they did a tribute to Michael Jackson and the performer looked and danced just like the King of Pop! It was awesome.

So here are some pics of my crazy crew.

That's our ship in the background.

After a hot day of touring Cozumel, all these kids needed was a soda and a place to sit.

Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands.

Yep, that's me holding a sting ray. I think he liked me. (Stingray City, Cayman Islands)

Out first coconut milk.

The kids loved the towel animals our steward left on our bed every morning.

We took a carriage ride through the streets of Cozumel. Sure beat walking!

Cozumel. You can see our cruise ship in the background.

Loved the giant starfish in the Cayman Islands!

Another big one!


My hubby and me at a beach in the Bahamas.

Nassau, Bahamas




Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Jamaica where we hiked Dunn's Falls and went to the Blue Hole. But it was a blast! :)

What fun trips do you have planned this summer?

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