Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing New Adult (And Young Adult!): Crossover Author Cassandra Giovanni

Cassandra Giovanni is one of those authors that have no problem writing both Young Adult and New Adult fiction. She has authored a couple of post-apocalyptic YA novels (and you know I can't resist that genre!), as well as a contemporary NA romance, Love, Exactly. I had the chance to chat with Cassandra about her books, her writing, and what it's like being a "crossover" author.

Introduce yourself! What's your story? 
Well, the first time I was published I was seven years old. I won a contest in American Girl Magazine to be published with a boat load of awesome prizes to boot. I was always writing even far before that--I used to draw pictures and have my mom write the stories...and if I wasn't doing that I was telling a story to anyone who would listen. I've always loved writing, and began writing full length novels around 15 years old--then they were mostly about girls, horses and boys, and I'm not sure I could find any of those books if I tried! I'm insane about my writing--to the tune of 30 hours a week, when I already work 43-45 and go to college. I'm a writer, professional photographer, marketing guru in disguise, and I'm a pretty kick-butt closet Zumba dancer.

You write YA and NA, and so do I. What would you say the difference between the two categories is? What defines YA or NA as what they are? 
There's a lot of hype out there that NA is just YA on smut steroids. I've come to understand where this misconception comes from because a)there are books out there that are NA and are smut, and those are really popular and b) NA covers tend to be the same as Adult smut, but with younger looking couples on the front. I do not believe either way that NA is YA smut; I believe that NA is its own category, and while it does have smut, it also has romance, non-romance, and everything in between. NA is a general category focused on the age range between 18-late twenties, while YA concentrates on the age range between say 15-18, possibly 20. The sub-genres are what make it smut, romance or what have you.

Tell us about In Between Seasons, your YA post-apocalyptic romance. 
In Between Seasons is the first book in the series, The Fall. It concentrates on the two children of the most powerful men in their world, and it exposes corruption and what it can do to not only families, but on an individual. It shows that despite the lies, we can rise above and be good in a world filled with evil. The book vaguely shows the world from Kate and Hunter's understanding, which is only via the indoctrination that they have been force fed. They don't understand the world that they live in, and are only focused on surviving it. The second novel in the series, Permafrost, will focus on two popular characters from InBS, Mara and Rob, who actually have an understanding of the world and why it is the way it is.

Sum up your contemporary NA romance novel, Love, Exactly.
Emma is broken, Evan is tired, and neither can fix one another, but they help show each other that they are stronger than the things that threaten to break them.

Do you enjoy writing YA or NA more? 

I just recently announced that after The Fall series is complete I will no longer pursue writing YA novels. I guess that means I prefer NA. 
NA seems a better fit for my writing style and place in life.

What do you like to do in your free time? What types of hobbies interest you? 
I'm a professional photographer at times, but most of the time I'm doing it for fun. I'm an artist who plays with acrylic paint, pencils, and pretty much any other medium you put in front of me--if I have time to. I also love Zumba, forcing my husband to go on long bike rides, and long walks with my dogs. I'm also a fan of shoes, pencil skirts, pink aviator sunglasses, and metal music.

Favorite writing snack? 
I'm not much of a snacker when I'm writing, but I do like a good cup of coffee--preferably a Hazelnut Maichatto from Starbucks...but only when I'm in the mood to spoil myself with a five dollar coffee!

About the Author
Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Love Exactly, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studiosa photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive a degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.
Author Links

Friday, July 26, 2013

YA Author Amy Maurer Jones talks Wildflower!

Writing Belle's 2013 Author Program

Amy Maurer Jones writes YA fiction. And if you know me, you know that I love YA. Always have, always will. So I was excited when Amy offered to write up a guest post for Writing Belle and share a little about her novels with us today. And don't forget to check out the awesome giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Thank you so much for inviting me to share my latest release with your readers. Fly Away, the second book in The Wildflower Series released July 18, 2013 and has found its way into the Kindle Teen Historical Romance Best Sellers list along with the first book, Wildflower. It is also ranked in Hot New Releases in the same category. Both books are YA and they focus on a love triangle that spans over hundreds of years, the 17th century to present day.

The story revolves around three characters, Laney Stillwater, Joshua Bangs and Jordan Stone.

Laney is a Native American, teenage girl living in Plymouth, MASS. She is a member of the Wampanoag tribe. Her grandfather is the Shaman of the tribe and she has inherited his gifts. Laney loves her Wampanoag heritage but finds herself burdened by it. The people in her community do not understand or accept her beliefs and rituals, often making her a target for bullying at her high school. Making things more complicated, Laney is the reincarnate of Wildflower, a Shaman’s daughter from the time of 17th century Plymouth Colony.

Wildflower was promised by her Shaman father to a warrior named, Paco, but she fell in love with an Englishman by the name of Joshua Bangs. She met Joshua when his father, Edward Bangs brought him to the Wampanoag reservation to trade goods. Knowing their love was forbidden Wildflower cast a spell to forever bind her soul to the Englishman. Paco, still in love with Wildflower, sought help from the spirits so he might still have a chance with his promised bride and the spell became a curse.

Joshua recently lost his mother to cancer and relocated to Plymouth, MASS with his father. Joshua is the descendant of 17th century of Joshua Bangs. He and Laney shares dreams about their past life together.

Jordan is the boy every girl has a crush on at Plymouth North High. His flaxen hair, emerald green eyes mask his place in Laney’s world, but make no mistake, he believes that she is his and it is his duty to protect her.

If you're a fan of love triangles and books that mix reality and fantasy with the present and the past you should give The Wildflower series a try. 

There is one more book in the works for this series which I anticipate releasing in 2014.

Want to know more about me and my writing?

Purchase it here!

Love can be tragic.

17th Century America: 

A Shaman’s daughter falls in love with an Englishman, 
only her hand has been promised to a warrior. 

Tears fall. 
Promises are broken. 
Rage is unleashed. 
Souls are bound or shattered. 

Present Day: 

Laney Stillwater dreams about a boy she has never met, 
but she longs for the attention of the ever popular and gorgeous, Jordan Stone. 

Time tempts change. 
Destined souls awaken. 
Love gets a second chance. 
Souls are bound or shattered. 

What will destiny offer this time? 

Reconciliation or more despair?

Purchase it here!

Joshua Bangs and Jordan Stone are vying for the love of Laney Stillwater. They can’t walk away because their souls have been bound by the spirits for all of eternity. 

In the second installment of The Wildflower Series, the stakes are higher than the guy getting the girl. Laney struggles with her feelings as the two boys fight for her affection, but a broken heart pales in comparison to the soul-devouring perils awaiting them in the spirit world.

Over the course of hundreds of years the past lives of the three reincarnates have proven time and time again that their love is beyond tragic. It's fatal.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

YA Zombie Novel: The Dead

The kids in the UK have a problem: all of the adults have been infected with a nefarious, rather disgusting disease that makes them look like a bunch of whacked out zombies with extreme complexion issues. Anybody under the age of 16 is unaffected by the disease, which can only mean one thing. It's kids versus adults. Children versus zombies. And what ensues is part Lord of the Flies, part World War Z, and part terrifying. Or should I say MOSTLY terrifying? 

"Charlie, a big fan of horror movies, is hoping to give readers many sleepless nights with this novel." 
Leave to it to me to read Charlie Higson's biography AFTER I finished reading The Dead. Because yes. He did exactly that. 

I liked The Dead because it followed the stories of several different characters and then threads all of them together using one central protagonist, a good-hearted kid named Ed. It was a non-stop thrill ride. Every single page was exciting, and the characters were diverse and eclectic enough to keep you entertained during the short lulls between action scenes. It was ALSO absolutely terrifying, and I probably won't be sleeping for a week. Some of the scenes were so realistically written, and so over-the-top scary that I actually stopped to look up from the book and assure myself that yes, I was still alive. And no, I hadn't actually been trapped in a cricket stadium with a million zombies. 
Charlie Higson is certainly a master of the horror genre - although I wouldn't call this horror so much as it is an action/adventure novel - and some of the stuff had me skipping to the next page because it was so gross. Then again, my "scary threshold" is substantially lower than most folks', so yeah....

All in all, this was an entertaining read. Don't read it if you're easily grossed out or if the idea of zombies give you the serious creeps. 
(Both of those things apply to me, and I read it anyway. But I review books, so there ya go.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Working at Walt Disney Studios: An Interview with Eric Muss-Barnes

Eric Muss-Barnes likes Disney, and he's not alone. I love Disney. Disney movies, music, and of course, Disneyland. A lot of people dream about working for the Walt Disney Studios, and Eric is one of those people who made that dream a reality. He penned a book about the six years he spent in Disney's employment, and inside he tells how anybody can snag a job at the most magical movie-making studio in the world...without a college degree! I was very intrigued by this premise, so Eric agreed to do an interview and enlighten us about the ins and outs of his experiences, and what we can expect in his book. 
Check it out!

Introduce yourself! Who are you, and why are you a writer?
Greetings! My name is Eric Muss-Barnes and I'm a published author of numerous novels and books including How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree. Why am I a writer? That's a great question - a simple query all authors should ask themselves. I'm a writer because the written word just happens to be the instrument with which I feel the most adept at storytelling. To me, storytelling is the essence of being human. Regardless of age or gender or culture, everything we are as people consists of our memories. And what are our memories, but stories? Some storytellers compose in the medium of film or painting, some in music or dance, some in writing. Toning down the philosophical pretentiousness... writing is also really fun!

Your book is about how you can get a job at Disney Studios without a college degree. What inspired you to write a book like this?
Many things inspired this book. For one thing, I never heard of anyone writing anything like this before - an autobiographical account detailing every single career experience leading into Disney. The most predominant motive was my desire to "give back" to the universe for my good fortune. I grew up in a workingclass family in Ohio. Moving to California and being employed by Walt Disney wasn't remotely realistic where I came from. After working at a studio I've admired since childhood, I felt I owed some encouragement to other bluecollar kids out there. I wanted to show my fellow dreamers this can be done, even by those of us who are born into a neighborhood of autoworkers and barely graduate high school.

What type of work did you do for Disney?
Magical work, of course. That's what all we Disney Cast Members do. (wink) I wielded light and shadow and electricity in order to conjure enchanted images and sounds, that Guests could interact with, from anywhere in the world. My work would fly through spaceships high overhead, or rocket under the oceans quick as lightning. Mainly I was a computer geek, programming websites. But it sounds far less enchanting to describe it that way, doesn't it? I helped create sites for everything from PIXAR, to ABC Family, to Hollywood Records, to the D23 Disney Fanclub, to Disney Channel. If you visited any Disney movie sites in the last 7 years, I probably worked on a page you were viewing.

I'm a huge Disney fan. I grew up watching Walt Disney Presents, the Wonderful World of Color, the original Mickey Mouse Club....all the good stuff. Why do you think Disney has such a massive appeal?
I'm so happy you grew up on that stuff! Me too! I own many of those on DVD as well. So, Summer, you have an open invitation to stop over and watch Mickey Mouse Club anytime you're in Los Angeles. I think the appeal of Disney comes down to two very simple things: #1: Walt kept everything he did oriented toward families. People often mistakenly think Disney is about "kids" - but Disney has never been about children - it's always been about family. #2: Walt always expressed his storytelling by embracing groundbreaking technology; Creating the first full-length animated feature film; Inventing the wonder of audio-animatronics; Developing a television show to promote Disneyland, back when television was brand-new. He was always on the cutting-edge of state-of-the-art innovations. I believe those two factors are how Disney gained appeal - simple, family-oriented entertainment, always presented utilizing the awe and spectacle of the latest technologies.

What are some quick things you can point out that can help somebody achieve their dream of working at the studio?
Most people don't understand how massive The Walt Disney Company actually is - Disney owns ESPN, ABC, Marvel Comics, PIXAR, Lucasfilm, cruise ships, resorts, a radio station, Broadway acts, theme parks, record labels, and they make movies, television shows, video games, and more. In other words, no matter what field you are interested in - everything from computers, to fine cuisine, to sports, to botany, to marine biology, to engineering, to retail sales, to theatre, to motion pictures, to graphic design - you name it and there are people doing that type of work at Disney. Working at Disney means becoming the best-of-the-best. Rather than focus on "getting into Disney", focus on doing something you love with a passion, a field of expertise where you can shine and excel and become magnificent, then try to get into Disney appropriating that skillset.

I'm curious as to why you think Walt Disney was such an epic success. He certainly had his failures right in there with his triumphs. What set him apart from other entrepreneurs - and made him rise above it all?
There is a part in How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree where I talk about the fact that Walt's wife, Lily, was skeptical when he wanted to create Disneyland. To me, that's a telling moment in understanding Walt. Here was a man proven to be a consummate pioneer of business and creativity. He built an empire by drawing cartoons, for goodness sake! Yet despite all of his success, even his own wife doubted his next project. All creative folks often face that kind of incertitude - even those who love us the most, frequently tell us we will fail. Thus, to me, Walt's success was due to his faith in himself. Yes, that's the biggest cliche in the book, but it's still the truth. You must have faith in yourself, even if it means mortgaging your house for an ambition your own wife doesn't even think will work.

Any parting advice for aspiring authors (and Disney enthusiasts!)?
For aspiring authors, you already know you need to believe in yourself. You've heard that 10,000 times. What you may not realize is the flipside of that advice - don't expect others to believe in you. Just like Lily Disney didn't have much faith in Disneyland, the people closest to you, may doubt you. Don't let their skepticism undermine your enthusiasm. For Disney fans, go watch my video tour of the Studio Lot in Burbank! It has nothing to do with my book. I just think you'll enjoy seeing a tour of the Studio given by two Cast Members! Here's the link

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us today - best of luck to you in all your endeavors!
Thank you so much for the opportunity! How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree isn't a "new adult" book, nor is it a novel, so I wasn't sure you'd be interested in talking with me. Nevertheless, I felt the upbeat message and fortitude of my story does fit with the spirit of Writing Belle. So, thanks again. I really appreciate you giving me the chance to appear on Writing Belle and tell people about my book.

Book Blurb:
Working for Walt Disney is a childhood dream, shared by millions of people, from all across the world. Since the founding of the studios in 1923, only a small fraction of individuals have ever experienced the bliss of making that dream coming true.
After working at the illustrious Studio for more than 6 years, author Eric Muss-Barnes shares his story of how that wish-upon-a-star came true for him, starting from humble beginnings in a bluecollar family in Ohio. 
Told with warmth and humor, you learn every job, every experience, every career move he made. Starting from his childhood paper route during Cleveland blizzards, he explains how he journeyed all the way to sitting with Minnie Mouse, as a Cast Member, at the Disney Studio lot, on a warm Summer day. 
How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree is not merely about landing a job at Disney. Rather, it's a tale regaling every trial and tribulation which lead Eric to Los Angeles, told in the hopes of inspiring you to continue the pursuit of your own dreams, whatever they may be. 
You still have time to make your dream come true too. It's never too late. 
As Jiminy Cricket promised, if your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.

About Eric
Novelist and author Eric Muss-Barnes has released a "vocational autobiography" detailing the humorous ups-and-downs leading him from Ohio to Hollywood, in a book entitled How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree. In addition to his work at Walt Disney Studios, he has written, directed and produced an award-nominated, critically-acclaimed short-film entitled The Unseelie Court, a movie screened in numerous film festivals across the country and is available on DVD. His writing has been published in numerous magazines around the world and within multiple anthologies, such as Tales From The Dark Tower and The Skateboarder's Journal - Lives on Board, while his professional photography has been exhibited and sold in art galleries from Cleveland to Los Angeles. His second book, entitled Schooling Your Boss To Not Suck, regales amusing tales of unfortunate managers at various jobs he's held over the years. Forever Loving You is the tongue-in-cheek title of a book of poetry and axioms he has written. His grandest work to date is an epic 294,000 word vampire duology entitled The Vampire Noctuaries, beginning with The Gothic Rainbow and concluding with Annwn's Maelstrom Festival.

Author Links
How You Can Get a Job at |Twitter |Amazon |GoodReads |Blog |

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Adult Book Club Question & Answer

Everybody has questions they want answered, and I'm not talking about questions concerning the state of the economy or whether or not the fact that Twinkies were saved was an act of Divine intervention or just a happy event. I'm talking about the New Adult Book Club on GoodReads. With their club burgeoning at over three thousand members these days, it's one of the brightest discussion hotspots in the social media world. And this weekend - from July 19th through July 21st - I will be stopping by their venue for a Question and Answer session about The Collapse Series. Anybody with a GoodReads account can join in, and you can feel free to ask any questions you want! 
Hop into the discussion right HERE
Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Boys of DownCrash: Guest Post by NA Author London Casey

London Casey writes NA. Specifically, she writes romantic NA, and she loves giving readers a peek into the world of rockstars and romance - something that's really popular right now. Her books, The Boys of Downcrash, are coming to an end with the release of the final installment in the trilogy. What can I say? I'll let London take it away! 

London Casey:

We’re at the end of the road with The Boys of DownCrash. The final book in the trilogy is coming out in the next few days. It’s hard to say goodbye to DownCrash, for now, but it’s fitting how the series wraps up. The final book – Some Kind of Hell – has perhaps the most two complicated people in the entire series. Logan is the shy bassist who has a wild side and a wicked past. Annie is a girl just trying to find her way… any way, really… her heart is trying to recover from something her ex did. Neither Logan nor Annie were looking for love and they weren’t looking for what happens in the rest of the book either.

This series has been a blast to write. Creating this band, these rockstar guys, and these complex women they fall in love with has been a dream. Readers have responded so positive that I’m already in talks for two more new adult romance trilogies! I cannot thank readers – and bloggers – enough for all the support. Now, for those who haven’t heard of The Boys of DownCrash, here’s a chance to meet the band before you go and grab the series for yourself!

Tripp – featured in The Stronger, Safer Kind, Tripp meets Scarlett and it’s instant. They don’t know why at first but as they reveal each other’s pasts, they realize how much they have in common. Beyond the physical attraction. Beyond the feelings of love too. They’re both in pain and they seek each other and music to save themselves.

Tatum – featured in Torn to Pieces, Tatum is rough and tough. He’s tall and strong and isn’t afraid to defend Maggie when something terrible comes close to happening her. He can’t stop thinking about her and Maggie is afraid to open to Tatum. But then something horrifying happens… a person comes back from Maggie’s past and threatens to take everything away from her. Including her life. And it might be something that even Tatum couldn’t handle.

Logan – in the final book of The Boys of DownCrash, Some Kind of Hell, Logan and Annie fall in love. It’s almost picture perfect… how they flirt, push each other away, chase each other, and succumb to their feelings. They share personal stories and as DownCrash is growing more and more popular, things are on the rise. Then two devastating pieces of news hit both Logan and Annie, tearing them apart. But there’s something that can never break them apart… and Annie hopes it’s love. 

Author Links 
Books | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks for stopping by!