Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Check out this new book blast. I've been fortunate enough to receive an eCopy from Medeia. I began reading this story the other night and can't wait to share my thoughts with you. Honestly, if you have a young adult on your holiday list who's interested in true-to-life tales, this book would make a great gift..

VITAMINS AND DEATH by Medeia Sharif 

Release date: December 10, 2014

Purchase from Prizm, Amazon – Vendor sites will be updated on the author’s site.

Description: Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother's briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High. Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, she thinks no one will figure out they're the Battles from recent news and that they're safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed Deidra's life. Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Book Blast Giveaway

SPLAT ALERT! Stay tuned next week, when I'll be revealing the Writer's Rebel Creed 2015! Signups will be available then. Sooooo looking forward to committing to another writerly year with you. 

Have you ever read a story where the premise actually happened in your own town?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Wistful YA with Michelle Reed, Author of Life AD 2: M.I.A

During the fall season, I stepped back a bit from promoting others to focus on parts of my personal life - parts which are currently unfolding and will be shared with you in due time. BUT ... I couldn't leave the lovers of young adult literature high and drive just before the holiday season. Thus, reason being for last week's YA giveaway. ( still have time to enter - last date being Dec. 19th.) And today I have another treat for you.

The world where my next young adult guest comes from is a repeat for you. I first highlighted her world in my review of Life AD in YA Author Michelle Reed. But this is the first time she visits the Alleyway herself. Please welcome main character Dez.

Hi Dez! After reading the beginnings of your story in book 1, I can't wait hear you in personal. Give the folks a little insight into yourself.
Well, for starters, I'm dead. So there's that. Not the best way to start an interview, being a big downer like that, but I mean, you asked. You didn't say "Hey, are you alive?" or anything, but...well, it's kind of hard to leave it out with a leading question like "tell the audience about yourself."

And I'm Dez, by the way. I'm seventeen years old--well, technically I'm eighteen, now, but one of the many, many stupid rules of Atman is the whole "Oh, you're stuck at whatever age you were when you died, blah, blah, blah," thing, so seventeen I am. Forever. Nice, huh? I know you can't see me, but I'm rolling my eyes right now for dramatic effect.

Sorry, I'm being super crabby today. I have no idea what that's about.

Anyway, I grew up in Wisconsin, and I was planning to go off to college and become a biomedical engineer, but the whole being dead thing kind of got in the way of that.

Psst .. I wonder if the 'dead' part shocked them? #snicker

So obviously your world is a bit different. Mind sharing a few facts?
Well, we have six days each week that are scheduled with meetings, activities, counseling sessions, etc. Can you believe we have to go to something called SHARING CIRCLE? Six days a week? I kid you not.

But I've made some pretty great friends here, so I should probably stop complaining so much.

Atman City is A-MA-ZING. We're not allowed to go, but I went anyway. A few times. And, yeah, I get why we're not supposed to go, but there is so much to see. Coolest place ever, and I would go back in a second if I could get away with it. But I'm pretty sure Crosby would go ballistic if I tried that again.

What's your biggest challenge in life? (No pun, I swear.)
Nothing in life comes close to the challenges of death. Dying on the side of the road was the easy part. The constant scrutiny, the rules, the off-limits city (although that hasn't really stopped me), the staff members who will chase your ass down if you get out of line, or are stupid enough to's crazy.

Okay, let's help the readers see what your saying. Here's an image of your current life.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 
Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound iBooks
Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
by Michelle Reed

Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative.
In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life.
It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers.
In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman.
Death was only the beginning.

Key eerie music...

Enough of all this serious stuff. Time for fun: What's your creator REALLY life?
I prefer the term storyteller.

Uh ... okay ... storyteller.
She writes in her pajamas. She rewards herself with chocolate. She's married to the guy she started dating right out of high school, and they have an adorable six year old son. She loves dogs, she's a total dork, and a movie nut.

Oh, this one's good. She watches the Walking Dead with her "hiding blanket." Literally. She hides her face behind a blanket and peeks out to watch the show. Big baby. 

To be honest, I use a throw pillow to hide my face while watching the Walking Dead. <3 Any other juice info, like how's your relationship?
She and I get along pretty well, and she's helped me a lot. When I first came to her, I was all alone, dying on the side of the road, and she asked me to tell her what was going on. She recorded those final moments, and all the moments that have come since.

Our general relationship is this: she asks me to tell her what happens next, and most of the time, I do.

But I do tend to wake her up at night. She's not so crazy about that.

Geez, I can understand that. I need my sleep, too. But I'm sure she ends up appreciating your insight, Dez. You really are quite cool. Thank you for sharing your world with us.
YA Author Michelle Reed

Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.  Website | Twitter | Facebook Goodreads

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wistful YA with Karen Amanda Hooper, YA Author

Being accomplished means different things to different people. For me, it's all about being who you are and always striving to improve upon your given talents to bring a little peace, harmony, and joy to the world. 

AMAZON LINKS - The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess
That's just what my next featured author is all about. From my first encounter with her through cyberspace, she's been nothing but gracious, kind, and humble. And just to show you that, she's offered up the first 3 books in eBook format of her latest releases. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to some lucky reader!
She's the young adult author of several Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Romance stories. Please give Karen Amanda Hooper a huge Alleyway welcome!

Hi Karen. Let me begin by saying that Karen saved my bacon last night. Somehow my cyber form lost her original answers for this interview. She scrambled to get me her responses so she could share herself with you today.

Okay, what inspired you to write your VIRTUAL ARCANA series? 

The inspiration hit when an author friend, Susan Kaye Quinn, announced her Debt Collector series had been optioned for virtual reality. (How freakin' cool is that?) I was discussing that awesomeness with a teen writer buddy and we were daydreaming about how amazing it would be to experience our favorite books via virtual reality. Then I thought about how addicting that might be, and the problems it might cause. Next thing I knew I was writing a new story idea and Virtual Arcana was born. 

Yeah, I'd chatted with Susan about that opportunity. Way, way cool...

Has your writing process differed from writing this as a series as opposed to your other full-length novels?

This one FORCED me to create an outline. I've written all my other books as a pantser. I detest outlining and plotting ahead, but I had to with VA because once I released an episode, I couldn't go back and change stuff like I did with my other novels. I had to make the process fun (or I'd probably break out in hives) so I created a storyboard with pics and colored post-its, etc. It was actually enjoyable for the two days I worked on it. But truthfully, I haven't looked at that board in months. lol. We diehard pantsers are very set in our ways.

Now, the opening description for VIRTUAL ARCANA: Book 0 is The Matrix meets The Notebook, with a sprinkle of The Giver. Can I just say how awesome that is!!! Can you give the readers a glimpse into how the three play into the story?

Thanks! :) 
The Matrix is all futuristic and techy, and so is VA. The Notebook is a touching love story about a man who didn't give up on the love of his life no matter what, and MAYBE Virtual Arcana is like that too, but you'll have to read it to find out. Don't shun me, but I haven't read The Giver, so I can't give a good example, but one of my treasured beta readers said it had a Giver-esque feel because of the controlling government, and I trust her wholeheartedly, so I'm certain it's a good comparison. 

Let me pause us here, so we can share a few descriptions from the series.

 Blurb: In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games. 

Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption. 

Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks. 

Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?

Blurb: Mysterious cards keep appearing in Kelsey’s life, stirring up questions and forcing her to keep secrets from her sister, Keekee.

Triggered by Kelsey’s fear and Keekee's worry, the twins become bright blips on their tyrannical government’s radar. 

Xander’s magic seems to be their only chance at escaping a dangerous confrontation, but is Kelsey willing to break multiple laws and finally step into Xander's illegal world of virtual reality?


The Fool ~ Virtual Arcana #0
The Magician ~ Virtual Arcana #1
The High Priestess~ Virtual Arcana #2
The Empress ~ Virtual Arcana #3
The Emperor ~ Virtual Arcana #4
The Hierophant ~ Virtual Arcana #5 
The Lovers ~ Virtual Arcana #6

I just love how this is mapped out!

You've written the gamete throughout the industry. (LUV Grasping at Eternity!) What do you see as the most challenging obstacle for newer writers in today's constantly-evolving publishing arena?

Yay for Grasping at Eternity! Thanks. <3 
I think the most challenging obstacle is never giving up. The life of a writer is emotional and challenging, but SO worth it if said writer truly loves storytelling. Keeping up with all the constant changes in the publishing world adds a lot of extra work and headaches. That part can feel overwhelming at times, but I say just keep writing what you love and the rest will follow. 

Describe your writer-self by using either five TV shows or movies, five fast food meals, or five means of transportation.

Can I mix up the categories? I like variety. 
Of course!

In no particular order: 
TV show- Lost. (Lol. Seriously though, I'm always wondering what the heck is going on and how did I get here? ) 
Movie- Love and Other Disasters. (I'm a mix of the two main characters, Emily & Peter.) 
2nd Movie- Sliding Doors (Trying to make the best of life no matter which path life leads me down.) 
Fast food meal- Rocky Road sundae. (Sundaes count as fast food, right? In my world they do!) 
Transportation: Airplane (my head is always in the clouds) 

Out of those, which is the most important to apply as a writer?
Probably the Rocky Road sundae. Maybe it's because I'm such a sucker for chocolate, but I also believe no matter how rocky the road, you have to make the most of the journey and learn as much as you can. And savor the sweet parts!  

What should fans expect from you over the coming months? Teaser please... ;)
Well, every month I will be releasing a new episode of Virtual Arcana. Dec 15th, The High Priestess is releasing and it's a mind-bender. Behind the scenes, I'll be working on the final book of my merfolk series, Sacred Seas. AND writing a companion novel to the Kindrily series. But those books won't release until 2015.  

Gosh, you really are a busy girl.

As far as a teaser, here's a little snippet from The High Priestess, it's kind of a spoiler, but nothing to major. BUT before reading HP, be sure to read the other books in the series, starting with The Fool, or you will be totally lost. 

Kelsey (the MC) is about to experience a book via virtual reality. Awol (the other character in the scene) is guiding her through the process.
Awol nodded with a pleased grin on her face. “That’s the one.” 
She walked over, tilting her head to read the title. Smiling wide, she said, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A strong dose of pentacles and cups, with a splash of swords and a touch of wands. Makes total sense.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” I admitted. 
“That’s so sad, but understandable. In the Old World, some people lost their minds and banned many great books. This was one of them.” 
“Why did they ban it?” 
“Doesn’t matter,” Awol said. “The story chose you. It’s time to dive in, heart and soul.”
What I didn’t know, or expect, was she meant it literally.
Fantastic teaser! Thank you for stopping by to leave your writer graffiti in the Alleyway. We all appreciate the wisdom etched in that place. Best of luck always!

Meet Karen: Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. In high school she discovered her passion for putting her thoughts onto paper, but it wasn't until her late twenties that she wrote her first novel. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
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One lucky reader will win the first three books (eBook format) of Karen's VIRTUAL ARCANA  series: The Fool, The Magician, and The High Priestess which will be releasing Dec 15th. 

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Do you like to read short or long stories?
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