Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reflecting Back, While Forging Ahead

Do you find the beginning of every new year as redundant as I do? 
I'm gonna lose weight. I'll exercise more. We'll have more family time. I won't be at the office so much. The list is endless. Why do we think the end of a calendar year gives us permission to start anew? Who set that cliche? 

Each and every single day is a new beginning. Think of the sun setting as a really-really-really short (albeit unofficial) new day eve. Why not? Why can't you? Because you've been trained to go through the motions of everyday like the one before? Because doing differently would take effort, brainpower, and passion, and you gave up most of that long ago just to get through each day? What is the point?

I'll do it tomorrow because I've had a tough day at work ... at school ... in traffic. Yeah, we've all said something similar to ourselves. So what can bring about change in the complacent mind? Give inspiration and a sense of reason, purpose? One simple word: HOPE.  

Strangely, that's my word for 2017. When I found out I was like 'Seriously'? Not focus or kindness or fortitude. I get hope. Talk about cliche. Everybody hopes for stuff, like for the light to stay green so they can get through traffic. But then I stopped to think about it for a moment. I didn't really want a different word; I wanted a different reason to reflect on where I am, what I've accomplished thus far and fuel me to forge ahead into the great unknown of a new year day. So I picked a bunch.

Go on. Try it. Pick any word. Pick them all, just go out there and DO something. Live today, not just for tomorrow.  You thought my next words would be because tomorrow might never come. Nope. Guess what? Tomorrow might and most probably will come, but how much better are you for it? How much better are others that you're still here? Ponder each day as you fall into slumber at night. Give yourself an atta girl/boy for your successes and reflect on a failure. Mull over a solution.

Make each day count.
Live vibrantly. Love passionately.
See the unseen around you. Look harder. It's there.
Cherish the beauty and let it inspire you.
Be you. Always you.
Embrace your gifts. They're yours for a reason.
You are unique. 
Be genuine, kind. Smile even when you don't feel like it. 
Why? Because you can, and it takes less effort than frowning.
Open the door for a stranger. Do a good deed and don't tell anyone.
Challenge yourself to be more than you thought you could be.
And when you get there, push just a little harder.
For in there lies your growth. 
Believe in magic.
Dream big.

I wish you the light of the stars, the caress of the wind, and all the happiness you share with others. May today and everyday throughout 2017 be all you make them to be. 

(The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.)

WAIT! I'z haz news.... Seeing how I've had to cut down on blogging, I feel like I owe you a few updates. I'll make it quick:

Motley cracked the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers (ebook) a few weeks back under children's book - Norse Mythology. #happydance

I had some amazing book signing experiences in the month of December. I'm still learning about sharing all these events with you, because that usually means I have to take pictures and I keep forgetting to do so. #mybad

I'm in the final prep work for Marked Beauty - my YA releasing at the end of March. Update soon... #workinglikeadog

I've become part of a well-known middle grade group, but I can't share just yet. #sorry

My favorite news (which some of you already know) is that Motley won 1st place for Best Children's Novel of 2016 by the New England Book Festival! I've been invited to an awards ceremony to be held at the end of January in Boston. :)  

Okay, now tell me your news, what you've been working on, and what you think your word to live out in 2017 is.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Middle Grade Holiday Reads, IWSG, & Giveaways!

I've decided to end Writer's Alley's 2016 sharing an amazing list of potential middle grade reads for your holiday list and also summing up my fears and insecurities for this year, so please bare with this long post. TY! 
First things first: debut middle grade books from my fellow @TheSweet16s authors. Seriously, this was a huge year for MG readers. Such talent in this group. Even better? They are amazing people and they want to chat with you! Visit their sites and leave them a message. Better yet - check out their next book signing. And ooh, a few are even offering up a goodie or two for you to enter to win! 

   Goodreads Link     Goodreads Link         Goodreads Link      Goodreads Link

  Goodreads Link     Goodreads Link         Goodreads Link      Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link   Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link

Goodreads Link   Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link  Goodreads Link
My Review | Purchase          My Review | Purchase          My Review | Purchase
My Review | Purchase       My Review | Purchase       My Review | Purchase

My Review | Purchase        My Review | Purchase       My Review | Purchase

My Review | Purchase        My Review | Purchase 

Read on for my next contribution to Shannon Messenger's MMGM genius plan 
to give middle grade reads their just due! Click HERE for the other participants.

~And now my giveaways~

My Review | Purchase
by Cynthia Reeg

Description: Monster is as monster does, but Frankenstein Frightface Gordon is totally the wrong shade of ghastly green—pale, baby blue, in fact—and he's more concerned with keeping his pants neat and tidy than scaring the pants off his victims. But when a new law is passed to rid Uggarland of misfits such as Frank, he must decide if he will become the monster his parents can be proud of or be the monster he can be proud of. Trusting the monsterliest monster he knows, Frank looks to the grave and his dead grandmother to make his choice, entering into an adventure that will either seal his doom or prove he is truly monster enough. 
Goodreads | Purchase

by Tricia Clasen

Description: Since her mom died, Andie’s family has crumbled. Instead of working, her dad gambles away insurance money, while her sister, Paige, has put her future on hold in order to pick up extra waitressing shifts. Andie’s afraid of what will happen if people find out just how bad things are. She’s not sure how long she can hide the fact that there’s no food or money in the house...or adults, for that matter.

When her science partner suggests they study paranormal activity, Andie gets an idea. She wants a sign from her mom—anything to tell her it’s going to be okay. Maybe the rest of her family does too. So she starts a project of her own. Pretending to be her mother’s ghost, Andie sprays perfume, changes TV channels, and moves pictures. Haunting her house is Andie’s last hope to bring her family back into the land of the living.
For anyone who loved Counting by 7s, The Haunted House Project is a journey through loss and grief, but ultimately a story of hope and self-reliance. As much as Andie has been changed by her mother’s death, the changes she makes herself are the ones that are most important. 

Review | Purchase

by Shari Schwarz

Description: An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the clues to unearth both, even it means hiking in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. Bryce must work with his bickering brother, Jack, or they may never see the light of day again!

Goodreads | Purchase

by Claire Fayers

Description: Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past--if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she's spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.

When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship the Onion. Before you can say "pieces of eight," they're up to their necks in the pirates' quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don't even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she's unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also hope you'll keep my middle grade debut, 
MOTLEY EDUCATION, on your holiday reading list! 

And as an added incentive here's a separate giveaway that ends on the same date: December 25!  

Keep watch on Twitter between December 19 & 24 to Enter for your chance to WIN one of two Motley Education prize packages! 
Both prizes contain: a signed bookmark, ghostly pencil, Motley Mulisha customized notebook, stickers, a beautifully printed map of Yggdrasil showcasing Ebony & Fleishman's travels in Yggdrasil so far, and some ghoulish hot chocolate encased in a coffin! Get it - the Boneyard. *wink, wink* 
Look for the hashtags @TheSweet16s & @SA_Larsen

My newsletter subscribers get to earn extra entries. If you'd like to earn extra entries as well just sign up HERE and I'll send you off the newsletter with all the deets!

So how does all of this play into a final fear or insecurity for 2016? Easy, just look at all the work so many talented writers accomplished. Yes, I was blessed to be part of it. But, honestly, can I keep it up? Do I have what it takes? Will life constantly keep getting in the way? My debut young adult novel is releasing in March, and I'm so far behind with all my other writing I wonder if I'll be able to pull it all off.

I could go on and on with those sorts of questions, but I won't. Instead I'll give you my answer to these questions, anymore like them clogging up the highway to my creativity, and to give you a little inspiration for the upcoming year. My answer is simply one word: YES. And you have what it takes, too. 

Note: Speaking of the new YA, if you'd like to help out either revealing the cover or being part of my blog tour feel free to leave a comment below or enter your name HERE. I'll get in touch when I know more.💖

(The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.)

Have a safe & enjoyable holiday season. 
I wish you all much success in 2017! Looking forward to all we'll do together. 
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