Sunday, October 29, 2017

Free books - so many ways to win!

I'm part of a 16-author Halloween giveaway. Now through October 31, join us for fun goodies, giveaways of books, and the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

As part of the Trick-or-Treat fun, I'm giving away a print book; one winner will choose between a hardcover of The Possibility of Somewhere, a paperback of Whisper Falls, or an ARC of Fade to Us.

So check out the details on my Trick-or-Treat blog hop page.

Also, for a limited time, Wishing for You (e-book) is free at most online retailers. Download it today at: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, or B&N.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Always there in my books

In 2017, I've written a series of posts with titles that begin "Always there...". The posts feature story elements that I always include in my books.

I introduced this set of posts by saying, "when authors write young adult novels, there are many aspects that we're all trying to achieve: a well-written story with a good plot, sympathetic characters who struggle with relatable problems, and interesting settings. I have other elements that will always be there. Some appeared without me really thinking about. Others--I [intentionally] decided to include in every book or series..."

There are 9 Always There posts now. I'll list them here, so that you can see the elements that I want all of my books/series to have.

Something that seems to be in all of my books is Sports. This is an interesting choice for me, since I am really not much of a participant or spectator of sports. I do watch the Olympics, and I occasionally watch a pro football or baseball game on TV. But really, sports is not important to me or my immediate family. It's kinda strange that it's featured in my books:

  • Whisper Falls - Mark is a mountain bike racer.
  • I Wish - Eli and Scott are soccer stars. Kimberley and Sean are ballroom dancers (and dance IS a sport.)
  • The Possibility of Somewhere - Eden was on the track team until it became too expensive for her to participate. Ash is involved in all kinds of sports, like surfing and golf.
  • Fade To Us - Micah is into fencing and swimming. Brooke and Micah love to go running and hiking (especially together). And, of course, there is baseball. They are both huge fans, and Brooke's mom is a lady umpire.

So, yeah, lots of sports. I like researching it and writing about it. I'm just not interested in sports outside of fiction...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Free this week - Wishing for You

If you haven't had a chance to read Wishing for You, it's free this week at most e-book retailers.

About the book...

This is the second book in the I Wish series, but it can be read as a stand-alone (although there are, obviously, spoilers for Book 1.)

She’s a girl who can’t remember. He’s the guy she can’t forget.

It’s her final semester of high school, and Kimberley Rey is curious about what will come next. She needs to pick a college, but her memory disability complicates the choice. Will her struggles to remember make it impossible to leave home?

Help arrives through an unexpected and supernatural gift. Grant is a “genie” with rules. He can give her thirty wishes (one per day for a month) as long as the tasks are humanly possible. Kimberley knows just what to ask for—lessons in how to live on her own.

But her wishes change when a friend receives a devastating diagnosis. As she joins forces with Grant to help her friend, Kimberley learns that the ability to live in the moment—to forget—may be more valuable than she ever knew.

Friday, September 29, 2017

YA Scavenger Hunt for fall 2017!

There is a huge book giveaway--with 140 YA authors!--coming in October. So if you love finding new reads, check out the YA Scavenger Hunt.

If you've never heard of it, the hunt runs twice each year--once in the spring and once in the fall. During the hunt we showcase new and upcoming YA releases, give out tons of prizes, and offer exclusive bonus material.

Sound interesting?

This fall, we have 140 authors, who are split into 7 teams of 20. Each team is assigned a color; I am on Team Purple. The blog hop begins on Tuesday, Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th.

It's easy to play. All you have to do is start on my tumblr post (the official post will appear on Oct 3 at 12 noon Pacific time). You'll have:

  • a brief description of the rules for the hunt and its prizes,
  • an exclusive offer from a guest author I'm hosting,
  • and more details about a bonus giveaway from me!

You can also head directly to the YASH website today. There you'll find a list of all participating authors as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you're hunting for or to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.

Follow me ( @AuthorJuliaDay )on twitter to keep up with the news!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A birthday party where the honorees give away the gifts

I'm in a group of writers who call ourselves The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. (Long story)

Today's is our eighth anniversary of having a blog, and we're celebrating with a virtual party and we (the birthday girls) are giving away gifts--mostly books and gift cards. So drop by today (21 Sep 2017) before midnight EST and leave a comment. You'll be automatically entered and could win a prize package.  One of the prizes will be awarded to an international visitor.

The Rubies write posts that benefit writers and readers. Some of the prize packages contain writing craft books--but most books are just to read for enjoyment.

Hope to see you leave a comment and maybe win a prize package!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cover reveal for BRAVE by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Ready to see the cover for BRAVE by Jennifer L. Armentrout?

Here we go!!!!

Ivy Morgan hasn't been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine... and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart. If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves--and, ultimately, to save herself.

Because behind ever evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen

Keep reading for more exciting news and a giveaway for Brave!

Virtual Signing

To celebrate the upcoming release of BRAVE (book 3 in the Wicked Saga), Jennifer is offering an exclusive virtual signing! Through this virtual signing, you will be able to order SIGNED & PERSONALIZED copies of WICKED, TORN, and BRAVE!
And best of all -- This is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

Brave Giveaway

  • PRIZE: SURPRISE SIGNED PRIZE PACK (containing multiple signed books & swag)
  • ENDS 10/2/2017

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Jennifer...

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Always there - research

I love the research for books so much that I sometimes forget to stop researching and start writing the story.

The goal, of course, is to write my stories to be as authentic as possible. For historical books, I visit locations, try recipes, check out period details (like fashion, transportation, food, technology) on the Internet, and interview people who may have lived during the time period.

For contemporary stories, I often write about issues, technology, or places in which I have experience. Sometimes, though, my experiences aren't enough to write a complete, interesting, satisfying story. In those cases, I research and research and research...

If you're a writer, here are a few tips for researching books, whether historical or contemporary.

  • Interview your family and friends: Everyone you know is an expert on something--and often their interests and skills will surprise you. So ask--and prepare to be amazed. Make mental notes about their love of horseback-riding or their fascination with astronomy. You will use it one day!
  • Visit museums, historical sites, etc.: Many docents know everything about a topic, and they want to answer your questions. So visit museums or historical sites and engage in conversation with the docents, staff, park rangers, etc. They love eager and interested visitors.
  • Watch YouTube: Let's face it. YouTube has a video for everything. If you don't know how something works, you'll find a how-to video on YouTube.
  • Browse Wikipedia: Yeah, I know. You can't always rely on wikipedia to give you purely factual, accurate information. But, it can supply a good, general overview--and the references linked at the end of each article are priceless.
  • Go!: if you have access to locations or venues that will be featured in your book, go and experience it firsthand. Use local parks as book settings. Take in a ballgame. Sign up for lessons in cooking, dancing, sports, etc. 

Let me show how I applied some of these suggestions to my books.

The Whisper Falls series: It's entirely possible that I have visited every colonial museum or historical site in North Carolina and Virginia. The docents/guides at Mount Vernon, Tryon Palace, Yates Mill, and Williamsburg are amazing. I learned incredible nuggets of information that enriched my stories.

As a time-travel, the Whisper Falls series also required contemporary research. I've watched YouTube videos about mountain bike racing, chatted with my Physical Therapist about how to break noses, and asked my cousin-in-law (who, coincidentally, is the registrar of deeds in a nearby county) to explain how to fake a birth certificate.

The I WISH series: In the first book, the issues were mainly depression and poverty--which I have first-hand experience with. But I also had a biracial character, which required interviews with a biracial friend. The second and third books deal with grief, terminal illness, and disability. Again, I interviewed people with knowledge of brain injuries and caregivers of cancer patients. Their candor was invaluable. For small details--like ballroom dancing or building stacked stone walls--I used YouTube. Lastly, I needed one of the main characters to have an interesting hobby, and the young man ended up with my husband's passion--astronomy.

The Possibility of Somewhere: The heroine, Eden, is dealing with poverty and the difficulties of getting college scholarships when you can't afford the extra-curricular activities that make your resume shiny. Since those issues are somewhat autobiographical, I knew how she felt. But the details had changed since I was in high school. So I read blogs, content on social media, and Quora questions. The hero, Ash, is the son of Asian-Indian immigrants. Because I work at a global company, I had several Indian colleagues who were willing to answer my questions about what life would be like for Ash.

Fade To Us: This book (which releases in February 2018) may have been the most interesting to research because of the variety of disparate threads that are woven through.

  • Biracial stage manager: The hero is half-Chinese and half-white. I interviewed a Chinese friend and her biracial sons to understand the character of Micah. He's the stage manager for theater productions. Happily, my daughter has a friend who is a professional stage manager. (And, yes, Daniel, you will see some of your quotes in the book :)
  • Baseball umpires: The heroine's mom is a lady umpire; that was fun to research! I attended a baseball game with a professional umpire, who called them for me and gave me insider details. In addition to introducing me to a lady umpire, he beta-read the baseball sections of the book.
  • Summer musical theater program: A local high school allowed me to sit in on their musical theater rehearsals, both during the school year and during the summer. Since the musical featured in the book is Oklahoma!, I was able to observe the rehearsals of a local community theater's production of Oklahoma!.
  • Autism: The third main character, Natalie, is on the autism spectrum. I have a child with Asperger's Syndrome, so I've "lived" the research for over 20 years. But I still read books and blogs, chatted with autism parents, and leaned on the many observations I've made with my daughter and her friends on the spectrum. Natalie is--of course--her own unique person; she is not a re-creation of anyone I know.

I hope that some of these suggestions spark ideas for how you can make your research process fun and effective!