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Writer Wednesday Welcomes Joshua Unruh!

Writer Wednesday Welcomes a super fun tweeter adn YA author, my pal Josh! I can’t wait to share him and his amazing new novel, so without any more rambling from me….meet Josh!

I love Young Adult fiction. Most of the time that looks like guys in capes fighting would-be world beaters instead of boy wizards or, God deliver us, sparkly vampires.

But I’m also a lover of a wide variety of genre fiction. One of my favorites is Spy Fi, the genre best exemplified in the past by The Avengers or The Man from UNCLE and, more recently, by shows like Alias and the Middle Man. These two things, YA fiction and Spy Fi, come together in my latest novel.

TEEN Agents in The Plundered Parent Protocol is a novel about three girls, best friends, whose fathers are kidnapped by an evil genius…one who just happens to be ten years old. This is how Elly Mourning, Hea Jung Noone, and Saturday Knight discover the existence of the Teenage Extranormal Emergency Network and how they join its ranks as agents.

There’s plenty of weird gadgets, exciting espionage, and plots for world domination in TEEN Agents. But at its heart, it’s a story about three girls who want to save their dads but have to grow up quite a bit to do it.

Right now, I’m the father of just one kid, a little boy. He and I watch all kinds of adventure cartoons, read comic books, and I continue to take in all that genre fiction I’ve always loved. But now I have an eye as to when I can share it with him.

I’d also like to be the father of a little girl someday. I don’t want to climb a soapbox, but it’s pretty hard to find stuff to excite and empower my hypothetical little girl.

But it shouldn’t be that way.

I should have as much strange and exciting genre fiction with young heroines as I have with heroes. Since I don’t, I decided to do something about that.

So that brings me to Elly, Hea, and Saturday. Elly is sharp and together, a born leader. Hea is a free spirit and incredibly athletic. Saturday has a brilliant scientific mind.

I wrote them to be  the kinds of girls I’d like my future little girl to look up to. They aren’t perfect, but they are as accomplished and secure in who they are as thirteen year old girls can be. And they’re learning and growing as they go.

But I didn’t want to write a “girl’s story.” I wanted to write a spy fi story that starred girls. One that would be exciting for girls…and for their brothers and dads. Which is why I can assure you that the genius is evil, the enemy agent is suave and debonair, the traps are deadly, the lairs are secret, and the plan is diabolical.

This book is for girls looking for exciting fiction that makes them feel good about being girls because it’s a book about heroic girls. Not to mention it’s a fun read.

loved writing this novel for so many reasons. And my beta readers have absolutely loved reading it. I hope you can contribute something to the project. Trust me, if you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it, you won’t be sorry you did.

Catch the Plundered Parent Protocol when it releases Tuesday January 31st and enjoy it for free Free FREE. For the first 24hours the Plundering Parent Protocol is live, it’s yours for free!
Opening day, sample the beginning of the TEEN Agents epic epic of epicness absolutely free of charge.

Get to know Josh online!

Find him blogging at

Guest Post: How to be a Better Blogger in 10 Days!

Please welcome the super awesome Stephanie Sikorski to my blog today! She is so much fun and I love her. I know you will too. Here she is helping us to …

Be a Better Blogger in 10 Days!

I love writing. But I hate the demands of blogging. I love virtually meeting nice writing people via Twitter but cave under the pressure to sound clever in 140 characters or less. I want people to find my blog but can’t ever figure out how to promote myself without sounding like I am, well … promoting myself. I’m happiest when one of my essays makes a real difference in somebody’s life but loathe the pressure to repeat my own awesomeness. It makes me want to keep the lid to my laptop closed for weeks on end. Which in turn makes me sad because as I already mentioned I love writing.

This is my wrestle. And some days I feel ready to tap-out.

There are times I seriously ponder going offline and writing for myself. Avoiding the pressure of eBooks, self publishing debates and traffic analytics sounds like a sweet relief. The advice barks at me: create a platform, tweet, guest blog, comment strategically and have a catchy tagline. It’s all great advice but totally exhausting. I just wanted to write.

So I admit, I am completely inept at identifying my traffic sources, using html code and creating badges. I simply have a little blog. A little bitty blog. Heck, I haven’t even purchased a domain. Despite all the advice to the contrary, I just can’t believe that eliminating the word ‘blogspot’ from my address is going to suddenly be the magic key that propels my blog into BlogHer infamy. I mean, c’mon let’s admit I can’t ever compete so long as Ree Drummond remains the Godfather of adorable Pioneer Woman?

Of all the experts’ advice, my favorites are the folks who promise that if your work is good enough it will be discovered on its own merit. I often take that advice to heart and relieve myself of any template, wordpress and rss feed guilt and just return to my first love; writing. I admit there are some days when I pretend no one is out there listening or reading my work. It seems on those days I am free to let my thoughts flow. My fingers literally fly across my keyboard as the words just tumble out unaware of hits, comments and subscribers.

So I’ve abandoned the how-to-be-a-better-blogger-in-10-days advice. I don’t know if my template is user friendly or my headshot accurately portrays my personality. And, well, if those choices mean I’ll never be published, that I’ll never get a book tour or my memoir never makes it to the big screen (which would really be too bad as I’m sure Julie Roberts would play me fantastically) then so be it. For I would rather stay in love with writing than get sidetracked with vlogging, tweeting and platform building. I love writing and in the meantime that’s all I’m interested in doing.

About Stephanie:

I have been blogging since August 2010. I’m a small town midwest girl who’s adorable husband has returned to school full time re-defining the term ‘making ends meet’. I work two part time jobs, parent our 5 children and write when I get a moment to myself (which is hardly ever). I am also a regular contributor to our local newspaper, The Daily Review Atlas.

Find her online!

my twitter: steph_sikorski

Thank you SO MUCH Stephanie for a fun and insightful post. You saved my blogging-behind today because I crashed my computer last week and am clawing at straws to keep up with my life! This post has made my day. I can’t thank you enough and if I can ever return the favor, please let me know!!!

Back Up Your Work People!

Here’s a first for me. I’m blogging from my phone. Why you ask? Because I am a complete FAIL. I save like a maniac and am more organized than Martha Stewart where my writing is involved but I don’t back up my files. Ever.

I finished a new sweet romance on Friday night for Honey Creek. I LOVEd it.

I spent 24 hours running final edits for Death by Chocolate – which will release in 2 months as of Sunday afternoon.

Then Sunday night I got the blue screen of death and my computer no longer knew it had a hard drive. It was all, put in the disk. What?


So, I lost everything I have EVER written. I lost THIRTY guest blog posts I completed and saved for my very first blog tour – scheduled to begin in 9 days. I lost my calendar for the event and the galley of the book too.

I lost an ELEVEN page outline for a workshop I’m giving next month.

I love 52K words written during Nano for the Death by Chocolate sequel – due to editors in a few months.

It’s aaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllll gone.

I can only blame myself.

Hubsy has ordered an identical hard drive from somewhere in New York and it’s on its way. When it arrives, he will open both drives and swap out the mechanism we assume is frozen…called a platter I think. I couldn’t hear him through my sobbing.

If he succeeds, I’m all set and ready to save to the cloud, to my email, to a thumb drive and external harddrive, anywhere and everywhere all day everyday.

If the procedure fails….I learned a really tough lesson. Either way, I know most people can’t just ask someone to do this for them and to send away can be upwards of $1K and still get no results. So, I want to encourage all of you who aren’t in the habit of saving to a secondary source…do it. Check out online sites like carbonite or drop box if buying anything like a new thumb drive is out of the question, heck, send it to yourself in email, anything is better than where I am right now.

But as always it’s a little easier for me because I have you. *sniffles* *puppy dog eyes*

Hope this posts saves someone a little grief in the future :)

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Emily Casey!

Please welcome another writer bestie I met where???? That’s right ding-ding-ding! TWITTER! Get on twitter people!  I meet the funnest writers over there and Emily is one of them. She’s written a YA fantasy that’s sure to rock. She’s witty and bright and I can’t wait to introduce you. She’s also giving away a digital copy of her new story to a commenter, so be sure to leave your” Hi There!” Without further adieu…here she is!

I’m Not a Cool Person, but I Write About them in Books

A lot of people think that authors write characters based on what the author wishes they could be. Well let me clear things up a bit: That’s completely true.

At least, it’s true for me. Sure, Ivy has her faults. She’s stubborn and impulsive. She gets herself into all kinds of trouble and tends to be a loner. But Ivy is cool. So my guest post today will be all about why Ivy is cooler than I am.

First, I’m the nerdy type. Not the shy, awkward kind of nerdy. The goofy, foot-in-the-mouth type of nerdy. I say things without thinking, then an hour later I realize that what I said wasn’t as funny as I thought. In fact, it could have been flat-out offensive.

Ivy, on the other hand, says offensive things on purpose and wishes she had written them down to use again later.

Also, I’m not a big fan of surprises. (I mean, okay, you can throw me a surprise party if you *really* want to.) But I’m the kind of person who likes to see things coming. I like to prepare and be ready for what’s ahead. And when something unexpected falls in my lap (like making dinner for twice as many people as I planned, or having to pick someone up two hours earlier than I thought) I just want to curl up in a ball and forget I ever signed up for the thing in the first place. (Pathetic? Yes.)

And Ivy? Well, she hates surprises, too. But when they happen, she totally kicks butt. What’s that? A pixie kidnapped her and wants Ivy to entertain him? Sorry. “You may not know this about me, fairy, but I’m nobody’s monkey. I don’t do tricks… Especially not for an Oompa Loompa with wings.” And she takes off running into an enchanted forest.

Why can’t I do something awesome like that? I guess we can’t all be as cool as Ivy Thorn.

The Fairy Tale Trap by Emily Casey

A beautiful girl falls in love with a beast. Ivy’s heard the story before, but now it’s a reality.

Ivy has always been afraid of mirrors, but she never knew why. Then one of them sucks her into the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

So what if she’s been pulled from her home and talks to pixies now? That’s no big deal for a military brat. Ivy’s used to adapting. All she wants is to find her way home.

But when she tries to escape, Ivy breaks the wrong spell. Now Beast is not so gentle-on-the-inside, Beauty is falling for the wrong prince, and Ivy is no closer to figuring out how to get through the enchanted forest that traps her.

With magic mirrors, dancing fairies, a sadistic pixie, and other random fairy tale twists, Ivy doesn’t know what’s safe or who to trust. Can she escape the fairy tale trap?


About Emily:

Emily Casey is a writer from Tallahassee who chases two crazy kids around the house all day before collapsing in front of her computer. Her debut young adult fantasy, THE FAIRY TALE TRAP is on Amazon and Smashwords. If you want a taste of the book first, you can watch the book trailer.

You’ll find Emily on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Other little tid-bits: I’m a dog person (I have a German Shepherd named Guybrush), I like to run (I ran my first half marathon while 4 months pregnant) and majored in Psychology (which explains why I’m a little nuts) with a minor in English (which explains the whole writing thing).

Find Emily online!

The Fairy Tale Trap Goodreads page: (includes the cover, a brief synopsis/hook)
Next stop in Emily’s blog tour:

7 Suggestions. Gain Experience. Get Attention.

I’m often asked for advice for writers in waiting. And for the record all writers are in waiting. I promise you. At this moment, I am waiting to hear back on a YA manuscript on submissions. A sweet romance on submissions. From my editor of Death by Chocolate – (contracted and coming in 2 months – there’s always another step we’re waiting on). And from my agent on a new project. It doesn’t matter where you are in the writing life. If you’re a writer, you’re waiting for something. So, if you’re waiting, pat your back and take a bow. You must be a writer! LOL

Writers chewing nails to hear back from their submissions wonder what to do while they wait. Today I want to suggest writing a writer’s resume. Not for an agent, per se, but for you. Getting your successes on paper will build your confidence, remind you you’ve accomplished plenty and keep you focused on the next step. When the time comes to talk to an agent, or pitch at a conference, you’ll have those successes ready for quick reference in your mind.

Ideas for your resume:

If you have these, give yourself another pat on the back. If you don’t, you might consider adding them to your list of accomplishments and square up those shoulders. You’re making progress and every step matters!

1. Do you have an active blog? This is fun, easy and free. It shows you understand the importance of an online presence and it give you a chance to write every day or so, gain readers, make friends and gives agents and editors a place to stop and learn a little bit about you. We arent’ the only ones who stalk you know!

2. Make a twitter account. A FaceBook Page. Join G+, GoodReads, etc. Anywhere you have a profile will help with your online presence.

3. Guest blog! What an awesome opportunity to help out another writer and gain exposure for your charming smile and showcase your personality. Offer to guest post for another blogger. Lots of them. I love guest bloggers! Especially at times like these when it’s hard to find time to write posts for Musings. Guest posting is GOOD!

4. Write shorter. Look up opportunities to enter your short story into anthologies and other collections online. The minute you get published in anything you can set up an Amazon author page or a GoodReads author page too. Taking part in an anthology is a great way to gain exposure and it feels great to see your work in print!

5. Consider small presses. Don’t be quick to discount presses you think are too small. This is faulty thinking. Try considering every opportunity as exactly that. Opportunity. Small presses often accept novellas or short works for publication. You can take a month or two and polish up a 20K-40K word story. You have time, especially if you’re waiting on a submission. Submissions take up to 6 months. It’ll keep you busy and distracted. Then, if they accept your novella, you’ll have another publishing credit for your resume, and be building readers too. Working with an editor is experience. And who knows, you might fall in love with your new press and want to stay :) Some small presses are the bomb-diggidty *cough* Turquoise Morning Press. What?

6. Enter free online contests, especially ones hosted or judged by your dream agent or publishing house. Get your name and writing in front of them. The more they see it, the more it’ll stick out when your query comes across their desk ;) Plus, ALL writing counts toward perfecting your craft. Writing in all forms is good for a writer. So, keep writing. But since you’re already writing…why not turn something  in? <– see how that works :)

7. Check your local library, college or writer’s guild for workshops. Attend a conference. Find ways to get your face, name and work out there. Its can be free and local. Don’t use money as an excuse. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Can I afford to get a babysitter for a week and travel to NYC to take part in BEA? No. But I don’t throw my hands up and say, well, that’s it. I can’t go to conferences. I find opportunity I can afford or attend and I go.

Important note here: This is your dream. No one’s going to reach it for you. If you can’t find an opportunity – Make One.

Who else has a great suggestion for gaining experience in this industry?

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