Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: One Wish Away by Kelly Lynn Gets 4 Stars

Kelley Lynn's title caught my attention and I knew I had to read One Wish Away even though it is a YA book and I've passed YA years, let's say, just a bit ago. Immediately the author transported me back to the awkward days of the teenage years though her heroine Lyra who wishes to fit in with the crowd.

Then there is the gradual awareness of young love and the delight of Lyra's and Darren's first kiss. 

All this and more, too, because One Wish Away is a science fiction story with an intriguing concept that develops around the idea of wishing upon a star. Well-written and well-plotted for the most part. 

The only thing I didn't care for was the ending. I prefer books that end with a good solid ta-da, the ending for One Wish Away leaves it open for a follow-up book. Perhaps that will happen?

Still, One Wish Away is an enjoyable read.

The release date is 11/24/14 and the preorder links are:

Book Summary:
Be careful what you wish for…

Lyra has always been ahead of the curve. Top of her class in school, a budding astronomer, and with a best friend like Darren she barely has time to miss the mother who abandoned her family years ago. She's too busy planning to follow in her father's footsteps, and to become the youngest astronomer at Space Exploration and Discovery.

When a star goes missing Lyra is determined to get to the bottom of it only to discover her braniac dad is the mastermind of a top-secret government experiment. They promise to build a perfect world, one galaxy at a time, but with every tweak of the present, a bit more of the future starts to crumble.

Lyra has to go undercover to reveal the truth and let humanity decide if the consequences are worth more than wishing on a star.

About the Author:

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author. 

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vera's Version, The Book, is AMAZON Best Seller

Best Seller! I'm thrilled, and, I have to admit, amazed at the numbers game which makes my new book Vera's Version a best seller on  How funny to me that this humor book is doing so well.

Proof? There it is, number three under Top 100 Free in the category Humor Essays. It is also the number six best seller in the Top 100 Free, in the category Kindle Short Reads, Humor & Entertainment.

Being an Indie (love Indiana Jones!) is such fun!

This is also a plus-plus situation. I'm enjoying revamping my old columns which I wrote as a freelancer. That means I no longer have to store all those clippings. No more clipper clutter. Only the ebook in my Kindle, plus a nice neat paperback to store on the shelf (yes, the paperback edition is close to being launched, too).

Another plus: my humor columns from the 1990s are like vampires, coming to life again in a slightly different form. While they won't suck your blood--and hopefully don't suck at all--they may pull some additional income my way, always a good thing for writerly types. (Note: The FREE promotion ends today, November 17, 2014.) And this will be double-dipping because I got paid for them in the 1990s, too. Oh, happy day! 

Way back when, the essays came out under general headings of "Dear Me" or "I'm Not Andy…But" and maybe a few others I don't remember. It was way back in the 90s. Because they are all my columns and I'd already named this blog "Vera's Version" I didn't have to think until my head hurt about what to call my new book. I applied the KISS principle and it came to pass that Vera's Version, the book, was born.

The book needed one thing to hold it together and to draw the reader into the time period: history. Now, while I like history not everyone does. So, I made the history lesson into a rap poem entitled "90s Rap." (I know, yes…I also thought long and hard about that title, too.) The poem itself is newly written this year. The book is almost like a wedding; something old, something new…but I missed out on the something blue, opting instead to make the cover a beautiful yellow of joy.

Remember: a chuckle a day keeps the doctor away.  The world needs more laughter. Seek it out. Maybe by picking up an edition of Vera's Version (just click on the title)? :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome to Jerry Waxler, Guest Blogger, on the WOW Book Tour: Twenty Years In Choir and the Power of Habits

In high school, I devoted myself to science, and considered self-expression to be a waste of time. My nerdy youth prepared me to earn a living in technology but left me miserably out of touch with my own voice. 
My first attempt to find my voice occurred in my twenties, when I devoted myself to writing in a journal, every day for years. I loved the sensation of self-expression, but the audience was limited to myself. 
In my forties, I read a memoir by Joan Baez, And a Voice to Sing With, in which she expressed hope that no one should leave this earth without experiencing the pleasure of singing. Her appeal made me think about how tired I was of being silent. If I didn’t change soon, I would be one of those people Joan Baez warned about. 
I enrolled in voice lessons at a small music school, where I was 30 years older than most of the other students, and older than my teacher. Each week, she taught me basics such as how to sing pure vowels, how to use my diaphragm, and how to attack and sustain each note. I recorded our lessons and played them in the car, singing scales on my long commute to work. Daily habits supported my effort to learn how to sing.
When I reached a minimum level of skill, I qualified for entry in a choir. Every Wednesday evening, the choir director, a recent college grad, taught us how to follow a conductor, how to harmonize with each other, and how to align our voices on the beat. Week by week, year by year, we rehearsed, taking occasional breaks when our director went on her honeymoon, then had babies. 
Each rehearsal I learned a little more about reading music, and adjusting the dynamics and going straight to the pitch. Finally I was part of a performance, and, after I all the hours and years of preparation, I was able to see my voice reflected on the faces of those to whom I was singing. I realized I had fulfilled Joan Baez’s challenge. 
In my fifties, another hankering for self-expression welled up in my heart. My years of journaling had given me a love for writing. I wanted to expand my audience to readers. I didn’t know how to reach that goal, but experience with singing had proven to me that adults can learn skills. 
I studied books about writing and attended classes, soaking in the expertise of those who had succeeded. When I felt brave enough, I joined clubs. Instead of being intimidated by the other writers, I discovered that being in their company sped up my learning, by giving me feedback and support. Through every stage of my study, I was sustained by a daily writing habit.  By writing every day, seven days a week, gradually I increased my ability to express myself in the written word.
Through it all, I have come to experience the joy of writing as a means of communicating with readers. The feedback from writing is not as immediate as it is when singing. However, writers also have their ways of feeling the appreciation of readers, such as praise from reviewers, and the willingness of people to invest their time. And it was all earned through the power of daily effort.
What can you do?
For any adult who wants to find a voice, there’s no need to feel trapped by inadequate skills. Apply steady persistent effort. Over time, your writing voice improves, your self-confidence grows, and bit by bit, you learn what writers must do in order to reach readers.
If you have never developed a daily writing habit, take that first step. Read Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way. In it, she describes a method for pouring thoughts out on to paper. She calls the daily exercise, “Morning Pages.” Or read my book How to Become a Heroic Writer in which I outline the steps of forming a habit. By writing every day, you will gradually gain familiarity and skill at shaping sentences on a page. 
If you are already writing in a journal and want to learn to learn a more structured form, keep up your daily habit, but turn it toward writing pieces for strangers. Find a critique group, and accept reader feedback. By learning how your writing sounds in other people’s ears, over time you will gain the knack of writing for readers.  
To learn more about the power of habits, read my book Learn to Become a Heroic Writer to help you develop habits, attitudes and social connections necessary to share your words with strangers.

Memoir Revolution is Jerry Waxler’s beautifully written story as he integrates it with his deep and abiding knowledge and passion for story. In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories. In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well. By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being. 

Paperback: 190Pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Neuralcoach Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0977189538
Twitter hashtag: #MRevolutionWaxler
Memoir Revolution is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.
About the Author: Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, and around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer's Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology.