Category Archives: summer reading

Review of TL Costa’s PLAYING TYLER

Good day mates! PJ here, and I have an Australian accent in my head this morning. Does that happen to you? It’s pretty much the norm for your average writerly type. You see, we writers typically hear several voices in our heads every day. We’ve come to understand that ‘no, we aren’t crazy.’ We are creative. Writers hear multiple points of view, snippets of dialogue, crazy characters popping into our minds and saying the darnedest things. It can be maddening, but it can also be amazing. Translating those voices to words on a page is where magic happens and characters are brought to life. When an author does it just right, the reader is transported into the mind of the character and experiences the story alongside them.PlayingTyler-72dpi-1 Such was the sense that I had when I read PLAYING TYLER, by TL Costa. Here is my review:

Part thriller, part geek fest, and part sweet romance, PLAYING TYLER was the must read of the summer for me. The main characters, Tyler McCandless and Ani Bagdorian captured my heart from the start in this fast paced teen drama. Although on the surface, this book was about the slippery slope of Drone warfare and one boy’s journey to discovering who his real friends are, it was mostly about teens trying to find their place in the world. At seventeen, Tyler must face family relationships that are filled with tragedy and struggle, and the wonders/horrors of first love. TL Costa rocked the male teen voice and I was totally swept up in her stream-of-consciousness narrative style that put me squarely in Tyler’s ADHD brain. I found myself bouncing my knee right alongside him and anxious to see how he would negotiate the twists and turns that life tossed his way. Since the chapters were alternating points of view, I waited to see if any of Tyler’s dialogue would spill over into Ani, or vice versa, but each character was well-drawn and unique. A debut author to watch!

 Highly recommend for older teens, especially boys who aren’t typically readers. I think this one will grab them! Great job, TL!

TL Costa pic DSC_3372T.L. Costa graduated from Bryn Mawr College, got her Masters of Teaching from Quinnipiac University and taught high school for five years before becoming a full-time mom and writer.
She has lived in Texas, New York, New Jersey and Spain.  Currently, she lives in Connecticut.
T. L. can be found online at her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tlcostaauthor) and on Twitter (@TLCosta1).

Purchase PLAYING TYLER at the following outlets:

Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound

For more of PLAYING TYLER, check out sample chapters here!

Thanks for being here TL, and thanks for writing such a great book!

Go Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July, my lovelies! Suze here, wishing you a wonderful day full of family, friends, food, and fireworks.

You can ring my be-e-e-e-ll, ring my bell. Just not this one!
You can ring my be-e-e-e-ll, ring my bell. Just not this one!

Here’s a link to some interesting factoids about Independence Day (click here). Did you know that three presidents died on July 4? (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe–Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826) How about that President Coolidge and first daughter Malia Obama are both Yankee Doodle Dandies, born on the Fourth of July? Or that the Liberty Bell, which cannot be rung for fear of cracking it further, is tapped thirteen times on July 4 to signal that other bells across the country can be rung?

So what will I be doing today? I didn’t get invited to any barbeques, and I’ve been way too busy to plan my own, so the family and I are staying home. I’ll probably work on my manuscript, read a little, throw some burgers and dogs on the grill, and go to the fireworks display in a nearby city tonight. Or I may crash my neighbor’s party (pretty sure they won’t mind, they have a pool, and the food is a lot better than it would be at my house!)

Tomorrow, we’re headed up to Vermont to spend a couple of days. Can I make a travel suggestion? The Fairlee Motel in Fairlee, VT is a roadside motel with a bonus–behind the motel is a drive-in movie theater. Each of the motel rooms has a large picture window facing the screen, as well as speakers. So you can watch the double feature from the bugless comfort of your room, or bring lawn chairs and sit outside. They have a superior snack bar too! This mom-and-pop shop has a problem, though. Beginning next year, they will unable to get films on 35mm and so their current projector will be obsolete. A new digital projector costs $70,000, so fundraising efforts are underway. You can help by visiting the drive-in, buying a cool poster or tee shirt, or just sending a few bucks. (Click here)

Some other exciting news: This weekend, I’ll be doing my first ever public author event! The Enfield, Connecticut July 4th celebration takes place this weekend. More than twenty local authors will be represented on Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7. I’ll be there most of the day on Sunday, so please stop by and say hello!  I won’t have a book to sign for you, unfortunately, but I’d love to see some friendly faces. Here’s a link to the event. Hope to see you there!

What are you doing to celebrate Independence Day?

 

Multi-Author Signing

PJ here. First things first.

Thank you to those who shared in the launch celebration for WESTERN DESERT last week! I had fun entertaining the party-goers who stopped by to chat and wish me well. I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. Congratulations to Lysette Lam who won the Nook Simple Touch! I am in the process of contacting the other winners, so a big thanks to those who entered my contest and shared my celebration with the world!

Now that I’ve had a few days to breathe and take a break from all the hustle and preparation of the book release, I’m gearing up for another busy weekend. Technically, I’m off from my day job, but this weekend I’ll be doing what authors live for. Along with a host of other authors, I’ll be at the Enfield 4th of July Celebration in Enfield, Connecticut, meeting readers and signing books. Everyone’s books will be available all day on Saturday and Sunday, but we’ll be rotating shifts to spread the coverage among us. I’m scheduled for Sunday from 11:30-5:30, but I’ll be around to help out on Saturday as well.

I hope you’ll join me, Katy Lee, Casey Wyatt, J Monkeys, Susannah Hardy, Rebecca Rose, T.L. Costa, Marian Lannouette, Gerri Brousseau, Jesse Hayworth, Belle Calhoun, Kourtney Heintz, Lon Unghire, Tammy Young Cote, and Renata Bowers at the Town Green on Enfield Street right in front of the town hall, Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th. And huge KUDOS to Katy Lee for organizing the signing for us.

I grew up in Enfield, so this event will have special meaning for me. If you haven’t attended a 4th on the Green, you’re missing a great time. From the live bands to the awesome parade, and the fabulous eats to the fantastic fireworks on Sunday night, there is tons of fun to be had. I participated in a few of the pie eating contests over the years, but my favorite event was the opportunity to dunk a local high school teacher who was sporting enough to take the plunge for a good cause. It’s supposed to be a great weekend weather-wise, so if you’re looking for a fun family event to attend and you’re in the area, stop by and meet some of your favorite authors and hang out with the Scribes.

I hope to see you there!

Launch Party Time!

Welcome friends, guests, and party crashers! I’m so happy to have you all here to celebrate my latest release, WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. I’ll get the business end of this gig over and done with so we can relax and have a few refreshments.

Drum roll…Curtain draws back…MC (preferably George Clooney) takes the stage, smiles and says: Without further ado…INTRODUCING PJ Sharon’s latest release!!

Thanks, George! I’ll take it from here…

Available NOW!
Available NOW!

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated U.S. in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

BN

Smashwords

Print copies available directly from CREATE SPACE or on AMAZON

If you haven’t read Book One in the trilogy, WANING MOON, it’s available for FREE this week (June 24-28) for Kindle owners!

WM Final SMALL 72 pixels

Also available for FREE is SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel to WANING MOON. You can download it for your e-reader from Smashwords, or read it directly on Wattpad. You won’t want to miss this dark and twisty journey into the mind of a teenager with the power of life and death in his touch. It definitely makes you wonder…what would I do?

Creepy, I know!

Let’s move on to the fun part…

Feel free to pop over to Suze’s page of treats later where you’ll find some awesome recipes for drinks (non-alcoholic ones for our YA friends), and some tasty hors d’oeuvres! But don’t forget to come back, because I have some prizes to give away.

Three of you will be chosen randomly to receive signed copies of one of my first three books. You can choose between HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, or SAVAGE CINDERELLA. You can find out more about these books by visiting my website’s Contemporary YA Books page. I’ll be happy to mail you your signed copy, providing you leave a valid email address in the comments below so I can contact you privately for your mailing address. Enter ie: maryjanedoe(at)emailaddress(dot)com.

You can also win a nifty swag bag with some cool Lily Carmichael items, including a wooden whistle, a lanyard, bookmarks, and a signed copy of both WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT.

My grand prize giveaway is a NOOK Simple Touch!

It’s easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below with a valid email address if you want a single entry. For more chances to win, just let me know what you’ve done to help spread the word about my new release. Share this post to FB, twitter (or retweet any tweets with the hashtag #WesternDesert), or you can follow me on any of my social media platforms listed below. You could also sign up for my newsletter (for occasional updates). For each effort you tell me about, I’ll enter your name for another chance to win! Contest ends at midnight on June 30, and winners will be announced next Tuesday right here on the Scribes.

Hang out with me at the following places online:

Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+

So now that you have the low down on where to find my new book, connected with me at my various online hangouts, and you’ve downloaded some FREE books, pull up a chair and let’s chat. Don’t forget to grab a beverage and a snack and leave your comments, an email address, and what you’ve done to enter for the prizes. I’ll be posting some excerpts today in the comments section below, and look forward to you sharing your questions, responses, and thoughts.

I love a simple bouquet of flowers for a center piece, don’t you? As a conversation starter, tell me what books have you most been looking forward to reading this summer? Any new releases coming out soon that you are dying to get your hands on? Come on, people, dishing about books is what we do around here. Let’s get this party started!

Topped Chef–Interview with Author Lucy Burdette

 

topped-chef-185x300Hey, everyone, Suze here. This week I’m thrilled that mystery author Lucy Burdette is back to chat with us. I’m even more that she has a new book coming out in just a few days. Topped Chef, Book 3 in the wonderful Key West Food Critic series, releases on May 7. Here’s what Lucy has to say:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a clinical psychologist and the author of eleven mysteries (eight of them written as Roberta Isleib.) I love to eat, talk, and write food, and I spend part of the year in Key West. Throw in a couple of cats, and all that combines very nicely in the Key West food critic mystery series.

Tell us about your latest book, Topped Chef.

Topped Chef is the third book in the Key West series–which I am having an absolute ball writing! In this installment, Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is tapped as a judge on a reality TV  cooking show. But when another judge turns up murdered, she must figure  out who’s taking the contest too seriously before she becomes the next  victim.

If you were casting a movie, who would play the characters in your Key West Food Critic series?

I am dreadful at casting movies and if this dream of one of my books becoming a film ever comes true, I will leave the details to the professionals. That said, I would love to cast Amy Adams as Hayley, and Meryl Streep as her mother! There is a drag queen character in this book too–for that I would suggest using the actual person, Randy Thompson. He’s a fabulous performer!

How do you market your books? Do you have any marketing advice for our readers?

Oh sigh, this is so hard because you can get sucked into the vortex of marketing and forget to write. I use Facebook (www.facebook.com/lucyburdette), Twitter in a half-hearted way (www.twitter.com/lucyburdette), Pinterest for generating book ideas and collecting food photos (www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib), and I blog with two wonderful groups of writers, Mystery Lovers Kitchen (www.mysteryloverskitchen.com) and Jungle Red Writers (www.jungleredwriters.com). When I’m approaching a book launch, I do as many guest posts as I can to spread the word. I try pitching magazines and radio shows. And since there is nothing better than talking with real readers in person, I schedule appearances at book stores, libraries, and conferences. And I also have a website: www.lucyburdette.com

Do you see what I mean about that vortex??

My advice is to pick a few of the many promotional options–the ones that suit your personality–and ignore the rest. And start early. And have fun at it! And try to give something to the readers–they won’t come back if your posts and updates are all about you and your newest release.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a little of both. I have to turn in a synopsis to my editor at NAL as part of my contract. But it usually turns out that when I begin writing, the book takes all kinds of U-turns in unexpected directions–which can be exhilarating, but also scary. In the book I’m writing now (or should be), the plot is kicking my butt.

How long does it take you to turn out a draft of a book? Is it an easy–or agonizing–process?

For this series, I have about nine months in between books. The first draft is always agonizing. While rewrites to me are fun!

What made you want to write cozy mysteries? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I’ve always read mysteries and I don’t like gore and violence so this genre is a natural for me. My first culinary mystery idol was Diane Mott Davidson. You might be able to imagine how thrilled I was to land a blurb from her about AN APPETITE FOR MURDER: “What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food–a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.” DMD  Wow!

When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?

I’m a huge reader, of women’s fiction as well as mysteries. I enjoy cooking, my pets, spending time with my family, and enough exercise to overcome the effects of all that good food.

How do you battle the Doubt Monster? We define the Doubt Monster as: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid, and no one in her right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

My best advice on that came from my writing pal Hallie Ephron: Hold your nose and write. You can’t fix something that isn’t written! And I love my writer friends who understand how hard this work is–they are always available with a crying towel if needed…

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West food critic mystery, which will be out in February 2014. The deadline is barreling down upon me! thanks so much for inviting me to visit! And best of luck with your writing Suze :)!

Thanks, Lucy! Lucy’s on her way to Malice Domestic today, but she’ll pop in from time to time and answer your questions.