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July 2014 - Tianna Holley | Tianna Holley

This Week’s Clean Reading Featured Books – P.J. Sharon

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Book Features | 0 comments

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 Sixteen year-old Alexis Hartman wants nothing more than to smoke pot and play guitar. Getting high and escaping into her music seems the perfect solution when her world is shattered by her sister’s death. But when she’s arrested for possession a second time, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Her mother’s breakdown is the final straw that forces Lexi to spend the summer on the West Coast with her grandmother, Maddie. When Lexi steps over the line one too many times, she’s certain her life is over and that she’s destined for juvenile detention—until Maddie decides that desperate measures are called for. A three week Mediterranean cruise—for seniors.

Eighteen year-old Ethan Kaswell, the poster child for good sons, is stranded on the cruise when his father, a famous heart surgeon, is called away. With his own life perfectly mapped out, Ethan finds Lexi’s unpredictability irresistible. Although he’s smart enough to see that there is no future in falling for a “vacation crush,” Lexi’s edgy dark side draws him like an anchor to the bottom of the sea. As the two embark on the journey of a lifetime, will Lexi finally learn to love someone—even when she has to let them go?

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Smart and athletic seventeen year-old Jordie Dunn has a bright future planned, but when tragedy turns her life upside down, she begins to question not only her future, but the facts surrounding her brother’s death in Iraq. The military’s account that his best friend and fellow Marine, Alex Cooper, is at fault, is a notion she refuses to believe. Alex was the careful one–the shy, protective, computer geek she’s had a crush on since the ninth grade, and she knows better than anyone that her troubled brother had a dark and reckless side—a secret she’s kept for far too long.

With no memory of the incident that killed his best friend, nineteen year-old Alex Cooper returns home, shattered and facing a difficult recovery. Determined to go it alone, he pushes Jordie away. No longer the freckle-faced tom-boy who followed him and Levi around as a kid, she has become a beautiful and stubborn young woman who believes in him far more than he deserves.

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Seventeen year old figure skater Penny Trudeau has secrets. She’s not perfect, as hard as she tries to be. With a mother who is dying and a father who treats her like she’s invisible, Penny has every reason to lie. To escape the life that is spinning out of control, she falls into the arms of an older boy. But when she lies about her age and he finds out the truth, Penny loses the one good thing that has happened in a long time.

Carter McCray is the hockey hunk she falls for, but Carter has his own family drama, and he’s not looking for trouble. Penny proves to be the exception, until the truth comes out and he can’t get past the betrayal—or her father’s threats. Can Penny find her way back into Carter’s heart, or will she have to face the harsh realities of life on her own? Penny’s choices lead her down a dangerous road and the secrets she’s keeping will change her world forever.

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Haven’t I Seen you Somewhere Before?

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Guest Author Posts | 0 comments

pjsharon

Hi Tianna! Happy to be here to hang out with you and your readers. If you’re like me, you love to read books in a series. Mainly, I love getting to know characters and then seeing them again in another book. If the author has done their job, they’ve given me just enough of those secondary characters to make me want to get to know them better. It’s so gratifying to know that once you get to the end of one happily ever after, you get to dive right into the next with characters you already know and love.

Although I didn’t set out to do this intentionally, my first and second YA releases, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES and ON THIN ICE took place in the same fictitious Connecticut lake town called Somerville, with my main characters living on Thompson Lake. With only a mere mention of Jordie and Penny being friends from Somerville High School, the stories are stand-alone novels, but set in an idyllic locale that was already familiar to me. So when I began writing PIECES of LOVE, and I needed a hometown for Lexi to miss while she was being exiled to her grandmother’s house in California, it made perfect sense to have her hail from Thompson Lake as well. That way, readers could put names and faces to the friends she’s forced to leave behind. It also leaves room for other stories to grow out of this one. Readers have mentioned that Sammi, who is mentioned in all three books, needs her own story. I’m certain she’ll have her day. If you have suggestions I’d love to hear them. Sammi is pretty edgy. She plays drums, parties, and has had her share of boyfriends. What might make her a heroine to root for?

Though the Girls from Thompson Lake isn’t technically a series, since the characters don’t interact and the stories don’t necessarily follow a chronological order, I’ve enjoyed creating this little town where teens from all walks of life can come back to again and again and connect to recognizable people. Sarah Dessen does this in some of her books and it’s fun to be reading and to come across a familiar name.

As a writer, I find this to be a fun approach. It leaves the door wide open for more books and doesn’t hem me into specific details about the characters beyond the basics—unlike writing a trilogy or series, where there are TONS of details that need to be considered. I’m currently working on book three in my YA Dystopian trilogy, The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, and let me tell you, it’s a huge challenge to weave all the threads together and keep all the details straight! I wish I’d learned about keeping a series bible a bit sooner, LOL. That’s where writers have a document specifically to keep track of character descriptions, important events, backstory, and such. We don’t want the character’s eyes changing from blue to green by the end of the story…unless they are morphing into some kind of creature whose eye color changes. I had no idea of the challenges I would face in writing a trilogy. It gives me even more respect for the likes of Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) and Veronica Roth (Divergent). These are amazing books by talented authors. I only hope my third book, HEALING WATERS (due out later this year) is half as good as theirs are.

So tell me, readers, do you like reading series books? Can you think of any other authors who do the “mention” of familiar characters or use the same back drop but don’t have the books connected in any other way?

Author Bio:

Award winning author of young adult books, Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yogi, PJ Sharon has been called “a powerhouse of positivity and productivity.” Her mantra is “find balance in all things, and live every day to the fullest.” A black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, avid kayaker, and singer of Italian art songs, PJ has two grown sons and lives with her brilliant engineer husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA where she writes YA…because every teen deserves a hopefully ever after.

Website
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PJ Sharon’s Author Central page
Goodreads
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Color of Danger Book Review

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Book Reviews | 2 comments


Although I usually read fantasy, I decided to buy this novel one evening and am glad I did. Color of Danger is a Christian, romantic suspense with a strong female main character, and I was surprised by how much she has in common with the lead in my Alissia Roswell Series. Both women come from child abuse and have a love interest named Luke.

With a bad past, the main character has trust issues, and the author explores this deeply within the story. I’m not one for love at first sight and was pleased to find this was not one of those romances.

Unlike the fantasy reads I’m used to, this story follows the mystery surrounding a serial killer on the loose. The story is tight and put together well, with the romance being sweet and not overpowering to the mystery-themed plot.

The characters are adults, but with this being a clean, Christian novel, I believe teenagers who love mysteries would also enjoy this read.

The author also listed discussion questions at the back of the book, and I highly recommend this to Christian book clubs. The questions are already there, and the discussion would be about trust.

I’ve had Christians tell me they don’t like to read Christian novels as much because they find them predictable or the main characters keep getting saved from bad circumstances, not putting enough danger in the story. (I’ve seen this myself with some of my past reads.) However, that’s not the case with Color of Danger. It’s true to life–bad things happen, and the characters have to learn to deal. That’s where forgiveness, faith, and trust come in, no matter how hard to do at times.

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Alexa Verde’s Salad “Olivier” Recipe

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Guest Author Posts | 2 comments

alexaverde

Continuing with mixing things up a bit this week, here’s Alexa Verde’s guest post. Be sure to also enter her ebook raffle. I had a chance to read Color of Danger, and I’ll be doing a review tomorrow. It’s a great Christian, romantic suspense.

Guest Post:

While I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, I do enjoy food tremendously and love trying new dishes. I’ve eaten Polish, Russian, German, Italian, Chinese food, and one of my favorites – Japanese cuisine. What I don’t like is cooking, even though I grew up making dishes from scratch. (I still remember most of the recipes of my childhood and share one of my favorite below – a salad, very popular in Slavic countries.)

Maybe that’s why I made the heroine of my debut book, Mari Del Lobo, a restaurant owner. I secretly liked the idea of having a lot of food at your disposal without actually cooking it. Mari also looks at great food as something nice and delicious to give back to the people of her small hometown who stood up for her when she needed it.

In writing, it’s important to engage different senses in immerse into the world of the characters. I want to smell what they smell and taste what they taste. I mention different dishes in my debut book and even considered the title Taste of Danger before settling on Color of Danger.

Do you like cooking? Do you have favorite recipes? What kind of food do you like?

Salad “Olivier”

Ingredients: 6 potatoes, 5 carrots, 8 eggs, 1 onion, 1 lb of bologna, ham, or boiled chicken, 1 can of sweet peas, 5 pickles, 1 can of mayonnaise. (Some people prefer this salad without carrots, and some people like to add an apple).
Peel and boil potatoes, boil eggs, let cool down. Chop potatoes, eggs, onion, ham, pickles, mix everything, add mayonnaise, keep in the fridge.

About the author:

Alexa Verde fell in love with writing at age eight when she penned her first poem. After publishing 200 short stories, poems, and articles in the five languages she speaks, Alexa has turned her creative passion to writing novels. Her 2014 debut inspirational romantic suspense, COLOR OF DANGER, is the first in her Secrets of Rios Azules series—set in a fictional small Texas town where rivers and emotions run deep and the richest family in town has a taste for fine food, jewelry, and murder. For news, recipes, giveaways, and more, please visit her website.

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Congrats to Jera Publishing on Their Ribbon Cutting!

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Events/Appearances | 0 comments

I am very blessed to have met Kimberly over at Jera Publishing early into my writing. It was a time in my life when I was consumed with writing my first novel and wondering what I was going to do with it. There were many sleepless nights, as I did not know where to begin when it came to having a book published. Then, I met Kimberly, and everything changed!

After going to my first class at her office, I knew exactly what I was going to do with my novel. I was going to have it published, and I was going to do it my way! I went home that night filled with empowerment–no more worry, and I owe it all to Kimberly and the others at Jera Publishing.

Not only did they train me in the ways of the publishing industry, but they worked with Canton Walk Publishing in the designing, editing, and formatting of both Unexpected Metamorphosis and Unexpected Entrapment. When I needed bookmarks and a large banner designed for a conference, they worked hard to get the marketing materials ready.

Months later, I approached Kimberly with my author branding desire, and Jason came up with the perfect social media banner you now see at the top of this page.

Jera Publishing has done a lot for me, and I am very blessed to have met them early on in my writing career. Now that they are growing and business seems to be booming over there, I can’t help but be excited for them. They have a new, spacious office to hold classes and meetings, and more people are being hired.

If you are an author, I highly recommend you check them out to see what they have to offer. If you don’t see something you need, ask for Kimberly. She’s come through for me every time.

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One more novel, and I get my own shelf there. I need to hurry up and fill up that shelf! This also might be a good time to mention that my twelve-year-old daughter would not let me leave the house that day without her doing my hair in a flower braid. She watched a video online and stood on a stool while I put on my makeup. Although I’m not much for braids, there was no way I was leaving the house without it–bobby pins and all! Mommy love 🙂
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Check out JERA’s Facebook page for more pictures of their exciting event.

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