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Meet My Characters

YA BlogfestToday I’m being hosted on Apryl Baker’s Blogfest! I like doing these events because it gives me an opportunity to show a different side of my characters, to do something different. In this post, a fictional patroness interviews the key characters of my three flying horse novels to see who might be the best barn leader. Check it out!

My Crazy Corner‘s YA/NA Blogfest

Cover Reveal: Touch Me Not

TOUCH ME NOT, a New Adult Romance by USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Apryl Baker, releases this September through Limitless Publishing!

 

 

 ✰ ✰ SYNOPSIS ✰ 

A past tragedy has left Lily James burdened with a devastating secret…

Since the death of her twin sister, Lily can’t bear to be touched. Not accidentally, not casually…and certainly not intimately. This makes it impossible for her to confess to her best friend Adam Roberts that she’s in love with him. She can’t give him the sort of relationship he needs, so she watches in silence while he plans his wedding with someone else.

Enter Nikoli Kinkaid, the campus manwhore…

Nikoli is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of women, and he wants to add Lily to his list of conquests, but she wants nothing to do with him—until he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He’ll teach her to enjoy human contact again, giving her a chance to win over Adam, while Nikoli uses all his considerable charm to seduce her.

But Lily raises the stakes…

Lily loves cars. Her late father was a racer, and she grew up under the hood of a car and on the racetrack. Nikoli has a limited edition 1970 Plymouth Barracuda she covets, so she informs him the terms of their deal also require he not sleep with anyone for six months. If he does, she’ll win the car. If she surrenders and ends up in his bed, his beloved ’Cuda is his to keep.

In an intricate dance of control and surrender, a reluctant friendship becomes something more. Lily begins to crave things she never believed she could, and Nikoli realizes there is more at stake than his reputation.

If Lily overcomes her phobia, will she crave Adam’s touch as she’s starting to crave Nikoli’s? 

Or will she only find pleasure from the touch of a semi-reformed manwhore?

 
 

 

 ✰ ✰ ✰ MEET THE AUTHOR: APRYL BAKER  ✰ ✰ ✰

So who am I? Well, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there’s always someone to tell your mama you were seen kissing a particular boy on a particular day just a little too long. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled “Lord Margrave’s Deception.” I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters.

Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my niece and nephew and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce…lol.

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

Tech 1; Teacher 0

tech

Teachers plan for weeks for the first day of school. Handouts are copied, art projects prepared, desks set up…and computers plugged in. Today was the first day of school for me, and I welcomed 34 sixth graders. Now keep in mind that I hooked up my computer, document camera, printer, and smart board yesterday and everything worked.

So today I went to project my first day presentation, and I didn’t have the right pigtail that connects my computer to the projector. I’d left it at home. Another teacher and I fiddled with our schedules so that I could use hers when she was done. I turned on my doc cam and had to turn it off and on three times before it worked. Later, I went to use my older computer, the one I had the correct pigtail for, and the connection didn’t work. I tried other computers, still didn’t work. That trusty pigtail that I’ve used for years is dead. And one of the computers I unplugged blacked out–battery is dead. I tried to log on to Google Drive to show a slide show, and my poor tired old computer fixated itself in an old student’s account. It would not log into mine. I finally decided to print the slides and show them under the doc cam. If you’re paying attention, you probably know what happened next. Printer was out of ink.

So I spent the day in a state of frustrated discombobulation. My wonderful new students were very patient, but I’m sure I came off as horrible disorganized. Tonight I will sleep. Tomorrow I will banish the tech devils in my classroom. And it will be a better day.

True Love: Reading

booksFour years ago, my summer reading included The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. It changed my life. It also changed the lives of over a hundred students, so far, that have passed through my classroom. Simple truths in Miller’s book brought me to tears because of how deeply they resonated within me. Students don’t learn to love reading by doing worksheets. I know that. So why was I still assigning them? The books students love forever are not the books assigned by teachers. True. I don’t know anyone who has Billy Budd or Candide or (what else did I read in high school and college?) on their all-time favorite reading lists. Not books you admire, not books that made you think, but books that you LOVE and reread and must have on your bookshelf in real paper. The Book Whisperer validated everything I knew to be true about my own love of reading, and it gave me the courage to change.

In July of 2011, I began talking to fellow teachers about it and found others who were just as excited. That summer, a handful of us from a few schools in our district formed a secret club on Facebook. Everyone read the book. Spilling over with ideas, we met to discuss implementation. Doing a good job with Reader’s Workshop meant throwing out the district-approved textbook and workbook. That caused me some trepidation, but I had already seen the power of the workshop approach in writing. So our secret group continued to meet after school started and we began to try this new style of reading instruction.

I developed short lessons that taught the concepts students are required to master: connecting to ideas in the text, identifying main ideas and details, using context clues, etc. Students take these lessons and apply them to their self-selected silent reading books. Every day in class, they read. Once a week, they write me a letter about their reading that shows me how they are applying the skills learned. I continue to be blown away by how their literature analysis grows throughout the year. They now read their textbook only if they choose to. We never open the workbooks.

Parents always ask what they can do to help. It’s much easier for them if there’s a worksheet! The best thing parents can do for their children is to read. Read to the younger ones and with the older ones. I remember sitting with my sons and reading, each of our own book, but together and engaged. Read the same book as your child and discuss themes. You might be surprised at the depth of some of the themes in Young Adult literature!

Not yet convinced? Read this article:

Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing, research from The Reading Agency finds

I’ve been very successful at getting my students to read. New challenge: get the parents reading for pleasure!

YA Blogfest

YA+BlogfestWelcome to this year’s Young Adult Blogfest from Apryl Baker! For the full range of authors and giveaways, click over to My Crazy Corner.  Apryl has veteran authors and brand new authors joining her for this epic two-month event. From NYT and USA Today bestselling authors to brand new authors. Meet new friends and reconnect with old ones! Each author has created a unique post for their book(s), including buy links and giveaways. Check it out!

If you are eager to read MY brang new nrver-before-seen post, you have to wait until August 28.

In the meantime, sign up to win a free autographed copy of ALL three of my flying horse books!    Flying Horse GIVEAWAY!!

Watersmeet

bookWatersmeet is the first novel in the Watersmeet series by Ellen Jensen Abbott. It is tagged Young Adult, but unlike some of today’s YA books this one can be read by younger YA readers. It’s about a girl who lives in a land with mythical creatures–including centaurs. You know how I am about horses, centaurs, unicorns, pegasi–you get the idea. On Amazon and Goodreads, this book gets a lot of rating abuse. I think those low stars are from YA readers who are expecting something edgier/more violent/sexier. Watersmeet is not like that.

Abisina is a human girl, heavily discriminated against because of her coloring and her absent father. Luckily, her mother’s healer skills are valued and Abisina is tolerated. An event turns the girl’s life upside down when she is forced, under penalty of death, to leave her village and find Watersmeet, where her father lives. She finds cruelty and discrimination as well as loyalty and love.

The world Abisina travels through is rich with history and races of creatures. The reader learns along with the girl as she encounters new things. Something I enjoyed was when Abisina is forced to realize the depth of her own prejudice–something many of us never fully understand. Discovering your own prejudices and overcoming them is an excellent theme for a YA book, and you don’t need violence and sex to accomplish it!

 

Writing Craze

book_and_featherAs some of you know, I have begun taking online classes in pursuit of my MFA in Creative Writing. This endeavor has pushed me to write a LOT this summer. The summer is half gone, but I have written a chapter of Aloha Spirit, started a new flying horse book, written a short story and created four separate scenes. That doesn’t count the articles, chapters, and workshop postings I’ve had to read and thoughtfully comment on. It’s exhilarating. Required classes when I used to go to college always consisted of some really dull, or dully presented, subjects. Now, however, I am immersed in something I absolutely love to do–write! So today I thought I’d post a bit from Aloha Spirit:

On May 12, 1939, we board the Matsonia, one of Matson Lines’ finest ships. Every color is vivid, from the green rim of Punch Bowl on the hill above the city to the sapphire ocean below. On the pier, brass instruments flash in the sun as the Marine band in their white uniforms plays Aloha ‘Oe, Queen Liliʻuokalani’s beautiful song of farewell. Hawai’ian girls hula nearby, their hair twisted with white pikake that gives sweetness to the air. Family and friends wave smiling goodbyes, their clothing adding dots of color to the scene.

Behind the joyous leavetaking, green palm trees sway behind the Royal Hawai’ian Hotel, also known as the Pink Lady. Waikiki’s pale cream sand stretches toward Diamond Head, majestic as always above Honolulu. On the white ship, I am so covered in fragrant leis, orange and purple and yellow and pink, I can hardly breathe. It seems like every flower in Hawai’i has given its life to send Manley and I off in style to the World’s Fair in San Francisco.

I turn to wave toward Pearl Harbor, out of sight beyond Hickam Field, in farewell to Earl, who couldn’t get away from his new job. I imagine seeing past Hickam Field, its gray runways, planes, barracks, quonset huts, and jeeps, to Pearl Harbor with its American navy ships. Over there everything is drab and businesslike.  

The smokestacks with the big blue M belch dark clouds. The ship churns water as it pulls away from the dock. Honolulu fades until I can’t make out the Pink Lady. All eyes fasten on Diamond Head, the last view of home. In keeping with tradition, we throw leis overboard as we pass the extinct volcano as a promise that we will return to the islands. We watch until Diamond Head fades to purple distance and blends into the ocean.

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