Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20 = National Lollipop Day

With all the turmoil in the world, let's take a minute to enjoy something sweet.



That's right! July 20th is recognized as National Lollipop Day (a colorful, enjoyable, and unofficial U.S. holiday of sorts).


Here are a few interesting tidbits (according to my brief research) about the sweet treat:

In 2012 See's Candies made the world's largest lollipop weighing in at 7000 pounds.

The original lollipop machine manufactured 40 lollipops per minute while modern machines make nearly 6000 per minute.

The true origin of the candy on a stick is debatable, but many give credit to George Smith, who trademarked the name lollipop in 1931. It's believed he named the candy after a horse he admired.

There are some "adult only" lollipops that contain various ingredients such as alcohol, dietary aids, and INSECTS. Blech.

In 1939 the Wizard of Oz movie introduced us to the Lollipop Guild.

In 1969 Tootsie Roll gave us the commercial asking, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?"

But of course the best thing about National Lollipop Day is this video with Shirley Temple singing, "On the Good Ship Lollipop":



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Enter to Win an Early Copy of UNLOCKED

In case you missed the news - - - there is a giveaway going on over at YA Books Central for three Advance Reader Copies (signed) of UNLOCKED. Hop on over there to enter to win! ;)


Monday, July 11, 2016

Cover Reveal: REMEMBER YESTERDAY by @pintipdunn

This #CoverReveal today is brought to you by YaReads Blog Tours and YA Interrobang! The cover first appeared over at the YA Interrobang site and you can click here to see that post.

I'm excited to share the FANTASTIC cover for Remember Yesterday by my author pal, Pintip Dunn! You can check out the gorgeous cover below!

Remember Yesterday -eBook

Book Title: Remember Yesterday (Forget Tomorrow, #2)

Author: Pintip Dunn

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Genre: YA Sci-Fi



Sixteen-year-old Jessa Stone is the most valuable citizen in Eden City. Her psychic abilities could lead to significant scientific discoveries, if only she’d let TechRA study her. But ten years ago, the scientists kidnapped and experimented on her, leading to severe ramifications for her sister, Callie. She’d much rather break into their labs and sabotage their research—starting with Tanner Callahan, budding scientist and the boy she loathes most at school.



The past isn’t what she assumed, though—and neither is Tanner. He’s not the arrogant jerk she thought he was. And his research opens the door to the possibility that Jessa can rectify a fatal mistake made ten years earlier. She’ll do anything to change the past and save her sister—even if it means teaming up with the enemy she swore to defeat.



Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26091228-remember-yesterday

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Yesterday-Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-ebook/dp/B0166RX44O

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/remember-yesterday-pintip-dunn/1122749494?ean=9781633754942

iBooks Buy Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/remember-yesterday/id1046514286?ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Kobo Buy Link: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/remember-yesterday-1

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Remember-Yesterday-Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-ebook/dp/B0166RX44O

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Remember-Yesterday-Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-ebook/dp/B0166RX44O

Entangled Publishing: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/remember-yesterday/



ForgetTomorrow_500Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, #1) Book Synopsis:



Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.



In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.



Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24804505-forget-tomorrow

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-Dunn/dp/1633752380

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forget-tomorrow-pintip-dunn/1121154538?ean=9781633752382

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forget-tomorrow/id1003220432?ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/forget-tomorrow

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-Dunn/dp/1633752380

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-Dunn/dp/1633752380

Powell’s Books: http://www.powells.com/book/forget-tomorrow-9781633752382

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Forget-Tomorrow/Pintip-Dunn/9781633752382

The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Forget-Tomorrow-Pintip-Dunn/9781633752382

Entangled: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/forget-tomorrow/



Pintip cropped

Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”



Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow, is a finalist in the Best First Book category of RWA’s RITA® contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com

Author Website: http://www.pintipdunn.com/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/pintipdunn

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPintipDunn

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13442212.Pintip_Dunn

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pintip_dunn/

Newsletter: http://www.pintipdunn.com/welcome

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#IWSG: Writers Supporting Writers

One of the things I love about the Insecure Writer's Support Group is that on a regular basis (at least once a month) we take a minute out of our busy lives to communicate with each other by sharing helpful words of encouragement on our blogs, commenting on others' posts, and by sharing good news with each other.

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

On the first Wednesday of each month, the group members write a post and other members hop around to read and comment on the posts. To view the list of participants, and even join the group, CLICK HERE!

My big news this month, is the cover reveal for my next book, UNLOCKED.

I would love any extra support from the IWSG to give the news a boost on social media. Here are some simple ways you can help:

Add UNLOCKED to your Goodreads bookshelf:
Unlocked

Enter to win an Advance Reader Copy of UNLOCKED:
Click here to visit YA Books Central and enter to win!

Tweet the news:
There's a giveaway for 3 ARCs of #UNLOCKED by @MargoWKelly over at @yabookscentral --> http://ow.ly/qzXJ301sbe3 @Merit_Press


Share on Facebook:




Join my email newsletter for all the latest information:
It's easy. Click here.

Pre-order books for yourself and all your friends:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound

Thanks for your support. I love this group. Writers are amazing. Let me know what I can do to return the favor and support your writing efforts!

Happy writing!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

Despite all the current political turmoil, we still live in a great country. My dad served in the navy and he was very protective of our country and the way in which people spoke about it. At his funeral, they played his all-time favorite patriotic song: Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA"

Here's a video clip of the song:



Happy Fourth of July.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Gardening: Raspberries and the Red-Neck Cane-Boring Beetle

Disclaimer: I am not a gardening expert. I have no formal education or training in this area. I only have hands-on experience, personal research, and common sense. ;) With that in mind, let's talk about berries! YAY! (and bugs. blech.)


I love fresh berries. In my garden patch, I have raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Last year, late in the season, I noticed that some of the raspberry canes had been hollowed out. As a result the berries that branched off those canes shriveled and died before ripening. I researched it a bit last year, but I figured the season was over and the winter cold would kill off any pesky pests. So I didn't worry about it too much.


This year, however, I saw this critter:

photo credit: http://bugs.decemberized.com/browse.asp?group=Beetles

A red-neck cane-boring beetle. Sounds bad. The thing is, I only ever saw ONE of these beetles. But I saw a lot of his (and his friends') damage. They were hollowing out the older canes in my raspberry patch.


Sometimes the holes were huge and obvious. Other times the holes were tiny.


So I began researching ... online and at the local garden store and with local gardening experts. The experts all seemed to agree that the only option was to cut out all of the damaged canes and spray poison on the entire patch to kill the infestation of cane-boring beetles. "Infestation" ... what? I only saw ONE beetle, but the experts told me my patch was infested and I needed to sacrifice the crop. Spraying the poison would not only kill the beetles, but it would also make the berries inedible. Well. I wasn't ready to lose the crop. It was a huge crop. PLUS, my raspberries were right next to my blackberries.


And I was really looking forward to an amazing crop of blackberries this year. So I did more research. My online research found a handful of organic gardening sites that explained my other option: hard work. If I chose to not use poison, I would have to check the canes daily for damage, cut out the entire damaged cane, and discard it - removing it completely from the garden area. I went with that option. It has been a lot of work. And I discovered that the beetles mostly go after the older canes that I had pruned last fall. I also noticed that the bush would grow leaves over the ends of the canes in an attempt at self-preservation. 


Together, the raspberry bush and I worked hard to preserve and harvest the crop. When I'd go out to pick berries, I'd take an empty paint can and wear it at my hip, secured by an old belt. By having the can hanging at my side, I could then use both hands to pick berries. That process made it much easier for me to pick efficiently.


Ladybugs were terrific little helpers in the garden. They ate the aphids and helped keep the bush healthy.


Because I chose to work extra hard in the garden, I've enjoyed a lot of delicious fresh berries this season. However, now that the season is nearing it's end (we had an early season this year), I've decided cut the patch down and spray poison.


There were more damaged raspberry canes than I had realized, and I also discovered that those pesky little beetles had drilled into the canes near the bases - at the sides - not just at the top of the pruned cane. I haven't sprayed poison yet, because my organic gardening instincts tell me not to do it. However, I'm concerned if we have another mild winter, the beetles will be even worse next year if I don't deal with it completely now.


Are you a gardening expert? Any advice to share? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

I'll post an update down the road. I intend to protect and harvest my blackberries this season. Wish me luck! Until then ...


Happy gardening!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Review Copies are Available!

If you are a book blogger, librarian, or bookseller you can read UNLOCKED before it officially releases to the public!

HOW?
It's easy!

Simply click on over to Edelweiss and request a digital copy.

Then - leave your honest review of the book everywhere and anywhere you can!

Happy reading!




Monday, June 20, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions of Margo Kelly, Author



Here are answers to the questions I'm most commonly asked during interviews:

Q: As a public speaker, you’re already something of a professional communicator, but there is a difference between the spoken word and the written one. Was the transition from orator to author a challenging one for you? 
A: In some ways, yes, because much of my public speaking has been on non-fiction topics such as business, sales, and recruiting. Now I’m writing fiction for the young adult audience. These are two completely separate worlds. However, any great public speaker includes stories, personal details, and a bit of hyperbole to keep the interest of the listeners. The art of engaging the audience has definitely helped me translate stories to paper.

Q: What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
A: The greatest thing I learned at school was to think for myself. Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true. Researching and challenging the statements of others became an essential skill.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? 
A: I wanted to be a writer … or ruler of the universe … they’re pretty much the same thing.

Q: How do you react to a bad review?
A: With my favorite ice cream: Chocolate Haagen-Dazs.

Q: What makes you cringe? 
A: Cockroaches … really any kind of bug or spider or creepy-crawly thing makes me cringe! I once slept with a can of Raid next to my bed, because when we lived in Arizona our apartment had a poisonous centipede infestation. I kid you not! We used bug-bombs multiple times, and those huge suckers kept returning. Legs as thick as toothpicks. Bodies as long as nine inches. My husband went after one once with a butcher’s knife (quickest thing he could grab). He chopped that thing into multiple pieces, and each piece scampered off in a different direction. It would not die. Ack. Just thinking about it makes me cringe! I still check my sheets every night before climbing into bed.

Q: You are stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want? 
A: Computer, WiFi, and an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 
A: I love to make quilts, go camping, garden, and read.


Q: What’s on your nightstand?
A: Dust. Because I’d rather read than clean house. In addition to the dust, I have a stack of over twenty books and my Kindle (with countless additional books waiting to be read).

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: Dean Koontz, Mindy McGinnis, Marissa Meyer, Barry Lyga, Janet Evanovich, Marie Lu, Dan Wells, Patricia Briggs, Leigh Bardugo, oh there are so many great authors out there!

Q: If you could choose only one, who would be your favorite author?
A: Dean Koontz, for his page-turning thrillers. My desire is to write fast paced thrillers for the young adult audience.

Q: Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
A: I love to read, and I have a lot of favorites, but if I have to pick just one, I suppose I’d choose Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. It not only kept me turning pages, but it also caught me by surprise in the end. Any plotline that is unpredictable impresses me, but I especially enjoyed Odd Thomas because he’s such a lovable character. Koontz writes great thrillers. Outside of my genre – I’d have to say I love the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. Every single book in the series has made me laugh out loud at some point. I love fast paced, plot driven books.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child/teen?
A: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Q: If you could live in any book “world” which book would it be? 
A: Oh. My. I read a lot of thrillers, horrors, and dystopias … so I don’t know that I’d want to live in any of them. ;) I would want to live in a tranquil place. So I suppose I’d want to live in the world of Anne of Green Gables -- Prince Edward Island. 

Q: If you had a time machine where would you go back in time or ahead? And who would you like to visit. 
A: I would go back in time about fifteen years to visit more with my maternal grandmother before she passed away from this life.

Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Two dogs. We rescued our big black dog from the local shelter, and they had named him Black Sabbath. The little white dog, which we also rescued, was really tiny when we first brought him home. We wanted to give him a name opposite of Black Sabbath. So we named him Rascal Flatts. We call him Rascal.


Q: Any pet peeves? 
A: Dog hair (no pun intended) … and yet, I have two wonderful dogs who shed hair everywhere and on everything, and I love them.

Q: When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie? 
A: I’m a pretty honest and even blunt person. I don’t usually lie. If you ask me a question I don’t want to answer, I will either say, “Oh, that’s a story for another day.” Or, “Frankly, that’s none of your business.”

Q: Who was your first boyfriend?
A: A boy I met at the roller-skating rink. I can’t even remember his name.

Q: Tell me about your first kiss
A: When I was a preteen I tackled the cute neighbor boy and planted one right on him.

Q: Do you believe in love at first sight? 
A: Yes. I fell in love with my husband at first sight. I went back to my college dorm that night and told all of my friends that I was going to marry him. They thought I was nuts, but they laughed when I announced our engagement about five months later.

Q: What's the memorable summer job you've ever had?
A: I only lasted two weeks at KFC. It was so greasy that I kept slipping on the floors and falling. Grease covered every surface, and I went home feeling so icky every day. But I still eat there occasionally! 

Q: What’s your favorite season/weather? 
A: Fall

Q: Beach or pool? 
A: Sandy beach along a river in Idaho

Q: Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
A: I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve been to places like Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Cancun, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, Puerto Rico, and many other great places. But the best place in the world is amongst the pine trees in the mountains of Idaho next to a rushing white-water river.


Q: Where can readers stalk you online?
A: Website: www.margokelly.net





Monday, June 13, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions about Writing


During interviews, I'm often asked about writing. Here are some of the most common questions I receive:


Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
A: I wrote a lot of poetry when I was young. (I don’t write poetry anymore.) And I always wanted to be a writer … or ruler of the universe … they’re kind of the same thing. But I honestly considered myself a writer way back in elementary school when I wrote a poem about roller-skating, and it was published in a small booklet.

Q: Are you self-pubbed or traditionally published? What made you go for this model? What advice/tips can you share with writers working towards the same goal?
A: I chose the traditional publishing route, because it felt like the right choice for me. I wanted the editorial input of a talented agent, and I wanted the business expertise of a publishing house. My advice for writers working toward being published via the traditional route is to make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before querying agents. Then when you receive feedback from agents or editors, consider their advice carefully and improve your manuscript based on the feedback you’ve received.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
A: Christi Corbett (author of ALONG THE WAY HOME) advised me to keep an “I don’t suck” file, which is basically a resource of reviews that compliment my writing. That way any time a rejection or terrible review comes my way, I can refer back to the flattering items and not feel quite so awful.

Q: What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for overcoming them?
A: The most common challenge is rejection – an agent rejecting a query, an editor rejecting a submission, or a reader rejecting a book. Rejection is the toughest test a writer faces. And honestly, the only way to overcome it is to eat a lot of chocolate refer back to the “I don’t suck” file.

Q: What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
A: Revise. Revise. Revise. Finishing the first draft of your manuscript is an awesome accomplishment, but do not stop there. Revise it. Find a fellow writer to critique it. Revise it. Find another person to critique it. And revise again.

Q: Do you write as you go, or do you have the book all planned out from page one? 
A: I have found that creating a story “road map” (not a precisely plotted outline) works best for me. It gives me direction while writing, but it is more flexible than a detailed outline.

Q:  Are you worried your Google history will get you into trouble? 
A: Absolutely! I have googled some pretty sketchy topics … all in the name of book research, of course.

Q: Where is your favorite spot to write?
A: My favorite place to write is in my office next to my window, which looks out into my garden full of berries: raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

Q: How do you celebrate the completion of a book? 
A: With my favorite ice cream: Chocolate Haagen-Dazs

Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing? 
A: I love the challenge of translating the vision in my head to a story on paper that someone else then reads and envisions in their own mind.

Q: How do deal with writer’s block? 
A: The hardest part of writer’s block is pushing through it. That means first, I have to sit down and start. Sometimes I’ll set the timer for fifteen minutes and force myself to just write – even if it’s terrible and even if I delete it later – because sometimes the physical action of typing will get the creative energy flowing again.

Q: Anything you would've done differently if you could do it all over again? 
A: I would have read more books on the craft of writing before I began to query agents. Some of my favorite books on writing include:
THE FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass
SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder
THE STORY BOOK by David Baboulene
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Browne & King