It's back to school time! CLICK HERE and let these great YA fiction titles ease you back into the routine. Choose the books you want, sign up to learn a little more about the authors, and start reading!
Note on the right at the link there's a giveaway for a $50 gift card! See all the fun by clicking that link up there. And share with your reading buddies!
A heist so monumental, it may cost them everything... When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him. But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, they begin to question what they are taught about the last days of America and the government that has risen in its place. Then the government decides to sell the Liberty Bell and Reed and his friends risk everything to steal it – to take back their history and the liberty that has been stolen from them.
Interview with Jennifer Froelich, author of STEALING LIBERTY:
Jennifer, will you describe your book in 3 words?
Monumental Future Heist.
If you could be any character from one of your books who would it be?
Xoey from STEALING LIBERTY. I love her quiet strength and gentle convictions. She does so much good for others, but doesn’t make a big deal about it. But she’s also flawed and angry underneath, and I can relate to that. I just think she handles it all so much better than I would.
What is your greatest fear about being an author?
That readers won’t connect with what I’m trying to say. Coming up with a story and then crafting it into a novel takes so much time and thought and energy and passion – if the result of all of that was a big fat “No, we hate it” that would be devastating.
Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you've accomplished in life?
I got a typewriter for my tenth birthday, so I’m pretty sure she would be thrilled that I’m writing novels, but she would also be thoroughly disappointed that my success hasn’t translated into a mansion with servants and a pool with a water slide.
What do you do when you finish your book and turn it in to the editor?
Go to PF Chang’s with my family and then contemplate the impossibility of ever writing anything again.
What is your favorite Genre and why?
Suspense. I have always loved puzzles. Trying to follow the clues and figuring out how they fit together to create a complete picture is exhilarating.
What is one thing that would surprise us about you?
I went to seven high schools.
Was there an author who inspired you to write?
So many, but I think I was most heavily influenced by M.M. Kaye and Mary Higgins Clark.
How did you come up with the characters in your books?
I wanted lots of different kinds of people to identify with my ensemble cast in STEALING LIBERTY, so I used something called “Multiple Intelligence Theory” to develop my characters. MI Theory says people can be intelligent in eight areas: language, interpersonal communication, intrapersonal communication, math/science/tech, spatial skills, kinesthetics, nature and music. All of us have intelligences in more than one of these areas, but not usually all of them. I made sure my characters covered all eight areas. Now my favorite thing to ask readers is “which character was your favorite?” To my delight, I’m getting lots of different answers and hearing that my characters feel very real and not like “characters” at all.
Do you prefer to write alone or do you like to collaborate with other authors?
I prefer to write alone, but I rely heavily on my alpha and beta readers (my two sisters and my daughter) to give me input a few chapters at a time.
Everyone uses computers, tablets, phones and no one uses handwritten form or typewriters, what do you prefer to use?
I use my laptop, but I also keep notes in journals and on notecards. I even created what we called my “psycho wall” for Stealing Liberty, with maps and timelines and character sketches and flags and photos, all with yarn connecting ideas. It covered the entire wall in my writing loft and was probably a bit unsettling for visitors.
Is there a ritual you do every time before you begin your book?
Not really. My ideas are typically marinating for several years before I start writing, so I have journals filled with cryptic (and usually overly-dramatic) scenes and notes. Putting all of that in order is necessary, but only takes on ritualistic qualities when I decide to burn the lot of it and start over.
Thanks for taking some time with us today Jennifer!
Here's a little bit more about her, how to grab this fantastic book, and connect with her on social media:
Jennifer Froelich published her debut novel, Dream of Me, in late 2011, which reviewers praised as "well-orchestrated with outstanding imagery." Her second novel, A Place Between Breaths, published in 2014, was called "a roller-coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep everyone interested" and won an Honorable Mention in Writer's Digest's 23rd Annual Self Published Book competition. Jennifer is a frequent contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jennifer worked for many years as a freelance editor and writer before publishing her own work. She lives in beautiful Idaho with her husband, two teenage kids, and a rescue cat named Katniss.
An excerpt from STEALING LIBERTY:
Reed is frowning. Something brews behind his eyes. “You said the Bell will travel by freight train?”
“From Old Philly to the Western Sand? Any chance it will pass on these tracks?”
Sam shrugs and bends over his tablet, tapping and swiping with sure fingers. Finally he raises his eyes. “It’s possible. There are a couple routes from Philadelphia to San Francisco still passable since the Yellowstone landslide, and this one hasn’t been bombed by rebels. Yet.”
Reed starts pacing. “Is there a way to hack the transportation system? To make sure it will pass the school?”
“Probably,” Sam says.
“Even if we do, the Bell will be crated and traveling by pretty fast,” Paisley says. “Not much to see.”
Reed stops pacing and his eyes lock with mine.
My heart turns over. I somehow know what he’s thinking and, for the first time, the hole in my heart feels like it might heal.
“I don’t want to see it,” he says. “I want to steal it.”
Purchase a copy of STEALING LIBERTY for only $4.99!
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I’ve been getting some feedback from readers, which I LOVE, by the way, and wanted to chat about some of the themes/topics/plot points in my Young Adult trilogy, Insurrection. I’ve seen several comments about how in the third book, Indelible, the fact that (spoiler alert!!) Saylor listens to Breame and works with him is upsetting. Readers want Saylor to make better decisions than that! Readers want heroes/protagonists to make the better decision. Readers want to see protagonists DO BETTER THAN. Am I right?
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
But seriously, have you ever, especially in your teens, made the decision to go against what you knew deep down to be right? Were you ever in a hard position where you didn’t know what was right or wrong, so you tried your best, but found yourself in what seemed like the wrong place at the wrong time? Have you ever found yourself listening to the lies of fear, hate, or doubt wandering about your brain?
Well, friends, this is what I want my readers to really ponder. I’m excited you questioned it, so that we could have this discussion.
Sometimes we listen to our demons. Sometimes we listen to our doubts instead of our faith.
Sometimes we listen to the crowd, or the false news, or the scary whispers, instead of finding the truth from the Commander. Sometimes we make the decision to go into the tunnel instead of letting the bombs blow up the mountaintop.
I wanted Saylor to face some hard decisions and waver. I wanted her to have to rally. I wanted to let her take a wild risk that turned out a bit sour. Why? Because I wanted to give her a chance to redeem herself. I wanted to give her Commander a chance to let her know the truth about who she was, who HE was, and all she could do. Saylor needed to see the darkness so she could choose the light. Too many spoilers there? I don’t know.
Additionally, I wanted to let readers get to know Wellington Breame and judge him for themselves. Was he a big, fat liar? Or was he a pitiable genius? We can’t often deal with our enemies until we’ve met them and named them.
Saylor needed some impossible moments to realize her full power. Could she have done that if she'd "made the right decision"? Sometimes there is no "right" decision. The right decision finds us. The right decision helps you realize your full potential, because it's exactly the decision you needed to make to be better.
Until next time, readers! Leave a comment, review, or a question on my Subscribe page! I’d love to hear from you! Choose the light. <3 Happy reading!
Crucible: a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new (Merriam-Webster.com). What’s your crucible? Are you there?
My kids and I dove into a Bible story the other day, where God rescued his people from Pharaoh’s impending doom. He’d rescued them from slavery in Egypt, and Pharaoh allowed them to leave captivity. The people left, headed home, facing days and nights in the hot desert, following a pillar of fire toward the unknown. They ended up on the sands of the Red Sea, a body of water flowing for miles in both directions. And then Pharaoh and his 600 men and their raging chariots raced to recapture them. The Israelites freaked out then, as I think most of us would. They projected their fear, they cried, they whined. And God replied, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:15-16). Essentially, God told Moses to tell the Israelites they couldn’t go over it. They couldn’t go under it. They couldn’t go around it. They had to go through it. And to stop whining.
Just like the classic picture book of “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,” the adventurers had to face a challenge bigger than they understood.
You, oh incredible wayfarer, will face challenges bigger than yourself and bigger than you understand. It’s the plight of mankind. It’s your job. Don’t ask, “Why isn’t this easier?” Ask instead, “How can this make me better?”
The good thing about these challenges is that they make us into our best selves. Challenges aren’t just part of the story; they’re the story.
1) Challenges show us God’s bigness.
On this tiny planet, as this one tiny soul, I often don’t see the big picture. I’m one puzzle piece, you’re one puzzle piece, and sometimes we lose sight of the whole puzzle and all it entails. But God’s there, with this big love for us. In the fire, beside the wide sea, and under the grinding weight of the mortar’s pestle, God stands right there in the middle of the crucible beside you, with the strength, grace, and power to go on. He’s an endless source of strength, and he offers it to his people. In these challenges, we get a mere glimpse of how he can fuel us.
2) Challenges teach us gratitude.
“My struggles are my own unique manifestations designed specifically to give me the opportunities to love and accept myself fully” (Jill Coleman). Seeing a challenge, obstacle, or hardship as an opportunity to raise a hand in gratitude teaches stability. Accepting challenge as a chance to love is part of why we’re here. The apostle Paul mentored his friend Timothy with these words, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Being grateful in adversity proves faith. How much faith do you have? How grateful are you for the rain? How grateful are you for the wall you just hit? Are you grateful for who you are so that you can be in this place and time to face this challenge? Are you ready?
Practicing intentional gratitude exhibits a willingness to level up.
3) Challenges make us stronger.
“In the days of the sailing vessels, this is the way they chose a tree to make a mast: They did not go to some sheltered place where the trees were protected from the elements. They went up into the mountains where the soil was thin and rocky. They found a tree that had been buffeted by the storms and beaten by the winter winds. That tree, that hardened tree, they cut down for the mast of their ship. So suffering hardens and strengthens us” (Robert Shannon).
In being a wife and mom, I’ve found strength to be a power. Maybe that sounds silly, but I feel like there’s still a big train of thought out there than women should be soft and weak. And I’ve never been able to be that. I love lifting heavy weights and pushing limits, because when I lift those heavy weights, life feels simple and free (and super sweaty hot). I love the feeling of picking up my twenty-pound weights and not struggling to do so. I love being able to do interval sprints and not pass out dead on the ground. I love that with a consistent daily grind over the years, I’ve built up my strength in a tangible way that I can see for myself and nobody can take it away from me or deny it. I love that now the effort has proved itself. In the beginning of trying heavier weights in my work outs, I couldn’t hardly finish a twenty-minute workout, the fifteen-pounders made me just about fall flat on my face (maybe they did one time), and the idea of ‘sprints’ was absolutely laughable.
But now. Now I know that trying harder challenges means I win. If one of my kids ever needs to be carried? I can carry her. If I need to help someone carry something? I can help. If someone else cries out, frustrated, saying “I can’t do it,” well then I CAN say, “Yes, you can.” Because strength manifests itself. People are drawn to it. People want to overcome. People want to be the mast of the ship, carrying their people home. Or, at least I do. I bet you do, too. And I’m excited about tomorrow’s opportunity to try again.
Are you grateful for the workout?
4) Challenges teach us courage.
Being that mast on that ship? Where will it take you? Oh my friend, it carries you into the vast unknown. With each challenge you face, with each fear you mow down, you build up a portfolio of proven records. It all builds up.
Never once did the authors of the Bible instruct or show the necessity of fear and letting it win. No, in fact, the Bible displays the opposite. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God made you powerful. God made you loving. God installed within you a sound mind. He dwells within you, and you are worthy to take on this challenge. Maybe you just needed to hear that. Very often, the things you fear are the paths you need to take in order to be your best self.
5) Challenges offer us a life greater.
“You’ve got to try this new show!” “You’ve got to get this soap!” “You’ve got to visit Venice; it’s beautiful!” In this context, a friend will probably be recommending something to you because that friend cares, with enthusiasm.
You’ve got to take on this challenge, because on the other side awaits a life greater. You’ve got to do these hard things, so that you see the beauty in the madness. Don’t miss this opportunity for greatness. Don’t miss these steps, small or scary as they seem. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
What’s your best life? Being in God’s will. What’s God’s will? For you to intentionally live a life grateful for the challenges he presents to you. No better path exists than the intentionally joyful path. You’ve got no reason to be sad or to complain or to give up. When you hit a wall, look up. Look around. Celebrate what IS, because it’s a glorious adventure.
There is only the journey toward God’s heart. And this journey is a life greater.
“There is a Brotherhood of Man,
A Benevolent Brotherhood of Man,
A noble tie that binds
All human hearts and minds
Into one Brotherhood of Man.
Your lifelong membership is free.
Keep a-givin' each brother all you can.
Oh aren't you proud to be
In that fraternity,
The great big Brotherhood of Man?”
(~How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying)
I'm from the old-world school of thinking where I don't mind if humans refer to themselves as 'man' or 'mankind.' In fact, I'm a brother. Yes, I'm a girl. But I pledged a fraternity in college, Alpha Psi Omega, a fantastic theater fraternity where I had the pleasure of facing trials by fire with my fellow thespians. I have a bunch of brothers. I have a bunch of sisters. And I'm grateful for each one. I'm grateful for this great brotherhood of man, this great village of people who encourage, step up, and fill in.
This summer has been epic for my family and I, in many ways. I began this "Epic Summer" journey with intentional ideas. I did some of them and I still have several on my agenda before the days dwindle back to autumn.
I decided against posting the weekly updates on the project, due to my windy schedule and other promotions I had going on, but I wanted to offer Epic Summer in its entirety for anyone who might be interested!
Here you can download the PDF of the risks, realities, and encouraging thoughts I wanted to offer for each themed "week." By downloading that PDF you receive twelve weeks of fun and encouragement! For free! Just cause I like ya. There's still plenty of time for you to use this to make the rest of your days epic. I hope you will.
Enjoy the finale of Epic Summer. May your days be sunny, your nights breezy, and your hours crammed with hope. May you risk the doldrums and stormy seas, and face the glorious reality of life as it is. And may you find it all quite the epic adventure.
Like a fun Young Adult sci fi? What about free things? Well my fellow Clean Reads author BW Morris is celebrating with a bang this month! Check it out!
What if society was controlled by a drink, but there was another drink that might allow one to change the way things were? This is the question faced by Tyler Ward and his five friends in the new book Six Pack: Emergence.
Tyler is set to graduate from secondary school when he learns the truth about the nation of Novusordo and how the government controls the population through a drink. He and his five friends visit a professor’s house, consume another drink and gain strange powers. Now they find themselves part of a movement against the government and must learn to control their powers and how they might change society. But can they trust the movement… or even each other?
Six Pack: Emergence, a young adult, science fiction, dystopian novel is written by B.W. Morris, a longtime writer for small-town newspapers, though it took him a while to embrace his inner comic book geek and put his overactive imagination to work through novel writing. The novel, published by Clean Reads, is Morris’ debut work, the first in a planned trilogy.
To celebrate the month of his birthday, Morris is giving away a free ebook of his debut novel. You must enter the giveaway at Amazon by Aug. 16 and may do so by following this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1f12261980c92216#ts-afo
Morris may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more about his work, visit his blog at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com.
Friends, so check out that giveaway, enter for your chance to win, and enjoy a new author on the scene. Feel free to share with your friends ~ sharing is caring! Happy reading!
Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe… until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead.
A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged, mining tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.
Amethyst Treasure loathes the idea of spending the summer away from her bustling city life to rot on her father’s ranch, but when a handsome young man shows up claiming to be her secret half-brother, her curiosity is piqued. He’s clever, street smart, and has no qualms jumping into the brawl between the Treasures and Horans. Caught in the middle, Horan kidnaps Amethyst, and all she gets is this lousy bullet through her heart.
When Clark brings her back to life, however, the real action starts, and Amethyst joins him in his fight against the Horan clan—whatever the cost. Defeating the Horans may seem easy at first, but going up against men with the same fighting vengeance as Clark, and a Senator with power he’s obtained by brainwashing the masses?
Well, Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.
Purchase your copy of Treasure Darkly here: https://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Darkly-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00TOV9A6Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500404647&sr=8-1&keywords=treasure+darkly
Jordan Elizabeth writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan roams Central New York, but she loves to travel.
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