Monday, November 17, 2014

The Actual & Truthful Interview of Jessica Lawson AND a Giveaway!!

Wahoo - I have one of my favorite authors on my blog today with a fun interview - the fabulous, wonderfully awesome Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher!  I loved this book so much (my review is on Amazon) and with Christmas just around the corner, it would be a fabulous gift for anyone at any age!

I'm also having a Giveaway!

I'm giving away a hard copy of this awesome book with a fabulous book mark from Jessica AND Jessica has provided a couple of adventuring pouches like the ones used by Miss Becky Thatcher for her brother Jon's treasured marbles.

Along with the adventuring pouches will be a $5 Amazon card. So a total of three winners will be randomly selected for the giveaway!  Wahoo!   All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on one of my blogs OR on my Facebook page for this post by Monday, November 24th (I would be so grateful if you all can help me spread the word on this fab book and giveaway too. :)

Winner announced here on the 25th and this is open to U.S. Canada, Australia, and Great Britain.

Thank you so much, Jess, for allowing me to interview you!   I loved your book so much and the awesome spunk and spirit of your main character, Becky Thatcher.

Thank you so much for reading it! I loved your YA, The Headhunters Race, and can’t wait for the next book :) (thank you Jess!)

1.  I am so intrigued by how you tied this story to the characters in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer!   How did you get the idea to write the book and what inspired you to use these characters and tie it to Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain)?

You are so sweet, thank you! I came across The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in my house one day and hadn’t read it in years. I found myself thinking about the characters and how much I wanted to be Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Then I started wondering about Becky Thatcher, and what it would be like if she got to enthusiastically and deliberately share in the boys’ adventures.

As for the inclusion of Sam Clemens, once I realized that I wanted the novel to be an origin story, it made sense to go ahead and stick the real author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer right in the setting, where he could be an observer. Historically, Samuel Clemens was already there on the Mississippi, working as a riverboat pilot. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to ground his steamboat and let him see a few goings-on that might provide inspiration for stories to come later in his career.

2.  It seems like a good bit of research went into this book.  How did you go about researching as far as finding resources? Do you research as you go or do all of your research before you write (or a little of both)?

I have a Mark Twain coffee mug that says, “Get your facts first, then you can distort’em as much as you please.” That’s been my general approach, although I find that too much early fact-seeking on my part can sometimes be hiding a writing-procrastination issue, so I try not to let myself get lost in research. For this book, my research consisted mainly of looking over light outlines of the original Tom Sawyer to see which pieces I might incorporate in my own retelling/origin story and reading biographical information about young (he’s twenty-four, nearly twenty-five in my book and that sounds reaaallllly young to me nowadays :) ) Samuel Clemens.

3.  Becky's character is fabulous - I am amazed at her spunk, her bravery, and the way she comes up with things on the fly!  Those little sayings or verses were so cute too, and totally cracked me up at times.   She is definitely an adventurous young lady.   What inspired you to create her character?

Thank you! She was the most fun I’ve had in terms of finding a character’s voice and writing with it. I think she’s probably a blend of the many adventurous/joyful/brave ladies of literature who have come before her. A little Junie B. Jones, a little Anne Shirley, a little bit of the sisters in All-of-a-Kind Family, etc. I think every character I’ve read about sinks into me and pops up a little when I need inspiration. She may have a bit of the original Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in her as well J

4. Was there any parts that were difficult to write?

The more emotional scenes were difficult for me. The character Jon is based on (and named for) my brother-in-law, who passed away just months before I started writing the story. He left the world way too soon and I couldn’t write some of the scenes that mention Becky’s brother without getting very emotional myself.

5.  What parts did you have the most fun writing?

The scene where Becky and Amy attempt to steal from the Widow Douglas was a lot of fun. The scene where the girls are trying to worm their way into the boys’ bet was a hoot as well :)

6.  Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I’m somewhat paranoid about losing my work. I press Save way too often and email myself my current version of WIPs each day AND have a back-up drive (best birthday gift EVER from the hubby). But that’s because of a few unfortunate document disappearances that still haunt me and because my poor computer is going to die any day now. I’ve come to terms with that, I just don’t want it taking all my documents with it to Computer Afterlife.

7.  Anything new in the works that you can share with us?

Nooks & Crannies, my mystery-in-a-manor-house middle grade book, comes out in June of 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I’m currently working on my next book (another middle grade story) about an eleven-year-old runaway who tries to make peace with his dead father.

And then here are some "Would you rather"  questions related to your awesome book (my kids used to LOVE making me decide between one bad thing and another!) 

1.  Would you rather traipse through a graveyard in the dead of night with a mad animal on the loose OR sneak into a witches house?

Ooo, tough one! I’ll go with the graveyard. I feel like there are more escape options there and a little less unpredictability.

2.  Would you rather pick weeds in the hot blazing sun OR pick at a scab?

Pick at a scab, though it wouldn’t bring me the satisfaction it did during my youth. Back then (when I got way more scabs than I do nowadays) I took pride in knowing the exact right time to pick so that the underneath was healed and wouldn’t bleed. It’s an art form. Okay, it’s not an art from. But weeding in the hot blazing sun sounds a lot more unpleasant than a little scab action.

3.  Would you rather lose all your teeth OR eat candy for a full two days straight nonstop!?

Oh gosh, both of these options make me cringe! But I’d take eating candy for a full two days straight, for sure. I like having teeth far too much to say otherwise. But it wouldn’t be pleasant. I definitely like sweets now and then, but I’m a salty-savory girl at heart. Can’t I eat french fries and onion rings for two days instead? I could swing that.

This was tons of fun ~ thank you so much for having me on the blog!  

Jessica Lawson enjoys living/playing in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and children. She has to seasonally inform the landlord about bear damage to the trash bin at the end of her driveway and regularly sees a fox family trotting around the neighborhood (which makes her feel like she’s in one of her favorite Roald Dahl books).

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Cover Reveal: Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich!

Wahoo!  I have the pleasure of participating in the cover reveal for Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich!  I have started reading the fabulous words inside this beauty and I'm loving it and the cover like I love my coffee - which is a ton!!!   AND, not only is this a cover reveal, but Sarah has provided the first chapter below for your reading pleasure!!!  I hope you enjoy the cover and the first chapter as much as I am!

Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich

Releasing December 4th, 2014

Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.

A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love. But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.

Pre-order Available now at Amazon, B&N, Kobo&iTunes

Love the cover? Go on then and read the first chapter...


Before You Stands the Future.The dark-red banner strung across the storefront awning matches the dozens of others lining the streets of the shopping district. Each one with the same clock counting down to Acceptance. Tomorrow morning can’t get here soon enough.

I push the glowing blue button and the door slides open with a staccato puff of air. Overhead, an electric bell dings as I shuffle into the upscale boutique packed with other Candidates. Cheryl is right behind me, bouncing on her toes with each step. My mother would die of embarrassment if I showed the same lack of decorum as my best friend, but I’m bouncing on the inside. Our mothers walk in behind us and the door slides shut with another whoosh of air.

We visited half the shops in Cardinal City this morning in our search for the perfect dresses and dyed-to-match shoes. I got a thrill buying my first pair of silk gloves, Cheryl and I gushing over the tiny pearl buttons, but this is the purchase I’m looking forward to the most.

Shelves bursting with dance cards cover every square inch of wall space. Dozens of girls sigh and squeal over the small books we’ll use to record the names of our dance partners for tomorrow’s ball. I wipe damp palms against the cool material of my skirt and force myself to focus on the goal. One of these books is the perfect one for me. Hopefully, by the end of tomorrow night, it will hold the name of my future husband.
Read the rest of chapter one...

Sarah Negovetich knows you don't know how to pronounce her name and she's okay with that.
Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it's accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliché.

Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won’t read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life’s goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens.

You can learn more about Sarah and her books at or follow her antics on Twitter @SarahNego.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bucket List Blog Hop!

Wahoo!  I'm so excited for this blog hop.  It sounds so awesome and fun and I'm thinking I'm going to be adding some fabulous items to my own bucket list after I visit everyone else!

The Bucket List Blog Hop is co-hosted by Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries and Susanne Drazic at Putting Words Down On Paper.
I've thought about making a bucket list several times throughout my life and this is the perfect time to get one done and document it where it can't get lost! (I did one before but I cannot find it.)  Anyway, here is my bucket list in no particular order.  I can't wait until I'm done with work today so I can go around and check all of yours out!

1.  Visit New York
2.  Visit Washington D.C.
3.  Visit more national parks (including but not limited to Yosemite, Zion, Big Bend, Joshua Tree)
4.  Visit Europe (England, Ireland, Scotland and more if ever possible)
5.  Write full time!!
6.  Look into my family tree (did this once before but didn't get very far)
7.  Take my daughter to Kleinfelds or one of those famous wedding gown dress shops - we've talked about how we're going to do this whenever the time comes. :)
8.  Meet some of my blogger friends in person!
9.  Spend one entire month JUST reading books - no working, just read, sleep, and eat. :)
10.  Learn how to plant and grow a vegetable garden.
11.  Do a one year RV trip around the good ol' U.S.A with my husband.

I'm sure I'll think of lots more things to add to this list but it's a good start.