Tag Archives: contemporary

CAPTURED will capture your hearts

 

Title: Captured

Author: Michelle Areaux

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Adventure

Pages: 158

Release Date: 24 June 17

Blog Tour Date: 24  –  30 June 17
After their whirlwind time spent on the run, Hallie and Jackson return home. Though they must keep their relationship secret, they are finally together until Samuel enters the scene. Determined to become New York’s next big kingpin, Samuel plans to do whatever it takes to acquire his power, including holding Jackson ransom for a chunk of his father’s territory. Hallie and Jackson’s fathers try to rescue Jackson, but they move too slowly for Hallie’s liking. Will Hallie be successful when she decides to take matters into her own hands, or will she need rescuing herself?

CAPTURED is the exciting sequel to RUNAWAY.

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Buy CAPTURED by Michelle Areaux at AmazonGoogle PlayiBookstoreKobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Also by Michelle Areaux

RUNAWAY– Book 1 of the RUNAWAY Series

Do you trust me?

Those four, simple words would transform seventeen-year-old Hallie Romano’s life.

After Hallie and gorgeous, lifelong friend, Jackson, witness a brutal murder, she has to make a decision—should she trust Jackson and run away, or stay behind and deal with the fallout of what she has witnessed?

Haunted by the crime, Hallie flees in search of safety and freedom. On the run, she attempts to seek some kind of normalcy while keeping one step ahead in a twisted game of chase where she and Jackson are the hunted.

Besides the fact that her father is a mob boss who ordered the hit, the most difficult obstacle for Hallie to overcome is her growing attraction to Jackson. Will they ever make a new life for themselves and move forward despite the dangerous world they left behind?

About Michelle Areaux

Michelle Areaux is the author of the Wicked Cries series. Her love for literature began at an early age and flourished over the years into a passion. Currently, she resides in Nicholasville, KY with her husband Anthony, and sons Connor and Cooper. Social Media Links:

Learn more about Michelle and her books at

Goodreads | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Blog |

 Guest Post by Michelle Areaux

Hi, fantastic readers,

My name is Michelle Areaux and I write young adult fiction novels. I am so excited to have this opportunity today to share my love of writing, young adult literature, and coffee!

So, if you are reading this today, it is easy to say that you love books. As a writer, my true passion, above all in this industry, is a common love and passion for great books. From the time I read the Babysitters’ Club books to Judy Blume and then on to Sharon Dessen, I have always been a fan of a compelling story. From a gripping plotline, characters that make me scream and cry, to a scene that makes me hold my breath; it was that obsession that pushed and motivated my desire to become a writer.

My mom has said that I began writing stories from the moment I could pick up a pencil. I guess that is true, but I didn’t begin developing those stories into books until high school. From there, I began creating novels. My first novel, Wicked Cries combined my love of the Salem Witch Trials, paranormal romances, and humor. Now, as I write Wicked Endings: Book 4 of the Wicked Cries Series and prepare to release my fifth novel, Captured, I find my desire to continue writing these types of novels keeps increasing.

I have been asked many times why I write young adult novels and not adult romance. My answer has always been and will be that I write what I love to read. I think all adults are still teens at heart. We all still remember our first best friend. The first person we had a “‘real” crush on, and the first time we dreamed and imagined a wonderfully unique world far different from our own. That inner child is why I write books from a sixteen to seventeen year old’s perspective. I write worlds where my readers can relate to a fear, desire, or love a character feels. While I have dabbled in adult romance novels under a pen name (you can e-mail me to learn that name), my true love remains young adult literature.

Many people have asked me how I am able to keep producing so many novels, teach middle school English, and be a parent and a wife. The only answer I can give is that I drink TONS of coffee. I find that the night is the only time I can find solitude to write. My coffee addiction, as my husband loves to call it, keeps me awake as I journey through the night to write the crazy and sometimes wild images that float through my mind.

Now, I can sit here and lie to you all and tell you that writing is easy and publishing is a piece of cake, but, I won’t do that. First, writing is difficult—there is no cookie-cutter format to use or a strategy that everyone can work with. The way I write may sound crazy to another writer, however, my best advice if you want to become a writer is this: just write. If you have an idea or see a scene unfold in your mind, write it down. I don’t start on page 1 and end on the last page. No, I may begin my book with a big conflict scene, then, move a few chapters over to a big revealing scene or romantic moment between two characters. As I write the “meat” of my story, I always go back and fill in the gaps later. Again, that works for me, but it may not work for you. Find your own voice and tool that helps you grow as a writer. Next, publishing is not as simple as it sounds. You have self-publishing, vanity publishing, traditional publishing, and the big 5 publishers.

Since we are all friends here, I’ll tell you that I was once scammed by a vanity publisher. I fell into the trap of a catchy pick-up line and the dream of becoming the next J. K. Rowling. It wasn’t until I saw that I wasn’t receiving my truthful royalties and that my novels were not being edited as I was told they would be that I decided to get out of that mess. I was left scared, alone, and feeling like I had somehow failed and wasn’t a good writer. I could have stopped my dream of becoming a writer, but I didn’t. Quitting just isn’t my style—I guess I’m  just too stubborn.

So, as a once published author, I soon discovered EMSA Publishing. Elise Abram scooped in and saved me. She has now published my Wicked Cries series, Runaway, Captured and will continue to publish my novels until she gets sick of me. Ha, I hope not— just trying to throw a little joke in there!

I wish this wasn’t a common occurrence, but unfortunately, it is. There are so many deceiving people out there, ready and willing to take your money with the hope you’ll believe their lies. Please, don’t fall for their schemes. Do your research when finding a publisher. Ask other authors in Facebook author groups about that publisher. Search for their books online. Or, if you decide self-publishing is more your scene, try that, too. There are fabulous cover design artists, promotional marketing companies, and editors out there. Again, do your research before committing to anything. Regardless of which path you choose, please follow your dreams. I did, and I hope you do, too.

With love,

Michelle Areaux

The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Laurel Garver, author of Almost There, with a guest post entitled “The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story.

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About Almost There

Genre: Young Adult Inspirational

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save.

Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?

Buy Almost There by Laurel Garver on AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Apple iTunes.

 The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story

The most compelling characters seem to have a life outside the confines of a story on the page. They’re not like those animatronic beings on Disney World rides that are switched on and come to life only when there’s an audience to observe them.

Giving a character that life might entail developing backstory. But more importantly, it involves giving every character things to do, places to be, relationships, worries, plans and goals that engage them during the “here and now” of your story. Doing this not only makes them more real, but also can give them additional purpose, as plot catalysts. Making the cousin a real estate agent with keys to empty houses, for example, can prove useful to plot later.

Much of that present life may take place offstage (or “off page”). But it should leave traces–evidence apparent in the details you sprinkle in.

Those details might support what we already know about a character. A nice guy might show up late for a formal date with wheel grease on his knees. And we know he’s the type to stop and change someone’s tire, even if it’s inconvenient.

The details might play against type. She’s a tough girl from the ‘hood, but that strange indentation under her chin…well, it looks like the mark of hours of practising violin.

When details play enough against type, you can end up making a powerful social commentary. Think of J.K. Rowling’s Dolores Umbridge, the sadistic bureaucrat who takes over Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her office is decorated with pink and lace and collector’s plates depicting frolicking kittens. It’s absolutely chilling, because Rowling has deftly shown you the heart of evil–one that perpetuates wrong in the quest for building a comfy utopia.

How you work in those details could take a volume to explore. But I’ll list some broad-strokes categories, followed by examples from my new novel, Almost There.

Physical traits

  • Peculiar hand calluses from rowing crew
  • Smelling of horse and leather
  • Celtic knotwork tattoos
  • Scar from a past injury
  • Unwashed hair and food-stained clothes

Actions

  • Mimicking guitar chord fingering when watching another musician perform
  • Calling someone by the wrong name
  • Cringing when a particular character raises his voice
  • Anxiously checking a phone for text messages
  • Sketching the waitress while waiting for food
  • Whistling songs you wouldn’t expect the person to know

Objects

  • A truck full of carpentry tools and an unfinished coffin
  • Pantone ink swatch book carried in a purse
  • Nietzsche t-shirt
  • Whole box of children’s safety scissors
  • Collection of war memorabilia

The best sort of details to include are ones that hint at a character’s skills, values, passions, commitments, and priorities. It’s a powerful way to make character traits dynamic–giving them legs so to speak. That, to me, makes a fictional being more than a cardboard cutout taking up space–it makes him have a life that means something.

What are some of your favorite characters who seem to have a life outside the novel? What resonates with you about these concepts of “life outside” and “life that means something”?

About the Author

Laurel 1Laurel Garver is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who, playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly’s Fairmount Park.

Follow Laurel Garver on:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

 

“The Vineyard” – “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” for Adults

The Vineyard by Michael C. Hurley

The Vineyard by Michael C. Hurley

In The Vineyard by Michael C. Hurley, Charlotte regrets never having her deceased daughter baptized. Though she’s petitioned to have it done posthumously,  the Church refuses. She hopes that by committing suicide she will wind up in the same place as her daughter. While visiting old friend, Dory, at her home in Martha’s Vineyard, Charlotte plans to take her daughter’s urn and walk out into the water to drown. She is saved by the mysterious Fisherman shrimp poacher. Dory later has another encounter with the Fisherman when he correctly diagnoses her cancer, of which she is later miraculously cured. Friend Turner has a lackluster blog, but her posts go viral when she starts writing about the enigmatic Fisherman and his lifesaving abilities.

The Vineyard‘s plot is disjointed and winding, but not in a bad way. It reminds me of 1985’s “After Hours” or 2008’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, where a series of unrelated events eventually converge at the climax. Throughout most of The Vineyard, the only connection between stories is the relationship between the characters. Just when I think Hurley is going to tell me more about Charlotte, he switches to Dory, then to Turner, then back to Charlotte. The story is propelled forward due to Hurley’s excellent writing style which tends toward the literary. Though the climax seems forced and the denouement quite long, the ending is worth the wait.

Michael C. Hurley’s The Vineyard questions the meaning of faith, religion, and belief in a contemporary setting, and suggests that, in a world plagued by famine, war, and global warming, miracles and saviours may still exist, if we are willing to re-shape our traditional definitions of the two.

Mamabear gives this book

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.