Music as Author Muse

itunesI’ve begun sharing my playlist with my husband. It was probably a mistake, because now he thinks I have a split personality based on my music choices.

For kicks and giggles, I scrolled through my playlist for the past Undertow books and, well, yes – it appears I’m musically bi-polar. My musical preferences range wildly, but my daughter, who also shares my playlist, loves most of the songs. I introduce her to my teenhood with girl bands like Hole, and she shows me Elle King. It works.

The truth is we, as people, are never just one musical genre, but a smash up of many depending on our mood. The same goes for me as a writer. The vibe and feel of a character or a given scene is driven by the music I listen to in my car or when I’m working out. It’s my inspiration.

My muse.

Basically, I’d be screwed without my music and, at this rate, I’ll need to build iTunes into my will.

Sometimes my playlist is also built by my fans, who toss out suggestions they think fit the series or a character. Often, I go and check out what they suggested because it shows me how THEY see the story through THEIR eyes. It tells me if my vision of the story comes through to the reader.

So, without further nonsense, below is my current running playlist for TRUE NORTH (well, part of it at least). Enjoy! And yes . . . I’m a rocker at heart.

 

Are you a writer? Do you play it loud and often? Share your #musicmuse and #authorplaylist with me on Twitter and tag me – @sharkprose. Let’s throw some love to those who tell their stories through the thrum of an electric guitar and the beat of a base drum :)

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Saying Farewell

Depositphotos_27246731_originalSomeone once said that, to say goodbye to a character that has been part of you for years, is like bidding farewell to a piece of you. As I write the last book in Eila’s story, I know it’s true.

I have no doubt that when I’m done with the final book in the UNDERTOW series, I will be both thrilled and heartbroken. Because for me, the characters in my books do not live just inside the pages, but inside me as well.

I see them, feel them, hear them.

I owe the start of my novel-writting career to five unlikely friends who are entirely imaginary, and I can never thank them enough. I can’t tell them how much they meant to readers, or how many times they were re-read, or how I tortured myself over their fate.

And their fate has always been set.

I’ve known the end of the series, since the beginning.

I’ve known the last scene, since the first.

My goal has always been to offer a war story, hidden inside a love story, wrapped up in a supernatural spin that is different from anything else out there. I believe that if I can do TRUE NORTH justice, the series will be known as a mind freak – a twisted, wild ride from hell that makes the reader bawl hysterically or laugh out loud.

If I do it justice, I will cry when its done. I will hug my characters tightly, whisper thank you over and over, and tell them I’ve given them all I can.

I’ll tell them that they can live on, in the hearts of those readers who love them, and as the years slip by, new readers will find them. Will fall for them. Will love them as I have.

I’ll tell them I will never ever forget them or what they’ve done for me, and that I leave them, safe in the hands of future readers.

And I’ll tell them I’ll miss them . . . forever.

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Cover Reveal for Sweet Madness by Leaver and Currie

SWEET MADNESS
Coming September 18, 2015 from
Merit Press


Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty one.
 
 
BLURB: 
Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty.
In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?










Mark
it to read on Goodreads
Preorder Sweet Madness:
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
 
Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her
husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. She is
a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination
to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary
fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/
Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To can learn more about Trisha’s
books, upcoming shenanigans, and her quest to reel in the perfect tuna, please visit
her website: 
www.trishaleaver.com
 
 
 
 
Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago with her
three awesome children, husband, and a one hundred and sixty pound lap dog
named Sam. She has an unnatural fondness for coffee, chocolate and things that
go bump in the night. She spends her days curled up in the comfortable confines
of her writing nook, penning young adult psychological horror, contemporary
fiction and science-fiction and is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press
and Spencer Hill Contemporary. Learn more about her at www.lindsaycurrie.com

To celebrate, we are giving away four AMAZING books from our publisher Merit Press. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen

ScarletUS.inddI have a bit of a confession to make: I owned Scarlet for over a year before I pulled it off my bookshelf and set to reading it. And I bought Lady Thief  before I ever read Scarlet because I was a sucker for the idea behind the story and the breathtaking covers.

But I still didn’t read them.

I know, I know – I’m an idiot.

I had met the fabulous A.C. Gaughen a few times and we got along well, plus we were set to be on a Girl Power Panel together and, quite honestly, the book kept tempting me to read it – not an easy feat, considering I have a TON of books in my office.

Scarlet whispered over the demands of The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, The Raven Boys, Afterworlds, The Winner’s Curse, The Red Queen, and Heir of Fire.

16181630I figured that I could read Scarlet in stages, because, after all, I needed to put my nose to the keyboard and get cracking on my own manuscript before my fans came at me with pitchforks.

Yeah . . . that didn’t pan out. BIGGEST FREAKIN’ MISTAKE EVER.

Scarlet, Lady Thief, and yes, Lion Heart, quickly jumped to the top of my all time favorite book lists, and if you know one thing about me, I’m picky. Really, I’m a total story snob. I demand that a great novel will take over my life and wash away reality. It will scream to be read, anywhere and at anytime, stealing my sleep and starving my body.

That was A.C. Gaughen’s trilogy for me.

I read Scarlet in one day, Lady Thief in an afternoon, and Lion Heart kept me company through midnight until dawn broke. I was invested in the characters, their plight, and the world itself.

I could feel the ash that cloaked Major Oak, the grand tree that held the heart of rebellion for Robin’s gang, and the biting cold of Scarlet’s soaked feet as she was forced into the castle alongside a brutal Gisbourne.

16181625A.C. Gaughen paints an intense, unyielding world of vicious power and violence set against the backdrop of sweeping forests and grime-covered cobblestone. I loved how Gaughen didn’t cut her characters any slack, forcing them into the crossfire and challenging their very souls by running through their agony and joy with the razor sharpness of a story built on both history and legend. Do not be lured by the beautiful covers into thinking this is some soft, romantic notion of Robin Hood. This series is a dark, brutal, spectacular retelling of the legend, with Will Scarlet as a fearless but damaged female rebel, known as Scar.

The Scarlet trilogy is what great storytelling is about – vivid worlds that become their own characters, heroes and villains that demand both respect and hatred in equal measure, and a storyline that haunts the mind far beyond the final page.

A brilliant grab for teens, both male and female, and the ultimate historical novel for reluctant readers, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the entire series for both home and school.

English teachers take heed: bring Scarlet into the classroom and watch your students become obsessed with a world of outlaws, corrupted crowns, and the glory of an England entrenched in treason. A spectacular find for the Common Core thanks to all the historical facets that can be unearthed in this rich, fabulous series.

I’m heartbroken it is over, though I will no doubt read the entire series again.

Simply unforgettable.

 

 

 

Sturgis Coffee House in review

sturgis coffee house 2Tonight I attended the Sturgis East and West’s Coffee House at the West building and let me say that I was FLOORED by the level of talent and raw courage I saw over the three hours of performances. Music, art, photography, poetry, speeches – just off-the-wall pure talent.

And I’m not sugar coating stuff here, people. I’m not doing the whole, “Oh that was lovely, we are all winners here” crap. Nope, I’m giving it to ya straight: these kids would mop the floor with America’s Got Talent.

I saw so many, many brilliant displays of talent, from a young poet who was destined to be a cross between Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Bronte, to a fierce musician who lived within the lyrics as he played, to the next song-crushing Julie Andrews. I even ended up singing to my radio on the way home, and though it wasn’t pretty, I did it because I was INSPIRED by the storytelling of the students I saw tonight.

I’m writing now because those teens lit my imagination on fire.

As I sat watching them, I wondered if they realized how truly gifted they are? Do they know that what they did tonight is not innate to us all, but a gift graced by fate and God? Will they use their gifts throughout their lives, or will they only look back on high school and recall how they, at one time, could shred a guitar or slam a poem?

My advice to those I saw perform tonight is this: Life is short. If you have a gift, hold it tight and burn it brightly and share it, always, with others. Don’t just leave it behind to gain dust and shadows in your past. Remember this night as the night a packed crowd screamed for you and that you connected YOUR story with them. That is your legacy and donation to the world: to forever maintain your gifts.

 

I will be there, at the next Coffee House, and I can’t wait to see more!

 

My keynote address for the evening is below, at the request of several audience members. I promised to repost it, so here it is:

 STURGIS KEYNOTE

I was raised in a house of storytellers, from a mother who was both a playwright and actress, to a father, whose tall tales and childhood rehashings were legendary. I could lie on my bed and watch the dust drift through a sunbeam and within my mind, I was transported to a world where stardust became its own seductive drug. A place where mirrors were doorways and adults had disappeared from the world.

 

My imagination was my getaway, because most of my childhood was spent staring at the walls of a hospital room. My body became a battleground for modern medicine. A thousand wars, never fully won nor entirely lost.

 

Like so many of the other kids on that same 8th floor, I was a prisoner, but no one could confine my ability to dream. We – all of us – were in some way or another, silent storytellers.

 

We were loners, but allies. Friends, but strangers.

 

I became that kid who lost herself to the view out the window and who appeared to never fully pay attention, but that’s where they were wrong. I was always listening, always watching. I was forever writing a story in my head, an endless loop of escape that kept me sane.

 

That is our gift – our undeniable right as people. Our imagination is uncagable and a powerful rebellion that answers only to our own heart.

 

Tonight, we celebrate the right to be storytellers in all forms, without restrictions or denials. We celebrate that which is ours by birthright and lives only within us, until we choose to share it with the world.

 

For some of us, it is like streaking down Main Street, howling in the adrenaline rush and the ability to shake our fellow man from the daily grind. For others, it is a quiet but forceful statement of purpose and belief that roots the audience to the ground. And for some of us, storytelling, whether through writing, poetry, music, dance, art, photography or the stage, is a chance to reach out to another soul and make a connection.

 

Tonight we let our stories free, and because there are those in the world who are unable to voice their own stories, we will speak for them. All the proceeds from tonight’s Coffee House will go towards programs that fight back against human trafficking in all its malicious, hateful forms. Such fundraising efforts will continue throughout the year, so remember to give whatever you can, for there are some souls who have yet to find the freedom to tell their story.

 

As we kick off the first Sturgis Coffee House of 2015 and enjoy a night of storytelling in all its beautiful forms, I’d like us all to remember the wise words of Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus:

 

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP to the GIRL POWER PANEL

Composition of pink shiny round frames and polygonal design elements.

The countdown is on to the Girl Power Panel on March 16th, 2015 from 6-8pm at the Centerville Library at 585 Main Street Centerville Massachusetts. This is a FREE event and is open to the public, though we do appreciate RSVPs whenever possible.

If you would like to RSVP, you can do so on Facebook by clicking HERE or by filling out the form below.

Either way, we totally hope you can come to this wicked fun event :)

 

all authors girl power

Cruel Summer’s Cape Cod Guide for Teens

cape cod teen guide
It is no secret that all of my books in the UNDERTOW series are basically a teenager’s guide to Cape Cod.

What to do, where to go, how to nag your parents.

Well – okay, maybe not that last one, but if you do, don’t point fingers at me.

In UNDERTOW, readers were introduced to such Cape Cod staples as Four Seas Ice Cream (a famed ice cream shop here on Cape Cod in Centerville that is featured in all the books as The Milk Way), Town Neck in Sandwich, Historic Centerville, Barnstable High School, The Hyannis (Barnstable) Marina (where Cerberus docks), Newport’s Breakers mansion, Quincy Harbor, and Sandy Neck.

STORMFRONT enlarges that sweep, adding in Craigville Pizza, the BHS football fields, the elusive Torrent Road home, and The Hot Chocolate Sparrow (The Raven).

CRUEL SUMMER digital cover for goodreadsBut CRUEL SUMMER, which is a stand alone novel related to the series, shows Cape Cod in all its high summer glory. It features numerous beaches (Cahoon’s Hollow, Marconi, Nauset, and Bodfish), The Flying Horses of Martha’s Vineyard, Heritage Museum, Vineyard Vines, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, Makonikey, The Welfleet Drive-In, Four Seas, Craigville Pizza, Nirvana Coffee House, The Boarding House, The Steamship Authority, and most of Main Street in Hyannis, including the Village Green.

Because of all the places that are featured in CRUEL SUMMER, I thought it would be wise to start a run-down of each spot in CRUEL SUMMER. That way, when you DO decide to visit the Cape, you know exactly where you want to go!

So – keep your eyes peeled here on Cape Cod Scribe for your complete Wicked Teen Guide to Cape Cod!! (PFFT –  this ain’t your Mama’s guide book!) Follow me on Twitter (@sharkprose) for updates or on Instagram (k_r_conway) for best stalkerish behavior.

And don’t forget to grab a friend (and a parental unit if you can’t drive yet) and get your butt to the Author Panel at the Centerville Library on March 16, 2015 (launch night for CRUEL SUMMER as well). Goodies, giveaways, and a chance to toss questions at crazy authors.

Need an “official” invite? Fill out the contact form found HERE (make sure you put in your mailing address) and the magical mail fairies will deliver one to ya.

Composition of pink shiny round frames and polygonal design elements.

Book Review: Unconditional by Cherie Hudson

9781760300067_Unconditional_coverUnconditional by Cherie Hudson

**This title is NEW ADULT and not appropriate for teen readers**

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for offering me an ARC of this title. Their generosity has no impact on my review.

I enjoyed this title and burned through it in one day. It’s a light-hearted semi-fairy tale of a young woman facing a life sentence in the prison known as Parkinson’s. Honestly, it reminded me a lot of the film Love and Other Drugs (2010 – Fox 2000 Pictures), except with a royalty twist and an Australian setting.

It’s a perfect romance for those seeking a happily ever after and loads of rolling in the hay. Personally I liked Marci’s buff trainer, Brendon, more than her love interest, Raph, but that’s just me. I was rooting for the gym-junkie from the beginning, though this is NOT a love triangle, which I was grateful for.

This is truly the story of one woman’s quest to find herself, now buried under the yoke of an incurable disease. And though most of her “self-discovering” is had while pinned under hot Aussie, Raph, she does learn to accept herself in the process. I think such wandering ways to self-acceptance often happen in the arms of someone else, for sometimes it is our lover that sees the beauty that we fail to recognize in the mirror.

 

Cape Cod International Council on Reading

On Saturday, February 7th (2015) I will be speaking to a room full of English literature professionals about Young Adult books for reluctant teen readers.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 8.10.14 PMYou’re thinking, “Oh, she will run down those stunning, award winning books that all the professional reviewers are raving about.”

Umm . . . nope, and here’s why: most reluctant teen readers are bored out of their minds by what adult readers deem “worthy.” Quite honestly, I get a bit bored as well since my life revolves around creating worlds and characters that transform semi-readers into total addicts.

So what do I read???

I read what the teens are raving about on their personal blogs, what the crazy YA writers are fangirling over, and what the bloggers are You Tubing over. I stalk Instagram book nerds (I’m one of ’em), and I chit-chat with my own fans to find out what THEY like. I see what Undertow is compared to, what TV shows are running up the ranks, and what movies create hords of screaming fans.

I seek out that un-put-downable ride encased in the 26 letters of the alphabet and I act like a teen when I read it: I must like the cover, the blurb, and the first 1-2 chapters, or I’m out. Because, with teens, that’s all you get – a brief snapshot of a story that better be brilliant.

Sometimes adults forget that teenhood is often a fist full of throttle and to hook those reluctant teen readers, we need a book that matches their wild, racing imaginations. It doesn’t need to be award winning or lauded by a fancy book reviewer in New York or LA. It only needs to climb into the heart of the elusive, variable teenager and take flight.

Teens need books that beat out TV shows, movies, and fancy electronics.

Teens need books that live off the page and stalk their dreams.

Teens need books that are addictive.

If you’d like to register for the Books and Brunch event, please head to the Cape Cod Council of the International Reading Association and register by clicking HERE. It will be held at the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich.

It’s time to read, and dream, like a teenager.

Want to read more about great YA for teens?  Read on HERE . . .

Joyride by Anna Banks

JoyrideJoyride by Anna Banks

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

I received this title in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Macmillan Publishing for offering me a chance to review it.

Joyride is the first book I’ve read by Anna Banks and I suspect I’ll be reading more of her work in the future as I enjoyed this one!

Joyride follows in the shadow of Carly Vega, a 17-year-old Mexican American (1st person) who is working herself into the ground in an attempt to fund the illegal return of her parents (and her two twin siblings) to the States. Along with her single minded (and somewhat strict) older brother Julio, Carly lives in a trailer park with other immigrant workers, who form a tight-knit, if not gossip-laden, group.

We also follow former golden boy and football heartthrob, Arden Moss, who has dumped his grades, the pigskin, and his good sense in favor of pranking half the town’s morally corrupt characters. He is the son of the town Sheriff, a cold-hearted bastard whose political platform is based on deporting illegal workers (like Carly’s folks, who got tossed back to Mexico when she was fourteen). Arden’s chapters are written in 3rd person, which threw me for a bit until I got used to it.

“Moss” hates his father because of the way he treated his older, mentally ill sister who overdosed. He blames his father for locking her away, taking away her friends, and basically trying to keep her a secret for the benefit of his political aspirations. In an attempt to keep his sister’s memory alive and to piss off his father, Moss spends his evenings pranking people, but one such night lands him nose-to-shotgun with Carly Vega, night clerk at the Breeze Mart.

Moss is floored by her bravery and soon becomes obsessed with her, determined to make her his accomplice in nighttime fun. He finds her a new job that pays more money and encourages Carly to live a little and not work so much. In turn, Carly straightens out Moss, who focuses more on his schoolwork and helping his Uncle Cletus.

I loved Carly in this story, especially how Banks portrays the mindset of a teenage Mexican girl who is trapped by duty to a family who only sees the value of a dollar and not an education. This contrasts sharply with Carly’s American side, which screams that she needs a chance to find her youth. Banks succeeds in effortlessly portraying the sad reality of so many migrant families in the USA who come here for freedom, only to find themselves a slave to their station in life and the burden of a wealthier form of poverty.

Honestly, I loved the whole novel . . . though the ending was just a bit far fetched for me. Teens, however, will devour the story of Carly and her boy, Moss, and the awesome, scene-stealing Uncle Cletus.

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