Five Stars for The Driving Lesson

11-9 Driving LessonI enjoyed this book tremendously. Rather surprised me— It’s in 14-year-old Charlie’s viewpoint (and I’m a great-grandma). Grandma’s really should say something like this is scandalous—a child driving a car half-way across the country, aided and abetted by his grandfather who is seriously ill, dodging the police and evading his parents. But that’s not what I want to say. I say, “Go for it!” (Just don’t let MY grandson try this 😉 ) It’s thoughtful, surprising, and sounds just right.

This book is from Edgar Award-nominated author Ben Rehder. The average readers review is 4.6. Most think it quite wonderful. It’s hilarious with a quite serious undertone, I guess you might say. One review gave it a good score for the writing, but didn’t agree with the viewpoint.

Since this is recommended for ages 13 to adult, it might be on your list for holiday giving. Amazon listing here.

Twittering Memes

I’m twittering memes, even though I’m not sure memes is the word I want.  According to the dictionary a meme (meem) is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. So, I can only hope my memes will fit that description.

And why do I hope that? Because I’m using them to advertise on Twitter. I’m hoping the countdown project I’m running for one of my books this week will catch some attention, and some purchasers. What do you think? Some of them are below. (Successful promotion for the self-published is just another writing skill. Hope I’m accomplish

And, by the way, you may have noted this Monday post is not my usual review of a five star book. (Tune in next week when I’ll be back on schedule.)

Cherish countdown meme 1

Cherish countdown meme 2 Cherish countdown meme 4

Five Stars for Land Of Mountains

This is the first time my five-star review has revisited any author. You see, I like to toot the horn for as many authors as possible, often talking about the first in a series. But this book is a stand-alone, and in an entirely different category. For a different age, as well. Middle-grade to young adult versus adult mystery.

First Cover

First Cover

Okay, enough with  the blather. Land of Mountains by Jinx Schwartz is the viewpoint story of ten-year-old Lizbuthann, Texan, who moves to Haiti with her family during the 1950s. If Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a must for every boy (and girl) to read, equally, Land of Mountains is a must for every girl (and boy) to read! (Hey, I know exclamation marks should only be used once in every full-length novel, if ever. You’ll understand if you read this book.)

New Cover

New Cover

Here’s the Amazon blurb: “A ten-year-old’s new home on an exotic Caribbean island proves so fascinating she quickly forgets she didn’t want to leave Texas. After all, where better than a jungle world teeming with voodoo, mystery, and a really pesky zombie, to indulge her favorite pastime: snooping.

“In this humorous mystery, award-winning author Jinx Schwartz transports the reader to another time and place where rivers, and little girls, ran wild and free.”

One reviewer says: LAND OF MOUNTAINS by Jinx Schwartz is a Young Adult book for readers from 8 to 108. The book is a finalist for a 2012 Eppie award.

“LAND OF MOUNTAINS is a fun read, with serious overtones and underpinnings. WECLOM to Haiti, a country verging on revolution when Elizabeth Ann or Ann, as her father calls her, and her family of Texas Southern Baptists arrive in 1954. Haiti, they soon learn, is a child’s paradise and an adult’s nightmare.”

I first discovered this book in time to give it to my third granddaughter when she was twelve. She thanked me profusely. (Note – kids haven’t written any reviews.) That one had the first cover. Last December I gave the same book (new cover) to my fourth granddaughter, age eleven. Her fifteen-year-old brother took one look at that new cover and said, “I am so going to read that. (Have I made up for the lack of youth reviews?)

Land of Mountains is sold as an ebook and paperback (with either cover) at Amazon link.

Halloween Countdown-YA Ghost Reads

Vala-Ghost_Writer_300dpiIs there anything better than a ghost story for Halloween? Yes—two ghost stories. One is mine, but first, let me tell you about Vala Kaye’s Ghost Writer.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Vala Kaye – ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vala Kaye

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, romance and history. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games and salsa dancing.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, Vala explores what happens when the human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is Artificial Intelligence, book #1 of “The Superhero Next Door” series.

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Get in the mood for Halloween with this fast, fun YA paranormal novella! “Ghost Writer” is now available in print or as an e-book. Check it out at these online retailers: Amazon | B&N.com | KoboiBooks

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The second YA ghost read is mine, Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery). You can read all about it here: The e-book is free for five days from October 28 through November 1 at Amazon. But, before you do anything, comment below. Maybe you will win Ghost Writer.

Ghosts Writing Notes

I’m trading blog posts with Donna G. Driver. I’ve written a YA with a ghost and her YA with a ghost has just been accepted for publication. She told me what inspired her plot. So, here’s her fascinating story…

Ghosts Writing Notes, by D. G. Driver

If a ghost from the past wanted to communicate through a series of handwritten notes, would a teenager today be able to read them? This was the original premise of my soon-to-be-released YA novella Passing Notes.

A couple years ago my 17-year-old daughter was in a relationship where I swear the only way she and her boyfriend communicated was through texts – endless amounts of nonsensical (and in my opinion, not very romantic) texts. I’m pretty sure they never actually talked to each other. At the same time, my younger daughter, who was nine, was learning to write cursive. She was in the rare 3rd grade classroom that still taught cursive writing, as most elementary schools have pulled that curriculum, educators claiming it to be unnecessary. Between the two experiences of my children, I came up with a story idea: a boy is trying to win the love of a girl but is failing because he keeps sending awkward and stupid texts or emails. Suddenly, he begins getting a series of handwritten notes giving him advice about how to write love letters and win the affections of this girl. He first has to learn how to decode these mysterious notes, and then he tries to figure out who is sending them and why.

I originally wrote Passing Notes as a short story, but earlier this year I felt inspired to take another look at it and stretch it out to a novella. Revision is my mantra, and I am a big proponent of never throwing away a story idea, because you never know when the muse will visit with the perfect solution to “fix” what might be going wrong. In this case, my muse told me the story just needed more to it. I wanted to really explore who Mark’s girl Bethany was. Why would actual love letters appeal to her more than the ordinary texts and emails that everyone else gets? I introduced the rival boy at school, and added a couple of Bethany’s girlfriends who aren’t particularly on Mark’s side either. Most importantly, I wanted to build the relationship between Mark and the ghost. How are the two of them related, and why does it matter to the ghost so much that Mark win Bethany’s affections?  And then, of course, if he follows the ghost’s advice, will it work?

DonnaD-cryofthesea4 (2)

I was thrilled that Fire and Ice, the publishers of my mermaid novel Cry of the Sea, agreed to publish Passing Notes. It will be released on January 24th, 2015. In the meantime, do check out my current novel about a girl who discovers real mermaids washed up on the beach during an oil spill. You can sample the first two chapters at the publisher’s web site: www.fireandiceya.com/authors/dgdriver/crysea.html Follow me on FB or Twitter to keep up to date on the release news for Passing Notes, and read some of my other stories for free on Wattpad.

www.dgdriver.com

www.facebook.com/donnagdriver

Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor

www.d-g-driver.tumblr.com

http://www.wattpad.com/user/DGDriver

www.pinterest.com/dgdriver

www.instagram.com/d_g_driver#

 

Buy Links for Cry of the Sea:

http://www.parnassusbooks.net/book/9781612357867

(It is my understand that if you buy from this indie book store in Nashville, you can request an autographed copy. They will email me, and I just have to drop by the store to sign a copy before they mail it)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/view-cart.ep

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IM0JF06

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cry-of-the-sea-d-g-driver/1118708060?ean=9781612357867

http://www.bookdepository.com/Cry-Sea-Driver/9781612357867

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Cry-Sea/D-G-Driver/9781612357867?id=6119232814287

Goodreads Giveaway

Cherish-FrontI’m running a Goodreads giveaway through October 7, 2014. Cherish (A Ghost Mystery) takes place in current time, and in 1946. (Things like that happen with ghosts, you know.)

Sign up for the giveaway here.

Read the first two chapters here.

It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that teen-age ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to herself that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand, because that’s when everything changed.

Suddenly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dreaming? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cherish? Why is her mother at home baking cookies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a compact with a bad mirror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text messages do travel across the years, judging from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Someone is taking Kayla’s place in the twenty-first century. Who?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

Cherish on Pre-Order

Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400Amazon has a new program, pre-orders on e-books for self-published authors. I couldn’t miss that with my new book. So Cherish is listed here. The e-book will be available on September 10. The paperback page will appear (and be on sale) September 1, 2014.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that ghost for years. She wants to make the ghost go away, but she shouldn’t have touched her hand, because, That’s When Everything Changed.

Kayla finds herself in 1946 as someone else, someone whose name is on an elaborate tombstone. Is she Cherish, or is Cherish her? Is Cherish taking her place?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die with Cherish in a few days.
Question: Do cell phone texts span the centuries? And, if they do, will Kayla’s friends believe her?