by Michele Bacon
Release Date: April 3, 2018
When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.
Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?
Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.
- What made you want to become a writer?
I cannot remember wanting to be anything else. Except a majorette. I desperately wanted to be a majorette. Aside from that, I’ve been writing and telling stories all my life. While I’ve been a writer all my life, I always wanted to be a published author. Now I realize there are many ways to have a rich and fulfilling life as a writer, and I’m happy.
- What are some of your favorite books?
In YA, anything by Brittany Cavallaro, Jandy Nelson, Courtney Summers, or Nicola Yoon. Also Eleanor & Park (Rowell), Genuine Fraud (Lockhart), If I Stay (Forman), The Inside of Out (Thorne), and Shine (Myracle). In adult, anything by Bill Bryson, Michael Cunningham, Laurie Frankel, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Tropper, or Kevin Wilson. Also Left Neglected (Genova), The Nest (D’Aprix Sweeney), Before You Know Kindness (Bohjalian), and Station Eleven (Mandel)
- Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Yes and no. I’ve invented each of my characters, but I often steal personality quirks from people I know or give characters my passions. I gave my first protagonist, Xander Fife in Life Before, my childhood. While no character is based on a singular person I know, I do steal surnames of my favorite people for every manuscript.
- Why do you love writing?
I love words and telling stories, plotting a book, discovering the best way to tell a story, writing dialogue, and inventing new characters. But the thing I love best about writing is hearing from readers that what I wrote made them think or feel something. When my stories touch the brain or heart of someone I’ve never met? That’s a great feeling.
About the Author
Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. When she’s not writing, she’s skiing, playing tabletop games, traveling, or dreaming of travel. She lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for over a year, and is eager to return. Today, Michele lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Life Before.
Prize: 1 copy of the book (US Only)
In the middle of all this, Louisa stumbles upon a new man who sweeps her off her feet. With major trust issues and a meddling ex, Louisa is left dealing with a whole new set of troubles. When her ex realises he’s losing her for good, a campaign of terror is ignited.
How can a new relationship blossom under the shadow of an obsessed ex? And more importantly, can Louisa stop her ex from taking things too far?
By day, I work in an office from 8.30 – 3.30 but my mind is never quiet from scenes, ideas and characters chattering away.
By night, I am an aspiring author, hoping to touch others with my crazy, wild ideas.
I am a mother to an energetic 10 year old boy and partner to the world’s best boyfriend.
My main interests are in the paranormal but I am interested in all genres and am planning stories to cover the vast array of different tastes. I’m passionate about serious issues such as domestic violence and mental health. As a result, these themes do run in alot of my stories.
I am also a hardcore conspiracy theorist and all of my stories contain twists, turns, and ideas that will hopefully leave you thinking ‘What did I just read?’
I am a redhead (and proud of it!), and as such, most of my female characters are redheaded as I feel we are underated and albeit forgotten!
Anyway, I hope you find something of mine to enjoy – thank you for stopping by!
Legends of the Lost Causes
by Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester
Middle Grade Fiction
The first book in a new middle-grade fantasy action-adventure series set in the Old West.
A band of orphan avengers. A cursed stone. A horde of zombie outlaws. This is Keech Blackwood’s new life after Bad Whiskey Nelson descends upon the Home for Lost Causes and burns it to the ground.
With his home destroyed and his family lost, Keech will have to use the lessons he learned from Pa Abner to hunt down the powerful Char Stone. Luckily, he has the help of a ragtag team of orphans. Together, they’ll travel through treacherous forests, fight off the risen dead, and discover that they share mysterious bonds as they try to track down the legendary stone. Now, it’s a race against the clock, because if Bad Whiskey finds the stone first. . . . all is lost.
What made you want to become a writer?
Louis: I love stories. Reading is one of my favorite activities and I try to read for a couple of hours every day. As I read, I discover inspiration for my own stories and characters. I also enjoy playing games, especially role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons, in which you and a small group of friends create a story together. After enjoying a big adventure, I wanted to share my characters and plots with other people. It didn’t take me long to realize that the best way to share my stories was through writing.
Brad: This might sound silly, but growing up with a novel constantly in my hand, I always enjoyed imagining myself as one of those mythical Authors (capital A) who created the stories I loved. I would read a book and envision my name on the cover, or see my photo on the back of the jacket, and before long I couldn’t contain the desire to see that in real life. So I started writing my own stories, and thanks to the endless support and encouragement of a wonderful mother, I never stopped.
What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
Louis: While I enjoy a nice can of Pepsi when I’m writing, what I most require nearby is my copy of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Whenever I feel like I’m stuck or blank, all I need to do is pick up this book, read a page or two, and I find that I’m reinvigorated and ready to write some more.
Brad: I’m a huge sucker for chocolate and coffee — I think those are my lucky charms. If I start a session of writing, I have to make sure I have at least one of those two items on hand. If I don’t, I go for the next best substitute: hot cocoa! (What can I say? I’m a choco-fiend.)
What are some of your favorite books?
Louis: My favorite western books include True Grit by Charles Portis and (as mentioned above) Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. My favorite fantasy books are The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie and Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I grew up loving Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Douglas Adam’s hilarious The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Also, anything by Neil Gaiman makes for a wonderful read.
Brad: I grew up absolutely adoring Robert Arthur Jr.’s The Three Investigators series, particularly The Secret of Terror Castle and The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy. Like Louis, I’m also a massive fan of Ender’s Game, and I never grow tired of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. On the western side, my favorites are True Grit and Lonesome Dove — both being the gold standard, I think, for the western genre.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Louis: I think every character is infused with aspects of people I know. But none of our characters are exactly like people in my life.
Brad: I agree with Louis that I can’t pinpoint specific people who our Legends characters are based on. That said, I do find myself from time to time envisioning the faces and hearing the voices of certain childhood buddies while writing our kid characters. For example, I sometimes see the grinning face of my best friend in middle school when I contribute to the character of Sam.
Why do you love writing?
Louis: There is something amazing about witnessing a story growing into life. When you first start working on a story, you think the tale will go a certain way, but as you revise and edit and rewrite, the characters come alive and often demand that the story move in surprising directions. I love the way a story can take me by surprise and I love seeing how a character can come alive on the page.
Brad: As I mentioned before, so much of the passion I have for writing started with my mother. An elementary school teacher for most of my childhood, she personally taught me how to read and write and draw appreciation and strength from stories and storytelling. In fact, I don’t recall a single day of my youth when Mom took a book from my hands and told me to stop reading. So I think my passion for writing came from her desire to grow me into a solid reader. And when I started tinkering with my own stories, she always lifted up my creativity and encouraged me to keep pushing toward my dreams.
About the Authors
Born and raised in Arkansas, Brad McLelland spent several years working as a crime journalist in the South before earning his MFA in creative writing from Oklahoma State University. A part-time drummer and singer, Brad lives in Oklahoma with his wife, stepdaughter, a mini-Aussie who gives hugs, and a chubby cat who begs for ham.
Louis Sylvester is a professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. He earned his PhD from
Oklahoma State University. He enjoys playing tabletop games from his collection of over 1,000 card and board
games, watching western films, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
Macmillan will give away one copy of the book to one commenter from the US or Canada! Leave a comment letting me know what your fave middle grade books are. Giveaway ends 3/25/18.
Hi yall! I am excited to share with you a fascinating look at one of the world’s most influential figures, explored in depth in a way like never before. This Sunday, CNN will premiere the six part series POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History. Lent is the perfect time to begin watching and learning more about the history of this leader of the Catholic church.
Narrated by Liam Neeson, Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History, is a six-part CNN Original Series that explores how 12 apostles became 1.2 billion Catholics today, linking recent news events surrounding the Vatican with their unexpected origins.
“Ever since a man, claiming to be the Son of God, was nailed to a wooden cross over 2000 years ago, the Catholic religion has had a huge and profound influence and impact on our society,” said Neeson. “As an amateur scholar myself, I was delighted to learn more about this by narrating a series that sheds a detailed light on how the Popes, past and present, and the Catholic Church came to be a prevailing force through fair means and foul, and along the way inspired some of the world’s greatest works of art.”
The series’ debut episode, “The Rise of the Pope,” examines the origins of the papacy and how Catholicism, against all odds, spread throughout Europe. Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History, will premiere Sunday, March 11 on CNN.
History buffs, travel enthusiasts, and anyone who has ever dreamed of visiting (or revisiting) one of the most iconic cities in the world will have a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome. Inspired by the upcoming television premiere of Pope: The Most Powerful Man In History, contestants can vie for the opportunity to win by visiting the website: www.myvaticanvacation.com. Giveaway begins March 8 and ends on April 15.
The winner of the giveaway will receive the following:
- Airfare and five nights of hotel accommodations for two in Rome.
- A $500 gift card.
- A rare and private tour of The Vatican.
The Vatican is home to some of the greatest works of art including The Pieta, Raphael’s Transfiguration, Leonardo Da Vinci’s St. Jerome In The Wilderness, the statue of Apollo Belvedere, and a painting of The Last Judgement by Michelangelo, located inside The Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is famous throughout the world as the location where The College of Cardinals from The Roman Catholic Church, meet when a new Pope has to be elected.
In addition, one commenter on this post will win a $25 LifeWay Stores gift card!
Everyone’s life is busy. Whether you are a working single person or a working parent, or just don’t like cleaning, hiring a cleaning service either regularly or upon occasion is something you should consider.
Many people look at paying someone to clean their house as a luxury because it costs money and it is something that they can do themselves. However, it really depends on your reason, budget, and personal lifestyle that will help you decide if this is a good decision for you.
Parents need to learn how to balance many aspects of their lives, especially if they work. The days start out with getting everyone out of bed and ready for school or work, shopping, making sure homework is completed, paying bills, preparing meals, running errands, and then getting children off to bed at the right time to be ready to wake up and start the process all over again.
It is often difficult for parents to keep up with the daily challenges of everyday life including keeping their house clean. Hiring a professional cleaning service, even once a month for the big cleaning, can be very helpful in alleviating some of the pressures of working parents.
You don’t want to hire just any company to come into your home. It is important that you find a company that is licensed, bonded, insured, and certified. According to Amazon Cleaning, providing experienced and highly-trained personnel who have gone through extensive background checks will guarantee that customers are not only satisfied but will also enjoy a spotless home.
Once you make the decision to hire a cleaning company, you want to have the confidence that your personal and property interests are protected while knowing that you have hired reputable and reliable professionals.
Yes, you can actually save money by hiring a professional cleaning company. As most homeowners know, they have to maintain a supply of various cleaning materials for different rooms in their house and for different surfaces. Most cleaning services not only provide their own supplies but also their own equipment. Not only are you saving money on supplies, you are also extending the life of your vacuum cleaner as it won’t be used as often. Good vacuum cleaners can be very expensive. Also, don’t forget that time is money and your time is valuable
Life can be stressful. Many people are overextended and have more to do than there are hours in a day. Some find it difficult to juggle the time and energy needed to get everything done. Keeping your house clean and in order can take a toll on one’s family, marriage, work, and even health. Some people might feel guilty when cleaning their house because it is taking time away from friends and loved ones. Others might feel guilty if they don’t take the time to clean and have a messy house. Hiring someone else to clean your house can go a long way in reducing the stress in your life. Think about how nice it would be to come home from a hard day’s work and walk into your newly cleaned home.
You Hate Housework
Yes, it’s true that most of us have to do some things in our lives that we just don’t like to do. In some cases, cleaning is one of those things. Hiring a professional cleaner does not mean you are avoiding your responsibility, living extravagantly, or that you are lazy. If you are able to, why not focus your time and energy on aspects of your life that you enjoy and where you are proficient?
Some people also never learned how to clean everything in the most efficient and effective manner. There are trick and tips that professional cleaners learn with time and experience.
A Possible Compromise
For those people who can’t decide whether or not to hire a professional cleaner, or who do not have enough money to hire one every week or even those who feel guilty for paying someone to do something they can do themselves, how about bringing in a professional cleaning service once a month? Or even once every 2-3 months?
This way, you can take care of the general day-to-day cleaning and leave it to the professionals to do the occasional larger-scale deep cleaning.
If I Die Tonight
by Alison Gaylin
Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever.
Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who’d rushed to help.
As Liam Miller’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?
The case quickly consumes social media, transforming Liam, a local high school football star, into a folk hero, and the suspect, a high school outcast named Wade Reed, into a depraved would-be killer. But is Wade really guilty? And if he isn’t, why won’t he talk?
2.5 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Jackie is a single mom of two teenage sons: Connor, the youngest, is mostly obedient and helpful to his mom, but Wade, who used to be his mom’s sidekick, has been secretive and seems to have a dark cloud hanging over him for the past several months. When a classmate dies, Wade is implicated in the accident and soon the little town turns on him and his family. But if he didn’t do it, and he won’t reveal the truth to his own mother, how can he clear his name and stop his life from being ruined?
From the beginning, I wasn’t as into this mystery as I could have been. Teenage boys hiding something is nothing new, and some of the plot points seemed very obvious to me. I also thought the progress was very slow, and this wasn’t helped by the author throwing in all kinds of relatively useless information about the characters.
So we have a washed up rocker named Aimee, who claims that she was robbed after a show one night by a teenage boy in a black hood. When Liam, the victim of the story, tries to stop the robbery, he is hit by Aimee’s car and dies. There are multiple suspects including Aimee herself, and it’s like extracting teeth to get any of the players involved to tell the truth about the night of the accident.
I didn’t like how the mother, Jackie, basically ALLOWED her son to be so shady and hide things from her. Yes, I know, teens will do that, but when someone has died, the kid doesn’t GET to have secrets anymore. I also wouldn’t have sent him to school in such a situation, but Jackie did. There were some bad parenting decisions made for the majority of the book. I also felt that Wade was highly overdramatic, and when the truth finally came out about what he’d been keeping from his mother, it wasn’t as serious as the life or death situation he was trying to take the blame for instead. I couldn’t believe the kid would rather go to prison than tell his mom the truth.
The author does a fine job of making you suspect that maybe Wade really did kill Liam, but there are so many other characters involved in the incident of that night that your attention is thrown in a lot of different directions. In the end, there is a deus ex machina that really just brought the story to a rather bland ending.
I know this is a thriller, but I didn’t feel any thrills at all. I would recommend avoiding this one as it’s quite forgettable.
About the Author
You know that the eyes are the first thing you notice about most people, and they are most likely the first thing that people notice about you. Even if you go for a low-key look, there are still some ways you can amp up your eye makeup to draw attention to your face and to feel more confident in how you look. Check out these ways to use makeup and other beauty items to make your eyes appear larger and more beautiful than ever.
Just like an artist’s canvas, you must prepare your eyes for makeup if you expect it to last all day without running. While applying primer may initially seem like a waste of time to you, you will quickly see that it sets up your skin to receive eyeshadow. Primer for your eyelids protects makeup from running even when your eyes get wet or sweaty. Also, be sure to use concealer under your eyes on any dark spots. Pat in the concealer for a natural look.
Highlighter can open up your eyes and make you appear more awake. Use a light-colored or lightly glittering eyeshadow at the inner corner of each eye. To highlight your brow bone, you can use either a light eyeshadow or a highlighting cream.
Eyeliner is what can really make your eyes pop. For an everyday look, be sure to apply a thin line of eyeliner above your upper lashes. Use either a liquid eyeliner for a bold look or a dark eyeshadow applied with a slanted brush for a more natural look. A smudge of eyeliner on your lower lash line can amp up your look for a special event.
Instead of choosing only one eyeshadow color, increase visual interest in your eyes with a multi-toned eyeshadow. Choose two or three complementary colors, or purchase a pre-mixed palette that does all of the matching work for you.
Finally, remember your gorgeous eyelashes. Be sure to curl them carefully to make them appear longer and curvier. Consider using eyelash extensions, such as those from Sugarlash Pro, for weeks of natural beauty. Finish by applying two coats of mascara on your upper and lower lashes.
Remember that one of the secrets to beautiful eye makeup that looks good all day is choosing high quality makeup brands. While you may be tempted to save money on your beauty products, you will actually find that quality products last longer and make you feel more beautiful. When you follow each of these tricks, your makeup will amp up the look of your eyes and give you a bold, beautiful look all day long.
Many websites such as focuswinecellars.com sell wine cabinets or coolers. If you’ve never purchased a wine cooler before, though, you may be lost about what to look for. Which features should you consider to get a wine cooler that meets your needs? Below are some tips that can make the process easier.
Consider the Size of the Cooler
The first and most important thing to consider is the cooler size. How many bottles of wine do you hope to store inside your cabinet? Also, think about how much space you have and your spending limit.
In general, most coolers are large enough to store 12 bottles of wine. This is a pretty standard size. If you have the space, however, choose a size that can fit an extra four or five bottles of wine. For example, a chiller that holds 15 to 18 bottles gives you plenty of storage with a little room to grow. However, they make wine cabinets that are much bigger. Some are large enough to store more than 50 bottles.
Get the Temperature Just Right
Another big factor to consider is the temperature. Any wine enthusiast knows that wines need to be chilled and stored at certain temperatures to preserve the taste. Most red and white wines are stored at two separate temperatures.
For example, red wine is usually stored at between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, while white wine needs to be a bit cooler at 49 to 56 degrees. Unless you like drinking only one type of wine, it may be beneficial to buy two small coolers instead of one large cooler. However, you could consider getting a cooler that has dual climate control.
Block Those UV Rays
Did you know that ultraviolet lights are harmful to wine? The more UV rays that wine is exposed to, the more that it changes the original flavor. One way around this is to look for wine coolers that block UV rays. They typically come with special filters for the glass doors. The filters allow you to still peer into the cabinets, but they prevent UV light from passing through. This feature typically doesn’t cost much and will do your wine a world of good.
Finding the right wine cooler can help you store your bottles properly for a long time to come. If you love drinking wine, you don’t want to be without at least one wine cooler that can keep it at the correct temperature. Considering the above factors will ensure that you never waste a perfectly good bottle of wine again.
Dystopian which releases May 8, 2018! Check out the awesome cover and enter to win an ARC!
to be a big city. Now she’s a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive—in Jemma’s world, life ends at age seventeen.
The People of Ell Aye
carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.