Friday, May 11, 2018

Interview Q&A – Cynthia Weil / 806: A Novel

Today is the last day to enter to win 806: A Novel by Cynthia Weil. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Author Interview- Cynthia Weil

As one of the first women in Rock & Roll, what was that like? Was it more difficult when you started or now? 
Neither Carole King nor I ever thought about our being female standing in our way. We just did our thing! Carole had always been encouraged by her family and it served her well. I had always been discouraged by my mom who wanted me to marry a doctor or a lawyer and throw fabulous dinner parties. I was encouraged to pursue my dreams by my mother’s sister, the family rebel, my Aunt Toni, dancer, choreographer and later a literary agent.

Your new young adult novel, 806, is the story of three very different teens—a songwriter/musician, a golden boy jock, and a magic-obsessed nerd with very sensitive allergies, who are forced by circumstances to band together to find their mutual sperm donor father. Are any of the characters based on yourself or people you’ve known?
None of them are based on me but, of course, KT as a teen songwriter is the closest to me. I often turned to writing to comfort me when I was a teen. I created them from my imagination cause that’s what writers do, however I often think that the search for a father is a part of me because my father killed himself when I was 9.

In general, what inspires your writing/where do you get your ideas? …both lyrics and fiction. 
I often got lyrical ideas from my life and my friends’ lives or something I have read about. I am a voracious reader. I am always inspired by other writers even as a lyricist. As a lyricist I always think “could I have written that?”

Will you share a little about your writing process: what kind of setting do you prefer when you write, do you have a certain room or special place that helps get the creative juices flowing? Do you usually write at a particular time of day, or whenever an idea comes to you?
Once I’ve begun something, I go to my desk first thing in the morning after I’ve fed the dog, as that time is quietest in my household, so it’s about 7ish. Then I wade in and slog on until my brain gives out, and then I rest and return the next day to do it again.

What kind of reader will be drawn to 806, and what do you hope they’ll take away from the story?
I think anyone who wonders about family, the one they have and perhaps the one they don’t have, but have dreamed about, will be drawn to 806. I hope they will take away the idea that people aren’t necessarily the image they present to the world. We are all many layered and so much more than who we appear to be and there are many kinds of modern families. The traditional family doesn’t really exist that often but families of all different kinds can provide a nurturing environment for children, teens, and parents. As some great songwriters once said…”All You Need Is Love.”

806: A Novel
by Cynthia Weil (
Tanglewood Publishing (
March 13 2018 // Ages: 13+
$16.99-Hardcover // ISBN: 978-1-939100-14-6

Friday, April 27, 2018

806: A Novel by Cynthia Weil- Book Review and Giveaway!

Last Day to Enter to Win- This Heart of Mine by CC Hunter

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I have a review of 806: A Novel, a YA contemporary novel by Cynthia Weil. The publisher is offering one copy up as a giveaway. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter. If you don't see it click, 'read more'.

The Story-
KT's mom is too dependant, she is always falling hard for men and then getting dumped by them. When KT learns that her real father is a sperm donor, she heads out to find her bio dad and perhaps some siblings. What she finds are two kids from her own high school, one a swim jock and the other an allergy beset nerd. Together they decide to get to the truth of the matter. Just who is donor 806, how are they like him, and can he help them solve their current life problems?

A road trip is in order, but what they find on the way is not what they expected.

My Thoughts-
This was a fun and easy read that I was able to just chill with and take a break. The story is modern, with a sperm donor hunt and teenagers who feel out of place and unsure of themselves. The real catch is that 806 is not the real donor, and so the three teenagers set out to find their actual donor. Along the way they bond, discover how to just "be", and learn their own meaning of family.

I enjoyed the ongoing unraveling of the mystery of the correct donor. There are definite twists, but they are simple and fun. I really like the hippie dude who seems to be a real psychic. The kids journey takes on the classic tale of, "my donor is really someone rich and famous", but it seemed to fit well with the plot and is not over done. There are no sudden riches or ongoing fame. Instead, each of the kids are able to find a piece of themselves in their bio dad, and that in turn helps them come to terms with who they are as individuals.

I think the best part is the love of music that both KT and her bio dad share. It is a true moment when they are up on stage playing together. I also enjoyed the touch of romance that follows KT around. I think teens will enjoy the story and road trip, so I'm giving this book a 4!

The Author-
Cynthia Weil is best known as the lyricist of such classic songs as "On Broadway," "Just Once," Here You Come Again," "Somewhere Out There," "Don't Know Much," "He's So Shy," "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," the most played song of the 20th century. Collaborating with her husband, Barry Mann, and others, she has written countless standards. Weil has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (only the 3rd woman to receive this honor in the non-performing category). She has been honored with multiple Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards for "Somewhere Out There," which won the awards for "Motion Picture Song of the Year" and "Song of the Year."

Currently featured as a real-life character in the Tony Award-winning musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Cynthia resides in Los Angeles with her husband and songwriting partner, Barry Mann, and dog, Callie. When not writing lyrics, you can find Cynthia fighting for animal rights, supporting young artists, or crafting her next book filled with music, dynamic relationships, and discovery.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The 2018 Seattle Writing Workshop: April 28, 2018

So, one of my twitter feeds let me know about a writing event coming up in my area-The 2018 Seattle Writing Workshop: April 28, 2018- THIS SATURDAY!!! It is only a few days away, so instead of waiting to post on Inside the Publishing World on Wednesday, here ya go!
Here are the details from the website:

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2018 Seattle Writing Workshop!

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent faculty so far includes:

[NEW ADDITION] literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (Storm Literary)
[NEW ADDITION] literary agent Rachel Beck (Holloway Literary)
literary agent Gordon Warnock (Fuse Literary)
literary agent Becky LeJeune (Bond Literary)
literary agent Jill Marr (Sandra Dijkstra Literary)
literary agent Natalie Grazian (Martin Literary Management)
literary agents Brian Tibbetts and Chip MacGregor (MacGregor Literary)
literary agent Kathleen Ortiz (New Leaf Literary + Media)
literary agent Adria Goetz (Martin Literary Management)
literary agent Amy Levenson (Blue Heron Literary)
literary agent Andrea Hurst (Andrea Hurst & Associates)
literary agent assistant Cortney Radocaj (Corvisiero Agency)
and many more to come
By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops.

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue, 3225 158th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98008. (425)644-2500.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

And the Winner is...

Congrats to Danielle Hammelef! you are the winner of the Once Upon A Princess Gift pack!

Friday, April 13, 2018

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter, plus GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for Once Upon A Princess

YA Time! Today I am reviewing This Heart of Mine by C. C. Hunter, a new YA contemporary romance.

The Story-
 Leah MacKenzie carries her heart around in her backpack, literally. Waiting for a donor, her pump machine is the only thing keeping her alive. Stuck at home, she gets schooling via tutors, and one lucky day Matt (her long time crush) subs. With a goodbye kiss on her lips, she hopes he'll call her back. However, the next time she sees him is after she has received a heart transplant, and it was his twin brother's heart!

Now Leah and Matt are drawn together not only by chemistry, but by a desire to prove Matt's brother did not commit suicide. Matt just knows he didn't, because they were twins and he felt it happen, and Leah knows he didn't because after receiving the heart she's been having visions.

When nobody will believe either of them, they seek out the proof for themselves, but it could leave them just as dead as Matt's brother.

My Thoughts-
I can't say it's that original of a story. Transplant patients that either have visions of the donor or become possessed by the donor are common, but adding the double visions that the twin brother sees is a step toward uniqueness.

However, about half way through the story you figure out who did it. As soon as the character appears in the story it is an obvious plot twist.The tension went down after knowing who the killer was, and I wish it had been something less obvious  After that, I just wanted to see how the author was going to get the proof to convict the guy.

It's a very well written story that tugs at your heartstrings. The very beginning, Leah with her backpack, is done perfectly. Leah's feeling of despair, but acceptance are brave.  I especially like that the author had personal reasons to write the story. The romance between Leah and Matt is the best part. It is a sweet story that builds despite the pressure placed upon the couple. I liked seeing the two of them together, but the best part is that they both secretly liked each other long before the heart issues. Plus, when Matt first kisses her when done tutoring, you really feel just how special that one moment in her life is. I'm giving this book 3.5 stars! And can I just say- love the cover! They don't even use the word heart. They just have an image of a stitched up red heart.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Spy on History- Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army by Enigma Alberti and Scott Wegener

I have a fun book to share with you for middle grade Monday- Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army by Enigma Alberti and Scott Wegener.

The Book-
This is a hands-on book that includes the story of the real Ghost Army that helped the Allies win World War II and a spy kit that allows the reader to solve clues as to where Victor Dowd hid his sketchbook. You will need a physical copy to use this spy book.

My Thoughts-
The book is all tell, tell, tell. Almost like a travel dialogue. There is a narrator that goes over what Victor Dowd and his troops went through during the war, and while the facts are very interesting (I didn't even know about the Ghost Army) the story is bland. There is no showing, no getting into the character of Victor, no emotions. I don't think a typical middle grade reader will get past the first several pages of details. It's a non-fiction book trying to read like a fictional story.

Now, the code cracking. The book ends with a letter the reader is supposed to decode. It is a fun task, however it is very confusing. The logistics are simple, use the cryptowheel, but because several letters for each word are left out, you end up filling things in that make sense. My problem was when it didn't make sense. You uncover a clue about the (blank - blank) church. I searched the entire book through several times to find the name of any church or location that was mentioned that used a hyphenated word like in the clue. I found none.

However, I had enough of the clue figured out that I could solve the major question, but then what? I thought I had solved it and opened up the sealed part at the end. Nope! Big fail that the book doesn't tell you what to do after you decipher the letter. A hint would be nice, like use the other objects in the spy kit and pages from the book to figure out what city Victor left his sketchbook in? Solving the letter was just the beginning. That would have been nice to know. I thought opening the sealed part would lead to more puzzles that told me to use the spy kit, not the complete answers to everything.

So, I backtracked and started using the tools from the spy kit. Several things are obvious, others not so much. The kid figuring this thing out is going to have to be smart. Morse code and pictures aside, some stuff I couldn't figure out what to do with. It reminded me of the escape room game where you use clues to get a code to escape. For me, I had to read the first several page examples before I even knew what I was supposed to do and then go from there. So, I'm going to recommend this book to the history loving, analytical thinking middle grader (or even older). 3 stars!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cover Love + Cover Reveal- Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

This cover reveal popped up in my in box and I totally had to share it with everyone. So, the book is Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting, coming 9/2018. I just love this cover! It is simple, and you know what the story will probably be about, but Jaclyn is wearing a ragged red cloak and holding a glowing spear. Hmm? I want to know more!

Cover Artist- Sam Shearon

Here is the blurb that came with it:
What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teachesJaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

What do you think of the cover?