Thursday, November 21, 2013

Words and Winners

Let's talk numbers.

The other day, the choir director at our school asked how many words my novel was. Whispering Minds is a little light with 67,000 words, as many YA novels fall between 65k-85k.

He asked because he writes weekly columns for several regional publications and is tossing around the idea of getting into short stories on his way (maybe) to writing a novel.

I write on both ends of the spectrum, and can tell you that both short stories (500 words and up) and novels are equally intimidating.

That said, I have another short story accepted for an anthology on Regret. Such a yummy theme in all its hindsightedness. I'm willing to bet that if we knew the lasting consequences of our actions, we wouldn't do half the stupid stuff that fills our days.

And one of those things filling my days is accumulating words. I am crazily writing my 2013 NaNoWriMo project and failing miserably thanks to my MC's sex/nationality change. Ugh. Yet I push on toward reaching that goal of 50,000 words in thirty days.

Which is why you haven't seen me.

Which is why you may not have realized that my Goodreads Giveaway ended. It did. And now ten new winners will receive 67,000 of my words that I carefully constructed in 2009 for NaNoWriMo.

Congrats to all the winners of all the prize packages for my Whispering Minds giveaways. May your November be filled with wonderful words that take you on amazing journeys.

And if you're looking for a few words of your own, I recommend that you read the novel Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I've read it three times this year. Twice in the last week. Partially because I'm helping a speech student cut a few hundred words from it for competition, but mostly because I love it. As an FYI, this amazing novel has four and a half stars.

There, did you see all the numbers I threw at you? Now it's your turn.

What is your NUMBER ONE fave novel of a) all time or b) this year? I'm looking for a few good prose pieces for my speechies.

Until Next Time,


Saturday, November 9, 2013

That Moment When Your Main Character Switches Nationalities--and Gender

So, ten thousand words into my next novel and my main character up and decides to have a sex change. No, not in the novel. She's not a transvestite. She just decided the story would best be told by a male. A Japanese American male.

Two reasons:
  1. There are not nearly enough Japanese main characters in contemporary novels. Certainly, the Japanese characters I've seen are usually the side kicks, if you will. They don't typically have main roles and they usually get portrayed as over-the-top, stereotypical, science-geek, martial artsnerds. But guess what? There are hot Asian males out there with rippling pectorals and not a pocket protector in sight. Enough said.
Yeah, that was one and two. Hot guy of an otherwise, underrepresented descent.

All this means is that I now have a whole slew of research to do before continuing my novel. Enough said.

But, before I go, I do want to say one thing. As a young child, I grew up the minority. In my neighborhoods, European Americans (because I hate the term white as it describes nothing beyond my blonde hair and blue eyes and doesn't differentiate between my fellow EA's with black hair and brown eyes and olive skin) were not prevalent. Instead, I played with kids from vast and varied backgrounds and loved the diversity. 

I guess that's why I want to make sure my novels are not white-washed.

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? Cultural information that I could use when writing?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And the Winners Are...

I would like to thank all the participants of my Whispering Minds 10 Day YA Giveaway. I appreciate the support you've provided me, as well as the continued support of the written word in general.

Without readers, there would be no use for us writers!

Anyway, I'm pleased to announce the winners of my giveaway. I have contacted each winner via email and will be mailing out your prizes as soon as I receive your info. For those who didn't win during this giveaway, remember you can still enter to receive a free copy of Whispering Minds on Goodreads. And/or, stay tuned for future contests--I have one planned each month into April. So without further ado:

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Whispering Minds by A.T. O'Connor

Whispering Minds

by A.T. O'Connor

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, November 1, 2013

Whispering Minds YA Giveaway Wraps Up

Last chance to win one of Ten Giveaway Packages including 7 books and much more.

The hours are counting down on these great novels:
Splintered, The Collector, Crewel, The Fall, Want to Go Private?, Not a Drop to Drink and Whispering Minds.

Enter Below To Win one of the following:

  1. One copy of Want to Go Private? and a sample of Granny’s Homemade Chai Tea.
  2. A WTGP? technology pack with a sample of chai tea and a USB drive with a cut chapter from Whispering minds. If you win this, you will be one of only two readers to find out what happened to Gemini’s missing night.
  3. A copy of Not a Drop to Drink and a sample of Granny’s Homemade Chai Tea.
  4. A Drop to Drink Pack with a large sampling of tea and a personalized travel mug from Tervis to put it in.
  5. One copy of The Collector and a scrumptious tea sample.
  6. One copy of Crewel and a tea sample from Granny to tempt your taste buds.
  7. A Crewel Weaver Pack that includes a copy of The Fall, a Native made dream catcher and tea.
  8. One copy of Splintered and a sampling of Granny’s chai tea.
  9. Your own personal therapy in a box: Group Therapy coffee, a stress ball and some of Granny’s pumpkin chai tea.
  10. The Whispering Minds Prize Pack with a USB drive (and Gemini’s missing chapter) , all three kinds of Granny’s Homemade Chai Tea (vanilla, spiced and pumpkin), a Tervis travel mug to drink it in, an iphone 4 case, sticky notes to help you remember things(because Gemi often does not) and a physical copy of Whispering Minds.

Thanks for supporting the written word!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Little Therapy: Free

What do Adelice, Dante, Lynn, Gemi, Abby and Alyssa have in common?

You might say they're under a little bit of stress.

Besides their starring roles in YA novels, these six characters all face seriously difficult situations. One, falls down a rabbit hole where she's met with passionately crazy characters, not all of whom wish the best for our little MC. Another only wishes her plunge into the cyber hole is so benign. Deadly demons, cyber predators and compromised value systems are only some of the terrors these fascinating characters must stand up to and defeat.

And while you may not have to fight for your life on a daily basis, you still feel the pinch, which is why I am offering up Day Nine's prize.

A care package filled with your very own therapy.
  • my absolute favorite coffee in the whole world--Group Therapy--made by La Crema Coffee Company,
  • a stress ball,
  • and some swag.
Aaand, my picture won't download, so you'll have to take my word for it. Therapy in a box actually does exist.

So do great giveaways.

There's only one day left to enter the Whispering Minds 10 Day YA Giveaway. Only one day left to win great novels by great writers and great swag--okay, I'm biased--by me. Only one day until Whispering Minds is unleashed on the world.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Newest Giveaway: Splintered by A.G.Howard

Day Eight Prizes

This book is all kinds of amazing. From the beautiful cover to the characters within, A.G. Howard's retelling of Alice in Wonderland is much more enjoyable than the original. (Forgive me English and Lit teachers across the globe. As well as avid AAIW fanatics.)

Here's a recap of my review from nearly a year ago:

I fell into the rabbit hole last week, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I didn't love the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, though I can't give any specific reasons why. I can't pinpoint them myself.

On the other hand, Ms. Howard's contemporary spin on Alice's adventures left me breathless.

For starters, look at this fantabulous cover. The details are exquisite.

An electric blue moth you will come to love and hate and love again. (FYI, Morpheus is one side of a love triangle that will have your panties in a knot as you waffle between the moth man and the delectable human, Jeb.)
The rest of the insects--yeah, that's right, peek closely and you'll see them hiding everywhere. They are very important, my reader friends. Important, intriguing and only a little creepy. Okay, one is a lot creepy, but even she didn't make my spine tingle like the twisted White Rabbit did. 
Then there's Alyssa, herself. A stunning beauty filled with mysticism, spunk and charm. She's delicate on the outside--almost pixie like--while courage radiates from within.
And it (or other prize packages) just might be yours if you enter into the drawing below.
Up for grabs:
  1. one copy of Want to Go Private? and a sample of chai tea;
  2. the WTGP? technology pack with a USB drive (including a cut chapter from Whispering Minds) and chai tea;
  3. one copy of Not a Drop to Drink and a sample of chai tea;
  4. the Drop to Drink pack with a travel mug and mega chai sample;
  5. one copy of The Collector and a sample of chai tea;
  6. one copy of Crewel and a sample of chai tea;
  7. the crewel weaver pack with a dream catcher, a copy of The Fall and chai tea;
  8. one copy of Splintered, special swag from author A.G.Howard and a sample of chai tea;
  9. tune in on Halloween to find out what Splintered inspired gift you can win;
  10. tune in on Friday, November 1st, for the ultimate swag pack announcement.
So many great stories, so much fun and delicious swag. So easy to enter for a chance to win them all.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More Gennifer Albin and More Great Prizes


Free Books and Book Birthday Wishes

In honor of Crewel and the masterful way author Gennifer Albin weaves intrigue, love and terror into her novels, I've sewn together some threads from Whispering Minds to introduce you to today's giveaway. But first, let me sing, "Happy Book Birthday!" to Altered, the second book in Miss Albin's Crewel World Trilogy.
Yep, today is its release, so you know what I'll be doing for the rest of the afternoon! Hint: if you order Altered today, it can be delivered just in time for you to win and read a copy of Crewel.
And now, onto the next prize package in the Whispering Minds 10 Day YA Giveaway.
The Excerpts:
A dream catcher hung on the wall above his bed. Blue and green feathers trailed from the central web. I stood on the bed and took it down. A spider occupied the center of the ring, its body made of fine black strands twisted together. It was the same material that wrapped around the web and secured the tiny hummingbird feathers.
My fingers traced the pattern, memorizing the feel of it beneath my fingers. It matched the dream catcher in my room at Granny's. The same feathers, the same human hair. Even the watchful spider in the center was the same. When I'd asked Granny about the spider as a kid, she'd asked in return, "Who better to catch scary things than a spider?"
...I reached in the cubby hole for more papers. My hand closed around something soft, the dream catcher from Jimmy's room. Its match hung from my window, and a third on Trav's bedroom wall. I twined the silken cord of hair around my fingers...I pictured the spider web on the smooth skin of his shoulder and felt that it had something to do with me. Was I the spider, capturing those he loved? Spinning my sticky web over everything and pulling it away from him and into myself?
And the Prize:

  • A lovely, hand crafted, Native American dream catcher to keep your nightmares at bay,
  • a sampling of chai tea to warm you when you wake, and
  • a copy of The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse--because Miss Albin literally leaves her characters plummeting through...well, I don't want to ruin it. Just trust me when I say that in my head, the title of the anthology and the end of Crewel tie together. 
So, don't be shy. Enter below to win ten day's worth of awesome prizes. Really. Because winning a free book by any of the featured authors throughout this giveaway is well worth your time and effort. Your brain will thank you.

As always, thanks for supporting the literary community!


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And don't forget that Goodreads is just waiting for you to enter for a chance to win one of ten copies of Whispering Minds. If not for you, then for the teen in your life.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Whispering Minds by A.T. O'Connor

Whispering Minds

by A.T. O'Connor

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Great Novel Up For Grabs: Crewel by Gennifer Albin


Life can be cruel. Bullies, boy friends and bad decisions can make a teen's life nearly impossible. If you'd like a break from the preceding three B's, move to the next letter of the alphabet and enter to win your copy of Crewel by Gennifer Albin.

In Crewel, Miss Albin weaves an intriguing tale where sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys wants nothing more than to fail--because to succeed means to be ripped from her family and placed in the Guild as a gifted Spinster where she has the power to manipulate the very fabric of life.

The thread that connects Adelice and Gemini: they both live in a crewel world where events outside their control weave together lives of hardship and heartache.

I loved this dystopian romance, though I'm certainly not the only one. Reviewers rave about this novel, claiming similarities between it and Hunger Games. Here's what some esteemed peeps are saying, as taken from Crewel's Amazon page:

  • The halls of Coventry are dark and twisted places readers will want to visit." —The New York Times Book Review
  • "Albin has created a unique world that is as fascinating as it is frightening. Absolutely thrilling!" —Josephine Angelini, bestselling author of Starcrossed
  • "The next big YA thing-to-come." —The Atlantic Wire
  • "An incredibly interesting mix." —
  • "Unusual, brilliant." —MTV’s The
  • "If you liked The Hunger Games, try Crewel." —
  • "The next big dystopian blockbuster." —Booklist
  • "Captivating and intense, the right balance of mystery, romance, and drama." —Publishers Weekly
  • "Aspects of Crewel bring comparisons to The Hunger Games." —VOYA
If you'd like your name entered into the Whispering Minds 10 Day YA Giveaway, there's still a few days (and more great prizes) left! If all you're looking for is a chance to win my new novel, Goodreads is the place. Both giveways are listed below.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Whispering Minds by A.T. O'Connor

Whispering Minds

by A.T. O'Connor

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, October 25, 2013

YA Giveaway: The Collector by Victoria Scott


Whispering Minds YA Giveaway Day Five
So here's the scoop. I am in love with Dante Walker, the main character of Victoria Scott's novel, The Collector. Yep, I emotionally cheated on my husband with thoughts of bad boy, Dante. To be fair, I'm not even sure Miss Scott describes Dante's appearance, so it's not that he's a hot body who elicits this school girl crush on him. Well, not exactly. He is a demon, after all, so he must be pretty hot on some level.
No, my fangirl affair stems more from his personality which pops off the page and into your heart. Dante is a selfish, overly-confident dead boy, hell-bent on collecting the soul of an innocent and unsuspecting misfit. He's brash and used-car-salesman slick. He's everything I hate in real people, and yet I can't help myself.
Dante has collected my undying affections. Victoria Scott has collected my loyalty as a reader.
Dante collects souls, while Gemi, the main character of Whispering Minds, is also a collector--as shown in the excerpt below. 
    We were collectors.
    I collected books—stories of hope. Mom collected treasures, ugly things she found beauty in and hoped to rehabilitate. My dad bought hobbies—sports equipment for sports he never played. His yearly binges filled the spaces where Mom’s treasures didn’t reach. Together they had collected a lifetime of things and found no pleasure in any of it.
    Apparently, we also collected secrets.
If you enter the Whispering Minds YA Giveaway any time during the course of my contest, you, too, may collect a crush on one or more of my favorite authors, or other great prizes.
To recap what's up for grabs. In addition to some authorly swag and a sampling of Granny's Homemade Chai Tea, entering the contest makes you eligible for the following prizes:
  • a copy of Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman. This novel is a must-read for every human being with a heart.
  • a technology pack inspired by the cyber connection between Want to Go Private? and Whispering Minds. this includes a USB drive with a cut chapter of my novel--a missing night of Gemi's life, if you will.
  • a copy of Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, who takes survival of the fittest to a whole new level in her debut novel.
  • a thirst quenching Drop to Drink Package that includes a truly awesome travel mug and a batch of chai to fill it with.
  • a copy of The Collector by Victoria Scott. Yeah, I think I collected my thoughts on that up above.
Enter at will and don't forget to stop back next Monday for the reveal of Prize Number Six.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thirsty? Whispering Minds YA Giveaway: A Drop to Drink Pack


In honor of author Mindy McGinnis' dry world in Not a Drop to Drink, I have put together a thirst-quenching pack for day four of my giveaway.
A quotable Tervis Travel Mug and some of Granny's Homemade Vanilla Chai tea for your early morning commute.
I LOVE Tervis mugs. I've had one for years and was thrilled to find they are 100% customizable. Yours will come with a favorite quote from Whispering Minds' MC, Gemini Baker. The quote itself is as affirming as the scrumptious tea within.
If you're thirsty, check out the ways you can win these--or other prizes--below!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whispering Minds YA Giveaway: Not a Drop to Drink


Day Three of Whispering Minds 10 Day Giveaway
A week or so ago, I reviewed Mindy McGinnis' debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink, so I won't rehash the whole thing. I will tell you, however, that one of the things I loved most about this novel was the entire concept: survival of the fittest in a barren and desolate world.
This idea of gritting out an existence in less than stellar circumstances is what ties Not a Drop to Drink with Whispering Minds. In WM, Gemi faces down the stark landscape of her childhood. She, too, is a survivor of her circumstances. As are we all.
It doesn't take a water shortage or a dirty family secret to shape us into who we are. It simply takes determination and belief in something bigger, better and brighter.
And so I give you your own survival manuscript: Not a Drop to Drink.
Yep. It's yours. Free--along with some Whispering Minds swag. All you have to do is enter the drawing below and hope Rafflecopter pulls your name out of the hat on November 1.
Easy peasy, lemon squeazy--unlike Lynn's journey in Not a Drop to Drink
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Whispering Minds YA Giveaway: Technology Pack

USB Drive, Sweet Swag and Cutting Floor Scenes

Whispering Minds 10 Day Giveaway: Day Two
I remember playing the stick version of Oregon Trail in middle school on giant computers the size of my stove. Portable music came from your mouth until the advent of the Walkman, and movies were watched only once--in the movie theater with no potty breaks or quick trips to the concession stand for popcorn refills lest we missed the good part. Letters had to be written, addressed, stamped and mailed, not tweeted. It took forever to capture that perfect pic as we waited to finish out the roll of film, drop it off at the corner mart and wait some more while the photos were developed--only to rip open the package and discover everyone had their eyes closed or their heads turned. Or, you know, that goofy grin.

Life was very different before the explosion of CDs. DVDs, ipods, ipads, Gameboys and cell phones. We experienced the moment in the moment, with our full attention given to every passing second because there was no pause button.

And friends were real, not just avatars on a computer screen.

If we didn't physically see them or talk to them on the bunchy-corded phone, they did not exist. Kids from the next town over remained kids from the next town over--to be seen at sporting events a handful of times each year. Pen pals took a ton of work and our best friendships from summer camp typically waned as the months passed.

Yet, there was a certain amount of truth in our relationships. People were real. You built tree houses with them, kicked the can with them, spilled your secrets to them and made pancakes for breakfast the next morning. With them.

Technology has changed that. Casual acquaintances are friended and followed. Information that was
reserved for special people has become common knowledge--dumped into the vast pool of cyber space for anyone to access if they are determined or savvy enough.

Sarah Darer Littman highlights this in her novel, Want to Go Private?.

While the answer to her title question should almost always be a resounding no, our perception of friendship has evolved to the point where the answer is often an easy "yes".

In Whispering Minds, Gemi also learns the terrifying truth that a friendly avatar on a computer screen does not a friend make.

So without further ado, I give you prize number two: a USB flash drive and some yummy swag.

"What's so yummy about swag?" you ask.

Granny's Homemade Chai Tea~ tested by my awesome, real life friends.

You haven't met Granny yet, but she brews a delicious cup of vanilla chai for Gemi. She's brewed some up for you as well. Each day of the giveaway, winners will receive a sample of her tea as part of their prize packet.

However, in case you're not a tea drinker, I've sweetened the deal by downloading a cut chapter from Whispering Minds onto your USB stick.

Prize Recap:
  1. Day One: A copy of Want to Go Private? and a sampling of Granny's delicious chai.
  2. Day Two: A 2 gig USB Drive with a sizzling cut chapter from Whispering Minds--and tea.
To be eligible for these--and future prizes--enter below!

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*special thanks to my mom, Mary Jo, Judy and Jamie for slurping tea with me!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Whispering Minds YA Giveaway: Want To Go Private?

Want To Go Private?

Day One of the Whispering Minds YA Giveaway

I've loved and hated this book since the moment I read it. Loved because Sarah Darer Littman is an amazing author whose characters pop off the page in an unforgettable way. And hated because those characters pop off the page so realistically that it breaks my heart. They truly are unforgettable.

I yelled at the stupidity of Abby's vulnerability the first third of the book, sobbed my way through the second third and sniffled pitifully to the end. Want to Go Private? is a grim reminder that not everyone is who they appear to be..

From the back cover: "When Abby meets Luke online, she can't believe her luck. He's nice. He's funny. He thinks she's pretty.... Abby knows she's not supposed to chat with random guys online. But Luke's not a stranger."
And here, my friends is where Want to Go Private? intersects with Whispering Minds in a terrifying way. Both Abby and Gemi get sucked into a world of falsehoods by the very cyber friends they trust.
If this sounds cautionary, it is. I am a firm believer that anybody who is a girl, loves a girl or knows a girl should read Want to Go Private? I also believe that those who care for the elderly or the mentally or physically vulnerable should read it. In this day and age where an avatar can be anyone and pretty words can ring true to those yearning for more, everyone should understand just how easy it is to become a victim. 
And so I give you Want to Go Private?.
Day One's prize is a copy of Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (along with a bit o' my authorly swag).
Want to win either of these prize packages, just follow the directions below. Interested in spreading the word on your blog? Shoot me an email and I'll send you a link. Any bloggers who post a link to this giveaway or my Goodreads giveaway will have their names entered into a separate drawing for a bonus gift.
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And don't forget to hop over to Goodreads for your chance to win one of ten free copies of Whispering Minds.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Whispering Minds by A.T. O'Connor

Whispering Minds

by A.T. O'Connor

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Black Hellebore Book Review: October 21 Release

The wonderful thing about being a writer is meeting so many wonderful fellow scribes. Wonderful, fun, sweet and talented--like Nicole Zoltack, author of the upcoming paranormal romance, Black Hellebore, first in a new superhero romance trilogy - Heroes of Falledge

Nicole.JPGBesides being adorable, Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults and
young adults, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She doesn't want to get boxed in by genre -- she might be claustrophobic! She's also an editor for MuseItUp Publishing and works as a
freelance editor.

When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending they're unicorns, of
course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her favorite current TV show is The Walking Dead.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at or her
blog at

BlackHelleboreCoverArt.jpgTo Learn More About Her Upcoming Novel, Read On...

Once a year for the past decade, Nicholas Adams returns to Falledge and leaves a black hellebore on his girlfriend's grave. While departing Falledge, he chases after a man sneaking into the laboratory and dies for his trouble. A witch brings him back to life, but Nicholas soon realizes he's not the same man. Turns out, magic combined with a black hellebore in his pocket changed
him into a kind of a super man.

His girlfriend's twin, Julianna Paige, is Falledge's deputy, struggling to solve several murders.
Nicholas, and his alter ego the Black Hellebore, helps her, even as she helps him move on and
even start to love again.

Unfortunately, Nicholas wasn't the only one changed in the laboratory explosion, and now there's
a supervillain bent on destroying Falledge, and killing the Black Hellebore. But falling in love
might prove more dangerous than any supervillain.

And Here's Where I Have To Be Honest...

I don't typically read romance novels or comic books. Before Iron Man came out, I had limited experience with villains and heroes and super powers born of unexpected events. However, thanks to my passel of boys, I fell in love with Tony Stark a few years back--an unexpected event that opened my mind to the realm of heroes, super heroes and dastardly villains.

Black Hellebore surprised and delighted me. Thanks to Miss Zoltack, I discovered that I enjoy this vast new world. Granted I have some things to get used to before I can fully appreciate the nuances of the genre, but I look forward to expanding my reading lists and continuing my journey into the unexpected.

If you're a fan of paranormal romance, super heroes, or are just looking for a new book to cuddle up with on a chilly fall day, pick up a copy of Black Hellebore on October 21!

black hellebore blog tour.jpg

More Books by Nicole Zoltack

Woman of Honor (Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy, book 1)

Knight of Glory (Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy, book 2)

Champion of Valor (Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy, book 3)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Whispering Minds Cover Reveal

Thanks to my fabulous designer, Whispering Minds now has a gorgeous cover.

What you can't see is the story within. So here's a little blurb to tide you over until November 1st.

By day, a terrifying blackness eats at Gemini Baker's memories. Her nights are filled with unsettling dreams.

After the death of her beloved granny, seventeen-year-old Gemi is left with parents more interested in gambling than paying the bills, a best guy friend who's looking for love at a time when she has none to give and a dark childhood secret that just might be the key to her sucky life.

During her search for answers, Gemi turns to her cyber friends for support and quickly learns that nobody is who they seem. Not her granny, her friends or even herself. As her blackouts increase in frequency, a threat on her life has Gemi on the run...if only she can remember long enough to keep herself alive.

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I gotz Swag

What do a text message, a water shortage, and a moth have in common?


I ordered some swag yesterday, but since most of it has my as-yet unveiled cover on it, I can't share pics. However, I can share what I'm going to do with it.

In less than two weeks, I will be hosting an epic give-away to followers of my blog. I won't make you tweet me, share me, friend me or any other stalkerly things--unless you want to do all those other stalkerly things from the comfort of the cybersphere--just to be entered in a chance to win PRIZES. Nope, all you'll have to do is sign up on my blog during the days of my EPIC YA Give-Away. That's it.

"But for what purpose?" you ask.

To potentially win a prize. Leading up to my release of WHISPERING MINDS, I will be giving out daily prizes for TEN days. Yep, that's ten chances to win. And win cool things. Multiple things. Not just one thing.

And not pictures of me and postcards of me and bookmarks of me and stickers of me. Those things just suck. (Truly, you did see the circa 80's graduation pic, right?) Nor will I gift you a t-shirt that is too small that will shrink even smaller because those are the only kind us starving artists can afford. I'm giving away USEFUL things. Things that have purpose besides making you queasy. Things you might actually need/want/like.

Things that tie into my novel--including five (yep, FIVE) of my favorite YA novels. Oooh, six if you count WHISPERING MINDS. But that's not it, because, remember, I gotz swag.

However, on the off-chance that you come back here during my give-away and find yourself utterly turned off by *cough* cool *cough* and interesting prizes, you can head over to GoodReads and enter a chance to win one of ten copies of WHISPERING MINDS. Or heck, enter them both.

*does the happy dance*
I gotz authorly swag!

P.S. If you follow me on twitter, facebook, goodreads or my blog, you can keep up to date on all the exciting events coming out this month--including the release of yet another talented writer into the fold. Hint, hint. She's going to hang with me here next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Personality Chameleons

Whispering Minds Sneak Peek Quote

Their mutual affection appeared sporadically, and only under favorable conditions. Namely, a bottle of booze and a good run at the casino.
Over the years, Gemini has witnessed the ups and downs of her parents' relationship. Yet every relationship is filled with peaks and valleys that can be largely dependent on circumstances and social settings.

We've all seen it, and it usually sucks:
  • The football player who's nice right before homecoming.
  • The pious girl friend who gets handsy at the movie theater.
  • The best friend neighbor who ignores you in school.
  • The shy nerd who swallows goldfish at all the parties.
But the question is, why do we change our behaviors based on certain circumstances, and is it even possible (or desirable) to be the same in every situation?

One of my favorite quotations goes something like this: To be a person of integrity, we have to be the same on the outside as we are on the inside.

Behaving in such a way that others see us the same way we see ourselves can be nearly impossible to achieve. In fact, I doubt many people even realize how far apart their view is compared to those around them.

Good, bad or indifferent, we are influenced internally and externally nearly every moment of every day. In that respect, it's to understand how chameleon-like we can be, constantly changing in response to the environment around us. Often in subtle ways, though sometimes as blatantly obvious as a margarita and a stacked poker hand.

In which ways do you change your behaviors based on those around you? Are there some circumstances where you feel more comfortable with yourself than in others? How does this affect your personal integrity?

For the record, I'm so glad I've already grown up. Learning these lessons was hard enough the first time around.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm a Person, Not a Plant

Yes, there is an actual face behind the words.

And since we haven't been formally introduced, let me start:

*My name is Alexandra Tys O'Connor, aka A.T. O'Connor. The shortened version fits better on book covers.
*I write YA and Romance.
*I love to garden, though I get neglectful at times. Designing beautiful outdoor spaces is always more appealing than maintaining them. Or maybe that's just my short attention span speaking.
*I've got four kids, two dogs and one husband--each of whom I love dearly.
*If you hold up your left hand in the shape of an L, I live in the corner of Minnesota where your thumb and finger meet. It's cold, windy and very flat, yet beautiful in its own right.
*I am a speech coach. Best extracurricular activity EVAH!
*I also help divorcing/separated parents work out custody issues and parenting time. Kids are my heart.
*My biggest pet peeve is adults who don't like teens on principle. Seriously, teens could be the most amazing people I've ever met. (Note to adults: most teens are only bratty if you're bratty first.)
*As a chronic procrastinator, I compete in NaNoWriMo every November. I always did my best work the night before a paper was due--Sorry Glencoe High School English department!
*Speaking of high school, looking at this picture made me realize that minus the cool eighties hair and a few wrinkles, my head shot doesn't look a whole lot different than my graduation picture a quarter of a century ago. Funny, because I'm wearing pink in both pics and I NEVER wear pink.
*My new favorite band is American Authors--go figure! They're a little alternative, but fun none-the-less. On November 1st when WHISPERING MINDS debuts, I'm going to crank "Best Day of My Life" and dance on the tables. And no, I won't be videotaping that.

So, enough about me.

Tell me a little about yourself: favorite books, favorite authors, favorite class, sports, extracurriculars, Besties, pets, movies.... I mean, I just showed you my hideous grad pic, so no need for shyness.

Forever and always~

Monday, October 7, 2013

Life as a Novel

This past week, we lost our faithful black lab. She had been with us for nearly thirteen years and was an important part of our family. In the chilly morning breeze, I sat on the deck overlooking the garden. She ambled over in her shuffling gait and snuggled against me with her head in my lap. I held her as the vet administered the meds to take her from our lives and cried as her breathing slowed and life ebbed from her.

It was the single most gut-wrenching thing I have ever done, and even as we knew it was the right thing to do, my heart shattered that day.

In many ways, my main character in WHISPERING MINDS goes through a similar experience. I can only hope that Granny's words to Gemi in the following passage are true.

The only light came from the glaring fluorescent bulbs and the stench of antiseptic hung heavy in the air. I closed the book. "I can't do this."

Granny's hand found mine. "You must, child. It's what we both want."

"Wanted." The word popped out before I could stop it. I didn't even try to keep the next ones back. "It's a trilogy."

We did that, the two of us. We read trilogies, as if the promise of an incomplete story would be enough to cheat death. That was impossible now.

"Keep reading so I can find out if she lives."

"You know she does." My voice cracked, dry from reading, drier still from the thought of never finishing. "That's why there's another book."

Granny tapped the cover, her voice clear, though her eyes were not. "Just like there will be for you."

"Just like there will be for you."

No matter how difficult life seems at the moment, always hold on to the fact that there are more books in the story of your life. You have paragraphs, pages and chapters waiting to be populated by new characters and steadfast friendships. Each sentence is a chance to move forward--to discover new things.

Your life is a novel, written one word at a time.

Forever and Always,

Alexandra Tys O'Connor

If you liked the passage above, please check out the first chapter of WHISPERING MINDS on the First Chapter tab and stay tuned for my debut novel's release on November 1st.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thirty-Day Count Down

Just wanted to do a little happy dance!

WHISPERING MINDS will hit the market in t-minus thirty days.

The first chapter is up for preview under the First Chapter tab, and a prize-filled month will follow as I count down to the release of my debut novel.

Stay tuned as the party continues!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Not A Drop To Drink

First off, let me start by saying I know author Mindy McGinnis on a cyber level. We've been critique partners, sounding boards and friends. However, don't let my friendship with Mindy dupe you into thinking my review will be biased. Mindy is brutally honest, and I know she would want me to be as well.

So here goes...

In a nutshell, Not a Drop to Drink is about a young lady who faces a brutal world of survival. Lynn has no time for the softer side of life as she and her mom fight for every minute of every day.

In this post apocalyptic world, water is scarce and the pond outside Lynn's home is literally the tipping point between life and death. When tragedy leaves Lynn alone on her roof to protect the life-giving water, she is faced with fears greater than survival of the fittest--the need to rely on someone else.

This story is about the evolution of humanity in one girl's heart. Born into a violent world, Lynn has known nothing beyond the ever-present need to collect, purify and protect the water in the pond. She's killed for the pond. The question: is her soul too thirsty to quench?

What I loved about this book?
  • A post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel that tackles the reality we may someday face. Water is scarce in Not a Drop to Drink. Humanity, more so.
  • Mindy's unflinching view of what desperation looks like. She didn't sugar coat the troubles we would face in a world without a ready supply of water. Instead, she tapped into the pioneer-esque work ethic and problem solving skills that are sometimes lacking in today's world. Survival is not a game we can turn off when we get bored or tired or frustrated. It's a gritty reality that never ends.
  • The water witching. Seriously, this brought back childhood memories of a friend of the family who could witch water. This crazy, unexplained ability to find water below the surface of the earth is nothing short of amazing.
  • The characters. I think I may be in the minority, but Stebbs is by far my favorite character. I loved his time-worn view of the world--and of himself. He was the perfect mentor for Lynn, while Lucy brought the youthful innocence that had so desperately been missing from Lynn's life. Eli's sense of humor was much needed to alleviate the heaviness of the topic.
  • Lastly, I appreciated Mindy's brevity. She didn't belabor unnecessary details. I read this book in a few hours and didn't skim a single paragraph. This is unusual for me, as I tend to skip the "boring parts".
What I didn't love?
  • The epilogue. It felt so abrupt that I had to check the mirror to see if I'd been slapped in the face. I wasn't ready for the time jump. I'm not sure what I expected, but these last pages felt too pat, too clean, too easy for all the struggle Lynn had gone through before. Maybe I wanted another book between the end and the hear that Mindy?...just to satisfy my curiosity about what happened in between.

The big surprise?
  • After reading other reviews, I find myself in the minority. I wasn't at all surprised by the ending. I expected it and wasn't remotely disappointed in the way it turned out. It was validating to see Lynn remain in character during the toughest moment of her life.
  • That said, I was momentarily surprised by one death...but only momentarily. Then I remembered who wrote the novel and knew that this, too, was within the author's character. Survival isn't easy. It's painful and it doesn't play favorites. Mindy never once forgot that.
The romance?
  • It's there, barely. Which I'm a fan of since that's one of the "boring parts" I usually skip. Strangely enough, I would have liked just a little more intimacy. Not necessarily physical intimacy between Lynn and Eli, but more of an emotional intimacy within herself. Yeah, I know, clear as mud.
There you have it. A brutally honest four point five rain drops for Not a Drop to Drink.

Alexandra Tys

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rotting Relationships

Spring is to Romance as Fall is to Decay.

Grease ver2.jpgAnd not just the leaves. Relationships suffer greatly with the start of each new school year. Summer flings are flung when kids flock to the halls and are forced to conform to the whims of their peers. (Grease, anyone?) The girl with the glasses, zits and a little extra baby fat can return in September as the unexpected class babe. The cafeteria reeks of nasty lunches, new interests and fading passions.

Fall can be particularly dangerous for college bound folk and the significant others they leave behind.

Cute gals catch the eye of tethered-down guys, making them question the relationships they are in. Likewise, college seems to change boys to men overnight--at least in appearance. I'm not sure why, but standing on a university campus automatically adds muscle and coolness to even the geekiest guy.

But here's the thing. High school relationships are not supposed to last forever.

They are the opportunity to explore different personalities and activities. No, not those activities. The kind that help you find yourself.

  • Do you like hiking, biking, mountain climbing and fishing?
  • Are you content to hang out in a dark basement during a seven hour movie marathon?
  • Would you rather suntan at the beach than kick a soccer ball?
  • Does killing cyber zombies rock your world?
  • Are you Right Wing, Left Wing or completely apathetic?
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle?
  • A vegan about to commit your heart to a hunter?
Who are you, what do you like and what do you want to do with your life?

High school and early college relationships will help you find out. So don't be afraid to let your beloved go if things no longer feel right. Because even those high school couples who get married, have twenty-seven kids and age out together don't have the same relationship they had while in school. They matured through experience, and part of that experience is hanging out with others and figuring out what you like.

Trust me on this. (Says the gal who married her high school sweetie, though not her first love.)

Now get going. Meet new peeps. Enjoy the diversity the world has to offer.

~Alexandra Tys

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

When I was a kid, Labor Day meant that everything was closed. My parents didn't have to work, and any trip we took had to be planned for in advance because the laboring masses were allowed a day of freedom from their service industry jobs.

That is so far from the case now that it makes me a bit angry. Laborers do  not get time off from laboring anymore. Instead, it seems as if LABOR DAY has become a rich person's holiday where white collar workers buy gas, dinner, movies and retail from the very people the holiday was meant to honor.

In fact, stores no longer close down for Thanksgiving, but rather open for special pre-Black Friday sales. Turkey is gobbled quickly so shoppers can get the best pre-pre deals around. What, may I ask, are we thankful for? A good deal? Another chance to purge our wallets on useless items? One more shopping opportunity to buy toys and gadgets that lose their luster the moment they wrapping paper comes off?

Christmas Eve is open late for elves that forgot to stock up for Santa's arrival and the New Year brings extra savings. Fourth of July blow-out sales rival stocking up for summer supplies over Memorial weekend. No longer are our holidays sacred. And neither are they celebrated as intended. Instead, they are simply one more day to commercialize our lives

Well, bah humbug on shopping.

Happy Labor Day to all the wonderful people who work long hours, long weeks and weekends over every month of every year to make life easier for the rest of us. Your work is appreciated by some--even as you flip another burger, layer another sub sandwich, hang up another shirt or clean--especially clean--another public restroom. My life is more enjoyable because of you.

Many thanks to the true working heroes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Puppy Love

A few weeks ago, my daughter became the proud owner of a two-pound Morkie. It was love at first sight. Then came midnight whimperings, puppy piddles, chewed shoes and constant supervision.

The honeymoon ended and love transformed, weighed down by inconvenience and responsibility.

In more than a few novels I've read, the characters never get past puppy love. They remain stranded on the island of Cooing and Oohing, where everything is physical and few interactions lack real depth. The relationships seldom transform into something more meaningful.

It could be that I'm just getting old and out of touch--wanting something beyond girl gets boy--but I believe that teens deserve more substance.

Am I wrong to think that teens might appreciate a glimpse into mature, healthy relationships? Or, do they prefer more fluff than stuff in their quest to escape the reality of their own lives?

Speak up. Speak out. Your opinion matters.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beach Snacks for the Brain

My publisher, Elephant's Bookshelf Press, has come out with not one, but two, summer anthologies. I love so many of the stories found within the pages of Summer's Edge and Summer's Double Edge.

Let's see, there's a ghost or two, an angel, broken engagements and death...not to mention a few bad dates and mystical creatures. Per tradition, EBP provides an eclectic collection of quality short stories by writers of all genres and publishing experience. The joy is finding the gem that moves you.

As you can imagine by the covers, Summer's Double Edge boasts darker stories than the lighter beach reads of Summer's Edge. This is where you will find my short, Skinwriter. The theme this season: the end of relationships. Yet don't be fooled. The end isn't always a bad thing. Especially since at the end of both books, you will find the first chapter of my debut novel, Whispering Minds!

And lest I forget, I want to shout to the world how very much I adore my editor, Laura Carlson. Not only is she cute as a button, but she's whip-smart when it comes to catching typos and plot inconsistencies. I love working with her and the editorial team at Elephant's Bookshelf Press.

Both anthologies are available digitally at Amazon and Smashwords with dead-tree copies to follow in a few days.

Happy reading!

Alexandra Tys

PS: Congrats to my fellow writers for contributing such great stories: Robb Grindstaff, Simon P. Clark, Matt Sinclair, Shawn Proctor, R.S. Mellette, Amanda Hill, A.M. Supinger, Ken Staley, Tista Ray, Cat Woods, Samantha Enders, Julie Hutchings, Jennifer Prescott, MarcyKate Connolly, Mindy McGinnis, Michelle Hauk, Laura Carlson, P.S. Carillo, Jean Oram Jeff O'Handley, Tiffany Grindstead and Rick Pieters.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Addicted to You

Addicted to You by Colina Brennan

NA Contemporary Romance
Slated for Release: June 2013

When twenty-one-year-old Leah Carter's latest one night stand burglarizes her apartment, her roommate forces her to attend therapy for sex addicts. Leah insists she isn't a sex addict; she just doesn't do relationships. After all, sooner or later, everyone lets you down.

At first, the group sessions are little more than an education on how to be promiscuous. Until she meets the newest addict—blue eyes, killer body, and a smile that tempts relapse.

Psychology student Will McLean is posing as a fellow addict while researching a case study on unusual addictions. But the more he learns about Leah, the more certain he is that his desire to break through her walls and unearth her secrets has nothing to do with his assignment.

As the uncertainties spike alongside the sexual tension, the only thing Leah knows for sure is that falling in love would be disastrous. Too bad love might be one addiction she can't kick.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cover Reveal: Catching Liam

It's always a pleasure finding a new writer or a new book to appreciate. It's even better to be in the discovery from the get-go. That's why I'm sharing this super-secret-until-midnight-last-night cover reveal by Sophia Bleu.

Catching Liam by Sophia Bleu
Publication date: Summer 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.
So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.
Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.
Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.
Who is Sopia Bleu? In a bio statement, she reveals... 
Sophia Bleu is a secret identity where I can write about fantasies and falling in love and all the smexiness in between. In real life, I'm likely catching a plane, chasing kids, or making out with the love of my life—all 6 ft 3 inches of hotness that he is. Life is pretty good.
Author links:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jackson Pearce Trifecta

I love horse races. Shiny coats tautly gleaming over powerful muscle, thundering hooves eating up the track and raw beauty. Horses awe me with their power--and even more so with their gentle nature despite their brute strength. I grew up on horses and love watching them race.

I do not, however, like gambling. I hate parting with my hard-earned money and pretending there's a science behind the victory. Sometimes luck has a hand in who wins and who loses. Sometimes history, experience and breeding do. Yet picking a winner is a gamble.


Picking the trifecta--now that is akin to separating a single raindrop from the ocean. It's why I don't bet.

Yet this weekend, I bet big and won. It started with a kind of skulky need to read something I wanted to read. With speech just wrapping up, I'd read a lot of what other people wanted me to read. This was my chance to read something for my own pleasure, a much  needed break after a demanding speech season.

Years ago, I'd read Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red and loved it. What I didn't love was the idea of reading the second novel in her fairytale retellings--Sweetly. The story of Hansel and Gretel had never intrigued me and so I had been turned off by the idea of even picking up this companion novel.

Grudgingly, I decided to give it a try, as no other prospects jumped out at me.

Without belaboring my point, I'll just say that I hit the Jackson Pearce trifecta. On Saturday--between curling hair and painting nails for my daughter's prom--I started reading Sweetly. On Sunday, I finished it and started Fathomless after cleaning up the backyard and putting out the patio furniture. This morning, after reading to the end of Pearce's Little Mermaid rewrite, I was like a crack addict waiting for her next hit. I picked up yet another Pearce novel and finished her contemporary novel, Purity, just before shuttling my boys to baseball.

My favorite of the three: Sweetly. Yeah, I know. And I was a snob about reading it for years. My loss. Suffice it to say, I LOVED the characters. Sophia broke my heart, while Samuel captured it. Gretchen was courageous and loving, while her brother Ansel was selfless and sweet. I hated the ending because Ms. Pearce made it hurt. I have half a mind to read it again, just to see if I can will the ending to change. To see if I can somehow wish this beloved, rag-tag family the happiness they deserve.

The most evocative: Fathomless. This dark novel is nothing like Disney's mermaid we all know and love. Lo is torn between two worlds and two souls as she tries to live in the present, remember her past and embrace her future. She is utterly tragic and beautiful in her quest to do right. And while I am not always a huge fan of stories told from different perspectives, Ms. Pearce did a masterful job of using it to create emotionally robust characters, rather than as a cheat to impart information the audience needed but otherwise wouldn't know.

Most relevant: Purity. I have a sixteen year-old daughter who is a big daddy's girl and the thought of those purity ceremonies and vows has always kind of creeped me out. Ms. Pearce handles it with humor and dignity. This novel took me about three hours to read, and even though the subject matter is heavy--death, sex, religion and integrity--the author doesn't weigh it down by getting all preachy. Instead, Shelby is a very real teen with very real teen concerns.

All in all, the most respectful thing I can say about Jackson Pearce's writing is that she writes realistic characters I care about and puts them into difficult situations where they have to act and react in ways that truly matter. Not to mention, her prose is down-right lyrical.

And the best thing: her fourth fairytale Cold Spell will be out soon. You can bet I'll be snapping that up the minute it gets published!

In fact, I think Jackson Pearce just may rounding the corner and taking over the lead as one of my favorite authors. To learn more about her or to check out her novels, please hop over to her website and get reacquainted with some of your favorite fairy tales.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Going Too Far: Irrational Fears and a Book Review

Once upon a time, my big sister told me that if I stepped on a railroad track after a train went by, I would burn up and die. I am not proud to say I believed her. Even more difficult to admit is that I still cannot step directly on a railroad track.

Yeah, I know. Irrational to the point of ridiculous.

My adult mind knows--knows--that this can't possibly happen, yet I can't seem to override the ingrained fear my dear sis planted years ago. Suffice it to say, she went too far with her little prank.

Fears. Where do they come from and how do we overcome them?

In going too far by Jennifer Echols, Meg is terrified of being restrained in any way--even as she's a dare devil in other aspects of her life.

Both Meg and Officer John After are drawn to the train bridge. Both for very different reasons. Meg sees the bridge as a way to feel alive, while John views the bridge as sure death. In the beginning, the bridge draws them together. In the end, it tears them apart.

I am not one to read romance novels as a general rule. However, while searching for speech material for next year, my daughter and I came across this book and thought it might be usable. Unfortunately, it's not. Fortunately, it's still a great book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in going too far. Meg was lovable in her imperfections and completely drew me in, while John was the perfect balance of steel-tough exterior and silk-soft vulnerability.

going too far was a quick, but fun read. Ms. Echols handled the fears of her main characters in a realistic and compassionate way--without bogging down the story by writing a pity party. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking to perk up their spring with great characters and a well-written plot.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Name This Rump!

I love contests, especially ones where I can win yummy prizes. Okay, maybe not literally tasty but literary tasty. As in, yummy for the brain. And since I can't enter a certain Name This Rump contest, I'm passing the details along to you. In hopes, of course, that you will agree the prizes are, in fact, brain yummy and warrant your entry in the contest.
But before I get to the details: are you at all curious why I can't enter this contest? Three reasons:
  1. I am an author at EBP. My short story, SOLAR FLARE, was published by them in The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse.
  2. My short story SKIN WRITER, has been accepted for publication by EBP in the summer anthology coming out June of 2013.
  3. I am one of the prizes you can select if you participate in the contest and WIN. Not me personally, but my YA novel Whispering Minds.
And that's all sorts of yummy, even if it keeps me from naming the backside of EBP's mascot.

  1. Hop on over to Elephant's Bookshelf Press and leave your suggested name for their little pachyderm in the comments section on the Contests page by April 15th.
  2. Check back on April 30th for a Top Ten list and vote for your favorite name.
  3. If your name wins, collect one of the following for your prize: copy of the summer anthology (June 2013); copy of Whispering Minds (Fall 2013); or for the kidlets, a personalized postcard by yours truly--er the elephant--and a copy of either above mentioned book for your parent or teacher who helps you suggest a name.
  4. (If you don't win, you can still enjoy any of EBP's books at this time or in the future. Seriously, elephants need to eat and this little guy likes his peanuts.)
  5. While this isn't technically a rule, I know the big guy pressing the books up there would like a wide range of names to pick from, so please pass along info on this fun and completely frivolous contest. 
I don't know about you, but I'd hate to see him named Archibald by default.