Author Interview, Book Love, Book Reviews, Giveaway

YA Author Interview & Giveaway: Jenna Morland

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I’ve started a monthly highlight blog of Canadian authors and upcoming authors. I’m so excited to announce that Jenna Morland is my first author participating!

Today is her book birthday! Let’s get started.

Loie: It’s great to have you here and celebrate the release of your magical and romantic debut, Empress Unveiled. I just want to say how amazing it is to meet a fellow Canadian Young Adult writer. I loved this book so much, and I cannot wait to read more of your work!

Jenna: Thank you! I think it is so cool that you are featuring Canadian authors and upcoming authors. I really appreciate all the support and love. I am ecstatic that you enjoyed Empress Unveiled and I am beyond grateful for all the wonderful reviews so far.

Okay, on to the questions 😊

Loie: How long have you been writing?

Jenna: Years ago, I dabbled in song-writing but Empress Unveiled was the first piece of fiction I had ever written. To be honest, I was terrible at English. Actually, I got a C in Grade 12 English! But I did read—a lot. I have always been a creative person and I found it fascinating to rearrange words until they created something beautiful. I started writing Empress Unveiled 2 years ago, and it just kind of spilled out of me. The first draft only took a couple of months to write.

Loie: Wow, sounds like it was the story you had to tell 🙂 I love that! What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Jenna: I really enjoyed writing fantasy. The only limit is your imagination and I find that freeing. I also love romance! I am such a sucker for a good love triangle. I find the complicated trials of the human heart to be inspiring.

Loie: I love writing fantasy and romance as well, haha! Who inspired Swayzi? Sidenote: I love Swayzi so much ❤

Jenna: I love that you love her!! Swayzi is a combination of many characters I have loved over the years. I think there is a piece of me in Swayzi as well, but mostly, I created a character that I wanted to read. She is imperfect, awkward, and most of all—relatable. You can’t help but root for her!

Loie: What books have influenced you the most?

Jenna: Without a doubt, Harry Potter. JK came into my life when I was 12. That awkward time in everyone’s life when you go from being a kid to becoming a teenager. It kept me young, it made me dream and it fanned my curiosity of the journey the imagination can take you on. Twilight also had a big impact on me. It was a beast, and it affected the world. Stephanie Meyer created a story that people young and old could relate to. Like me, she had no experience as a writer and was a stay-at-home mom. She made me believe anything is possible!

Loie: JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer both had a huge impact on me as well ❤ When I was thirteen, JK made me realize I could dream up stories like she did. Stephenie made me fall in love with storytelling and romance💕

Do you find anything particularly challenging when writing?

Jenna: Now that I have been through so many grueling rounds of editing it’s easy to pick apart my writing. I am currently working on the sequel to Empress Unveiled and it took me a long time to let go of perfecting my writing as I worked. It was stifling my creativity.

Loie: Ah, yes. I understand that feeling completely. I worked with two published authors this summer for a writing mentorship called #WriteMentor. We edited my seafaring fantasy a lot and I learned a ton, haha. After you’ve been through an editing process, you start to pick up on imperfections as you go. I love NaNoWriMo month because I dive into a new project and try to get the words down and worry about editing later.

How did you find your publisher and what was the process like working with an editor?

Jenna: #PitMad on Twitter! I submitted my “elevator pitch” and Oftomes was one of the publishers to like my tweet. I sent them my manuscript and I didn’t hear back from them. I received an offer from another publisher and like any writers wish, I was able to send out the “Offer Received” email to all the agents and publishers I had queried. I had this weird feeling that Oftomes was meant to publish Empress Unveiled. In fact, I said that in my last email to them. They sent me an offer 24 hours later.

I had two different editors and each experience was different. There were times when I really enjoyed it, I could see the beauty that was formed with collaboration and it made me excited. I knew the story was better off. Other times—it was awful. I love the creative side of writing, the tedious details of editing on the other hand, was a struggle for me.

Loie: Can you tell us anything about the sequel to Empress Unveiled? Or other projects you are working on?

Jenna: I love where the sequel is going right now. I am so excited to be in Empress and to fall harder for these characters. There are new additions to the cast, and surprises that will leave you stunned. 

I do have one other project that I had to set aside to write the sequel and I will go back to it. It’s something very different from Empress but I love the characters and the idea of it. I need more hours in a day!

Loie: Favorite 2018 book?

Jenna: Turtles All the Way Down!

Loie: What’s your most anticipated read of this year?

Jenna: I am really looking forward to reading Saving Death by R.L. Endean. She is my Oftomes sister and from what I hear—it’s amazing!

Loie: Oooo. I can’t wait to read that one as well 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting, Jenna! Huge congrats to you on your fantastic debut.

Jenna: Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview, I really enjoyed it! I am kind of freaking out that Empress Unveiled has been released into the wild, but I seriously loved the journey to publication and I can’t wait to do it all over again with the sequel.

Loie: Thanks again, Jenna!

I hope you all enjoyed this interview 😊. For those interested in winning a copy of Jenna’s novel, here are ways to gain entries:

  • Leave a comment below on the blog
  • Follow Jenna on Twitter (@jennamorland)
  • Instagram (@jennamorland)
  • Follow me on Twitter (@loiedunn)
  • Follow my blog

Leave your usernames for both so I can track the entries. At the end of the month I will choose a winner randomly.

Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Loie

Author Interview, Book Love, Book Reviews, canadian authors, Giveaway

Launching Monthly Interviews with YA and MG Canadian Authors

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hey everyone!

How are you all making out? Hard to believe the beginning of September has breezed on into our lives. I had my first pumpkin spice latte on August 31st 😉 Couldn’t wait, haha!

I wanted to write a short post and share about something new I am starting tomorrow here on my blog.

There is a ton of talent here in Canada. Seeing as I am an Atlantic Canadian writer, I love to meet fellow Canadian authors of children’s literature. I decided to begin a monthly blog series where I highlight a Canadian author or an up and coming writer. Of course, I love all writers, but I wanted to share some of the talent here in this country.

Tomorrow I have a special treat planned for you all!

I have a blog going live that will feature a fantastic debut YA Fantasy author who wrote a romantic and magical story. Can’t wait for you to find out who it is! There will be an interview with said author and a giveaway of their debut novel ❤

Please check back tomorrow!

Talk soon,

Loie xo

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Between the Sea and the Stars

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Forthcoming: June 19th, 2018

Parliament House Publishing

Book 1

Goodreads

A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More… 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

General Gushing

This book is magical. I devoured it in a few days because I couldn’t stop reading 🙂 Chantal is a fantastic storyteller and I felt completely immersed in Lena’s world.

As many of you know, I am revising a seafaring fantasy at the moment. I love EVERYTHING about the sea and I was so excited to get to read this ARC from Parliament House Publishing. Thank you so much, Parliament 🙂 All the lush details of the sea world were beautifully done. I loved the time we spent underwater with Lena and her family ❤

On land, I felt for Lena as she navigated the new experience of living above water. Lena is a character I happily rooted for. She’s sweet and sparky at the same time, unafraid to share her opinion.

I eagerly flipped the pages, wondering what was going to happen next.

Moments I loved

Lena helps an older blind gentleman on land, named Edwin. Together, they share stories and they develop a sweet relationship. Lena is so kind and patient with him. He sends her to retrieve new books for him that are written in Braille. This is where she meets Soren Emil, who is a bookkeeper ❤ Soren is probably my other favorite character, alongside Lena.

Lena says this to one of her new friends, Jace, in Chapter 17: “But greatness and goodness are two different things.” This is so true. I love how wise Lena is.

The Little Mermaid 

This story definitely nods to The Little Mermaid. I love all the references peppered throughout the prose. It is a unique retelling and I am eager for the sequel. Can’t wait to read more books by Chantal 🙂

Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury 

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About the Author

Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.

Purchase Links

Between the Sea and Stars

Amazon

Goodreads

Allerleirauh

Amazon

Parliament House Press

Thank you again to Parliament House Press for sending me this Advanced Readers Copy.  What are you all reading at the moment? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

Uncategorized

#1st5Pages of your novel

March 17th, 2018 –  12:23 pm 

Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you are having a good week. We received tons of snow on Wednesday but today was quite sunny, as was the day before so the crusty snow is beginning to melt away. The powder blue sky hints of spring. Soon 😊

In the publishing industry, the first five pages can make or break it for a reader, potential agent, and editor. You want those first five pages to be intriguing, introducing readers to a character or characters that they will happily follow for the next 300-400 pages. The writing, tone, voice, setting, and characters are all integral. I feel like writing is a balancing act, sometimes. So, you ask, how do you make sure that your first five pages are stellar? I have a few ideas.

Critique Partners

 About six years ago when I first began pursuing writing seriously, I didn’t think about critique partners. I just wrote for myself with the hope that the book would be solid enough to send away at some point. Hahaha…oh naïve Loie. I can’t do it alone. Oftentimes, we are too close to our work to see  glaring mistakes, pacing issues, awkward wording, etc. There are many things a critique partner provides you.

They can be a cheerleader; encouraging you on as you embark on this wonderful and wild journey of writing with the hopes of eventual publication. They are the ones who you can turn to and scream/laugh with over the fact that an agent requested your full MS. Alternatively, they can be someone you can cry to when you receive a rejection from one of your top five agents.

They also can help point out things that aren’t working in your MS. They can give you an unbiased opinion of how the pages are working for them. If there were any places where it felt like they got confused or the dialogue was unrealistic.

So, critique partners are just wonderful, wonderful human beings. You really want to find yourself a critique partner, friends. Or a few critique partners!

Pitch consultations

Another avenue to see if your first five pages are working is to sign up for a pitch session or consultation with an agent or editor. This is costly but it is a great opportunity to see what an agent thinks about your opening pages.

Here is a link if you’re interested:

http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/find-agentseditors/consultations/

#1st5Pages Workshop (COMPLETELY FREE!) 

 Finally, here is an amazing opportunity for you to enter a free workshop. You submit your first five pages and have them critiqued by four other workshop attendees, published authors, and in the final week of the revision, a literary agent!

It is first come first served and submissions open at 12 pm EST on Saturday of the month. The workshop runs every month except August and December.

For this month, I was lucky enough to have submitted on time and received a spot! It has been so amazing getting to read my fellow workshop participants work and critique their work. When you critique someone else’s work, you are also growing your writing brain so to speak, because you’re seeing what works and what doesn’t. This will inevitably help you with your own writing.

Thank you so much, Erin Cashman and all the other wonderful folks involved in making #1st5Pages workshop happen. It is an awesome opportunity for up and coming aspiring authors.

Link is here if you want to check it out:

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/

Oh, and if you want to read my first five pages (lol shameless plug, eh) here is the link:

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/2018/03/1st-5-pages-march-workshop-dunn-rev-1.html

I have one more revision to send in. It’s due by Sunday evening. That’s what I will be working on today, friends 🙂

Is there anything you are working on this weekend? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

Uncategorized

What I’m grateful for

January 24th, 2018

Happy hump day!

It feels like spring here in eastern Canada. Last night we received hundreds of millimetres of rain that washed away all the snow, leaving brown-green grass in its wake and a powdery blue sky 🙂

Today I thought I would post about what I’m grateful for:

Critique partners

These lovely people are taking precious time out of their lives and reading my words. Some of my cringe-worthy sentences, no doubt. I so appreciate them and their feedback. They are cheerleaders and friends. Thank you thank you thank you ❤

Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard has an amazing section of writing resources on her website. Check them out! You won’t be disappointed. For me, I found one in particular that I love:

“How to write a Query letter” post (http://susandennard.com/2010/11/how-i-got-my-agent-part-1-the-prep/)

Lush YA fantasy novels that inspire me to write

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden.

Spring-like weather

Supportive family and friends

Health 

Writing contests like #SunvsSnow and the upcoming one, #FirstKiss in honour of Valentine’s Day 🙂

Old sixteen-year-old Jack Russell’s that cuddle relentlessly AKA Maggie May 🙂

What I’m working on 

I am reading a CP’s book at the moment and hoping to return it to her by the end of the week with comments and suggestions. I wrote my rough draft of a query letter (business and creative letter you send to agents when looking for representation) for Evren and posted it on the SCBWI blueboard for critiques. I’m also working on a few new scenes in my Bluebeard fairy tale re-telling.

That’s all for now, friends!

What are you all working on at the moment or reading? What are you grateful for 🙂 ?

Loie xo

PS: Here is the link for the upcoming #FirstKiss contest:  https://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.ca/2018/01/in-house-critique-coming-up-first-kisses.html

#SunvsSnow has already passed. Good luck to those who entered!