Margie Jordan Guest Post – Teen Author Boot Camp and Giveaway!

Here’s some info about the Teen Author Boot Camp.  Shannon Hale will be delivering the keynote address! If you are interested in attending virtually, I have one registration to giveaway, so please fill out the Rafflecopter to enter!

Guest Post by Margie Jordan and Teen Author Boot Camp Info

There is a famous line from a movie that says, “I was always a band geek. I just never joined the band.” I could relate. When I was in high school I was a president of the dance team, a singer in the choir, a hang-out-with-my-boyfriend-until-mom-and-dad-forced-me-home kind of person. But in my heart, I was a writer. This is why I tell people all the time, “I was always a writer. I just always hated English.”

Because I was a closet writer, I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, no one to tell me when I stank, no one to teach me how to craft a really great story. My teachers were the millions of books I read (not in a closet—but hidden away when my friends were around). And I WISHED I could have had someone to talk to about my hidden obsession.

If this sounds like you…. Then I’m happy to say there is a solution.

The Teen Author Boot Camp, founded by the Utah-based group Writers Cubed and sponsored by Utah Valley University is one of only a few writing conferences nationwide geared solely for teenagers who have a love for the written word. For the first time ever, Writers Cubed is offering the conference to anyone who wants to attend through Live Stream.

Interested? Here are the deets!

When: Saturday, March 16, 2013

From: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MST)

Where: Worldwide via the internet

Who: Teens, teachers, librarians, book lovers

Cost: $4.99 for the Live Broadcast; $9.99 for the All Pass

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors) Class: Imagine and Create.

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother) Class: Bad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy) Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld) Class: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel: Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings) Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine–haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog

Margie Jordan is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who createdthe Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. In her spare time, like when she isn’t writing, she is a Literacy specialist for her local school district. Please visit her website at


Enter below for a chance to win a free subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast. (Value $4.99)  If you win, you can also upgrade to the All-Pass subscription, and  you will receive a $5 off coupon!

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August Reading Goals and July Wrap-up

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

While I was able to get back into a reading groove, I completely veered off course with the planned reading schedule.  I read 18 books (34 pages away from 19!), but only 3 of them were from my July list.  My favorite read of July 2012 was Black Heart by Holly Black (review).  If you haven’t read her Curse Workers series, give it a shot.

I upped the stakes for August! I have a huge reading list, in a mix of genres – let’s see how many I can squeeze in!

Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

Blades of Winter by G T Almasi

In a Fix by Linda Grimes

The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert

Library Wars Vol 7 by Kiiro Yumi

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Scandal’s Mistress by Bronwyn Stuart

Jiu Jiu Vol 1 by Touya Tobina

Beautiful Lies by Jissica Warman

The Drops of God vol 1 by  Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto

Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

The Night Is Mine by M L Buchman

Shift by Kim Curran

Seducing Cinderella by Gina L Maxwell

Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half  by Samantha Grace

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

What’s on your reading list for August?

Ready! Set! READ!!

April Reading Goals and March Wrap-up

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

I read 15 books in March, which is a good total considering all of the distractions that kept popping up.  I have big plans, again, for this month – Let’s see what I can accomplish.

Storybound by Marissa Burt

A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

Borrowing Abby Grace by Kelly Green

The Returning by Christine Hinwood

Wicked As They Come by Delilah S Dawson

Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockman

The Start Up by Sadie Hayes

Scary School by Derek the Ghost

Baby’s First Homecoming by Cathy McDavid

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

The Galahad Legacy by Dom Testa

Medusa the Mean by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Weekend Agreement by Barbara Wallace

The Marked by Inara Scott

Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton

Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire by Nina Croft

I had two Holy Crap This is a Good Book in March – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

What are you going to read this month?  What was your favorite March read?


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Leap into Literacy with Leap Books and 826 National!

On March 28, Leap Books will be releasing Spirited, an anthology with contributions from some awesome YA writers, including Maria V. Snyder, Shannon Delany, and Judith Graves.   All proceeds from the sale of SPIRITED will be donated to 826 National,  which provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills.   

Here is more information about the book:



Leap Books:

Buy link for print book:

Buy link for ebook:
(Note: ebook will be on sale from March 21-31 for 99 cents)


Leap Books summoned best-selling paranormal and dreadfully talented debut authors to conjure up Spirited, a haunting collection of 13 tales guaranteed to keep you up all night.                       

Get entombed in stories of Egyptian treasures, shudder at tales of malevolent spirits, and become enthralled with the adventures of witch-hunters, ghost seekers, and lost souls. From steampunk to cyberpunk, our collection spans past, present, and future hauntings. One story actually leaps off the page with 3D augmented reality.                                     

Go ahead. Turn the page if you dare. We won’t tell if you sleep with the light on. Because after all, there’s no rest for the wicked.                      

Anthology edited by Kat O’Shea

Contributing authors include: Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill William-son, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Carmen Tudor, John W. Otte, Halli Dee Lilburn, and Mark Finnemore Augmented Reality by Karl Gee             

Print book available only from the Leap Books store.

Here is more information about 826 National:

826 NATIONAL (Visit the website)

If you’ve visited the Leap Books website, you know we lean toward the eccentric and snarky. So when we found an organization that’s a little off-the-wall and dovetails with our goals—reading and writing—we couldn’t resist.

Kids ages 6 to 18 are enticed in by storefronts, which caught our eye(our third eye, too). Here are a few of the offbeat stores:

• Museum of Unnatural History (Washington, DC)specializing in saber tooth dental floss and unicorn burps;

• pirate store (San Francisco) selling glass eyesand peg legs (be sure to check the sizing chart to properly fit yours);

• space travel supply company (Seattle) sportingrocket fuel to ray guns;

• superhero outlet (Brooklyn) furnishing capesand grappling hooks;

• spy store (Chicago) dealing in periscopes andnight-vision goggles;

• time travel mart (Echo Park, CA) stocking dinoeggs and dodo chow;

• robot repair shop (Ann Arbor, MI) marketing robot emotion upgrades and positronic brains;

• Bigfoot Research Institute (Boston) offeringYeti hairballs and sea serpent secretions.

What kid wouldn’t be lured in?

If that weren’t enough to intrigue, once the kids walk through the doors, the center provides free tutoring by professional volunteers and a variety of writing programs to increase literacy skills, so it seemed like a natural—or should I say, supernatural—match for us.

Here are some excerpts from SPIRITED:

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Question – When Do You Know How You’ll Rate A Book?

Julie from Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks asked on her blog when you know how you’ll rate a book.  I hope she doesn’t mind me answering this here.  I think this is a great question, and I was also curious about how all of you would answer it.

For me, I don’t know what grade to give a book until I finish it.  That’s if I finish it.  I give each book 100 pages to convince me to read to the end.  If a book doesn’t hold my interest or have me engaged in the story by the 100th page, I put it away.  Maybe I’m not in the mood for that type of story at that particular moment in time.  Maybe I can’t stand the characters and don’t want to spend any more time with them – ever.  Maybe another book caught my interest, and with my short attention span, I continued to read the newer book over the previous one.  There are so many reasons why I might put a book aside that they would take up an entire post.

If I am engaged in a story enough to journey beyond the 100th page, I try not to pass judgment until I finish it.  There have been so many books that start strong and have me completely immersed in the story, only to fall apart at the end.  Maybe the protagonist does something out of character.  Or suddenly becomes TSTL (too stupid to live).  Maybe the pacing slows, and then I find my attention wandering.  These are the most disappointing reads, because they had so much promise, but ultimately let me down. 

Then there books that grab you from the first sentence and never seem to let you go.  I think of these as Holy Crap This is a Good Book.  They are few and far between, but you know from the moment that you pick it up that you are holding a winner in your hands.  They consume your every thought, but even these I hesitate to rate until I reach the last page.  What if the plot unravels at the end?  It is so energizing when they hold strong and leave me literally breathless at the end.  These are the books that keep me reading and blogging!

What about you?  When do you know how you’ll rate a book?  If you aren’t completely engrossed in the plot, how long will you keep trudging along?

Thanks to Carmel from Rabid Reads for helping me discover Julie’s blog.

Book Blogger Confessions: Social Networking with Authors


Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Question for Monday, February 20th:

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you’re on friendly terms with them?

Ah, the wonders of the interwebz are indeed a double-edged sword.  While it is a blast to have an author comment on a Goodreads update or on a Tweet, sometimes the easy accessibility of authors is a little awkward.  It’s fun to get some feedback from the people whose writing I so admire, but there are times I wish that it wasn’t quite so easy.  In an effort to keep these interactions more in perspective, I try to keep communications professional.  I can’t say that I am friends with any authors, but I do enjoy an occasional Twitter chat with a few of them.

To keep things more professional and unbiased, I try to limit my interactions with them.  I will typically attempt to email a publicist if I want to interview someone, but some of the publishers make it so hard to get in contact with a live person that there are times I do have to email an author directly.  Most of them are more than willing to help me out with information about their books or provide me with an interview, but there have been a few times that things did not work out quite so well.  I believe that some of the difficulty with some of pubs and authors is the name of my blog, but because I’ve been using it for so long, I am reluctant to change it to reflect my current reading preferences. 

While friendly interaction on Twitter won’t change my opinion of a book I have read or a book that I plan to read, a conversation with an author will prompt me to look at a book I might have otherwise overlooked.  There are just so many books out there that it is impossible to keep informed about all of them, so if an author pings me on Twitter or Goodreads, or even on my blog, I will go and learn a little bit more about their book.  It won’t change how I feel when I read it, but it will at least get me to look at it in the first place.

With all of the Twitter storms and Goodreads fiascos lately, I actually took a step back and now try not to directly engage with authors.  Since I really don’t have a lot of time to hang out on social networking sites, that’s probably not a bad thing – now I just use a lot of my Twitter time to read, instead!

How about you? How do you deal with author interactions?

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Interview with Sophie Barnes, Author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back

Sophie Barnes is the author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, a recently released Avon Impulse title. Sophie dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sophie Barnes] Cheerful, Optimistic, Romantic & Sensitive Dreamer =)

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back?

[Sophie Barnes] When Emily Rutherford discovers that the man she’s been in love with for years, is about to marry her friend Kate, Emily is crushed. How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, is about overcoming this heartache of hers, which she does, with the help of her sisters and the delectable (but brooding) Earl of Dunhurst. He and Emily were once childhood friends, but a family tragedy and a terrible secret that threatens to scandalize his name, have made him distant. But when he sees how broken Emily has become, something in him stirs, and he determines to do whatever he can to make her smile again. And just to make it a bit more interesting, there’s also a villainous woman, a fair amount of blackmail and an evil cousin…

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sophie Barnes] Funny that you’re the first to ask me that. Well, a good friend of mine once found herself in a situation similar to Emily’s…villainous woman, blackmail and evil cousin part aside – that was all made up =) So mostly, the characters are based on people I have known or whom I still know – some are friends, some are family and some are purely the figment of my own imagination.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

[Sophie Barnes] Finding the time, I suppose. When I began writing it about 1 1/2 years ago, my kids were still very little and needed a lot of time and attention from me, so I wrote most of it during their nap time or after they went to bed in the evenings.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Emily would never have in her boudoir?

[Sophie Barnes] Something pink and frilly (she’s not a girly girl), something that might have belonged to her mother in law (and frankly, who can blame her?), smelling salts, since she’s not prone to feinting.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you enjoy most about romance? 

[Sophie Barnes] The moment leading up to the first kiss – I love that bit of anticipation =)

[Manga Maniac Café] What prompted you to try writing your own?

[Sophie Barnes] Oddly enough, I’ve been planning to write a book since I was 15, but got sidetracked by life. And it was long after I was married, that I even read my first romance novel (which was given to me by my by my mother in law). Up until that point, I’d always dismissed it, thinking it less serious somehow. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nothing can beat a good romance novel as far as I’m concerned. However, it wasn’t until I read Julia Quinn’s ‘Romancing Mr. Bridgerton’ that I actually thought, "that’s what I want to do – write a book as awesome as that!"

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sophie Barnes] Without question: Jane Austen and Julia Quinn.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sophie Barnes] A hot cup of tea, a tidy workspace (I find clutter terribly distracting) and a positive frame of mind (I just can’t write if I’m stressed or worried about something). Lindor Truffles help too =)

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sophie Barnes] Turned me on to reading…hmmm…I would probably have to say The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read it when I was about eight or nine and simply loved it – for years after I kept dreaming about finding my own secret garden.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sophie Barnes] I play with my kids, hang out with my husband, read romance novels and watch a lot of TV (I’m a bit of an addict…LOL).

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!

You can learn more about Sophie by visiting the following websites:

My website:

Facebook page:



Here’s the trailer for How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back

How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back is out now!  You can order it from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below (the Kindle edition is only $3.99):



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Book Blogger Confessions–Managing Deadlines



Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion, or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Today’s topic is:  Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?

This is something I struggle with all the time!  Deadlines!  They stress me out!  I find it amusing that even though I hate being under pressure and having to meet deadlines, it is such a huge part of my book hobby.  That just doesn’t seem right, now, does it?

Here’s how I deal with those deadlines, which can dangle over my head like the Sword of Damocles.  I have a daily planner just for blogging.  I have tried to keep one online with Google Calendar, but I just can’t seem to make a virtual calendar work for me.  I mark down the dates of firm deadlines, and then I keep a sheet, updated weekly on Saturday, of looming deadlines.  Interview post dates don’t stress me out like review commitments.  I love reading author responses to my interview questions, and have a lot of fun with these posts, so they are easier to deal with.

Now reading and reviewing can cause a lot of apprehension.  I try not to make many firm commitments for book reviews.  When I am feeling pressured, I don’t enjoy reading as much.  I don’t enjoy blogging as much.  I can’t find my blogging mojo, and during those times, there are fewer reviews on the site.  Maybe Real Life is intruding, and I just don’t have the time or the attention span to write that review.  That’s never a good thing, so I keep my schedule for book reviews more flexible and fluid.

My biggest piece of advice to new bloggers: don’t over commit.  Blogging will quickly become a chore, and you won’t have fun doing it.  If you don’t have fun doing it, you will quickly stop blogging altogether.  Work out a schedule that works for you.  I work long hours to pay the bills, so reviewing and blogging activities happen mainly on the weekend.  I squeeze in as much reading as I can after work during the week, but some nights I am so tired that I actually fall asleep with a book propped up in my hands.  This tends to scare to crap out of me when I drop the book I was reading when I doze off.  Oops!

Set realistic goals for yourself, too.  I tend to be to a bit overly optimistic with how many books I can read in a month, but by posting a projected reading list at the start of each month, I feel that I at least have a plan to work with, and I work better with a plan.  I don’t beat myself up when I can’t get everything read, but at least I have a goal to work toward.  So setting goals for yourself that are realistic, and not over committing will keep your blog a more enjoyable activity.  If you lose the mojo, take a break.  Step away from your blog.  Take a deep breath.  This is supposed to be fun!

How do you manage your deadlines?  Leave links and share.

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