Monday, March 18, 2019

Release Tour Review: Just Swipe Right (425 Madison Series #3) by Allie York

Release Tour for JUST SWIPE RIGHT by Allie York
Brought to you by Forever Write PR



Book info:
TitleJust Swipe Right
Author:  Allie York
Series:  425 Madison #3
Genre:  Adult contemporary romance
Release Date:  March 14th, 2019
Source:  E-galley received from Forever Write PR which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  4.5 stars

Synopsis:



Magazine columnist Eliza Donovan let her sister sign her up for a dating app which is so not her thing. Chef Murphy Cormac needed a dramatic change, so a big city move leaves him looking for love. An unexpected match has Eliza and Murphy questioning whether or not it is meant to be. Fans of love triangles will love this quick and will they, won’t they read. The third book in the highly anticipated 425 Madison series is now live! Read JUST SWIPE RIGHT by Allie York today.

Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Goodreads ➝ http://bit.ly/425Mad3JSR


About Just Swipe Right







Eliza
My life is perfect. I have a luxurious apartment and my dream job. I also have a sister willing to sign me up for a dating app against my better judgment. I promise her one week before the app is deleted forever.

All it takes is one week before I’m matched with two amazing men and my perfect life becomes a perfect disaster.

 
Murphy
I needed a drastic change and I got it. My move from the middle of nowhere to the city lands me in a classy part of town with an upscale job. All I need is a personal life to match. So, I join the masses and download an app.

A match with the woman of my dreams has me considering a future. The only problem is that I’m not the only one wanting to make her mine.

After all, 425 Madison Avenue is the perfect place to fall in love.

*Each story is completely standalone.




My Review:
At only about 6% into the story I was kind of hooked because Eliza reminded me of myself with her collection of pug figurines, although mine would be dachshund figurines.  I loved the characters having dogs, and how that brought them together accidentally, before they got connected through the dating app.  So much about the whole experience with the dating app was spot on to the thoughts and things I would worry about with any type of dating using that method.  Do you only date one person at a time?  Or is it okay to keep your app going while you date one person, since you don't know if it is going to be a match, and that is how you met anyway, right?  And if you do keep it open, how much do you talk to another person, or seek out other people to talk to?  Does that count as cheating?  I loved the connection that Eliza and Murphy had, and I was totally telling Eliza to come clean about things like what article she wrote, and the book she was working on, in order to keep from things blowing up later.  All the things you expect to go wrong in a romance. 

In the end, I feel this was such a realistic story.  While I'm not exactly sure of the motives of the other guy that Eliza was dating, his end bit was really crazy, I like how Murphy handled his ultimatum.  It was needed.  I hate how Eliza dealt with it at first, but I totally understand her choosing what she did.  The ending was perfect, I loved the story.  Definitely want to read more by this author now, as well as more in this series.

 

Excerpt
Copyright @ 2019 Allie York


“When you signing up? Women love a chef.” My best friend Derek is the back manager of Amore and got me the interview as head chef. Tonight, he gets to be both managers since the front manager called in sick. Sick is code for his new girlfriend is visiting from upstate. Mike gets sick every third Saturday, almost religiously.
        Derek nudges me, and I remember that he asked a question, “Sign up?”
        “Match Me. It’s where I met Callie. I also met Claire on there,” Derek tips his head at our staff, “Clint is talking to some woman on there too. You need to get out there. Enjoy the finer things the big apple has to offer.” I only roll my eyes. I didn’t come to New York to date. I came to work in a new environment and get some better kitchen experience. One of the female servers watches Derek and I talk, trying to be discreet, but it’s no secret that she’s hot for Derek. Even my player best friend knows better than to mix business and pleasure. Although that may be his only rule when it comes to women. Sharing a bedroom wall with him proves that point.
        “I’m not signing up for a dating app.” I watch the crew start to ease toward the door, mentally preparing for our shift.
        “Look at it like a hookup app. None of these women want to get married, if they did, they wouldn’t waste time with this shit.” Derek waves his black phone in front of my face, “Since when are you against getting laid?”
        “You know I’m not against it, it’s just not my goal in life.” I shrug. Call me old fashioned but I can’t stand our culture sometimes. I’m a commitment guy, not around for hookups.
        “You could still make it a priority, or just an option.” Derek leans back against the wall, looking smug with his argument. He has a point. I make enough money to take a girl out and having someone to talk to besides Derek’s dog would be nice. When he’s home, he has a date over, so I have taken over all of Dozer’s care, but that doesn’t mean I want to be the guy who sits at home with the dog. Although, Dozer is a great listener.
        “Well…” I begin.


        “You are so easy,” Derek shakes his head and taps my phone in my pocket, “Match Me is the app. Put your profession on there as often as possible. Women love a chef. You cook, they reward you for it, I promise.” Derek bumps my shoulder and I start the app download.  


Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited



Author Allie York:

Allie is a mom and dog groomer by day. At night she is posted at her laptop writing or reading in a
cozy corner. She has a soft spot for gooey romance, over-creamed coffee, and anything cute and furry.



Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorallieyork/
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15726793.Allie_York
Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01N947A6I
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/allie-york





About the 425 Madison Series:




Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced & sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.


The series features stories from some of your favorite romance authors: Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Allie York, Aubree Valentine, Kay Gordon, Lauren Helms, Sylvia Kane, Katy Ames, and C. Lesbirel.


Join these authors as they come together, each with a standalone romance for you to enjoy.


Featuring some of readers' favorite tropes: second-chance romance, best friends sibling romance to a good ol' enemies to lovers romance. We've got you covered with a sports romance, a fake relationship and even an ugly duckling or two. Don't forget a brother's best friend and falling for your soul mate. Maybe a little love triangle as well. Each tale offers you something new, something different. After all, 425


For more information, visit the series website ➝ www.425madisonseries.com


Follow the series on Facebook ➝ https://www.facebook.com/425MadisonSeries


Did you miss MUST LOVE COFFEE and LET ME LOVE YOU? You can read them here: https://rebrand.ly/MLC_425Madison and https://rebrand.ly/LMLY_425Madison


Books four and five in the series are coming soon! Add them to your Goodreads shelf today!


Two for Holding by Kay Gordon, Book #4
A Sports Romance
Goodreads ➝ https://rebrand.ly/TFH_425Madison

Boyfriend Maintenance by Lauren Helms, Book #5
A Fake Relationship Romance
This release event is brought to you by Forever Write PR - Forever your source for all your writing needs. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverWritePR/

Sunday, March 17, 2019

ARC Review: Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Book info:
TitleGirls with Sharp Sticks
Author:  Suzanne Young
SeriesGirls with Sharp Sticks #1
Genre:  YA science fiction
Release Date:  March 19th, 2019
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Source:  ARC received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  5 stars

Synopsis:
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.


My Review:
It only took one time of picking up and I was hooked! This story was so unique, and there was a lot details left to fall out as part of the plot in such a seamless manner, but also in a way that kept the suspense going the whole time.  We got introduced to characters that seemed like they might be the good guys, the ones out to help these girls who may not have understood what really they were being subjected to.  Even with those helpful things they did, there was always the niggling sensation in the back of my mind about what exactly were the motivations behind the supposedly good guys' actions.  Were they entirely selfless?  Or as we learn with at least one of them, there might have been some selfishness in the reasons.  

When finally we get into some of the science behind what is going on, it made me think of lobotomies, yet I couldn't imagine how in the world that worked with what was going on while they performed the procedure.  The ending fit the title of the book so perfectly, but also left you hanging a bit.  While some things, for our main characters really, might have been solved or somewhat fixed, overall, there are still a few loose ends left at the conclusion.  Ones that may leave this open for a sequel.  And that sequel could have more to do with our original cast, but I am going to guess the ones who still need help will be in that story as well.  

This is only my 2nd book by this author, but it only makes me more determined to read The Program series!  I will definitely be purchasing this for the students in my school library to read as well with my next budget money for next school year, as it has some great tie-ins to things going on in the world today.  And the acknowledgement by the author at the end is really perfect.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With A Giveaway: Down the TBR Hole #13

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Because I have so many to do, I'm going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time.

 1.  Jane by April Lindner:
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.


My thoughts:  I always enjoy a good retelling of a classic.  I feel like this still seems like one I'd enjoy.

Verdict:  Keep


2.  Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel:
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan — an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben’s father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben’s parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he’s not the only one his father’s going to scrutinize.

It isn’t long before Ben is Zan’s favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true — between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.

Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. It’s about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can’t always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it’s a novel you won’t soon forget.
 


My thoughts:  It sounds like a good one, but I don't know that I'll get to it. I also feel like this is a well-enough known author that I might come across it again some time.

Verdict:   Toss


3.  Stolen:  A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher:
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.


Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist--almost.
 


My thoughts:  I see this one on the shelves at school all the time, but I always forget that it is more than just a kidnapping story.

Verdict:  Keep


4.  Scars by Cheryl Rainfield:
Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.

Watch the book trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF5xEK...
 
 


My thoughts:  This is one I'm still mad at myself for not having read yet. So it is staying!

Verdict:  Keep


5.  The Fallen and Leviathan (The Fallen #1) by Thomas Sniegoski:

THE ULTIMATE QUEST FOR REDEMPTION 
 
On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron begins to hear strange voices and is convinced he is going insane. But having moved from foster home to foster home, Aaron doesn't know whom he can trust. He wants to confide in the cute girl from class, but fears she'll confirm he's crazy. 

Then a mysterious man begins following Aaron. He knows about Aaron's troubled past and his new powers. And he has a message for Aaron: As the son of a mortal and an angel, Aaron has been chosen to redeem the Fallen. 

Aaron tries to dismiss the news and resists his supernatural abilities. But he must accept his newfound heritage — and quickly. For the dark powers are gaining strength, and are hell-bent on destroying him....

My thoughts:  I've kind of forgotten about this one, and don't know that I need more angel stories?

Verdict:  Toss


6.  Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein:
Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists and Cate increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.
 


My thoughts:  I'm always interested in a story about the Roanoke Colony, and this doesn't seem to be a too well-known one.

Verdict:  Keep


7.  The Twelve by William Gladstone:
The Twelve is an extraordinary and unforgettable novel about a most unusual man. As a child, Max lives in a world of colors and numbers, not speaking until the age of six. As an adult, Max ventures on a journey of destiny to discover the secret behind the ancient Mayan prophecy about the “end of time,” foretold to occur on December 21, 2012.When he is fifteen years old, Max has a near death experience during which he has a vision that reveals to him the names of twelve unique individuals. While Max cannot discern the significance of these twelve names, he is unable to shake the sense that they have deep meaning. Eight years pass before Max meets the first of the twelve.

With this, Max’s voyage of discovery begins, as he strives to uncover the identities and implications of “the twelve”—individuals he will meet during his journey towards truth, all of whom seem connected, and all of whom may hold the answer to what will happen at the exact moment the world may end. The novel takes the reader on a series of global adventures, culminating in a revelation of why and how Max and the twelve are destined to unite to discover the magnitude of the meaning of December 21, 2012. Only the twelve can provide the answers, as the fate of all humanity rests in the balance.
 
 


My thoughts:  So, 2012 has come and gone.  And nothing happened.  So, not sure this really sounds like something I care about anymore.

Verdict:  Toss


8.  Grim Reaper:  End of Days by Steve Alten:
Patrick "Shep" Shepherd was a promising major league rookie baseball pitcher when September 11, 2001 hit. Shaken by the attacks, Shep leaves behind his soul mate and newborn daughter to enlist in the Armed Forces. Eleven years and four deployments later, Shep finds himself in Manhattans VA hospital. His left arm is gone, his wife and daughter are gone, and his tarnished soul is haunted by the nightmares of war.

December 21st: While world leaders meet at the UN, Mary Klipot, a bio-hazard level-4 scientist working at the CIA labs in Fort Dietrick, enters Manhattan with Scythe, a swift acting version of the Black Death developed to annihilate America's enemies abroad. Believing God has chosen her to bring forth the End of Days, Mary infects herself with Scythe, unleashing a pandemic. Officials rush to seal off the island, trapping three million people... the President among them, with the only vaccine now in Shep's possession.

Determined to use the vaccine to rescue his wife and child, Shep and his guide, Virgil Shechinah, trek through the plague-infested and nightmarish neighborhoods of Manhattan, which mirrors the "Nine Circles of Hell" portrayed in Dante's Inferno.

Plagued by greed, corruption, and two endless wars, it is man's ego that has brought about the End of days, unleashing the Grim Reaper upon the earth... and the Angel of Death is stalking Patrick Shepherd.
 
 


My thoughts:  This is a really hard choice!  I love Steve Alten books. But this one, not sure!  But, because I think I might still want to read some day.  I'll probably keep it.

Verdict:  Keep


9.  The Frugalista Files:  How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life by Natalie McNeal:
Natalie McNeal opened her bills in January 2008 to find that she was a staggering five figures—$20,000!—in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbert-ly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily takeout and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give.

And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her blog, Natalie confessed her spending habits to the world—and it turns out she wasn't the only one having trouble balancing the budget! From the drastic "no-buy" month that kicked it all off to the career gamble that threatened to put her deeper in the hole, The Frugalista Files shares Natalie's personal and professional transformation from cubicle rat to take-charge career girl.

It is possible to get ahead without giving up on the fabulous life. This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps—the empowering true story of one woman's personal and professional transformation and your ultimate guide to living the Frugalista lifestyle, too.
 
 


My thoughts:  I believe I probably found this book around the same time as reading the book Save Karyn, which I loved.  But since I've decided part of working on  my budget means not buying more books that are supposed to help me do that, this is one I'll need to pass on.

Verdict:  Toss


10.  We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver:


The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry.

Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
  
My thoughts:  
So, I probably added this one to my TBR because of all the talk about what a great book it was and how everyone should read it.  But now, as someone who is never going to get to be a mother, not sure I'll want to read something like this ever.

Verdict:  Toss


Final Thoughts:
Well, I kept half this week, but these are all on my virtual TBR on Goodreads, so they're not actually books sitting on a shelf, or floor space waiting for shelf space.  Something awesome I did this week though, was clean out a BUNCH of books from my shelves, physical ones.  And why would that be awesome for you?  Because I've added most of them to the giveaway below!  And hey, if I've inspired you to join in and do a post like this, come back and add a link to the Linky below, it is also one extra entry in the giveaway below!

  
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Giveaway:
Once again this is a US only giveaway, unless you are International and see a book here you really want and would be willing to pay for the difference in the shipping through Paypal or some other way.  Just as with the past weeks, you get to pick any book from the pictures below, as long as they don't get traded away, or picked by last week's winner, and I will pick a surprise book from the piles to add to your choice.  Here are your choices:

 

The two pictures above are my 2018 ARCs you can choose from.


These are my 2017 ARCs you can choose from.






These are the 2015-2016 ARCs you can choose from.



These are the 2014 ARCs you can choose from.





And one more!  Either 2013 or 2012, not sure. But it's available!

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 15, 2019

Blog Tour Author Interview with Giveaway: Meet Me in Outer Space by Melinda Grace


Book info:
Title:  Meet Me in Outer Space
Author:  Melinda Grace
Publisher:  Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 12th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:
Smart and unflinching, this #OwnVoices debut contemporary novel stars an ambitious college student who refuses to be defined by her central auditory processing disorder.
Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn’t visible, it isn’t obvious, and it isn’t something she likes to advertise.
And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.
Edie finds herself caught between getting the help she needs and convincing her professor that she isn’t looking for an easy out. Luckily for Edie, she has an amazing best friend, Serena, who is willing to stitch together a plan to ensure Edie’s success. And then there’s Hudson, the badly dressed but undoubtedly adorable TA in her French class who finds himself pulled into her orbit…
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Meet Me in Outer Space is a sweet, heartachingly real story of love and college life by debut author Melinda Grace


Author Interview:

1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?
I am absolutely a seat-of-my-pants writer!  An idea will pop into my head and I will just start writing. I generally don’t start storyboarding or outlining until final edits...when enough changes cause continuity issues and I need to visually see the storyline. I like to have to first chapter idea and the final chapter idea before I start. Typically I know how the book with start and how it will end. The beginning usually stays the same, the ending tends to change a bit.
One of the things I do that may be unique is that I write all the dialogue first and then go back and fill in the scenery. I like to think of the dialogue as the base coat and then I go back and add the layers of the scene. Location, textures, smells, tastes, colors, etc. All of my first draft chapters are just dialogue and dialogue tags with minimal setting descriptors.

2. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you're finished before you edit?  How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over? 
I edit as I go. I like to re-read what I’ve most recently written before starting again. I can’t even estimate the amount of times I edit before any of my beta readers get their hands on it.

3.  How did being a part of the Swoon Reads program work?
My journey with Swoon Reads started with a google search. I had written a manuscript and started to research publishing. I found a lot about getting an agent, etc and then stumbled upon Swoon Reads. I was a member for several months before gathering the courage to post my first manuscript. The manuscript wasn’t chosen...and neither was my second manuscript. I received so much positivity and constructive criticism that when I decided to post MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE I was simply looking for more of the same. I didn’t expect it to be chosen, mostly because I was already discouraged from two previous denials, and because of the theme and subject matter of the book was completely untouched. I didn’t expect a first-of-its-kind book to be chosen, but it was.
For me it worked in my favor. I made some great friends and writing partners. I got a book contract, obviously. I gained a family with the Swoon Squad. I’ve learned a lot about the industry through my own experience and through the experiences of the other authors.


4.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
So much of my writing is inspired by the world around me. Music. Poetry. Other books. TV. Movies. You name it. I wrote MMIOS based on one lyric in a song I’d heard a  hundred times before. I have another book that I wrote based on the semi-colon tattoo for survivors of self-harm and suicide. Typically the ideas come in small pieces. Phrases or conversations first, then setting. Often my characters develop based on their conversation. I can picture what the character looks like based on how they talk. The mannerisms I write for them. The tone of voice I hear them speak in. The words I choose for them to use. Sometimes I start with a kernel of an idea and it evolves into something different, but still great. In all honesty, I’m never entirely certain where my characters and story will take me.
5.  Since your book has to do with a central auditory processing disorder, or learning disability as some may call it, what kind of research did you have to do to make this story authentic?  
For starters, MMIOS is a #OwnVoices story, which means that I share the same disability as Edie, the main character. So much of Edie’s story is my own story, though I wasn’t diagnosed until I was long finished with graduate school. I am a school counselor and throughout my 12 years in this field I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with students with all different types of disabilities. For MMIOS, I reached out to three special people that I knew could contribute to Edie’s character the best:
A former student with CAPD who was diagnosed young. Like Edie, she wore a FM transmitter that she eventually decided she was done with for similar reasons to Edie’s. She was also language exempt in high school and had to take a language other than English for the first time in college. Unlike Edie, my former student attended a college with a stellar Disabilities Services Office and her own strength and self advocacy skills. She is now a special education teacher!
My cousin who was told throughout school that she would never work a “real job” let alone attend college. She attended  a college exclusively for students with learning disabilities. A college that understood her strengths and worked with her when she struggled. She has since graduated with a degree and works a job she has always wanted. Her path wasn’t easy, but she achieved anyway. Her disability lies in reading, and despite being a valuable contributor to my book, most likely will not read it. I am advocating for an audio version of MMIOS for this very reason...a book about representing diversity should be available through multiple medias.
My sister’s friend since elementary school, who has a diagnosis of ADHD though more than likely was misdiagnosed, though she is hesitant to self-diagnose, she is quite aware that her symptoms are more typical of someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than ADHD. She stopped taking her ADHD medication in college and hasn’t taken it in years. Her point of view was so important to Edie’s story because her journey was one of true self-reliance and discovery.
All three of these awesome people overcame adversity to reach their goals. Their journeys, while individual, still hold a universal relatability.
6.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?  
Stay strong. Keep writing. Find a community of writers to befriend. Don’t let people put you down for following your dreams. Know that it takes time...so, so much time.

7.    What are your favorite:
Books/authors/genres
I love poetry. I’ve been on a real poetry  kick lately, but that could be because I love Amanda Lovelace and everything she touches. I love my fellow Swoon Reads authors. I’m a big fan of contemporary YA. I’ve recently started dipping my toe into graphic novels and have been thrilled with the books I’ve encountered thus far.
Movies/TV Shows
Spirited Away. Anything Marvel. Harry Potter, of course. / I don’t watch a ton of TV shows. I like Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, Futurama, Shameless. I just finished The Umbrella Academy and it was fantastic.
Music
All types of music. I always create a playlist for whatever I am writing. Currently, I am at a coffee shop and The Beatles are on and I’m loving it.
Food/Writing snack
When I’m in full writing mode I refer to it as the “writing diet” because I forget to eat. I lost almost 20 lbs writing MMIOS simply because I lose track of time (and space) when I write. I don’t plan eating into my work time, I just sit and start typing away. Even today, for example, I sat down at the coffee shop to answer interview questions at 11:30am and it’s 2:30 pm right now. I haven’t eaten anything. FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not recommend this at all! There have been so many times where I start writing in the morning and don’t look up until it’s dark out. My body doesn’t appreciate it and neither will yours!
However, I ALWAYS need a cup of coffee when I start the writing day. I might drink one sip, or have several cups, but I need to have it within arm’s reach.

 
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Author Bio:
Melinda Grace wrote her first piece of fiction in middle school, but didn’t write a complete story until an introduction to creative writing course at SUNY Oswego, where she earned a BA in human development. She went on to earn a MS E.D. in counseling and currently works as a school counselor. When she’s not guiding the youth of America, she’s planning her next vacation to Disney World, laminating anything she can get her hands on, and binge watching Netflix. MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE is her debut novel, publishing March 2019.

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