5 Awesome Books for the End of Summer

Wow, where did summer go???

It seems we’re already halfway through August, and I’m a couple weeks behind in getting you a new blog post. My apologies! I could give you all kinds of excuses… or I could give you five fresh book recommendations?

Since we’re wrapping up the summer, let’s take a look at some good summer and end-of-summer stories. I have a mix of different genres here, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone.

Without further ado, here are 5 great books to close out your summer!

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through these links. However, I have chosen these books because I read and enjoyed them by purchasing them myself or borrowing through the local library.)

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

This is a great summer contemporary! Meet Andie, a politician’s daughter who suddenly finds her summer wide open. So what should she do? How about start a dog walking business? And maybe meet someone new…

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Sticking with the contemporary theme for a minute, how about prankster Clara and her rival, Rose? When Clara takes things too far at their senior prom, both of them are sentenced to summer working her dad’s food truck. Together. Or else.

This was a delightful story of unexpected friendships and summer jobs.

One S’more Summer by Beth Merlin

Okay, so I may be light on fantasy this week. But we’re switching from YA to adult here.

Gigi is about to lose her crush to her best friend… and she has to be part of the wedding. So to get herself a little distance and perspective, she decides to sign up as a camp counselor at the place where she always felt she belonged: Camp Chinooka. But there’s more there than just an escape there, and Gigi has to find herself and come to terms with her feelings before her whole life unravels.

Of all the books I’m recommending today, this one gives me the biggest end-of-summer vibes. And I can almost smell campfires!

Laid Back Camp

Okay, completely switching gears here, I have a manga I just started. Laid Back Camp is exactly what it sounds like: all about camping, no drama, no stress. But a cute story and characters you can fall in love with.

Honestly, this is one of the most relaxing things I’ve read in a while. If you find you need a break, this may be the book you’re looking for.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

This one is a nonfiction story following Cheryl as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail alone. She talks about her life, what led her to the trail, the trail itself, and how she found herself again by hiking it. It’s a really fascinating story steeped in nature.

And if you like stories like this, I have a bonus story: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Like Wild, this book is all about a hiking trip, but it’s along the Appalachian trail and gives you some history of that trail as well. I really enjoyed this story, and it has a VERY unexpected ending… at least to me!

And Remember…

The second Seasons of Magic: Fireflies & Faeries book comes out on August 20th! (Any links to my own books, like Carnival of Curses below, are not affiliate links)

You can pick up your copy of Carnival of Curses on Amazon or these other retailers. If you want some summer fair fun (since all my local fairs were canceled this year), a vampire acrobat, a pegasus circus pony, and a frog-boy, you’ll adore this contemporary fantasy retelling of the Frog Prince!

I had a ton of fun writing it, so I hope you all enjoy reading it.

Until next time, happy reading! 😀

3 Things to Consider When Writing Seasonal Stories

You may have noticed that I recently began releasing seasonally-themed novellas (if not, scroll to the bottom for the latest news!). I have plenty of reasons for creating these books, but have you ever considered what exactly goes in to preparing a book for a seasonal release? Let’s talk about three things to consider before releasing your own seasonal stories!

You probably have to start off season

Yup, I started writing my summer story actually way back last winter. And my next release, a treat filled with all things fall, I had to start in July.

Now, I’ll admit that you can technically start during that time of year when you want to release (or even one year prior to release), and if you’re fast enough, you can release the same year. But if you’re like me, you take some time to write and revise, then you spend extra time finding beta readers, hiring developmental editing, and picking phenomenal proofreaders, not to mention finding someone to design the cover!

There’s a lot to do, and publishing something start to finish within a short timeframe is not easy.

So, for me, I have to start writing 3-4 months in advance, putting me squarely one season too early.

Planning out the release dates is important

As you might expect, picking the right release date is incredibly important when you have a story that is associated with a particular time of year. I chose October 31 to release Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks because my main character is a pie witch and the story is heavily influenced by Hansel and Gretel (aka CANDY)…perfect for Halloween!

But honestly, it still would have worked if I released in November.

But consider a Christmas story. It may make the most sense to release it just after Thanksgiving, when a lot of people are gearing up for Christmas and super excited about it! But you only get about one month to get people to read the story before they move on until the next year. You have a little bit less of a window for that kind of release than you would for a simple summer release, which gives you a much larger window, probably from about May to August.

Keep seasonal themes and tropes in mind

Remember that if someone is reading your story, it’s likely because they want to dive into the feelings and sparkle of the season. So play it up!

Summer? Have that beach. Go to the state fair. Jump into the jungle.

Fall? All the pumpkin spice. All the leaves. All the spooky ghosts and cozy fires.

Winter? Dance on the twinkling Christmas lights. Traverse the blustery tundra. Build snowmen!

Spring? All about renewal! Have those rainstorms. Let the flowers grow.

Don’t shy away from embracing all the things people love about the season, and put your reader into those feelings!

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of things that you may consider when writing for specific seasons and times of year, but today I talked about three you can start with and build from. Remember to give yourself time to create it, pick a date people will associate with the story, and give yourself permission to embrace all the wonderful things about that season!

Do you have any advice or thoughts for people who want to write seasonal stories? Share it in the comments and let’s talk!

~~~

News!

Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks has a release date! Expect it at all major retailers on October 31st. Until then, you can find it on Goodreads or preorder through the Universal Link (please be patient if not everything is there yet…each retailer has its own turnaround from submission to available).

Solstice Scavenger Hunt 2019!

So. Many. Prizes.

Summer is upon us! To celebrate, I’m banding together with a bunch of other authors to have some summer fun (and give all of you a chance to win some fantastic prizes!)

Here’s the official info:

FSF Readers Lounge Presents its first ever Solstice Scavenger Hunt. Running from June 16th to June 29th – 19 authors joined forces to offer readers a chance at $75 cash via PayPal and 19 eBooks as a Grand Prize! 38 secondary prizes (an eBook from one of our participating authors) will be given to randomly chosen participants with the correct answer.

To play for a chance to win you must go to each of the authors sites listed below, collect the “hidden” word(s), unscramble them, and then enter to win! Enter Here! Entering does not enter you into anything! You have the option to choose who to subscribe to and who to follow – the only requirements are 1- you must follow the Facebook page for the Readers Lounge in order to get the winners announcement and -2- use the link to enter the giveaway, but I hope you choose to follow the wonderful authors participating in this hunt!

Seriously, check out all these prizes!

$75 Cash via PayPal

eBooks up for prizes:

  • A Bit of Magic
  • Azimuth
  • Bonded
  • Curse Breaker: Enchanted
  • Dragon Blood
  • Elven Jewel
  • Forever People
  • Ian’s Realm Saga
  • Schrodinger’s Cat
  • Shadow’s Hand
  • Sleepless Flame
  • Tattoos
  • The Fox and The Hunter
  • The Glass Gargoyle
  • The Hand of Atua
  • This Cursed Flame
  • Witch’s Moonstone Locket
  • Wolves’ Gambit

I am also running another giveaway for the book I have as part of the grand prize: This Cursed Flame. Winners will receive an ebook in their preferred format, and US winners will also receive a bookmark in the mail (sorry, international friends. I haven’t quite figured out international mailing yet).

Enter for your chance to win, then make sure you keep scrolling for the secret word! Head over to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

And if that’s not enough for you, how about a free, exclusive short story? (You have the opportunity to use this as an entry in my personal giveaway, too!) All you need to do is subscribe to my newsletter, and a fantasy short story will make its way to your inbox! (just remember to click through to the rafflecopter to actually submit the entry)

And without further ado, here is your secret word:

Isn’t that graphic gorgeous?

There you have it! Be sure to continue the scavenger hunt to collect the rest of the words!

(The secret word is “happiness”, just in case anyone is unable to see the image for some reason)

Make sure to visit all the sites to gather all your words!

Happy hunting, and happy summer reading!

The Best (and Worst) Books I Read This Summer

Summer is a magical time, ever since we were kids. Then, it was a break from the tedium of school and homework. Now, if you’re out of school, it’s a chance to get outside and enjoy some sunshine and have an adventure. If you’re a bookworm like me, then most of your summer adventures are probably in the pages of books. I didn’t get as much reading done in June, July, and August as I would have liked, but I did read a few very good or disappointing books in that time.

*drumroll*

My favorite book of the summer: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

All you Fangirl fans, this is the one. This is the one we’ve been waiting for. We get to follow another awesome creator/artist in her journey to break out of a world she can control and grow into a world she loves. We see the joy and the heartbreak of storytelling. We see the passion and the dangers of creating and sharing a piece of work. And we get a cute little romantic plot right in the middle. Seriously, if you liked Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (my own personal favorite book, now tied with this one), you’ll love this book, too. If you want to see the review I wrote, you can find it here.

My second favorite book of summer: Born of Earth by A. L. Knorr

This one came as a surprise to me. It was a free download I stumbled across through a different indie author’s website. I had been eyeing A. L. Knorr’s Born of Water for a while, but without knowing much about the books, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money. This offer was the perfect opportunity to give them a try. And oh, was I pleasantly surprised! The book was exciting and filled with magic. It was a fantasy concept I hadn’t seen most other places. Other than a kind of awkward romantic subplot, it was everything I was looking for in a book. It was so good that I went back and purchased Born of Water as soon as I had finished reading! Just be aware that Earth is book 3 in the series, so there are a couple references to the other characters you might not understand. But! It totally works as a standalone. I can’t wait to see where these girls are going!

Next, my least favorite book of summer: A Brush with the Moon by Raquel Lyon

First off, the good. It has a stunning new cover! Seriously, gorgeous. The other great thing about this one, and the reason I was so looking forward to it, was the concept. Instead of the usual paranormal or urban fantasy tropes, this one had a twist: the main character became a fox shifter, and one chosen by a goddess at that. But despite the promising concept, it fell flat for me. I didn’t find it exciting and the writing style and I didn’t get along. Ultimately, I did not even finish reading this one. I’ll just keep writing my own story about fox shifters…

Honorable mentions:

Other summer reads of 2017:

Just a note: just because I didn’t list a book as a favorite or honorable mention does not mean I didn’t enjoy it, and just because I didn’t enjoy something doesn’t mean it is a terrible book to everyone! Read what you want to read and have fun with it! Don’t let my opinion sway you from loving something or hating something.

Your turn: what books did you read this summer? Which ones were your favorites (or least favorites)? Tell me in the comments!

Now, I have a lot more books to catch up on this fall. So if you’ll excuse me…