Tracy E. Banghart

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    Friday
    Jul112014

    Who I Write For

    Lately, there's been a lot of talk about who "should" read YA. There was the Salon article, saying adults should be "embarrassed" to read YA (eye roll) and the myriad (wonderfully articulate) responses from YA writers and readers alike. There's always stuff like this around, and I find the articles and their responses really interesting.

    On a more personal level, it seems like every time I tell someone in publishing that I'd like teenagers to read my book...I get cynical laughter in response. And I get told "over 50% of YA readers are adults"...like teenaged readers are mythical, unicorn-rare creatures that only exist in my mind. 

    I'm aware of the "most YA readers are adult" statistic...I've used it plenty of times myself to defend the fact that I write for young adults when family or well-meaning friends ask when I'm going to write a "real" book (ie for adults).

    And so, okay, teenaged book readers are hard to reach, in terms of marketing strategy or social media. Got it. But here's the thing. That doesn't change the fact that I write my young adult books FOR teenagers. Even if they'll never find or read them. I don't care how many times someone tells me only adults read YA and teenagers will never read my books...I am not going to start writing FOR adults reading YA. 

    The truth is, I write YA books for a very specific teenager. She's fourteen or fifteen years old. Scrawny but she thinks she's fat. Smart but thinks she might be dumb because her parents and teachers lose patience with her a lot. She feels awkward and hyper and silly, and spends her time bouncing between the occasional, thrilling realization that she's actually pretty awesome... and the rest of the time, when she sternly reminds herself she's not...because she's not supposed to think she's cool. She's supposed to be humble and quiet and put together. She'd only be "cool" if she was like that girl her mom keeps telling her she should be more like: pretty, polite, accomplished, athletic, altruistic, etc.

    This teenaged girl is goofy and weird and loves things, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Robin McKinley books, that her parents just don't understand. She giggles hysterically with her friends, cries when she reads good books, and fantasticizes about what it actually would feel like to have someone be in love with her.

    I write for that girl, who feels powerless and out of control...who's treated like she's weak and helpless but who inside just wants to be STRONG. POWERFUL. Her own person. The girl who has dreams and ambitions that people tell her are nice hobbies, so she starts to believe that maybe they're NOT attainable. Maybe she should settle for something easier. "Real."

    The girl who fears everything but so desperately, desperately wants to be brave.

    I write for the girl who grows up wanting a boyfriend SO BADLY but doesn't have a clue how to talk to guys or be self-confident or know when that boy who acts like a tool isn't WORTH it. She deserves so much more.

    I write for the girl who doesn't believe she deserves all the things...but absolutely 100% DOES deserve all the things. She deserves to feel safe to embrace her sillies, her creativity, her strength, her dreams.

    This girl - this sweet, lost, insecure, wishful girl - she looks a little bit like this:

    And she has big, big dreams that she wants DESPERATELY to achieve, but believes, even as a teenager, they are out of her grasp because she's a girl. Because she's not smart enough. Or because she's not one of those "pretty, put together, accomplished" girls. But she doesn't stop trying, anyway. Just in case.

    When I write about strong girls who defy expectations, girls who prove to THEMSELVES how strong and capable they are...when I write about close, supportive female friendships, and girls who find love for being themselves...I think about this teenager in my head. How she needs those kinds of role models in her life. She needs stories about girls who prove everyone wrong.

    So, yeah. Maybe those mythical teenage unicorns out there in the wild don't read my books. But there's this one special teenager, still with me after all these years, who reads every single word. 

    ~~

    Fellow writer friends, do you have someone in particular you write for? A "perfect reader" in your head, who you hope will find and love your stories?

    Monday
    Jul072014

    Celebrating Heart & Soul by Lee Strauss!

     





    Introducing 


    Heart & Soul




    Heart & Soul is the third book in The Minstrel Series 

    (This is a connected book series - while each book can stand alone, they are best enjoyed in sequence.)


    ROMANCE. SUSPENSE. MUSIC. DANGER. HOT BRITISH GUY

    She's heartbroken. He's heartless.

    Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon.
    Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn't his real name. In fact, he's full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and... an identical twin brother.

    Callum Jones—not his real name—can't believe his brother's widow came to England. He'd warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl's life in danger, and he was right.

    “Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She's beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?

    Gabriele's heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?

     



    BUZZ for Heart & Soul

    "...this took a turn for the spy/thriller genre, which surprised me, but still carried the strong            romantic flavor and wonderful accompanying music, like the first two books. I think this is a great series and would recommend it to contemporary romance fans." Denise Jaden, author of Foreign Exchange

     "Another great book by Lee! This one had action, wit and a forbidden love! Love the characters and their interaction with each other! Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!" Tressa Sager, Amazon reviewer

     "I don't want to give away what the danger is, but suffice it to say, it's a real and plausible threat. Gabrielle is a good leading lady. She doesn't back down from anything or anyone in this book, but she's still vulnerable, making her well-rounded and likable." J Harrell, Amazon reviewer

    AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | itunes | Google Play


    Heart & Soul in Print


    The Music fromThe Minstrel Series Volume 3 Heart & Soul


    Featuring the author's daughter, Tasia Strauss!


    Lee Strauss' thoughts on The Minstrel Series and Heart & Soul:

    "My musician husband and I just randomly started talking about the idea of working on a project together - wouldn't it be great if we could collaborate and merge our two artistic worlds? Writing and Music? That was the seed that started the muse talking, and soon afterward The Minstrel Series was born!

    For Heart & Soul, I knew I wanted to move the series from Germany to England (next to Ireland and Boston!) and that I needed a small coastal town not far from London. I used Google Earth to examine the British coastline to search for the perfect town and found it in Emsworth. Living in Germany part-time has its advantages and one of them is its proximity to England. My husband and I did a quick five day research trip. (It also came in handy for the next book, a Christmas novella set in London - stay tuned!)

    Because of the musical aspect of this series, I'm always on the prowl for songs and singers. My connection to the singer-songwriter world via my musical husband has been a big advantage. My husband's musical genes have also been down to our kids, so it's exciting to involve my daughter Tasia in the project to be the singing voice of Gabriele."

    Click HERE to read the first chapter of Heart & Soul. 

    **One of the entry options will ask a question from the above chapter.


    About The Minstrel Series:

    The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

    The books include MP3 links to original music by talented Indie Artists, so you can hear the characters sing!

    #1     Sun & Moon
    #2     Flesh & Bone 
    #3     Heart & Soul 
    #3.5  Peace & Goodwill (Christmas Novella coming Fall 2014)

    It also has its own FACEBOOK (link) page and its own BANDCAMP (link) page where you can listen to the original music associated with the books. Albums are also available on AMAZON.


    About Lee Strauss:

    Lee Strauss is the author of The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian) and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and do yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag >:0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.




    EASY TWEETS:


    New Release! HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestrauss #Romance #Thriller #suspense #music #musicians http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Soul-contemporary-romance-Minstrel-ebook/dp/B00LBFETFU/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=ellestra-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=3D6K75PVF2Y62FBT&creativeASIN=B00LBFETFU

    Love #Romance and #Suspense? #Music? HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestraussbooks 
    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Soul-contemporary-romance-Minstrel-ebook/dp/B00LBFETFU/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=ellestra-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=3D6K75PVF2Y62FBT&creativeASIN=B00LBFETFU

     

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Thursday
    Jul032014

    Celebrating RaShelle Workman's A Beauty So Beastly!

    What happens if beauty is also the beast...

    Find out in A Beauty So Beastly. In this exciting new story, RaShelle takes the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast and flips it on its head.



    Here's the summary:

    “For your vanity, your cruelty, and your cold unfeeling heart, a curse I leave upon you . . .” 

    The stunning Beatrice Cavanaugh is considered American royalty. She has everything except the ability to love. Cursed on her eighteenth birthday, she becomes more beastly than ever, having a newfound craving for raw meat, and an undeniable yearning for the night. Bitterness is her only companion. 

    After accusing a maid of stealing, a disgustingly kind and exquisitely handsome guy named Adam shows up asking Beatrice to drop the charges against his mother. 

     


    Infuriated by his goodness, Beatrice vows to break him. Destroy him. Make him hurt the way she hurts. So she agrees. On one condition: Adam must take his mother’s place as a servant in the mansion. 

     


    Because Beatrice won’t stop until he’s more beastly than she is. 

     


     

    It's available now for only .99cents. Click HERE to purchase. 

     


     

     

     




    RaShelle Workman is the author of the popular Blood and Snow series. She loves to reinvent fairy tales that older teens and adults can sink their teeth into. Her stories include kissing, vampires, werewolves, witches, aliens, and more kissing. Sleeping Roses, Exiled, Beguiled, and Dovetailed have foreign rights contracts with a Turkish publisher. RaShelle is also one of the co-founders of Indie Recon LIVE.
    Connect With RaShelle


     

    Sunday
    Jun222014

    EuphorYA: A Sneak Peek at "Memories of Ash" & Giveaway

    Hello folks! I'm SO excited to be part of the awesome EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt! Today, I'm honored to turn over the blog to talented author (and event organizer!) Intisar! (A quick note: The "highlighted" word for the scavenger hunt today is supposed to be pink, but I can't figure out how to do that on my blog! D'oh. So just look for the really big, bold italiced word. :-))

    Thanks for having me on your blog, Tracy!

    I am so honored to be taking part in the EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt! Make sure to check out the schedule at the end for all the awesome blog stops and enter the grand prize giveaway ($75 Amazon / Nook gift card, plus books and swag!). I also have a giveaway at the end of the post which I'm hoping will be a lot of fun--a 15 minute Skype chat with the winning entrant.

    I'm really excited to share a sneak peek from my upcoming novel, "Memories of Ash." The Sunbolt Chronicles follows the story of Hitomi, a young thief with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms. Memories of Ash is the sequel to my novella, Sunbolt, where Hitomi is betrayed to the dark mage who killed her father.

    For those of you who haven't read Sunbolt, Hitomi ended her adventures in the last book by agreeing to study magic in an isolated mountain valley with a mage named Brigit Stormwind. In Memories of Ash, Stormwind is called before the High Council of Mages and, when it becomes clear that trouble is brewing, Hitomi follows after her...

    Excerpt ~ Memories of Ash (Book 2 of the Sunbolt Chronicles)

    Htiomi, probably from her time in Stormwind's valley I lift the iron knocker and let it fall. As the dull thud reverberates down the hall, the wooden door creaks open slightly.

    “Master Stonefall?” I call uncertainly, considering the cracked opening. Faintly, I hear a rustle from the room. I push the door open, calling out again. The room lies in silence. It is a study of sorts, a desk against the far wall by the window, papers and books piled on it, additional bookshelves against a wall, and a whole array of weapons hung on the other wall. “Master Stonefall?” I call again, stepping in, and trip over something in the way. I fall forward, just managing to turn myself so that I don’t come down on the—man.

    I scramble to kneel beside Stonefall, gently turning him on his back. His face seems unnaturally pale beneath his desert-tan complexion, his features tightened with pain. He wears the long, plain robe of the desert people, its gentle blue marred with a few small streaks of red. Dark eyes flicker open to focus on me as I call his name again.

    “Master Stonefall? Where are you hurt?”

    His hand scrabbles at his stomach, where a crimson splotch slowly spreads. I use my knife to cut open the cloth, revealing a small puncture wound, its edges ragged. The skin around it is black already, the wound itself bubbling with dark blood. Stonefall's hands jerk, the fingers tightening into claws, and something clatters to the floor: a long, black dart with a barbed tip.

    “Who do I call?” I ask, my voice not quite steady.

    He opens his mouth but no sound comes out. In the time it would take me to run back to the gates, to explain what I’ve found and return with help, Stonefall could easily die. I look around the study frantically—surely there must be something here, some herbs, some charm for poison? I make a quick circuit of the room, shoving papers away, searching for anything, anything. But I find nothing of use—feathers, a mortar and pestle, herbs I don’t recognize, a metal brooch, threads of varying hues, and the weapons. Patting down my pockets in desperation, my hands encounter a lump: the glowstone.

    I bite my lip, staring down at the dying man. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I have to try. Stonefall grips my hand as I kneel beside him, his breath wheezing.

    “I’m not sure how well this will work,” I tell him. I can only hope it will work. “Is that okay?”

    Stonefall - probably on a better day out in the desertHe nods once, his eyes so dilated I can hardly see any brown left. I place the glowstone just beside the wound and lay my hands on either side of it, framing the discolored skin. I gather together all that I recall of the last months, drawing on the cool mountain air in Stormwind’s valley, the warmth of our goats and the clucking of our hens, the shaded trails and the company of squirrels and sparrows, and slowly I begin to feel the beat of the man’s heart, feel the poison sliding through his blood stream.

    I call to it with the voice of living things, with the memory of Stormwind’s smile, the crunch of fresh apples, the good hard wholesomeness of journey bread, and I feel the poison move towards me, turning back by what paths it can find. I call to it with the beat of my own heart, with the ebb and rush of blood through my veins, and it bubbles up from the wound, sickly yellow, trickling towards my hands. Life light, I think, remembering a crow from a day long ago, and the glowstone shines as brightly as a star. I channel the poison into it, watching as the poison seeps into the stone, brightening as it burns away.

    Sweat beads on my forehead, but I don’t dare raise a hand to wipe it away. The last of the poison surfaces, mixed with a dark black blood. I feel my breath shuddering in my chest, watching as the stone absorbs the black blood as well, ash crusting on its surface. The puncture wound remains, for there is no magic that can mend flesh. But it’s clean now, and with a stitch or two it should heal well.

    Vaguely, I hear voices in the hall. Stonefall’s hand rises and catches my wrist. I look at him blearily. “Hide,” he whispers. “Now.”

    Dread curls in my belly. He knows I am not a trained mage—that I should not have been able to make such a casting. And so must the other mages who approach now, their curiosity whetted by the vibrations of my untrained working. “Where?” I whisper, wondering if I have traded Stonefall’s life for my own.

    “The next room…bolt hole behind the door. Press the stone beside the raven.” The voices are nearly upon us, raised in alarm. “Run!”

    About the Book

    The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

    When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

    Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple | Diesel

     

     

     

     

     

     About the Author

    Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five.

    Intisar currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, she wrote grants and developed projects to address community health and infant mortality with the Cincinnati Health Department—which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

    Intisar’s latest projects include a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, featuring a new heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife … and of course, she’s hard at work on the remaining installments of The Sunbolt Chronicles.

    Blog  |  GoodReads  | Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter

    EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt Blog Stops

    Here's the schedule for the EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt. Each blog stop features exclusive content from one of our authors as well as a giveaway. Collect the blue / red / pink colored words to make the daily secret phrases. Then enter for your chance to win the Grand Prize Giveaway--$75 Amazon / Nook gift card (first prize only), books and swag (first, second and third prizes).

    Day One  Stops, Friday, June 20 - Blue Phrase

    Anna Silver  |  Chloe Jacob's World  |  Elana Johnson  |  Books By Intisar  |  Ali Cross

    Day Two Stops, Saturday, June 21 - Red Phrase

    Elisabeth Wheatley  |  T.L. Shreffler  |  RaShelle Workman  |  Kelly Walker  |  Hannah L. Clark  | Christy Dorrity

    Day Three Stops, Sunday, June 22 - Pink Phrase

    Rhiannon Hart  |  Natasha Hanova  |  Tracy E. Banghart  |  Kaitlyn Deann  |  Jadie Jones

    a Rafflecopter giveaway - The EuphorYA Grand Prize Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway - 15 Minute Skype Chat with Intisar Khanani

    Friday
    Jun062014

    Big News #2

    Today I finally get to announce something very exciting....that I've been sitting on for months! I'm proud to announce that I am officially an agented author once again! Yay!!

    A couple months ago, Rachel Marks of Mark My Words Publicity approached me. She'd read my books and wanted to work with me as part of her new role as an agent for Rebecca Friedman Literary. I was shocked - and super excited, of course! I got to chat with her and Rebecca a few times, and I knew right away that this was a team I wanted to join. Both Rebecca and Rachel are smart, savvy ladies who really know the ins and outs of the industry. I could tell that they'd be wonderful advocates for my books. So I said....YES!!! HOORAY!!

    Here's Rachel's official announcement in Publishers Marketplace:

    So cool, right? I feel so honored that she wanted to work with me and am SUPER excited to see where this new partnership leads!

    Happy Friday, y'all! I'll be back next week with pics from my recent SHATTERED VEIL book signings. Hope you have a good weekend! :-)