Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Earth Day Pledge


"Take care of the earth and she will take care of you."

^Insert and ocean in the above quote. I'm a water-woman. I love me mama earth, but I also adore the Atlantic and the Pacific and all that H2O in between and all around. I mean, they're the same, but they're not, too. So I'm taking it upon myself to make it a point to include our planet's oceans in my celebration of Earth Day. That's cool, right? 



I'm starting a semi-new tradition. An earth day resolution of sorts because I believe resolutions can create revolutions. And while we're revolving on this giant, wondrous, gassy, liquidy, earthen sphere, I want to do more than I did yesterday to make the planet better for tomorrow.

Last spring, I summed up my thoughts on "going gradually green" taking small steps to celebrate Earth Day everyday. I also took a portion of the proceeds from my novel, To the Sea and made a donation to the Surf Rider Foundation. That's a start...

Smooshing these two actions together, I've decided that I'm going to take an annual Earth Day pledge. I'll pick a way to reduce, reuse, recycle, or otherwise reconnect me to this wonderful place I call home. 


This year's pledge: beach clean up.




I'm at the beach multiple times per week. (It knocks my socks off to realize how very fortunate I am that I can write that. And then my socks stay off when I walk along the sand or wade into the water, relishing the awe that great big puddle inspires.) 

And sheesh, there's so much trash! From cigarette butts, to odd bits of plastic, fishing line, to random things like a single glove, a CD, and a chunk of a car's taillight. Today I pulled out a styrofoam cup bobbing in a tide pool, three candy wrappers, and more pieces of random plastic than I could identify. 

I'm not going to lie. I'm not perfect. I've walked right past trash on the ground. I'm sure random things have fallen from my beach bag and landed in the water. In fact, the Pacific claimed my wedding ring, the Atlantic a pair of sunglasses, and the Mediterranean, a sock. Don't ask. It's regrettable, especially the ring. But we do what we can.



Me, picking up trash along the beach, may not be much, but it's something, it's a start, a shift in my own impact, and my hope is that it will not only keep garbage from entering the water, but also inspire others to do the same.


Live by the ocean? No? Wherever you find yourself, here are 30 things we can do right now to help protect our marine environments. 

Here are 20 facts about ocean pollution that are urging me to take action.

Wondering how long it takes things to decompose once they reach our watersheds? Check out this infographic citing over 10 common items that take a staggeringly long time to disappear.


Why does all this matter? I can think of 1 reason. This place we call home supports and sustains us—we ought to remember to be good houseguests.




What are you doing to celebrate our planet this Earth Day? Please let me know below. Oh and a sorta P.S. (But it's also up here so you don't miss it) I just read this inspiring post by vegan warrior and awesome mama, Seyward from Bonzai Aphrodite. (We met at last year's Earth Day festival in Santa Barbara and she's a gem!)










Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Things...

I haven't done a Polyvore set in ages! I used to do one seasonally, it's kind of like window shopping and curating the loveliest of lovelies without leaving home. It's sort of like Pinterest for fashion, style, and the home, but you get to select the things you love and arrange them on a board. 

While writing the Follow your Bliss series, if I was stuck or felt like I needed to get closer to a particular character I'd create a set of items that connected me back to them or to help me work through a scene. Unfortunately, I didn't save them all properly—sometimes I'm all head-scratching-huhs? when it comes to certain platforms. Ahem, Facebook.

As a writer, I sometimes find it's useful to step away from a project to shift gears, recharge, and then return feeling fresh. Usually it works best to be away from the computer, but if the weather isn't cooperating or if I just want to take five, this kind of creativity is perfect!

Below is a spring-inspired set! Please share in the comments what you like or something you're gushing over this season. 


Spring 2015




Friday, April 10, 2015

99¢ Book Blast!

99tc


Over 175 ebooks from over 150 authors--including USA Today Bestsellers--are on sale for 99 cents. This promo will last only April 10th, 11th, and 12th. Find paranormal, fantasy, romance, and much more. Don't forget to tell your friends so they can one-click too! Visit the 99 Cent Book Blast.

Including the first in the Follow your Bliss series, To the Sea!




Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Self Love



I recently had the honor to share my thoughts on self love in a vlog for Glitter Magazine as part of their #SelfLove campaign. 

When I watched the video did I cringe? 
Did I say, "Ew, my voice sounds so weird recorded." 
Did I judge and doubt and think not so loving thoughts? 

Yes. 
Yes. 
Yes. 

But that's not what self love is about. That's not what I'm about. 

I may be "old school" but I haven't had too many opportunities to see myself recorded, to watch my own mannerisms, inflections, and goofiness. I tend to shy away from the camera. 

But...

When I said, "Every time I look in the mirror I smile at the person I see in the reflection," I'm being honest. "Self love is about me being true to myself." That's the truth. 

But the noise that I heard in my mind when I first watched the video wasn't loving, it was rude and inconsiderate. It was harsh and deceptive. It wanted me to feel small and crawl into a cave. That's fear and defeat. And it's just noise. I can choose to listen to it or not. 



I choose or not. I'm glittery and sparkly. I'm beautiful and flawed. I'm a real person with a little further to go along the self love spectrum, but I'm getting there, one smile, one video, one act of self love at a time. 

Find out more and join Glitter Magazine's #selflove campaign here.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt





Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! 

My name is Deirdre Riordan Hall & I'm the author of the forthcoming novel, Sugar. I'm your host for this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt and am on the GOLD TEAM. Yesterday I surfed with a seal (Hey, little fella, the waves are good, huh?) Today I dug into a plate of nachos with my favorite, salsa & guacamole...and tomorrow I have plans to tackle a book or two on my TBR. Oh, and you should know, I love dogs. Cats too, my writing sidekick would be very upset if I left him out. 



So, what is the YA Scavenger Hunt? 

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt on my team! 

But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! That's from noon PST 4/2- noon PST 4/5! 






How do I play? 

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all. I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!


If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

How does the YA Scavenger Hunt work?

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 5th at noon Pacific time. (Here's a time calculator to find out when that is.) Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Okay, ready to get to the fun stuff? Here we go! 





I'm hosting Suzanne Van Rooyan for the YA Scavenger Hunt! 


Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. 
She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. 
Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. 
When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Suzanne also wrote a novel called  


***

An awkward teen violinist falls for the boy who finally gets her and her passion for music, except he’s an android, and there’s a war brewing between robots and humans in a futuristic Scandinavia.

Check out more HERE





***



Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.



Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.


Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

Visit Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.

And now for the super awesome exclusive content from 
I Heart Robot: 
____

Take Note
A blog dedicated to Skandian music and musicians


Musicians are no longer taking center stage the way they did fifty or even thirty years ago. Our world today is focused on the practical, and dare I say it, the mundane. But some young people are fighting back and reclaiming the arts for a new generation, but not in the way you might expect.

For those of you who think classical music is so two centuries ago, think again! The Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra, lead by the indomitable Maestro Ahlgren, has been limping along for the past ten years, struggling to find funding and fill seats at concerts. But all that is about to change since Ahlgren snagged a performance at this year's Independence Day Gala. Given our Prime Minister's sympathy for the arts, Ahlgren and her orchestra of talented teens is about to take Skandia by storm!

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with two of the violinists, Quinn Soarsen and Tyri Matzen, and here's what they had to say.

Do you think music is still relevant in Skandia given the more utilitarian attitude of the public?

Quinn: Of course! Music will always be relevant. It's one of the defining characteristics of humanity, this need to express emotion in a highly artistic way. Going back to ancient times, music has been ubiquitous. I think Skandians risk losing a huge part of their culture and even their humanity by ignoring music.

Tyri, you don't look so sure.

Tyri: I love music. Music is my life, but it's hard, you know, since people really consider it useful. Most people don't see music the way we do. They don't feel it, like they've forgotten what real music is all about, and just tune into all this computer-generated techno rubbish. Art music has become kind of like a dead language or something.

Interesting comparison. So what first drew you to classical music, or should I say art music?

Quinn: From day one my own... my own parents loved it and they made me play violin from the moment I could hold a bow.

Tyri: Honestly, I think Quinn was born with a bow in his hands.

(Tyri glances at Quinn and blushes – I think there might be more than a mutual love of music between these two.)

Quinn: Not quite. But I've been playing all my life. There's something transcendent about this type of music. Some ineffable power that speaks directly to the heart.

(What an intense young man. His silver eyes are even more captivating. No wonder Miss Matzen can't stop sneaking glances at him.)

Tyri: I agree. When I first listened to Beethoven, I started crying just because there was this... immensity to the music. Well, immensity, yes, but that's not the word I'm looking for. Gravity maybe? It's profound and more profound than anything a machine could ever generate, that's for sure.

(Quinn looks at Tyri as if she socked him between the eyes).

Quinn, you don't agree?

Quinn: I think some androids might have the capabilities to compose.

Tyri: Oh, I meant like randomly generated tones from a computer program, not an android. But even so, unless an android has some pretty sophisticated emotion mods, I doubt they'd be able to compose on a human level.

(The two regard each other and Quinn looks like he wants to say more, but he bites his tongue and slumps back in his chair. Considering the current robot situation, this is a topic I'd rather steer the conversation away from).

You're both violinists and I hear you two are auditioning for the solo part. Who do you think will get it?

(They share shy smiles and Quinn runs a hand through his hair).

Tyri: Hard to say. Quinn has amazing technique. Like, it's inhuman how fast he can play, but...

Quinn: But Tyri has an innate musicality I can only aspire to.

Tyri: I think Quinn will get it though.

(More shared smiles, and blushing glances from Tyri. These two are adorable!)

Perhaps you could play a duet one day?

Quinn: I think that would be wonderful.

Tyri: I'd love that too.

(They share a meaningful look that makes me feel like I'm intruding on their moment.)

So what are your plans for the future? Are you going to go pro?

Tyri: If I can. I really want to study at the Royal Academy once I've finished high school. I know getting in will be tough, but that's my goal.

And what about you, Quinn? (He's suddenly gone very quiet)

Quinn: I'd like to make a difference. I'd like the opportunity to show the world the true power of music and maybe change a the Skandian mindset about music and more.



Sadly, we had to leave the conversation there as Quinn and Tyri needed to get to rehearsal. If you would like to support Tyri and Quinn, please click here. Although the soloist is still to be chosen for the gala, their program features pieces by Berlioz and Dvorak. Who knows what the future holds for these two young musicians, but as long as Tyri, Quinn, and others like them continue to practice hard and dream big, that future is looking very bright indeed!







And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a signed book by me, Deirdre Riordan Hall and a bunch of other amazing authors including Suzanne and I Heart Robot! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 108. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



Wait, before you go, enter to win a second prize drawing for a chance to win an advance reader copy of SUGAR and some sweet swag! 




Good luck! 

*This drawing is only open to residents of the US. Sorry international readers! 
The main YA Scavenger Hunt is open internationally.

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CONTINUE THE SCAVENGER HUNT...

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! The one and only Holly Bodger! And remember, you're on TEAM GOLD right now :) 

Leave a comment  below sharing your progress, the books you're hoping to win, or just to say hi!


P.S. Thank you for stopping by, participating & supporting authors! If you'd like to get your friends in on the fun, share on TWITTER  and  FACEBOOK! Cheers!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stifled Release

Stifled Release

Today we're celebrating the release of STIFLED, book two in the SUMMONED series by USA Today Bestselling author, Rainy Kaye. A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him. In STIFLED, Dimitri trails an elusive jinn and finds himself in the middle of a community keeping dark secrets. The SUMMONED series is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. 

  Scroll down to pick up your copy of STIFLED, get SUMMONED for free for a limited time, and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.    
Stifled Final 2 PSD

Dimitri would like nothing more than to live a low-key life in Naples, Italy. His girlfriend, Syd, has other plans. After three months of researching, she is positive she has found a jinn on a killing spree in San Diego, California. Since Syd gave Dimitri the one thing he thought was out of reach, he feels obligated to use his ill-gained talents for her cause. A few hours back in the US proves that Dimitri and Syd didn't quite make the clean escape they had thought. As they trail the elusive jinn, someone else trails them. What should have been a simple trip to confirm once and for all if the jinn are living among humans, instead reveals a community keeping dark secrets. Unfortunately for Dim, the only way out is in. Get your copy here

  Haven't read book one yet? No problem! It's currently FREE on Amazon.   


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Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker. Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets. Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.    

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about_rainy_kaye


rainykaye
Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. Someone told her she's a USA Today Bestselling author. She thought there would be cake.      
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Who's Ready for the YA Scavenger Hunt?



I'm so happy to introduce to you the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt Authors! There are eight excellent teams this season. I'm on #TeamGold

The Scavenger Hunt runs from April 2nd-April 5th beginning and ending at noon Pacific time on those days.

If you've never been a part of the hunt before you should give it a try. It's similar to a blog hop, introducing you to new YA authors and books along the way. There are tons of prizes including a grand prize for each team. If you win one of the grand prizes you will get a book from each author on that team! Dudes, that's a lot of books!

For more information and to make sure you get hunt updates, sign up for news on the #YASH website. Check out their Twitter, Facebook, or come back here to get started. 

Not only will I be hiding an exclusive never-before-revealed sneak peek of SUGAR for your reading pleasure, but I'll be giving away an advance reader copy of Sugar and a few other goodies too. This is in addition to the prizes mentioned above. 

You don't want to miss out on this fabulous and fun event, but play fast because the hunt is only live for 3 days. 

And now, here are the teams! (Hint: If you click on the image you can get a close up.) I'm on Team Gold!

Blue Team 1 
Pink TeamTeam Gold (2)Team Purple 1Team GreenTeam Red 1Team Teal (2) Team Orange  


THE HUNT BEGINS 4/2/15! So check back here or the YA Scavenger Hunt page to get started. 

I hope you are all as excited as I am! I want to extend an extra big thank you to the organizers of this event; there's some sophisticated planning involved special thanks to Tera Lynn ChildsColleen Houck! You rock!

Comment below if you plan to participate in the YA Scavenger Hunt 2015~