Sunday, February 26, 2017

Everybody reads YA ~ Let's Have Fun Summer Solstice 2016 Volume One

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday!

Wow! With Feb. already on it's way out and March on it's way in I'm craving some time in the sun, sadly, summer seems like a long way off. If you feel the same, warm yourself up with these ten summer stories. You'll  discover several new authors to follow.These stories had me trying on shorts and sandals that haven't seen the light of day since last November. I'm so inspired I'm booking our summer vacation now! 
My story Moon Dance is among them.


Blurb: Luna has one wish for her birthday. She wants to spend it forgetting her ex and celebrating with her family. When her plans fall through she and her cousin Nina decide to cruise along the coast. Once again, her plans go awry. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and Luna feels every minute drag by before the sun gives way to the moon and she realizes her wish has been unfolding all day long.

'The longest day can have the sweetest ending'


Every year on my birthday, my mom—whose name is Sunny—reminds me that I was born during the summer solstice, a day when opposites come together. Sun and moon, light and dark, then dad jumps in and says, coffee and cream, like us, at which my mom always blushes. I used to hope for the kind of relationship my parents have, but I’m not sure that kind of love exists anymore.


 About The Author:

M.A. Cortez grew up under the California sun. The sound of waves crashing on the shore and the feeling of her toes in the sand are two of her favorite things ever. 
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Everybody Reads YA- Double Exposure

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday. Today I am sharing an excerpt of my book Double Exposure.

Ashleigh gets what she wants, most of the time. After being dumped in front of the entire school she vows revenge. Getting back at Tyler Collins tops her new list of things to do, and the new guy Keegan Smith is the one who can help her get it, but the cost may be more than she can afford. 

This coronation would be her legacy. Stupid Tyler Collins may have upset her vision of how it would all play out, but she wouldn’t let him ruin it completely. She’d hoped to talk to Mr. Miller himself, to ensure he understood just how important it was that she had complete artistic freedom to bring her vision for this event to life.


M.A. Cortez lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her days reading, writing, and drinking lots of coffee. 
Check out her other books. 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cupid's Arrow

Valentine’s Day is filled with romance and special relationships. The sweetness of a couple coming together is perhaps the best part of this very special day. Will these couples share that very important first kiss?

Will Millie be a victim of, hot, passionate, and fleeting war kisses?
Romance has no age barrier
The biggest mistake of Aly’s life could turn into the promise of new love…
Can love be rekindled after a lifetime?
Victorian diary surprises modern bride
Just when she thinks she’s through with love, Cupid aims his arrow at Nixie again.
Support your local bartender, Stacey Jennifer Longacre at Tough Luck Lounge.
There is nothing sweeter than pure, unrequited love.

Sweet romance, the moments leading up the first kiss, a spark of love between a couple. E.B. Sullivan, Archimede Fusillo, Marie Lavender, K.C. Sprayberry, Debbie De Louise, M.A. Cortez, Lois Crockett, and Leah Hamrick team up to bring you eight tales of love in its early stages.

As an extra special added bonus, we also present When Jack Trumps Ace from Solstice Publishing Author Debbie De Louise!

Jackie Riordan’s in trouble . . . 

When her jewel-thief father is caught in the middle of a heist, Jackie makes her getaway to his ex-jail pal’s apartment. A man called Ace, who lives in an upscale neighborhood of Chicago. What she doesn’t count on is falling in love with him and becoming his partner in crime. She also doesn’t expect to compete with Ace’s old flame or deal with his cat Roxie who causes her allergy attacks.

All bets are off . . .

After Jackie discovers clues left by her father which lead her to a treasure that Ace may have stolen, she contemplates her next move. Should she trust Ace and believe her father gave him the money, or head home to her mother, a religious hypocrite who would have no qualms about ratting out her own daughter to the cops? 

Things that sparkle aren’t always Diamonds . . . 

Before Jackie can decide who the good guys really are, she finds herself atop the Willis Tower carrying her father’s ashes in her pocket and aiding Ace in the largest jewelry heist of his life. Things go terribly wrong, and Jackie’s only choice seems to be to walk away from Ace or face imprisonment. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Everybody Reads YA ~ CUPID'S ARROW

Happy everybody reads YA Sunday! Valentines Day's is upon us. All you need is love, right?  Oh, and a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine and a book full of love stories.  If your Valentine is bookish (or not), this is a must.

This year's Solstice Valentines Anthology  CUPID'S ARROW  is filled with a decadent assortment of stories.  You'll find my YA story, KISS ME SLOWLY among them. CUPID'S ARROW releases Feb. 14th. 2017.

KISS ME SLOWLY picks up where 27xs leaves off. Surprise your valentine with a book. The sweetness will last long after the cork is popped and the heart-shaped box is empty.

Blurb: Just when she thought she was through with love, Cupid aims his arrow at Nixie again.

Excerpt: Wizard had tried to warn her. “Protect your heart with that one, Nix. He loves attention, and he’s getting plenty of it from the girls around here.”

You can find 27xs and other great love stories in this collection.

M.A. Cortez lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her days reading, writing, and drinking lots of coffee. 
Check out her other books. 

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Friday, February 10, 2017

8 Things To Keep In Mind When Writing A Character With Special Needs

You want to diversify your characters? Write in a character with special needs, but be true to the challenges that character faces.

  1.      Don’t write your character as helpless. People with special needs may use different methods of getting things done, but they can get things done.
  2.     Show their strengths. Every person has strengths and weaknesses. People who can’t speak, walk, see, hear, or control their muscles, still, have a lot to offer. People who look different and act differently can have the most extraordinary gifts. Show them off in your story. Your readers will love them.
  3.        Do not use terms like handicapped, retarded, slow, autistic, or palsied to describe your character. Those words can be offensive. Find more positive terms, if you have to use any at all.  
  4.      Show their emotional side. Everyone has something they do when they are trying to hide how nervous or stressed they are. They may curl their hair around their finger, bite their nails, twitch their nose, clear their throat or shift in their seats. People with special needs are no exception to this rule, their way of communicating their emotions may look different, rocking, yelping, tapping, laughing,  singing quietly, or loud. It's all communication. Don’t leave that out.      
  5.       Get them involved. In Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman, Samantha is very involved, in fact, she leads the way to solving the mystery.  
  6.       Show your character’s personality. Sam is blunt, honest and super smart. She is also beautiful, logical, and scientific. Her honesty makes for some funny scenes. She solves supernatural mysteries and she loves doing it.
  7.        Do your research. I didn’t rely on only my personal experiences with people on the spectrum, for Sam's POV.  I also interviewed people with ASD and family members of people who are on the spectrum. Every person is different and every situation is unique.  
  8.          Show how spirited your special needs character can be. People who are differently abled face tremendous challenges every day and yet they show up. They are resilient, forgiving and full of life. They give us their best efforts. We should give them ours in return.

It wasn’t hard for me to come up with Samantha who is one of the main characters in my book Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman, Some people may think she is too generic, but her character was inspired by real people with the same developmental disability. 
My main purpose in writing a story around a character with ASD was to bring awareness. Awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a glimpse into the struggles of a family with a member on the spectrum.  My hope was to show the word how amazing they can be.

I knew I loved Sam even before the story was formed, what I didn’t know was that the readers would love her too. Just like in real life, when you get to know someone with special needs, you eventually don’t see the ‘disability’ you see the person. Their silliness, their passion, their strength, and resilience. Their true self.  You root for them, spur them on. You want them to win. You laugh with them and cry with them. Better yet you begin to understand them and discover that they are not so different after all. 

Books  I love that have characters with special needs.

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

mockingburd by Kathryn Erskine

Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Sister Sleuths and The Shadowman by M.A. Cortez   

About the author: 

M.A. Cortez is a mother, grandmother, and writer. She lives with her family in Colorado and spends most of her days reading, writing, and drinking lots of coffee. 

Check out her books.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Everybody Reads YA ~ The Wailing Darkness

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday.

Today I'm sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite books. The Sister Sleuths and The Wailing Darkness. 
If your read Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman you've got to read The Wailing Darkness. 

THE WAILING DARKNESS puts sisters Sam and Sandy in the middle of another puzzling mystery. Only two people know the real reason Darcy O’ Sullivan, fainted in the middle of her performance, and one of them is Sam. When the girls discover that a banshee has been making appearances all over town, the race to find out who she’s after begins. Is Darcy the person destined to die, or, is the wailing woman after Sam, Sandy, or Jeremy? After a series of close calls, it seems no one safe from the banshee’s predictions of death.

When a banshee shows up, someone will die.

My sister has this walk, sort of a long, slow glide, that makes it easy to spot her. I mean, aside from her hauntingly good looks, which makes her easy to spot too, she has the walk. As she makes her way toward us, her long hair and bright, blue eyes draw the attention of half the males standing around while their families watch the performance. This could be a problem if Sam were alone. She doesn’t always register dangerous situations unless she’s studied them in her social skills class.
            Check out the trailer

About the Author: 

M. A, Cortez lives in Colorado with husband and family. She's never seen a banshee and she hopes she never does. 

Check out her other books. 

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Instagram@ Bookwormyxoxo