Guest Post: Author Spencer Hoshino

Today’s post is a guest post by the lovely Spencer Hoshino, author of Paper Wishes (The Magical Girl Series #1). I am incredibly honored and excited to have this chance get to know her and to work with her to promote her awesome novel! Please make sure to check out Spencer on her website and social media. My full review of Paper Wishes will be posted in a few days!

Aloha (Hello)!

 

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Hello! It’s me, Spencer Hoshino

It’s nice to meet you all! ヽ(*・ω・)ノ

I’m Spencer Hoshino, author of The Magical Girl Series. I am a 4th generation Japanese-American and a lifelong resident of the state of Hawaii, where I live with my husband and two children, thanks to my great-grandparents, who came to Hawaii decades ago to work on a sugar plantation. (I’m sad to share that the last sugar mill, the one my great grandparents and maternal grandma worked for, closed down late last year.) 

I was very honored when Ariana asked me to write a guest post for her (totally awesome) blog. I wasn’t sure what I could share with you all, so I decided to write about my publishing journey. I’ve never written a guest blog before, so I hope that you will all bear with me. (*/_\) 

 

Paper Wishes & Lucky Stars

 

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Paper Wishes’ original cover made for Swoon Reads. Image used with permission from Audrey Faith Lim

The road to finishing and publishing Paper Wishes (The Magical Girl Series, #1) was a long journey, but the catalyst was my mom’s passing. I’ve always struggled with depression, but my mom’s death put me in a dark place I’d never been before. I was struggling to cope, when a friend of mine, who is like a sister to me, that I hadn’t seen in years made a surprise return to our hometown after living in Japan for a while. We met up for dinner and caught up with each other.

During our conversation, she encouraged me to be happy. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her that I’d been trying to write a book for years, that I wanted to finish it and be a writer. After some introspection, I made the decision (with the support of my husband and children) to quit my job as a web developer and finish writing my book, which I later submitted to Swoon Reads.Although my book was not chosen for publication, I made many wonderful friendships with amazing writers, like Gigi McClure and Macy Filia, which was the best prize of all. (*^^*)♡ 

Digressing, despite the amazing connections I made through Swoon, I still had my manuscript that had no home. At Gigi’s urging, and with Macy’s support (thank you for all of your tips and tricks), I started posting Paper Wishes to Wattpad. Best. Decision. Ever. I lucked out! Paper Wishes was well received on Wattpad, gaining about 700,000 reads within the first year. Thanks to Wattpad (and Gigi and Macy), I was able to share my work with people and they were reading it! I was elated! After working on my book for so many years, I had readers! But, beyond that, I was able to connect with so many wonderful people and my readers became my friends. (ノ_<。)ヾ(´ ▽ ` ) I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the most fantastically supportive readers, whom I call Lucky Stars because I’m beyond lucky to know them. 

Self-publishing & Non-traditional Media 

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Paper Wishes 2nd edition with gifts

On the back of Paper Wishes’ success on Wattpad, I tried querying it to agents and boutique publishers with little success. At some point, there were three different boutique publishers considering Paper Wishes. Unfortunately, two decided to pass on it while I ultimately decided to pass on the third because I realized we weren’t a good fit. The thought of self-publishing was attractive because I would have complete control over my work and its design. I reached out to two of my favorite writers who had self-publishing experience, J.M. Wilde (The Eva Series) and Dan Garcia (The Succubus in a Red Dress Series), and they gave me a wealth of advice. (Did I mention how lucky I’ve been throughout this writing journey?) Having decided to self-publish, Paper Wishes was released on February 14th, 2016 as a Kindle e-book first, then as a physical copy a couple of weeks later. 

Aside from believing strongly in the possibilities of self-publishing, I am a huge fan of non-traditional media. I have so many apps, like Tapastic (now Tapas), Spottoon, and TappyToon downloaded into my phone. I love supporting creators and purchase new chapters/episodes on a weekly basis. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to share my work on Radish Fiction and Tapas (formerly Tapastic) apps. In September 2016, Meteor Garden was released as a serialized book on the Radish Fiction app. It is the companion novel to Paper Wishes and tells the story of Vilvian and Kai’s mothers, Maya and Eri, their friendship, and who Vilvian’s biological father is! ∑(O_O;) 

On February 14, 2017, the 2nd edition of Paper Wishes was released (much to my excitement) on the Tapas app. Upon releasing Paper Wishes on Tapas, I pulled the e-book from the Kindle store so that it would be exclusive to them. It has been such an honor to have Paper Wishes on Tapas. They are seriously the best, especially Editor-in-Chief, Gabby Luu, who has been so flipping supportive of me and my writing. (T▽T) 

A hui hou (until we meet again)!

So, that’s been my experience with writing The Magical Girl Series and publishing. While I think traditional publishing is great, and I love that there has been more awareness regarding diversity in publishing, in the end, I felt that self-publishing and non-traditional media were what would work best for me. I was very fortunate to have everything come together the way it did.

Aside from the support I received from my Lucky Stars and the friends that I’ve made through writing, I was also very lucky to be given the opportunity to share my work through non-traditional media, like Tapas. (Did I mention how much I love being a part of the Tapas Media Family? Because I do!) To any of my fellow writers, if Tapas Media reaches out to you about potentially publishing your work, I encourage you to seriously think about it. I have nothing but good things to say about them and hope to have other works published through their app in the future.) 

If any of you decide to give Paper Wishes a read, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving it a chance. If you read Paper Wishes on Tapas or the unedited version on Wattpad, please be sure to comment and let me know that you found me through Ariana’s blog! 

♡ ~(‘▽^人)

Thank you so much for reading! And, an especially big thank you and hug to Ariana for allowing me to share a little about myself and my journey.

http://spencerhoshino.com

Guest Post: Author J.M. Sullivan

Today’s post is a guest post by the lovely J.M. Sullivan, author of Alice (The Wanderland Chronicles #1), which will be released on May 16th. I am so excited and honored to have this chance to work with her to promote her debut novel! Please make sure to check out J.M. and her novel on social media. My full review of Alice will be posted on Thursday!

JM Sullivan - smallHi everyone!

My name is J.M. Sullivan and I am beyond excited to introduce you to the wonders of Wanderland. After all, when I’m not busy teaching middle schoolers, wrangling my two small children, or supervising my cats’ antics, it’s my favorite place to be!

Even though I teach Science, I have always loved reading and writing. I have dabbled in several different projects, but nothing ever stuck until ALICE, which always makes me giggle. Because, see, the idea for Alice sort of hit me out of the blue. I was getting ready for bed one night after watching the latest horror movie on my husband’s Netflix list (we had been on a zombie kick), and the Red Queen’s iconic line flashed through my mind. You know the one I’m talking about: ‘Off with their heads!’

moretroubleWell, as any zombie aficionado knows, decapitation is one of the most effective methods of dealing with our undead friends, and it all just sort of clicked! I knew that I was going to do an Alice retelling with zombies. Within ten minutes I had a working outline of what I wanted each character’s role to look like and how I wanted to execute it. Then, it was time for the real work.

Going into ALICE, I knew that most importantly, I wanted to stay true to Carroll’s work. I’ve read books that claim they are retellings before but really only share a character name or maybe a place. I did not want that to be something said about my book.

catsSo, I went to the store and picked up a new copy of Alice in Wonderland and proceeded to tear it up. (Seriously, that poor book looks like a college textbook) I read the story and
used that as a guide to help my plot arc. Even my section titles are the names of chapters from the book. If I ever had a question about a name or how a character might respond, I went back to Wonderland. (Hopefully it shows).

Once I had my reference base squared I got to do the fun part—writing! With my set-up, I had a loose outline for a plot with tons of ways to work in Wonderland twists. It was so much fun seeing how Alice Carroll reacted to being placed in Wanderland and how the other characters influenced her story. I think that’s what I like the most about retellings, you can feel the magic of the original working itself into your own story. It’s a really cool feeling.

Alice Cover EditFinally, after three months of obsessive writing, I had my draft. It was the first completed manuscript I’ve ever had, and I was ready to send it out. At least I thought so. My publishing journey… oh man. But THAT is a story for another day. Needless to say, I found my AMAZING publishing company (shout out to Pen Name Publishing- woot!), and they shared my vision of bringing Alice to life.

So now, here I am, a little over a year later from the day I started writing, and Alice is about to be released into the world! It was a wild ride, but I honestly wouldn’t change any of it. I have been so blessed and learned so much, now my only hope is that Alice can mean as much to someone else as she does to me. Maybe it will be you! (I really hope so 😀 )

Thank you so much guys (especially to Ariana for so graciously inviting me to share her page), and of course,

Happy Reading!

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J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle and positivity, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan.

Top 5 Wednesday – March 29th, 2017

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five books you think will be considered classics one day. I absolutely love this topic! It’s so cool to speculate on what novels we read now that might become important and well-love reads for many upcoming generations. We get to imagine the future of the literary history that is being create here and now!

This was actually surprisingly tricky for me to compile because a large number of my favorite novels are already considered classics. But I finally managed to come up with a few novels that I love and really hope to see on the list of classics sometime down the line! 🙂

5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Click here to read my full review of Gone Girl!

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

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2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Click here to read my full review of A Monster Calls!

Honorable Mentions:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I’d love to hear what books you guys think will become classics one day! Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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The Great British Bake Off Book Tag

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I have wanted to do this tag for a while now, and since the newest season started this week, I figured this would be the perfect time to do it! I discovered The Great British Bake Off a couple of years ago and binged watched the first four seasons in about week! I do live in the US, so it can be hard to keep up with the show, but it is one of my favorites of all time and I’m so excited about this new season!

This tag was originally created by Jack from Reading With Jack, and I discovered it through Sam from Sam’s Nonsense.

CAKE: The cake has sunk in the middle. Pick a book that didn’t rise to your expectations.

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The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

This novel was pitched as being sort of like the “found footage” of literature (made clear from the start that it is fictional). On top of that, it was interspersed with artwork and photography, as the biography was about an artist. That sounded absolutely awesome, so naturally, I had very high hopes for it. Oh boy, what a letdown it was. The art aspect was fantastic, but the actual text of the novel was like reading transcripts of interviews rather than an actual biography. Very boring, very paperwork-esque, and so disappointing.

Click here to check out my full review!

BISCUITS: Once you’ve eaten one, you’re hungry for more and each time you eat another, they get more and more delicious. Pick a book series or trilogy that got progressively better.

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Throughout my life so far, I’ve mostly read standalones, so this was sort of hard to come up with an answer for. I’m not actually finished with The Lunar Chronicles series yet, but it’s the only series I can think of to fit this question. I enjoyed Cinder, and Scarlet—which is the only other book I’ve read so far—was even better. Most people say this continues to be the case through the rest of the series, so I’m excited to continue!

BREAD: Kneading dough requires hard work and determination. Pick a book that you put off reading for ages and needed a lot of determination to pick up.

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Even though I already knew I loved the television series, I put off picking up this novel for ages because of its (and all the other books in the series’) size. However, I finally got up the courage this summer and started it while I was traveling. I’ve been reading it in very short bursts lately because I have a lot of review copies to catch up on, but I (unsurprisingly) love it so far. I’m looking forward to getting through the rest of it and continuing on with the series when I can.

DESSERTS: Foreign deserts such as crème brûlée and Spanische Windtorte are on the menu. Pick a book set in a foreign country.

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I’ve read a lot of books set in foreign countries, but this novel is by far one of my favorites of all time. It is such an important and meaningful read with absolutely beautiful writing to boot. If you have not read this yet, I very highly recommend it.

ALTERNATIVE INGREDIENTS: Not usually used, but surprisingly good. Pick a book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read but ended up loving.

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Wolf by Kelly Oliver

This is primarily a crime novel, so that’s not an unusual genre for me, but this also falls into the category of feminist literature, which is not something I would typically go for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m clearly a feminist, so I don’t avoid it due to disagreeing with the perspective—rather, I find that it can get a bit over-the-top sometimes. I prefer when a heroine is a bit subtler in their strength and it’s not all constantly in your face girl power (if that makes any sense). Show rather than tell! However, Kelly Oliver did a solid job with it in this novel. There were a few exaggerated moments, but nothing I couldn’t get past, and I ended up really enjoying the story. Review to come soon!

PASTRY: Shortcrust pastry can crumble easily. Pick a character who you initially liked, but as you read more and more, your relationship with them crumbled apart.

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Mare Barrow from Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I’m not sure if this one technically counts because I didn’t really like Mare at any point in the novel—but this is the closest I could get. I definitely liked her more at the start of the novel than at the end. She very quickly got on my nerves—which is unfortunate seeing as she is the narrator—and things continued to go downhill for us…

Click here to check out my full review!

VICTORIAN/OLD-FASHIONED BAKES: Recipes from the past that still taste delicious today. Pick your favorite classic novel.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was trying to think up an unpredictable answer for this one, but…here we are again. This really is my favorite classic, and it definitely “still tastes delicious” every time I devour it! 🙂

PATISSERIE: You’re eating a chocolate éclair but there’s barely any filling inside. Pick a book that lacked substance and fell flat.

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A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

I think most of you know by now that, though I am totally a hopeless romantic, romance is not my preferred genre to read. However, I have occasionally found some hidden gems. This was not one. It had an interesting and unique premise—boasting fourteen different viewpoints—but it ended up falling flat for me. This main selling point turned out to be the novel’s biggest weakness as it failed to allow the author to create any sort of depth in the characters or plot, instead causing a very disjointed feeling.

Click here to check out my full review!

CHOCOLATE: Chocolate is a comfort food for many people. Pick a book you could read again and again and still find comforting.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Obviously I have to choose my go-to cozy read! These mysteries never fail to give me the book nerd warm fuzzies. ❤

Click here to check out my full review!

THE GRAND FINAL: Everyone is out to impress with extravagant show-stoppers! Pick your favorite book of the year so far that really impressed you.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I’ve had incredibly good luck reading-wise so far, and have read a number of truly amazing books. But I don’t think anything quite tops The Book Thief for me yet. It took me years to get to, but I finally did and I’m so glad—it was everything I hoped it would be and so much more.

I Tag:

Everyone! I’m not sure who is a fan of this show, so I’m not going to tag anyone specific. But if you like GBBO (or this tag!), then consider yourself officially tagged! 😀

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag – Day 3

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I’m currently traveling, so this is a scheduled post. At this point, I’m uncertain what my ability to access the Internet will be like while I’m gone, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away. I’ll definitely be back with regular access to the blog next week! 🙂

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I was tagged by three lovely book bloggers—T.K. Lawrence @ Read It or Not Reviews, Emma @ The Terror of Knowing and Becca @ Shih Tzu Book Reviews—to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes tag! If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll already know how much I adore quotes. Thank you guys so much for tagging me! Make sure you all take some time to go check out all of their blogs. 🙂 ❤

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“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I Tag:

SSJTimeLord

Loreva @ La Book Dreamer

Aralyn @ Paper Addictions & Magic

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag – Day 2

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I’m currently traveling, so this is a scheduled post. At this point, I’m uncertain what my ability to access the Internet will be like while I’m gone, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away. I’ll definitely be back with regular access to the blog next week! 🙂

____________________________________________________________________

I was tagged by three lovely book bloggers—T.K. Lawrence @ Read It or Not Reviews, Emma @ The Terror of Knowing and Becca @ Shih Tzu Book Reviews—to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes tag! If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll already know how much I adore quotes. Thank you guys so much for tagging me! Make sure you all take some time to go check out all of their blogs. 🙂 ❤

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“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

I Tag:

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek

Diana @ Voices In My Head

Ara @ The Bookish Agenda

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag – Day 1

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I’m currently traveling, so this is a scheduled post. At this point, I’m uncertain what my ability to access the Internet will be like while I’m gone, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away. I’ll definitely be back with regular access to the blog next week! 🙂

____________________________________________________________________

I was tagged by three lovely book bloggers—T.K. Lawrence @ Read It or Not Reviews, Emma @ The Terror of Knowing and Becca @ Shih Tzu Book Reviews—to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes tag! If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll already know how much I adore quotes. Thank you guys so much for tagging me! Make sure you all take some time to go check out all of their blogs. 🙂 ❤

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“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

– Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

I Tag:

Mel @ Mainellss

Richard @ The Humpo Show

Umbreen @ Read by Umbreen

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