Guest Post by Dawn Carrington, Editor-in-Chief—Bring on the Drama

The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Teen Wolf. Nashville. Gilmore Girls. Ugly Betty. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Dawson’s Creek. Beverly Hills: 90210, Gossip Girl. Veronica Mars. The list of teen dramas goes on, with many of the series having lasted more than the four years on television which, in today’s world, is considered a good run.  Post a poll on Facebook, and you’ll see just how many adults enjoyed (or still enjoy) those shows even though they were geared toward a teen audience.

Switching mediums to young adult novels, and you’ll find Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, The Princess Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lovely Bones, and The Maze Runner to name a few. These are all popular teenage novels that were made into movies, and the buying audience wasn’t just young adults.

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Teen fiction is unquestionably popular. As much as adults love books geared toward our generation, we can also lose ourselves in a good story, regardless of the age of the characters. In young adult novels, we have all the drama, the love, the adventure, the danger, without the boring parts of life that we, as adults, have to face every day.

In most cases, young adults can focus on being young adults, and that is a draw to those of us who have already tiptoed past our teenage years. Because of our life experience, we can see a teenage tragedy that’s survivable. What we saw as a crippling moment in our lives was a lesson. These young protagonists are still learning, and we like being along for the journey.

But what about those books that tackle tough topics like death, assault, and homelessness. What can we, as adults, possibly see in those stories? How can they be any more interesting than reading about the same thing in a book written for our age?

Most, it not all, young adult books, even those that delve into the darker edges of life, still carry an element of hope. You can still find meaning within those pages. Young adult books are rarely written with the intent to terrorize readers or leave them feeling hopeless. The endings might not always bring a smile, but we can close the book knowing we survived another journey and, for a few hours, got a chance to relive the years of teenage drama and angst. And, for some reason, those years don’t seem quite as bad as they were at the time.

Guest Post by Felicia Bridges, Author of Kenya Quest

Mission SeriesI write the stories that come to me, the ones that grab me and won’t let go. I don’t do market research to determine what twist the plot should take or whether the family in my story should be more diverse or whether the next story will sell more copies if it is set in Venice vs. Venezuela. But there are times when, as authors, we need to look to the future and consider where our resources are best invested.

According to Jennifer Austin, https://jenniferaustinauthor.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/what-do-ya-readers-want/, based on a limited poll, YA readers are looking for less romance, especially love triangles, more sci fi, more diversity, and more fantasy but not sugar-coated fairytale fantasy. They want stories that reveal the darkness in the world, that aren’t afraid to confront evil or even allow evil to appear to triumph, but in the end they still want the “happily ever after.”

BookBrats also published a broader survey of what YA readers want a few years ago (http://www.bookbrats.com/ya-readership-survey-results/#.VlpUrd-rSu4).  The most important criterion according to those surveyed? Good writing. Well-developed characters. Rich, well-constructed plots. Realistic dialogue. In short, the most important ingredient for a successful novel was simply the quality of the writing.

The next critical foundation is originality. Once a story has taken the market by storm (think Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent), trying to emulate their proven success by copying the formula will fail miserably. Knock-offs will be compared relentlessly to the original, and seldom will they be found to exceed the one which set the standard. Readers have experienced that; now they want something new and different.

Be original. Be excellent. Write something wonderful.

MaMa in the Holler Earns 5-Star Review

Months ahead of its release date, MaMa in the Holler has already earned a 5-star review from Readers Favorite! Congratulations to Jaime McKoy for writing such a touching book and to Hope Smith for illustrating it! Preorder your copy today!

MaMa In The Holler by Jaime McKoy is a beautiful story and speaks about the bonding between a grandmother and a grandchild. Hope Smith’s illustrations are as delightful as the story and breathe life into the events and make the bonding between MaMa and the girl palpable to youngsters.

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Book Birthday: More Remarkable Housewives of the Bible

The second book in Erin Brown Hollis’ series is now available! More Remarkable Housewives of the Bible picks up where Remarkable Housewives of the Bible left off, introducing you to five more women from the Bible whose lives can change yours!

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Welcome back to Girls’ Night!

Grab your favorite snacks, your besties, and some open nights on the calendar to take a deep dive into the noteworthy drama sprinkled throughout the Bible. These days, our television entertainment also consists of some pretty outrageous drama, but what if I told you that the women of the Bible have riveting tales filled with much more exciting story lines than anything you’ll find on a soap opera or reality TV…

More Remarkable Housewives of the Bible invites you to…

  • take a breather from the pressures and distractions of today;

  • delve off into the alluring, water-cooler-gossip-worthy tales of the biblical housewives; and

  • discover the incredible promises of fortitude, survival, empowerment and love found through their stories in God’s Word.

So, with that said, right now, I would like to invite you to join me for a good old-fashioned Girls’ Night. Actually, several of them. Whatever time of the day works best for you, curl up on the couch with me and let’s chat it up.

Over the next few weeks we will have some fun getting to know each other and learning about Deborah, Rahab, Leah, Abigail, and Bathsheba. You know, the ladies God would love for us to chat about since He divinely plopped them right there in His Word for us. Grab your popcorn, friend. It’s about to get real…

A Perfect Setting

A guest post by Vinspire Publishing’s Editor-in-Chief, Dawn Carrington

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Here at Vinspire Publishing, we’re fortunate to live in Charleston, South Carolina. Known as the Holy City, the Lowcountry, and Chucktown, it’s been voted as America’s Most Friendly City, and it’s the oldest city in South Carolina.

I set a lot of my own books here in the Lowcountry because of familiarity, but beyond that, there are so many unexplored parts to Charleston that would make excellent settings for books. Though it’s popular with visitors, it doesn’t get as much attention in books as cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Though I’ve lived here well over twenty years, I’ve never taken one of the popular Ghost Walks or carriage rides. The Wentworth Mansion ranked #2 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Top 10 Hotels, but I’ve never stepped foot inside it. See what I mean about the possibilities?

Beyond the sites I haven’t seen, there are a whole host that I have, and those places will come up in future novels. The Battery, Fort Sumter, the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon, Magnolia Plantation, and Charles Towne Landing are all truly unique places that invite characters. The names alone lend themselves to book settings, don’t they?

Now take a moment and imagine what kind of stories could be written in those settings. Historical fiction, of course, but what about a young adult paranormal story for the Old Provost Dungeon? A pirate romance for Charles Towne Landing, maybe? And though the Battery was a place for artillery during the Civil War, it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and always makes me think of mermaids and underwater civilizations.

Now look around your own hometown and see what ideas some of the sites give you. Not every book needs to be set in a major city. In fact, some unique, smaller towns or less talked about cities would be a fresh addition to the world of fiction, especially if a local landmark can help you find your plot!

ICYMI: Why Young Adult Books are so Addictive: Then and Now By Christine Bailey

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If you haven’t read J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, you’re missing out. Arguably the first young adult novel, Catcher sets the stage for other teen protagonists dealing with the adolescent angst we’ve come to love in today’s novels. Or maybe the first YA novel was Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer. Either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by taking a trip back in time—with either book. You might even realize, like I did, that these teen worlds are not so different from ours today. Okay, so they didn’t have cell phones and social media back then, but they did have love and heartbreak.

I recently had the chance to sit down with a few teens and discuss this book with them. Here’s a comment from Lauren about the protagonist Holden Caulfield as an outsider:  “Holden, though likeable, isn’t always tolerated well by the people in his life such as his roommates and the kids at school. Along with his occasionally annoying personality, Holden is set apart because he doesn’t put forth effort in school. He has attended and flunked out of multiple schools, and he spends most of his time talking about how phony everyone is. Why does Holden act like this? Why not study hard and prepare for the future? He fears the future. He fears growing up. He remembers childhood and the innocence that came with it, unwilling to accept change and move forward with his life.”

Relevant? Relatable? Absolutely! So while Catcher was published in 1951, the themes throughout the novel still speak to audiences today. Plus, it has a great plot, suspense, and a main character you’ll be pulling for until the very last page—much like the good YA books we’re reading today. If you get the chance, read it and compare it to a more recent YA book—let us know what you think. What’s stayed the same? What’s changed? Thanks for stopping by!

ICYMI: Inspiration for the Remarkable Housewives of the Bible series

With the release of the second book in the Remarkable Housewives of the Bible series, we wanted to share some behind the scenes information from the author, Erin Brown Hollis.  (This is a guest post written by the author!)

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After laughing for hours at reality TV and texting my friends about the episodes late into the night, I sat perplexed with a thought – why can’t “church things” be this fun? These days, our television entertainment consists of some pretty outrageous drama, but what if I told you that the women of the Bible have riveting tales filled with much more exciting story lines than anything you’ll find on a soap opera or reality TV…

Maybe, like me, you have felt a little overwhelmed in Bible Study. Or dare I say it, bored? After years of digging in to spiritual books that felt more like a theology class than an encouraging dose of the Word, I decided to write something that would be fun staying up late into the night and cooking up some appetizers to discuss.

As it turns out, the Bible is ripe with scintillating drama, chat-worthy tales and applicable life lessons. These stories seem out of touch because how could Esther’s life in biblical times reveal anything interesting to discuss now? Well, let me tell you, friend – we’ve been reading these stories all wrong! Rather than checking these vignettes off as if completing our Christian girl Bible reading to-do list of sorts, we can dig in and get to know these ladies as if they are walking among us even now.

The women God chose to place in His Word are friends. They are moms. They are wives, leaders, followers, sinners, truth-tellers, brave beings, mistake-makers, licentious temptresses, and courageous souls. These ladies are more than worthy of our in-depth study – and that study can be a whole lot of fun!