Christina Farley
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Introducing TEACH WRITE + Massive Book Giveaway!

I’m excited to share my new blog series TEACH WRITE that features teachers/librarians and authors working together to create a stronger learning community. To celebrate and launch this new series, I’m offering a massive giveaway of 150 books (young adult, middle grade, and picture books) for teachers at the end of this post.

How does it work?

The Teacher/Librarian Spotlights are posts highlighting inspirational stories, survival tips, engaging material tied to National standards, organizational tips, and ways to connect with students. The Author Spotlights showcase reading skills through novels and tips to develop writing skills in the classroom. Look for weekly giveaways of teacher materials, novels, author Skype visits, and book swag! I can’t wait to connect teachers and writers through TEACH WRITE, set to launch March 1st. 

Also, teachers, check out this list of FREE teacher guides for classroom novels ages 8-17.

If you are a teacher, librarian, or author and wish to participate, here’s how you can be a part of this: 

Teachers/Librarians

Do you have an inspirational story, survival tip, organizational tip, engaging material, or a way to connect with students? If so click here to sign up. If you wish to promote your teaching materials, be sure to include links to your websites or social media accounts. 

Authors

Showcase a reading skill through your novel or a tip that develops writing skills. Click here to fill out the form. You can also offer a copy of your book, Skype visit, or swag pack for a giveaway for teachers.

Win a Book Pack or Swag Pack!

Choose to win a young adult, middle grade, picture book pack, or swag! Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all an amazing Christmas and New Year! This year, I’m excited to start working on a new middle grade writing project. I’m also launching a new blog series called TEACH WRITE that features teachers and authors working together to create a stronger learning community. More on that coming next week!

This winter and spring, I’ll be attending some book festivals and teaching some writing workshops. Here are the details:

Jan. 26, 2019
OCLS Writers Conference
Discover Voice Workshop

Feb. 2, 2019
Compelling Worlds—A World Building SCBWI Workshop

Feb. 8, 2019
Trinity Prep Author Festival

Mar. 9, 2019
Winter Park Book Festival at the Winter Park Public Library

Mar. 14, 2019
Cape Coral Literacy Festival

Teachers! If you wish to book a school visit, my details can be found here. For a free 20 min Skype Visit, email or book through Skype in the Classroom here.

ECOSYSTEM Blog Tour


ECOSYSTEM I’m so excited to be a part of Joshua Bellin’s blog tour for his latest young adult book release, ECOSYSTEM. Be sure to enter his giveaway at the bottom of my post. As a fan of his other works, SURVIVOR COLONY 9, SCAVENGER OF SOULS, and FREEFALL, I was eager to get my hands on his latest.

THE BLURB
Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge. Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart. A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).

MY REVIEW

In ECOSYSTEM, Bellin has developed a unique, post-apocalyptic world, one where nature has turned on us and become our predator. Every foray into this treacherous land ensures a painful death. Unless you are a Sensor. Seventeen-year old Sarah has this Sensor gift and with it she can Sense the Ecosystem. She knows when it moves, what it sees, and even its intent. With this ability, she’s able to join the other Sensors and journey into the dangerous Ecosystem to hunt and gather food for her community. But when the Ecosystem uses Sarah’s own gifts and weakness (her Sensor-in-training) to lure her into the deepest, darkest heart of this predator, Sarah begins to question her past and even her community.

Sarah is a feisty character, who has been taught and trained to ignore her emotions, instead focusing on the task at hand. I liked that about her. I also loved the development of her character from the moment we saw her celebrating her first hunt, to when she’s cast out, and even as she abandons all of her training to do the unthinkable. A character who surprised me was Isaac. He showed up late in the story, and at first I merely dismissed him as a side character, but then he shows up later in the most unexpected way with the most unexpected ability.

I loved this twist as it’s very unusual for me to be surprised by events in a story.  In fact, I think that’s why I enjoyed ECOSYSTEM so much. It’s full of unexpected moments, it doesn’t follow the norm, and the world building is incredibly fresh and unique. Unlike Bellin’s other works, ECOSYSTEM had a storytelling style and veered more into the realm of fantasy, which I really liked. This is such a thrilling story that once I started reading, it sucked me into this world. I am eagerly waiting for the sequel!

GIVEAWAY a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the full blog tour, go here to check out all of the stop.

Follow Joshua Bellin
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Where It All Began: Chateau Chenonceau


The castle that inspired THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE is Chateau Chenonceau, located in the Loire Valley of France. It’s my favorite castle in the region, and I love the stories of the woman who once lived in there.

I was so excited to return to this castle with my family a few weeks ago with the book in hand. I got to walk the grounds and reminiscence over the locations that events took place in the story like the forest, the well, the dark tower, the kitchen, ballroom, and fireplaces.

I created two videos, one that explains the setting of the story, and another one that just talks about the book. Below I’ve posted pictures for you to look at as well.

Check them out and let me know what you think!


Falling for Books!

Picture taken by starui62
It’s fall! Which means it’s only in the 80’s here in Florida and my hair might curl rather than frizz. But I must say I love the heat so there is no complaining on my part. Bring on the frizz!

Do you know what else happens in the fall? The biggest worldwide writing month- NaNoWri Month! I love November (okay so mostly because it’s my birthday month), but I also love the idea that I’m writing madly, passionately, and crazily with thousands of other writes out there.


I definitely plan on starting a new project for NaNo. All three of my Gilded series books were NaNo books. I usually kick off my books in November and write like a maniac until I collapse on the floor on Christmas day. (Then I take like the next year to revise them.)

Are you doing NaNoWri Month? If so, definitely check out:

1. This video link on my NaNo prep
2. This blog post to inspire you in how to stay motivated

Remember, writing doesn’t necessarily always when inspiration hits. It’s just sitting down and hacking out those words- the good, bad, and ugly.



So much has been happening lately. I need to give you updates! First, I’m just thrilled that THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE got nominated for the Cybil’s. It was also mentioned on ILA’s blog for Fantastical Worlds & Imaginative Possibilities and by BuzzFeed as one of the 100 must-read middle grade fantasy books in the last 10 years!

I’ve been invited to a number of fantastic events this year and into 2018. If you live nearby, come say hi!

  • Oct. 30th- Going Wild Over Books with the Jewish Academy

  • Dec. 9th- Barnes and Noble Waterford Lakes Bookfair with Arbor Ridge Middle
  • Dec. 13th- Barnes and Noble Waterford Lakes Bookfair with Castle Creek Elementary
  • Jan. 27th- OCLS Writers Conference– Plot Like a Pro with the YA Chicks 11am
  • Feb. 9th- Trinity Prep Author Festival
Finally, I want to thank all of you for purchasing, recommending, and reviewing all of my books. I love you guys. Seriously. 

Summer Fun and Upcoming Events

Hello friends!!!! I hope you all had an incredible summer. I sure did! Lots of beach time and fun with family and friends.

International Literacy Association
I wanted to share with you my video clip from my signing at ILA. If I met you there, it was so great meeting you! Remember, if you are a teacher or librarian, I offer free 20 min Skype visits. Plus fill out the form on my teacher page here and I’ll send you bookmarks to your class. Watch my ILA video below or here:

 

Summer Writing 
I’ve been keeping busy with writing and I even participated in Camp NaNoWriMonth, which was a great way to keep me on track during the fun summer months. Here’s (or below) a fun video I made about finding inspiration when I’m writing. What about you? What crazy stuff do you do to get inspired?

 

Podcast with Kristen Flowers 
I was thrilled to participate in the Podcast with Kristen Flowers on 96.5 KOIT San Francisco about how every writing project has it’s own time and journey, how I got my agent plus school visits!


This September, I’ll be leading an SCBWI Boot Camp with the fabulous Vivi Barnes. Here’s the information and click HERE to register:
Building Blocks of a Successful Novel
Windermere Community Room 118 W. 5th Avenue Windermere, FL 34786 
Register HERE

Vivi and Christina will help you reach new heights in building a novel that will stand out in the crowded market. From concept through final draft, they’ll take you through each step of the process, exploring effective plotting techniques, developing multi-dimensional characters, and creating your ideal world. You’ll discover how to write stories that tug at the heart and make readers fly through your pages. Bring a laptop or notebook and your work in progress/novel ideas. 

I’m super pumped that I’ll be participating in Osceola’s Fan Faire. Can’t wait!

Summer Book Bash and ILA

It’s summer! The perfect time to be reading and writing! For the month of July, I’m participating in Camp NanoWriMonth. I may not write 50k by the end of the month, but I’m having a blast writing with friends and getting some progress on my novel to boot!

I’m super pumped about attending ILA this weekend! I’ll be signing at the Scholastic Booth from 11am-12pm so if you are a teacher and are attending, come by and say hi!



I’ll also be signing at The Summer Book Bash at Barnes and Noble at Waterford Lakes this Saturday from 2pm-3pm with Tara Dairman and Ammi- Joan Paquette. Go here for all of the details. There will be games and prizes along with plenty of fun. The best part? A portion of the sales will be used to help support our local library!


Show Up


Writing can be tough and sometimes we get distracted or feel inhibited by things like:

1. Past failures
2. Success of others
3. Our own inabilities
4. Time constraints
5. Lack of inspiration



These are all real issues that writers face. If you’re like me, you’ve dealt with at least one or all of these at some point. I’ve been reading a book called GRIT by Angela Duckworth. She didn’t write this book specifically for writers, but she very well could have with how many of her points rang true for me.


Show Up

I don’t know about you, but I can think about 10 reasons in 3 seconds of why I shouldn’t be writing or what else I could do rather than write. There’s always an excuse, and trust me, they’re good!

But in Chapter 1 of GRIT, Angela discusses how we need to show up in order to be successful. I can be the best writer on the planet, but if I’m not sitting at my computer, typing up the words, I can’t find any success. I have to write, and if that means that it’s not perfect, that’s okay.

“Potential is one thing,” Angela reminds us. “What we do with it is quite another.”

Ultimately, those with high GRIT, find greater success.


What’s GRIT, you ask? Do you have it? Go here to test your GRIT scale. Where did you come out as? 

That sounds all good, right? But where can we start to overcome that inability to find time or energy or motivation to write.

Here are some things that work for me:

1. Create a plan 

I set for myself a reasonable and achievable deadline for each of my drafts. I love using Pacemaker to keep me on track. If I get behind, I brew the coffee and set my alarm. No excuses.



2. I check in with my accountability group

I’m a part of a group of fantastic writers on Slack, which was organized by my critique partner, Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Every day I post my writing goal and do everything I can to make that goal. Within the Slack channel, we have individual places to post struggles, daily life, and share virtual food. We even have a cat named Tess!



3. Belief in what I’m doing is valuable

Sometimes as writers we feel like we’re just writing into the void—at least I do. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When I’m discouraged, I go to my bookshelf where the books that inspired me are shelved and I focus on those memories and impressions. 


 I also have received so many beautiful and kind letters from kids all around the world, and when I pull them out, I’m reminded that I’m writing stories for them, too, not just for me. I’m sure those kids will never know the power that their words have on a daily basis!


What works for you? I’d love to know! Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.

THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE- Book Launch and Book Tour

Wow. What an amazing book launch we had for THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE. Thanks a million times over to everyone who came and attended the book launch party. Here are some pictures that were sent my way: Or one of my other events that I had in Miami, Vero Beach, Tampa, Atlanta and even in Kentucky at the Southern Kentucky Book Festival. I’m overwhelmed by the incredible support and kindness everyone has shown for THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE. Words can’t express how much fun I had over the past few weeks. I love seeing pictures of THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE in the wild so please keep posting them. You guys are awesome! Here are a few of the photos over the past few weeks:

India Trip and Writing Workshop at the American School of Bombay!

I had an INCREDIBLE time in India teaching writing workshops on Building a Fantasy World at the American School of Bombay. The students that attended this week long workshop were not only talented writers, but had amazing imaginations. It was incredible watching them start from scratch and build whole worlds of their own imaginations. What a group! Plus I dragged my husband along (okay, so he may have been incredibly eager) to be my ‘assistant’. We traveled around Mumbai and then the weekend after the workshop, we fly up to New Delhi to see the sights and visit the Taj Mahal. It was an experience of a lifetime and I loved every moment. Here are a few photos of our trip.

 

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