Freestyle article on a romance blog
Below you will find the guest blog/article I wrote on Trish Jackson’s romance blog.
‘They try to tell us, we’re too young…’ by Guest Blogger Amy McGuire
Young adults feel romantic love too.
There’s puppy love, a sweet crush, obsession with a member of the opposite sex, and even love at first sight. While these are usually elements of romance that begin in our teens, they can and often do, extend into our adult lives. But what about true love; the kind that says, ‘someday I’m going to marry him or her’ and ‘I want to be with him or her forever’? Many adults say that teenagers cannot experience that kind of lasting love because they haven’t experienced enough of the world yet or the hardships that can make or break a relationship. I don’t know about you, but some of the most intense feelings I ever had for a guy were in my teen years. When I fell in love, it was with my whole heart. When I broke up with a guy, that heart was shattered into a million pieces and I thought I would never love again. To say that a teenager cannot experience or feel that kind of love is simply deflection. What really needs to be said is that, while all the feelings are there and sometimes even a desire for commitment that can grow more as we grow older, what is lacking is maturity. Our teen years are the most tumultuous because we are learning about our place in the world.
We all have an innate desire to love and be loved. Whether that is a desire for parental love, friendship, acceptance or a deep love with that one guy or girl we’ve had our eyes on since grade nine, we all experience that deep hunger for love. One of the reasons I love to read and write about young adult romance is that the emotions are raw, honest and there is very little guile. As we grow into mature, responsible adults, we tend to censor ourselves for the sake of society. We no longer walk up to that guy or girl and tell them, ‘you’re hot’. We no longer wait by the phone in agony if that guy or girl we met at the party last week still hasn’t called. We tend to stuff our feelings a lot more as we grow up. Either that, or we go to the other extreme and confuse lust with love, often making poor adult decisions.
A part of young adult romance that I particularly enjoy is the innocence of first time love. Many of us had our first real girlfriend or boyfriend in junior high or high school and have experienced that feeling of anticipation and giddy excitement when we know we’ll be seeing them again soon. The heart pounds, the blood rushes in our ears, we feel faint and we can’t stop smiling. An old boyfriend of mine coined the phrase, ‘perma-smile’ and I feel that describes the in-love teen’s expression perfectly. The highs are so high and the lows are so low that falling in love is a genuine rollercoaster. I don’t know of many things to beat a special smile from your first crush, a stolen kiss by the lockers when you think no one is looking or hearing the words, ‘I love you’ for the first time and knowing you can happily say them back.
While young adults do not always love well, they do love fully. Writing romance from a teenager’s perspective is both difficult and enjoyable. The hero and heroines often have insecurities to overcome, decisions to make in regards to their own sexuality and whether or not to follow society like lemmings or create their own path through life. This is the most fascinating part of all. Remembering our own hopes, dreams, successes and failures as teens and learning from them as adults. What decisions in regards to love did we make back in junior high and high school that affect how we view our relationships later in life? How willing are we to take a chance on love in a world that steadily tells us that the only love is lust? And how do we tell the difference? Do we listen to our parents or our peers? Do we strive to find that one person who we feel completes us or are we content to bounce from one relationship to another? And do we really think that only adults can experience true love? Are we willing to step in and guide our teens through this scary, exciting and often fantastic time of life when love can be experienced for the first time?
I hope to never forget about the love I experienced as a teen. Those boys taught me many things about love, life and who I would become as a person. Choosing the right relationship is tough. That’s why I love to write about the whole trip, from beginning to end. In adult romance there is much more expectation in regards to the sexual side of things. In young adult romance I am able to write on a more emotional level and take a few walks down memory lane. So, we’re not too young to be in love. We’re just experiencing the first part of what can become a lifetime of joy, decisions and commitments. The best way to love is to love fully and to love wisely. I hope my readers will see these qualities in my characters.
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Below you will find the article I wrote on Deborah Cota’s blog. Feel free to click the link and comment on her blog. I’m sure she’d love it.
Memories of Florida
As the weather becomes colder in the fall and warmer in the spring I always either look forward to a vacation in Florida or look back on the one I just experienced with my family. As my in-laws usually go down before New Years and stay until mid-January I can often survive winter on the memory of the glittering waves, warm sand and delicious breezes alone. Spring reminds me that the weather will indeed begin to get hot, and with that thought comes the memory of the sun beating down as I splashed in the ocean with my daughter or frolicked with her and my husband in the hotel pool. If you’re thinking of going down south for an escape from winter I highly recommend Kissimmee. I have been there twice; once to check out Old Town and once to spend two days at SeaWorld and the rest of the time ‘pool hopping’ in the lovely resort where we stayed.
I have fond memories of Old Town with its small shopping strip, old car show and little amusement parks at each end. I first fell in love with milk chocolate covered marshmallows when I discovered them in a tiny store dedicated to all things chocolate. I began to dream of one day having my own pearl ring after browsing the locked glass case of a store where they not only find you your own personalized pearl, but they will set it into a necklace, earrings, pendant or bracelet-right there in the store. The resort we stayed was Bare Foot’n in The Keys at Old Town and while it was close to the hustle and bustle of the quaint tourist trap the small town of Celebration was nearby as well, with a lovely walking trail at the end of one of the scenic streets. Our resort was small but the units were comfortable and since we went in April the weather was always very nice. The nights were balmy and the pools were heated. What I really loved was the kiddie pool separated from the adult pool and hot tub by a fence with a gate that a child could not easily open. It was especially nice to watch my nearly three-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoying herself and knowing the water she splashed around in was less than a foot and a half deep.
SeaWorld is another place I highly recommend, especially for young children. We travelled there in our usual time slot of New Years to mid-January. The deal we ended up getting through CAA allowed us to return on a second day of our choosing and I’m so glad we had that option. The first day we went was clear but very cold. All of us wore our winter coats, boots and gloves and I was especially grateful that my sister in-law thought to bring a blanket so we could wrap her two young children and my own little one in a blanket while we watched the many shows the park offers. Despite the cold and the fever all three had from the trip down everyone really enjoyed themselves. The second day was even better, as the children were beginning to feel better and the weather had warmed up considerably. It’s a surprisingly small park but there is no lack of things to see and do. All the shows were breathtaking, from the Orca Show called One Ocean to the dolphin show where the divers rode two dolphins at a time and acrobats flew through the air surrounded by Scarlet Macaws. My daughter and her cousins especially enjoyed the sea lion pirate show which was very well performed. One thing that struck me most was how much the animals in all the shows seemed to be enjoying themselves. I have never seen animals in captivity that appeared to relish every act and throw themselves-sometimes literally-into their performance. There was just a sense that these animals were well cared for and their handlers really cared deeply about their well-being.
I think, if I had the choice, I would go back to SeaWorld and Old Town again and again. Kissimmee is well situated for all the parks including Disney World but for young children SeaWorld was just the right amount of space and excitement.
Guest Blog on Sarah J.R. Smith’s Blog
Today you can find my latest article/guest blog on Sarah J.R. Smith’s blog. Feel free to comment at the link below.
I’ve become friends with some rather amazing fellow Young Adult authors lately. You’ll find guest posts and interviews with them here over the next few weeks.
I’m so pleased to have YA author Amy McGuire as my guest today!
Amy McGuire is the youngest daughter of missionary parents. Because of her father’s job as a pilot pastor and her mother’s job as a nurse she traveled a lot and has gained a rich knowledge of the world around her. Shortly after learning how to handle a pencil, Amy began to write poetry and stories. She loves romance and her first published book is young adult romance, set on the coast of British Columbia, with a brief foray into Quito, Ecuador. A stay at home mom of a sweet little girl and wife of a youth pastor, Amy lives in Toronto and dreams of someday becoming a renowned novelist. Or at the very least, having her books read and enjoyed by many women seeking a good, clean read that will whisk them away into the land of romance and possibilities.
So, without further ado, here’s the lady herself!
I have been asked by several people why I write for young adults. This is not as easy a question to answer as one might think. When I sat down to write The Hope Valley Saga, of which The Heart’s Discovery is Book One, I wasn’t thinking along any particular ‘genre lines’. As I spun my tale though, it quickly became apparent that with my main characters being only fourteen and fifteen at the outset and fifteen and sixteen by the end of the book, that this fit neatly into the young adult genre. I confess that although I do not like the particular writing style of many young adult authors (first person point of view drives me a little bit crazy), I do enjoy getting lost in the stories. I think what draws me to a lot of young adult stories and romance is the idea that I’m kind of reliving my teen life through them; a bit of vicarious living if you will. I remember my teen years fondly, despite the bumps and bruises my heart and ego took. There is something about the innocent ‘first love’ that a lot of teenagers in the books I read experience that captures me again and again. It reminds me of what it was like to enjoy those heart palpitations, longings to see my ‘crush’ again and the overall giddiness of knowing a guy I liked, liked me back. I guess, in light of my good memories and enjoyment of young adult novels in general it was the most natural thing in the world for me to start writing young adult romance.
What inspired me to write The Heart’s Discovery back in 2009? The tale stemmed from a conversation I had with an old friend. We were talking about our lives ‘way back when’ in what is my inspiration for Hope Valley; a tiny village in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia by the name of Esperanza. Esperanza means Hope in Spanish and the idea of this little village nestled in a bit of a ‘valley’ between the ocean and the towering mountains gave birth to the name, Hope Valley. When I started writing, it was more of a form of therapy, as my daughter was not yet one-year-old and as a new mom I needed to take a break from time to time-to maintain my sanity. She took long naps in the afternoon and during those times I would sit and write until the thoughts had poured out onto paper. Back in early 2009 I took a notebook with me everywhere (this was in the days before I owned my nice lightweight netbook laptop) and wrote as ideas came to me. Rarely did they come in point form. I would find myself scribbling furiously on the bus while my daughter slept in the stroller beside me or napped in her crib at home as whole chapters and scenes poured forth. Leaning heavily on memories of my time in Esperanza as well as my background as a missionary kid with parents who moved around a lot, I wrote books one through three of the Hope Valley Saga and completed them in early 2010. I take inspiration from memories, experiences and the world around me. I know that with The Heart’s Discovery a lot of inspiration came from my time in Esperanza, but of course I added a lot of things that never happened to me or anyone I knew. My characters are all based loosely on people I knew during that time, but several characters came directly from my imagination as well. I loved writing The Heart’s Discovery and hope you or the teen in your life will enjoy it too.
Article written on Self-Publishing Coach Shelley Hitz’s Blog
Today you can find my latest article on Shelley Hitz’s blog. Feel free to comment at the link below.
by Amy McGuire
I would say my number one marketing tip goes hand in hand with social media. I use Facebook and Twitter to get the contests out there (as well as making sure it’s listed on my personal website). I have been doing a contest draw for every 25 followers on Twitter and every 25 fans on Facebook and slowly but surely, my numbers are growing. Every times I do an ebook draw one person (or two in the case of every hundred fans or followers) wins a free, signed ebook copy of my book. These people are often outside my little circle of friends because the contest drew them in. Their friends tell their friends about the contest and their friends get excited about the idea of a free book. I had one wonderful winner tell me that she couldn’t put my book down.
Word of mouth is powerful. How often do you buy or read or try something new, because a friend of yours said, “You gotta check this out!”? I know I do. I’m a fairly new face in the world of indie publishing but I know these books read by fans who will recommend me to anyone who will listen, are definitely going to get out there. Just the other day I found a sale on Amazon that I couldn’t account for in any way. Someone I didn’t know just bought my book. The thrill of being found by someone who may not have been looking for me aside from their friend’s recommendation cannot be matched. So, while it’s slow and at times can seem like perhaps it isn’t working, I know it is. I’m a published author and people are starting to look for my book. People actually like it enough to tell their friends about it. What better accolade can a writer receive in their first few months of being online?
The contests brought the readers in, word of mouth is going to get my name and my books out there. This is by no means my only form of marketing, but so far, it’s been my most powerful.