Melissa DeLaCruz On Maintaining Creative Spark Through 50 Novels

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Today's guest is Melissa DeLa Cruz, Number One New York Times bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. With her 50th novel, The Birthday Girl releasing earlier this month, Melissa joined me to talk about longevity in publishing, retaining the spark of creativity, and how writers need community.

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Book Giveaway: Hot Reads For Summer's End!

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Summer is getting away from us, and I have to admit I’m not terribly saddened by that. Fall has always been my favorite season, but I do dislike the way people refer to the upcoming school year as back to the books like that’s a bad thing.

Um…. I’ve been reading books all summer, thank you very much.

I thought I’d give away some of those books so that you can squeeze in a few more reads in the month of August!

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: Delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone's radar.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

How Could She? by Lauren Mechling: An assured and savagely funny novel about three old friends as they navigate careers, husbands, an ex-fiancé, new suitors, and, most importantly, their relationships with one another.

After a devastating break-up with her fiancé, Geraldine is struggling to get her life back on track in Toronto. Her two old friends, Sunny and Rachel, left ages ago for New York, where they've landed good jobs, handsome husbands, and unfairly glamorous lives (or at least so it appears to Geraldine). Sick of watching from the sidelines, Geraldine decides to force the universe to give her the big break she knows she deserves, and moves to New York City.

As she zigzags her way through the downtown art scene and rooftop party circuit, she discovers how hard it is to find her footing in a world of influencers and media darlings. Meanwhile, Sunny's life as an It Girl watercolorist is not nearly as charmed as it seemed to Geraldine from Toronto. And Rachel is trying to keep it together as a new mom, writer, and wife--how is it that she was more confident and successful at twenty-five than in her mid-thirties? Perhaps worst of all, why are Sunny and Rachel--who've always been suspicious of each other--suddenly hanging out without Geraldine?

Hilarious and fiercely observed, How Could She is an essential novel of female friendship, an insider's look into the cutthroat world of New York media--from print to podcasting--and a witty exploration of the ways we can and cannot escape our pasts.

Don’t miss my podcast episode with Lauren where she talks writing, publishing, and the crossroads of writing a novel set in the publishing world.

The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate: a sweeping love story about family and music--and the secrets each hold--that follows the intertwined fates of two Venetian orphans.

Venice, 1736. When fate brings Violetta and Mino together on the roof of the Hospital of the Incurables, they form a connection that will change their lives forever. Both are orphans at the Incurables, dreaming of escape. But when the resident Maestro notices Violetta's voice, she is selected for the Incurables' world famous coro, and must sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors.

After a declaration of love ends in heartbreak, Mino flees the Incurables in search of his family. Known as the "city of masks," Venice is full of secrets, and Mino is certain one will lead to his long-lost mother. Without him, the walls close in on Violetta and she begins a dangerous and forbidden nightlife, hoping her voice can secure her freedom. But neither finds what they are looking for, until a haunting memory Violetta has suppressed since childhood leads them to a shocking confrontation.

Vibrant with the glamour and beauty of Venice at its zenith, The Orphan's Song takes us on a breathtaking journey of passion, heartbreak, and betrayal before it crescendos to an unforgettable ending, a celebration of the enduring nature and transformative power of love.

Don’t miss my podcast episode with Lauren where she talks about her research for The Orphan’s Song, plus writing for the YA market versus the adult market.

16 Bedtime Stories to Inspire Young Girls

For those who struggle to get to sleep at night, there’s nothing like a good story. Relaxing with your favorite book is a great way to unwind and slip off to sleep. The same is true for kids just as much as adults. That’s why for all lovers of books, we probably have at least one fond memory of being read to before bedtime. Because the books we read as children play such an important part in shaping our worldview, it’s important that children’s books contain positive lessons and morals.

This often means stories of kindness, bravery, and acceptance. While these are all necessary, there’s a story that is less frequently told, but is no less important. That is the story of the strong, independent woman. Girls are often read stories of princesses and damsels, but not scientists and mathematicians. They're told the importance of understanding and kindness, but not smarts and guts.

Thankfully there are authors who are making an effort to write empowering and diverse female characters into their children’s books. Sleep Advisor compiled a great list of inspiring books for young girls. There’s books on historical figures to show that women can and do make a difference. There’s also books on learning to celebrate yours and others individual differences. And, there’s even a few powerful princesses on their list.

Check it out below to find the perfect bedtime story for the young girl in your life

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