Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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Summer Scavenger Hunt!

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Summertime is almost here, and to celebrate, I’m participating in a HUGE scavenger hunt hosted by the Alliance of Young Adult Authors (which includes me)! This is a chance to meet some amazing new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win some epic prizes.

Who doesn’t love prizes?

In addition to the $500 grand prize, each author will be giving away lots of free books and cool stuff , so be sure to check out their website during the scavenger hunt.

 

When the scavenger hunt begins on June 1st all you have to do is visit each site below in order and write down the special word to reconstruct the story. You can enter any of the giveaways or offers on anybody’s site, or just grab the special word and move on.

RULES

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story. I’ll add a link soon where you can enter for the grand prize when you have the full story.

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

TREASURE MAP (list of participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Efken  
  11. Meredith Rose
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane  
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo 
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Tom Shutt
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy
 For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.

 


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Stupid Discouragement

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Discouragement is an emotion we’ve all felt. From the toddler, who’s life seemingly ends when they don’t get chicken nuggets for dinner, to the octogenarian who finds their body falling apart around them and everyone in between. There are a thousand things a day we can be discouraged about, maybe more. And for some reason it’s easier to focus on the bad rather than the good.
Lately I’ve felt particularly assaulted by dark thoughts—whispers of guilt and feelings that I’m not quite good enough in any area of my life. If I miss a writing goal I feel like I’ll never be successful as an author and that I may as well give up.  If I mess up a day of my diet it’s all going down the toilet anyway, so I may as well go to Culvers for Ice Cream, which then spawns the guilt for breaking the promise I made to myself to be good. One cross word to a family member and I feel as if I’m the worst person on the planet. One judgmental thoug
ht sends me into throngs of guilt that are almost impossible to break free from.

I figure I’m not the only one with this problem. Society pushes us all to be perfect in ways that are sometimes unattainable. For instance, Facebook keeps telling me that I’m beautiful no matter what. Well, sometimes I’m not, so quit telling me how to feel, dang it. Let me wallow, or let me
throw my hair back and be ugly if I want to. Sheesh. The pressure is killing me.

Then I feel bad for hating all of those nice people on Facebook who think I’m beautiful.

Seriously, is there an end to it?

Last week a lot of things came together and tossed me into the mire. Writing wasn’t going anywhere, which is always frustrating because I do it part time and need to make progress. My sister had pointed out a fatal flaw in my latest novella, so I was trying to re-work it. There had been some family drama that boiled for a few weeks before it finally exploded all over everything. My house wasn’t clean (this is a big thing for me. I know, I know, it doesn’t really matter, but it does to me, so back off!) There were tasks on my To-Do list that had been there for a month. I really hate that. I thought I had offended someone. I’d probably offended several people. After a few weeks of trying to be more healthy I’d gained a pound (not muscle, I promise). And looking at May, I saw I had exactly two nights free the entire month, including weekends.

In the midst of stressing about all of this, I threw myself into writing a novella. I have a new outline, so I thought I could push out 10k words on Friday. Considering I could copy and paste at least 5k of those, I felt confident that I could do it. Normally 5k words in a day is no problem. I’m a fast typist, and this was middle draft material, not final draft. Go me!

Only nothing worked. Not one word was easy, and after four hours I was practically beating my head against my desk. I’d forced myself to keep my butt in the chair, I’d forced myself to eat  a healthy lunch. I’d forced myself to skip my walk in order to meet this writing goal for the day.

All for nothing. And I wasn’t even PMSing.

Looking back, this shouldn’t have been a big deal. But it was, and I know why. Because
I let it be.

I know, I know, now I sound like a meme, but it’s true. I am perfectly capable of replacing dark, discouraging thoughts with better ones. Sometimes I don’t want to, and that’s when I get into trouble. Because it’s easier to stay in the dark rather than rise into the light. It easier to complain than to find solutions. It’s easier to say “I’m not good enough” rather than to square your shoulders and say, “What’s one thing I can do better today?”

Not everything. Don’t think about that, it will dive bomb you into discouragement oblivion. Push back one thought, break free of a little guilt, look around and smell the roses (ignore the weeds, you can pull them later), call a friend, do something for someone else.

Discouragement is normal. We all go through it, but we don’t have to let it drag us down. Put on your favorite song. Go for a walk. Order pizza for dinner. Play a game. Read a book or watch a show. Take a time-out and come back to it with a better attitude. Decide that you’re in charge, not those stupid whispers in your ear that bring you down. Trust me, you’ll be happier. I am, when I can do it. It’s rarely easy, but it’s always worth it.


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Potential Cover Reveal and Excerpt

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Ta-Da!Here we have the cover for my next novella!

This one is about Brady, a character in my New Sight Series. He’s the funny, geeky, overprotective one. I had a great time writing this story.

Alfred Stringer did the design fort the cover, including the rune for touch. Cool, right? The story is with my editor now. It should be out in a few weeks. Until then, check out this excerpt. You know, to tide yourself over.

Brady had only been out to the countryside a few times in his life. Ancient, scratchy hedges rounded the patchwork of fields that rolled as far as he could see. It reminded Brady of something he’d learned in school. If Britain had to, they could support everyone in the country with the food that they grew. He liked that.

He also liked to remember that while the British Isles were small, they’d moved the world more than once.

And now he, Brady Moore might be the first, real-live superhero. Ever.

How awesome would that be?

But he’d read enough to know that it wouldn’t be easy. He had to figure out what he was dealing with before he got too excited.

The two mile run took its toll, and he ended up walking the last bit. A light drizzle started, and he was glad he’d brought a jacket.

The glade he’d chosen for his experiment came into view. He looked around and smiled. No cottages in sight and no roads to speak of. There were two other trails, but once he was in the trees, he’d be almost invisible.

He jogged the rest of the way, eager to start.

Once within the safety of the trees, he shed his pack and his jacket. He took a swig out of a bottle of water and set it down. Where should he start?

Right now he didn’t feel any different than he had a week ago. No strange powers. No extra senses.

He walked around and took a few deep breaths, calming his nerves and letting his body relax. These things always worked better when the hero was relaxed. Or, in the Hulk’s case, very angry. Brady hadn’t been angry the other times he’d felt the power, so he was pretty sure it wasn’t that.

He’d hoped that the run would start something. The first time he’d felt the power had been while he was rushing forward to save that little kid. Apparently speed had nothing to do with it.

After a few seconds of breathing, he started to pace. He touched the trees, hoping he’d be able to feel them differently. Nothing.

He jogged in and out and around the trees, taxing his body. Nothing. He tried pushing the trees as well as climbing. Still nothing.

Brady kicked a rock and grunted.

Maybe some pushups.

That didn’t help either.

By the time he finished, his efforts at a shower had been fully erased. He shook his head, spraying sweat everywhere.

“Come on,” he said under her breath. “Just do it.”

Naturally, nothing happened.

Brady rubbed his face with his hands. “What isn’t happening?”

Okay, physical exertion hadn’t done it, maybe meditation would work. Finding his center, or whatever. He sat down on the damp earth and closed his eyes.

Brady had prepared a couple of meditation exercises he’d found online. He pictured himself sitting on the top of a mountain. Breathe. In, out. Fill the lungs, let it go. Try to think about nothing. Instead, everything popped into his mind. Super heroes, the woman on the train, his mother, Chan…

After five minutes—longer than he usually focused on anything besides a video game or a comic—he didn’t have anything but a lot of extra oxygen to show for his efforts.

Frustration took over, and he grit his teeth. He sighed and threw himself back on the ground.

The moment his shoulders hit, he felt it.

It was almost exactly like those moments in a movie when the main character touched something and saw a whole different world. Brady’s senses expanded, and he could feel in a way he’d never done before.

 

 

 


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Anybody Want a Free Book…or 45?

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Need more zombies, solar flares, planetary disasters or bleak landscapes in your life? I’m here for you. This week Crippled Hope, book four of my Jagged Scars Series, is part of a Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi giveaway.

Check it out here:

If you look closely, my book is near the bottom right. On the top row, there is another cover that has used the same photo of a girl that mine has. I was like, “Hey, how did Wendy get into their book?”

Made me laugh. It happens a lot, but his is my first.

On another front:

I’m working on a novella about Jeff and Dillon before they have their falling out, try to kill one another and Jeff ends up in Shelter.

If you don’t know who I’m talking about, check out my Jagged Scars Series. Hey, there’s a giveaway right above this for Crippled Hope, book four!

I thought I would give you a tiny, tiny teaser. Mostly because I’m mean. Enjoy.

The tall, yellow and green grass waved in one continuous motion as the wind slowly made its way across the rolling hills. Sunlight caught the crest of the waves, highlighting the edges of rocky crags and drop offs. Jeff squinted and watched the horizon for signs of Skinnies. Or anyone else.

“Hand me the wrench,” Dillon growled from beneath the grounded hover bike.

Jeff moved to Dillon’s weathered pack, carefully pulled the reluctant zipper apart and retrieved the wrench from the front pocket. He slapped the tool into his brother’s outstretched hand and went back to his vigil.

The muttering coming from under the bike told Jeff that they weren’t going anywhere for a while. And it had managed to pick the most exposed spot on the road for twenty miles to break down.

Jeff turned in a circle, watching. Waiting.

“Anything out there?” Dillon asked.

“Not yet.” Jeff eyed a nearby hill. “I’m going to go look around.”

“Don’t sprain an ankle this time.”

“Shut up.”

 


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