Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Feature: Piper Morgan (And Some Great Advice By Stephanie Faris)




When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!



In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?


Stephanie Faris is here to talk to you all about a topic that I think is brilliant and extremely helpful for all writers. So sit back and enjoy!

Why Reading Outside Your Genre Can Make Your Writing Stronger
by Stephanie Faris
I love my blog friends. Among us there are those who write children’s, middle-grade, YA, paranormal, adventure, horror, and romance, just to name a few genres. That means when I read my friends’ books, I often get to take a break from girly children’s fiction and read a wide variety of other things.
When I was younger, I thought that would hurt me but I’ve come to realize it only helps. Fiction, at its very foundation, is made up of similar elements. The conflict in a mystery novel may be different from what you’d find in a fantasy novel, but there are similar emotions, challenges, and resolutions. By reading these other books, you learn more about what you want to write.
What do I mean by this? Let’s take Kelly’s Into the Fire as an example. Her main character, Cara, is on the verge of transforming into a Phoenix. Knowing the end of her time as herself is near, she feels conflicted about the feelings she’s developing for the new guy in town.
I’ve never written a book with a character who is on the verge of becoming a Phoenix. I have, however, written romances where a couple is kept apart through extenuating circumstances. In the type of fiction I write, though, that conflict would likely be in the form of protecting a career or not wanting to hurt a loved one.
Even in the tween books I write, romance is a no-no. However, many of the conflicts I read about in romance novels can translate to the trauma friendships suffer in sixth and seventh grade. The girls in my characters may have crushes, even though they never develop into a real romance. Conflict can exist there, as well.
Reading anything can also help improve your own prose. I love Harlan Coben’s mysteries and even though they’re completely different from the books I write, he makes me want to be a better writer. He has a way of phrasing things that is just so beautiful that you can’t help but want to push yourself to be that good. And that, in my opinion, is what becoming a better writer is all about.

Because Stephanie is so awesome, she is hosting a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card and autographed copies of her books. Enter here:



Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

43 comments:

  1. Very few of my blogger buddies write in my genre, so I'm always venturing outside of it. Yes, I've even read a chick lit book. But the basic story elements are present in every book.

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    1. They are! And chick lit books can be fun. They have a structure, but it's an interesting structure because it's far less predictable, I found. I was sad to see it fade, primarily because I wrote romantic comedy and when chick lit oversaturated the market, anything with comedy in it became an automatic "we don't want any more chick lit." Luckily, there's plenty of room for lightheartedness in the younger markets!

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  2. I read all different genres. Not many westerns, though, and only some sci-fi. I've wanted to attempt a novel, but having read a memoir I could relate to is why I chose to do one of my own. I'm now trying to come up with an idea for a fiction novel. Is it unusual to do attempt writing fiction after working on a memoir?

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    1. I've never read a western! No, I don't think it's at all unusual. In fact, the memoir may have been just the book you needed to get you started. I think it's easier to tell someone else's story than your own (especially when you get to make up that story!).

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    2. I'm with Stephanie. I don't think it's unusual at all. I write in a lot of different genres. You just have to go with what ideas come to you.

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  3. Another great post! I'm following your blog tour, Stephanie, and adding to my "to read" list along the way. You're right Stephanie and Alex, basic story elements are there in all genres. I'm one of those weird people who love nearly all genres: YA, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, and the list goes on. I'm enjoying the Piper Morgan series right now. I still haven't read any of Alex's books, but they are on my list to read. I do shy away from Vampire themes, but to the consternation of many of my friends and family I'm thoroughly engrossed in the TV series "The Walking Dead." Go figure.
    Now I'm off to Amazon find one of Kelly's books...

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    1. I think you'll love Kelly's books! She has so many to choose from, too. And Alex's--especially if you love sci-fi. Has zombie fiction taken off? It should have by now!

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    2. Aw, thank you, Valerie! I love The Walking Dead. If your a zombie fan, check out Touch of Death. It's only $1.99 on Kindle.

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  4. I'm with you, Stephanie. I know too many writers who limit themselves to reading work by their favorite authors. We need variety in our lives so we can grow. Editing has led me to read a number of books that I wouldn't have chosen for myself. The variety helps me learn what's going on in the writing world and gives me ideas for my own work.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That's what blogging has done for me. We can learn so much by expanding outside our genre...plus it prevents burnout because you're always reading something different.

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    2. Variety is good. It makes you a better writer.

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  5. Happy Friday to all. I'm game to read anything and it does help one's writing world. Pacing, descriptions, plots, etc - you can learn from all genres. Plus variety is the spice of life - but do avoid cliches in your writing - ha.

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    1. Definitely! Cliches can work...when used correctly. Maybe in a tongue-in-cheek way!

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    2. lol Pacing can be different depending on genre, but that's a great thing to learn.

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  6. That core element that draws us to read is present in every genre. I enjoy reading different types of books depending on what my mood is. Usually after I read a dark thriller, I reach for a light-hearted story next. Great post, Stephanie. Wishing you and Kelly (and your families) a safe and happy holiday weekend.

    Thoughts in Progress
    MC Book Tours

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    1. You, too, Mason! And yes, I love the contrast. I can jump from reading a true crime book to a lighthearted chapter book!

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  7. Wonderful post! I love reading outside my genre because I enjoy seeing how other authors handle pacing, dialog, and setting. It's always a learning experience!

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    1. That is definitely true! I learn from every book I read.

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  8. I totally agree! I read every genre and always learn something new.

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  9. You're so right, Stephanie. Reading other genre helps me enjoy not only reading but writing because other ideas come to me even when I'm reading something different to what I usually write. It also relaxes me to enter other types of stories.

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    1. I wonder if I write so many genres because I read so many. Hmm...

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  10. This is good to know. My reading is fairly eclectic. My favorite is non-fiction.

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    1. I'm a fiction lover myself. I should read more nonfiction though.

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  11. These look like fun for kids. I do read a lot of mixes of genres, both fiction and non fiction. I probably draw the line at sparkly vampires though.

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  12. I definitely agree! I read just about everything not only because I love to read, but for the enrichment as well as insight into publishing trends and author voice.

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  13. We so relate to Piper since my kids pick up and move to different places all the time too. It is good to read across genres. When I'm stuck on an idea, a little poetry often helps.

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  14. That is a great achievement - writing on varied topics like business, technology & fashion.

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  15. Agreed, Steph. I used to be a a voracious Harlan Coben reader. Lately, it's been Lee Child.

    Waving to Kelly:)

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  16. As always Stephanie has great advice that I totally agree with!

    Congrats, Stephanie, been seeing your books all over the place!!!!

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  17. I used to think about genres as black and white, but then I realized that they share similar conflicts and arcs. I always learn about the craft from reading a variety of books.

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