Monday, July 20, 2015

Soaked by A. J. Cosmo (VBT, guest post, excerpt, review and GIVEAWAY) GFT




I have the pleasure of having a guest post from author A.J. Cosmo, who answers...

What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?

AJC:  I feared not being good enough.

I wrote my first novel at eighteen and my second and third within three years after that. I had so little confidence in myself that after writing only a handful of query letters, I simply gave up and slumped away. Before I even began, I had already defeated myself.

Let me add in here that I never sent anymore query letters. I'm a totally self-published author and I do this full-time for a living. It's odd that I have to qualify that, but there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing.

It was that initial fear of rejection that led me to self-publishing. Strange as it seems, I would have rather had the public dismiss me then go through the agony of the query process. My work would get out there, which carries its own satisfaction, and if it were no good then at least the public would be quick with their hatred.

So I took a deep breath and just started making books. My initial batch was under different pen names and based upon screenplays I had written. They all failed. That didn’t matter to me though, they were out of my head and I had done the work. I moved on and started playing with creating children's books. I've always drawn as well as write, so it felt natural. The first book failed but I kept going. The second book, The Hope Flower, did better but garnered a lot of hate because I used the word "stupid" in the text.

That was stupid of me.

The third book hit. When that happened, I knew that the world had told me what I should do.

Looking back on it, opening yourself to such immediate public criticism is a hundred times as scary as the query process. However, the idea of being rejected by an agent, of having someone else decide your fate, had been nurtured with dread until it grew into a monster. We all have these monsters that to us look a hundred feet tall and to our friends appear like kittens. What we feed grows and what we fear only grows more terrifying.

I've never had an issue with simply creating content and that is an enormous blessing. I have friends and colleagues that are paralyzed by the idea that they could create something that no one likes. Unfortunately, that is unavoidable. You simply have to create to the best of your abilities and what happens after you send that child off to college is totally out of your control. I've had sure-fire books die because of coincidence and I've had success from off the cuff stories nonsense. You never know, and trying to know only makes you stupider.

In the end, being afraid of not being good enough is both trivial and self-fulfilling. None of us start out good. No artist has ever been born with a brush. No writer was born knowing a language. You have to work to get better and you have to work a lot. We develop ourselves by constantly addressing our fears. If we fear that we are not good enough we either have the option to get better or simply give up. I was lucky in that my giving up on the query process led me to continue writing.

So whatever you fear, whatever hurdle stands in your way, face it. And if you can’t bring yourself to face it, and there's no harm in that, see if you can find a path around it. Whatever you do and wherever you are on the journey, keep going. The worst thing you can do to the world is stop.



About A.J. and his latest book:

Soaked is the first middle-grade novel by author/illustrator A.J. Cosmo. Filled with humor and suspense, this surprising page turner is a tale of friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right.






                 

(there are a couple of versions of the cover)



by A. J. Cosmo

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BLURB:

What a way to start summer… I should have never stood up to that bully Jacob. It was just a water balloon thrown to save my friend’s behind during recess. Now we’re on a bus heading home and everyone gets the same text: “$500 gift card and full immunity to the kid that brings me Aiden- Jacob.” I’m Aiden by the way, and the entire fourth grade is staring at me. Hopefully, with my friend’s help, we can get off at the next stop, three miles from my house, and make it home before the entire neighborhood finds us. 

Soaked is the first middle-grade novel by author/illustrator A.J. Cosmo. Filled with humor and suspense, this surprising page turner is a tale of friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right. For 3rd-5th grade readers.


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EXCERPT

I'm a coward.


That was the first thing that crossed my mind when the water balloon splattered on Jacob's face. Jacob, the boy who never needed a hall pass. Jacob, the kid who never ate his own lunch. Jacob, the one you cleared the bathroom for.



Cowards don't do this, I thought. Cowards run. Let everyone who has ears to hear know that I, Aiden Jones, am a coward.



Jacob let go of Ben's collar and let his victim join my side. Our classmates fell into a sick silence. No one knew what to do because no one had ever challenged Jacob before.



What about me though? What did Jacob have in store for me? Would he drag me into the bathroom and give me a swirly? Would he hold me under the water fountain? Would he stuff my pockets with water balloons and make me do jumping jacks?



Jacob just stared.



The summer sun pulled the water from his shirt, just as it soaked up the moisture from the plants and our skin. Since the drought began in the mid-west, our cozy little school had turned into a solar oven. The worst part was that the principal could have cranked up the air conditioning and given us all relief, but she didn't, not even on the last day of school. That's just the kind of lady she was.



"Jacob--I didn't mean to--I mean," I said.



"You almost got my phone wet," he growled.








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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


A.J. Cosmo is the author and illustrator of over forty children’s books including the best-selling The Monster That Ate My Socks . He lives and works in Los Angeles, loves reading and video games, and is hard at work finishing the Monsters A to Z series. Soaked is A.J.’s first middle-grade novel.









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GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

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My review:




Soaked is written and illustrated by A.J. Cosmo and is a whimsical children’s story that describes a set of events that starts on the last day of third grade, when Aiden Jones stands up to the bullying by Jacob Schull.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t end things, and the war of wet escalates with more and more children being brought into the fray as Jacob demonstrates his power and his connections.  It looks like Aiden and all of his classmates are destined to remain soaked unless they can find a way to turn the tables on the petty dictator—but can they find the courage to stand up to a bully?

This fun story delivers a needed message about the effects of bullying and the dismaying power that some can achieve by buying the results they want.  I was reminded how out of touch I am with things as I read about the leverage achieved by threatening each THIRD GRADE child’s CELL PHONE!  The escalating tension and dismaying non-interference by the adults encountered make it difficult to be patient until the end of the story but I daresay this is a great story to read on a hot summer’s day as it makes one want to pick up a water gun, lol.  This is an entertaining light read with a great message that is enhanced by the cute illustrations.

30 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed reading the excerpt, thank you!

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    1. Thank you for taking a look! Glad you liked it :)

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    2. Happy that you enjoyed it, Nikolina. Thanks for popping in!

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  2. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

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    1. I read both. I prefer Kindle for self-education materials and printed for the children's books and fiction that I read. That latter fact is one reason I started offering my own work in print.

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    2. I prefer print books, although I do read plenty of e-books. I'm glad that you offer both types, A.J.! Thanks for the question, Mai.

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  3. Great excerpt! It sounds like a fun and interesting book.

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    1. Thank you Thais! It's a blast to read if I do say so myself, I kept getting caught up in it while I was editing!

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    2. Definitely a fun book, glad you liked the excerpt, Thais. Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment!

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  4. Very inspiring post!

    --Trix

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  5. My kids want to read this book. They said get it for us Mom!!! What nice words to hear from kids when they usually want me to run to the store for video games!!!

    I have to tell you, The author has the best author picture of ALL TIME!!!

    Congrats on the book!!!---Rae

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    1. Rae, lol, you made my day! I hope your children enjoy Soaked, it was created to bring back a love for reading in a world where attention is easily stolen. Please let me know what they think!

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    2. Isn't that a stunning picture, Rae? Glad the kids are following mom's example and becoming bibliophiles! Thanks for visiting.

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    1. Sorry to take so long to greet you, A.J.! Thanks for your inspirational post and for giving me the opportunity to read your entertaining story. I'm happy you persisted and are providing so many great tales to encourage kids to read! I really appreciate you taking the time to interact with my visitors.

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  7. Enjoyed the guest post, excerpt and the review, thanks for sharing,sounds like a fun book.

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    1. Glad you liked everything, Eva. Thanks for visiting!

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  8. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Happy you liked it, Victoria. Thank you for popping by!

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  9. Great interview! I enjoyed the excerpt! Your book sounds terrific! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Great to see you, Betty! Hope you get a chance to read the story, it's a fun read.

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  10. Thank you for sharing. This does sound like fun.

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    1. You're welcome, Mary. It is indeed fun (and makes me grateful that I didn't have these issues when I was that young, lol). Thanks for visiting!

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  11. Awesome cover looks so cool.

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    1. It's a great cover to look at on a hot day, isn't it, joe hawk? Thank you for popping in!

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