26 March 2018

Tour & Giveaway: Crossing the Line by Ellen Wolfson Valladares

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Crossing the Line by Ellen Wolfson Valladares.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism.
Publication: March 6th 2018 by WiDo Publishing.
Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.

Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.

It is her one chance to make sure that what happened her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.

Guest Post: Playlist for Crossing the Line

I love this because songs and song lyrics played a big part for me in writing the story. I feel songs can take you back into a moment, a memory, and since part of the story is the character Laura’s reminiscences of her life in the 1980s, songs were a great tool to evoke the feeling of that time period. It was also the time period I was in high school so it was fun for me. Thus, the playlist features a lot of 80s songs.
One more interesting note. I discovered on my last round of edits that for copyright purposes, a lot of the lyrics I’d used had to be cut. I learned you can only use song titles, or pay for the rights to reproduce the lyrics, even if it is just a few lines. There is one song that I did get permission to print in its entirety and that comes after the close of the book: “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.
The following playlist includes a few of the songs that ended up on the cutting room floor. They are in the chronological order they appear (or were supposed to appear) in the book. Enjoy.

1- Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
2- Who’s Crying Now – Journey
3- Open Arms – Journey
4- Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
5- Keep on Loving You – REO Speedwagon
6- You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
7- Love Stinks – J. Geils Band
8- When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
9- Time For Me to Fly – REO Speedwagon
10- Endlesslove – Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
11- Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
12- Roll With the Changes – REO Speedwagon
13- You’re My Best Friend – Queen
14- Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac

Chapter 2—Laura I bolted out of my chair, ran out of the library, across the lawn, and up the twenty-some steps of Academy Hall. I couldn’t wait to tell Danny and everyone my good news. I looked up at the red brick bell tower and realized the bells hadn’t chimed. What was I hurrying for? Class wasn’t starting yet. I sat down at the top of the steps. It was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day, as always. Students were sitting by the lake, walking on the paths, and hanging out on the lawn. I’m finally getting used to this place, I thought. I looked over at the wide, green lawn area, remembering my first day here. ------------------- “You’ve been selected to attend The Academy,” a voice had said to me. Then suddenly, I was sitting on a big field of damp grass with a bunch of other kids my age. I was sure I had finally woken up. “I guess it was a dream,” I said. “What?” A boy sitting next to me had overheard me. “Where are we?” I asked him. “The Academy. They didn’t tell you?”I ran my fingers through the soft blades of grass. It felt so real. “Yeah,” I said. “But where exactly are we? This might be a strange question, but we’re alive, right?”Then this boy, who was wearing a Members Only jacket, broke out into annoyingly loud laughter. He stopped abruptly when he saw that I wasn’t finding it funny. “Oh, no,” he said, catching his breath. “You’re still dead. I promise.”“Oh.” If it was true, assuming this kid knew what he was talking about, it was just so different from anything I’d experienced so far. “Are you sure?” I questioned him. “Because this all looks so real. You look real. I think I can even smell the air.” I inhaled. “Yeah. That’s nice.”He nodded and smiled. “I know. It’s amazing, isn’t it? I can’t get over it either. They want us to feel like we’re really in school. It’s like this agreed-upon visualization stuff they do in the Spirit world, I forget what they call it. Like the hospital I was in before here. Man, it felt real, ’cept no drugs or nothing.”The boy reached out his hand. “I’m Gary.”“Hi. Laura.” When I shook his hand, I knew he was right. What I felt wasn’t the touch of another person’s skin. It was more like the subtle energy bumps I’d gotten used to in the Spirit world. Where I’d been was nothing like this place, though. After my death, some beautiful angels and my Aunt Rita, who’d passed away from cancer, had led me to this place called the Transition Zone. They told me I would rest and rejuvenate there. It was this vast oasis of light and all of us there were formless bodies of light within it. Strangely enough, while there were no physical bodies to distinguish us, we still had
some individual energy that helped us recognize others. I was told by this important being of light to think about what I desired next. The options were endless, including going back to a new life in the physical world. All I knew was I wanted to help others and then I ended up here. Now I had a body again, and from what I could tell, I looked and felt pretty much the same. There were other people around me, and grass I could feel, and buildings in the distance, so much like the physical world. What the heck was going on? Gary got up and put out his hand. “C’mon. Ceremony’s about to start.”

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Ellen Wolfson Valladares is an award-winning writer/author, workshop facilitator, community volunteer, and mother. A native Floridian, she grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked as an editor, public relations professional, and freelance writer. Her newest release, Crossing the Line from WiDo Publishing, is a young adult novel about a teenage spirit from the 1980’s who befriends a current-day high school girl in the hopes of preventing a similar tragedy from occurring again. Her first book, a middle grade novel entitled Jonathan's Journey to Mount Miapu, received several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Coalition of Visionary Resources Visionary Awards Book of the Year award. She also has a meditation CD, entitled “Healing and Manifestation with the Archangels.”After her first child was stillborn in 1995, Valladares became dedicated to helping families suffering a similar loss. She volunteered as a peer counselor to help bereaved moms, ran a support group called “Surviving Pregnancy After a Loss,” and helped create and run an annual event for grieving families. In addition, she is a past president of the Board of Directors of Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, Inc. Valladares has also taught numerous workshops in the South Florida area on a variety of metaphysical topics, including angels, intuition, meditation, and life purpose. Today, Valladares continues to work as a freelance writer. Currently, she writes for several alumni magazines at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member and former Board member of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). She also enjoys working as a college essay coach for high school students and helping other writers realize their dreams. She has been married to her husband, Manny, for close to 30 years (May 2018) and they have two sons, Gabriel and Michael, two dogs, Flash and Chili Pepper, and a crazy cat named Zelda. They live in Weston, Fla.

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  1. I love the post! Especially the Spotify playlist. So fun! Happy to answer questions if anyone comments here!

    1. I love the playlist. It's my kind of music too!!

  2. I must check out the play list. The story sounds great.

  3. I love covers and am always curious about how much input an author has in the final product.
    sherry @ fundinmental