Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Secret Benefits of Invisibility by C.W. Allen

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Secret Benefits of Invisibility by C.W. Allen. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as great post about on writing middle grade fiction from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: The Secret Benefits of Invisibility
Author: C.W. Allen
Publication Date: June 7th 2022
Print Length: 189 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
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For Zed and Tuesday, adjusting to life in modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim means normal is relative. Lots of kids deal with moving, starting new schools, and doing chores. But normally, those schools aren't in underground bunkers full of secret agents, and the chore list doesn't involve herding dodos. The one thing that hasn't changed: all the adults treat them like they're invisible.

When a security breach interrupts a school field trip, the siblings find themselves locked out of the Resistance base. With the adults trapped inside, it's up to Tuesday, Zed, and their friends to save the day. And for once, being ignored and underestimated is coming in handy. After all, who would suspect a bunch of kids are capable of taking down the intruders that captured their families, let alone the murderous dictator that put them into hiding in the first place?

Turns out invisibility might just have its benefits.

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EXCERPT:
Fariq lifted the latch and stepped back to let the doors swing slowly open. An avalanche of dodos poured out, brushing past them like a flock of short, grumpy businessmen in dusty grey suits, impatiently bustling around a train station on their way somewhere more important.

Zed jumped out of the way and whipped out his notebook and pencil. Tuesday jumped too, but more in alarm than amazement.

"Augh!" she yelled. "Why are they so big?" She flinched away as one of the dodos brushed past her leg. Its bald, leathery face came all the way up to her hip.

Zed was too busy sketching to look up. "What were you expecting?"

"I don't know!" Tuesday blathered. "Smaller, I guess! Slower. Dumber. More like chickens!"

It would have taken a Leaning Tower of Chickens stacked three high to see eye to eye with a dodo. They looked like gigantic turkeys with their tail feathers plucked and stunted wings tucked in by their sides, with bulbous bike horns for heads. It was like someone cobbled together a Frankenbird out of spare parts as a prank.

"It's okay," said Fariq in his customary monotone. "Bird phobias are really common. I don't like spiders much, myself."

"I'm not afraid of them," Tuesday protested. "Just…surprised."

Celia brushed past them with her rake, dropping a derisive chuckle as she passed. "Honestly, it's like you've never seen a common dodo before. You panic about worms in the garden wing too? Or is Her Highness too important to get her hands dirty with the commoners?"
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.

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GUEST POST:
Writing Middle Grade: The Power of In-Between
by C.W. Allen


While I have published a few short stories and essays for adults, my true love and the bulk of my publishing effort is definitely with middle grade novels, especially stories with a mystery or speculative angle. It's what I read in my free time, and it's where my storytelling naturally drifts. There's a mantra that goes around the writing community: "Write the book you want to read." This is definitely true, since a writer will need that fire for the story to keep slogging through the long writing process, and the often unforgiving publishing process after that. But I think there's an extra layer of meaning to the mantra, that it's a privilege to contribute to the body of work that sustained me through my own tween years (and beyond). There's no feeling in the world like seeing your own story on the same library and bookstore shelves as your heroes.

I so vividly remember what it felt like to be my readers' age. Being a tween is equally frustrating and magical. On one hand, there's a sense of being stuck in-between: too young for teen privileges, but old enough that adults have more expectations of you. On the other hand, being in-between can be a kind of superpower: middle grade readers are capable enough to do things independently, but still young enough to have a sense of wonder, creativity, and idealism that the world often leeches out of people as they age. I think this dynamic creates a lot of interesting opportunities for characters to have independent adventures while still seeing the world differently than adults do. It also presents some unique challenges. An adult character is in charge of their own money, schedule, and transportation. They don't need permission to do things. Even if their decisions might have negative consequences, doing what they want is still a matter of simply choosing to. Kids have a lot more restrictions, which creates more interesting plot hurdles for the characters to get over.

I have another mantra I try to apply to all my writing: I want to create "stories where kids succeed because they're kids, not in spite of it." I want my characters to show off the superpowers kids have, the skills adults forget about, rather than pulling off their successes "okay for a kid, I guess". This is a major focus in The Secret Benefits of Invisibility, where the kids find out that being ignored and underestimated makes them ideal candidates for spy missions! I hope my readers will see themselves in the characters' struggles and cheer their victories, and take away some extra confidence about fighting their own battles, whatever they may be.
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GIVEAWAY:
C. W. Allen will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility for everything related to this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

59 comments:

  1. Every once in a while, I have considered that it would be a handy thing to become invisible!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  2. very nice cover, this sounds like a wonderful book

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  3. I really love the cover and the excerpt.

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  4. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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    1. Hi Jaime! I have some publishing advice resources available on my website: https://www.cwallenbooks.com/writers
      My top tip for new writers is to join a professional writing association. There are lots of these catering to either specific writing genres or geographical regions. A writing community is a great place to meet mentors, take classes, share your work in progress for critique, and get experience critiquing others' work. Wishing you the best of success on your writing journey!

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  5. I really like the sound of this book.

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  6. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  7. Do you have a favorite fiction book that you enjoyed while in middle school?

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    1. Hi traciem! My absolute favorite book in my middle school years was Ellen Raskin's THE WESTING GAME. I loved piecing together the clues as I read to see if I could solve the mystery sooner than the characters could. And once I knew the answer, I loved the way the omnicient narrating style allowed me to see inside ALL the characters' heads, not just the protagonist. I highly reccomend it!

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  8. I have grand kids who would love this book!
    Thank you for sharing this.

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  9. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  10. This sounds like a really good read for the younger audience. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and guest post.

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  11. What's your signature alcoholic drink?

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    1. I don't drink, so I don't have one, I'm afraid! If you have a mocktail to suggest I'm all ears!

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  12. I'd love to read this with my grandchildren. Sounds like a wonderful boook.

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  13. What has been your favorite road trip?

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    Replies
    1. The Million Dollar Highway through the mountains of Colorado was beautiful!

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  14. My niece would like this book.
    Thanks for the contest.

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  15. This does sound like a lot of fun.

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  16. How do you think we should warn future inhabitants of earth about nuclear waste?

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    1. Either pictographs (more universal than assuming language will remain constant) or a series of Indiana Jones style booby traps

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  17. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

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    1. Hi Barbara! I publish under my initials, but I use my first name in my personal life. I like the tiny bit of separation that creates between the two so I know whether I'm wearing my Author Hat or Friend/Neighbor/Family/Community Hat, figuratively speaking. I think that's the perfect balance between a full pseudonym and nothing at all. Most authors I know that choose a pseudonym either write romance, or publish in two extremely different genres and want to keep their audiences separate.

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  18. Do you have characters living in your head?

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    1. Hi slehan! I absolutely do. I joke that writing is just introducing people to my imaginary friends. The Secret Benefits of Invisibility is the second book in Zed and Tuesday's series, with one more coming out in Summer 2023. After that I have a whole new group of middle grade characters I'm excited to introduce everyone to! I even have a soft spot for the characters from my short stories, even though I've spent far less time with them than it takes to write a whole novel. Check out all my published works at my website, including a couple pieces you can read online for free!
      https://www.cwallenbooks.com/books

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  19. If you could stay one age forever, which one would it be, and why?

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    1. I had to think long and hard about this one. I don't think I would want to go back in time to any age I've already been - I love learning and growing, and I feel more "myself" now than I've ever been in the past. But as far as physically aging, I suppose it wouldn't be terrible to look 30 or so forever. I feel like I struggled to be taken seriously any younger than that.

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  20. There are times in life when it would be very interesting to be invisible!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  21. favorite color?

    mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. Hi Edye! I think my favorite color is a dark teal blue. I painted my bathroom this color, and it works beautifully with the copper colored mirror frame. I was so thrilled when the cover artist for my first book, Relatively Normal Secrets, chose a teal color scheme. I hadn't asked for specific colors, it was just a happy accident!

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  22. Would you ever be willing to take a cruise? To where?

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    1. I don't love the idea of being on a cruise ship--motion sickness, cramped quarters, and the increased potential for germ sharing aren't my ideal conditions. But I would like to visit Norway or Iceland, and getting there on a ship might be more pleasant than by plane, even if it would take longer. So the destination would be the vacation rather than the journey, but maybe the journey would be a nice bonus.

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  23. This sounds like a fun book that will entrance middle school readers.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  24. Do you listen to music when you write?

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    1. I've found I need absolute quiet when I write so I can picture settings and hear dialogue in my head. Sometimes if the scene I'll be writing that day has a strong "vibe" attached to it though, I will listen to music in that vein just before I start writing to get in the proper headspace.

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  25. Where is your favorite place to write?

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    1. It's not very glamorous, I'm afraid! I block out everything around me when I write, so a picturesque setting wouldn't do me any good anyway. I usually write on my laptop, sitting on my bed.

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  26. When do you think you could have used a second chance in life?

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    1. Everybody has regrets, but I'm focused on moving forward. I can't think of a major life event I'd like to do over, or differently, or skip. That said, if I could get the power to have do-overs on things that happened in the last few minutes, I would be using that CONSTANTLY to avoid saying or doing anything awkward in public.

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  27. Are you glad when a book is finished?

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    1. It's a mixed feeling, to be honest! I'm always happy to be able to share my stories with readers, but the publication and marketing process take a while, so there's a gap between when writing is done and the finished book is available for sale. So by the time I'm able to celebrate the story with readers, I'm usually elbow-deep in words working on something new.

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  28. How do you handle very hot weather?

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  29. Looking at the attractive and wintery cover of your book felt cooling on a hot summer day!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  30. This sounds like a fun book for my middle schooler.

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  31. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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    1. With young children at home, getting TOO MUCH writing done is never the problem XD

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  32. Thank you so much for doing this giveaway!

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  33. Good luck on all your future endeavors.

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  34. What beverage do you keep on hand while writing?

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  35. Sounds like a good book that my nephew would enjoy reading.

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  36. Have you started another book yet?

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    1. Yes! The Secret Benefits of Invisibility is the second book in the Falinnheim Chronicles series. Book 3, Tales of the Forgotten Founders, will be published in 2023, so I'm hard at work on that. After that, my publisher and I have plans for a brand new middle grade series - details will be publicly announced after Forgotten Founders comes out.

      Check out all my published works at my website: https://www.cwallenbooks.com/books

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  37. I’d love to read this! Where do you love to write?

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    1. Thanks Dreaa, I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to start with Book 1 in this series, RELATIVELY NORMAL SECRETS, for the best reading experience with this sequel. It's on major sale right now at Amazon, or you can request it from your local library.

      Now, to your question: I would LOVE to write in a quiet cabin in a mountain forest, but in reality I write in my bedroom, hoping my kids don't knock on the door asking for a snack right when I'm getting on a roll! XD

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