Welcome to the blog tour for CINDERELLA’S INFERNO, the second book in the young adult fantasy romance/fairytale retelling series, Cinderella, Necromancer, by F.M. Boughan. See below for information on the book, buy links, a guest post on the author’s road to publication, and details on her giveaway.
CINDERELLA’S INFERNO (Cinderella, Necromancer #2) by F.M. Boughan
It’s been two years since Ellison defeated her stepsisters and sent her evil stepmother back into the Abyss.
Though she’s learning to control her dark magic and has spent time traveling with Prince William and bringing peace to the kingdom, one fact remains. She is a necromancer and he is a paladin of light. And so, the king refuses to give his blessing for them to marry.
To appease his father, William has begun to avoid her. But when even her younger brother Edward grows distant, Ellison learns her mother’s spirit has been visiting Edward in secret, threatening to overwhelm him with her own loneliness and longing. When Ellison accidentally touches her mother’s spirit, her tainted touch condemns her mother’s spirit to eternal damnation.
Ellison resolves to descend into hell to save her mother’s soul and bring her physical body back to the world of the living. William hopes this good deed will bring Ellison into favor and finally allow them to be wed.
But the journey through hell is fraught with peril. Temptations abound and the demons Ellison sent back to the Abyss are thirsty for revenge.
Evil cannot be defeated without sacrifice—but when that sacrifice means choosing between the ones Ellison loves and her very own life, how far is she willing to go to make her family whole again?
Road to Publication
Last September, I told you about the road to publication for my debut. I think where we landed in that post was a loose and possibly mixed metaphor about a gravel road, smooth sailing, and chunky rocks.
Let’s just pretend that was an intentional choice… a metaphor within a metaphor for my publishing journey, okay? Ahem. Moving on.
The road to publication for CINDERELLA’S INFERNO, the sequel to Ellison’s story in begun CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER, was a much shorter path. More like a little side street instead of an unpaved gravel road.
The thing is, a writer has all the time in the world to get that first book done before their debut—it’s okay that the road is long, because there are no deadlines or constraints or people sending angry emails to their inbox asking when their draft will be done. When it comes time to write the second book, however, there usually is a deadline. Which means your road is short, much shorter, and you don’t have time to grab a donut at the cool little diner on the side of the highway. Heck, you don’t even have time to eat, let alone stop for gas, or take a selfie at that quirky antique shop you’ve always meant to visit, or brush your teeth, or… or… or…
Er, this might be getting a little too real.
Here’s the thing. I wrote CINDERELLA’S INFERNO in less than two months. Sorry, let me clarify—I handwrote it. In two journals. And then I typed it up and started hacking it apart.
I had very little time to complete the novel due to Circumstances (which I can’t really go into, but please trust they were legitimate and unavoidable), but the good thing was that I’d been researching and planning out the story for about a year prior to that. So when it came time to sit down and actually write the book, the process was much shorter than if I’d had to start from scratch.
After I handed in my revised draft—which at that point was probably the third or fourth version—I sat back and waited for my edit letter. When it arrived, there were some excellent points to consider, and I took the time to carefully fix things like phrasing, language, description, and emotional impact.
After that was handed back in, I waited again. And got more revisions. And made more fixes. And then got more revisions. And made more fixes. And got even more revisions (though these were mostly minor edits to grammar and word choice). Made those fixes. There might have been another set before first pass pages, but I’m not sure. The versions basically start to bleed together after a while…
Then I handed in the last version, after which I sat back and waited. Actually, I’m still waiting, because it’s almost book release time! Soon I’ll get to hold the result of this journey in my hands, and thank my brain and fingers for enduring what I put it through on the road to this sequel’s publication.
About the Author F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
Welcome to the blog tour for STANLEY & HAZEL, a young adult historical mystery/romance, by Jo Schaffer. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post about her road to publication, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis A great depression has gripped the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante in waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.
When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.
But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.
As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.
The Road to Publication I have always written for myself. And then about ten years ago I got invited into a writing group that changed everything for me. Their support and encouragement made me feel like maybe my stories could be published. So I wrote a lot. Five novels and a lot of rewrites and detours before I was published.
It has been a long road to publication. I’ve gone through four agents and countless submissions. My first book went through an agent to a small publisher that never compensated me.
For the Stanley and Hazel trilogy, I represented myself and it was picked up by Month9Books. Georgia McBride is a forward thinking, savvy publisher who took a chance on me and I have enjoyed working with her.
Author Jo Schaffer
About the Author Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at Patheos.com, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.
She’s a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.
Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.
Jo is a mom of 3 strapping sons living in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a neurotic cat named Hero..
Bleeding Ink Publishing and author K.M. Robinson are revealing the cover for THE REVOLUTION OF JACK FROST, a stand-alone young adult dystopian fairytale retelling, releasing November 6, 2018. See below for the cover, information on the book, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE REVOLUTION OF JACK FROST by K.M. Robinson
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE REVOLUTION OF JACK FROST Author: K.M. Robinson Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Release Date: November 6, 2018 Links: Goodreads
Synopsis No one inside the snow globe knows that Morozoko Industries is controlling their weather, testing them to form a stronger race that can survive the fall out from the bombs being dropped in the outside world—all they know is that they must survive the harsh Winter that lasts a month and use the few days of Spring, Summer, and Fall to gather enough supplies to survive.
When the seasons start shifting, Genesis and her boyfriend, Jack, know something is going on. As their team begins to find technology that they don’t have access to inside their snow globe of a world, it begins to look more and more like one of their own is working against them.
Genesis soon discovers Morozoko Industries is to blame, but when a foreign enemy tries to destroy their weather program to make sure their destructive life-altering bombs succeed in destroying the outside world, their only chance is to shut down the machine that is spinning out of control and save the lives of everyone inside the bunker–at any cost.
What inspired you to write a Jack Frost retelling? I’m a big fan of retellings in general (I’ve done Goldilocks, Sleeping Beauty, Little Miss Muffet, Little Bo Peep, Goose Girl, and a few I can’t tell you about yet) and I’ve always been a big fan of Jack Frost, but the story was actually inspired by a fine arts photography piece I created a few years ago where the model was guiding winter into the image and the snow trailed behind her, blanketing the world in blues and whites. Jack’s story was conceptualized through that art piece and it can be found in the Jack Frost World Portal on my website.
Is Jack like any of your other characters? Jack has a lot of similarities to Auluria from The Golden Trilogy, though I can’t say too much about why just yet. Both my Goldilocks (Auluria) and Jack find themselves in very difficult situations where they have to make tough choices to protect the people they care about. Neither foresaw the situations they are dropped into, but both have to make difficult (and deadly) choices to make sure their people survive. I’m pretty sure these two would be great friends and have a lot to talk about if they ever crossed series and met!
Why did you chose to write a cold weather book when most of your others are warm weather? It’s true that I mainly write in every season except winter! I’m a big warm weather fan! Jack and Gen’s story doesn’t JUST take place in winter though—their seasons rotate quickly, bouncing between the different seasons in a matter of days, so I work them all in there rather quickly. Honestly, give me the beachy mermaid summers of The Siren Wars Saga any day in real life!
What are some challenges you’ve faced writing in the dystopian genre? Dystopian books are some of my favorites but it’s definitely a densely populated area in the book world, so finding unique spins tends to be what fans point out the most. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of people tell me that my books gave them hope that there was “still uniqueness left in the genre” because I got so creative with how I tell my dystopians. Specifically, I’ve had my Jaded Duology pointed out for being so unique (it’s been called the YA Dystopian Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and I’m also getting some awesome praise for how unique The Revolution of Jack Frost is.
Which character do you relate the most to in The Revolution of Jack Frost? Probably Genesis. Gen and I are a lot alike in how we think and react to certain situations.
I’d love to say I was Azra, but let’s be real, for all the crazy stunts I pull during my photo shoots (I’m a professional photographer who likes to climb trees in flip flops, traipse through mud, and cut herself on rocks while leaping around untethered on the side of a cliff for the sake of getting the photos) I am certainly not a runner, and I can’t climb nearly as fast as Azra can, so that’s probably out. Frankly, I’m probably an Eliza…you can find me taking care of everyone else’s kids over talking to adults when I’m out!
But Genesis and I are a lot alike and she definitely has similar characteristics to Auluria (The Golden Trilogy) Jade (The Jaded Duology) and even Rora (Virtually Sleeping Beauty) from my other series. I would say she has a few characteristics of Celena from The Siren Wars, but she’s nothing at all like Muffet from Along Came A Spider, that’s for sure—she doesn’t have the attitude for that!
What are you writing right now? Right this minute, I’m finishing up the last book in The Siren Wars Saga that comes out later this summer. After that, I’m launching into the next three books in The Legends Chronicles which come out this fall. Then I’m going to be writing some bonus scenes for The Siren Wars and The Revolution of Jack Frost, and then I’m going to jump into writing the Jack Frost sequel. I also have a Cinderella retelling and a villain retelling to write for anthologies that come out later this year!
Author K.M. Robinson
About the Author K.M. Robinson is a best selling storyteller who creates new worlds both in her writing and in her fine arts conceptual photography. She is a marketing, branding and social media strategy educator who is recognized at first sight by her very long hair. She is a creative who focuses on photography, videography, couture dress making, and writing to express the stories she needs to tell. She almost always has a camera within reach.
Welcome to the blog tour for FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE, the first book in the new adult scifi/fantasy romance series, The Existence, by J. Lenni Dorner. See below for information the book, buy links, a deleted from the book, and details on her giveaway.
FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE (Existence #1) by J. Lenni Dorner
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE Series: Existence #1 Author: J. Lenni Dorner Release Date: September 19, 2017 Genre: New Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Once they were humanity’s exalted protectors— now they are being hunted.
Xavier will weigh all human life against Gwendolyn’s ignorant happiness. The good news is that her choice can blow his away.
Omnipotent beings find each other while playing an online game. Xavier has been searching for Gwendolyn, his true mate and the missing member of the Existence. Only if reunited can the group regain the rest of their memories and access all of their powers. Hidden in plain sight, disguised as humans, they help who they can, as best they can, when they can.
The Eyes in the Shadows, a religious sect, has been trying to free humans from the “prison” of life on Earth for millenniums. The Existence has always been able to thwart them… until now. They’ve discovered a way to end the world that no one will see coming.
Gwendolyn has her future all laid out. There is a plan. She knows what her parents want for her and how to get it. Then Xavier, a friend from a virtual game, makes her question everything. He’s full of secrets, one being an understanding of her fear of the wind.
She tries to suppress her intense attraction to the mysterious and frustrating Xavier. She’s engaged, after all, and the thoughts she’s having aren’t proper. Gwendolyn is swept into a whirlwind of secrets, danger, and a forbidden attraction. She’ll drive across the country in her beat-up old car, not knowing if he is genuinely interested or just being polite. (He refuses to kiss her!) Gwendolyn’s journey is full of self-doubt, sacrifice, and dark visions that invade her sleep. Will she uncover the truth about herself?
Deleted Scene The following scene was once part of the opening of Fractions of Existence. It was cut because it puts the reader into the head of a minor character who does not appear again in Book One of the series. There is also a paragraph from the narrator. And it felt too much like an info dump about Xavier. The editing eventually came down to cutting it out.
However, I love the way she describes Xavier as, “one shaken-not-stirred martini away from being a legend.” #LaughingAtMyOwnJoke
Fingers played in the chilled water of the elaborate fountain. Many had speculated, but none had correctly guessed, how this indoor oasis came to be and functioned without a power supply or attachment to the city’s water system. Echoes of the splashes bounced throughout the cavernous three-story-high lobby. Ophelia, the security guard, turned a blind eye. She opened her rumpled copy of the New York Times to scan the same stories she had perused during her lunch break.
Earlier in the day, Ophelia scolded a child for playing in the fountain; but the fingers now dipping belonged to the luscious man who owned this high-rise building and the business headquartered within. Ophelia wasn’t daft enough to yell at the boss.
Besides, Xavier Doyen was a rare sort. His lucrative acquisitions company could amass enough money to propel him to the ranks of the ten wealthiest citizens of the world; but it probably never would, since every week another check was written out to a different charity. Many thought the wealthy twenty-two-year old was mad, allowing benevolence to rule rather than greed. Ophelia thought it much more peculiar that her boss daily greeted nearly every employee, by name, and put so much effort into taking care of the entire staff. Nowhere else in this city was there a boss who cared so much. So what if Mr. Doyen wanted to be the eccentric sort who splashed his hands in a fountain?
Xavier was known for his smile (not this odd childish behavior). Sometimes it served as a diplomatic tension breaker; other times it was a perfect tool to charm the ladies. It was at its finest when it appeared because of consummate love. Sadly, that particular smile was stricken from his being for far more years than Ophelia could have possibly guessed.
Peering around the edge of her newspaper, Ophelia imagined what it would be like to be the object of his affection. Such a fine man should not have to accept the solitude of bachelorhood. Her boss was one shaken-not-stirred martini away from being a legend. Yet, Mr. Doyen seemed disenchanted with the fine women he dated. Ophelia had come across more than one of those ladies in the pages of magazines. If her boss could so easily acquire women of such enviable beauty, yet continue to wear such a lonesome expression when no one (except the security cameras) was looking, what chance would she have with him? A woman of substance, Ophelia thought, perhaps that’s what he desires.
Author J. Lenni Dorner
About the Author J. competed in Write Club 2014 & 2016. The Creative Writing Institute held writing contests that resulted in J Lenni Dorner being published in “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014” and LOST!: A themed anthology 2017. J self-published “Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters,” in 2015. Winner of the Write Edit Publish Now flash fiction “Youthful Frights versus Adult Fears” Halloween challenge 2015. Signum University’s Mythgard Institute held a creative writing contest in the autumn of 2015 called “Almost an Inkling” in which J Lenni Dorner was the Popular Vote Winner of week 6, resulting in publication in The Soul of Wit. The Operation Awesome Flash Fiction Contest 12 win in April 2016 went to J Lenni Dorner.
A to Z Challenge co-host as of 2017.
When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games, laughing at funny cat videos, finding drawings of dragons on Pinterest, and watching movies.
Welcome to the book blitz for ASSASSIN’S SOUL, the first book in the adult paranormal romance series, The Angel Crusades, by Noella Royce. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and details on her giveaway.
ASSASSIN’S SOUL (The Angel Crusades #1) by Noella Royce
Synopsis He’s an enigma. Seductive, dominant, dismissive, distant… and this just makes her want him more.
He’s an Adonis, all rippling muscles, magnetic charisma, and supernatural strength
And just might be a murderer
Why can’t I stay away from him?
All our lives are on the line on this mission
But the one man I can’t trust is the one I desire
Two groups, the empaths and the tattooed assassins, have joined together to attempt to wrest control of the city of Chicago from the evil demon sorcerer who invaded and took it over ten years before. Andie Oster simply wants to focus on the mission at hand and try to keep herself and her friends alive, challenges made harder by the fact that their new assassin teammates and their commander don’t seem to trust the empaths.
This is especially true of their field leader Dante, a magnetic killer with dark eyes, an insane body, and emotions locked behind a tight wall that no empath can reach. Andie is instantly drawn to Dante, and can’t stop herself from hooking up with him even when he’s dismissive, behavior she’d never put up with before in a guy.
What was it about him she couldn’t resist, and why was she sure he was more than he appeared?
And would her infatuation get them all killed, since there was a murderer in their midst, and all the clues pointed to Dante being the culprit?
Assassin’s soul is an 80k paranormal romance about inexplicable connection in high-tension situations with empaths, assassins and demons. Guaranteed HEA, no cheating and no cliffhanger, explicit sex.
Author Q&A What was your inspiration for Assassin’s Soul? This is a bit embarrassing to admit, as it’s so very silly, but the idea came to me, almost fully formed, after watching the John Hughes film “Sixteen Candles” for the first time in many a moon. I’ve always enjoyed the romance between Samantha and Jake Ryan but thought they that two year age gap would be a serious issue in keeping them together. So I had this sequel in my head where they were apart for a few years, grew up, and came back together as stronger, more mature people. (I do this to romances I enjoy, mentally write what happens next; I know I liked a story when I can’t stop following the characters in my head!).
I started to think about how that could be an original story, and somehow psychics and demon killing assassins was where my brain went. Then the idea sat for a couple of years while I changed careers and moved.
Then the story of Dante and Andie knocked on my mental door again, and from there came the creation of the whole of the Angel Crusades series.
What did you learn while writing this book, your first M/F novel length PNR romance? World-building is easy compared to getting the romance and chemistry between the main characters right! Especially when your guy barely talks and mostly glowers. That took some balance on my part.
In your world, Angels and Demons are neither inherently good or inherently evil – what led to that decision? One of the things I love most about paranormal romance is its flexibility, namely, the ability to take existing myths, fairy tales, and supernatural tropes and spin them any which way that you’d like. Angels and demons are such powerful concepts, even beyond religion; the idea of ‘demons’, creatures from the underworld who work for a diety of evil, persists in many cultures, and the idea of angels has appeal beyond their religious meaning. “She’s a little angel”, the idea of “guardian angels”, “send me an angel” (great song!) – the symbolism and appeal is undeniable, and I wanted to take the idea of these two ancient foes and make them my own.
I approached each as different cultures with diametrically opposed values and beliefs, and built out their ancient conflict from there.
And, of course, it’s super fun to figure out what pairings to do, mixes to create! I can do angel/demon, human/angel, human/demon, half-demons, half-angels – so many fun options!
What romance authors are your inspiration? I actually take inspiration from all genres, as I’m kinda a book and category magpie. But in PNR and UF I love Nalini Singh, Illona Andrews, Charlene Harris, Patricia Briggs, Stacia Kane, T.S. Joyce… So many great authors! I adore YA UF, but at the same time I’m not sure I could ever write it; I like the complications and sensuality that come with adult relationships. In the regency space I think Cat Sebastian, Eloisa James and Sarah MacLean are goddesses and amazing writers. I can love contemporary romance, but it can also frustrate the crap out of me; I find too many very well written books use a fatal stupidity or insecurity of the heroine as the dramatic engine, and this makes me want to fling it across the room. As the book is usually on my Kindle, this could get hella expensive very fast!
Author Noella Royce
About the Author Noella Royce has been writing romance casually for about a decade, but she came up with the idea for the Angel Crusades and decided to fling herself into the self-publishing world whole hog and with bells on. She loves mixing metaphors, having about ten different books in ten different genres going at any given time, sewing, reading manga, and annoying her cats and husband in equal measure.
If you’d like to keep up to date with Noella’s latest releases and what she’s up to, please check out her webpage at www.noellaroyce.com and sign up for her newsletter!
Welcome to the book blitz for THE SWEET LIFE, a stand-alone adult contemporary/cowboy romance, by Dakota Star. See below for information the book, buy links, a post from the author on main character’s bucket list,and details on her giveaway.
THE SWEET LIFE by Dakota Star
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE SWEET LIFE Author: Dakota Star Publisher: Limitless Publishing Release Date: April 3, 2018 Genre: Adult Contemporary/Cowboy Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Alexis takes her job very seriously. As one of the younger account executives, proving herself in the workplace is much more important than having a love life. And now that she’s been assigned a dude ranch account, she’s more determined than ever to show her doubters that she has what it takes.
Unfortunately there’s a tall, hot-tempered, brown-eyed cowboy who manages to distract Alexis from her goal by grabbing her attention…in a non-professional kind of way.
Mitch is the cowboy of her dreams—and also a distraction her career can’t afford.
And the real doozy? He also happens to be the ranch owner’s son, and this little fact alone has the potential to ruin everything for this city girl.
Mitch Johnson’s Bucket List (In a totally random order)
Go to Australia
Mitch is always up for adventure, and where can you find more adventure than Australia. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef, seeing how a working cattle station differs from a dude ranch, and watching for cassowaries and crocodiles in the rainforest are high on his list of great vacation activities.
Mitch believes in conquering challenges big and small. He’s already fallen head over heels for a feisty red head, why not fall from the sky.
Make Alexis Happy
He met the woman of his dreams and fell in love. He wants nothing more than to prove it to Alexis every day. Hey, if she’s not up for Australia, he’ll even change his vacation plans.
Own a Working Texas Ranch
Mitch grew up in Texas and would someday love to return. He never wants to give up the country life. A home on the range with Alexis at his side sounds like a great option.
Horseback Ride across the United States for Charity
Mitch knows he’s been blessed, and now Alexis has made his life even better. One day he would like to pay it forward a little bit. Horseback riding across the United States would be an amazing adventure, but since few California to Connecticut horseback rides exist, hell settle for a shorter cross-country jaunt as long as he doesn’t have to ride in a dressage saddle.
Author Dakota Star
About the Author Dakota Star likes worn-in cowboy boots, a well-trained horse, a cold beverage, and trails to ride in the woods.
She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. Both her daughters have finished college and moved away so her dogs, cats, and retired horse now keep her busy. When not outside hiking or horseback riding, she loves to read and travel.
She has worked as an editor, a freelance writer for local newspapers, and an educator at local environmental non-profits like aquariums and The National Audubon Society.
Welcome to the book blitz for WHEELER, a stand-alone adult contemporary sports romance/romantic suspense, by Sara Butler Zalesky. See below for information the book, buy links, a post from the author on writing (un)awkward scenes, and details on her giveaway.
WHEELER by Sara Butler Zalesky
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: WHEELER Author: Sara Butler Zalesky Release Date: July 4, 2016 Genre: Adult Contemporary Sports Romance/Romantic Suspense Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Loren Mackenzie has overcome many obstacles in her life to be an elite professional cyclist in the Women’s World Tour in Europe. Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, she rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; inspiring her team with quiet strength and determination. But her cool confidence masks a dark past filled with horrors.
A change in management of Loren’s cycling team brings her face to face with a life she thought she left behind, adding to the pressures of competition. When a chance meeting with an A-list celebrity quickly develops into a whirlwind romance, the cameras of the tabloid-media focus on Loren, revealing the cracks in her facade.
The affair also exposes a menacing rival, threatening not only her chances in the World Championship but her life. When love and obsession collide, Loren stands in the center of a storm.
Can she find the courage to defeat her inner demons, or will her fear and shame consume her?
Writing (Un)Awkward Sex Scenes: A How-To Guide I’ve been hesitant to give Wheeler to friends and family or even tell my coworkers I wrote a novel. Why? Like my protagonist, Loren Mackenzie, I only let people see what I want them to see; I like to keep my cards close to the vest. I’m a Scorpio, it’s who I am.
But, in very unScorpio fashion, I can’t write or talk about sex without blushing and I stumble over my words. I’m a visual thinker, meaning I can see what I want to describe in my mind clearly, like a photograph. While I don’t have an eidetic memory (I wish!), I can envision what something looks like or how a person moves and fairly accurately describe it. That includes sex.
Jennie Nash wrote a great article for the HuffPost blog called, 7 Rules for Writing Sex Scenes. She says, ‘Sex scenes are very difficult to write because everything else is stripped away and all you’ve got to work with are the characters and the emotions. There’s nowhere to hide. But that’s also what makes them so powerful.’
I couldn’t agree more, Jennie.
Set the Stage for Doing Good Work. There is nowhere to hide, in your head or in the place that you write. I write in my dining room/playroom/office, between 9pm and 2am most nights. It’s often the only time I am completely alone, other than my cats. My spouse and child are asleep and I can sit quietly and focus, listening to my Pandora stations. Music can inspire, especially sappy love songs. I even have a Spotify playlist aptly named: Graham’s Mixtape.
Focus on Dialogue. Do other people talk during sex? Uh, well, I don’t, really. (Is it hot in here?) With Loren and Graham’s first time, I wrote in a little more nervous excitement for her. For Graham, he has a sensuality to him already, and perhaps I wrote him a little over-the-top romantic. But that’s okay; it works for the character’s type. He’s not your typical leading man. While he’s tall, he doesn’t have the big muscles of Chris Evans or Chris Pratt. Think Colin Firth+David Tennant+Tom Hiddleston+Patrick Stewart = Graham Atherton.
Which leads to Characters Stay in Character and Watch the Tone. Graham is an actor and actors emote. He has a love of Shakespeare and uses the bard’s words to woo the lovely Loren. Nobody would have guessed – least of all those closest to her (and possibly herself) – that she was such a romantic. Same with speaking French. Somehow it works for them and sets the tone for the characters throughout the story.
Consider the difference between the internal and external action. I’ll be honest, I thought about scenes I’ve seen in films or read in books (with some of my own experiences) and envisioned every single action and reaction. I thought I had created some viable scenes until one of my Alpha readers, Debbie, said: “The build-up was great, loved that, but then you only come at me with a sentence and expect to finish it off? I’d be disappointed.”
After I got up off the floor from laughing, I began anew with more blushing and ear burning as I rewrote every single sex scene in my novel. There aren’t many, mind you, but heaven forbid they do it the same way twice. I had to come up with different situations and positions. Should they have oral? OMG Do I really have to write that? HOW do I write that? (Shudder)
Which leads to Remember, they’re just words. I’m new to this writing thing, and I find it very hard to separate myself from the feels and step out of the scene. I get snappy when interrupted because I am left feeling raw and exposed. It sucks even more because I know I’m reacting that way but I can’t stop it.
My intention has always been to write complex characters and true-to-life situations as best I could. Real people laugh and cry, flirt and kiss, yell and argue, dance and sing. They put themselves through enormous amounts of stress. They love and they have sex. There’s no way to get around it.
Which brings me to Jennie’s last comment: Prepare for the inevitable confrontation. At some point, someone will ask about what I wrote. Can I talk about sex without wanting to run and hide? My cheeks will be bright pink and I might not be able to look the person in the eye ever again.
Author Sara Butler Zalesky
About the Author Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.
The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.
Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.
Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.
Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really..
Welcome to the book blitz for AT ANY PRICE, the first book in the new adult contemporary romance series, Gaming the System, by USA Today bestselling author, Brenna Aubrey. See below for information the book, buy links, a post from the author on the redesigned covers, and details on her giveaway. You can currently pick up the ebook for Free!
AT ANY PRICE (Gaming the System #1) by Brenna Aubrey
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.
It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.
Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.
She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.
This New Adult book is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content and adult situations.
A Whole New Look Same “stunningly addictive” story, but with a whole new look!
The new Adam & Mia covers were over a year in the making! Over the period of ten months, photographer Lindee Robinson followed the life journey of real life couple, Marcus and Elena.
When it came time for me to choose a new “face” for Adam & Mia, the beloved couple featured in five of the Gaming The System books, I knew Marcus and Elena would fit the part. I contacted Lindee for her assistance in the new look and she was thrilled, informing me that Marcus and Elena, both professional models, had so much natural chemistry together, they’d be perfect!
So we contacted them soon after their own real life fairytale wedding, but were informed that timing would not be on our side for a little while… they were thrilled to learn that they were expecting their first child. Instead of searching elsewhere for new models, however, Lindee came up with a wonderful idea. Why not document their pregnancy, the early infancy of their child and launch an epic project fit for an epic super couple?
So we did just that…over the course of ten months and three different photo shoots, we collected enough images for the new look for the Gaming The System books. Elena was eight months pregnant during their first shoot, their child, six months old at the second. For the third, Marcus and Elena recreated their own wedding, complete with Elena’s wedding dress for the cover of Adam & Mia’s wedding book. All the pieces fit into place. Lindee had taken over a thousand photos of them over the course of many hours in photo shoots. Now it was time for a new design.
I had no question that I’d go back to Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations to give the books a fabulous new look. After all, she’s the one who created their original, amazing brand four years ago when I went to her with At Any Price. And as with her previous covers, they are compelling, eye catching, classy and colorful. Covers fit for Adam & Mia.
I hope you all enjoy the new look as much as I enjoyed working on this project when I got the idea over two years ago! I’m glad they are finally ready to reveal–well….almost all of them…but I’ll be talking more about those other ones later!
Author Brenna Aubrey
About the Author Brenna Aubrey is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary romance stories that center on geek culture.
She has always sought comfort in good books and the long, involved stories she weaves in her head. Brenna is a city girl with a nature-lover’s heart. She therefore finds herself out in green open spaces any chance she can get. She’s also a mom, teacher, geek girl, Francophile, unabashed video-game addict & eBook hoarder.
She currently resides on the west coast of the US with her husband, two children, and two adorable golden retriever pups.
Welcome to the book blitz for RUNNING WITH WOLVES, a stand-alone young adult historical adventure, by Summer Lane. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and details on her giveaway.
He spilled their blood. Now, she’s out for revenge.
Jenna Renee is a woman wronged. When her adoptive parents are brutally murdered by an outlaw named Conroy Parker and his gang of thugs, they take everything from her: her family, her happiness, and her money.
Determined to bring Conroy and his boys to justice, she hires a gruff but dangerous gun-slinging United States Marshal, Jeremiah Black, to help her hunt Conroy down.
But there is more to Alaska than meets the eye.
The cold touch of the arctic winter is dangerous, and the corruption of Conroy Parker and his comrades runs deep. The tundra is unforgiving, and so are the wolves. Nothing is as it seems.
If the wilderness doesn’t kill Jenna, the pack will. Revenge comes with a price, and so does love. There will be no mercy….only the hunt.
A romantic adventure from #1 bestselling author Summer Lane, set amidst the gritty and awe-inspiring setting of Alaska during the last great Gold Rush.
This is your first historical fiction. How different was the writing process, as opposed to the past 17 novels you’ve written – which have all been post-apocalyptic? A historical novel is more strictly attached to the time period in which it takes place. The way people talk, dress, act, and even eat are different than how we do all of those things modernly. I had to do a lot of research, of course. I have been slowly working on this book for roughly 2 years, when the idea originally occurred to me. I have read so many books about Alaska…toward the end of the writing process, I was devouring whole college textbooks and double fact-checking everything I had until I was entirely sure my eyes were going to fall out of my head.
With my apocalyptic books, the research is tactically-oriented, if that makes sense. With Wolves, I had to make sure the slang and vernacular was correct and that the history was right on target. I took a few artistic liberties with the story, as all writers do, but everything is based in fact. Everything.
Where did the idea for Running with Wolves come from? I have always loved animals. I have always loved dogs. I first was enraptured by the idea of setting a story in Alaska when I was a little girl, after watching the animated film Balto for the first time. The concept for this particular novel sprung up about 2 years ago. It took me a long time to cultivate the plot to a point where I liked it enough to go ahead and write the book. I have always wanted to write a western-style novel, and that’s what Wolves is. A western novel set in the snow, with adventure and romance.
Where does the story actually take place? I have constructed a fictional tale within the boundaries of the boomtowns and mining camps that existed in 1898. The main character, Jenna Renee, lives outside of a town called Dyea. I used prominent and famous historical hotspots, such as the Chilkoot Pass and Dawson City, in the book, too.
Can we look forward to some romance, in addition to adventure? Yes! One of the central themes of the novel is the romance story between Jenna Renee and the rather callous but handsome United States Marshal Jeremiah Black. I love Jeremiah’s character – he’s got a lot of surprises up his sleeve, and I think readers will love him as much as Jenna does.
What are your upcoming projects? Well, I have a non-fiction novel coming up in the next several months: Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel. I’m also releasing the first installment of the anticipated Resurrection Series in January 2018. Resurrection will continue the adventures, fights, and romances of Commander Cassidy Hart from the hit Collapse Series.
Author Summer Lane
About the Author Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 18 novels, including the smash-hit Collapse Series. She owns Writing Belle Publishing. Lane is also an experienced journalist and creative writing teacher. Writing Belle is her online magazine, where she has interviewed and featured hundreds of writers from around the globe.
Look for her upcoming books, Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel, and Resurrection: Shadows of Omega, the hotly anticipated continuation of Cassidy Hart’s post-apocalyptic adventures.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, Scott, and their German Shepherd, Kona.
Welcome to the book blitz for WHO SHE WAS, a stand-alone new adult contemporary romance, by Stormy Smith. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook for just $0.99!
Synopsis Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.
Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.
Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.
While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.
Excerpt – Chapter 1 “Are you guys ready for this?”
The overly-excited frat boy in charge yelled into the microphone and the backyard of the Sigma Alpha house hit deafening levels. Inside their dingy kitchen, I shared a wary look with a few of the Kappa pledges.
“As much fun as we’re already having tonight, it’s about to get real! The fifth annual dating auction is about to start. That means the only thing standing between you and a hot little sorority pledge is your parents’ money!”
A petite redhead who barely looked fifteen, let alone eighteen, drew back the curtain of the kitchen window to peek out as he continued and then giggled.
“I can’t believe rush week is finally here and tonight is the auction!” She actually clapped her hands together and I forced my eyes not to disappear into the back of my head. “I hope Austin bids on me,” she gushed. “He’s so hot.”
“And you will be yet another notch on his freshman bedpost,” I muttered before I could stop myself. The girl behind me in line stifled a chuckle, and I smiled knowing there was someone else who understood how absurd this was.
“Your mom was a Kappa, too?” She asked.
I nodded. The line of sorority pledges filed forward through the kitchen to the back door as the emcee announced the next piece of meat up for bid. I kept my eyes forward and not on the half-filled keg cups and ripped open chip bags.
“Can you believe we have to go through with this just to pledge?” The girl twisted a piece of her hair and I didn’t miss the fear that flashed in her eyes. “The worst part was when I told my mom, she was actually excited.”
We took another step forward as I shook my head in disbelief. I hadn’t bothered to even tell my mother since it wouldn’t have mattered. Getting in was all she was worried about and Katie was the only one who ever mattered to her.
Then, I was next. I swallowed down my own anxiety and pressed my sweating palms down my skirt. It was tight and high-waisted, and my heels were higher than I was comfortable with.
Katie would have loved me in it.
I missed my Chucks.
My name came over the crackling sound system and I felt warm fingers encircle my own.
“You’ll do great, Charlotte,” she encouraged. I hadn’t even bothered to ask her name and she’d been astute enough to pluck mine from the bio being read to the crowd. I gave her a tight-lipped smile and returned the gesture even though I wanted to yank my hand from hers and wipe it off again.
I pushed through the torn screen door and pulled the humid August air into my lungs as I straightened my posture and put one foot in front of the other. My smile was so automatic it didn’t matter that I didn’t feel it anywhere but the shift in my cheeks—not too much teeth to seem fake, just enough for no one to ever think anything was wrong.
The emcee’s voice was lost in the cat calls. I heard bids of anywhere from five dollars to twenty as they commented on my rack or how my long hair would come in handy. My fingers tapped out a familiar rhythm onto my hip, one that I refused to acknowledge, but it was the only way I could keep circling the rickety stage.
I had to get into this sorority. It was what she wanted. It wasn’t optional.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars.” His voice silenced the crowd.
My smile didn’t waver as I let out a longer exhale and thanked whoever he was while also praying he wasn’t a psycho.
A sweaty, drunk guy helped me off the stage, and I was thankful when my heels sunk slightly into the ground because it was over and all the attention shifted to the next piece of cattle. I followed the turning heads in the direction of my bidder, who was still lost in the crowd.
The crowd shifted as their attention focused back on the next pledge up for bid. The light from the porch found him and he stood facing me, clearly waiting. For a split second, time stopped.
He smirked, catching my pause. The baby-face Trevor had the last time I saw him was gone. Instead, angular features and questioning eyes stared back at me.
I wanted to spin on my heel and run the other direction. Trevor was the slip knot of my life. The carefully intertwined ropes I’d wrapped around the person I used to be — the one he alone had understood and yet still abandoned — could be unraveled with one tug. He could destroy me and everything I’d done to atone for my mistake.
No one knew what I’d done. How it was all my fault. I’d never told anyone so he couldn’t know. It was a secret I desperately wanted to share so I no longer had to bear it alone, but knew I couldn’t.
“Fancy meeting you here, Charlie,” Trevor said as he pushed his thick-rimmed glass up his nose, failing to convince me he was any more comfortable with our impromptu reunion than I was.
I didn’t need him anymore. He was the who’d disappeared and left me all alone. It didn’t matter that he was the one who knew the rhythm I tapped out to get through the worst of times. Or that in an instant I remembered what real laughter felt like and the feel of ivory under my fingertips. It couldn’t matter. Not anymore.
I charged forward, auto-smiled and played the part I’d cast for myself.
“Charlotte,” I stated. “My name is Charlotte.”
Author Stormy Smith
About the Author Stormy Smith calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her.
When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband, twin sons or girlfriends. .
Welcome to the sale blitz for THE TEXAS MUTINY SERIES, a new adult contemporary sports romance series, by M.E. Carter. See below for information on the books, buy links, an exclusive list of ten fun facts about the series, and details on her giveaway. Also, for a limited time, you can pick up JUKED, book 1 in the series, for free.
Synopsis Juked: verb.
A slang soccer term meaning: faked out, deceived, confused your opponent
See examples Daniel Zavaro and Quincy Watson:
As the rising star in Houston, Daniel has found fame as Captain of his Pro soccer team and the city’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel has everything – except someone special – and that suits him just fine. He doesn’t want, or need, complications.
Quincy has baggage, and lots of it. After a tragic accident spins her world on its axis, she finds herself as a single mother, raising a newborn nephew she never knew she had. Between parenthood, her full-time job, and dealing with the suffocating grief of losing her sister, every day is a struggle.
When they begin to cross paths unexpectedly and often, an unlikely friendship starts to evolve. Feelings change. Lines get crossed. What happens next surprises them both…
a person, especially a young woman, who regularly follows a celebrity in the hope of meeting or getting to know them.
See example Tiffany Wendel:
Whore. Slut. Cleat Chaser. I’m used to the names so they don’t bother me. These are my boys. My friends. So what if I like to have dirty sex with them? My body is no one’s business but mine.
Why is Rowen Flanigan making me re-think how I live my life? Making me question my choices? He’s only a rookie.
a member of an athletic team in his first full season in that sport.
See example Rowen Flanigan:
Player. Son of a legend. Rookie.
Sure, I’d heard the stories of the groupies before. Who hasn’t? I’ve just been more sheltered than my teammates. So what? I didn’t expect her to be smart. Witty. Kind. She brings me to my knees in every way – except one.
That part? I’m saving until the time is right.
So how in the hell did I end up falling for a Groupie like Tiffany? And how in the hell is this going to work when everyone at my job has had a piece of the one thing I haven’t?
Ten Fun Facts about the Texas Mutiny series By M.E. Carter Every author has their own writing process. The things that make them most comfortable and help them reach their goals. Problem is, characters seem to have a mind of their own and sometimes that means the original process goes out the window! I experienced that phenomenon over and over while writing the Texas Mutiny series. Here are Ten Fun Facts about the series and how the writing process didn’t exactly go as planned.
My youngest child, who most know as “Bug”, is the inspiration for multiple younger characters in the series. When I wrote Juked, baby Chance started out as a two month old – the same age Bug was at the time. When I wrote Goalie, Theo was about 14 months old – the same age Bug was at the time. I try to keep the characters different, but babies/toddlers all tend to be pretty similar in their learning process, so many everyday situations have been added to various scenes. .
I never planned to write a book about a groupie. But when inspiration hits, there’s not a lot you can do to stop it. I was in my car writing Juked one night, while my daughter was in dance practice. I was researching derogatory terms for “soccer groupie”. (For the record, there are several terms, but nothing I’ve been able to find that is exclusive to the sport of soccer, like “puck bunny” would be to hockey.) Instead, I stumbled across several blog posts from former soccer groupies and I was fascinated. So yes, some of the things that happen in Groupie? They’re not the result of my imagination at work as much as they are based on true stories. .
I never panned to write Goalie either. One of my beta readers for Groupie mentioned that she would be interested to know what happened with Santos and Mariana, who were at that point, just secondary characters that popped in and out very briefly. I told her there wasn’t a story there. The following morning, I sent her quite a few texts cussing her out, as I suddenly had a 30 chapter outline and story rolling through my brain. .
Goalie is about a couple going through a divorce. I wrote it while I was going through a divorce. There’s a misconception that I wrote my own divorce story. I didn’t. We could all be so lucky as to divorce a man like Santos. Which is weird to say since he’s a serial cheater. But if you make it to the end, you’ll see why I can wish for that. .
I’m not a fan of naked torsos on covers, but I wanted to try a “Social experiment”, if you will, about how well a naked torso cover is received. That’s how Juked ended up with a soccer player on the cover. Then it turned into a whole series and I have to keep the covers consistent with more torsos. Serves me right. .
Speaking of covers, one really cool feature with the paperback, if you put two of them side by side, the second one upside down, and push the covers together, the pictures come together like a puzzle to make one whole person. It works with the covers of Groupie, too. However, it does NOT work with Goalie. If you put those two pictures together, it looks like a threesome with a four-boobed alien woman in the middle. That’s a different genre, altogether. .
I toyed with just letting the soccer team be the Houston Dynamo, which is our actual team here in Houston. Then the inspiration for Groupie hit and I figured their very real PR department wouldn’t want to have any sort of association with some of the things my players do off the field. And since a lawsuit didn’t fit into my schedule, I very quickly changed the team name. .
Speaking of changing the team name, I couldn’t come up with one I liked for anything! So I had a contest in my group for one. The winner, Helen Cope, came up with the name “Texas Mutiny”. Not only did she win some books, she is a character in Juked. Remember Rosemary Cope? Erik’s mother? Helen’s middle name is Rosemary and liked the sound of it for the character. .
In the acknowledgements of each Texas Mutiny book (except Megged) is the name John Marshall. He is the husband of a good friend of mine and has been obsessed with all things soccer since he can remember. He’s in his 40’s and still plays on a competitive league. John has never read a romance book in his life until he beta read the entire series. It’s not uncommon for him to send me notes from his job because he’s gotten caught up in a chapter. His wife has even texted me pictures of him reading my books the day they go live, so he can see the final product! I also been told the conversations they had while he beta read Groupie were, um…. Interesting. .
My favorite characters in this series, by far, are Tiffany and Rowen. There is something so lovely and wonderful about knowing nothing in your past matters to the person that loves you the most. I love them so much that they are getting a second book, tentatively titled Outswinger. It’s scheduled to release in July.
a player in the goal whose duty is to prevent the ball from entering or crossing it
See Santos and Mariana DeGuajarado
As goalie of the Texas Mutiny, Santos is damn good at protecting that net. But he never bothered to protect his marriage.
Letting the fame and notoriety go to his head, he lost the things he loved the most… his wife and kids. Now he has one shot to make it right before losing at this relationship game and he’s determined not to miss this time.
Mariana has been scarred so deeply by Santos’s betrayals, she will carry the wounds forever. After almost ten years of marriage though, she knows him well, and she knows he won’t let go without a fight. Still, she refuses to be a push over.
Synopsis Megged: noun.
a playing technique where the aim is to kick, roll, dribble, throw, or push the ball between an opponent’s legs
See examples Santos and Mariana DeLaGuajardo:
It’s been two years and three months since Santos has had sex. Not that he’s keeping track. After the way he betrayed the love of his life, he’s willing to give up sex altogether as long as it means keeping her in his life. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about it…
Despite living in the same house for months, Mariana is still hesitant to cross that final, physical line. The wounds that Santos left combined with her insecurities stop her from taking what she really wants.
When a misunderstanding makes them realize they’re finally on the same page, Santos and Mari must decide what’s most important to them. But this time, it’ll be Mari’s way or nothing.
*****MEGGED IS A 13,000 WORD SHORT FOLLOW UP TO GOALIE. IT IS INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY*****
Author M.E. Carter
About the Author My name is ME Carter and I have no idea how I ended writing books. I’m more of a story teller (the more exaggerated the better) and I happen to know people who helped me get those stories on paper.
I love reading (read almost 300 books last year), hate working out (but I do it anyway because my trainer makes me), love food (but hate what it does to my butt) and love traveling to non-touristy places most people never see.
I live in Houston with my four kids, Mary, Elizabeth, Carter and Bug, who was just a twinkle in my eye when I came up with my pen name. Yeah, I’ll probably have to pay for his therapy someday for being left out..
Welcome to the book blitz for IMMORTAL FIRE, the third book in the young adult fantasy series, Red Winter Trilogy, by Annette Marie. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post on the author’s favorite dragons, and details on her giveaway.
IMMORTAL FIRE (Red Winter Trilogy #3) by Annette Marie
About the Book Title: IMMORTAL FIRE Series: Red Winter Trilogy #3 Author: Annette Marie Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Release Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokai standing as humanity’s only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.
Despite the looming threat, Emi can’t escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.
As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.
Annette Marie’s Top 5 Dragons 1. Smaug from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, because of course he’s in my top five. He’s the ultimate dragon personality. “My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!”
2. Temeraire from His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. Temeraire just isn’t quite what you’d expect—intelligent, elegant, and surprisingly polite. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s read the book immediately adored him. The dragonet puzzled at the question for several moments, and finally said, with a dissatisfied air, “I do not have a name.”
Laurence asked, formally, “May I give you one?”
It–or rather he, for the voice was definitely masculine–looked him over again, paused to scratch at an apparently flawless spot on his back, then said with unconvincing indifference, “If you please.”
3. Mushu from Disney’s Mulan. This one needs no explanation, right? Mulan: My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?
Mushu: Hey! Dragon. DRA-GON, not lizard. I don’t do that tongue thing.
4. Janx from The Negotiator Trilogy by CE Murphy. A dragon in human form, he’s my favorite character from the series. I wanted him to be in every chapter. Margrit saw him move, quick long strides that somehow suggested a larger creature transferring its attention from one spot to another. His approach was consummate grace, fire flowing across an open space like a living thing. Then he was beside her, making the air crackle with dry heat.
Eyes half-lidded like a snake’s, he stepped back with a smile that revealed curving eyeteeth and offered her a hand. “Dance with me, Margrit Knight.”
5. Zwi from the Steel & Stone Series by yours truly. How could I resist including one of my own dragons? Zwi is absolutely Adorable, with a capital A. Plus she’s clever, brave, and always ready for trouble. Piper drew herself up and glared instead. “Your dragonet snuck into my room and stole something from me.”
Ash glanced at the creature on his shoulder. It tilted its head and somehow managed to project total innocence.
“Zwi, were you stealing again?” he murmured.
The dragonet trilled, its head weaving from side to side as it squirmed in a distinctly guilty way.
Author Annette Marie
About the Author Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
Welcome to the book blitz for Incandescently, a standalone adult contemporary romance, by Merry Sylvie Parizeau. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive Q&A, and details on her giveaway.
Incandescently by Sylvie Parizeau
About the Book
Title: Incandescently Author: Sylvie Parizeau Publisher: By the Book Release Date: October 20, 2016 Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis LIAM O’SHEA, bestseller author of the SciFi saga, Eiloe.
All I knew was pain – a childhood filled with cruelty and villains who used and abused.
I first heard her sweet, angelical voice in the dark of night, when I lay bathed in my own impending death. Seventeen years later, it’s not the nightmare she pulled me out of that haunts me, but the glimpse of Happily Ever After she revealed just before disappearing.
They said she was a figment of my boundless imagination. A wish. A dream. Until I had no choice but to believe them, cherishing my imaginary savior the only way I knew how – in fiction and lore.
But fantasy has a way of transforming reality. When I finally tire of being a citizen of the world, I take an impromptu sabbatical as a professor at a small college on the coast of Maine. And there I see her, the girl with the sea-green eyes and angelic voice.
My world turns upside down. Turns out my girl is for real, and the pull between us is anything but imaginary.
Happily Ever After has a story … and this one is mine.
Montréal is a pretty cool city. However, back in those years, I admit to existing through the winter months only to come truly alive in the summer time (La Belle Saison), running free at a lake cottage up in Les Laurentides, where I now live full time.
Happily Ever After. No longer winter challenged. Virtually hugging trees every morning.
THE FAVORITES? (Oh, no. Do I have to?)
What is your favorite book? You mean… I only get to pick one? That’s just… so cruel.
I have lots of favorite books and authors within my favorite genre, ANYTHING ROMANCE. In an ever-growing list that took on a life of its own.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a bookworm. The shy one, the quiet one. I have older siblings and by the time I came around, I fortuitously had access to an extensive library already. Books fascinated me from then on, and even though I couldn’t read any of them yet, I used to get lost in stories I made up just from the images for hours on end.
Add to it that my favorite Saturday afternoons in the winter time were spent at the public library, in a tête-à-tête with shelves upon shelves of books, and voilà. You have me in a nutshell.
And then… E-books happened.
Browsing anytime, on my time? Downloading books in just one click? Even from under my rock, on top of a mountain, in a forest, in the middle of nowhere? With a full library of my beloved neatly following me wherever I go? With minimal imprint on trees I virtually hug every morning? And here I am, revolutionized.
Anticipation? Character building.
Instant book gratification? Decadent bliss.
Les favorites en vrac : favorite color : blue, from the lightest azure to the darkest navy, and all the nuances in between.
favorite dish: anything pasta.
favorite time of the day: cuddling time.
favorite snack: aaaaah! Keep me far away from Cheetos. Bad Sylvie.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING RITUAL LIKE? I have a writing/reading nook upstairs with a window seat, and a view of the forest. A view I’m more than happy to share en direct from my winter wonderland on my home page.
It’s a quiet room. A peaceful room. When I step into that room, I step into an alternate universe, and it puts me in the frame of mind needed. I let the surrounding beauty infuse me.
Sometimes, depending on my mood, I plug in headset earphones to immerse myself in background music. Mostly without lyrics, otherwise, I get lost into the story unfolding within the song.
Beyond that, I don’t require much else to keep me going for hours on end. I get by with only a shot of organic guarana caffeine once in a while (okay, maybe more than once in a while. I’ll never tell.).
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Life. Love. Laughter.
The written words.
Art, in its many forms.
Man’s creative genius.
The Earth’s abundant, natural wonders.
Breathing in the moment, letting it seep, blending into it.
Author Sylvie Parizeau
About the Author A paralegal by day and incurable romantic by night, Sylvie is a cross-genre, and she takes Happily Ever After very seriously. The End just isn’t in her vocabulary.
An incorrigible daydreamer, she now feeds her obsession with epilogues by concocting stories in which heroes deal with the happy from the get-go. Ready, or not. And she confesses under oath to loving every minute of it.
Sylvie lives her own Happily Ever After in the beautiful mountains of Les Laurentides in Northern Quebec, alongside her whole set of characters..
Welcome to the book blitz forThe Lost Knight, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Lost Knight, by Candy Atkins. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.
The Lost Knight (The Lost Knight #1) by Candy Atkins
About the Book Title: The Lost Knight Series: The Lost Knight #1 Author: Candy Atkins Publisher: Monster Publishing Release Date: May 20, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis How am I supposed to save the world when I’m not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I’m on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I’m no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that’s supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion to Earth. But I’m not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.
Guest Post – Why Do Thirteen Year Old Girls Disappear? I made Agatha Stone, the protagonist of the Lost Knight Series, thirteen years old to embody just how unprepared she was to save the world. But I discovered something interesting: she doesn’t have a lot of other girls her age to stand next to on the shelf.
When I finished the series my daughter was thirteen. She might have been able to save the world, but no one asked her so we will never know. No one ever asks a thirteen year old girl to do anything. We often say how hard “that age” is, but there’s really nothing in our society that addresses it. Instead, it’s shut down, minimalized, and our girls basically disappear until they’re fifteen and the messiness is over.
Thirteen year olds are not cute and silly, like they were just the year before. Instead, they’re uncomfortably sexual, highly opinionated and moody. When my daughter started middle school one of the teachers warned me that “There’s nothing meaner than a middle school girl.”
I don’t think they’re mean. I think they’re in pain. Hormones riddle girls with doubts, which makes them afraid, which makes them act out or disappear.
Our society has based puberty off the experiences of boys. There are many coming of age movies/books/stories about how difficult and fun “that time” is for boys. I’ll wait while you try to think of a few for girls. If you said Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, congratulations you’ve made it to middle age. That book is fortyfive years old. If you said Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, you’re not as old, but that was seventeen years ago.
There are a few disturbing examples of girls discovering their sexuality, but a comedy, drama or sitcom about the real issues of being thirteen is highly under represented. And the thirteen year old actresses are out of work unless they look ten. They won’t work again until they’re fifteen, unless they model, but that’s a different discussion.
Generally speaking, there are no television shows where a thirteen year old girl is the star. If she was cast in a television show when she was younger, her now thirteen year old character is a shell, with minimal lines and almost no story.
As a female writer, I don’t want to complain or moan about the unfairness of it all, or blame the evil thing (insert whatever evil thing you wish) or rail at men for writing about what they know. Instead, I wrote about a girl. I tried to make her as true to a thirteen year old girl as I could.
I was thirteen once. I had a daughter and a stepdaughter who both struggled through “that time.” It’s nothing to be afraid of. I encourage other creative types to explore these interesting and uncharted stories and let our girls be heard.
Author Candy Atkins
About the Author Candy Atkins is a full-time writer who lives with her husband and two kids in Orlando, Florida. She’s an avid reader and lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. Her debut novel,The Lost Knight, is volume one of the six-part Lost Knight Series.
Her life’s journey has taken her from dining with the President to being on food stamps to running her own company. And since all author bios end by naming and quantifying pets…she also enjoys spending time with her boxer, Butler, and Wynona the cat.
Welcome to the book blitz for Midnight Sky, the second book in the young adult dystopian romance series, Dark Sky, by Amy Braun. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…..
Guest Post MIDNIGHT SKY was probably the most challenging novel in the series to write. Sequels need to carry the events of the first story and act as the gateway to the grand finale. I wanted this story to have a dramatic end, but I needed events to carry the story and close certain questions. I was excited to delve back into the world of Westraven and add new history to the story. I decided to focus on the backstories of Claire’s parents, since their actions are crucial to the series and the story as a whole.
The map I sketched of Westraven became more detailed, and I think my favorite setting to write in this story was the Barren, a haunting, once militarized portion of Westraven that holds history for more than one member of the Dauntless crew. World-building is one of my favorite things to write about, and I was excited to jump back into Westraven and expand its setting.
Another exciting element was the love triangle between Claire, Sawyer, and Riley. I’d always planned for a rocky relationship between Claire and Sawyer, given their strong wills and butting-heads, but I’ve never written a love triangle. Riley was a late addition to the DARK SKYuniverse, and I was so glad to include him. His story is a complex, terrifying one, and since he seeks Claire’s affection, it forces Sawyer to consider his attitude when the risk of losing Claire’s heart becomes evident. He doesn’t trust Riley and fears for Claire’s safety, but to win her over he’ll have to change. By the time the story was over, I could tell that all of the characters had grown, though Sawyer’s arc was perhaps the most apparent.
Starting the story took a little longer than I intended, but I was flying through it by the end. The final scenes were written at 2:00AM because I couldn’t sleep without the idea jotted down. I was very happy it ended the way it did, considering what will be coming in the final novel. Since MIDNIGHT SKY grew so close to my heart, I decided to put more effort into its promotion, seeking the help of XPresso Tours and En Pointe Author Services to help with blog tours, release blitzes, and review opportunities. I’m so pleased to have taken that risk, since it has definitely paid off.
There was a fair amount of editing recommended by both my Beta reader and my editor, but I was grateful for their insight. I constantly strive to improve my writing, and correcting my bad writing habits helps produce a stronger story.
One of the best moments in this journey was seeing the cover for MIDNIGHT SKY, created by Deranged Doctor Design. They blew me away with the CRIMSON SKY cover (and every other cover they’ve made for me), and I decided to put a little more insight into what I wanted from the sequel’s cover. The result was stellar. I couldn’t be happier with the look of the cover, and am dying to see what they’ll create for the final novel and two novellas of the DARK SKY series.
Writing sequels is always daunting. You want to carry on with what readers love, but you also want to introduce new elements to make the series stronger as a whole. I’ve never written an ending like this before, so I hope my efforts paid off. I know that I’m happy and proud and passionate about MIDNIGHT SKY, and I think new readers and fans of the previous novel will find it to their liking.
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…..
Author Amy Braun
About the Author Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
A special thank you to author Summer Lane for today’s guest post on the fear in State of Fear. To find out more about Summer and her book, State of Fear, the eighth book in the new adult dystopian series, Collapse, including buy links and details on her giveaway, please see below.
This is the 8th book in the Collapse Series. How do you keep the storyline and world going this far into the series? The issue with Cassidy Hart is not running out of stories – it’s containing them! Cassidy’s world is monstrously huge and the options for story pathways are endless, so I really had to zero in on what I wanted the eighth book to be. In terms of technicality and research, this was a challenging book – but it was also exciting to write. I was able to utilize some elements that I have wanted to use for a long time, like submarines and ice…trust me, it’ll make sense when you read the book!
Do you find it difficult to write about one set of characters for ten books? No, I don’t. The longer you’re with your characters, the better you get to know them. In this case, I have had the opportunity to get familiar with my characters to such a level that their development and characteristics are incredibly organic. It’s a real blast!
Are you Team Uriah or Team Chris? A lot of people like to think that Uriah is the perfect guy for Cassidy – while some much prefer Chris, since he is the original male lead (and he’s pretty awesome, in all honesty!). I have my own secret thoughts on this subject, and I don’t like to project my opinions on such an emotional element of the series. I leave that to my readers. But I will say that, in the end, Cassidy is a strong woman who doesn’t need anybody. She’s one of those kickass characters that can survive no matter what – and anyone she falls in love with is just a bonus. I don’t say to belittle the importance of the male leads, but to stress that Cassidy is just that kind of character at this point in the series.
What’s with the title? Why ‘fear?’ What’s there to fear in this book? The title is really a projection of the underlying theme of this book. My characters are thrust into a type of warfare that’s really unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They go to the barren wilds of Alaska, where the icy glaciers surround them and the dark winter solstice blots out the sun. Omega could kill them all – so many terrible things have happened, and could continue to happen. Cassidy is doubting herself and her relationships. This book is about exploring all of those fears, and then figuring out if our heroes are going to succumb to the darkness or stand up and kick its butt. It’s gritty, it’s dark and it’s intense. It’s my kind of story, and that’s why I wrote it.
State of Fear (Collapse Series #8) by Summer Lane
About the Book
Title: State of Fear Series: Collapse #8 Author: Summer Lane Publisher: WB Publishing Release Date: July 20, 2016 Genre: New Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis The world has gone nuclear, and the militias have met their first major defeat.
Torn and desperate, Cassidy Hart and her team make a difficult decision to relocate their forces to the cold, barren wilderness of Alaska. Yukon City has become a stronghold for survivors of the apocalypse.
Or has it?
Cassidy is on her own. Commander Chris Young remains in California to combat the shadowy forces of Omega, while Cassidy attempts to rebuild the militia’s strength at Yukon City. Uriah True has ideas of his own when it comes to surviving, and the militias are splitting apart.
Veronica Klaus is unleashing hell upon the west coast. The true, terrifying nature of Omega is revealed at last. A dangerous, desperate move is made to find reinforcements and seize a weapon that could give the militias an upper hand.
The downside? It just might kill everyone on planet earth. Cassidy, Chris and their friends have made it this far. How much longer can they survive? How much longer can the world survive?.
Author Summer Lane
About the Author Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of The Collapse Series, The Zero Trilogy and The Bravo Saga. She is also the author of Collapse: The Illustrated Guide, a #1 bestselling graphic companion to the phenomenal original series.
She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine where she has worked with countless authors from around the globe. Summer is also an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her days writing, collecting tea, and writing some more.
The 2016 Debut Authors Bash hosted by YA Reads is a fantastic way to discover new authors and their books. I’m hosting the wonderfully funny and talented Jennifer DiGiovanni, author of the delightfully witty young adult romance, My Senior Year of Awesome. You can read my five star review of this debut novel here.
Leave your own funniest vacation disaster in the comments section.
Top Ten Vacation Disasters
When you bring the hair spray for 10% humidity level, but you encounter a 100% humidity level.
That time your parents decided to showcase their vocal skills at the resort’s family karaoke night.
Any situation that prompts you to say “I’m sure we’ll laugh about this later.”
When you pick up the wrong suitcase at baggage claim and wind up with a week’s worth of clothes fit for your grandmother.
Unintentionally hiking through a skunk crossing.
Packing underwear for only 2 of your 3 children.
“Sorry, the swimming pool is closed for maintenance. But the arcade is open.”
“Didn’t we tell you when you booked this cruise that it’s Star Trek fan club week? Please come to dinner dressed as your favorite Vulcan.”
Making it to the airport with 5 minutes to spare. And finding out that your plane leaves from gate Z-189 when your standing at gate A-1.
Seriously? You need a passport to get into Bermuda?
My Senior Year of Awesome by Jennifer DiGiovanni
About the Book Title: My Senior Year of Awesome Series: School Dayz #1 Author: Jennifer DiGiovanni Publisher: Swoon Romance Release Date: March 1, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis A girl desperately tries to avoid the boy she was voted most likely to marry by her senior classmates. To prove senior superlative votes are meaningless, she and her best friend create their own list of awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.
It’s the final semester of senior year, and everyone at Harmony High can’t wait to find out the results of the Senior Superlative votes! But the balloon bursts in Sadie’s face when she discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or ever thought of as a potential boyfriend. Completely and utter mortification sets in.
To prove high school means something more than a Senior Superlative award, Sadie and her best friend Jana decide to create their own list of awesome non-academic achievements to be completed before graduation.
Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. Typical for the girl who can’t seem to achieve anything important, even the completion of one lousy college application.
When senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie decides to risk her good girl reputation to prove that an Awesome Achievement means much more than any Senior Superlative vote. By the time Sadie realizes her epic screw-up, she just might have lost her chance at the prom date of her dreams.
About the Author Jennifer is a freelance writer and YA author. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or trying to meet the daily goals on her Fitbit. MySeniorYear of Awesome is her first novel.
Welcome to the book blitz for A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville, the second book in the young adult contemporary romance series, The Heart’s Journey Home, by Nikki Jackson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive interview, and details on her giveaway.
The Heart’s Journey Home – A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville by Nikki Jackson
About the Book
Title: A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville Series: The Heart’s Journey #2 Author: Nikki Jackson Publisher: Book Baby Category: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Release Date: April 30, 2016 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Picking up where The Heart’s Journey Home: California Blend Summer Vacation leaves off, book two in the series follows seventeen-year-old Tori Logan as she and her best friends, AJ and Kalea, accompany Tori’s archeologist father to Israel.
Tori Logan is used to her life looking a little different from the lives of other girls her age. She’s also used to having plenty of adventures, so when she and her best friends see an excavated quarry in one of Jerusalem’s most famous archeological sites, they waste no time checking it out for themselves. Adventurous and fiercely independent, Tori leads her friends into the quarry where they happen upon what appears to be a secret passageway. As the trio laughs and jokes, small rumblings turn into big quakes and the walls start to crumble around them. Kalea and AJ escape, but the site collapses before Tori can find her way out.
When she comes regains consciousness, Tori realizes she’s traveled back in time to ancient Jerusalem. With her quick wit and drive to survive, she concocts a story about why she, a foreigner, is there and finds shelter with a widow woman named Judith – who looks exactly like her father’s live-in girlfriend, Rachel.
As Tori encounters other people who are spitting images of loved ones back at home, she must reconcile truths about herself with the hard realities about the situation in which she finds herself. But will these lessons last once she’s back at home?
Will she even make it home?
Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today? I could say I’m Black, female, and I have gray hair in my dreadlocks, but all of that is boring. What I’d really like to share is that I’ve spent the better part of my life dreaming about being a writer and now I am. I was just eight years old when it struck me. I was a regular little Black kid living in metro-Detroit. I had just finished reading the first book series I ever read – The Boxcar Children and I had an epiphany. This crystallized moment came upon me and I literally stood up in the bedroom I shared with my sisters and announced for the world to hear – “I’m going to be a writer when I grow up.” Though my life has taken many roads, twists and turns, that yearning never left my soul. I would think about it every now and then and just as quickly life would appear and distract me. I got to the place where I said to myself – you’re either going to be a writer or not. Once I started thinking seriously about writing and talking to myself about what I’d like to write, the book pretty much came to me.
Tell us a little about your recently published book. Well as you know book two of The Heart’s Journey Home series, titled A Layover in Doppelganger-ville has just been published. I had a lot of fun writing it. The cool thing about it is that the main character Tori has gone back in time to ancient Jerusalem. Without throwing any spoilers out she has found herself in a situation where her independent, I-can-do-it-myself, attitude is more of a hindrance than a help to her. It’s even dangerous which she comes to learn, the hard way. The book is about Tori being presented with the challenge to see things through a different lens and to decide what to do with that view. And then of course, how does she return to the present time.
What genre influenced you the most? And why? I find that the Young Adult genre influence me the most. When I started researching for my first book in the series – The Heart’s Journey Home: California Blend Summer Vacation, I discovered this whole young adult genre world. I read The Hunger Games – I straight-up loved it. From there Divergent (tore up loved it), Ender’s Game and The Fault in Our Stars. By then I was pretty much hooked on the genre. I knew young people were cool but I didn’t realize how straight-up out the box they were. When I read the female characters in Hunger Games and Divergent I told myself that my lead was going to have to rock like these sisters. I totally fell in love with the strong teen female character. Not the “I’m strong and I don’t need anybody,” attitude, but the ‘this is messed up but I got this,” attitude. Teens taking their ground and holding their ground because they feel they have no other choice. It’s like they looked around and they were the only ones standing there. That’s why I love this genre, it’s unpretentious and honest, the characters are just real.
Favorite place to writer? Panera Bread with a bowl of baked potato soup and a caramel latté on the table. It’s not too quiet and it’s not too noisy. I go to the Panera Bread in Allen Park near my home and I’ve gotten to know the employees and a few of the regulars and it’s just a good homey spot.
You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why? Everyone who knows me would laugh but its Stephen King. I am so not into scary movies. Between the flying monkeys (the Wizard of Oz) and The Ring (that chick coming out of that well then the TV set?!) it’s a wrap. What I love about King is his versatility. The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, two totally non-scary works, both of which I really love. I was shocked when I learned the TV series Under The Dome is based on King’s novel – Under The Dome. Books, movies, TV, scary stuff, non-scary stuff and all of it’s good. His scary stuff is just tore up good I just can’t sit through it. His writing is great. It’s descriptive and tight and it’s a thriller at the most purest basic level. There’s a scary movie of his that I did sit through and loved – Storm of the Century. The premise was just messed up. This scary looking guy shows up at this little out of the way town, kills a couple of people in a tore-up way and then takes all the little kids hostage – of sorts. They’re all knocked out and he tells the parents and the town that they have to give him one of the kids (apparently for some reason he can’t just take the kid). Give him one or he’s killing all of them. How in the world were they going to get out of this dilemma? Were they going to stand together or every parent for themselves? In the end they caved as a town and gave into this guy. They pulled lots and gave him one of the kids. The rest of the movie showed the devastatingly lasting effect that one choice had on folks in the town (they had to cover the early deaths and the missing child with a lie). And at the end you learned what eventually happened to the kid. What made the movie good for me was the interplay between the characters as they tried to figure out what to do. Morality and ethics, basic humanity, strength and right were put on a trial of sorts and the outcome wasn’t pretty. Human maybe, but messed up none the less. I thought King’s premise was sweet and I’m still trying to determine what I would’ve done in the end. That’s the formula of a grand story – the reader still talking about it years later.
What exciting story are you working on next? Young adult Science Fiction, your typical alien teen crash lands on earth and has to survive until his family locates him. It’s your basic fish out of water story and I’m having fun watching how he has to blend in with regular Earthlings. And yes I did say he. The main character is a guy. I’m really excited about that. I don’t want to get stuck in a groove where the only main characters I, as the writer, relates to is female. I’m hoping to have it completed and published sometime next year. I’ll keep you posted.
Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author? Commit to the dream. Find a way to write everyday – work on something, journal, anything just so long as you’re writing. Don’t be deterred by negative views or comments from friends, family or foe, believe in the writer you know yourself to be and let that be your guiding force.
Author Nikki Jackson
About the Author Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She’s camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki’s love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer – she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart’s Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.
Welcome to the book blitz for A Criminal Magic, a young adult historical urban fantasy with a touch of magic, by Lee Kelly. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive Interview and details on her giveaway.
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
About the Book Title: A Criminal Magic Author: Lee Kelly Publisher: Saga Press Release Date: February 2, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Magic/Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.
Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.
It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.
Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.
Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.
A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties..
Interview with Lee Kelly
1. What do you think is your lead character’s best trait? I’d say Alex’s best trait is his ability to read people – he ends up being very good at undercover work because of his sensitivity to human interactions, emotions and experiences. And Joan’s best trait is her relentless commitment and determination – to her family at the outset, and eventually, to her work within the Shaw Gang. Ironically I guess both Joan’s and Alex’s “best traits” can also be “worst traits” given the context.
2. Are there any characters in your book based on a real person? Not directly, I guess – though Harrison Gunn is actually named after my friend and old co-worker, who insisted that I name a character after him in this novel (so take the bad guy Harrison ☺)! Most of the characters in the book are my own creations or some kind of combination of multiple people: like Alex is sort of a combination of me and my husband, while Joan is a combination of me and my sister.
3. What’s something your readers would be surprised to know about you? I’m strangely superstitious, or at least I used to be. I’ve stopped most of these superstitious “rituals,” but I used to have to turn the lights off three times before leaving my apartment or I’d think I’d have a bad day, or I’d have to wear a certain pair of earrings to an interview.
4. Where is your favorite place to write? The place I always write is the office off my bedroom, so I guess that’s my default answer. But I really enjoy writing on the second floor of my town library, Millburn Library, because of the views of the woods – and I love those moments when I’m away from my everyday life and actually get in some writing time… like my parents’ kitchen table during the holidays before anyone gets up, or on vacation while my husband and kids sleep in. It feels like I’m sneaking out on a date with my characters.
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer – though the answer briefly changed to archeologist after I watched the Indiana Jones trilogy.
6. What is your favorite book of all time? I’d have to say The Phantom Tollbooth. I think the books you read as a child have a way of staying with you.
7. Describe your writing style in three words. Character-driven, otherworldly thrillers.
8. What is your writing process? It’s evolved, for sure. Before City of Savages, I had a really hard time finishing anything: I was a perfectionist, and needed each chapter to read complete and final before I moved on to the next. But sadly, after the first twenty pages of a manuscript, I’d clam up and start worrying that I’d make a mistake.
Eventually, I realized that the only way to overcome the fear of imperfection was just to submit to it: my first drafts were going to be messy. So now I write “with a spit and a polish.” I’ll initially draft a passage or a chapter really quick and messy – sometimes with just sketches of ideas – and then the next day, I usually polish the previous day’s installment so it’s a little more readable. But after that quick one-two, I move forward with the story without any more second-guessing.
After I’ve completed a first draft, I step away from it completely for a couple weeks. When I begin the second draft, I let that “perfectionist” sit down at the computer. Draft two is more like rewriting than revising, but that’s okay, as writing is less scary when I have 85,000 or so words under my belt (even if they’re the wrong words). My third draft involves input from beta readers and critique partners, followed by another fairly full-scale revision.
Author Lee Kelly
About the Author Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Devil’s Own Chloe the seventh book in the romantic comedy series Bistro La Bohème, by Amazon bestselling author, Alix Nichols. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive Q&A and details on her giveaway.
The Devil’s Own Chloe by Alix Nichols
About the Book Title: The Devil’s Own Chloe Series: Bistro La Bohème #7 Author: Alix Nichols Publisher: SAYN Press Release Date: May 1, 2016 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Young Parisian architect Chloe Germain hires childhood friend Hugo Bonnet as a builder. Lethally toxic to loved ones, Chloe keeps them at arm’s length in order to protect them.
Or so she thinks.
Capable, strong and patient, Hugo prides himself on being able to fix anything. Trouble is, he’s never tried repairing a chasm in someone’s soul before.
Will his love save Chloe or will fixing her leave him broken?
IS THE BISTRO LA BOHEME SERIES FOR YOU?
The Bistro La Bohème books are romantic comedies with an edge, a good deal of spice, and heroes you won’t want to forget. In addition, each book can be read as a standalone. Hey, who says you can’t have it all? Gentle reader, don’t listen to naysayers! You absolutely can, because you’re worth it.
Q&A with Alix Nichols
Tell me about your latest book. Like the rest of the books in the Bistro La Bohème series, “The Devil’s Own Chloe” is a contemporary romance set in Paris. Albeit not as “light” as some of my other stories, it will still keep you turning the pages and make you laugh out loud every now and then.
The heroine, Chloe, is an up and coming French architect who’s great at her job, but not so good with people. An adoptee who’s seen too much loss in her childhood, Chloe is convinced she’s toxic to everyone who loves her, and so she must push them away to keep them from harm.
Are any of the characters based on specific people? The characters in this book aren’t based on any one person but rather some of the people I know, and some of the issues they’ve had to grapple with.
What inspires you to write? Quite a few things, actually. My first novel, What If It’s Love?, was inspired by a friend’s story and Marina Tsvetaeva’s love poems. Under My Skin was inspired by Sting’s 1991 ballad Mad About You. The hero of Falling for Emma—recently blinded rock star Cyril—was influenced by Al Pacino’s Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.
The name of the bistro where all the BLB books except Winter’s Gift are set is a tribute to French chansonnier Charles Aznavour’s signature song La Bohème.
Oh, and let’s not forget the incomparable, forever-young-in-my-eyes Colin Firth a.k.a. the best and truest Mr Darcy, and my official muse.
Paris plays an important part in this book, and the entire series. Do you see it as one your recurrent characters? In many ways, yes. I adore this city, and I hope my books convey some of its magic. A few years ago, when I visited San Francisco for the first time, I had an impression I was returning to a familiar place thanks to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. My ambition is that when my readers set foot in Paris for the first time, they feel the same warm glow of recognition I experienced when I walked the streets of San Francisco, looking for 28 Barbary Lane.
What do you love about writing? How about a down side? The best part of writing a book is when your characters begin to prompt their lines, and when things you didn’t even realize you knew jump into your story straight from some secret corner of your brain.
One of the down sides is when you wake up in the morning, reread a scene you were quite pleased with last night, and you realize it’s crap.
Hemingway once said, do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Every writer knows what he meant. “There is nothing to writing. All you
Author Alix Nichols
About the Author Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. She is a Kindle Scout and Dante Rossetti Award winning author of critically acclaimed romantic comedies.
At the age of six, she released her first rom com. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper.
Decades later, she still loves the romance genre. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have made Amazon bestseller lists, climbing as high as #1. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.
**For exclusive content, giveaways and special offers, including a bonus book, subscribe to the monthly newsletter on her author website: www.alixnichols.com.**.