Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's a two for one Cover Reveal: EMBRACE and HOLD TIGHT

I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to share the covers for my young adult romance/thriller Embrace series. I think they’re stunning and I hope you like them too!

As many of you know, in preparation for the release of HOLD TIGHT, book two in the series, EMBRACE received a new look. I hope you like it!

I’d like to thank Omnific Publishing and the designers for doing an amazing job on the covers. A huge thanks goes out to A Tale of Many Reviews for organizing the cover reveal and to all the wonderful bloggers who are participated. I’m touched by everyone’s support!

Want to catch up with Madison and her friends before the release of Hold Tight?  
You can purchase EMBRACE for only $2.99: Nook or Kindle

Add HOLD TIGHT to your TBR list on GoodReads by clicking here.

To celebrate Embrace's new cover and the upcoming release of Hold Tight
Omnific Publishing is giving away a copy of Embrace. Fill out the form below to enter.

Follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook 
so you don’t miss any of the exciting events, giveaways, and upcoming news. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interview with Sarah Barthel, author of Mackenzie's Cross

I'm thrilled to have Sarah Barthel, author of Mackenzie's Cross, with me today. Sarah is not only an amazing author, she's a great friend and critique partner and I'm very excited about her debut novel.

Mackenzie's Cross
by Sarah Barthel

Mackenzie’s life has always been one of duty. However, in a land where even the Brotherhood of the Knights are becoming power hungry mongers, how can a young kitchen maid maintain her morals when tempted with all she’s never had? In the end, the truth is even more complicated than Mackenzie had ever imagined. Medieval Historical Fiction, Sweet, Christian, & Inspirational Romance

Isn't the cover beautiful! 

Please help me welcome Sarah to my blog.

Cherie: Tell us about your novel, Mackenzie’s Cross, in your own words.
Sarah: Mackenzie’s Cross came about because I kept reading historical novels in which a male character was threatened with a huge change in social station.  I wanted to explore what would happen were a female to find her life turned upside down by something other than marriage.  When I started I didn’t realize it was going to be a murder mystery, but as I wrote the Duke died and the plot shifted. 

Cherie: I enjoy stories that whisked me to another time, and I love that you have a strong female character who has to help solve such a terrible crime. Can you tell us a little about your writing process like?
Sarah: Typically, I start with an idea and form it into a really basic plot.  Then, after writing the first draft (which is usually terrible), I start working on characters and molding the rough edges of the story.  I’m a big outliner and find that with each draft I add more chapters and more details.  I know some writers which operate the opposite, but for me, each time I visit my story there is something more to tell.

Cherie: Oh, I agree! I'm always adding to my W.I.P. too. Where did you get the idea for this novel?
Sarah: For Mackenzie’s Cross, it started with that initial question, how would a female in the middle ages handle a change in her station.  As I developed Mackenzie’s character, the idea continued to develop.  A lot of the characters you meet were brought in through questions I had in research.  For example, Lady Elizabeth was formed because of a side note I read that psoriasis sufferers were often condemned as Lepers because of the similarities in the rashes. 

Cherie: That is interesting, and it's a bit scary how easily it was to be condemn back then. What was your most difficult chapter to write?
Sarah: There is a scene after the Duke dies in which Lady Evelyn comes to speak with Mackenzie.  Because it is so heavy on dialogue it was difficult to make it read authentically.

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Mackenzie that we don’t learn about them from reading the book?
Sarah: She is really athletic. I imagine she hikes, runs and could probably give Patrick a run for his money horseback riding.

Cherie: I like her already, and love knowing more about her. So tell us, what are you working on now?
Sarah: Currently I’m working on a novel set in 1875 Illinois where a girl pretends to be insane to avoid marriage to her fiancĂ©, whom she knows to be a murderer.  While in the asylum she befriends Mary Todd Lincoln and discovers what is really important in life.

Cherie: That sounds intriguing. I can't wait to learn more about it. Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less:

Favorite color? Blue

Secret crush? (It can be anyone real or fictional.)  Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Definitely

Have you ever experienced that head-over-heels, tingly, have-to-get-to-know-someone feeling yourself? Yes, with my husband.

Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy? Drawn to the good guy except in Les Mis.

What’s the first thing you notice about a guy? His eyes. 

Favorite movie or television show? Wizard of Oz and Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris.

Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process? I put on Les Mis soundtrack and drink ice water.

Favorite place to write? Panera.

Are there any types of books you don’t read? I don’t tend to read science fiction—I try, but usually don’t finish them.

It has been a pleasure to have Sarah here today. You can get Mackenie's Cross today! What are you waiting for? 
For Kindle or Nook
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Change is coming: News, First peek at HOLD TIGHT, and a Giveaway

I’ve been hinting to a big change, and I can finally share the news.

Embrace is getting a fresh look with a brand new cover, and I’m geeked for the reveal later this month. I’ve gotten a sneak peek at the new design and I’m beyond thrilled. It’s stunning and mysterious and I love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the original cover (on the left). I thought the image of the girl looking at something just out of view reflected the mystery of what Madison Riley discovers in Embrace.

I wrote Embrace to be a standalone novel, so the publisher and I weren’t thinking about a second book or its cover when Embrace’s was designed. But when readers kept asking if there’d be a sequel my creative wheels started to turn and I began work on another book.

I had so much fun being back with Madison and the gang. The stakes are higher this time. In Hold Tight Madison unknowingly invites two dangerous yet enticing beings into her life, what she needs now is to figure out which one she can trust and how to get rid of the other before either destroys her and everyone she loves

I was delighted when Omnific Publishing picked it up. Then it came time to design the cover and finding the perfect image for book two that fit the story and matched Embrace’s was difficult. So my wonderful marketing associate and I got to talking about other options. The result was a whole new look for book one.

It’s been exciting to see the preliminary designs. A Tale of Many Reviews is hosting the cover reveal for both books on June 26th. I can’t wait to share them with you! Until then I have a first peek at Hold Tight coupled with an excerpt from Embrace plus a chance to win a $10 gift card.

EMBRACE excerpt

 “I’m beginning to realize I’d do whatever it took to keep someone I care about safe—expose what I am, harness my anger, let my darker side take over. That’s one promise I know I can make without regret.”
I was about to protest when he then asked, “What about you? Just what are your feelings toward me?” I must have hesitated because he laughed, light and warm, yet there was a bitter edge to it. “I just told you I’d embrace the dark to protect you, and you still can’t open up to me?”

HOLD TIGHT excerpt – exclusive first peek!

A soft swish hum had me glancing around the kitchen again. A cool breeze stirred the curtains and rippled the water in the bowl. I hurried and closed the window, but then a quiet buzz traveled around the kitchen like an angry fly. For a moment, I could have sworn I smelled fresh-cut orchids, but when I inhaled, the air chilled my lungs, causing me to cough. No matter which direction I looked, no one was there.

“Finish it,” a disembodied voice whispered eagerly.

Read EMBRACE today -- Only $2.99 on Kindle or Nook!

I'm so excited about Embrace's new cover and the upcoming release of book two. To celebrate, I'm giving away a $10 gift card. I hope you'll help me spread the word about this giveaway. Good luck!

Be sure to stop back by for the cover reveal. Follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook so you don’t miss any of the exciting events, giveaways, and upcoming news. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Revising and Other News

I'd like to thank Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this meme. If you'd like to learn more about it, click here.

The second round of edits on my upcoming novel caused my confidence to yo-yo all over the place. I went from this is good to oh my God this sucks to okay maybe it’s not so bad. The roller coaster of emotion is part of writing, I know that. When a scene is working, I love my story. Change a word here, add a sentence there—easy peasy. But when a scene isn’t quite right doubt sets in. I don’t remember feeling this way when I worked on Embrace, but I probably did. Thanks to my editor’s keen eye for details and suggestions on ways to turn a scene that wasn’t quite hitting its mark into one that flowed nicely, I finished revisions feeling good about the book again. Anyone else feel this way when you revise?

On other news, the Omnilicious Twitter Party last Friday was a huge success and tons of fun. We even trended in the US and a few other countries. Congrats to all the winners of the fun prize packs! And thanks to everyone who popped in and helped to make it a great event!

The cover reveal for HOLD TIGHT will be host by AToMR on June 26th. I’d love for you to join the fun! If you’d like to participate click here and fill out the brief sign-up form.

And last but not least, I have exciting news coming regrading EMBRACE and its cover. More on that next week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On My Blog: Trina Sotira author of IN HER SKIN

I'm pleased to have Trina Sotira, author of IN HER SKIN here with me today. Trina's not only an amazing author, she's a wonderful friend and critique partner. I had the pleasure of reading parts of this story as Trina wrote it and seeing both this novel and Tirzah grow into their own skin.

In Her Skin
By Trina Sotira

Tirzah would do anything to cover up her girl body: duct taping her chest, dressing like a guy at the skate park, even changing her name. But two things are holding her back from transitioning into an all-male body: her best friend Heidi and a full-ride soccer scholarship. And when Heidi's family disapproves of Tirzah's transition into Troy, Heidi disappears. 

College instructor and former television journalist Trina Sotira challenges religious, gender, and social boundaries in this fast-paced adventure filled with love, friendship, and self-discovery.

Please help me welcome Trina! 

Cherie: Tell us about your novel, In Her Skin, in your own words.
Trina: In Her Skin faced a tough time in the publishing marketplace after mainstream publishers told my former agent the book would see lower sales because it wouldn’t appeal to a broad audience. The prediction is offensive to our young society. Their response can be interpreted as we (young adults and those identifying as forever-young-adults) don’t want to read books about transgendered teens or Muslims. We have few books in the teen market about different cultures—and not enough about LGBT characters. In Her Skin is a coming-of-age story about an everyday teen who happens to be trapped in the wrong skin.  The main character just so happens to be in love with her Muslim best friend. Love is pretty mainstream, isn’t it?  

Cherie: It definitely is! What is your writing process like?  
Trina: I cheat on the rest of my life to write, and the reward is pure pleasure. Often times, I write on notepads or in my phone, transferring notes later. I write in my head first; then I finish the story on my laptop.

Cherie: You can always tell when a writer lives in a house by the number of notepads lying around! Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Trina: My friend struggled in the wrong skin through junior high and high school. The pain I witnessed and joy I saw once she transitioned to a male had to be captured in writing. Some people still do not understand the struggles transgendered teens and children face daily. This book offers glimpses of the pain as boundaries are pushed.

Cherie: Sounds like a lot of this book comes from the heart. What was your favorite (or most difficult) chapter to write?
Trina: After my former agent wanted me to cut Heidi out of the book early on, I suffered through revising the chapter when Troy doesn’t go to Heidi’s house. Originally, he went. Originally, he was not that strong.

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Troy that we don’t learn about him from reading the book?
Trina: Deep inside, Troy would still give up everything to be with Heidi.

Cherie: Love can do that to a person. What are you working on now?
Trina: I’m finishing an urban middle-grade novel and writing an essay for a women’s anthology on life shifts. I’m always working on new projects for my college students.

 Cherie: Sounds like you're quite busy! Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less: 

Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy?   I like the super-intelligent, awkward underdog.

Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?  Tubs of chocolate frosting and toothpaste to cover post-binge pimples.

Favorite place to write?  Next to my dog Gracey Sprinkles.

Who is your mentor or hero?  Dr. Sean Shesgreen, my pair of wings from NIU. Heroes: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jane Addams, Kate Chopin, and Aphra Behn.

Are there any types of books you don’t read?  I avoid genres that rhyme with loft-corn.

Thanks for being here with me today, Trina!

Purchase In Her Skin today: