Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So much to do, so little time! Miscellaneous Musings of a YA Author

With spring always comes a list of to-do's a mile long. There's spring cleaning, the beginning of yard work, projects in the house I want done before summer, family gatherings, and that's on top of my day job and writing. Not that I'm complaining. I like to be busy. Although, I wouldn't mind the weather warmed up a bit. It's a chilly, rainy 45 in Illinois as I type this. 

So far we've made a nice dent in the list. Most the spring cleaning is done. The yard is starting to look nice after a long, hard winter. Flowers are next, but we're going to wait another week before purchasing those, because Mother Nature keeps letting the temps dip below freezing up here. There are a couple important birthdays this month. My amazing mom turns another year younger and my grandmother will be celebrating her 100th birthday. I hope to live as long as her. =)

On the writing front, the submission for Entangled, book three in my Embrace Series, has been sent to my publisher. What's coming in book three? I'm glad you asked! Madison Riley is back and doing the bidding of a crossroad demon. She has no choice, if she wants her six-year-old brother to remain healthy and alive. There's more of Isaac, Kaylee and Josh. Plus, Caden is back and he has big plans for Madison. Fingers crossed Omnific Publishing enjoys this novel as much as they enjoyed the first two in the series. 

Reviews for Challenging Destiny are starting to come in. Thanks so much for those who took the time to post one. You can click here to find out what readers are saying.

With my finished novels either in my agent's hands or with a publisher, I finally have time to focus on something new. I'm playing around with an idea I had a long time ago for an edgy contemporary YA novel. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 

Do you have a long to-do list this spring? How's the weather in your area?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: MY KIND OF CRAZY by Katie O'Sullivan

by Katie O'Sullivan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

About the book (from Goodreads):

Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce.

Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle's business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He's not looking for anything complicated - until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls.

Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it's the kind of crazy that she can live with... for the rest of her life.

My take...

I'm a big fan of paranormal, as many of you know, but every now and then I like to take a break from the things that go bump in the night and curl up with a great romance. If it has an intriguing mystery built in, even better. My Kind of Crazy fits both categories and it didn't disappoint. 

Kendall Roarke is a strong character who is determined to make it on her own. She's recently divorced in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business. Kendall doesn't let the fact that the town knows the whole story about her failed marriage. She embraces her new life and focuses on fixing up her Bed and Breakfast. She's not looking for romance, but finds herself drawn to the new vet in town. And who can blame her? Jon is tall, dark, and dreamy. I really enjoyed watching their romance unfold, and when outside forces sabotage Kendall's dreams, Jon was there for her, offering a shoulder to lean on yet still letting her be in charge. This is a great read, with well developed characters, and a swoon worthy romance.  

Get your copy of MY KIND OF CRAZY on Amazon.
About the author:
Katie O’Sullivan lives with her family and big dogs next to the ocean on Cape Cod, drinking way too much coffee and inventing new excuses not to dust.

She writes YA and romantic suspense novels, as well as working as an editor and magazine columnist.

Her debut YA novel, SON OF A MERMAID, made a big splash in the summer of 2013. The next book in the series will be released in May 2014.

Connect with Katie

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey

by Shawna Romkey
Pbulisher: Crescent Moon Press

About the book:

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

My take:

I really enjoyed Speak of the Devil. Lily, the MC, struggles with depression after the loss of her two closest friends. To escape the everyday reminder of them, she moves in with her father. New school. New life. But that isn’t enough to make her forget the tragic accident that took her friends. She’s befriended by a group of drama students. There’s something different about them, and it was fun to discover just what that was.   

Shawna does a great job of pulling the reader into the story with realistic dialogue and well developed characters. I’m looking forward to reading book two in this series. 

Get your copy of Speak of the Devil

About the author
Shawna grew up around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.    She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook.  She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.  She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

Connect with Shawna:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spotlight: Kristi Helvig author of BURN OUT

I’m thrilled to have Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, with me today.  This is Kristi’s debut novel, and it’s getting great reviews. So be sure to check it out! 

by Kristi Helvig
Publisher: Egmont USA

About the book:
A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure. 

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.

Please help me welcome Kristi. 

Cherie: Can you tell us about your novel, BURN OUT, in your own words?
Kristi: It’s about a teenage girl who is one of the last survivors on Earth when our sun burns out early, and she discovers that her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the environment.

Cherie: The book sounds intriguing. What is your writing process like?
Kristi: I tend to write fast drafts to get everything down and then go back and revise...and revise. There was also astrophysics research involved in both BURN OUT and the sequel, so after consulting with astrophysicists, I have to incorporate that research into the book as well. :)

Cherie: Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Kristi: I got the idea for BURN OUT after watching a science documentary (I’m a documentary nerd), and then having a vivid dream that became the basis of the book.

Cherie: What was your favorite chapter to write?
Kristi: The first chapter was definitely my favorite to write...it was also probably the only chapter that I didn’t revise much after the first draft.

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Tora that we don’t learn about them from reading the book?
Kristi: Hmmmm...well, even though she only consumes energy gel for food in the book, Tora would really love a good steak. I’ll just say that I know that because the sequel is finished. :)

Cherie: What are you working on now?
Kristi: A YA fantasy about an assassin ballerina.

Cherie: That sounds interesting! I can't wait to hear more about the book. Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you.

Favorite color?
Icy blue.

Secret crush? (It can be anyone real or fictional.)
Jericho Barrons from the Faefever series by Karen Marie Moning. It’s not so secret though—I’m pretty open about that crush, lol.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
I do, but I think it’s rare and often confused with the much more common lust-at-first-sight.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be?
I’ve always wanted to spend a summer traveling around to my bucket list vacation spots. A few of those include New Zealand, Fiji, Norway, Ireland, and Italy.

Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Ha, this one is easy. I have never and will never be a morning person. My hubby has a cup of coffee waiting for me on the counter each morning because I’m not a happy person without it. My friends will text me at 10am on the weekends and ask “Are you up yet?” I’ve been a night owl since childhood and don’t see that changing anytime soon. 

Favorite movie or television show?
I’m not big on television aside from science documentaries, but love The Big Bang Theory and True Blood. The new Battlestar Gallactica is probably my fave all-time show. Fave movie is definitely The Shawshank Redemption—I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that one.

Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?
Chocolate and wine.

Favorite place to write?
On the couch, next to my pups.

Are there any types of books you don’t read?
I read a wide variety of genres, but would have to say that westerns and straight romance are not my thing.

Thanks so much for having me! :)

It’s been my pleasure!

Grab a copy of BURN OUT on Amazon, Indiebound, or Barnes & Noble.

About the author:
Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.

Keep in touch with Kristi

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tools and terms every witch should know: The Magic in the EMBRACE SERIES

There are several tools and terms that a practicing witch needs to know. Below are just a few that appear in the Embrace Series. To learn even more about the Powers and the magic in the series, be sure to click here. 

Tools and terms:

Athame—knife used in magic
Chalice—goblet or drinking vessel with a stem and base.
Circle—a protected space created by the Powers used to practice magic
Coven—a group of people who possess the Powers
Crystal balls—a clear glass or crystal ball used as a medium for scrying. Often used by a person who is clairvoyant to communicate with spirits or to gain information on a person, location, or an object.
Curse—the use of witchcraft to cause trouble or bad luck for another person, or the condition that results in such use of magic.
Divination—the art or practice of discovering hidden knowledge with the aid of supernatural powers.
Four elements—air, earth, fire, and water
Hex—used in witchcraft often to cause harm to others
Hex bags—a small pouch used to hold various items needed to cast a hex
Iron—a natural metal used for protection against faerie and other supernatural creatures
Scrying—the art of looking into an object or medium with the goal of seeing the past, present or future, or to gain knowledge about a person, location, or an object.
Spell—spoken words used to have magical power

Magical talismans in the Embrace Series:

Hemp Bracelets—used to bind the summoning spell cast in book one. Connects members of a coven’s wills, allowing them to call each other without the need of a phone.
Kaylee and Madison’s bronze necklaces—the bronze heart protected the wearer against evil and the different strings of beads dangling from the base of the charm offer their own benefits: blue for inspiration, green for growth, and yellow for courage.
Poppets—a small figure or doll that represents a person. Used in witchcraft and other forms of magic.
Scrying bowls—a shallow bowl filled with watered used to scry.

Color Magic:
Blue—infinity, peace, inspiration eternity, truth, hope, dreams, and imagination
Dark blue—tranquility, truth inspiration
Green—healing, growth, money, luck, faith
Light blue—wisdom, intuition, patience, harmony
Pink—friendship, harmony, affection
Red—energy, passion, courage, love
Sea Green—ward against jealousy, anger
Turquoise—awareness, protection against bad influences
Yellow—warmth, joy, courage, creativity, and self confidence
Black—ward of negative energy

White—purity, truth, protection, innocence

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Read EMBRACE today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Read HOLD TIGHT today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's a Double Reveal: Ex-Factor & Unbreakable by Elisa Dane

So excited for the wonderful Elisa Dane and her YA Cheerleading Romance Series! These covers have me intrigued.

First up is Ex-Factor:
Ex Factor
Release Date: 04/22/14

Summary from Goodreads:

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.

But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

Second in line is Unbreakable:

Release Date: 06/10/14

Summary from Goodreads:

Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer's elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie's the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that's the illusion she's aiming for.

But Livvie's seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate.

For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach.

But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he's found someone he can finally trust.

About the Author, Elisa Dane
I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot! I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Author Links:

Friday, April 11, 2014

THE SEER'S LOVER by Kat de Falla: Excerpt & Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of spotlighting The Seer's Lover by my pub sister Kat de Falla. Plus, The Seer's Lover is free on Kindle this week, so be sure to follow the buy link below to get your copy!

Calise Rowe's question of who walks among us 
leads her into an ancient war between seers and demons.

by Kat de Falla
Genre:  Mainstream Paranormal/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Available on Kindle: February 24th, 2014
Worldwide Release Date: June 4th, 2014

For years, Calise Rowe has been able to sense unusual energy from people, making her believe she is different.  Pulled into an ancient war raging for centuries between demon hunters and seers, she's about to find out she's right.

Her search for the truth leads her to Lucas Rojas, a seer of angels and demons who walk the earth shrouded from normal human eyes.  He's hidden his gift for years and refuses to endanger Calise by sharing it with her.

In the sultry Costa Rican Jungles, their worlds collide.  As their passion and desire ignite, so does the ancient war between demons and seers.  Will their combined efforts be enough to save themselves and the entire human world, or will their new found love be their downfall?

She traced a circle in the sand with her finger.
Why would she disclose her whole existence to someone she’d just met? Someone who talked so little about himself that she found herself talking to fill the void. Saying things she could barely admit in her own head.
His hand covered hers. “I’m lonely, too. Getting to know you this week has been the brightest point in my life and I don’t want you to leave, but I know the only place you’ll be safe is far away from me.”
She swallowed. He had read her mind.
He lay down on his back and closed his eyes. “Cali, you know when you hear a song for the first time and you kind of ingest it? You can’t possibly know right away that it will be one of your favorite songs for the rest of your life. A classic.”
“Yeah.” She hoped he was going somewhere good with this.
“That first listen,” he continued, “you pick up a little of the melody and some lyrics that catch you. But when the song ends, you have to hear it again because you want to memorize all the words and sing along. After you hear it a few times and learn the words inside and out, then you begin to let the melody seep inside you. Next thing you know, you’ve completely digested the song and find yourself humming it while you are doing nothing, like shaving or driving your car. Finally, the song becomes so ingrained it becomes a part of you. Forever. You can recall it and it’s with you whenever you need it. Am I making any sense?”
She nodded, blinking back the tears fighting to fall.
“Cali, I don’t want you to go back because you’re my favorite song.”
Free on Kindle this week!
Read THE SEER"S LOVER today: Amazon 

Enter the giveaway!

About the author:
Author Kat de Falla was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she learned to roller skate, ride a banana seat bike, and love Shakespeare thanks to her high school English teacher.

Four years at the UW-Madison wasn’t enough, so she returned to her beloved college town for her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is happily employed as a retail pharmacist where she fills prescriptions and chats with her patients.

She is married to her soul mate, classical guitarist, Lee de Falla and raising four kids together ala the Brady Bunch.

Keep in touch with Kat

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

the Powers: The Magic in the EMBRACE SERIES

I’m often asked about the magic in the Embrace Series. So I decided to do a couple of post for my curious fans. In this post, I discuss the Powers and share the spell Madison does to awaken her powers. Next week I'll be talking about the tools and terms related to witchcraft as they are used in the books.

the Powers:

It is inevitable, when so many possess the Powers, that there will be those who are unable to control them. These individuals pose the biggest threat to us all, for the Powers untamed have no mercy. 
                                                          Jeremy Addington, 1792

Before the first word in Embrace was written, I had done a lot of research on witchcraft and magic. As a fan of all things supernatural, I'd also done a fare amount of research on angels, demons, faeries, vampires, werewolf... You get the idea. And while you won't find any vampires or werewolves in the books, the series isn't limited to witches. I added my own twist to what is known from both history and lore to come up with a unique world where there are those who possess the Powers and, as Madison Riley discovers, magic is not all fun and games.

In the series, there are two types of witches: the ones who call upon outside forces to give them power and the natural witch whose powers lie dormant within them until they are awaken. One of the differences between the two types of witches is that natural witches are rarely evil and have the ability to recognize one another through simple touch. Their magic can be tasted and felt.

Madison’s belief in the Powers began with the discovery of a simple spell that changed her life. Will it change yours?

Test your powers with a simple spell. 
Items needed: athame (ceremonial dagger or knife), chalice, plate, small white candles, water, salt, belief in yourself.
Preparation: Arrange in a circle around you. Set the plate on the ground in front of you and place the chalice to its right. Pour a generous amount of salt on the plate and place the athame on the plate and a candle the middle of the salt.
Believe in yourself: Reach for your strongest, most positive memory—one that will allow you to use positive emotions to fuel your magic. Concentrate on the candle in front of you, willing a flame to burn bright. As you will it, so mote it be, if you possess the Powers.

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Read EMBRACE today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Read HOLD TIGHT today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Little Inspiration

Hi everyone! Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Group. During the month of April, many authors participate in the A to Z Challenge. Since there is a lot going on in the blogshere, I'm going to keep my post today simple and share with you a couple of my favorite inspirational quotes.

[images removed]

Without leaps of
imagination, or
dreaming, we lose the
excitement of possibilities.
Dreaming, after all, 
is a form of planning.
Gloria Steinem

The first sentence
can't be written
until the final
sentence is written.
Joyce Carol Oates

I'm adding this one because it's fun, most writers can relate to it, and Snoopy always makes me smile...

[image removed]

In news:

My paranormal romance/thriller, CHALLENGING DESTINY released on Kindle last week. To learn more about this book and to enter the giveaway, click here

Good luck to those doing A to Z this month. 

Happy reading and happy writing!