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Viewing Blog: Mermaid's Musings, Most Recent at Top
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I'm an aspiring, unpublished writer that likes to capture thoughts and share them. I am in heavy learning, reading, studying mode and thought I'd blog on what I read then what I learned from it as a want to be writer. My main focus is writing picture books and young adult fiction.
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1. What is a Serial Killer?

Where did the term serial killer originate? I went to the FBI webpage to look up some facts regarding what constitutes a serial killer.

Here's what I found out:

  • Term refers to three or more killings over a period of time
  • Differs from mass murder which is killing four or more during one incident
  • Differs from spree murder because between serial murders there is a 'cooling off' period
  • They exhibit one of more of the MacDonald triad
    • Fire setting
    • Bed wedding beyond age of 12
    • Cruelty toward animals
  • They may be organized or disorganized
  • There is some discrepancy on who actually coined the phrase 'Serial killer'. Some state it was FBI investigator, Robert Ressler. Some state it was  LAPD detective Pierce Brooks, creator of the ViCAP system
  • Holmes & DeBurger categorize serial killers into 4 types:
    • Power/Control-Want to exercise control over their victim. The power is the high they're seeking.
    • Visionary-may have voices in their heads willing them to kill. They usually suffer from mental illness
    • Hedonist-Kill because they like it, and it serves a purpose in their life
    • Missionary-Want to rid the world of a particular group of people they consider undesirable
For more information, check out the FBI website: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder

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    2. And the Winner Is...

    Thanks to everyone who participated in the Evernight Teen Blog Hop. Our 1st birthday was memorable.

    The winner of my prize the $25 Amazon gift card is Angela Searles.

    Stay tuned for my new blog series called Forensics Friday.

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    3. First Documented case involving Forensic Science

    I'm a total forensics geek wanna be. If it's been available in my day as a college degree, I might be in a different profession. I love to solve puzzles, and forensics gives us the tools to solve puzzles.

    Before CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds, someone had to have the thought about how evidence could lead to the truth. I was curious about how the science of forensics came to be. This is what I found.

    Once upon a time in 1235 the story of Sung Tzu appears. It contained the first recorded documentation of forensic use to solve crimes. One case noted occurred during the Song Dynasty in China. A man was murdered and the local officials were looking for his killer. They determined he'd been killed by a sickle by experimenting with different weapons on animals.
    They asked everyone in town to produce their sickles for examination. Though it was clean, one sickle was still attracting flies due to the scent of blood. They had their killer. Perhaps scared by the evidence before him, the man confessed.

    Sung Tzu continued to record his findings in a book called Hsi Yuan Chi Lu (The Washing Away of Wrongs).

    Advances continued starting as early as the 1600s.

    Major advances include:

    1880- Henry Faulds and William James Herschel published a study on fingerprints. This study was used to push for using fingerprints as evidence.

    1895-A study by Eduard Piotrowski on blood stains leads to the science of blood spatter analysis

    1901-Karl Landsteiner discovers that human blood falls into 1 of 4 groups: A, B, O, AB

    1904-Locard's famous principle is born:  "Every contact leaves a trace."

    1912-Victor Balthazard discovers that gun barrels have a unique property to them. Therefore, no two guns will leave the same markings on a bullet.

    1974-Gunshot residue can now be detected on a suspect

    1984-DNA techniques are developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys

    I find this all so fascinating, if you have other major advances in mind, post them in the comments.

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    4. Happy 1st Birthday, Evernight Teen

    Food plays an important role in my young adult mystery, Unraveled. Autumn spends time with her family and extended family over the dinner table. Even Caedon gets introduced to the family over a large meal.

    In the Hispanic community, meals are a time to gather together, talk to each other, and just spend time together. I remember lunches at my grandparent's house in Mexico. We would travel their every summer. To this day those are some of my happiest memories. Preparation for lunch started right after breakfast, and usually took the whole morning. There were several courses. One of my favorites was my grandmother's carrot soup. I still need to get the recipe from her.

    My grandparent's had several lime trees so we always had pitchers full of limeade to drink during our meals. They also had avocado trees, so fresh guacamole was always available. No wonder I'm such an avocado lover. Mangoes were plentiful, and were usually dessert for all of us.

    One of my favorite foods is called flautas. They are corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken. They are rolled up tight, then fried or baked. You can cover them in green or red sauce. I just dipped them in guacamole. You can also fill them with beef or ground beef.

    I often get comments from readers that reading Unraveled makes them hungry. I love that. Food plays a big part in Autumn's life so I'm happy that came across.

    Unraveled is on sale at the following sites:
    Barnes and Noble
    Evernight Teen

    You can read more about Unraveled on Goodreads and Pinterest:

    To celebrate, Evernight Teen's 1st birthday, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon. To enter my prize content, please leave a comment naming your favorite family dish.

    On Feb.1st, I will randomly select one winner. Be sure to include your e-mail so I can contact you.

    To win Evernight Teen's prize of $100 I-Tunes gift card, enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway You can also enter on the Evernight Teen site. Evernight Teen

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    5. Calling all YA bloggers

    Evernight Teen is turning 1, and we're celebrating with some wonderful prizes. We're doing a blog hop from January 24-31.
    If anyone else would like to participate, please enter your info here: http://sandrapessomarketing.blogspot.com/2014/01/evernight-teen-1st-birthday-blog-hop.html

    Powered by Linky Tools

    Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

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    6. Evernight Teen (Teen Read Week) Scavenger Hunt-Win A Kindle!

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    7. Juggling Motherhood, Work & Dinner time

    Without a doubt, it's a challenge being a mom, working full-time, writing, promoting a book, and being an MFA student.

    Sometimes, I feel like I go from one job to another, so when it's time to cook dinner, it's a source of major stress. I actually like to cook, but I don't know how to cook too many things. This past year, I've focused on eating fresher foods so I'm not in favor of box-a-meals, although I do use them.

    I'm fortunate to have a dietitian at work and I've recently starting keeping a food diary on My Fitness Pal. My meals are too carb heavy so I was challenged to come up with some other ideas.

    I'd like to branch out and learn more quick meals so she gave me an awesome cookbook, The New Soul Food Cookbook. It's actually a book for diabetics which I'm not, but I am trying to make meals low in carbs and sugars to help me lose weight.

    It has delicious looking recipes with only a few ingredients-Perfect for a working mom. I can't wait to try some.

    Tonight we made a really tasty meal and my daughter actually made the hot dog dish. I made the quinoa salad.

    Here's how we did it:

    Hot Dogs: (Let your kids make this)

    I put some melted butter in a small bowl, and she painted slices of 100% whole wheat bread.
    She put a turkey hot dog in the middle, then wrapped the bread (buttered side out) around the hot dog. We fastened it with a skewer because I didn't have a toothpick.

    We baked for 18 minutes on 325 degrees.


    I made the quinoa according to the instructions on the box, except I used vegetarian broth instead of water to give it extra flavor. I put some yellow squash, carrots, and zucchini in my mini food processor, then added that to the quinoa. I also threw in some grape tomatoes and green beans from our garden.

    Quinoa is a good alternative to rice or pasta. It has protein in it and isn't as starchy. Plus it's a great dish to hide your veggies in.

    We added some fresh strawberries as another side dish.

    It was a filling meal, not to mention nutritious. It was great to have my daughter actually make part of the meal and she was so proud of herself. It only took 20 minutes, and was minimal clean-up. Two big positives in my house.

    Here's a photo:

    3 Comments on Juggling Motherhood, Work & Dinner time, last added: 8/8/2013
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    8. Steampunk 101

    Add to Technorati FavoritesI remember when I first heard about  steampunk. It was a new and emerging subgenre that was getting a lot of press due to the release of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. I checked it out and fell it love with the look and feel of the period. The Victoria era wardrobe juxtaposed with the metals and innovation of the steam era.

    This past week-end I attended DogCon2 at the Thurber Center. There were writing workshops, readings, Tarot Card readings, and kid's activities. I attended a workshop on Steampunk so I could learn more about it.

    The speakers were from a local Columbus group called Airship Archon. They discussed the clothing and accessories of which the majority are handmade or hand sewn. They named estate sales, vintage shops, and Etsy as great places to find materials. If you live in Columbus, they recommended, The Alley Store.

    They also discussed the literature that inspired them. From the classics, you have Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Verne wrote novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Carpathian Castle. H.G. Wells is probably best known for The Time Machine, but also wrote The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

    For more contemporary literature they mentioned Gail Carriger's novels. They also noted that it's hard to find good steampunk literature that is true to spirit they embody at Airship Archon. Most of it seems artificial with all things steampunk thrown in haphazardly.

    They are an amazing group of people. They hold monthly events which are open to the public. They get together to create costumes or other steampunk related items. They also speak at numerous conventions. The list of topics is listed on their website.

    There were two surprising facts for me:

    One is that steampunk is considered a subgenre of science fiction. For some reason, I never put that together.
    Two is that there are subgenres of steampunk such as clockpunk, meatpunk, dieselpunk, and cyberpunk. Each inspired by an era of invention.

    I also learned how to make a pair of steampunk goggles from welder's goggles. Each speaker was so creative and a pleasure to listen to. I came away with an idea for an art piece so we'll have to see if that works out.

    2 Comments on Steampunk 101, last added: 8/7/2013
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    9. Evernight Teen Summer Ebook Sale-.99 on Amazon

    Need a few more books to read during summer vacation? All Evernight Teen titles, including my YA mystery, Unraveled, are on sale for a week on Amazon.

    Check them all out: Evernight Teen Amazon Kindle books:

    Disintegrate by Christine Klocek-Lim
    Phoenix: The Rising by Bette Maybee
    Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton
    Elysium by Sylah Sloan
    Unraveled by S.X. Bradley
    Slayer for Hire by P.E. Cunningham
    Blood Hex by Erin Butler


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    10. Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire-Writer Style

    I'm a huge fan of the show, Inside the Actor's Studio. I always wondered how I would answer the 10 questions James Lipton would ask. Since the chances of me being on the show are nil, since I'm a writer not an actor, I'm using my blog to answer them for fun.

    1.What is your favorite word? Mommy

    2.What is your least favorite word? Hate

    3.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Intelligence, Loyalty, a good heart, a great story

    4.What turns you off? Unkempt feet

    5.What is your favorite curse word? WTF

    6.What sound or noise do you love? My child laughing

    7.What sound or noise do you hate? The alarm clock

    8.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? CSI Investigator

    9.What profession would you not like to do? Anything that has bad smells

    10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Ya did good.

    3 Comments on Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire-Writer Style, last added: 7/22/2013
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    11. Unraveled Ebook Winner

    Congrats to Evernight Teen Blog Hopper, Wendy. She won an ebook copy of Unraveled. Thanks to everyone that participated in our fun event.

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    12. Win Kindle Paperwhite eReader

    Being a writer affords me the liberty of creating characters who mean something to me and have characteristics that I like to see. I love getting to know them, then standing back and letting them tell me their story.

    Here is some insight into the men of Unraveled:

    Caedon Keene: the hot blackbelt who is interested in Autumn. He's sensitive, but deadly which makes him even more alluring.

    Eduardo: Autumn's Taco Bell loving cousin. He's her partner in crime and modeled after Tommy Lee of Motley Crue:

    Papi: Autumn's father. He's a baker, and an honest hardworking man. He doesn't understand Autumn's math gift, but believes in her talent.

    Now for the cool stuff 

    What’s up for grabs on my blog?

    A FREE E-book of Unraveled

    How to enter? Answer this question in the comment section below:

    What's your favorite mystery novel?

    What’s up for grabs on during the Blog Hop?

    • One lucky hopper will win a KINDLE PAPERWHITE eREADER sponsored by Evernight Teen.
    • Every book blogger/reviewer site is giving away one free eBook from Evernight Teen (winner’s choice of any eBook from Evernight Teen’s website).

    • Plus, each author offers their own unique prize! So visit each blog hop stop for a host of fabulous prizes to win.

    Be sure to leave your answer and your email address in the comments below to be eligible to win an eBook of Unraveled.

    Continue hopping to the next stop!

    Here is the Link so you can go on to the next blog for a chance to win more prizes.

    Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

    11 Comments on Win Kindle Paperwhite eReader, last added: 6/28/2013
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    13. Surviving SARPE surgery

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    Am I glad I did it? Yes.

    It was worth it to have my bite and teeth fixed correctly for the second time. I wore an expander and braces as a teen-ager, but my teeth decided to move around.

    Here's what I've learned:

    1) When you tell other adults you got braces and need surgery, they'll show you their crooked teeth despite having worn braces as a teen. Seriously, there needs to be a permanent post-braces process, so we only have to live through it once.

    2) Even though SARPE surgery is out patient, if you can stay the night in the hospital- do it. I was well taken care of. Ice for my ice packs was brought to me every 2 hours. My vitals were taken every 2 hours to make sure I was recovering well. Through my IV, I was given antibiotics, anti-swelling and pain medication. Having the adjustable bed was helpful because I could sit up which was more comfortable.

    3)Buy your post surgery food in advance. I purchased protein powder, applesauce, pudding, ice cream, soup, and tons of fruits & vegetables that I juiced. My favorite go-to drink was the chocolate carnation instant breakfast.

    4) Sit up as much as possible to help with the swelling

    5) Make sure you have someone to help you out because you're going to be tired and healing.

    6) Get the best chapstick you can because your lips are going to get super dry and chapped.

    7) Stay hydrated-nothing will make you feel worse then getting dehydrated

    8) Make you sure you have an experienced, reputable surgeon. I had hardly any bruising and wasn't really in to much pain.

    9) Be prepared to be gap toothed. As you crank the expander, a gap will develop and you'll look like Madonna.

    If you are going to have SARPE surgery, I wish you good luck and speedy healing.

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    14. Wearing Braces as an Adult

    There's nothing like a pair of braces to make you feel like a teen-ager again. I don't have a bad perm and now wear contacts, but I still feel like I'm fourteen all over again. What's been interesting is that people stare. They stared at 14 and they stare at 47.

    I have clear braces on top and metal ones on the bottom. My rubber bands on the bottom are turquoise because it's my daughter's favorite color. They didn't have fancy colors when I wore them the first time.

    If the braces weren't bad enough, I have an expander in. Once I have my SARPE surgery tomorrow, it will help expand my narrow upper jaw. Right now, it only serves to make me talk weird  and is a haven for food getting stuck.

    Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to get the 411 on the SARPE surgery. I got some tips like using frozen peas for the swelling since they'll mold to your face.

    I also recently watched the movie, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, on Netflix and loved it. I bought a juicer and have been enjoying some delicious juice. It will come in handy for my liquid diet post surgery.

    A stack of books is on my nightstand waiting to be read. I hope I feel up to it because I relish the time I'll have to just heal and read.

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    15. Unraveled on sale for .99 cents

    In honor of my characters' Hispanic heritage, we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo by having the Kindle version of  Unraveled on sale for .99 cents.

    The sale runs from May 3-May 8th.


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    16. I'm on a Blog Tour

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    I'm doing a blog tour this week and next. Hope you can drop by one of these sites. A few of them have giveaways, so you can enter for a chance to win my book, Unraveled.


    15 – Spotlight @ Dana’s YABook Pile

    15 – Guest Blog and Giveaway @ A Little Bit of R & R

    17 – Spotlight and GIveaway @ The Rambling’s of a Toddler’s Mom

    17 – Interview @ Laurie’s Non-paranormal Thoughts and Reviews

    18 – Spotlight & Review @ Lindsay’s Scribblings

    18 – Spotlight @ The Bootheel Cotton Patch

    19 – Spotlight & Extended Excerpt @ Laura Diamond

    19 – Guest Blog & Review @ My Guilty Obsession

    22 – Guest Blog @ Karen Y.Bynum

    24 – Interview & Review @ Out There Reviews and Stuff

    25 – Interview & Review @ Girls Heart Books

    26 – Spotlight & Review @ Falling into Reading Reviews

    29 – Spotlight @ New Age Mama

    30 – Character Post & Review & Giveaway @ Reader Girls (Post from Autumn's Point of view: What makes a great FBI profiler and what she expects to gain from becoming one?)

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    17. Goodreads Giveaway

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Unraveled by S.X. Bradley


    by S.X. Bradley

    Giveaway ends March 15, 2013.

    See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

    Enter to win

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    18. Valentine's Day Blog Hop

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    Happy Valentine's Day to all my fellow YA & Mysterybook lovers.

    In honor of Valentine's day, I am giving away an Ebook or paperback (You choose) of my new YA mystery novel, Unraveled.

    Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family.

    When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder

    To win  just leave a comment with either your favorite YA or mystery novel and the author's name and I'll choose a winner at random on Feb 18th, so please include your e-mail..
    Please visit my fellow Evernight Teen author's websites to win more prizes. Click the links below.

    1 Comments on Valentine's Day Blog Hop, last added: 2/14/2013
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    19. I'm in Grad School

    I'm taking an 8 week Writer's Workshop through McDaniel College. I'm learning so much about receiving and giving critiques. It's amazing how I can read something a hundred times and still not see something that my classmates have point out.

    Our instructor is the fabulous Jill Santopolo who is an author and and editor for Philomel.

    On the SCBWI front, the Central and Southern Ohio is planning a fundraising Bookfair at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, June 25th from 11:00-4:00. Hope to see you there.

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    20. How to Critique with Finese

    One of my favorite things about my Writing Workshop class is reading the amazing work of my classmates. One of our directives is to note three things that we love and then we post three questions we have about the pages. I like this approach alot better than picking out something positive then picking out something negative, then ending with something positive.

    I don't think it's our place as a critiquer to point out the negative. Is there really a negative? Isn't it really about helping the author produce the best manuscript possible? That's why I like the question approach. Maybe something isn't clear or it didn't come across as the author intended.

    For my own critiques, I plan to focus on the similar comments that several people mentioned. Those are the areas that obvious aren't working.

    It's interesting that I feel like I'm becoming a better writer by critiquing 70 pages a week. I also love reading the critiques that I'm getting from my classmates and an instructor. I'm always amazed that I have looked at my pages hundreds of times and have not seen something so obvious.

    There's such a level of trust in handing over your literary babies and saying "Okay, tear them apart, so I can make them better." It's scary but it's so worth it.

    So go out there and find a great critique group.

    1 Comments on How to Critique with Finese, last added: 6/22/2011
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    21. My First Novel Being Published by Evernight Teen

    I'm so excited to announce that my first young adult mystery will be published by in Spring 2013. I plan to resurrect my blog and chronicle the journey to publication while working a full time job, plus being a mom, and continuing my MFA from Seton Hill.

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    22. All About the Digits

    1. The study of fingerprints is called Dactylography

    2. Fingerprints are identified using three patterns: whorls, loops, and arches.

    3. No two fingerprints are alike even on identical twins.

    4. Most commonly used forensic evidence worldwide

    5. The AIST (Academy of Investigation Services & Training) offers a fingerprint identification course.

    6. IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database is used by more than 20,000 agencies worldwide for the identification of fingerprints

    7. Fingerprints are produced by the sweat and oil in your fingers

    8. Normally, when you injure a finger, the same fingerprint pattern appears on the new skin. If you damage the inner skin layer, you may have a new fingerprint pattern.

    9. Gangster John Dillinger tried removing his fingerprints but dipping his fingers in acid. It didn’t work

    10. Fingerprints are the “pegs” that connect your outer skin to the inner skin layer





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    1 Comments on All About the Digits, last added: 1/13/2013
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    23. Forensic Entomology

    Add to Technorati FavoritesForensic Entomology is the study of insects found in and/ around a dead body. Think of Grissom on CSI: Las Vegas. He loved his bugs and used them to solve crimes.

    • Necrophagous are the insects that are found on corpses.

    • Insects can disturb and affect the crime scene. They can walk through blood and leave tracks. They can ingest blood, and then leave deposits elsewhere.

    • Insects found on a body may point to a specific location based on the natural habitat of the insect and the material they eat.

    • You can determine time of death based on insect activity and life cycle stage

    • Forensic entomology can be used in helping to solve criminal, civil, food contamination, and abuse cases.

    • The use of forensic entomology was started in the 14th century in China

    • In the novel, Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris, the rare moths were one of the ways the FBI was able to find the serial killer

    • Child killer, Kevin Neal, was convicted using forensic entomology

    • Dr. Neal Haskell is one of the most renowned forensic entomologists and has participated in hundreds of trials.

    • If you are a forensic entomologist, you can join NAFEA (North American Forensic Entomology Association.






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    24. Unraveled Cover is Revealed

    Add to Technorati FavoritesForensic Friday is being replaced with Freak-Out Friday.

    Unraveled now has a cover and is on the front page of www.evernightteen.com

    It's a milestone as a writer to see your book cover. I wish this feeling on all the writers out there.

    0 Comments on Unraveled Cover is Revealed as of 1/26/2013 9:28:00 PM
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    25. Unraveled is Released

    My young adult mystery is out Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.
    Available in Paperback and E-book from major retailers.
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