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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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1. Writer Wednesday: Tips for Author Signings

Since I have three author events and another (BEA) next month, I thought I'd share a few tips for author signings. I hope you find them helpful.

  • Don't just sit behind a table.  If you have to be behind a table (which I had to be at YA Fest), then stand. One, you're more visible—especially if you are short like I am and you don't clear your books by much when you sit. Two, you're more approachable because you appear closer to the people in attendance. Third, sitting can make you appear bored, which is not a message you want to send.
  • Smile and talk to everyone.  No one wants to approach an author who is blank-faced. Smile and be personable. Ask people where they're from. Ask  how there day is going. Ask what kind of books they like to read. 
  • Talk about more than just your book.  Yes, you are there to sell your books, but you're a human being too. Let people see that. Comment on a clever saying on a T-shirt someone is wearing or a cool color nail polish. Show that you aren't just a salesman. You're a person who cares about more than just making money.
  • Sit when you sign.  Yes, I know I told you to stand, and you should, but when it comes to signing the book, sit down. Your handwriting will be neater. I was so nervous for my first signing that my hand shook. Sitting down helps with that nervous shaking that can make your signature look like an elementary-school student wrote it. Once you're finished signing, stand back up and engage the reader again.
  • Offer to take a picture.  This one I learned from the very awesome Jennifer Armentrout. She offered to take pictures with everyone, which was great because sometimes fans are too shy or nervous to ask you for a picture. This takes the pressure off them.
  • Bring SWAG.  Offering something extra to readers, whether it's a bookmark, candy, stickers, tattoos, etc, goes a long way. I went through two huge bags of zombie limb candy at YA Fest. And... it brought people to my table because they wanted to know what it was. Also, those who liked zombies, then asked me what my books were about. See how that worked? ;)
  • Have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter.  This is one I forgot to do, but will definitely do in the future. Business cards get lost (or put through the wash if people leave them in their pockets), so even if people take them, you don't know that they'll use them. However, if they leave their email address, you can sign them up for your newsletters and know that they are getting the info about your books.

Those are my top tips for author signings. Do you have any other tips you want to mention?

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2. Monday Mishmash 4/21/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. YA Fest  On Saturday, I attended YA Fest with 49 other authors. It was crazy awesome. I got to meet my Month9Books family who I've talked to online but never met in person before.
Pab Sungenis, Jackie Kessler, Me, Jen McConnel, Janice Bashman, and Donna Gallanti

I also finally met Jennifer Armentrout in person, which was awesome since she blurbed my Touch of Death series for me.

Kate Kaynak photo bombed a picture, giving Lisa Amowitz bunny ears. ;)

So, I took a picture with Kate.

The lovely Kimberly Miller was nice enough to take a picture of me at my table.

I got a nice surprise when my friend and fellow author, Beth Consugar, showed up. We'd never met in person before.

Here's me with YA Fest founder, Jennifer Murgia, who happened to blurb The Monster Within for me.

And here I am with the totally sweet Jen McConnel. Seriously, what a sweetheart!

And that's probably way more pictures than you wanted to see, but I had an absolute blast and had to share. 

2.  Monroe County Book Expo  I'll be at the Hughes branch of the Eastern Monroe County Library on Saturday from 10am-3pm signing copies of all my books, PB through YA, and my Ashelyn Drake title, Campus Crush.

3.  Editing  I'm editing for clients this week along with working on revisions for two of my books. April has been such a busy month for me.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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3. Friday Feature: A Whisper in Time by Elizabeth Langston

"I have never been useless in my life…"

Rescued from a life of servitude by the boy she loves, Susanna Marsh escapes across two centuries, only to be plunged into a world she's ill-prepared to face. Unable to work or go to school, Susanna finds herself dependent on others to survive.

Immersed in the fun and demands of his senior year of high school, Mark Lewis longs to share his world with the girl who's captured his heart. But first he must tackle government bureaucracy to prove Susanna's identity.

Overwhelmed by her new home, Susanna seeks refuge in history and in news of the people she left behind. But when she learns that danger stalks her sister, Susanna must weigh whether to risk her own future in order to save Phoebe's happiness.

If you haven't read Whisper Falls yet, the first book in this series, you should. I loved it. Mark and Susanna are from different times, yet that doesn't stop them from falling for each other and their story is both touching and exciting to read. Elizabeth was nice enough to share a scene from A Whisper In Time, which releases April 8, 2014 through Spencer Hill Press. I'm really looking forward to it.

Setting up the scene: A Whisper In Time begins five weeks after Whisper Falls ends.  Susanna has immigrated across two centuries and doesn't understand how modern America works. One weekday, left alone at Mark's house, she finds herself locked out.

It took very few moments to discover that every door at Mark's house was locked.

I tried the garage last. It had a keypad that could raise the garage door, if only I could remember the correct numbers.

Mark said that the numbers changed each month and reflected a special occasion. What was the holiday for September? Had it not occurred this Sunday?

9-1-1. Yes, that had to be it. I pressed the three buttons.

Nothing happened. 

I tried again. There was no difference. Perhaps I should abandon the keypad and seek an open window instead.

I walked to the driveway and then assessed the distance from the ground to the window of the studio apartment over the garage.

A vehicle rolled behind me on the lane and stopped. A car door shut slowly with a deep ker-thunk. I glanced over my shoulder. A man in a dark uniform approached. He must be a member of law enforcement. An unfortunate circumstance.

"Hello," I said, clasping my hands before me. "Are you a police officer?"

"I am," he said, his voice clipped. "Who are you?"

"Susanna. How may I help you?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing."

Were there not crimes to manage in this city? My problem seemed entirely too mundane to concern the police. "I cannot get into the house."

"Why not?"

"It ís locked, and the keypad doesn't work."

"Ah. Do you know the combination?"

"Apparently not, else I should be inside now."

His eyes narrowed. "Is this your house?"

"No, indeed. It belongs to the Lewis family, but I do sleep here."

"Where do you sleep?"

"In the space over the garage."

"Miss, Iíll need to see some ID."

"I do not have any."

"Is your ID in the space over the garage too?"

Had he not heard me? "I have no identification card. The government will not give me one." I shook my head. America was far too concerned with identification.

"Miss, why don't you come with me?" He caught my elbow and tried to tug me down the driveway.

"Pardon me, sir," I said, pulling my arm from his grasp. "It isn't proper for you to touch me so."

He reached for me again. "Okay, that ís enough."

Have you read Whisper Falls yet? What do you think of this excerpt?

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4. Writer Wednesday: Beware the Repetition

If you read my Monday Mishmash, then you know I've been busy with my own revisions and editing for clients. Something that came up in both is repetition. Sometimes you want repetition for emphasis or to offer a new insight, like when your MC makes a big revelation. But in most cases, repetition needs to be cut. Here's why.

Repetition just tells the reader what they already know. You're almost insulting the reader's intelligence by assuming they can't remember certain details. Consider if the reminder is necessary or if that space on the page is better spent offering the reader something new. Most of the time, you should be offering new information that moves the story forward.

Repetition slows down the pace of your story. If you want tension to be high, don't backtrack by reminding us of details you've already mentioned. I know it's tough sometimes to hit that delete key because you spent countless hours pouring over those words and they're brilliant. The problem is, those words were brilliant when you said them the first time. After that...you see where I'm going with this.

Most repetition comes from drafting or revising in stages. How many times have you gotten a great idea for something to add during revisions only to find you said the exact same thing (or just about) a few paragraphs later? I do this all the time, and I have to then edit one of those out. My tip is to try to revise in the least sittings possible because that will allow you to catch more instances of repetition.

I challenge you to find repetition in your own work and see if it's really needed.

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5. Monday Mishmash 4/14/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. YA Fest  I'll be at YA Fest this Saturday (April 19th) signing copies of Touch of Death, Stalked by Death, and Face of Death. I'll also have plenty of SWAG including bookmarks, zombie limb candy, and buttons. I'm excited.
  2. Revisions  I'm currently revising three of my novels all on deadlines ranging from tomorrow to May 15th. I love revising. It's when I really get attached to my characters.
  3. Client edits  I'm also editing for clients. I have several edits scheduled through this month and May, which always makes me happy.
  4. Spring pictures  I'm working at my daughter's school on Wednesday for spring pictures. It's always fun to see the kids dressed up.
  5. Happy Holidays!  I wish you all a very happy Easter and Passover. 

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Friday Feature: Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters

My name is Alyson Joanne Devlin, but everyone calls me AJ. I have two best friends, Julie and Jaime, a champion mare, and a great family. Then Celine Carroll came to town, and brought disaster with her. Celine took over my life. Celine took over Julie and Jaime, who aren’t my BFFs any more. Celine caused me to get hurt in cheerleading. 

Speaking of cheerleading, my new partners are Lisa and Amberley, (thanks to Celine), who are the most disliked girls in school. And that’s not all. My parents are divorcing. My mare got hurt. There’s a new woman in my dad’s life. My whole world is upside down. I mean, you’d think Celine was some kind of evil omen, wouldn’t you? Although, Amberley becomes the one bright light in…well, I guess you’ll have to read my story to learn about Amberley, and what happens to her, to me, and to Celine.

Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters by Mikki Sadil
Genre Tween Contemporary Fiction
Pages  231

Celine led us into the open kitchen/family room. A large gold-framed painting of Celine sitting astride a Thoroughbred and holding a silver trophy hung over the fireplace. Other framed paintings of horses, some with Celine, hung all over the walls. Most of them had blue ribbons next to them. I looked over at Julie, and she mouthed silently, “Wow!”
None of my friends’ family rooms looked like this. Ours always looked lived in, with dust on the coffee table, a few books lying around, and one of the twins’ games left forgotten on the floor. We had pictures of the twins and Andrew on their horses, and several of Sunni and me, but none of them were in gold frames. Ours was a real family room, not an art gallery like this. And it sure didn’t smell like fresh roses, either; more like…well, horses and whatever we had for dinner the night before.
Celine said, “Come on into the kitchen. You can sit at the bar, and I’ll get some snacks.”
A few minutes later, Julie, Jaime, and Celine were laughing and talking like they’d been friends forever, while I nibbled on chips and sipped my soda. I licked my lips, savoring the salty rim the chips left. The soda was cold and crisp going down my sore throat, but I almost choked on it when I heard some of the things Celine told the Js. The way they ate up all the stuff she told them about her very rich life in New York made them look as if they were hypnotized. I wasn’t buying it.
I felt neglected and angry. The Js and I were best friends. Now this Celine chick popped up out of nowhere, and they were acting like I wasn’t even in the same room.
I slipped off the stool and looked at the horse pictures. Across the hall was an open door leading to another large room. Since no one had even noticed I wasn’t at the bar, I walked over and peered inside. There were two big desks covered with computers, monitors, and more telephones than we had in our whole house.
Suddenly a hand reached out and grabbed my shoulder. It hurt so bad I thought someone had put me in a vice.
A rough voice said, “Who are you and what are you doing snooping around? Answer me!”
I struggled to turn around and wished I hadn’t. The woman holding me looked positively evil. She was tall and skinny, with blunt cut black hair that barely touched her shoulders, and the meanest eyes I’d ever seen. Her face was broad and covered by acne pits. A long scar ran from the corner of her left eye, across her nose, down her right cheek and disappeared somewhere under her shoulder-length hair.
For the first time in my life, I knew exactly what that old cliché meant about something “making your skin crawl.”
She grabbed my other shoulder and shook me. Her hands were big, almost like a man’s, and they felt like steel.
I cleared my throat and tried not to sound as scared as I felt. “Uh, my friends and I…we…uh…we’re here with Celine. I was just looking at all the horse pictures and saw this room. I’m sorry if I did anything wrong.”
The woman looked me over from head to toe, then gave me a hard push. “Go back to your friends, and don’t ever let me catch you anywhere near this room again. You hear me?”
I felt like saying, “Or what?” but figured that might not be such a good idea. I nodded and backed away. Still scowling, she went into the room and slammed the door.
I walked back to where the Js and Celine were sitting. They were still laughing and talking. Obviously, they hadn’t even noticed I’d been gone.
“Hey,” I said abruptly, “it’s been fun, but I have homework and barn chores to do. Julie and Jaime, we still have more work to do on the history project. What time do you want to come over tonight so we can work on it?”
The Js looked at each other. “Um, AJ, since Celine is new and doesn’t have a science partner, she’s going to work with us. We’re coming back here tonight. That way we can show her what we are doing, so she can catch up.” Julie didn’t look at me.
It got real quiet all of a sudden. The Js had funny little half-smiles on their faces, but Celine definitely had a smirk on hers. Yeah, they were hypnotized all right.
“Fine, do what you want. I have to go.” I strolled out of the kitchen, deliberately brushing some chip crumbs from my shirt on the snowy white carpet. I slammed the front door, pulled on my shoes,, and ran down the driveway.

Find Mikki on Facebook and Twitter.

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7. Writer Wednesday: My Writing Process Blog Tour

I've been tagged by the lovely Fiona Phillips to talk about my writing process. So, here I go!

I primarily write young adult speculative fiction, but I also write middle grade and picture books because I love children's books in general. I'm the author of the Touch of Death series through Spencer Hill Press, which can be found here.

What am I working on?
Lots of stuff, as always. I'm revising three sequels right now, all set to come out in 2015. I'm also writing a new book that is so top secret I can't talk about it yet. ;) And I'm getting ready for the release of The Monster Within in June.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I love to find ways to twist plots so they aren't just more of what's already been done. So far I've written about descendants of Medusa, psychic vampires, and Phoenixes. I love anything out of the ordinary and that helps as far as making sure my work is unique.

Why do I write what I do?
I've always felt that paranormal and fantasy are like the real world only better. I find writing this genre is a great way to escape from life for a little while and step into something a little more interesting.

How does my writing process work?
I spend a lot of time plotting books before I start drafting, but then I typically let my characters take over and throw out my original planning because my characters are much smarter than I am. I also like to fast draft, writing as much as 18K in one day. I find the story flows better when I write that quickly.

Here's who's up next week for the My Writing Process Blog Hop:

Beth Fred: Beth Fred is the author of Fate of a Marlowe Girl, The Other Marlowe Girl, and A Missing Peace.

Kym BrunnerKym Brunner dreams entire books in her head, but then needs about a year to write the whole thing down. She wishes there was an app for this. When she's not writing, she's teaching 7th grade or watching movies, reality TV, or scoping out the social media scene. Friend her at Author Kym Brunner or find her on Goodreads.

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8. Monday Mishmash 4/7/14

  1. Revising  I'm working on revisions for Perfect For You and Out of the Ashes this week. The first is off of editorial notes, and the second is a sequel under contract that I have to submit to my editor by the 15th.
  2. Editing  I'm also editing for clients, which always makes me happy.
  3. Family Expo  I had a blast at the Family Expo yesterday. It's always fun to talk to people about what I do for a living.
  4. Home Improvements  We are prepping for an addition and buying lighting and other fun stuff. I'm dreading the construction but really excited to have it finished.
  5. Prepping a Giveaway for The Monster Within  We're almost two months away from the release of The Monster Within. I'm planning a giveaway with a gift card and lots of goodies. :) Stay tuned!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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9. Friday Feature: Finding Me by Dawn Brazil

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Carmichael’s perfect world is in chaos.

It’s not because she has a vision of her boyfriend murdered. And then he’s found dead exactly as she saw. It’s not because she suddenly has the ability to move objects when she’s upset. It’s kinda cool to close a door without touching it. It’s not her overbearing mother who only cares about appearances. Chloe’s grown accustomed to her family’s distance. 

So what has Chloe cringing in fear?
It’s a love that defies reason.  It’s a love that speaks to the heart. It demands attention. But Chloe struggles with a love that exposes the soul. What will her family think? What will her friends think? And is she worthy of his love.

And it’s having to become another person for a new group of people. Chloe knows she’s not perfect but apparently she was when she was Amanda in another life. Her new friends won’t let her forget. It’s the stench of death that hoovers over her every move. It’s the threat of finality as she tries to acclimate to a life of super human proportions. It’s an enemy she can’t see, doesn’t remember, and can be anyone she’s ever known. But her enemy knows her well. She’s the lone person with the knowledge to destroy him. But she doesn’t remember.

And it’s never discovering who she really is before finality meets reality.


I forced my eyes upward. My mind cascaded over all the things I could say. I knew I shouldn’t allow him to bully me. My thoughts scattered, the right words slipped away. “I…no…you are not–”

My head jerked back suddenly, casting a dozen sparkling stars across my eyes, and a bolt of electricity shot up my spine. The zap was so intense, I stumbled, face-first to the floor. The fall should have thrown me to the smooth, dry surface of the wood floor of the school hallway.

It didn’t.

My hands met moisture. My eyes bulged as I took in what lay beneath them: grass.

I lifted my head to scan the area, stunned to silence. A sea of green enveloped me. The urge to scream overpowered everything, but I fought it. I clasped my hands to my mouth to muffle the sound that escaped anyway.  
The football field stretched before me.                
How can I be here? This isn’t possible. I scrambled to my feet, spun around, and gazed at the school I’d been in moments ago. I shut my eyes tight. “Please let me be back in the school, about to have the biggest fight with Zack,” I said aloud.  

My heart thrummed at my chest, but my eyes remained shut, afraid of what I might find once I dared a peek. But standing with them closed wasn’t an option. A crow cawed overhead to urge me on. My eyes sprang open. 

Confusion twisted away at my insides. Why was I still on the field? I swallowed back the lump in my throat and ran a shaky hand through my thick hair that continually blew into my face, obstructing my vision.    
Straining against the glare of the midday sun, I tripped, my feet two cinderblocks in my boots. For late August, the Manhattan wind that kicked up seemed to scream winter and not fall. I tucked the unruly strands of hair, tossed about by the rebel wind, behind my ear and took another reluctant step forward. That was when I saw it. The crimson red thrust against the emerald green of the field. The colors blended, reminding me of Freddy Krueger’s sweater in A Nightmare on Elm Street. There was a lot of blood in that movie. And I was pretty certain blood was the red part I saw on the field.

I gasped. My breath caught in my throat and the stench of copper invaded my nostrils. I fought against the urge to vomit, yet couldn’t contain the desire to move closer.

I’d never seen a dead body before.

After a few steps, my feet refused their forward motion. Fear raced slick and hot up my spine. The familiar face taunted me. It should; I knew it well. It belonged to Zack.  
I fell to the ground near his body. Confused, emotions swirled. My heart raced and my stomach flipped. I leaned forward to grasp the rigid turf as a wave of nausea rocked my body. But I refused to look away.

I searched his open eyes, as dark and bleak as night, unable to comprehend what I saw. His gaze was blank. Two holes that lead to nothing but emptiness. I extended my hand to close them. Tears fell over my outstretched arm as I inched my hand toward him. Fear pierced my resolve. I tried to choke back the fear. It lingered.                                                                                   

*Finding Me is free for five days, starting on the official release date, April 2!!!*
About the Author:
Dawn Brazil writes books for Young Adults. Her debut novel, Finding Me, is an Urban fantasy and is releasing officially on April 2, 2014. She also writes science fiction and romance but will read anything with great characters. She is currently writing a novella titled, Finding Her, from her character Chris's point of view from Finding Me. She lives in South Texas with her husband, three kids, and her great big imagination. For more useless information about Dawn check out her Blog @ http://dawnbrazil.blogspot.com or Facebook page - www.facebook.com/authordawnbrazil- where she is the most annoyingly random person in America. Or find her on Twitter @dawnbrazil, where her randomness can be quite annoying but thankfully is restrained to 140 characters.

Find Dawn online:

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10. Writer Wednesday: Author Events Where You Can't Sell Books

I have an author event this Sunday that I've gone to for the past few years. It's not an event where I can sell books. (It's not even an event that focuses on books. The focus is local businesses.) I have a table to display my books, business cards, and SWAG to giveaway, but I am not allowed to sell anything. Why do I do this? Simple. Being an author isn't just about selling books. It's about sharing what we do and making people into readers.

At this event, I talk to people about writing in general—how I went from idea to book, how I found my agent, how I got published, and what I do on a daily basis. The amazing thing is that most of the people in attendance are non-readers, and yet they find authors interesting. I think it's because authors genuinely love what we do. Sharing my writing career with strangers is so much fun for me. Sure, some of these people take my business cards and order my books. I know because they come back the following year and tell me they bought one of my books and what they thought of it. That's great because of course I love getting sales, but it's not why I go to this event.

It's about making connections with readers and/or turning people into readers. I've also gotten invites to other author appearances each year from the people I speak with at this event. 

So marketing isn't just about selling copies of your books. Keep that in mind when you book your next event.

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11. Monday Mishmash 3/31/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Family Expo  I'll be at the Family Expo on Sunday the 6th from noon to 3pm talking about writing and displaying my books. The Expo is held at East Stroudsburg High School South if you're in the area.
  2. Edits  I'm expecting edits this week for Perfect For You, my upcoming Ashelyn Drake YA contemporary romance. I'm excited!
  3. Author Events  April is a busy month for me. I have three author events scheduled.
  4. Reading  I'm reading Insurgent right now. I loved Divergent, but I'm not as in love Insurgent just yet. I'm enjoying it, but not quite as much as book one.
  5. Need To Read  Tomorrow is the first Need To Read post on YA Bound. Need To Read is a new meme, posted on the first Tuesday of each month, that highlights books releasing that month. These are the books we've waited for and now we can read them. Feel free to grab the button and post your Need To Read books.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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12. Friday Feature: Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My thoughts:
I won this book a long time ago on Medeia Sharif's blog but it's been sitting on my bookshelf. Why? As much as I wanted to read it, I was worried about all the hype. I thought it wouldn't live up to it. But I finally decided to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. Tris is a character I could identify with from the start because she felt so real. She doesn't fit in with her family or her faction. And when her simulation says she's Divergent and confirms that she doesn't fit in anywhere, she has to make a big decision. Being Divergent is dangerous. If people found out, she would be killed. So Tris makes a big decision and leaves her faction for one she thinks will save her.

I was really glad that Tris struggled a lot in her new faction. Things were tough, yet she'd have small victories along the way. I thought it was the perfect balance. She also develops some great relationships, though not all end well for her. While it's obvious that there's going to be something between Tris and Four, there were plenty of surprises there too, and I loved seeing what was going to happen next.

I wish I didn't put this serious off for so long, and I'm looking forward to the movie adaptation and book two.

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13. Writer Wednesday: The Monster Within ARC and Teaser

On Monday I got a nice surprise in my mailbox. 
My ARC of The Monster Within! Yay! I spent yesterday proofreading it. I never get tired of reading this book because Sam and Ethan are very special to me. And of course I made a teaser video for you. Enjoy!

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14. Monday Mishmash 3/24/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Touch of Death for $0.99!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Touch of Death is only $0.99 on Kindle. Get it here.

2. Need To Read  I've created a new meme over at YA Bound called Need To Read. On the first Tuesday of each month, I'll feature releases from that month that I'm excited to read. You can join me by grabbing the button and posting your Need To Read list on the first Tuesday of each month.

3. Catching up on my TBR list  I have three books to review this week as I try to catch up on my TBR pile.

4. Drafting  I'm drafting a new idea but I'm doing it between a lot of other stuff, which is not typical for me. I hope this works. lol

5. My Tethered Soul Cover Reveal  Dorothy Dreyer had a cover reveal on Friday. Check out the cover and blurb for My Tethered Soul. (I'm looking forward to this one!)

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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15. Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop

Thank you for stopping by the Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop hosted by Heather Lyons and Kelly Hashway! 

Door Prize: Your door prize for joining us is the short story prequel to the Touch of Death series titled Curse of Death. It's the myth about Medusa and how she was cursed by the goddess Athena. Claim your free gift by clicking here.

Heather and Kelly are teaming up to show you a very different side of Medusa. Forget the monster you might think she was, and check out these excerpts from The Deep End of the Sea and Touch of Death. You just might change your mind about Medusa.

The Deep End of the Sea excerpt:
The Deep End of the SeaBut there’s no way around it. I am, in fact, a monster. A hideous one, to be precise, but as I don’t have any mirrors on Gorgóna, I can’t verify that one for certain. I rely on the fact that every single person I’ve frozen over the ages boasts abject fear on their face, which makes me believe they find me pretty horrifying. And it sucks. It genuinely, truly, absolutely, unequivocally sucks. I hate stealing lives.

Thus, not only am I a monster, I’m a really lousy one. A lonely, classic Five Stages of Grief following, insecure, shut-in of a pathetic beast who talks to the snakes on her head and the statues on her island.

Find Heather online: 

Purchase The Deep End of the Sea on Amazon or B&N.

Touch of Death excerpt:
My hair blew up, flying wildly all around me. My blood bubbled in my veins like boiling water, but it didn't hurt. It was the feeling of power. Too much power. My body felt like it was going to burst. Still I held on. My eyes closed, and I threw my head back. An imaged filled my mind. Medusa. Her snakes wriggled their bodies at me, flicking their tongues. Chills ran down the backs of my legs, but I forced my eyes away from the snakes. Lower. To Medusa's face. She smiled at me. Her face and eyes filled with warmth. She looked like…Mom.

"Do not fear me, Jodi. My blood lies in your veins and in your heart. you are one of mine. My children."

Find Kelly online:

Purchase the Touch of Death series on Amazon or B&N.

If you want more Medusa, be sure to check out The Deep End of the Sea and the Touch of Death series. And…Heather and Kelly have a giveaway for you. Enter on the rafflecopter form for your chance to win a $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, Medusa Makeup lipgloss, signed bookmarks from both authors, buttons for each book, and Touch of Death stickers.

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16. Writer Wednesday: Pressure

Pressure is something we all feel from time to time. Pressure to write a great book, to find an agent, to get a good book deal, to make a living from writing. I've seen great writers talk about quitting, and it makes me sad. I know quite a few NY Times Bestsellers. Sometimes that's tough for me because as happy as I am to see my friends succeed, I wonder if I'll ever get there myself. That's when I feel the pressure.

There's one thing I do know for certain, though. I'll never stop writing. I'll never stop trying to become a NY Times Bestseller. But you know what? I'll also never take it for granted that I can write for a living. It's the best job in the world (after being Mom), and I'm so thankful that my husband makes enough money to pay the bills and my income isn't that big of a deal. Sure I make money writing and editing, but I'm no J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan. For now, I'm okay with that.

I keep reminding myself that it's okay to push toward my dreams, but I have to also enjoy the journey—where I am now. I'll never stop feeling the pressure this industry can place on me, but I won't let it consume me either.

How do you deal with the pressure of the writing industry?

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17. Monday Mishmash 3/17/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Kiss of Death  I've been working on revisions for a Touch of Death prequel novella told from Alex's point of view. I fell hard for Alex and wanted to tell his story (pre-Jodi) to give readers a little insight as to how he ends up the person we all see in Touch of Death. Stay tuned for more info on when this novella will be available.
  2. Idea Overload  Last week I got a bunch of new ideas and jotted them all down. One idea is speaking to me louder than the others so I'm plotting that one and trying to work on it in between edits.
  3. 5 Books in 2014?  I don't know how I didn't realize this—I think my subconscious wouldn't let me focus on it—but I have 5 books releasing this year. 5! Face of Death, The Monster Within, Perfect For You, Into the Fire, and Curse of the Granville Fortune are all 2014 titles. How on earth did that happen? I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.
  4. Reading  I'm trying to work my way through some books that have been on my shelf for years now. I need more time to read.
  5. Perfect For You  In case you missed my cover reveal last week, my upcoming Ashelyn Drake YA contemporary romance has a gorgeous cover! Check it out and feel free to add it on Goodreads.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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18. Friday Feature: Aire by Lena Goldfinch

Principessa Annalisia is stunned and conscience-stricken when an unknown enemy mistakenly abducts her maidservant. Determined to find the girl, Annalisia disguises herself as plain Anna and slips away from the palace. She tracks down Jovanni, her maidservant's daring older brother, and they soon begin to search together. As they uncover clues, Anna also discovers a kindred spirit in Jovanni. But would he be so free with her if he knew who she really was? Doubtful. Even so, she reveals her secret gift of visions to him, and in so doing disobeys the orders of her beloved grandmother, the queen.With Jovanni, Anna can almost imagine she’s like any other seventeen-year-old girl, free to pursue the longings of her heart. When she learns that he also has a secret—he's a sentinel, an ancient shapeshifter who can take the form of a falcon—it seems as if they were destined to be together, as in the legends of il Sentiro. Though Anna is tempted to wish otherwise, she can’t forget that she’s a princess and it's her duty to marry another. Meanwhile, their hunt leads Anna ever closer to danger, for she herself is being hunted.

My thoughts:
When I started reading this it reminded me of the TV series Reign, which I love, so I eagerly jumped right in. Anna isn't your typical princess. She cares a lot about the people around her and she has visions, which she can use to save those very people. I loved the emotion throughout the story. I felt like I could feel what Anna was feeling every step of the way, and her connection to Jovanni only made that stronger. But the thing I really liked was that this isn't just about a princess finding the man she loves versus the one she's supposed to marry. Anna's special gift lets her do so much more, and she never loses focus of that. 

Overall, this is a fast read filled with tension, action, and lots of emotion.

This blog tour has a giveaway too! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Aire or any other books by Lena?

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19. Friday Feature: Campus Crush Book Blitz

The Campus Crush Book Blitz is going on right now. You might remember that I write contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake and that I put out a series of novellas last year. Well, I've taken those novellas and put them together in one book called Campus Crush, and the ebook version is only $1.99!

The co-eds of Timberland College know a little romance is good for the soul.
Follow four couples as they try to find love in the Campus Crush Series boxset, including Nothing to Tell, Romancing the R.A., Behind Closed Doors, and Rushing Into Love.
When you're looking for love, you have to be willing to break the rules.

A closer look at the four novellas in Campus Crush:

Nothing To Tell  
Some guys have the art of hooking up down to a science. They know all the right words to say and all the right games to play.

Except...for guys like Mike Hannigan. The dude has got no game, his pick-up lines never work, and to make matters worse, his wing-man is his female best friend, Mindy.

Until one day, a mysterious raven-haired beauty catches Mike's eye and he's determined to have her. He doesn't care what lengths he has to go to. He'll do whatever it takes to perfect his game and figure out what to say without sounding like a sleaze.

But… There's always something strange about mysterious girls. They're usually mysterious for a reason and this girl in particular might be more than Mike bargained for.

Romancing the R.A. 
Noelle Buckman is looking forward to making a fresh start in college, one that doesn’t involve immature high school boys. The second she steps on campus for freshman orientation, she can sense the possibilities. Especially when she spots Andy, a resident advisor who’s not just hot but also thoughtful enough to open doors for a girl.

And Andy has his eye on Noelle. Even when her nerves take control and she thinks she comes off as a hillbilly with no direction, Andy can see what she’s really like and he’s more than a little interested.

But orientation is less than two full days and there’s an entire summer between Noelle and Andy. Will her attempt to romance the R.A. be as short-lived as college orientation?

Behind Closed Doors 
Julia Monroe is through wishing she had an older guy like her best friend Noelle does. It’s time for her to act on her desires. So when she sees sexy, twenty-three-year-old Darren McEntire eating dinner alone at the pub, she decides to make her move. The attraction between them is undeniable, and even through Julia isn’t looking for a one-night stand, she winds up back at Darren’s place the same night she meets him. Only being with him makes her realize what she’s been missing dating other guys. All she wants is Darren.

But Julia allows Darren to think she’s his age and a grad student at the nearby college. She knows she has to confess the truth, but she’s afraid to shatter what they have. Not knowing what to do, she starts the semester only to discover that her new teaching assistant is none other than Darren. With the lies out in the open and campus policy against them, Julia and Darren know the relationship should be over before it even begins. But the chemistry between them is too strong to deny.

Can they find a way to be together or are they doomed to only see each other behind closed doors?

Rushing Into Love 
As a college junior, Mindy Stanton has no interest in dating a freshman.
That is until Ben Whitmore shows up and serenades his way into her heart at the dorm social she’s running. And after hearing him sing, even Mindy can’t deny that he has a deep, sexy voice that makes her melt.

Even though Mindy makes it clear that she doesn’t date younger guys, Ben pursues her anyway. After all, he doesn’t seem like the typical college freshman, who is only interested in hooking up, partying until he can’t remember his name, or joining a frat. He’s a gentleman, a romantic, and definitely knows all the right things to say to sweep a girl off her feet.

So Mindy drops her guard. She allows herself to fall for him. Before she knows it, Ben is all she can think about. To her, he’s perfect. But it doesn’t take Mindy long to discover that even the most perfect guys… have secrets.

Add Campus Crush on Goodreads.

But Campus Crush on Amazon and B&N.

Also, the paperback just released this week! You can find it here.

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Find Ashelyn online

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20. Writer Wednesday: Writing in Small Spurts

I'm drafting again. Yay! I love drafting. I actually had to take a big break from drafting while I worked on edits for several books, but I couldn't be happier to be writing a new book. It's actually the third book in a series, and I'm kind of on a deadline since the book is under contract already. Plus, if you follow my Monday Mishmash posts, you might have noticed I keep myself busy with client edits. Well, I have one coming, which makes my deadline to finish this draft kind of tight.

I'm fast drafting, which means I'm trying to write about 10K+ each day, and I usually do that in one five-hour sitting. But...I read a blog post last weekend where a writer talked about writing in small spurts. I thought, no way. I can't do that. I need huge chunks of time to write.

Well, you know what happens when I say I won't ever do something. Yup, I did it. I had twenty minutes of uninterrupted writing time on Sunday while my husband finished running and my daughter was cleaning her room. So I wrote. I got in a thousand words, and since it wasn't even eight a.m. I was really happy about this. I stress when I have to write with other people around. I don't get peace and quiet. But taking a few minutes here and there can really add up as far as your word count goes, so now I'm all for it.

Can you write in short spurts, or do you need a good chunk of time?

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21. Monday Mishmash 3/3/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Finishing the draft of Up in Flames  Yesterday I finished the first draft of the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix series. It felt so good to be drafting, and reaching the end is bittersweet.

2. Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop March 15th-30th  Heather Lyons and I are hosting a blog hop to show you Medusa as we see her in our YA and NA books: The Touch of Death series and The Deep End of the Sea. There will be door prizes and a giveaway for two gift cards and tons of awesome SWAG. Want to participate? Sign up in the form below.


3. Reading  My reward for finishing the draft of Up in Flames is to finish reading Divergent. Yes, I know I'm behind in my TBR pile. I want to read it before I see the movie though.

4. The "S" word. I'm so over winter. Who's with me?

5. Pot of Gold Giveaway Darkly Delicious YA and Book Nerd Tours  As a member of the Darkly Delicious YA blog, I'm part of this awesome giveaway. 3 winners get Amazon gift cards and one grand prize winner gets a Kindle Fire preloaded with great YA and NA books!

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To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below:

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That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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22. Writer Wednesday: Writers Need Rewards

Last Wednesday I talked about writing in small spurts, and the irony of that was I was fast drafting last week and I wrote 51,000 words in four days. That's a new record for me. I even broke my daily word count record, hitting a new high of 18K in a single day. It was…well, insane.

I did finish my draft and I was happy about that, but I was exhausted. It's crazy to think that sitting and typing would be so tiring, but it is! So I rewarded myself with a reading day on Monday. I lounged around and read Divergent. (Great book, by the way, and I'll be reviewing it later this month.) I learned something from my crazy week of writing pretty much non-stop. Writers need rewards. And we deserve them too. So don't forget to reward yourself for your hard work.

How will you reward yourself this week?

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23. Friday Feature: I Wish Cover Reveal

Today I have a cover reveal for you. This is an upcoming Spencer Hill Press title, and I'm excited to get my hands on it. First, check out the gorgeous cover of I Wish by Elizabeth Langston!

And here's the awesome blurb:
Lacey Linden is hiding the truth of her life--a depressed mom, a crumbling house, and bills too big to pay. While her high school classmates see a girl with a ready smile and good grades, Lacey spends her evenings seeking ways to save her family. On a get-cash-quick trip to the flea market, Lacey stumbles over a music box that seemingly begs her to take it home. She does, only to find that it's inhabited by a gorgeous "genie." He offers her a month of wishes, one per day, but there's a catch. Each wish must behumanly possible.

Grant belongs to a league of supernatural beings, dedicated to serving humans in need. After two years of fulfilling the boring wishes of conventional teens, he is one assignment away from promotion to a challenging new role with more daring cases. His month with Lacey is everything that he expects--and nothing like he imagines. Lacey and Grant soon discover that the most difficult task of all might be saying goodbye.

Paperback: 320 pages
Expected publication: Nov 18th 2014 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  1939392233 (ISBN13: 9781939392237)

Add it on Goodreads.

Elizabeth Langston lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two teen-ish daughters and one husband (a geek like her). When she's not writing software or stories, Elizabeth loves to travel with her family, watch dance reality TV shows, and dream about which restaurant ought to get their business that night.

Elizabeth's debut novel WHISPER FALLS is available now and its sequels, A WHISPER IN TIME and WHISPERS FROM THE PAST, will release in 2014. Check on her blog (authoretc.blogspot.com) before March 15 for a giveaway of WHISPER FALLS.

So, what do you think?

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24. Monday Mishmash 3/10/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Perfect For You Cover Reveal Sign-ups  I have a YA contemporary romance titled Perfect For You, written under my pen name Ashelyn Drake, coming out in September through Swoon Romance. The cover reveal is March 14th. Want to be part of it? Sign up through YA Bound Book Tours here.

2. Free Monthly Newsletter  So last week I was supposed to send out my newsletter, but I sort of forgot to schedule it. I mean, there was so much awesome I had to wait another week. Yeah. Okay, I forgot. If you aren't signed up to receive one but would like to, you can sign up here.

3. Revisions  I'm revising the sequel to Into the Fire to send to my editor. I can't express how much I LOVE this book. I've never had so much fun revising before.

4. The Monster Within is about 3 months away!  How did that happen? I created this awesome button. Feel free to snag it and post it on your blog if you want to help me spread the word. There's a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde theme in this book. :)

5. Luna Love Cover Reveal  Brenda Moguez is having a cover reveal for her first book, Luna Love. I LOVE Brenda's voice. It's so unique, and I can't get enough of her writing. Check out Luna Love coming soon from Wild Rose Press.

Celia Mendoza is not living La Vida Loca. She put her college dreams on hold after her father died. Now she dishes out advice in her e-zine column, Luna Love, Loving is Good. The problem is, she hasn’t had a second date or a kiss in over a year. Then Gabe Mercer, a modern-day Adonis, shows up, daring her to take a chance. The string of broken hearts in his wake turns Celia off, but his relentless encouragement to pursue her dream of becoming a serious journalist contradicts his reputation, making it hard to fight the pull of his topaz, come-hither eyes. He’s everything Luna Love tells her readers to take a chance on, but Celia can’t decide if a chance encounter is worth the gamble. But life has a will of its own, and hers is pushing Celia to accept the uncertainty and run towards her destiny. 
6. Surrender the Sky by Meradeth Houston Cover Reveal & Giveaway
Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.

When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidentally shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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25. Writer Wednesday: Rebranding

I've talked about branding before. How once you get a certain genre of books out there with your name on them (or even before, as was the case with me—sometimes just having books under contract is enough), you are branded as THAT genre author. I was branded as a paranormal author. But if you recall, I did put out two novellas that were outside my brand. Remember these?

The third novella never came out. Want to know why? My brand was working against me, so I had the series pulled. Yes, I talked to Swoon Romance and we agreed to take the series down. Why? Because I decided to create a pen name and write contemporary romance as Ashelyn Drake. Also, when I wrote the Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak series, it wasn't a novella series. It was a full-length novel. And with my new brand under Ashelyn, I wanted that full novel back because that's how I always envisioned the story to be told.

Well, I didn't just put the book back together. I did a major rewrite. I deleted the first three chapters. Yup, gone! I got right into the heart of the story and backed off the tennis theme that previously ran throughout the book. Why am I telling you all this? Simple. Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak is now a novel titled Perfect For You, and it's coming out in September through Swoon Romance. It has a gorgeous new cover that is being revealed this Friday with YA Bound Book Tours. (You can sign up to help with the reveal here if you're interested.)

But I'm not sharing this story today because I have a reveal coming up. I'm sharing my story because sometimes things don't happen the way we envision them, but that doesn't mean that we can't take things into our own hands and change things. Luckily, Swoon Romance was great about helping me with my vision for this book, but I was prepared to self-publish the title if I needed to. 

So just because things don't happen the way you want them to at first, don't be afraid to make changes and alter the future of your book. I'm really glad I did.

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