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1. Writer Wednesday: Wattpad

2015 is the year of branching out for me. I'm trying new ways to reach readers. My latest venture is with Wattpad. I wasn't very familiar with this platform, but I know a lot of readers are there grabbing free samples of books. So I thought why not?

I joined and got permission from the very awesome people at Spencer Hill Press to upload my two FREE Touch of Death series companions, which are also available on the SHP website. 

The first is Curse of Death, which is the myth behind the series. It shows why I love Medusa and feel she was wrongfully cursed. 
The second is Kiss of Death, which is a prequel novella told from Alex's POV, because I just love Alex and his story needed to be told pre-Jodi.

So what does this mean? I'm not entirely sure yet, but I'm hoping to reach new readers and introduce them to my work. I'll keep you posted on how it's going. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Wattpad here and to read my free stories.

Are you on Wattpad? Feel free to leave your link in the comments so I can follow you. If you aren't, what do you think of a site that allows you to sample an author's work?

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2. Monday Mishmash 3/2/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Migraines  Last week I had two awful headaches. One was a migraine that left me unable to do anything and up all night sick from the pain. I'm hoping this week passes without any headaches, because I have work to do.
  2. Editing  More edits on my plate this week. :)
  3. Taxes  My tax forms took a long time getting to me this year. I'm usually finished with this process by now. I need to schedule an appointment soon.
  4. FREE Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
  5. Thunderclap  I still need help reaching my goal off 100 supporters for my Thunderclap campaign for Looking For Love. Click "Join this Thunderclap" on the image below and sign up to allow Thunderclap to post this message for you. Once you're signed up, you don't have to do anything else. It's that simple. I hope you'll consider signing up. If I'm short of my goal, the campaign won't post. :( 

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

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3. Friday Feature: Love, Lattes and Mutants by Sandra Cox



Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.


Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story


Buy the book:

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.



Find Sandra online:
Blog

And Sandra has a giveaway with some awesome prizes:
A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbuck Card

A Piper-approved bracelet
Enter on the rafflecopter form:


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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4. Writer Wednesday: Thunderclap


If you're like me, you're always looking for new ways to promote your work and reach more readers. Well, I've taken part in supporting several authors via Thunderclap campaigns before, but I've never done one for a book of my own. Until now.

I decided to try Thunderclap for my upcoming release, Looking For Love (an Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance). If you aren't familiar with Thunderclap, here's how it works. You sign up for an account, which is free. You can upgrade and pay for more services, but I honestly didn't see the need to do so. My free account was approved in under an hour, and it was up and running after that. I was asked to give a short bio—only a sentence or two—name my campaign, give a description of the book I'm promoting, and enter a tweetable message. Simple.

Here's where the tricky part comes in. Thunderclap asks you to find 100 people to support your campaign. In order to support they have to agree to let Thunderclap display your tweetable message on their FB, Twitter, and/or Tumblr account on the date you pick. People can choose to support you on all three platforms and that will actually get you more entries. BUT…and this is a big but, if you don't find 100 people to support you, nothing happens. :( Yup. It's either a success or nothing at all.

The theory is that by sending out this message across 100 platforms at once, you are reaching a much bigger audience than you normally would. In theory it's great. Will it work for me? I have no idea, but I'm hoping so.

Want to help me reach my 100 supporters? Click "Join this Thunderclap" on the image below and sign up to allow Thunderclap to post this message for you. Once you're signed up, you don't have to do anything else. It's that simple. I hope you'll consider signing up.

Have you used Thunderclap? What do you think of this method for sharing information?

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5. Monday Mishmash 2/23/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. My daughter's birthday  My daughter turns eight on Thursday! I can't believe it. We're having a party on Saturday, and she's really excited. It's Monster High themed, of course. ;)
  2. Editing  I've got a full week with edits again. 2015 has been non-stop editing.
  3. Drafting  I surpassed the 40K mark on my WIP this weekend. I have a feeling I'm going to have to put it aside until I get some of these edits off my plate over the next two weeks.
  4. Less than a month until the release of Looking For Love  I'm getting everything together for the release of Looking For Love. The blog tour is in process, and the teaser quotes are ready to go. :)
  5. Giveaways  I have two giveaways going on right now, but you have to be a member of my street team to enter. If you aren't a member but would like to join, you can do so here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Friday Feature: Super Bad by Kai Strand




It's hard to be good when it's so much fun to be bad

Excerpt from Super Bad:

After sliding the card out of the envelope, she stared at it for so long Lexa finally said, “Well?”
Sandra glanced at her friend before frowning again at the card. Finally she handed it to Lexa and stared at the flowers.

Seeing you last night was as refreshing as the clean smell after a rainstorm.
—Set

Lexi’s lip curled up. “What does this mean?”
“I’m not sure.” Sandra spoke tentatively. “He obviously has a thing for weather.”
“And you,” Lexa said.
“Maybe.”
Lexa rolled her eyes. “What do you mean, maybe? He became a stalker at the party last night, and now he’s sent you your very first flowers.”
Sandra shook her head. “There’s something…I don’t know.”
A thought somewhere deep in her gray matter teased her, but kept getting overridden by images of Set’s beautiful face lowering toward hers in the dark of the hedge cave. She mentally scolded herself to focus, but then she remembered the feel of his power pulsing from him and making her skin thrum when he came within a few inches of her, and her concentration scattered.
She shook her head not wanting to relive those memories. “I don’t know. I don’t really think it’s me he wants.”
Lexa smelled an oversized rose unfurled in full bloom in the middle of a bouquet that somehow looked like a summer storm stuffed into a vase—all whites and lavenders, purples and deep blues. “It sure looks like he’s focused on you, Sand.”

SUPER BAD The unexpected conclusion to the Super Villain Academy series.

The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.

Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.

When Sandra is taken and held as bait by kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”
***
Super Bad is scheduled for release in June, but there have been whispers of it releasing sooner. Don’t miss out. Subscribe to Kai’s mailing list and be among the first to know.
***
King of Bad - Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?

Polar Opposites - Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?
***
Win a $10 Amazon gift card or an ecopy of either King of Bad or Polar Opposites. Plenty of chances to win. Open internationally. Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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7. Writer Wednesday: Text-to-Speech Proofreading


Two weeks ago I mentioned that you should always read your book aloud during revisions because it allows you to hear errors. Well, today I want to take that a step further, and here's why. It's already been proven that the human brain can read misspelled words as long as the first and last letter are in the correct places. Well, think about this. You've read your own book countless times and know the story so well, that your brain is also filling in missing words. So what do you do?

Some people hire editors. If you are self-publishing, I highly recommend this. And not just because I am an editor. You are too close to your manuscript to find errors. Your brain will fill in what your fingers either didn't type or typed incorrectly. So having an editor is a must for self-publishing. (If you aren't self-publishing, get a few beta readers and/or CPs.) However…editors are human too. Yes, we do our best to make your work as error free as possible, but our brains work like yours. I read every book I edit twice. On the second time through, I know your story. That means my brain may fill in gaps (missing words or letters) just like yours will. Think about how many published books (even by the big five) still have an error or two in them. This is why.

What now? Ereaders have a cool feature that can help. It's the text-to-speech function. Over the past few weeks, this has become my favorite final pass on manuscripts. I send the Word document to my Kindle. (Handy tip: If you email the document to your Kindle with the word "Convert" in the subject line—don't actually use quotes, though—your Kindle will convert the document's formatting to make it look nice on your Kindle.) Then I let my Kindle read the book to me while I'm looking at it on the Kindle and following along. I have the Word document open on my laptop at the same time, so that when I hear a mistake, I can pause my Kindle and fix the error on my document.

While proofing the ARC of Looking For Love, my Kindle let me know I misspelled Harvard. Hearing Havard jumped right out at my ears, but not my eyes or my proofreader's eyes. So this is my new favorite proofreading method.

Have you used the text-to-speech feature to help you proofread?

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8. Monday Mishmash 2/16/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Drafting  I didn't get much drafting in last week because I had so many client edits. I think I wrote about 3,500 words and that was all on Friday. This week I'm hoping to write more.
  2. New Agency Sibling  If you didn't hear the good news, DL Hammons announced that he's signed on with my agent, Sarah Negovetich. I'm so happy for DL, who runs the Blog Blitz I'm part of and Write Club. Congrats again, DL!
  3. Editing  I have more edits on my plate this week. 2015 has really been the year of editing for me so far.
  4. Beware the Little White Rabbit Animated Cover  By now, you probably know I'm an editor for Leap Books. Well, I'm editing this amazing anthology that just got an animated cover. Check it out. (If you don't see the animation, click on the image.)
  5. Looking For Love Cover Reveal  Last Friday, I revealed the cover of the final installment in the Campus Crush Companion Series (written as Ashelyn Drake). In case you missed it, here it is:
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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9. Friday Feature: Elemental Series by Elana Johnson



About ELEMENTAL RUSH: Eighteen-year-old Adam Gillman has trained for twelve years to earn a coveted spot on the Supreme Elemental’s elite sentry squad. His brother, Felix, is the commander, but Adam is still thrilled when his official assignment to serve Alexander Pederson comes.

He moves into nicer quarters and can stop getting up at four a.m. to complete his mandated work out time. He still rises early though, because he needs the solitude of early morning to practice his airmaking Element—something that Adam has kept secret from everyone, even Felix, because he can’t be both an Airmaker and a sentry.

When Alex assigns him to kill a group of rogue Elementals, he balks at completing his mission for the first time. See, his only friend is Isaiah Hawking, and he’s the Earthmover on the accused Council. When faced with the prospect of killing him, Adam finds he can’t do it.

He’s well trained in assassination, but he thought he’d be murdering bad guys—not innocents.

When Alex buries the Elemental Academy—and kills over one thousand Elementals—in a fit of rage, Adam’s loyalty cracks. When he discovers that Alex is really a woman, and his brother’s lover, he defects. He hops from city to city, from Elemental school to Elemental school, always escaping only minutes before Felix can embed a knife in his heart or a tsunami can make a classroom his watery grave.

He tries to fight back, but he’s just one Airmaster with exceptional tracking skills. He does his best to warn those in danger, but as the last Elemental school goes up in flames, he knows he needs to get some real firepower on his side.

ELEMENTAL RUSH is a prequel novella to the full-length futuristic fantasy novel, ELEMENTAL HUNGER.



Buy Links:

About ELEMENTAL HUNGER: The second installment in the Elemental series, a new futuristic fantasy for young adults and new adults from acclaimed author Elana Johnson, ELEMENTAL HUNGER is a full-length novel that continues the story that began in ELEMENTAL RUSH, an Elemental novella.

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Kilpatrick can shoot fire from her hands, which would be great if she didn’t get blamed for a blazing inferno that kills 17 schoolmates. When Gabby is commanded to Manifest her Element, everyone knows what she is: a genetic abnormality. Not to mention guilty.

So she does two logical things to survive.
1. She runs.
2. She hacks off her hair to assume a new role—that of “Gabe”, because in her world, only boys are Firemakers.

Not only does she have to act like a guy, she has to pretend to know everything a Firemaker should know. When Gabby meets Airmaster Adam Gillman, he believes her act and pledges to serve on “Gabe’s” Council. But Adam has the mark of a sentry and spent years obeying Alex, the Supreme Elemental. And Alex wants Gabby-the-genetic-freak dead and gone before she can gather the magical protection of a full Council.

With Adam’s lies that sound like truths and rumors that Alex isn’t really a Firemaker—or a man—Gabby sets out to charter a Council of her own. In order to uncover the truth, Gabby will have to learn who she can trust, how to control her own power, and most of all, how to lead a Council of Elementals, most of whom have more control over their power than she does. If she can’t, she’ll find herself just like those 17 schoolmates: burned and six feet under.

Look for the third and final installment, ELEMENTAL RELEASE, the final Elemental novella.


Buy Links:

About ELEMENTAL RELEASE: Two months after returning to the capital city of Tarpulin with a Council of his own, Airmaster Adam Gillman is ready to start repairing the relationships in his life. Up first: his Councilman and the girl he’d like to be more than friends with, Gabriella Kilpatrick.

But first, he has to figure out how to be the Airmaster his Firemaker needs. In order to do that, Adam attends Elemental training and discovers that to truly command the air, he must first be in control of his emotions. And in order to master those, he has to grieve for the loss of Hanai, make amends with his brother, and earn the trust of Gabby.

Amidst all that, Adam must also learn how to grapple with the jet stream, because a dangerous Airmaster is loose in Tarpulin. And Adam will need to find his emotional center in order to work with the atmosphere and defeat the threat.


Buy Links:


About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist

Her self-published novels include two YA contemporary novels-in-verse, Elevated and Something About Love, as well as a YA/NA futuristic fantasy series, which includes Elemental Rush, Elemental Hunger, and Elemental Release.

School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog and WriteOnCon, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.


Social Media Links:
League of Extraordinary Writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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10. Writer Wednesday: Taking Time to Say Thank You

I had a very different post planned for today, but that will have to wait until next week because this is too important for me not to post immediately. I have to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who stops by my blog each week. Thank you to everyone who reads my books. Thank you to everyone who promotes my work. Thank you to everyone I've met along my writing career.

Why am I so thankful today? Because yesterday this happened:
This can't happen without those people—without you. It's not a secret that my goal is to make the NYT bestseller list. Sometimes I get so caught up in that dream that I forget to stop and look at my journey so far. This is my third ribbon on Amazon. Now Stalked by Death, Touch of Death, and The Monster Within have all gotten ribbons (two golds and a bronze). Am I a NYT bestseller? No, but that's okay. I'll keep reaching for that goal, but in the meantime, I'm really happy with what I have accomplished. 

So thank you, because I couldn't be here without you. Without your encouragement and support. If I could wrap you all in a hug right now, I would. Since I can't, I'm sending virtual hugs and an invitation to call on me any time you need. I'm always here to support all of you as well.

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11. The Monster Within is the Kindle Daily Deal!

I know I don't normally post on Tuesdays, but today is a very special day. The Monster Within is the Kindle Daily Deal!

That means that today only it's $1.99. The sequel comes out in June, so if you haven't read The Monster Within yet, get it today!

Here's the blurb to remind you what this book is about:
The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side--a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong. She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she's tortured by visions--glimpses into her victims would have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches. But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Also, if you'd like to help me spread the word (and I'd totally love you even more for that) you can share this pre-made tweet/FB post:

The Monster Within is the Kindle Daily Deal today! Get your copy for only $1.99!!! ‪#‎yalit‬ ‪#‎KindleDailyDeal‬ ‪#‎witches‬ http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Within-Kelly-Hashway-ebook/dp/B00KE4RL72

The book has already broken into 3 categories on Amazon, so thank you to everyone who has grabbed a copy at the sale price. Let's see if we can get this ranking even lower! :)

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12. Monday Mishmash 2/9/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  Still working on client edits. My clients are keeping me busy.
  2. Looking For Love Cover Reveal  This Friday is the cover reveal! If you requested an ARC, you'll also receive that on Friday. Want to take part in the reveal and/or sign up for an ARC? Click here.
  3. Reading  With all the editing I'm doing, my reading is taking a hit. Yes, I know I'm technically reading in order to edit, but I have a ton of books staring at me from my shelf wanting to be read.
  4. Castle of Sighs Cover Reveal Countdown  I've seen the cover already and I can tell you it's amazing. I'm helping Jennifer Murgia countdown to reveal day. 
  5. The Darkness Within Trailer Reveal March 6th  Along with Spencer Hill Press, I'll be revealing the trailer for The Darkness Within on March 6th. Want to participate? Sign up on the form here:

Loading...

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

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13. Friday Feature: Wishing For You Cover Reveal



Check out the cover of book two in the I Wish series by Elizabeth Langston!


Paperback: 320 pages
Expected publication: October 13, 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN13:  9781633920279

With high school graduation only months away, Kimberley Rey is eager to discover what her future holds. The next big decision is rapidly approaching--where to apply to college. But this choice is complicated by a memory disability. How will her struggles to remember affect her once she moves away from home?

Help arrives through an unexpected and supernatural gift. Grant is a “genie” with rules. He can give her thirty wishes (one per day for a month) as long as the tasks are humanly possible. Kimberley knows just what to ask for—lessons in how to live on her own.

But her wishes change when she discovers that a good friend has been diagnosed with a devastating illness. As she joins forces with Grant to help her friend, Kimberley learns that the ability to live in the moment—to forget—may be more valuable than she ever knew.

Through Valentine's Day I Wish (book one) is on sale on AmazonB&N, and iBooks.  


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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14. Writer Wednesday: How to Use a Book Trailer


Today's topic came by request from Kai Strand. Kai wanted to know how to use a book trailer for marketing. Now this is just my opinion, but here's how I think you can use a trailer.
  • Host a trailer reveal  Get some bloggers on board to post your trailer on a specific day or week. This will drum up additional interest in your book and get the word out there between the cover reveal and release day.
  • Start a YouTube Channel  Tons of people are on YouTube, and trailers give you material to post to your channel. Why not be a part of this huge platform?
  • Post your trailer to your website, blog, Amazon author page, etc.  Just about every social media outlet online has a place to upload videos, so go nuts! Get that video up everywhere! Plus if you post to FB or Twitter, others can share your video, too.
  • Post a link or embed the video in your author newsletter  Newsletter subscribers love to get sneak peeks at what you're doing, so reward them with an exclusive first look at your trailer.
Now, do I think book trailers help sales? Not really. But they are fun to make, and they are another way to spread the word about your book, so why not utilize this method of getting your book out there?

Have any other ideas for how you can use a book trailer? Please share in the comments.

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15. Monday Mishmash 2/2/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I'm booked with edits again this month. The end of 2014 must have been very busy for a lot of writers because I'm editing book after book. :)
  2. Scholastic Book Fair  It's still going on thanks to all the snow days last week. I was a little sad because books I was looking forward to weren't there. My daughter's school only goes to fifth grade so some of the MG books weren't at our fair. :(
  3. Making Book Trailers  I'm working on the trailer for The Darkness Within. This one is proving to be tough! Wish me luck, please.
  4. Busy Month  With Looking For Love (Ashelyn Drake NA romance title) releasing March 17th, I'm busy getting everything ready. Look for a cover reveal on February 13th.
  5. Free Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter goes out today. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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16. Friday Feature: Crow's Rest by Angelica Jackson





Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers--and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone--or something--has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel--and get him back--plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

Coming out May 12 through Spencer Hill Press.

Check out the trailer!



Find the book on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.

In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here.
She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California's Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too.
Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary.

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Photo Galleries  |  Blog  |  Website

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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17. Writer Wednesday: Revising Out Loud

I've been doing a lot of editing lately, both for clients and for my own books, so I thought I'd share a tip with you all today. I talk a lot about how I edit books backward in one of my reading passes, but something else that is just as important (maybe more important) is reading the book out loud.

I can't stress this enough. Yes, you will probably lose your voice if you revise too much in one sitting, but reading aloud allows you to identify so many weakness in your writing. Don't believe me? Ask people who have had their books made into audio versions if their readers (the person making the audio) identified errors. I bet they did. 

Here are just a few things you'll hear when you read your book aloud:

Repetition  Every manuscript I edit has repetition it in. Every single one. And in 
most cases it's unnecessary repetition that you don't want. (My editors get on my case for this too because seriously, everyone does it.) If you read your book aloud, the repetition pretty much slaps you in the face, and then you can get rid of it. You'll be thankful when the book reads more smoothly and the pace picks up, too.

Missing Words  Yes, you can hear missing words. You hear them because they aren't there. When we read in our heads, we don't always catch a missing "the" or "an," but you will when you read aloud.

Awkward Wording  You'll stumble over sentences that aren't quite right if you read them aloud. If you have to slow down or reread a sentence, something is wrong with your wording. Maybe it's a case of poor word choice or a phrase that doesn't quite read correctly. Either way, this is the time to fix it.

Contractions  I've had clients make words into contractions that have no right to be contractions. ;) It's awkward for the reader. In the same token, most kids don't speak without contractions, so if you're avoiding them completely, think again. Reading aloud will highlight areas that don't sound like real life speech.

Italics  Sometimes you have to make sure your intent with emphasis is clear. Italics will do that. So if you're reading a sentence and the emphasis could be placed on the wrong word, make life easier on your reader and add italics to the word or words you want emphasized.

I could probably keep going, but I think you get the point. It's worth the extra time it takes to read a manuscript aloud. 

Do you make reading aloud part of your revision process?


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18. Monday Mishmash: 1/26/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Scholastic Book Fair  I'm working the Scholastic Book Fair this week at my daughter's school. I know Stephanie Farris's book will be there, so I'll be talking it up to the kids. Anyone have a book that's part of the fair? I'll be sure to showcase it if so. :)
  2. Editing  I'm working on client edits this week.
  3. Snow  This stuff needs to go away for good. I'm done with winter.
  4. Drafting  I'm doing something I rarely do. I'm slowly drafting a book here and there between other projects. I don't really like to work like this but sometimes it's necessary, and to be honest, I love what I've written so far, so maybe this is what this book needs.
  5. Looking For Love Cover Reveal Signups  I'm looking for people to sign up for the Cover Reveal of the final installment of the Campus Crush companion series (New Adult contemporary romance). Interested in helping out? Oh, and the form has a spot if you're interested in reviewing an ARC. Sign up here: 
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    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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19. Friday Feature: Enlighten Me



Sometimes carefully constructed lies can become the truth…

When seventeen-year-old Amanda reawakens, she is faced with the life Chloe lived for 17 years. The adjustment isn’t easy. But as she attempts to acclimate to a life that’s foreign to her, old friends become new enemies and bad habits are hard to stop. When she begins to doubt the story she’s been given to explain her travels through the multiverse, she knows she must find the answers before everyone else. Because if her weird dreams and visions are an indication of who she really was everyone might just be in danger, but not from the enemy they think.

From her.


And here's an excerpt:
A puff of cold air expelled from my slack jaw and scattered in front of my face. I spun around trying to recall when I’d opened my bedroom window.

I’m certain I hadn’t.

The room was bathed in darkness. I could scarcely make out my silhouette against the wall. Still, I slipped my feet softly to the carpeted floor. My family was sleeping, and I didn’t want to risk waking them. On tiptoes, I crept to the open window overlooking our yard. The cool whip of the March wind sliced through my skin. A shiver tore through me as the chill of the New York night tucked me inside my own personal blizzard.

I reached for the lift rail to slam the window closed when a shadow crept into view just below my second story landing. I blinked but held my eyes on the shadow. It didn’t move. But it did watch me. Partially clothed in darkness, the shadow dissolved before my eyes into a haze of gas.

I squared my jaw and took a deep breath. My mind cascaded over the many possibilities for what I’d saw. It could have just been the wind. Or someone was up downstairs and cast a long shadow from the back porch. My contemplation on the shadow was futile. It was gone, so it didn’t matter.

My life was screwed up anyway. Fighting an enemy everyone told me wanted to kill me and everyone else. But that same enemy telling me that wasn’t true and proved it by not killing me on the many occasions he could have. Traveling through multiple universes trying to find and kill said enemy because of his supposed threat. Then having a vision I killed everyone and not said enemy. But even more confusing, I knew said enemy was a threat, but I just didn’t know why.

What difference did a ghost make in the scheme of things?

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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20. Monday Mishmash: 1/12/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I've been very busy with edits, which I love. I've gotten to work on some really great manuscripts.
  2. Revisions  I finished up revisions on Out of the Ashes, and I really love this book.
  3. Drafting  Campus Crush fans have demanded politely asked for another book for Mike. ;) I couldn't say no. Mike needs his HEA. So last night I began drafting his book. And yes, I believe it will be a full-length novel instead of a novella, but don't quote me on that just yet.
  4. Balance  This month is all about finding balance as I edit, revise, and draft at the same time. Eek!
  5. Kelly's Coven Giveaways  I have an awesome street team and this month I'm rewarding them in two ways—with the opportunity to beta read Out of the Ashes AND with a giveaway for a signed book (of mine) of their choice. I've gotten several new members this month. Will you be next? You can join us here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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21. Writer Wednesday: Deadlines Vs. at Your Own Pace

I'm one for deadlines. Sure, I'll pull my hair out and wonder how I'll ever meet all my deadlines, but then my mom (who keeps me sane) tells me that I'll get it done because I always do. 

For me, the real problem is not having a deadline. If I don't know when I need to have a book drafted or revised by, I'm not as productive. And it's not by choice either. I find I'm just not as focused or as creative. I believe I've taught myself to be creative on command. It's a real thing. When I know I have to accomplish something, I'll do it. End of story. Tell me you'd like me to do something when I have time, and I'm lost. I need a deadline. This often means I create my own deadlines. And while I know I'm the one setting the deadline, I can still fool myself into believing it must be done. ;)

Are you like this? Do you need deadlines to motivate and push you toward your goals?

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22. Friday Feature: 52 Likes by Medeia Sharif



After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. She’s plagued by not knowing the identity of her rapist and by the nasty rumors in school about that night. Valerie follows clues from ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.

My thoughts:
After reading Vitamins and Death in one sitting, I knew Medeia could write edgy and dark YA really well, so I jumped at the chance to read 52 Likes. Once again, I couldn't put the book down. The book begins with Valerie being raped. I wasn't sure how I'd endure reading a rape scene, but it was handled really well. I felt Valerie's emotion without being overwhelmed by the horrific act. What I loved about this book was that Valerie doesn't allow herself to sit back and become the victim. She fights. Even when everyone around her is making her feel like she is the one who did something wrong, she continues to seek out her rapist and reveal his identity to everyone.

The ghosts of the rapist's victims appear to Valerie, encouraging her to fight for them, too. Valerie was supposed to die like they did, only a passerby saved her life. And that means her rapist is set on finishing what he started. The mystery behind who the rapist is and the race to reveal him and have him locked up before he gets to her again is what made me keep turning the pages. 

If you like darker YA with mystery and some ghosts thrown in, this is the perfect read. I dare you to put it down once you start reading it. ;)

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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23. Monday Mishmash 1/19/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Another Campus Crush  So last week I mentioned that fans asked for another Campus Crush story for Mike since he didn't get his HEA. I thought I was going to write a novel for him, but this series insists that it's made up of novellas, and that's what his story has turned into. More details to come.
  2. Friday Feature  I have some Friday Feature spots available this month and next (and beyond, actually) so if you have a new release or upcoming release and would like to be featured email me khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com.
  3. Spotlight and Giveaway  The very sweet and awesome Megan McDade is hosting me on her blog this month and in addition to interviews and guest posts, there's a giveaway (winner's choice of a paperback of Touch of Death or The Monster Within). Check it out here.
  4. Winter Ball  My daughter attended her first school dance last Friday. It was three hours of me sitting on a hard cafeteria stool, but seeing her dance and run around with her friends made it worth it. She's only in second grade, so seeing how outgoing she is really makes me happy. That girl is not afraid to be who she is. :) I'm a proud mom.
  5. Winter Blues  Anyone else have the winter blues? Some of my 2014-year-of-ickiness has carried over and I'm hoping to be finished with it by the end of the month so I can get back to life as usual. And I could really use some sunshine and warmer weather if anyone can make that happen. ;)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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24. Writer Wednesday: Writing Vs. Social Media

We all know that part of what we do as writers is interact on social media. We need to be available to our readers so they are aware of when our next book comes out or when we get a new contract and of course so they can get to know us as people and readers, too. I'm going to admit that lately, I've been so busy that I haven't been online much.

Yup. I've been a bad social media author. Here's why. Over the past month, my husband and daughter have been home a lot. A lot. I've always tried to balance my writing life and my personal life. So when my family is home, I like to spend time with them. Nothing unusual there, right? Right. So that means my time to actually work is cut down significantly. And that leads to me deciding what's more important—writing or being on social media.

I chose writing. I worked on a new novella and I revised two books. That's not to mention editing for my clients, too. So you see, something had to give. For me that something was social media, and I'm hoping you'll all forgive me for being quiet online. I'm hoping the promise of more books from me will make up for it.

Do you ever go social media quiet? Do you find you lose followers, or are they forgiving?

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25. Friday Feature: Racing Hearts by Laura Lascarso




He wants to honor his father’s legacy; she wants to prove her father wrong. 

18-year-old Jesse is still grieving from the loss of his father to cancer when he learns his mother has lost her job. All too soon, Jesse, his little sister, and his mother might be put out on the streets. 

Jesse hears of a local car race sponsored by his father's nemesis, Shep Bradley, and the prize money might be enough to keep Jesse’s family from losing their home - if he can win it.

When Shep’s own daughter Brooke asks Jesse to build her a racecar against her father’s wishes, Jesse accepts. After all, he needs the money.

Coming February 10 through Leap Books.

Here's a teaser pic to get you ready for this book:


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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