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26. Friday Feature: Fading Away and November Sky


Today I have two great books, and I have to say I love the cover of Fading Away. That's Alex from Kiss of Death (Touch of Death series prequel)!!!

One night. 
One stupid mistake. 
Changes everything.

SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls. She's bullied at school by the arrogant, selfish, one and only... KAI JORDAN.
Kai is your typical entitled teen who's on the verge of attending University and having everything he ever wanted handed to him.
But that all changes when he is involved in a car accident after a night of partying...
He's suddenly and painfully brought into the world of supernatural. 
Kai turns to the last person he ever would've expected. Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to him move on. And he is forgotten. 
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way to either stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his own body…

Excerpt:
Sammy
I was only nine when they died… 
I remember the colour of my mother’s hair, and her soft voice. I remember my father’s cologne and the way he used to hold my hand tightly as we walked down to the store for milk. Everything else is a blur; I don't remember what they looked like. Their faces escape me. The memory of my parents is a fuzzy one and all of the photographs are gone now.
It was dark and hot, that much I can remember very clearly. Sweat beads off my forehead and down my neck. My room smells of wood smoke, clogging up my nose and throat, making me cough. Surely the smoke detectors would have gone off by now if we were in trouble? I clutch my pillow to my stomach and watch the flickering orange light dance under the door. A shadow and then Dad is bursting through my door, bringing a cloud full of toxic smoke with him.
“Come on Sammy,” he coaxes me towards him, throwing a fearful look over his shoulder at the wall of heat. I run to him and he scoops me up, spinning and ducking through our burning house. The bright, white hot fire is everywhere. I can feel the blazing heat on my bare skin. It burns.
An overhead beam collapses above us and my dad goes down, letting go of me as he hits the ground. I scream and crawl closer to him.
“Baby girl, you need to get out.” His words come out wheezy. I glance at the burning roof beam lying across his back. His fingers lightly touch my knee and I look back down at him. “Go get help darling, outside. Stay close to the ground. Go!” I nod quickly and weave my way to the front door as fast as I can.
As soon as I push the hot door open, someone lifts me up and sprints away from the house towards the waiting ambulance. The fireman puts me down and wipes my face clean. I cough and point back at my house. He smiles and nods before pushing me further into the ambulance and handing me off to a paramedic.
I wake up in the hospital still clutching my dirty pillow, surrounded by people, none of them my parents.

The other kids at school never see me, and when they do, they whisper. I don't know how, but they know, and being a foster child doesn’t win you any sympathy points or special treatment. It’s more like I’ve contracted an extremely dangerous disease and if anyone was to talk to me or come into contact with me, their parents would magically die too. Kids can be brutal.
I was thirteen when I first met Kai Jordan. He was a kind, gentle person back then. He introduced himself to me with a smile, unaware of my status with the rest of our classmates. Being the new kid, he was immediately snapped up into the popular group at school. If I knew what he would be like as we grew older, I would never have smiled back at him.

I am eighteen now, living with foster parents and on the verge of graduating high school and getting into the college of my dreams…if I can get this stupid paper done. Argh. I slam my pen down on my desk in frustration. It’s due tomorrow and I haven't stung a single sentence together. I shake my head and close my book. I’ll just have to ask for an extension from Mrs. Danby. Gathering my things, I stuff them unceremoniously into my backpack and swing it over my shoulder.
The bell hasn’t released us yet, but that doesn’t stop the chatter from the other students around the room. Ms. Kelly sits down at her desk and starts shuffling her own books into her tote bag. As soon as the bell sounds I follow everyone out of the classroom and drift down the hallways amidst the sea of pushy seniors, thinking about what I'm going to make myself for dinner.
Someone steps out in front of me and I collide head on with their shoulder. I frown up at the dark haired, brown eyed road block and adjust my glasses.
“Watch where you’re going,” Kai Jordan sneers at me as he pushes past. He wouldn’t remember who I am, even if he tripped over me, obviously. I wonder briefly what happened to the happy, friendly little boy he was when he moved here.
Shifting my backpack back onto my shoulder, I continue down the hallway, heading for the exit. People smack me with their books or bags as I push my way through. I feel as though I'm completely invisible. Sometimes I just want to scream, I’m here, just look and see me.
I'm in no hurry to get home. My foster parents gave birth to their first child this year, so I live in the flat above the garage by myself. Not much to look forward too. And no chance of a new foster family, I'm too close to graduating and leaving for college.

“It’s impossible notto believe in ghosts, They light up the night sky every time the sun goes down, reminding us that we are never alone.”
What would you do if you had a second chance at lost love?
Kristian Reed was only seventeen when the love of his life fell to her death. The hardest part of losing someone you love is moving on without them.
After six long years of trying to escape the pain, Kristian starts his new life in the big city, working for one of the top News Networks in the state.
Enter Bailey Nichols, she’s up front, forward and just plain annoying, and what’s worse, she won't leave Kristian alone.
Everything seems to be falling into place, that is until his past comes back to haunt him and he is torn between holding on and letting go.
By denying what’s standing right there in front of him, Kristian could lose everything…

Excerpt:
JESSICA
The memories come in flashes. These are the happiest moments of my life. I'm living them all over again.
Kristian leans towards me in a dark corner of Maisy’s house, the loud music surrounding us and the smell of teenage sweat in the air. I don't know how long I've wanted to touch his dark hair or to kiss his lush lips. Every time I see him at school, I make sure to pass his classroom on the way to my own.
Now’s my chance. I grab the collar of his shirt and pull him down so I can reach. As soon as our lips touch, his hands gently grasp the sides of my face, holding me close.
Pulling away slowly, Kristian gazes down at me, the dim light around the shadowed room glinting in his dark eyes. This moment is perfect. One I will remember forever. Kristian’s fingers run down the side of my face, I smile up at him and he returns it.
“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever met Jessica.” I turn away and giggle quietly. Kristian reaches between us and grabs a hold of my hand, leading me out of the shadows and into the room full of our dancing and talking classmates.

I wake close to midday the next day and stretch in my plush bed. All the memories from last night flooding my thoughts and making me blush.
“Jessica?” My mother’s voice sounds from the other side of my bedroom door. “There’s a boy downstairs waiting for you.” A boy?
“Okay Mum, I'm coming.” I jump out of bed, my blanket tumbling to the floor in my rush. I pull my nicest pair of jeans on and riffle through my dresser looking for an appropriate shirt.
Taking a deep breath, I pull my door open, dash down the stairs at breakneck speed and trip on the bottom step. Oh no, I'm going to face plant in front everyone. Strong arms catch me around the shoulders just as I'm about to hit the floor.
Plastering a weak smile on my face, I look up into Kristian's beautiful eyes.
“Whoops, sorry.” Oh god, I could die of embarrassment right now. Kristian smiles and helps me to my feet.
“I was wondering if you might want to go to the movies with me?” He looks almost shy as he asks, as if I'm the gorgeous, beautiful, smoking hot... Okay, that's enough. I have to answer before he thinks I'm dense as well as clumsy.
I lift my shoulders in a small shrug. “Definitely, I would love to.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my Mum’s head poking around the corner of the kitchen doorway, eavesdropping. I turn discreetly so my back is to her and make a go away motion with my hand where Kristian can't see.
“I’m going out Mum,” I call out over my shoulder as Kristian leads me out to his car. I'm so nervous my palms are sweating. I hope he doesn't want to hold hands. The car ride over eases my nerves a bit. I'm sitting so close I can smell Kristian’s soap. Sort of lemony.
We arrive at the theatre and Kristian buys us both a ticket. I don't know which movie we are going to see, but it doesn't matter. As soon as we are seated, I'm not paying attention to the big screen anyway.
Kristian shifts in his seat and puts his arm around my shoulders. I look down at my lap and smile to myself.
Another flash and I'm walking down the main hall at our high school; Maisy trots along beside me, chattering about the party last Friday. I'm not listening; my eyes are scanning the people standing by their lockers, searching for Kristian.
“Hey, looking for me?” Kristian’s arms come around my shoulders and he places a gentle kiss on the side of my neck. I lean my head back against his shoulder and smile. This is where I want to stay; this is where I feel safe.
The scenery around me changes again.
“So Kristian, have you thought about what universities you will be applying for next semester?” My father is leaning slightly over the table towards Kristian with a stern look on his face. Kristian glances at me unsure.
“Dad!” My father gives me a small mischievous grin and looks back down at his plate, lifting a forkful of pasta to his mouth. This is so awkward. My mother sits across from me, trying to hide her own smile. God, could this be any more embarrassing.
After dinner is finished and I've helped Mum clean up, I follow Kristian out to his car to say goodbye.
“I had a really nice time,” Kristian leans against his car and pulls me into his arms.
“I'm so sorry about my parents. They’re a little annoying sometimes,” I apologize, twisting my fingers into his shirt.
“Stop worrying, I swear I had fun.” Kristian’s hand closes around mine and untwists my fingers. He smiles and leans down to kiss me.
I stand on the front porch until Kristian’s car turns the corner out of sight. “Was all that really necessary?” I ask, shutting the front door behind me.
“Of course, darling,” my mother answers from the lounge room. Dad chuckles from beside her. “We had to make sure he is worthy of our little princess.” Mum giggles like a little schoolgirl and switches on the television.
I huff at them and skip up the stairs to my bedroom. Lying on my bed, I stare up at the ceiling. My cell phone buzzes from my nightstand and I scramble across the bed to grab it. I open the text and nearly squeal in delight.
I love you Jessica Scott.

Another flash, they are coming quicker now.
“Do you think we will stay together after we graduate?” Kristian asks, sitting cross-legged on my bed in front of me. Our hands are touching between us.
“I hope so.” Today is our one-year anniversary. The time we’ve been together has been perfect.
Kristian reaches behind his back and pulls out a long black velvet box. “Oh my god, Kristian.” His eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles. He hands me the box and I open it almost reverently. The sparkling gems from the bracelet shine up at me, glittering in the dying sunlight coming through my bedroom window. It’s so beautiful. “Thank you so much.”
Kristian helps me do up the clasp as I wrap it around my wrist. When he's done, I crawl onto his lap and kiss him, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him closer.
We fall backwards until he's lying on his back and I'm on top of him, running my hands up his stomach and chest. The atmosphere becomes heated; Kristian's fingers push my shirt up underneath my bra. Is this really happening? I hesitate and then yank Kristian's shirt up, he lifts himself off the bed slightly so I can take it off completely.
“Jessica! Kristian! Dinner is ready,” my father calls out from downstairs. We both falter and look at each other. Had we nearly done what I think we were going to do?
Kristian smiles shyly up at my shocked expression. “I don't think I'm ready for that yet, and neither are you.” I giggle timidly and hand Kristian his shirt. He sits up underneath me and pulls me into a tight hug.
I relax into his hold and whisper into his ear. “I love you.” I can feel his mouth lift up in a smile on the side of my face.
Now I'm sitting in a brightly lit classroom. Math is one of the most boring classes in school. The equations don't make sense to me, and who puts letters in math anyway. Maisy scribbles notes in her book beside me, I'm not sure if they have anything to do with what Mr. Saul is teaching. I tap my pen on my notebook and stare at the clock above the door, the second hand feels like it is going backwards.
As soon as the bell rings, I'm already packed up and leaving the classroom. I walk to my locker to exchange my textbooks and get a new pen.
Maisy is chattering away beside me. “So Jake asked me to the prom. Should I wear blue or green?”
I turn to her with pursed lips, thinking. She has deep red hair and a fair complexion so she would look great in either colour. “Green?”
She nods, “Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Has Kristian asked you yet?”
I spin back around to my locker and turn the knob for my combination. “No, not yet.” I thought for sure he would have asked me by now. I sigh and pull my locker door open.
Dozens upon dozens of colorful flowers and ribbons tumble out onto the floor around me; there’s so many they spill across the hall. Other students stop and gawk at me. I bend down and pick up one of the flowers; it’s a dark yellow rose. Attached to its stem is a small card with black writing.
Each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Please be my date for the prom Jessica Scott. – Love Always, Kristian
I look down at the other flowers, every single one has its own note attached to it. I can't breathe. I'm lost for words. Maisy and all the other students have stopped talking and are staring at me, open-mouthed.
“So will you go with me?” Kristian asks quietly from behind me. He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. This is the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Even better than a movie. I twist slowly to face Kristian, a look of awe on my face.
“Of course I'll go with you.” He grins and pulls me into his arms, crushing me to his chest.
My mother leans over me, I watch in the mirror as she pins a stray strand of hair up on top of my head. I wince as the bobby pin scrapes against my skull.
“Sorry darling,” Mum apologizes as she sprays glitter into my hair. I'm practically bouncing on my seat in excitement. I'm finally graduating high school and I'm going to prom with the love of my life.
The doorbell rings downstairs, I can hear my Dad’s heavy footsteps as he walks across the lounge room to answer it. Mum helps me stand and I cautiously descend the stairs in my high heels. My light blue, nearly white dress is tight at the waist and loose around my legs, trailing along behind me. Kristian's face lights up as he sees me. He holds his hand out to help me from the bottom step.
“You look beautiful Jess,” Kristian exclaims as I spin in a circle to show him and my father my sparkling dress.
“You two over by the window, please, so I can take some pictures.” Mum holds up her digital camera and waves her other hand towards the lounge room window. I grab Kristian's hand and drag him over to the window. Dad stands behind Mum and smiles as she starts clicking the camera. I glance up quickly at Kristian and pause. He's watching me; I'm caught in his dark gaze. The rest of the world falls away, leaving only us.
The school gym is decorated in hundreds of neon lights of all different colors, making everyone’s lighter colored clothes glow. My arm is tucked in Kristian's elbow as he leads us through the entry way and towards my group of friends.
“I'll be right back.” He kisses me on the forehead and walks back into the crowd.
“You are so lucky Jess, he's so gorgeous.” Maisy and Jenifer come up on either side of me and sigh dreamily. Jenifer hands me a cup of punch and we all sit down at a small table at the edge of the room.
“Did you hear about Stephanie?” Maisy whispers loudly beside me.
“No, what happened to Steph?” I lean across the table to hear her reply.
“She cheated on Brodie!” Maisy’s eyes go wide and shocked. Beside me, Jenifer gasps. She's had a crush on Brodie since fifth grade, so this is big news for her.
“You should make your move tonight Jen,” I tell her with an encouraging smile.
She looks a little worried. “You think so?”
“Definitely,” Maisy pipes up from across the table. Jenifer stands up hesitantly and searches the dancing masses in the gym. After a moment, she nods to herself and walks through our classmates heading for Brodie. Jake jogs up to the table and grasps Maisy’s hand, twirling her out onto the dance floor.
Kristian stops beside me, his white dress shirt glowing under his jacket. The neon lights around the room make his eyes glitter as he holds out his hand. “Do you want to dance?”
I place my hand in his. “Only if it lasts forever.”

Kristian pulls me through the door and into his room before his family sees me. “I've organized for all of us to go and hang out at the waterfalls for your birthday.”
I smile. “Really.”
“Yes, I'll pick you up from your house tomorrow morning at eight.” He drags me down onto the bed beside him and then pushes me back so he's leaning over the top of me.

Flash, and I'm no longer in Kristian’s room. I can hear the excitement from our group as we walk along the narrow dirt track through the trees to the waterfall that our town was named after. There are about ten of us and we’re all dressed to go swimming and lounge about beside the water.
We emerge from the dense trees and I stop to stare as everyone moves past me. The waterfall is even more beautiful than I remember. The clear water sparkles in the sunlight as it tumbles down the rocks and splashes into the pool below. There are wildflowers growing in patches around the entire clearing, butterflies in all sorts of incredible colors hovering above them.
A small group of us heads up the path to get to the top of the falls so we can have a look at the view.
The trees thin out and the rocks beneath our feet turn into slippery pebbles. Kristian takes a hold of my hand and keeps me steady as we exit the trees and reach the edge of the waterfall. I can see everyone down below us, spreading out, talking and laughing.
 I let go of Kristian’s hand and take a small step closer to peek over the edge.
“Careful Jess,” Kristian warns, from right behind me. The cascading water looks fast as it speeds over the edge and crashes down into the pool. It’s not a huge drop, but it’s big enough to do some damage. I turn slowly to walk back to Kristian.
One minute I'm gazing at his face, the next I'm falling.
My fingers scramble to hold on to the slippery rocks on the side of the waterfall. Kristian's face appears above me, his expression fierce but afraid.
This is the last thing I remember and it is so clear, as if I saw it all in slow motion, every single excruciating detail. Kristian’s dark, glittering eyes open wide in horror. His mouth opens, screaming my name as he reaches for my hand.
I remember the exact moment my fingers give, ripping my fingernails to shreds as they scrape the rocks, my bracelet from Kristian slipping off my wrist as I fall.
The memories come in flashes. They are what I will remember forever.


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27. Writer Wednesday: Writers' Holiday Wish List

Confession. My brain is fried this week. I'm volunteering at my daughter's school with their holiday sale and editing for a client as well. Plus, yesterday was my birthday. So I struggled for a good topic today and decided to go for something fun. Here are the items I think would make great gifts for any writer:
  • Flash drives — We can always use more of these.
  • Notebooks — Yes, phones have notes and voice memos, but I prefer mini notebooks for my purse or even regular notebooks for brainstorming at my desk.
  • Journals — We are writers after all. ;)
  • Coupons for writing time — Remember those coupons you made for your mom when you were little and they said things like "do dishes" or "dust" and Mom could cash them in at any time? Yeah, well spouses out there, writers would love these coupons for free and uninterrupted writing time. They are totally free to give and yet worth so much to the writer.
  • Books or gift cards for books — All writers read. It's how we research the market. I love getting books or gift cards for books.
  • Gift cards to places where we can buy SWAG — Okay, I'm not even sure you can get these, but how cool would that be? SWAG adds up in price. I'd love a gift card to use toward book SWAG.
  • Buy the writers book — Yes, I mean buy the author's book and then review it on Amazon. That's a great gift. You're supporting the author and helping others in their choice to purchase the book.
  • Colored pens — I don't like writing with blue or black pens. It makes me think of paying bills. I write in purple and green most of the time.
  • Post-it flags and notes — These are so much fun and totally practical. I have flags all over my notebooks and books.
  • Sharpies — These are perfect for signing books.
  • Framed poster of their book cover — My husband had my first two book covers framed to hang in my office. I loved it.
  • Jewelry with the book cover — I love those necklaces that are mini books or even the book cover image behind a clear stone. So pretty and it's your book cover, so yeah. :)
  • Scrivener — I admit I have this and haven't fallen in love with it yet, but I know so many writers who swear by it.

What did I miss? Feel free to add other gifts writers would love in the comments.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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28. Monday Mishmash 12/7/15


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 editing for a client this week. I did the first edit last week and now I'm on to round two, which is backward.
  2. Working the Holiday Sale at My Daughter's School  Today and Wednesday I'll be helping out at my daughter's school with their Holiday Shop. It's cute to watch the kids shop for their family members.
  3. My Birthday  I'm not big on birthdays, but mine is tomorrow. I guess getting older is inevitable.
  4. Christmas shopping  Other than my daughter's gifts, I'm finished buying and wrapping gifts. Yay! I got some really great deals too, which makes me very happy.
  5. Into the Fire  Into the Fire and Out of the Ashes are fully edited. Only one book in the trilogy left to finish, Up in Flames. I got to see my blurb for Into the Fire and now I'm dying to see my cover.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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29. Friday Feature: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow


The Morrow family is taking over the infamous Begonia House December 1st, but here's a glimpse into the mystery...

Release date: DECEMBER 1, 2015
Delacorte Press/ Random House Kids Books
MIDDLE GRADE/ ages 10 and up
ISBN: 978-0-385-74471-3
Authors: Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson
Illustrator: Roman Muradov
Publicity contact: Samuel Terris sterris@penguinrandomhouse.com
-->
The Begonia House 

The car made a sharp right turn as it began to ascend the narrow, winding road that led to the Begonia House. Fairday glanced out the window, and other than the rough road that tossed them about, she could see nothing but a tangled mesh of woods that seemed to spread over the entire hill. Margo had fallen asleep, and her parents had stopped talking, so it was quiet in the car as they trundled up and up. Finally, as the road began to level out, they reached the front gate. It was enormous and made of iron. Twisted vines were wrapped around its pointed black bars, making it look like the entrance to some kind of morbid secret garden. Across the top of the gate, in large letters, were these words: 

FEAR NOT THE UNEXPECTED 

“Weird,” Fairday said. “It should say, ‘Fear not living a thousand miles from civilization.”

“Oh, now, Fairday, no eleven-year-old as clever as you ever died of ennui. That’s another word for boredom,” Mr. Morrow said. He had been an English teacher for years and was constantly throwing out “new and exciting” words to improve Fairday’s vocabulary. “I’m sure you’ll find lots to do here. Incidentally, this house has a pretty interesting history, very mysterious. Right up your alley, with your little club and all- the Detective Mystery Squad, right?”

“That’s right!” Mrs. Morrow piped up, turning to face Fairday. “You can invite Lizzy for a sleepover, and you guys can investigate. I’m sure the library has all sorts of information on the history of the house. It’s very famous in these parts, and I’ve even heard rumors that it’s haunted. Wouldn’t that be interesting?” Her mother winked. “After you girls have conducted a thorough investigation, you can fill me in on all the juicy details. If you find something fascinating, we can display it when we open up the Begonia House Bed-and-Breakfast." 

                              ★★★

The Begonia House keeps its secrets. Everyone knows that. Everyone, that is, except for clever eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow, whose family has just moved in. Being the Senior Investigator in the Detective Mystery Squad, more commonly known as the DMS, she’s ready to uncover the mysteries hidden within the strange manor. As the investigation gears up and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the three young sleuths enter into a world where anything is possible, and the danger is most definitely real. Can they piece together the puzzle before it's too late? Or will whatever's causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?
Catch the Book Buzz...

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!"
~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books  


"Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS)."
~ Publishers Weekly

"Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow's new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?"
~ Kirkus Reviews




And there's a giveaway for 1 signed hardcover edition of THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW!

Open internationally
Contest runs from 11/29-12/24/15
a Rafflecopter giveaway


JessicaHaight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts.



StephanieRobinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. 








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30. Writer Wednesday: Go-To Words

Today I want to talk about go-to words. You know, those words we ALWAYS use in our manuscripts even though we know we shouldn't. When I'm editing for a client, I cut these words, change them out, or mark them to be changed by the author. The thing is, I use these words in my own writing.

I'm working on edits for my Into the Fire trilogy and my editor kindly pointed out that my characters LOVE to smile and shrug. Not together, obviously, but you get the point. When I did a search for these, I was blown away. I'm talking head to desk, wondering how book one was ever printed this way. I was embarrassed to be honest. The good thing is that I know this book is so much better now. The writing is tighter, there are added scenes, and the pace is faster.

I'm going to share some words you should look for in your own writing and then cut. Here it goes:

shrug
nod
smile
that (This is the word I cut the most for my editing clients.)
just (This word is a close second to "that" as far as what I cut most for clients.)
almost
adverbs (Okay, it's not an exact word to look for, but you know what I'm talking about. Opt for specific verbs and ditch those adverbs.)
turn
So (I'm very guilty of this one. Cut it.)
really
very
but (Nothing wrong with this word, but—see what I did there?—be mindful of how often you use the "He did this, but…" sentence structure.)
too
only
well (Another personal favorite)


Here are three others, I'll caution you about:
feel
hear
see
These are telling words. If you're using them, you are distancing your reader from the story. Let the reader experience these senses instead of being told about them.

*While this list is in the present tense, ALL tenses apply. ;)

Do you have any go-to words that aren't on my list? Feel free to share them in the comments.

**If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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31. Monday Mishmash 11/30/15


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. Out of the Ashes Edits  I'm working on my edits for Out of the Ashes, the second book in the Into the Fire trilogy, which comes out in February. :)
  2. Client edit  I have a new editing client and I'll be working on her book for the next two weeks.
  3. Free Monthly Newsletter  My newsletter goes out tomorrow. If you aren't signed up to receive one but would like to, click here.
  4. Jamberry FB Party  I'm hosting a Jamberry FB party this week. There are tons of nail wraps to be won. If you'd like to be added, let me know.
  5. School Visit  I'll be visiting a fourth grade class on Friday to talk about how an idea becomes a book. I'm really looking forward to it.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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32. Friday Feature: Mayan Blood Blurb Reveal


Today I'm happy to share the blurb for Mayan Blood by my fellow Limitless author Theresa McClinton.

Their empires have fallen, but their mythology lives on...
Zanya Coreandero is a seventeen-year-old orphan with only a single friend and no hope for a normal life. Diagnosed with anxiety and night terrors, no one believes her cuts and bruises are a result of an evil entity, and not a brutal case of self-harm.
With the only home she’s ever known being the isolated institution—where breakfast is a handful of medications, the psychiatry sessions are mandatory, and her every move is watched—the only relief is her red-haired roommate named Tara, who’s more like a little sister than her best friend.
Free will is strong, but destiny is stronger.
When Zanya is kidnapped, she meets a group of gifted Mayan descendants, each with a unique ability. Gone from a nameless castaway to the only hope of mankind, Zanya is forced to make a grueling decision: bond with an enchanted stone and save humanity from rising underworld forces, or watch helplessly as Earth falls victim to a familiar dark deity from her dreams. This time, he’s playing for keeps.
A wicked secret hides behind a handsome face...
When Arwan, a dark-eyed time bender, takes interest in Zanya's mission, it's unclear if his intention is to help, or if he's on a hell-bent mission for revenge. Wary of falling for another guy with major secrets and a tainted past, Zanya fights to keep her distance. If only her heart gave her a choice.
Theresa McClinton with Leanne Renee Hieber

"Theresa's books resemble her person: full of rich life and heart, interest and engagement, imagination and importance, shining beautiful light across all genres in which she'll be sure to delight the reader." - Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning, bestselling Fantasy author


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

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33. Writer Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Since tomorrow is thanksgiving, I thought I'd share what I'm thankful for this year. These are in no particular order, and I'm sure I'm forgetting people so I'll apologize in advance for that.

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for:
  • my family who is so supportive of the crazy author/editor lifestyle I've chosen
  • my friends who accept that I ignore them when I'm in my writing or editing bubble
  • my writer friends who truly know how tough this business is and endure it alongside me
  • my amazing street team, Kelly's Coven, who shares every step of this journey and helps me make decisions about author logos, book settings, and so much more 
  • my agent who keeps me sane when I just want to scream and cry, which has been more than I'd like to admit
  • my social media manager, Amber, who always has brilliant ideas about how to spread the word about my books
  • my readers, whether they've been with me from the start or have just discovered my books
  • my newsletter subscribers for actually wanting to hear from me every month to see what I'm up to
  • the schools who have invited me to speak and share what I do for a living
  • my editing clients who allow me to make some money to pay bills and allow me to work on some really amazing books
  • bookstores who invite me to sign and who also carry my books on the shelves so I can take pictures of them out in the wild
  • my social media followers who put up with my posts about my crazy Shep-hound dog, my adorable daughter, all my books, The Walking Dead, my love of Jensen Ackles, and my Jamberry nail obsession
  • Limitless books for being so amazing to work with and for putting out Our Little Secret and the entire Into the Fire trilogy
  • my editors and beta readers for making me a better writer
  • bloggers and book reviewers who take the time to review and share my books with others...
I could keep going, but this is getting kind of long. And the really nice thing is that amidst all the struggles I encounter in this industry, seeing all these great people I have to be thankful for makes me really grateful that I decided to pursue this career.

Happy Thanksgiving!


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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34. Monday Mishmash 11/23/15


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. Editing  I'm editing for Leap this week. I'm forcing myself to take breaks to give my poor eyes a rest and hopefully cut down on the eye strain and headaches.
  2. Into the Fire Trilogy  I got my release schedule for the Into the Fire Trilogy and ALL 3 books will release in spring 2016! I couldn't be more excited about this. This means no waiting to read the next book. The entire trilogy will be in the readers' hands in a matter of weeks! Here's the official release schedule: 
    1. INTO THE FIRE February 16, 2016
    2. OUT OF THE ASHES February 23, 2016
    3. UP IN FLAMES March 22, 2016
  3. Jamberry Facebook Party  I'm hosting a Jamberry nail wrap party November 30th-December 7th. I fell in love with Jamberry last spring and now I'm addicted. If you'd like to party with me and possibly win free samples, let me know and I'll add you. No pressure to buy. Just come join the fun.
  4. Drafting  As part of my attempt to save my poor eyes, I've decided to reinstate my balanced schedule of writing and editing each day. When I write, I don't stare intently at the screen like I do while I'm editing. So I'm drafting a few thousand words a day now on my WIP, which happens to be an adult thriller.
  5. Fright Before Christmas  Have you pre-ordered your copy of Fright Before Christmas yet? It's only $1.99 right now on Kindle. It's a scary fun Christmas read for middle grade and up.
  6. Happy Thanksgiving  I hope you all have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. Be careful traveling, and if you go out on Black Friday PLEASE stay safe. People get crazy when there are sales. I'll be waiting for the much safer Cyber Monday. ;)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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35. Friday Feature: House of the Lost Girls



HOUSE OF THE LOST GIRLS 
by Carissa Ann Lynch 
Series: Flocksdale Files Book #2
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
- SYNOPSIS -
Seventeen year old Marianna Bertagnoli is miserable…
Not only did her father abandon her five years ago, now she’s being uprooted and forced to move with her mother and new stepdad to a creepy Victorian house they inherited in the even creepier town of Flocksdale.
Flocksdale has an evil, ugly past—and history has a way of repeating itself…
Marianna notices some strange qualities about her new home, and soon realizes she’s living in none other than the infamous House of Horrors. That’s right, the very house where the demented Garrett family ran a drug ring, leading to the kidnappings and murders of forty young girls.
The dark energy of the town begins to rise again…
Within a week of moving in, Marianna’s mother disappears, one of her small group of new friends is found murdered, and she’s attacked by a man wearing a hideous clown mask. As she searches for answers, Marianna wonders if the malevolence still lingers, somehow alive…and how her stepdad came to own the House of Horrors.
Unsure who to trust, Marianna turns to Wendi Wise, a survivor of the Garretts’ crimes…
Caught up in twisted family ties and surrounded by deceit, Marianna is targeted by a new generation of evil. Doubly imprisoned—in her own body and in the real house of the lost girls—Marianna needs Wendi’s help to unravel the bizarre history of Flocksdale.
But will Marianna survive long enough to bring the evil to light…or will she be trapped in the house of the lost girls forever?

- PURCHASE -


- EXCERPT -
Chapter One:
Fuck Flocksdale. Not my words—someone else’s. The flat black spray paint obliterated the real words—Welcome to—on the shiny metal sign greeting us on our way into Flocksdale. Our new town. Not my choice of towns—someone else’s.
In the backseat of my parents’ SUV, I was slumped down in the seat with yellow earbuds shoved as far into the openings of my ears as they would go. The ornery words aroused me from my black mood, and I leaned forward, pressing my face to the glass as we passed.
I tried not to smile. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who hated this town.
“Wow. That’s just great,” my mother said, also noticing the nasty words scrawled on the sign as we passed by. “Who would do something like that?” she asked.
“Oh, honey. You know who. Rotten teenagers,” my stepdad uttered disgustedly, staring back at me in the rearview mirror. I may as well have written the words myself based on his nasty look. It was so obvious that he hated me. Why couldn’t my mother see that? Or maybe she sees it and just doesn’t care, I thought bitterly.
I narrowed my eyes at my stepdad darkly, sliding back down in my seat. I turned up the volume on my iPod, switched the song to Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. I mouthed words to the song, lonely lyrics about walking alone, as we entered my new town of Flocksdale.
I hated him…not my stepdad, but my real dad. For leaving my mom and I five years ago, and ultimately, bequeathing me to this asshole. Everything between my mom and dad was fine, and then one day it wasn’t. He left a note, saying he was going to live with his new girlfriend.
A note. If I ever got to see him again, I had a few notes of my own to give him.
My mom and George got married only a year ago, but George had been wrecking my life ever since.
Like right now, for instance.
He had accepted a job in Flocksdale, and even though my mom had her own job in Ohio, and I had my school and friends, here we were—starting over. Our lives didn’t matter to him. It was all about him, furthering his career goals. He didn’t care that I had to leave my old school. The school I’d attended my entire life…
Despite the explicit greeting on the way in, the part of town we drove into seemed quiet and quaint. It was nearly ten o’clock at night, but the main street was free of motorists and the sidewalks held no pedestrians. Rows of brick buildings, apparently small businesses, lined the street on both sides, “We’re Closed” signs firmly displayed in their windows.
“Well, this definitely looks like a peaceful town, Georgie,” my mother said, using that stupid pet name I hated for ‘George.’ She patted my stepdad’s arm, her attempt to let him know she was fine with moving here. That she’d forgiven him. Her eyes fluttered back to meet mine, encouraging me to do the same, but I closed them, refusing to cater to Georgie’s sensitivity. Well, I haven’t…I mouthed sulkily.
I was never going to be okay with moving here. Technically, I was almost eighteen and soon to be free to go anywhere I wanted. But even after I finished my senior year of high school, at my new school, there was supposed to be college and all that…
In other words, I was stuck with my mother and surrogate daddy for at least a few more years. And now I was stuck serving out my time in this lame-ass town called Flocksdale.
“Are you sure anyone really lives here?” I asked, yanking my earbuds out. My mother shot me a death glare and my stepdad ignored my comment. He’d grown up here in this dump, and I knew insulting his alma mater would get under his skin.
But getting under his skin was turning out to be one of my favorite pastimes.
I twisted my hair in a tight bun and started packing up my book and iPod into my messenger bag. It was all I’d brought, besides my duffel bag containing a few outfits. Everything else was coming by U-Haul. I didn’t care about my stuff. It was my friends and school I worried about leaving behind.
I was relieved to see lights up ahead, illuminating a McDonald’s and CVS as we entered the heart of town. So, there is civilization here, I thought wearily.
More businesses—a grocery store, diner, coffee shop, and a badass-looking used book store. Then the stores faded away and we entered a cluster of residential houses and neighborhoods. The houses were small and close together, mostly shotguns, but then they got larger and grander as we got further from town.
“We’re getting close. It’s on the river,” George said, his voice taking on an excited, boyish tone. I knew we were getting close to the water because the houses were taking on a strange quality. Some of them were sitting up high on stilts. I’d never seen anything like it.
“I guess they’re worried about floods here,” I remarked softly. I had to admit, the houses looked pretty cool, sitting up high on solid, wooden beams. Like they were too cool to hang out on the ground with the rest of the houses.
“Yeah, sometimes the river gets high around here. But there hasn’t been a major flood in forty years,” my mom said, answering for George.
But then he said, “Nearly thirty houses and businesses were torn down and rebuilt. They built smarter the second time around, preparing for floods. But we won’t have to worry about that…”
Rolling down the window, I leaned my head out, sucking in deep breaths of damp July air. Why did they tear them down? And who were “they”? I wanted to ask, but then I could almost hear…water.
There it was—rolling, murky water with steaming pipes from a nuclear plant on the other side of the river. A huge sea of nothing but water, and more nothingness beyond it. An old, metal walking bridge glittered in the distance. “It’s down here,” George nearly whispered, taking a turn onto Clemmons Street.
There were nearly six houses on both sides of the street, all built on stilts . But at the end was a gigantic Victorian home, its own flood wall behind it, sitting right on the river. It towered in the black night sky, moonlight dancing crazily on the rough waters in the background.
It was beautiful in an eerie sort of way and as we pulled up in front of it, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. Could it be…? The House of Horrors…?
That’s right. I did my research on this place. The town of Flocksdale had a history. A nasty, evil sort of history.
Nearly twenty years ago, a deranged family ran some sort of trafficking/drug ring. The bodies of nearly forty young girls were found buried in the crawlspaces, basements, and backyards of the townspeople involved in the operation. The townspeople of Flocksdale.
All of the perpetrators were either apprehended or dead, but it still gave me the creeps. I’d read everything I could find on the internet about the murders. In some of the write-ups, I’d read about the description of the main house used in the kidnappings and subsequent killings—an old, creepy Victorian. A description that seemed to fit this one. Surely, there were other Victorian homes in this town? Right…?
I’d tried to tell my mom, and even George, about it. But George ignored me, and my mom said, “Every town has history and crime is everywhere, Marianna. George grew up there, so it must be all right.” Yeah…that made me feel a whole hell of a lot better.
George parked the SUV in a concrete driveway out front of the house. I made no attempt to get out. I stared up at this beautiful monster of a house, wondering what was in store for me in this creepy little town with its even creepier history. I shivered involuntarily. Two words came to mind: Fuck Flocksdale.


- FLOCKSDALE FILES SERIES - 
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL? - Book 1
★ Paperback: http://amzn.to/1Q6FAhr

- ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
CARISSA ANN LYNCH
Besides my family, my greatest love in life is books. Reading them, writing them, holding them, smelling them…well, you get the idea. I've always loved to read and never considered myself a "writer" until a few years ago when I couldn't find a book to read and decided to try writing my own story. I'm the author of Have You Seen This Girl? (Flocksdale Files Book #1), Grayson's Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. I reside in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with my husband, children, and massive collection of books.



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

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36. Writer Wednesday: NaNoWriMo Tips

Even though I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, I do love to fast draft so I figured I'd share some tips for anyone who needs a little push to get over that middle slump that sometimes creeps up when we're drafting.
  • Keep momentum  I'm going to start with this one because we all know that the excitement of NaNo drives you in the beginning, but it's tough to keep that excitement up mid-month. The key is to keep going. Don't slack on those word count goals. Keep up the pace you've been maintaining.
  • Don't be afraid to jump around  If you get stuck on a scene, skip it and go back to it later. Keep pushing ahead. Sometimes when the middle starts to get to me, I jump ahead to the climax because it's exciting and fast paced. That gets me into the groove again and keeps the words flowing.
  • Set small goals  Daily word count goals can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them up into what you want to write in a twenty-minute span. Setting short goals, means you'll feel a sense of accomplishment sooner, and that can motivate you to keep going and write more.
  • Reward yourself  You know that cookie you're dying to eat. How about after you reach 1,000 words? Give yourself a reason to want to get those words down and then reward yourself for a job well done.
  • Share your goals and progress  When I ran competitively, one of the things I did before a race was tell everyone what time I wanted to run. If they knew my target time, I'd feel accountable because I knew they'd ask me if I met it. Tell people your goals and then check in with your progress. Don't let writing be a solitary experience.
  • Feed off the energy of others and inspire others just the same  Feeling like you're in a slump? Don't post about that. Encourage others to keep going and let them do the same for you. Think positively. Cheering on others just may spark some creativity in yourself.

Good luck NaNoWriMo participants! You can do this. Keep those fingers flying across the keys.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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37. Monday Mishmash 11/16/15


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. New Deal For Seek  Last Monday I told you I signed a new author to Leap Books Seek. Well, the announcement ran in Publisher's Weekly last Tuesday so I can share it now. I'm so excited to work with Sheri Larsen on Motley Education.
  2. The Haunted Realm  Emilyann Girdner has a new book out. Check out The Haunted RealmIn this riveting continuation of the story, Araina again faces a series of seemingly impossible magical obstacles. As Araina and her friends search for answers about their Creators and their magical labyrinth world, their journey becomes rife with peril when Araina falls victim to illness. Despite heart-pricking losses in the labyrinth swamps, vengeful ghostly attackers in the Blinking Willows, and many other dangerous obstacles, Araina is determined to succeed. If Araina can’t solve the mysteries of the haunted realm and find a cure for her sickness, she and her friends may never escape the labyrinth, or even live to try.
  3. Editing  I have two client edits and an edit for Leap on my plate this week. Eek!
  4. Eye Strain  I've apparently been editing too much lately. My eyes are starting to really hurt from all the computer time. Sadly, I may need to scale back on all this editing. My eyes have always been an issue and I'm starting to worry that I'm doing damage to them.
  5. Into the Fire  I've been hard at work editing Into the Fire. The book is so different now, and I love it. I can't wait to share it with you all.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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38. Friday Feature: Fallback by Lori Whitman



►►► #AVAILABLE ◄◄◄

FALLBACK (The Dead Survive Book 2)
by Lori Whitwam, Author is available for purchase on Amazon!

► #oneclick →→ http://amzn.to/1NicBG5
► Publisher: LIMITLESS PUBLISHING


►►► SYNOPSIS ◄◄◄
After being rescued from a brutal band of marauders, Ellen Hale rebuilt her life in the fortified neighborhood that became her home. A heartbreaking decision and devastating loss pushed her to become a fierce fighter, because weakness only got you and those you loved killed. 

Now her community is facing a deadly threat, and Ellen has another choice to make. 

Ellen volunteers as a member of fallback team three, tasked with establishing a temporary refuge for their citizens in the event their community is overrun by the enemy. As the danger intensifies, she and her adopted sister, Melissa, set off with the rest of their team on the road trip from hell. 

Their mission is cloaked in secrecy, but suspicions of a traitor arise. 

Something is affecting the zombies’ migration patterns, and when blacksmith Tyler Garrett is discovered trapped in a farmhouse, the team refuses to trust him. But Ellen believes his story, and it’s not just because of his rugged, blond good looks and soft-spoken manner—his skills can greatly benefit their team. 

As the team struggles to reach the fallback, previously secure locations are overrun, and their chances of success seem remote. With the likelihood of a traitor nearly certain, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, Ellen must figure out who to trust before the traitor—or the zombies—destroy them all. 

Is there a spy among the fallback team, 
or is there another threat lurking in the Kentucky hills?


►►► PURCHASE ◄◄◄
AMAZON →→ http://amzn.to/1NicBG5


►►► Meet the Author ◄◄◄
LORI WHITWAM

Lori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.

She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as the Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing, as well as editing for a select group of indie authors.

Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.

She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.

Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.

You can find her online at http://www.loriwhitwam.com.
Her Facebook author page is http://www.facebook.com/loriauthor



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

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39. Writer Wednesday: Teaming Up With Other Authors

It's no secret that I'm a huge proponent of authors supporting other authors, but today I want to take that one step further and talk about authors teaming up with other authors. This is such a great way to help each other promote and to reach a new audience. This week, I'm teaming up with 11 other YA authors to bring readers a huge giveaway. It's great for the readers, and it's great for the authors too because we are reaching new potential fans and sharing our fan bases with each other. If you haven't yet teamed up with other authors like this, I'd encourage you to try it. And before you go, check out the giveaway and be sure to enter. There are so many prizes to win!


First, here are the participating authors:




Now for the prizes. There will be a winner for each prize. Yes, that means there are a ton of chances to win!


Prizes:

2 $40 gift cards
eBook of PERFECT FOR YOU by Ashelyn Drake
eBook of FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris
eBook of SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE by Elana Johnson
eBook of ELEVATED by Elana Johnson
eBook of PLAYING WITH FIRE by Sherry Ficklin
One of the GUARDIANS OF GALAXY books by Ednah Walters
RITE OF REJECTION by Sarah Negovetich
4 copies of THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill
eBook set of THE DARK BETRAYAL Trilogy by Nichole Chase

eBook of TOUCHING SMOKE by Airicka Phoenix
eBook of DAUGHTER OF CHAOS by Jen McConnel


You can enter on my Facebook page or on the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is international and will run from November 9th to November 15th. Good luck!






Giveaway hosted by Ashelyn Drake. 

More info about Ashelyn can be found below: 


Ashelyn is a pen name for Kelly Hashway. Kelly grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.


*Sign up for Ashelyn's newsletter to stay current on her new releases: http://bit.ly/1tRQqzg


Join her street team, Kelly’s Coven, for exclusive giveaways, ARCs, and to chat with her: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KellysCoven/


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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40. Monday Mishmash 11/9/15


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. Leap News  I've signed another author to Leap Books Seek. I'm so excited about this book and can't wait to share the news. I'm just waiting on the Publisher's Weekly announcement. :)
  2. Editing  This week I'll be editing the new book I acquired. 
  3. Drafting  I'm a little jealous of all the people writing away for NaNoWriMo, so I may attempt to get some words in on my adult thriller this week. I had to put it aside to edit for clients. And yes, you read that correctly. I'm writing an adult thriller.
  4. Review Opportunity  I'm looking for a few more readers to review Our Little Secret. If you're willing to read the book and review it on Amazon, let me know in the comments, or email me at khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com and I'll send you a review copy.
  5. Huge Multi-Author YA Giveaway  I'm teaming up with a bunch of amazing YA authors to bring you a huge giveaway. There are tons of prizes and tons of chances to win! Here's what's up for grab: 
Prizes:

2 $40 gift cards
eBook of PERFECT FOR YOU by Ashelyn Drake
eBook of FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris
eBook of SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE by Elana Johnson
eBook of ELAVATED by Elana Johnson
eBook of PLAYING WITH FIRE by Sherry Ficklin
One of the GUARDIANS OF GALAXY books by Ednah Walters
RITE OF REJECTION by Sarah Negovetich
4 copies of THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill
eBook set of THE DARK BETRAYAL Trilogy by Nichole Chase
eBook of TOUCHING SMOKE by Airicka Phoenix 


The giveaway is international and will run from November 9th through November 15th. Enter on my Ashelyn FB page or on the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecop-ter giveaway

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

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41. Friday Feature: The Innocent by Michelle K. Pickett


 photo The-Innocent.png
Title:  The Innocent
Series:  The Milayna Series, Book 3
Author:  Michelle K. Pickett
Published:  November 3, 2015  
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YAm Paranormal Romance
Content Warning:  Violence and Language
Recommended Age:  16+
Synopsis:  A year ago, eighteen year-old Milayna fought Azazel, Hell’s angel, for her soul. She thought she’d seen the last of him, but he’s back, and he’s brought his friends with him. The Four Brothers want Milayna’s life, and they have wicked powers to use to take it.
While Milayna struggles against the Four Brothers, she also has to fight Azazel for her younger brother’s soul. Ben is at a crucial point in his life—a time when he is weakest to Azazel and his powers. Milayna has to shield her brother from Azazel until Ben reaches the age of accountability and enters a period of safety from Azazel and his soul-sucking demons.
As if having four demon brothers out to end her life and Hell’s angel out to steal her brother’s soul wasn’t enough, Milayna is still reeling from the disappearance of Chay. Can she find him in time to save their relationship? Or will the constant struggle with Hell and all its evil send her seeking comfort in the arms of Xavier?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Excerpt:
Xavier floored the engine and took off in the direction of mile marker 122.
“There it is.” I pointed at the bridge I saw in my vision. A knife sank into my side, and I stifled a scream. I squeezed my side with one hand and massaged my pounding head with the other.
Broken windows… mangled steel… smashed cars. I look down. Not a knife. A piece of metal protrudes from my side. Blood. Lots of blood. Screaming.
I smell… sulfur. Rotting flesh… charred meat. Hell.
“You didn’t say anything about a bridge,” Drew said.
“I saw one. It’s just before it.” I nodded toward the window. “See?
There’s the mile marker. This is definitely the place,” I gasp around the pain.
“What do we do now?” Muriel asked quietly.
“Xavier, turn the SUV sideways and start driving back and forth in front of the cars to make them back up. The farther back they get from the mile marker, the better.” My breathing was labored and my voice barely a whisper.
“And if some don’t move?”
“I don’t know.” I met his gaze. “We tried. That’s all we can do.”
Xavier turned on the shoulder and drove across the lanes of the highway, earning a lot of honks and quite a few fingers along the way. When he reached the median, he’d back up until he reached the other side.
Then he’d throw it in drive and start again. It worked. Some cars started backing up, away from the lunatic driver. Others held their ground. Too bad they wouldn’t be able to hold it much longer. I could already hear the pavement cracking. Xavier had time for one, maybe two passes. That was it. Whoever was left had to fend for themselves.
A large crack sounded, and I looked at Xavier. It was time to get out of there. He threw the SUV in reverse and flew across the highway until he reached the shoulder. Swinging around, going toward traffic, he drove on the shoulder away from the impending sinkhole.
“How’s the vision?” Xavier asked, looking over at me.
“It’s still there, but not as bad.” The pain in my head had lessened.
The sharp icepick had been replaced with a rubber mallet, and the piece of scrap metal in my side had disappeared.
His eyes darted in front of him for a second before his gaze fell back on me. “I thought when the situation was corrected, the vision would go away?”
“It will.”
“Well? How come it hasn’t?” Drew leaned forward, sticking his head in the space between the two front seats.
“People are still going to die. I didn’t fulfill everything I was supposed to. And Jord is still out there somewhere. Until he’s caught and killed, along with the other three Brothers, I don’t think my visions will go away completely.”
“So… you… you’ll see those people—”
“Die?” I interrupted Drew. “No. I don’t see it. I just kinda know. It sounds awful, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
I don’t see it—I feel it. Too much. Stuff I don’t want to feel. And I’m lying. I haven’t gotten used to it. I won’t ever get used to it.
“That’s not horrible, Milayna. That’s just your coping mechanism kicking in. You have to have one or you’d go insane from the things you’ve seen and gone through in the last year,” Xavier said softly.
“Who said I haven’t gone insane already?” I said with a chuckle.
“That’s true, Xavier. Some of us are taking bets on when her first nervous breakdown will be. Want to wager?” Muriel chewed on the end of the straw in her Coke and grinned.
“No!” He sounded indignant.
“Don’t worry; she’s only joking,” I said and rolled my eyes at Muriel.
Xavier was an angel. He’d only lived on earth a few months. He hadn’t gotten used to how humans joked and teased yet, which made him the perfect person to play tricks on. It could be hilarious.
I jumped when a sharp stab bit into the side of my neck. Warmth spread across my skin. I felt my neck, but I knew nothing was there. Just a sensation of the vision. Another pain radiated up my leg. My leg vibrated with it. The warmth in my neck disappeared, leaving it cold. The person was gone.

Grab your copy of book 1, Milayna, for FREE on Amazon!

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About the Author:
Michelle is the bestselling author of the young adult novel “PODs.” She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now lives in a sleepy suburb outside Houston with her extremely supportive husband, three school-aged children, a 125 pound “lap dog,” and a very snooty cat.
Red Bull or Monster Khaos are her coffee of choice, and she can’t write without peanut butter M&Ms and a hoodie. A hopeful romantic; she loves a swoon-worthy ending that will give her butterflies for days. She writes across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups. She loves to hear from her readers.
Michelle signed her new young adult contemporary novel— Unspeakable, with Clean Teen Publishing in 2014.

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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
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Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • If US, the winner will receive a mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing
  • If International, the winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
Ends November 9th at Midnight (EST)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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42. Writer Wednesday: Goodreads

Recently, I've seen quite a few authors comment about Goodreads, and not in a positive way. So today I want to talk about Goodreads. As authors, we tend to look at review sites as places we should be, but in actuality these sites are for readers to share their opinions. You have to remember that.

Here's how I use Goodreads. I have my blog linked to Goodreads, which means I get comments on my posts there. I happily go on and respond to those comments. I also have the "Ask the Author" section activated so readers can communicate with me. I love talking to readers this way, and it's great because Goodreads emails you to let you know you have a message. These are my favorite features on Goodreads.

Now let me tell you how I DON'T use Goodreads. I don't ever comment on negative reviews or ratings. Have you ever noticed that books tend to have more reviews on Goodreads than on Amazon or any other site? Goodreads is for reviews. But those reviews aren't there for the authors. They're for other readers. We all know there are a lot of people on Goodreads who simply rate books without reviewing them or who really slam authors. Do I like this? No, of course not. But don't engage with those readers who rate your book before it's out just to give you a low star rating. Or with those readers who hate your book with a fiery passion. Don't do it.

So this is my plea to please use Goodreads in a good way. It has some great features, but it can also be a potential setting for bad blood. Don't fall victim to the latter.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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43. Monday Mishmash 11/2/15


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. I Signed a Three-Book Deal! I'm really excited to say that my young adult series, Into the Fire, has a new home. You may remember Into the Fire was released last year as an Ashelyn Drake title. Well, I've added to the book and decided it is most definitely a Kelly Hashway title. All three books in the series will release through Limitless Publishing. And yes, you read that correctly. Into the Fire will have NEW content, never before seen! Here's the Publisher's Marketplace announcement: 
  2. Editing  I've been on an editing role lately. I'm even booking clients for 2016 already.
  3. FREE Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter went out yesterday. If you didn't get a copy but would like one, you can sign up here.
  4. Creepy Short Story on Lightning Quick Reads  Last week, the lovely bloggers over at Lightning Quick Reads posted my short story "House of Horrors." You can read it here.
  5. Halloween Fun  I never post pictures of my daughter online. (Yes, I'm one of those paranoid mothers.) I do, however, post pictures of my dog, Hadley, and this was too cute not to share. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

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

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44. Friday Feature: The Infected by Michelle K. Pickett




The Infected (PODs #2)
Release Date: October 12th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

From the author of the award winning Unspeakable, and the best selling PODs, comes the highly anticipated sequel to PODs. A world where death stalks the unsuspecting, and this time even the PODs might not save them. 

A virus nearly wiped out humankind...

Months have passed since a human infection has been reported. Survivors of the deadly pandemic have finally started to build a life in a world left devastated by plague. 

Ironically, for nineteen-year-old Eva, life made more sense when she battled the deadly Infected than it does in the serenity of her new home in Rosewood. Separated from fiancé and former POD-mate, David, after an impossible ultimatum, Eva finds her life a little lonely and a lot confusing. 

But as troubled as Eva’s life is, it's about to take a turn for the worse as untold dangers watch and wait for the right moment to attack…

The virus refuses to die quietly.

Book One
(click on image for link)



About the Author

I can’t write without a hoodie. Yeah, I live it Texas. We all have our quirks.

I majored in accounting in college. I was required to declare a major, but I had no clue what I wanted to do, so I picked accounting because it was the first thing listed in the booklet the counselor gave me. Surprisingly, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Go figure.

Forget coffee. Hand over the Red Bull or Monster Khaos and no one gets hurt. Seriously, just set it down and step away. I will turn into a normal human after I guzzle my can of caffeine.

I hate to cook, but love to watch cooking shows on television.

I paint my nails weird colors just to see my husband roll his eyes and make my 9 year-old twin girls giggle. Oh, and mortify my 13 year-old son.

I’m a hopeful romantic and love swoon-worthy endings that keep the butterflies going for days, but I don’t believe a HEA always ends with the boy getting the girl. Sometimes a HEA is an ending we don’t see coming, but is still best for the characters.

I write across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups while eating way too many peanut butter M&Ms (but we’ll keep that second part just between us).

I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now live in a suburb of Houston, TX with my very supportive family, a 125lb rescue “puppy” and a 12lb attack cat, also a rescue animal.

And last, (but certainly not least), I love my family with everything in me. Everything I am, is theirs. There are no words in any language known to man to describe my love for them. They are my center.

I’d love to hear from you. So drop me an email! Let’s chat. You tell me what you like in books, what you’d like to see happen in the writing community, what type of books you like to see more of…less of—I want to hear it all! So tell me, please. Because the one thing I wish I could put on my list, but I still haven’t figured out how to do, is mind-reading. But don’t tell my kids. I still have them fooled. :)
 



Author Links:
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45. Monday Mishmash 10/19/15


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. My Bio Couldn't Be More True  The first line of my bio reads that I fully admit to being the most accident-prone person in the world. I truly am. Let me recap last week for you. Saturday evening (after YA Fest) I cut my hand on the rounded edge of my countertop. Yes, rounded edge. Sunday, I got hit in the head with the mega-sized plug from our giant air conditioning unit as my husband carried it up to the attic. I now have a bump on my forehead. Friday night I fell down the stairs and hurt my arm. The X-rays didn't show a break but because of the amount of swelling, the doctor thinks I may have a hairline fracture that only an MRI would see. Still, no need for a cast. So yeah, my bio is spot-on.
  2. Good News I Can't Share Yet  In the midst of my awful week, I got good news. I can't share yet, but I'm very excited. :)
  3. Editing  I have three books on my plate to edit over the next two weeks. And I'm typing one-handed because of my arm. Eek!
  4. New Adult Scavenger Hunt  I'm (as Ashelyn Drake) on Team Blue for the New Adult Scavenger Hunt. Yay! These are always a lot of fun.
  5. Alien MG Submissions for Seek  I got some great alien MG submissions during my open Twitter pitch last week. It's going to be tough picking just one out of these.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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46. Writer Wednesday: Authors Are Human

Something that always amazes me when I go to an event, whether it be a conference, a convention, or just a one-author book signing, is that people look at authors like they aren't regular people. Some might argue we aren't exactly normal (and I'm okay with that), but we are in fact human just like everyone else.

I've seen teens gush about meeting authors, and I've gushed about meeting authors, too. But when I gush it's because I'm in the presence of someone who's book changed my life in some way. Not because I thought this author was actually a superhuman posing as a mere mortal.

Now, those of you who follow me on Facebook or who read my most recent Monday Mishmash post know I had quite the accident-prone week. I had to laugh because my mom told me I had to stop posting about my accidents online or people might think I'm not the most intelligent person. There's a reason I post these things for all to see. These little quirks about me show I'm human. I'm not a robot sitting behind a computer screen typing away my latest book. I'm a real human being who tends to hurt herself and embarrass herself quite often. But I have a good sense of humor and I can laugh at myself. And I graduated college with honors, so I'm not worried about my intelligence either. ;)

I'm just me. I want people to see the real me and know they can approach me. That's why I love interacting online. So will I continue to share my little quirks online? Yes, I will. How about you? Do you share your imperfections online for others to see?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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47. Friday Feature: Keeper Witches by Kristy Centeno




Keeper of the Innocents 
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Series: Keeper Witches # 2
Length: 276 pages
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
Date Published: July 6, 2014

Book Blurb: 
Demi Redding has used her powers to vanquish demons for years, but when one shows up next door she will be forced to set both her experience and instincts aside to battle a war that has nothing to do with magic, and everything to do with matters of the heart.

As a Keeper of the Innocents, Demi’s load as a guardian reduces with only one charge to take on at a time. However, when her new foe proves to be a force she can neither see nor find, she has no choice but to doubt the so-called good intentions of the stranger one door down.

Rhyzel Connor is not your average neighbor by any means. The red specks of color in his green eyes alone sets him apart and his demonic heritage makes him an easy target. Because of who he is he can’t afford a mistake that will result in his demise, but the fact that he knows way too much about Demi quickly raises the suspicion veil over him.

There is a mission he must complete, and secrets he must fight hard to keep, but the biggest hardship he must face will be forfeiting his life in order to save Demi’s.

Short Description:
Demi is a witch on a mission.
Rhyzel is a half demon on the run.
When their worlds collide, Demi must come to terms with the fact that he might not be as dangerous as she thought. Or as innocent as she wants him to be.

Book Link:
Buy Links:
Book Trailer:

Teaser Excerpt:
Everything happened so fast I couldn’t even react. Stunned, I just stood there for a moment trying to size up my attacker. Before I even glanced up to look at his face I could tell something was off with him, but because of my nervousness, it was hard to tell for sure. He’d come out of nowhere, and if he intended to kill me, I was easy prey.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a deeply masculine voice growled at me. Fortunately, that same voice helped break me out of my stupor. 

I was prepared to see some form of evil glaring down at me, but what I found when I glanced up was definitely not what I was expecting. The handsome stranger staring at me was hot. Not just your average Joe kind of hot. No. This was like the kind of hot that makes a girl want to sin in ways she’d never done before.

His pale skin, tousled, bronze colored hair, and full lips were striking to look at, but his eyes left me completely speechless.

Perfectly round green eyes stared back at me and though they were gorgeous all on their own, it was the few specks of red in his irises that I found beautiful and so unusual. I was left with my mouth hanging open. I’d never seen eyes that color before and no matter how many times my brain yelled at me to look away, I just couldn’t. I was drawn to him. To his unique eyes. To the mystery that shrouded him.

“Are you deaf?” the tone of his voice rose a little more.

“No…no. I-I…was just—” My speech was impaired by his handsomeness and I felt stupid. It wasn’t like he was the first cute guy I’d ever seen. As a matter of fact, I’d broken up with my boyfriend two months ago and he’d been the cutest guy I’d ever seen. Now that this stranger was standing in front of me, I wasn’t so sure anymore. 

About the author:
Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.
She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When shes not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

Linked In: HYPERLINK "http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristycenteno/" www.linkedin.com/in/kristycenteno/

~~~~ * ~~~~ Book one is available for free at Amazon ~~~~ * ~~~~



Book Blurb:
Bryn McCaskey is young, naïve, and can talk to ghosts…

Like her mother and grandmother, Bryn comes from a breed of witches called The Keepers of the Lost Souls. Their main purpose is to guard those spirits who are permanently or temporarily grounded in the world of the living. Handling supernatural creatures is something which comes naturally to Bryn, however, dealing with people is a whole different story.

As her 18th birthday approaches it's time for her to take on her first assignment. Bryn is forced to confront her inability to communicate with others in an effort to save the one soul that can mean the difference between life and death for mankind.

Johnny Shaw is a lost soul with a personal vendetta against witches...

A vendetta he has carried on even after death. As much as he hate's them he must join forces with a keeper witch, in order to stop a century old threat. When fate brings them together, not only will they be forced to learn how to work as a team, but they will have to depend on each other to stop an evil witch carrying a six hundred year grudge!

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48. Monday Mishmash 10/26/15


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. Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween this Saturday. My daughter is being a Monster High character for the third year in a row (different character every year). She loves dressing up as them.
  2. Editing  Last week I finished one client edit. This week I have another to finish, one to start, and a Leap Books Seek edit to get to.
  3. Revising  I'm hoping to get some revision time for one of my own books by the end of the week.
  4. Lightning Quick Reads Feature  Tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/27), I'll have a story up on Lightning Quick Reads. It's a spooky YA story that will hopefully get you in the mood for Halloween.
  5. Christmas Shopping  I've done about 80% of my Christmas shopping already, and it feels good to have such a big jump on the holiday. Still waiting on a few things in hopes they will go down in price once the real sales begin.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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49. Writer Wednesday: Pointing Out Errors

Today's topic comes from Rick Starkey. Rick asked:
"I sometimes read books of others and leave reviews. I know that errors can slip through the publishing process, but should these be mentioned to the author? Is it fixable in the ebook version? Can it be fixed before the print version is printed? Or is it something the author probably already knows about and has to accept?"

This is a tricky subject, and here's why. A lot of authors, including me, refuse to read the finished book once it's out in the world. The reason is we are afraid of finding things we'll want to change. There comes a point where you have to accept the book is finished. Personally, I don't want to read my book and find a missing comma or typo. I'd cry because I know how much editing goes into all my books. But…editors are humans too. We do occasionally make mistakes. It's been proven that the human brain can read misspelled words and even insert missing words into sentences. Things happen. Even after you have an entire team of editors reading your book.

So, do you as a reader point out an error to the author? Well, if he/she is traditionally published, the print and ebook probably released simultaneously, which means that the first print run is already done. Those books cannot be changed. Things can be updated before the second print run, though. But ask yourself how you'd feel as the author if you knew thousands of copies of your book were in the hands of readers and that those copies contained an error. It's not a good feeling.

However… Did you know that was coming? If the author is self-published and/or using print on demand, these fixes are much easier. Files can be updated and there aren't thousands of print copies all over with mistakes in them. So telling an author in this situation could be very helpful to the author and publisher (if there is one).

But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you do find errors and feel the need to tell the author, do two things. First, make sure you are correct. Are you 110% certain it's an error? Second, contact the author PRIVATELY. Let me say that again. Contact the author PRIVATELY. Do not tell them in a review on Amazon or on their FB wall.

So, Rick, I hope that answers your question.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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50. Friday Feature: Firebird by Jennifer Loring



FIREBIRD by Jennifer Loring
Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career...
When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media...the same man she once thought, as a naive teenager, she'd someday marry.
An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he's ever set...
Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr's troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. And worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone--especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man.
Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr's dark side...
Being with Aleksandr in the first place jeopardizes Stephanie's journalistic integrity and threatens her career, and when he spirals out of control, it reawakens fears from her own history, making her unable to commit to a future with him.
When Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance...
Or will his revelation drive her away for good?




Buy it now on Amazon.

Jennifer Loring's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. In 2013, she won Crystal Lake Publishing's inaugural Tales from the Lake writing competition; in 2014, DarkFuse published her novella Conduits, and in May 2015, Omnium Gatherum released her debut novel, Those of My Kind. She recently signed a deal for a contemporary romance trilogy with Limitless Publishing; the first book, Firebird, is due out on October 20, 2015. Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds. She is currently at work on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy as well as a paranormal romance.
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