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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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26. And the Name of My Street Team Is...


Thank you so much to everyone who suggested names for my Street Team and/or voted on the names I posted last Wednesday. I really appreciate all your help. And a huge thank you and much virtual chocolate to those of you who signed up to be part of my Street Team. You all are seriously awesome and I owe you big. If you didn't sign up and would like to be part of my Street Team, you can do so here

Okay, so last Wednesday I posted the following possible names:
The Hashtags (Suggested by Karen Rock)
Kelly's Minions (Suggested by Giedre Sliumba)
Kelly's Corner (Suggested by Beth Consugar)
Hashway's Heroes (Suggested by Richard Alan Scott)
Kelly's Coven (Suggested by…um, me)
Kelly's Krusaders (Suggested by Faith Sullivan)
Supernatural Squad (Suggested by…um, me again)

Well, it was a close race. The Hashtags, Kelly's Krusaders, and Kelly's Coven were almost tied for most of the voting. But two pulled ahead. It came down to The Hashtags and Kelly's Coven.

Winning by 2 votes—yes, it was that close!—is:


I love it! Okay, so I suggested it. What I should say is that I love that so many of you also loved the name. But…I promised the winner a free book and since I can't gift a book to myself (well, I could but that's just weird) I'm gifting the runner-up. Karen Rock, you've won a copy of any one of my books you'd like. Congrats!

So, what do you think of my Street Team name and the button I made for the Street Team?

*Those of you who signed up to for Kelly's Coven, you'll be getting your welcome newsletter this evening. I'm going with newsletters to avoid sending mass emails.

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27. Monday Mishmash 2/17/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. The Monster Within  I got to proof the galley (in .pdf form) for The Monster Within. It looks beautiful and I can't wait to hold it in my hands soon.
2. BEA  I'll be signing with two publishers at BEA this year. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. :)
3. Author Events  I have two events booked for April, and I'm working on a fall tour with another author. So exciting!
4. Revise, Edit, Draft, Repeat!  I'm so busy right now. I'm revising one of my own books, editing for a client, and plotting a book I need to draft.
5. Challenging Destiny Cover Reveal  My fellow Darkly Delicious YA author, Cherie Colyer has a new book coming out this spring with Wild Rose Press. Check out Challenging Destiny!

Being Chosen is a terrible thing when there's no one you can trust.  
Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister, Ariana, have been marked, chosen to be unwilling participants in a war between angels and demons. Logan can sense something's not quite right. Like an unexpected chill on a summer's day, he can feel the unseen closing in. He's had these feelings before and, each time, someone close to him died. He's afraid this time it might just be Ariana. Logan's fears are soon confirmed when he discovers their new friends aren't human, but rather representatives from Heaven and Hell sent to Earth to ensure he and Ariana accept their roles in an ancient prophecy. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but if she chooses to side with Heaven to spare the lives of thousands of innocent people, she'll damn her brother for eternity. Together, they must derail the biblical event if they hope to save themselves and the future of mankind...but what price are they willing to pay to keep the other safe?



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

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28. Friday Feature: Kindar's Cure by Michelle Hauck


Today I have my agency sister, Michelle Hauck, with her most recent release, Kindar's Cure. Check it out.

Princess Kindar of Anost dreams of playing the hero and succeeding to her mother’s throne. But dreams are for fools. Reality involves two healthy sisters and a wasting disease of suffocating cough that’s killing her by inches. When her elder sister is murdered, the blame falls on Kindar, putting her head on the chopping block.

No one who survives eighteen years of choke lung lacks determination. A novice wizard, Maladonis Bin, approaches with a vision—a cure in a barren land of volcanic fumes. As choices go, a charming bootlicker that trips over his own feet isn’t the best option, but beggars can’t be choosers. Kindar escapes with Mal and several longtime attendants only to have her eyes opened that her country faces dark times. 

Her mother’s decision to close the prosperous mines spurs poverty and joblessness, inciting rebellion and opening Anost to foreign invasion. As Mal urges her toward a cure that will prove his visions, suddenly, an ally turns traitor, delivering Kindar to a rebel army, who have their own plans for a sickly princess.

With the killer poised to strike again, the rebels bearing down, and the country falling apart, she must weigh her personal hunt for a cure against saving her people.

Excerpt:

“Princess Kindar, Her Majesty will see you,” a chamberlain barked from her mother’s bedchamber.
Kindar strode forward alone. As the door closed after her, she sank into a deep curtsey before moving forward to the center of the room. Empress Eugenie Stefanous sat before a large mirror, clothed in her undergarments. Seventeen when her first daughter was born, the empress was still young, her belly and hips pleasantly rounded. Her auburn hair fell in a thick mass of long curls around a delicately painted face.
After bearing three daughters, Empress Eugenie had retired her husband, not wanting to ruin the fortunate omen with another child. Now she confined herself to her own amores. The empress’ two current favorites lounged on a chaise. Young enough to be her children, they sported more paint than their mistress. Kindar pushed down irritation that these wretches sat while she must stand.
Behind her mother, the First Minister Hayden wore a military uniform which had never seen a day’s fight. He held a sheaf of papers from which to report his latest information. Information his extensive team of spies provided. “… and the disposition of the Cushwair rebels remains unchanged.” Minister Hayden cut off as he saw her, stooping to whisper into her mother’s ear.
Eugenie lifted her eyes to Kindar’s reflection in the mirror. “I hear your humours are clean this morning, Daughter.”
Suddenly, answers clicked in Kindar’s mind. The physician had been suggested by Minister Hayden as punishment for failing to show him favor. Kindar narrowed her eyes. From such men as this, her mother sought the advice that would dictate her children’s futures. But this meant her mother might be well-disposed toward her. Her optimism grew to a painful intensity. After all, Eugenie needed all three daughters to give weight to the omen. Kindar curtseyed again. “Yes, Majesty.”
“Strange.” The empress turned her eyes from contemplating her own face in the mirror to favor her daughter with a glance. “Your humours are seldom clean.”
“It is more auspicious for the wedding, Majesty, if I’m not bled.”
“Perhaps.” Empress Eugenie set down a thick rope of diamonds and picked up a necklace of pearls. “That gown doesn’t suit you. You look like a scrawny washed-out rabbit. Why did I ever choose it? Never mind, I suppose it will do for you. I have made a decision about your future.” The minister bowed, looking suitably impressed.
“Yes, Majesty.” Kindar waited with a fluttering heart. The throne could not belong to an unmarried woman; the law made that clear. In addition to making her a legitimate heir, a betrothal would give her certain freedoms, such as the end of these painful morning visits. Even if she did not care for the peer chosen by her mother, a betrothal would give her status. She would be higher than Ceria, instead of equal, and able to overrule her actions.


Want to read more? 

About Michelle:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow. Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Find Michelle online:
Goodreads: Kindar’s Cure

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29. Writer Wednesday: Street Team Voting Time


Thank you to everyone who signed up for my Street Team and/or made a suggestion for the name. I really appreciate all the help. If you haven't signed up yet but would like to, you can do so here

Now, on to the name. Here's a list of my favorite names that people came up with. Help me decide by voting for your favorite. And...if you can think of something better, enter it in the "other" choice and type your proposed name.

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One last question for you to answer in the comments. What should I do to thank my Street Team members for signing up? Host a giveaway just for them? Shower them with SWAG? Dedicate my next book to them? I'm open to suggestions. 

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30. Monday Mishmash 2/10/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Blog Blitz  You may have noticed about a month ago that one of my blog posts received over 200 comments. The reason for that is because I belong to a Blog Blitz group. Every once in a while we pick a member and blitz his/her blog. It's a lot of fun. If you want to join us, you can sign up here.
2. SWAG  I'm in the process of coming up with SWAG for The Monster Within, which releases June 17 through Spencer Hill Press. I'll be bringing a bunch to BEA to give away.   
3. Street Team  If you missed my post last Wednesday, I'm looking for people to join my Street Team. There will be two levels of members, those who are all in and those who will help when and how they can. If you are interested, sign up here.
4.  Name My Street Team and Win a Book!  I'm looking for a name for my Street Team, one that will encompass all my books and not just the Touch of Death series. The person who comes up with the best name will win a signed copy of one of my books. To enter, just leave the name you come up with for my Street Team in the comments below.
5.  YA/NA I Heart SWAG Giveaway Hop  I'm participating in the I Heart SWAG Giveaway Hop. One winner will get SWAG from the Touch of Death series, which includes signed bookmarks, stickers, and a button. To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below, and don't forget to check out the other participating blogs here. This giveaway is for U.S. only.



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

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31. Friday Feature: Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey


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

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


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


Excerpt:
Rain fell, not uncommon for late spring in Missouri. “If you don’t like the weather here,” my grandfather would say, “wait five minutes.” Of course, I’d visited distant relatives in Maine once before, and they said the same thing.
Julie fumbled with the wipers while I pulled the sun visor down to check my face in its little rectangular mirror, even though I’d only left my vanity like five minutes ago. The lights on either side lit up the interior of the car. I reached into my tiny party purse to find my lip gloss, which was easy to locate since I’d only packed the essentials in my bag: phone, some cash, and make-up. As I glanced at myself, I saw Mike in the reflection, smiling at me from the back seat. I stuck my tongue out at him, making him laugh, and put on the lip-gloss, fully aware of how flirty I acted.
The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the sudden downpour. The pitter-patter turned to thumping. Hail came down in gumball-sized pellets. “Damn.” Julie jerked the steering wheel to keep The Whale off the curb.
“Slow down, Jules.” Mike gripped Julie’s headrest. “We can pull over until it passes.”
“Yeah.” She squinted to see the road before her.
I pressed my lips together to smooth out the gloss. “Damn is right. I didn’t bring a jacket.”
The Whale swerved to the right crunching along the gravel on the side of the road. I braced myself in my seat. Julie leaned up to the steering wheel and peered over it as my grandmother sometimes did when she drove. I squinted because of the stupid light up visor mirror. I slammed it shut, but Julie panicked and over corrected, pulling The Whale to the left and careening over the yellow dotted line in the middle of the street.
“Julie!” Mike shouted.
Time slowed and ticked out in heartbeats.
Ba bum.
Julie cringed, her hands moving up to shield her face. Her head turned away from the highway.
Ba bum.
Mike reached protectively from the back seat.
Ba bum.
The headlights illuminated the rail of the overpass.
Ba bum.
The car hit the rail on the opposite side of the road with a hard thud.
Ba bum.
Crap. We’re going over the bridge.
Ba bum.
The Whale’s nose pointed down toward the water.
Ba bum.
A jolt forward and my forehead slammed into the dashboard.
Ba bum.
The Whale flipped in the air. I’m upside down.
Ba bum.
Pain.
Ba bum.
Did my mom say good-bye when I left?
Ba bum.
Cold water rushed into the car.
Ba bum.
Is this it?
Ba bum.
I can’t breathe. Oh my God, I can’t breathe. I can’t see or breathe!
My heart quickened. It pounded. The Whale leaned on its side under the surface of the water which rushed in fast, and I couldn’t see a damn thing.
Calm, stay calm. Don’t panic. They say when you’re drowning not to panic because you use up your air faster.
Dammit, am I drowning?

I tried to get myself upright and jerked out of my seatbelt. Luckily, it gave way. I fought the latch to open the door facing up, but the pressure of the water from Black Water River held it closed, trapping me inside.
Jesus. I know this river. It’s more of a creek. It can’t be more than fifteen feet across and ten feet deep.
I pushed at the door. Opening my mouth to scream, I swallowed water.

I couldn’t see or hear Julie or Mike. My watch ticked. Or was it my heart beating?
Ba bum. Ba bum. Ba bum.
Darkness.
Silence.
Cold.
Wet.
Defying gravity.
Nothing.
The dreams came. Like a good sleep you don’t want to wake up from. I felt heavy and floaty. I wore this long white gauzy gown and the wind blew my dress and my hair like in some feminine hygiene commercial. I could breathe slowly and deeply. Completely relaxed and at peace, but I was alone.
I floated along in a white space for a while. Drifting. Breathing. Relaxing. Had I gone to a spa? After an immeasurable amount of time, others appeared. They wore white clothing, too, and they floated like me, reaching out. They opened their arms as if to welcome me to them.
I stopped and frowned. I heard no sound, and I didn’t know who these white floaty people were or why they welcomed me. They smiled, genuinely happy, and held their arms out to me. I panicked.
Where’s my mom? My family? Wait, Mike and Julie were just with me, where are they? Are those wings?
I noticed the others floating with me had white feathery wings.

“Lily,” one of them called out.
Holy hell. I’m dead.

Shawna grew up around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.

She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook.  She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.
She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

Shawna’s debut novel was just released and is a YA Paranormal Romance called Speak of the Devil.






What do you think?

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32. Writer Wednesday: Street Teams


For some time now, I've been tossing around the idea of starting a street team. When Touch of Death first came out, I had people ask me if I was going to create a street team. To be honest, I didn't even know what that meant. But after seeing how many authors rely on their street teams to help get the word out, I decided I should probably create one.

So today I need a favor. I need help naming my street team. I want a name that will encompass all my books, so it can't be anything zombie or necromancer related because only the Touch of Death series has those kinds of characters. I'd love something paranormal or fantasy related though. What's in it for you? Well, if I choose the name you came up with (and leave in the comments for me), I will gift you a copy of any one of my books. 

I'm also looking for people who are interested in being part of my yet-to-be-named street team. Street team members will be asked to participate in cover reveals, book blasts (with ready html posts I'll provide for you), passing out SWAG to local libraries, and general spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter. Do you have to do all of that? No. I'll have two tiers of street team members. Members who want to do it all and members who will participate when and how they can. If that's you, sign up below. If you aren't interested but know someone who might be, please pass this on.

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So, what should I name my street team? Leave your answer in the comments to be entered to win a copy of one of my books.


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33. Monday Mishmash 2/3/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Face of Death Giveaway  There are still two days left to enter to win a signed paperback of my latest book, Face of Death (Touch of Death #3). Enter here.
  2. Scholastic Book Fair  I spent way too much money at the book fair at my daughter's school last week, but Ayla was excited to get a bunch of new novels to read so I'm happy.
  3. Into the Fire edits  I'm finishing up final edits on Into the Fire this week. 
  4. Free Monthly Newsletter  My monthly newsletter goes out at 5pm EST today. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
  5. Zombie Party Pics!  As promised, here are some pictures from the zombie party for the release of Face of Death.
Chocolate blood fountain—how awesome is that?

The Spencer Hill Press/ Spence City mini cakes were to die for!

Looks yummy, right?

Yes, people wanted to eat the plastic eyeballs. The sign was totally necessary.

Kate Kaynak, Trisha Wooldridge, Me (holding a copy of Face of Death), Marie Romero, & Vikki Ciaffone

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


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34. Friday Feature: PODS by Michelle Picket




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Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

My thoughts:
I couldn't help but feel for Eva when she has to leave her family to die, knowing she's been chosen to survive. And I liked that when Eva does go to the PODs things are tough. First she has to go through a quarantine period, which isn't pleasant and weeds out others who were chosen but who carry the virus. Eva is basically losing everyone she gets close to.

Life inside the PODs isn't great either. The crew Eva is stuck with for the year is made up of very different characters. You have your token jerk who everyone would like to see leave, the hot guy Eva says she doesn't want to get involved with but can't help falling for, the pregnant girl whose baby will need to be delivered inside the POD by Eva and the others, a girl who barely speaks English, and so on. I loved the diversity.

The story really got good when things began to go really wrong. PODs are shutting down, and then they are freed, but instead of being free, they have to live in these communities where their lives are dictated to them. Eva and David are split up and she's forced to be a teacher, the one profession she said she didn't want. 

I won't give spoilers, but Eva won't stay away from David, and he won't stay away from her. That's where I really got into this story because life on the outside is full of monsters, and we all know I love that. :)

This is a fun read for anyone who likes dystopian novels.

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35. Writer Wednesday: Face of Death Release Week Giveaway


Release day or release week is always an exciting time for a writer—even though it's common for places like Amazon and B&N to ship your books before your official release day. ;) Yesterday was the release day for Face of Death, the final installment of the Touch of Death series. So of course I celebrated. And since this is my release week, I have a giveaway for you.

What can you win? How about a signed copy of Face of Death and signed bookmarks?

Face of Death sports my awesome blurb from Jennifer Armentrout. :)

And look at Hades on the back cover! *drool* He makes evil sexy.



Enter by filling out the rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open internationally and will end next Wednesday, 2/5/14 at midnight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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36. Monday Mishmash 1/27/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Passing of my dog  My 13-year-old German shepherd, Sage, passed away yesterday. She was the best dog you could ask for, so we're all very sad in the Hashway household. We'll miss her dearly.
  2. Face of Death  Technically, my release date is tomorrow, but all the online retailers began shipping Face of Death on the 21st, so my baby is already out there in the world. Still, I'll be celebrating on Tuesday. This might be my favorite book in the series.
  3. Scholastic Book Fair  This week I'm helping the PTO at my daughter's school with the Scholastic Book Fair. Looks like I'll be buying lots of books.
  4. Edits  I'm working on Into the Fire edits this week. And speaking of, there are a few Phoenix books coming out this year. Mine will be among them.
  5. Breathe For Me Cover Reveal  Last week was the reveal for a new Spencer Hill Press book by Rhonda Helms. Check it out.

Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.
Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).
All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.
But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.

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


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37. Friday Feature: Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt


Please help me welcome my agency sister, Stina Lindenblatt today! Her book Tell Me When releases January 20, 2014 through Carina Press. Yay, Stina!

                             
Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.
She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.
But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.
When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.

And if that's not enough to entice you, here's a picture teaser:


Find Stina online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

So, what do you think?



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38. Writer Wednesday: Blurbing Books


Being asked to blurb a book for another author is a huge honor. At least I feel that it is. I've been lucky enough to be asked to supply blurbs for Michelle Hansen, Catherine Stine, Heather Lyons, and Sherry Ficklin. Every time I'm asked to blurb a book I get this excited feeling in my gut because I'm ecstatic that someone wants my name associated with their book.

Well today I want to share the cover of the latest book I blurbed, Losing Logan by Sherry Ficklin. This book is seriously awesome. I LOVED it. The hard part about blurbing it was getting myself to stop gushing over it and put that praise into words Sherry could use for her book. Without further babble on my part, here's the cover of Losing Logan.


Normally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn’t irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem.
Mostly because he’s dead.

As the only person he can make contact with, he convinces Zoe to help him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on. Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.


Add it on Goodreads.

Have you ever been asked to blurb a book? What book would you love to blurb?

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39. Monday Mishmash 1/20/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Tween 2 Teen Best of 2013 and Most of Anticipated of 2014 List  Tween 2 Tween chose Touch of Death as one of the best reads of 2013 and chose Face of Death as one of the most anticipated reads of 2014! I couldn't be more ecstatic. Read the full list of books here.

2. Arisia  I'm on my way home from Boston today after the zombie prom to launch the release of Face of Death. Pictures to come!

3. Face of Death  My official release day is the 28th, but the ebook was released on the 14th and Amazon will ship the paperback tomorrow.

4. Model Position Cover Reveal  I'm happy to share the cover of Model Position, and upcoming NA romance by Kitsy Clare.



For Sienna, love and art are perilous games. Is she ready to take that gamble?
Sienna is a beautiful, talented artist poised on the precipice of soaring into theglamorous, yet cutthroat Manhattan art scene.
Dave Hightower is a hooked-up, handsome heir to the hippest gallery in NYC, Gallery Hightower.
Erik is the live drawing model with his sizzling green eyes fixed only on Sienna.
Three’s a crowd, so Sienna must make a choice: date Dave and ride the fast track to landing a show at Gallery Hightower and hobnobbing with the art glitterati, or follow her heart and take a chance with Erik, the stunning male model who’s stealing her heart. But Erik has some worrisome secrets, and who in their right mind would make live modeling their career?
Dare Sienna throw away her chances of hitting it big to follow her heart?

5. Silent Starsong Cover Reveal  Check out this awesome cover of TJ Wooldridge's upcoming release! (How cute is that alien?)

Eleven-year-old Kyra is meant to continue the Starbard's proud family legacy of 
interpreting the future from the stars' songs. Her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother's heart and pushes her father to explore anything to help his little girl--including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to unfixable genetic defects.
Marne's telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of human owners--until he meets a human child who begs her father to "save" him. Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world--one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people's abuse and the stars' songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.

When an intergalactic terrorist organization kills Kyra's father, driving her mother to madness, Kyra and Marne only have each others' friendship--until even that is threatened by the danger surrounding the Starbard heritage. But can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?

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

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40. Friday Feature: Hold Tight by Cherie Colyer



Hold Tight (The Embrace Series, #2)
What's one little spell?

When you’re new to magic, one spell can be the difference between getting what you want...and ruining the lives of everyone you love.

Sixteen-year-old Madison has just embraced her magical powers. The trick now is learning how to control them. She and her boyfriend -and fellow witch- can’t even enjoy a simple kiss without getting shocked when their powers collide. Instead of mastering her new skills, though, Madison is stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores.

But being a witch does have its benefits. With a simple spell, Madison instantly conjures the help she needs around the house. Or so she thinks. Her idea of “help” invites trouble of its own as a pair of dangerous yet enticing beings enter her life. When a classmate disappears soon afterwards, Madison discovers she's the next victim of a threat she's powerless to resist...and there’s nothing it won’t kill to make her surrender.
           
Caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures, Madison must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other—before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.

Read Hold Tight today



Cherie Colyer is the author of  YA paranormal thriller/romance, EMBRACE (available now), and HOLD TIGHT (August 2013), from Omnific Publishing. Check out her website and blog for news on her books and bonus material. Follow Cherie on Twitter and/or Facebook for updates on writing, book and special offers. 

What do you think?




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41. Writer Wednesday: When Was the Last Time You Paid it Forward?

Lately I've been thinking about giving, and that includes giving back to the writing community. It's no secret I love this community. I think writers are some of the greatest people and fully believe we need to be in this journey together to keep sane.

So today I want to remind you to take the time to pay it forward. Think of how other writers have helped you, whether it was to read and critique your query letter, offer feedback on a manuscript, point you in the direction of a good writing course or freelance editor, review your book, or help you tweet good news. Now think about what you've done for other writers lately. Could you do more?

One way I pay it forward is by being a volunteer judge at Rate Your Story. For those of you who aren't familiar with RYS, it's a site where you can submit your stories to have rated for free. Yes, free. I've been a volunteer judge there since the site was created over two years ago. Today, I received a nice note from someone who uses the site thanking me for my time and for helping others. It made my day to know that giving my time at the site was appreciated by others. 

Another way I give back is by featuring MG, YA, and NA books every Friday. It's so easy to help authors promote their books, and I'm happy to do my part. That goes for everyone reading this. If you would like your book featured, just contact me and we'll schedule your post.

How do you give back to the writing community?

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42. Monday Mishmash 1/13/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. The Monster Within  The release date for The Monster Within is being pushed back until June 16. I'm actually really happy about this because it allows me to get the Touch of Death series out first, including the novella from Alex's POV, and I'll get to sign The Monster Within at BEA! Yay!
  2. Blurbing books  I was asked to blurb a really awesome book called Losing Logan by Sherry Ficklin. It's SOOOOO good, guys. I couldn't put it down. Seriously. Just awesome.
  3. School Visits  I'm heading back to my daughter's school today to work with a fourth grade class on the stories they are writing. How cool is that? I'm excited.
  4. Editing  I'll be editing for a new client this week, but in order to stay true to my 2014 goals, I'll also be working on the plot of a new book of my own.
  5. Zombie Prom at Arisia  I'll be heading to Boston on Sunday for another zombie prom at Arisia to celebrate the upcoming launch of Face of Death. Can I just tell you how much Face of Death makes me cry every time I read it? I really love those characters and wrapping up their series was tough.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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43. Friday Feature: Wanted Dead or In Love by Kym Brunner


Today I have Kym Brunner, a fellow Darkly Delicious YA author, with a great character POV for her upcoming debut novel, Wanted Dead or In Love. I'm loving this premise!


Kym Brunner's debut, WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE, about two teens possessed by the spirits of Bonnie and Clyde who soon discover that the legendary outlaws plan to continue where they left off.

*Blurb taken from Goodreads.

Merit Press – June, 2014


Two teens. Bonnie and Clyde.

Whoever inhabits the bodies at the deadline . . .survives.

Being impulsive, I act first, think later. I don’t recommend it. Now I’m on probation for something stupid I did at school. If I get arrested again, the judge will give me jail time. To keep out of trouble, I work as a waitress at my dad’s Roaring 20’s restaurant, dressed like a flapper. Didn’t take long for me to screw up again. Here’s what happened: Dad showed me the spent bullets that they pulled out of famous criminal lovebirds, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s dead bodies––items he bought at a gangster memorabilia show. Who would have known that Bonnie and Clyde’s spirits were locked inside that container, waiting to be freed? Not me certainly, or I wouldn’t have done it. Opening the container wasn’t enough to make Bonnie’s spirit search for a new body to inhabit, but given my lousy luck, I cut my finger on the stupid thing, opening the door for the whiny, love-starved Bonnie Parker to enter my body.

Course, at first I didn’t really believe that she was inside of me (who would, right?) so later that night, after I met this cute but dull guy named Jack, I showed him the slugs. Bad move. Turns out Clyde hadn’t lost an ounce of his slyness, easily infecting poor Jack and quickly committing a crime. Luckily, Jack finds a way to get back in charge, but after doing some investigation, we find out we have only 36 hours to ditch these outlaws or we’ll share our bodies with them indefinitely. See what I mean about bad luck?

Take it from me––spontaneity’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. 

The real Kym Brunner (who feels much more at home in jeans and a sweater).










Kym Brunner (as 17-year-old Monroe Baker, dressed for work at her dad's 1920s style restaurant.)

So, what do you think?

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44. Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating! I'm hosting Christmas so I'll be offline for the day, playing with my daughter, visiting with family, and enjoying the food my husband is cooking.


Enjoy the holiday and I'll "see you" Friday.


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45. Friday Feature: Extracted



Extracted (The Lost Imperials, #1)
Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex's girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It's there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both again.

My thoughts:
I can't decide who I liked better, Lex or Ember. Both characters come alive and while they are essentially on opposite sides of this war, I couldn't choose between them. Not that I had to because Lex and Ember wind up working on the same side anyway. I loved how Ficklin and Jolley combined the concept of time travel with the way Lex and Ember are trying to remember their pasts. The two story lines overlapped perfectly and made it difficult to put the book down.

I also loved how the Tesla Institute rifters and the Hollows used different methods of time travel. It kept things interesting for both the reader and the characters who were trying to learn more about the people they were fighting with. But like I mentioned earlier, what made it impossible for me to get enough of this book was the way I was cheering along both sides. With the exception of one character who I could truly see as a villain, I fell for just about everyone in the story. I can't remember the last time a book made me care about so many characters at once.

This is a fast-paced read filled with adventure and emotion. Ficklin and Jolley are definitely two authors to watch.

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46. Monday Mishmash 12/30/13

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Spencer Hill Press/Spencer Hill Contemporary Twitter Chat  January 2 (Thursday) at 9pm is a SHP/SHC Twitter chat. I'll be there talking about my upcoming release, Face of Death. There will be lots of authors and good stuff, so check it out using the hashtag #SHP2014.

2. New Year's Goals  I'm setting my goals for 2014. I'll share them soon.

3. Fun with Banners  I've been creating banners for all my sites. I added the animated banner to this blog a while ago, but I just added banners to my Ashelyn Drake blog and my website. Here's what they look like:




I'm thinking about offering banner making as a service, so stay tuned for more info on that.

4. Darkly Delicious YA Feed Your eReader!  Over on Darkly Delicious YA, we've got a Feed Your eReader post telling you about all our books and the sales going on right now. Check it out here


5.  Editing  I had a mini break between client edits to work on a revision of one of my Ashelyn titles, but now I'm back to client edits. I have two scheduled and then I'll hopefully work on a YA paranormal I drafted a while back.

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


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47. New Year, New Services



On Monday, I mentioned I was thinking of offering banner and button making services because I really enjoy making both. Several people said they'd be interested in a service like that, so...

I'm going forward with it. Here are the details, which now appear on the Editing  & Design Services page of this blog and my website:


In addition to writing and editing, I love making website banners and buttons. So much so that I'm offering banner and button making services.

Sizes:
Website banner (940x400)
Skyscraper (120x600)
Small skyscraper (120x240)
Button (300x250)

*Custom sizes also available.

Pricing:
For a one-image button or banner of any size the cost is $25.
If you already have an image you want to use, such as your book cover, the price is $15.
Multi-image banners will be priced depending on the number of images you request.

Procedures:
If you'd like a banner or button made, email me at khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com. Let me know what you are looking for (website banner, button, etc.) and your general vision for it. I'll search for the perfect image or images for you (if you aren't using your book cover or an image you already own). Then I'll send you thumbnails of those images for you to approve. Once the images are approved, I'll draft the design and once again send it to you to approve. You'll be able to request changes to it before your banner or button is finalized.

Examples:




So, I'm now a writer, editor, and designer. :)

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48. Friday Feature: Savor by Kate Evangelista


Today I have fellow Darkly Delicious YA author, Kate Evangelista, sharing her book Savor.

Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you’ve got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.


Savor Exclusive Excerpt

“Dakota Collins!”
            I lowered my camera. The use of my full name never came with good consequences. I blinked my vision back at her even if I wanted to spend the rest of the night taking his picture. Sweat rose over my upper lip. I may just have found my subject for the Spring Showcase.
            The only problem?
            I had to find a way to convince him to be in my project. Something told me this wouldn’t be easy. By the way my heart beat in my ears, drowning out the music and Silvia having a fit in front of me, I wanted it too much. I wanted him too much.
            “This the guy you were saying?” I showed Silvia the picture I’d taken. This seemed to pacify her because she sidled closer, mesmerized like a moth to a flame.
            “Luka Visraya,” she said with a moan like she’d just tasted the most luscious chocolate before taking a long gulp of her cocktail. The name didn’t register. Silvia must have noticed my blank expression because she continued. “He’s the bassist for Vicious.”
            Still no pings of recognition in my head.
            She slapped her thigh. “Where have you been? It’s weird that you haven’t heard of them. Their songs are on the radio like every second.”
            Of course I hadn’t heard of them. I liked listening to country and I hardly kept up with current events.
            “Name one?” Okay, I had a name. Luka. Exotic. A bassist. Part of a band I should know about. So he’s famous. I slowly felt my chances of asking him to be my subject slip from my grasp. If he was someone famous, fat chance he’d say yes to a graduating photography student like me. I just about deflated when Silvia mentioned one of their songs. “Oh, I know that one!” By accident. It played in the radio of the cab I rode in to Sacrifice. I stared at the picture of him then lifted my gaze to where he sat. “He’s gone.”
            “What?” Silvia whipped around in time to come face to face with a wall of man. “Whoa!” She pushed at him. “Watch it, buddy!”
            “Give me the camera,” he said in a threatening tone.
            Big. Beefy. Bald. The three Bs that made up the quintessential bodyguard.
            I clutched my DSLR closer to my chest and looked up at him with my good eye. “And why would I do that?” The patch didn’t seem to intimidate him because he just reached out. So much for my Bond villain aspirations. I moved away from his grubby hand. No one touched my camera but me.
            Despite her size, Silvia came between me and the mountain. “We’re here to cover Sacrifice for our college paper. You don’t have the right to take away my colleague’s camera.”
            Yeah! You give it to him, Silvy.
            Not that I couldn’t take care of myself. But if Silvia wanted to play hero, I wouldn’t stand in her way.
            “What seems to be the problem here?” a soft, authoritative voice chimed in.
            The bodyguard moved aside to reveal the Gothic Lolita. She stood at just about the same height as Silvia, but she possessed an older aura even if she seemed to be our age.
            “She’s been taking pictures,” Baldy said.
            Lolita’s kohl eyes landed on me then shifted to my camera.
            “As I was saying to the big guy,” Silvia explained. “My colleague and I are covering the opening of Sacrifice.”
            “For what paper?” Lolita asked without taking her eyes off me. I clutched my camera like an extra appendage. In some ways it was. After losing half my sight, I relied on my camera like an extra eye, seeing the world through its lens. I would rather die than lose it.
            “The Daily Gossip,” I said before Silvia could answer just to relieve some of the awkward tension building in me under her gaze. “We study at Wexler U.”
            She tilted her head, crossing her arms.
            “Okay,” I quickly stammered out. “I get that the name of our paper sounds like a tabloid, but the Daily Gossip is a cool campus paper.” The last part maybe only I believed since Silvia raised her eyebrow at me, but Lolita and the mountain didn’t have to know that.
            No one spoke after that. Even in a noisy club, the silence in our group rang in my ears. Not waiting for the situation to get any more awkward, I plowed forward with my own selfish intensions.
            “You know Luka.” I said it more as a statement, but it came out like a question.
            Lolita nodded.   
            “I’m Dakota Collins and I’m graduating this spring. I was wondering if Luka would be interested in—”
            “What would I be interested in?” a smooth voice joined our group.
            The walls of my throat closed, chocking the rest of what I had to say. All eyes turned to Luka. Silvia dropped her empty glass. It bounced off the bodyguard’s shoe and landed in a clatter but didn’t break. Even with my height, I still had to look up at him.
            “What are you doing here?” Lolita admonished. “You should be backstage.”
            One side of his lips came up. God. Without the scowl, his face lit up. I had to stop the urge to lift my camera and start snapping away. And his eyes were piercing blue. The kind that stretched over my mother’s farm in the summer. Damn.
Seeing him up close, I knew I’d give any one of my kidneys for a chance to take his picture in a formal shoot.
            “We have five minutes. Chill, Yana.” He tugged at one of her pigtails.
            “Luka,” Silvia managed. “I’m a big fan. Will you sign my chest?”
            Bypassing my petite colleague, Luka’s intensely blue gaze studied me. He reached out and I flinched back. His fingers almost grazed my patch. What the hell was the matter with him? Trying to touch my eye patch was tantamount to poking a bandage over a wound and asking the person if it hurts.
            Gothic Lolita—Yana—yanked Luka’s arm down. “I’m so sorry!” Her whole aura changed. She went from all business to panicky. “My brother sometimes forgets his manners. He didn’t mean anything about touching your…” She bit her lower lip, maybe trying to keep herself from saying the wrong thing.
            That little faux pas cleared my head of the Luka haze and spurred me into action. “Luka, will you let me take your picture for my final project?” I didn’t know where my courage came from, but I knew if I didn’t take this chance, I’d regret it. I had to have him as my subject.
            Still not removing his gaze from my face, like my patch transfixed him, he tilted his head to one side very much like his sister did earlier.
            “Luka, don’t!” Yana said, but from the consideration on Luka’s face, she was too late.
            “You’re a photographer?”
            “Yes.” I nodded, in case the word wasn’t enough.
            “And you’d like me to be the subject of your project?”
            God yes! This time, I could only nod. I didn’t want him to see how eager I was. And I couldn’t live with myself if I embarrassed myself further.
            I waited with baited breath.
            It seemed everyone in our group waited with baited breath for what the golden god had to say about my brazen request. I soon realized when Luka spoke, everyone listened. The way he pronounced every word precisely yet still spoke so smoothly, like butter on warm toast, captured everyone’s attention. To say he captivated us was an understatement. Something in me certainly wanted to hear him keep speaking. He could read from an accounting textbook in that voice and no one would get bored.
            “I need to know that you’re good,” he finally said.
            Something about his words seemed to hold a different meaning. I must have missed the alcohol in the soda Silvia had given me. Maybe I was drunk and this was all a blackout dream.
            “What are you saying?” Yana faced Luka all the way now, her petite form all rigid.
            He unleashed a full on megawatt smile my way. I almost had to cover my eye from it. At my side, Silvia gasped. Her long nails dug into my arm. Like staring at the sun, I couldn’t take my gaze away from him no matter how bad it was for me.
            “We’re about to perform. I want you to take several pictures then send them to Yana. If she approves, we’ll see about your request.”
            Then, like smoke, he disappeared into the crowd.

Buy Links







When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she lives in the Philippines and writes full-time.


Author Links





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49. Monday Mishmash 1/6/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Touch of Death and Stalked by Death Chosen as Best Books in 2013!  I'm ecstatic that both Touch of Death and Stalked by Death made blog lists for best books in 2013. Touch of Death was chosen as Best Paranormal by Patrice Caldwell over on Whimsically Yours, and Stalked by Death was chosen as Best YA by Sherry Ficklin over on Curvy Writer!
  2. 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.
  3. #SHP2014 Twitter Chat  Thank you to everyone who came out for the Spencer Hill Press Twitter chat last Thursday night. The chat was crazy fast and so much fun. Lots of ARCs were given away, including two of The Monster Within.
  4. Snow  I'm kind of done with snow this season. Seriously, been there, done that. I'm ready for spring.
  5. 2014 Goals  I've got my goals for this year all set. I'll be posting them on Wednesday.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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50. Writer Wednesday: 2014 Goals


I'm not one for resolutions because I feel they're too easy to toss aside. So here are my writing goals for 2014:
  • Balance writing and editing:  I need to get better at doing both at the same time. I tend to focus solely on writing or solely on editing. This year, I want to edit in the morning and write in the afternoon and evening. It's all about balance.
  • Find new ways to market my books:  I'm not one to go around begging people to buy my books. In fact, in person, you wouldn't know I'm a writer. I don't mention it. But I do want to find some creative ways to get my work out there for people to know about.
  • Revise two books that are already drafted and draft two or three new books:  I have an Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance to revise and a Kelly Hashway paranormal to revise. I would also like to write two or three of the ideas I have brewing in my head.
  • Continue with my new blog format:  The format I set in place in September with Monday Mishmash, Writer Wednesday, and Friday Feature seems to be working well, so I'm sticking with it in 2014.
Now, just for fun, here's what I'm hoping for in 2014:
  • Two or more book contracts
  • Great book sales
  • To sign at BEA again
  • To make more money than I did last year with my writing and editing


What are your goals or things you're hoping for in 2014? 

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