FREE on eBook today only! FIRE IN THE WOODS reads like a contemporary, but packs the punch of an action movie!”

FREE on eBook today only! FIRE IN THE WOODS reads like a contemporary, but packs the punch of an action movie!”  For the first time ever, book one in my FIRE IN THE WOODS series is FREE on ebook!


Tell your friends there’s never been a better time to start their race through the woods!

Blurb below if you want to check it out.

Get your copy now at:

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Aliens, Armageddon, and Romance

Fire in the Woods is FREE on Ebook

Today only



Discover the high-action alien adventure that started it all!

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When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally.

But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

Her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs and alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe.

Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

Fire in the Woods is the first book in a high-action contemporary science fiction series great for fans of Starcrossed, The Lux Series and Alienated.

Discover Fire in the Woods and start your race through the woods FREE today!

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Why I finally decided to write about the end of the world. By Christy Sloat

Last  year I decided to take a break from publishing my books.
purple hair mad scientistAfter publishing two  in 2015 I sort of lost my mind somewhere along the way. (By the way I’m not  entirely sure I got it back, yet)
While  waiting to hear from agents for a big project, I had a lot of time on my hands.

And idle hands to an author are no good. We get a little crazy and we write the  books that we always dreamed up; Mad Scientist Doctor PKO_0002493the ones no publisher would ever dare touch.  In this case it was my take on the apocalypse. I decided to kill the world. Fun  stuff.
Now  I know this has been done before, you don’t need to remind me. I did it with  full intentions to post it to my blog or even to self-publish. It was the ‘fun’  book that I would write. My book about the end was a take on the evilness that  I saw spread around this country and in the human race altogether in just a few  short years.

Christy Sloat (No, she’s not a mad scientist)

To  my utter surprise I became close with these three main characters; Emma, Kami  and Lou. Closer than I ever dreamed I would be. My zombies weren’t zombies, but  they were the dead rising from graves. And then the book that was supposed to  be just for fun became my evil little  masterpiece. (Insert maniacal laugh) I proved to myself that I can’t just write  to kill time or to make myself happy. It showed me that my mind was full of  these thoughts and that I had to please my readers and I couldn’t let them down  in any way!

The  book was finished, well my first draft anyway, and a publisher had gotten wind  of the idea of The Survival Pact. They loved it and wanted it.
I  was utterly confused. No publishers would want this book. Would they?
This  book was original, sure, but the premise had been done over and over again. But,  they wanted it. And who was I to deny the world this macabre tale of how the  world dies? I surely wouldn’t say no. I wasn’t an idiot.
What  once had been an idea to keep my hands busy, had now become a full story about  three friends who make a pact to survive the end of the world together.
PKO_0004816This  story was born of evil; evil that I had deep inside me. I’m not sure how good  that sounds, really. It makes me look sort of cracked doesn’t it? Well if you  have seen as many horror movies as I have, you’d feel the same. There is something fun about being an author and having the capabilities to kill anyone  you want.
The  end of the world isn’t something to write about lightly, trust me. I didn’t go  into the project thinking it was going to be a piece of cake; after all I’m  supposed to be ruining my characters’ lives here. I think I did the justice to  the proverbial end, and I sure hope those of you who decide to read it will  feel the same.

The  Survival Pact
Three friends.
One promise.
One goal.
Kami  thought she’d seen it all as a small time reporter for a New York Paper, but after hearing reports of the dead crawling from graves and attacking humans, she realized the world she once knew would never be the same again. Forced to flee the city, she heads south where her two best friends Emma and Lou reside  in search of answers. As a drunken joke ten years earlier, the three friends made a vow that if the world went to hell they’d survive it together, no matter what. With the pact now a reality, they are forced to face a never ending tidal  wave of the dead, tornadoes, earthquakes, and massive storms with hundreds of miles to go. Along with their new dog, Snack, the girls get closer to their  destination but no closer to answers as to why their world is filled with such  evil. Will their plan of survival keep them alive or will they drown in the sea  of the dead?
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Wait… Were are the Dragons? A review of Dragon Weather

Dragon Weather by Lawrence Watt-Evans (Hard Cover) This book was published in 2000, and came on my radar because a friend told me it was one of 498139the best books she’d read. Any hey, dragons… I was all over that. Unfortunately, this is a case of “different strokes for different folks.”

This novel is written in the old-style of epic fantasy, which means a long drawn out adventure (Think Lord of the Rings) The long drawn out adventure was not the problem for me… the problem (in my opinion mind you) is that we went on the WRONG adventure.

Problem #1 Look at the cover. Does that look like a nasty dragon to you? I may be off my rocker, but that dragon looks like he’s smiling. The rest of the scene on the cover makes sense. Smiling dragon? Ummm… No. Unless the dragon smiles as he torches the entire village.

That brings us to problem number two. THIS IS NOT A BOOK ABOUT DRAGONS.

Say what? It’s called Dragon Weather. There is a dragon on the cover.

Yes, yes there is. At the beginning of the book, dragons attack this poor boy’s village and destroy it. This is the event that starts the boy on his journey. A few chapters later, though, he is now a man. Yes, he is on an epic journey, but the book then is no longer about dragons. It is about revenge. He wants to kill a bunch of men who looted his village after the dragon attack, and then sold him into slavery. Okay, I get wanting revenge, but this isn’t the story I wanted to read. I found myself skimming 10, 20, 50 pages of (what I felt was senseless) looking for these men, instead of looking for the dragons. Yet I plodded on, waiting for an epic dragon battle. *****SPOILER ALERT**** There isn’t one. You do not get to see the dragons again in this very long, drawn out search for a handful of men, and then challenging them to duals so he can pick them off one by one.

Now, if you like a good revenge story, and you like “journey” novels, this might be the book for you. If you are looking for an epic dragon tale, I’d steer far away. 480 pages is far too long for a journey that ends in disappointment.

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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How to get writing help – and maybe an agent while you’re at it! With Brenda Drake

Hey guys!

I met the lovely Brenda Drake YEARS ago while working on the first page of a book that I was polishing for submission. At the time, she was running an online group through her site where people gave feedback to each others first pages. It was great!

Now Brenda is hosting something new, and this looks like an awesome opportunity for those interested in honing their craft.

So here’s Brenda to tall us all about PITCH WARS

Online contests can be a great way to display your work and to meet other writers. The first Pitch Wars contest was in 2012. After running several contests in the past, I discovered something disappointing. Agents who had made requests on entries in my contests would find while reading their requests that the writing and/or plot would fall apart after the first few chapters. Then one fated day, I was watching Cupcake Wars, a competition between bakers to make the best cupcakes. Each baker had an assistant to help them create beautiful and tasty cupcakes for judges. So I thought that’s what we need. We need mentors to help writers who are almost there, but keep getting rejections, to help them work out what is failing in their manuscripts. And that’s how the idea for Pitch Wars came about.

What is Pitch Wars?

It’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and guide the writer in revising it for our agent showcase. The mentors also help with their mentee’s pitch. Writers send applications (query and first chapter of manuscript) to the four mentors that best fit their work. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for the next two months. Mentors point out the weaknesses in their mentee’s manuscript and help him or her fix those issues. In publishing, authors must meet tough deadlines all the time. The rigorous two months of revision teaches our mentees how to work on a deadline.

Then we hold an agent showcase with over fifty of the top agents in the industry making requests. We’ve had so many successes in the contests with writers finding agents and book deals. Since its debut year, Pitch Wars has garnered over two hundred successes. The 2016 contest ended three months ago and we’re already at twenty-nine successes.

One of the best parts of the contest is the community it builds. Writers hang out mostly on the Twitter hashtag, #PitchWars, and in Facebook groups. There are many amazing and giving people in our online community of writers surrounding the contests. Many have met long lasting critique partners through participating in them.

17669243I’ve met my critique partners in the community. They were there in the first drafts of Thief of Lies and all my other manuscripts. The community has cheered me on when I got my agent, when I got my book deal, and when I had to make difficult decisions, they supported me. This community is welcoming, they show empathy for others, and they support each other. With all that said, the contest isn’t for everyone and some haven’t had as great an experience as most, but we can’t please everyone. I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity.

If you’re a writer seeking an agent, I hope you’ll join us for Pitch Wars 2017 coming this August.

About Brenda Drake

Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).


About Guardian of Secrets

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. 29939285No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

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Hold on to EVERY LAST BREATH – A review of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s ELB

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Audiobook)

This is the third book in a series. It was almost everything I wanted it to be, and it’s probably the best book out of the three. There is a love triangle in this series, and the author put a vote out to fans for them to choose which guy got the girl in 17455817the end. I knew this before I read it, and I had a pretty good idea who everyone picked. Problem is, that was the wrong guy for me. I had to read, with my own heartbreak, as the guy I would have chosen had his heart broken for no reason whatsoever. He did nothing wrong. In fact, he did everything right, where the guy who got chosen did everything wrong. I hated that.

But that aside, I have to admit that seeing the “wrong guy” develop for that point was a treat, and by the end, I did like him a whole lot more.

There are a lot of interesting spins in this book, and it definitely kept my attention. I listened on audiobook, and I was a little surprised that when I hit the climax of the book, there was still an hour and a half of listening left. At first I thought maybe there was a double climax. Instead, there was a very long, slow wind-down to the end.

Now, in general, I HATE long wind downs… but this one kept my interest until the very last page. I think it was necessary, because two characters are left broken… one because her boyfriend dies, and the other because he was dumped for an A-hole. (Yeah, still miffed about that) The long wind-down closed out all the open issues in all three books, and it really worked well. While none of these books will be in contention for best reads ever, I did really enjoy them.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

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Interview with Jennifer M. Eaton

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Originally posted on Bookish Mom Abroad:
It’s been a very exciting past couple of months! My heart is overjoyed for so many of my author friends who are celebrating the release of their new books. I’ve gotten to know Jennifer…

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An authors dream… Living in a bookish world with Shaila Patel

If I had a choice to live in a book world, it would have to be at Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. How could anyone not want to visit the Room of Requirement!? Even without it, having access to Hogwarts’ library (including the restricted section!) would have won me over. I could also spend hours in the Gryffindor Common Room, sitting in some comfy chair in front of a roaring fire, with my laptop, and a head full of story ideas. (The ghosts would be a plus!)

dragonHarry Potter’s world has been a great teaching example for me as an author. Two of the main reasons the series did so well was because of author JK Rowling’s wonderful world building and her portrayal of such loveable characters. They’re aspects I try to perfect in my own writing.

She created a fantastical setting filled with small details and descriptions that paint a gorgeous picture in our minds. Will we ever climb a stone staircase and not think of the shifting staircases of Hogwarts? Can you ever walk past an old portrait of some guy with white fuzzy hair and not imagine it moving? Using these examples as inspiration, I look for details to add to my own writing and hope for a bit of that same magic!

And though her characters are underdogs, their quiet bravery always shines through, doesn’t it? Insecurities and doubts plague them just like they do us, but it makes them instantly relatable and easy to root for. Using that as my template, I try to balance my own characters’ vulnerabilities with their strengths and hope I make them even half as likeable as JK Rowling’s unforgettable cast.

If I ever find something lacking in one of my scenes, all I have to do is whip out one of her books and lose myself in several chapters. Harry Potter is always the perfect inspiration!


Two souls. One fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan is a prince of an Irish empath family. All signs have pointed to Liam being the one who can bring his family into prominence by expanding his power. All he needs is his soul mate. Though no one is sure what Liam will become once soulmated, Liam’s father has dragged the family all around the world, following vague psychic visions. They settle in a small North Carolina town and focus on the most promising target, but Liam, tired of disappointment and weary of his father’s obsession, finds understanding in the captivating eyes of the girl next door.

Indian American Laxshmi Kapadia lives under her very traditional and overprotective mom’s thumb. As she finishes her junior year of high school, Lucky’s mom issues an ultimatum: go to college as a pre-med student and become a doctor, or have her marriage arranged. Freedom was never so tempting when the gorgeous and charming Irish boy moves into her neighborhood.

As drawn to her as Liam is, could Lucky be The One? And if she’s not, will he be able to give her up? When a dark and ancient group seeks to interfere, Liam knows he has to protect Lucky at all costs, but when it comes to fate, sometimes choosing your own isn’t always easy.

Get your copy here!

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About Shaila Patel

As an unabashed lover of all things happily ever after, Shaila Patel is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and her debut novel SOULMATED won first place in the Young Adult category of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards. She’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. She enjoys traveling, craft beer, tea, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. She loves to connect with readers. You can find her online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads


This is the strangest book I’ve ever read. A review of Grasshopper Jungle.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Ebook) [Language warning] This was a really really really really strange book. And yes, I did intentionally repeat the word really… because this book was really really really strange.

This was the pick for my book club this month, and I started scratching my head in the first few pages, then I went back and looked at the burb to find out what this book was about. In the beginning, this is a coming of age story about a teenage boy struggling with his sexuality. He is an obnoxious, foul mouthed, chain smoker with no redeeming qualities that I could see. For the first quarter or more of the book, we have to listen to this really unlikable kid and his problems. Then, out of the blue, the sci-fi elements pop in. I have to admit that things got better from here. These two unlikely heroes try to take on the apocalypse caused by a man-made virus. (That turns people into giant man-eating bugs) The style of the writing might be genius. We are basically reading the main character’s journal chronicling all that is going on. However, we don’t get deep into any scene, and I found myself not really caring about the characters. But I kept with it, because you know, book club and all. I hoped for that payoff in the end, but the book never takes us there. Nothing gets resolved, not the end of the world, and not even the personal plotlines. Overall, this was a very unsatisfying read for me. I’d give it three stars because the author gave us a really well thought out story. The execution, however, and no satisfying ending, were a downer for me. Warning – Don’t pick up this book if you are sensitive to really foul mouthed kids.

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

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It’s Release Day for Embers in the Sea! Dork Dancing Allowed for Everyone!

embers-coverYou guys! The day is finally here! EMBERS IN THE SEA, Book 3 of my FIRE IN THE WOODS series is finally out loose in the world.

And early reviews give it 4.75 stars!



To be honest, a few years ago I never dreamed there would be more than one book let alone three, and I’m thrilled to pieces you guys have embraced my little alien action adventure with such gusto.

 Saving the world is tough work, but don’t worry, Jess and David are up to the challenge at least one more time!

This is going to be a short note, because so much is going on right now that I can hardly keep up, but I’ll paste the blurb below if you want to check it out.

Just in case you’re new here, the first five chapters of FIRE IN THE WOODS are available to read free on Wattpad. Click here to start your race through the woods!

Book One is on sale today if you want to check it out!

Here’s the blurb and a puuurrrtttyyyy picture of EMBERS on my eReader. (Insert crazy author giggle of glee here)

embers-reveal2Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.
Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.
The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but some secrets don’t want to be found.

And there you have it! I really hope you love this one, guys, and thanks again for all your support!

Alien Kisses! —Jennifer

embers-coverAlien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.

Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.

The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but some secrets don’t want to be found. Embers in the Sea is part one of the heart-stopping finale to Jennifer M. Eaton’s Fire in the Woods series.

Available wherever books are sold

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Ponder. List. Outline. Type. The YA Gal’s Guide to Plotting.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Writers love to bandy around that question in online chatrooms and Facebook forums. Do you plot out your novel to the very last scene before you start writing, or do you let the Muse guide your pen, and write by the seat of your pants?

I’ve found that neither strategy works well for me. I’ve tried plotting intricate outlines and lost inspiration fast. When I sat down at my computer and just “went for it” I ended up with story arcs that fizzled out.

Over the course of many years and two published novels, I’ve created my own method of plotting that fits my needs. It’s an easy structure to remember because PLOT says it all: Ponder. List. Outline. Type.


PKO_0005504The Ponder step is the most important. The publishing industry is so competitive, that unless a concept is perfect a book is doomed. I spend several months, and sometimes years, formulating the right idea. I let the story germinate in my mind while I drive around town running errands, or struggle to fall asleep at night. During the Ponder step, I determine what my logline hook will be. With GENESIS GIRL it was “An Internet innocent gets sold to the highest bidder.” For DAMAGED GOODS it was “Scarred by a childhood spent in captivity, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.” The hook is the one sentence description that describes the whole novel.


unending-list-aBefore I start writing a book, I list out my main characters. One of the hardest things about writing a book is making characters seem alive. If Good Morning America interviewed the people in a novel, the author should know exactly how the characters would respond. But getting to that level of intimacy is difficult. One trick I use to help flesh out my characters is a graphic organizer I call my Character_Map. I print out a page for each major person in my book and fill it out in detail. These lists of descriptions, quirks, backgrounds and secret desires give me a strong cast of characters to utilize.


Every writer has a different level of comfort when it comes to outlining, but even a simple outline can help keep a manuscript on track. Jotting down the main plot points ahead of time gives a story structure and helps define story arcs. If I’ve done the Pondering step properly then I already have a one sentence description of my book before I start writing an outline. Taking time to formulate a beginning, middle, and end saves me time in the long run.


For a writer, following the Muse is essential. That’s why when I finally sit down to type my story, I sometimes change course while composing my first draft. Story arcs change. quick-typing-aCharacters are eliminated. Often I don’t nail down a person’s name until I’ve written hundreds of pages. Typing out the first draft is the hardest part for me. But the effort I spend in the Pondering, Listing, and Outlining steps, makes the Typing step easier. Once I’ve written my first draft, it’s time to celebrate—and let my manuscript sit for a couple of months before I start revising. For me, revising has its own separate process, but unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a cute acronym yet!

Jennifer Bardsley writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. her novel GENESIS GIRL debuted in 2016 from Month9Books. GENESIS GIRL and its sequel, DAMAGED GOODS, Jennifer Bardsleyare about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” on Facebook, the @the_ya_gal Instagram, and @JennBardsley on Twitter. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is the founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives in Edmonds, WA with her family and a poodle named Merlin.

Genesis Girl (Blank Slate, #1)About the Blank Slate Series

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet.

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

31950044Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is.

All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Damaged Goods: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Genesis Girl: Goodreads | Amazon |  B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound