Category Archives: Author Interview

Dabbling in Sports Romance – For Women with @JulieCross1980

Sports themed books, movies, and TV shows have always been a love of mine–with or without romance (though a love story is always a plus). Surely I’m not the only female who feels this way? And although Off the Ice features ice hockey, I have written another YA that features a female elite gymnast, another with a ballet dancer, and in my YA novel Whatever Life Throws at You my main character, Annie, is a long distance runner for her high school track team. I really enjoy writing female athletes as well as the boys from Juniper Falls in Off the Ice.

The knowledge of a sport is generally not required to enjoy a fictionalized story that revolves around athletics. In fact, readers with extensive knowledge of a sport can ruin a fictional story featuring the sport of their expertise because authors often take liberties with rules and details to be able to tell the most interesting story.

What attracts me to reading and writing sports themed stories is that they often feature very driven characters who take action without hesitation. Who wants to read about a protagonist that complains all the time but never does anything? Not me. These driven athletes often have very clear, easy to follow goals–win the match, run faster, jump higher, etc…additionally these goals can create intriguing conflict when something (or someone) becomes nearly as important to them as their beloved sport. Another wonderful aspect of sports themed stories is the community often created either within an athlete’s’ team or the town or fans supporting the team. Everyone wants to see the underdog take the win and when they do, the warm fuzzies are plentiful.

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About Off the Ice

All is fair in love and hockey…

25538649Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

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About the Author

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).

She’s also the author of the Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.
She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing cred, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

 Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads





Authors: be real. Your readers (and your characters!) will thank you for it.

I have obstacles to overcome. Just like you, just like everyone.

Author E.M. Fitch

One of my obstacles has a name, though as a teen, I didn’t realize it. I have panic attacks. The reason I’m telling you this is because it’s real. I am a real person and I have panic attacks.

My protagonist in Of The Trees, my forthcoming YA novel, has them, too. That’s important. It’s important because every day millions of people have panic attacks. Millions will also suffer anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, and depression. As an author, it’s important to me to show this. I want my characters to jump off the page. I want them to be authentic. Giving my characters actual issues, mixed in with the fairy lore, fantasy and horror, will ground them and give them a way to connect with an audience.
There’s a better reason to create characters with mental health issues, however. It’s more important than creating a way for the characters to relate to the readers. It’s giving your readers a chance to connect with someone. One of the worst experiences someone can have is feeling alone. One of the hardest parts of managing an invisible illness is feeling like no one understands what you’re going through. I feel like I’m on the other side of what once was an invisible illness for me. Anxiety creeps into my life in variable doses, but overall, it’s manageable. So my characters are my way of extending a hand. It’s a nod that tells my readers: I see you. I’ve been there, too.
Horror is real. Anxiety, depression, hallucinations, fear – that’s all real, too. But so is growth. There’s is such a thing as learning to overcome – and I don’t mean learning to erase all impact of the invisible illness from your life. I mean a way to manage and cope and breathe and live in spite of, or even because of, whatever’s weighing you down.
So, authors: show this. Be real. Tell your tragedies, show your weaknesses, bleed on your pages. Not only will your characters breathe because of it, your readers might find themselves not so alone after experiencing your own wounds lay bare in print.


Only she can hear the deadly whisper of the trees.

High school seniors, Cassie and Laney, spend their days on ghost hunts, Laney trying to pull Cassie into belief. Cassie tolerates it for her best friend, but she doesn’t really believe … until the carnival comes to town. The men who work there watch the girls, disturbing Cassie with the intensity of their collective gaze.

It’s not just their age or the unnerving way they stare. There is something else, something in the shifting of their skin, the way their features seem to change fluid in the shadows, that screams danger. Cassie tries to ignore the uneasy feeling that something bad is about to happen, convinced that once the carnival leaves, life will return to normal.

But it doesn’t.

People start dying and bloody warnings appear around town. Cassie enters into a nightmare where the trees whisper “join us” and strange, seemingly familiar, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods of her small, isolated town.

When Laney goes missing, Cassie knows it’s the men of the forest who have taken her. She knows that she’s the only one who can help bring her friend back. But the creatures that taunt and hiss through the trees aren’t ready to give Laney up just yet.

E. M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. Her latest novel, OF THE TREES, is a Young Adult horror/fantasy inspired by haunted cemeteries and the darker musings of W.B. Yeats. She is the author of the Young Adult zombie trilogy: THE BREAK FREE SERIES. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children, or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages with her husband, Marc.


Visit for more information on her works.


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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

Catch up with me on social media!

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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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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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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


Pushing the Boundaries – One photographer wannabe to another

Hey there! Today we’re talking to Stacey Trombley about PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES and Photography!!!!!!!!!

Hi Stacey! Your main character is a photographer.

Mine too! Are you a photographer in real life?

Actually, I am not a photographer but once upon a time I wanted to be. In middle school and into high school photography was something I loved! I took pictures of sunsets and what little nature I could find in my little suburban neighborhood. We had a digital camera, which was pretty modern at the time, but it was huge and saved pictures onto floppy disks (do teens even know what those are anymore? I’m making myself feel old!) but it had a screen that showed me the pictures after I took them which was awesome!

Ha! I remember floppies, but not inside cameras. I think I got into photography for the same reason: I loved seeing the pictures right away, and you didn’t have to wait to develop before you know if you captured the image or not. 🙂

I really wanted to take a photography class in high school, which was an option at first… the high school I went to my freshman year did offer one (my older sister took the class. I was super jealous) but I ended up moving to a different school district the year before I could take it (you needed a basic art credit before you could take the photography class). My new school, though better in many other ways, did not have a photography class. And so my dream died.

Oh! That’s so sad!

It’s okay. I had the option to take photography in college but I had developed other interests (production media) and it just never seemed to fit into my schedule so I never perused it.

So, in a way, photography is my lost hobby. My lost dream.

Another big sad face! How do you think all of this effected PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES?

Perhaps I’m living vicariously through Myra, who is perusing an art college scholarship through her photography. But in the end I found a new outlet for my creative side when I started writing and I can’t imagine anything being better than this so maybe it was simply meant to be!

Omigosh, me too! I still love my camera, but there are not too many things I like to do more than sinking into my own world. Thanks so much for stopping by!

About Pushing the Boundaries

Pushing the BoundariesMyra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.

About Stacey Trombley:

Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband, new baby boy and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. Any chance she has she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.


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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

Catch up with me on social media!

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Authory habits and fun facts with Terri Rochenski

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Today we’re talking to author Terri Rochenski about authorly habits and fun facts.   Hi Terri!



jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000So, let’s get down to it, then.

What’s you’re writing pet peeve?

They’re, Their, There and all those lovelies that social media-lites so often get wrong. 😉

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Ewwwe. I hate those, too. I always hesitate and double check, then I lose my train of thought.
What weird thing do you do when you write?

 I usually write a story by hand the first time with good old paper and pen. Doing so keeps me from backspacing and editing while I go.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Really? I can’t write freehand fast enough. I’d never get anything done. Ha! What’s your writing nemesis?

Hmm. Probably the writing itself! I’m a sucker for research, outlines, timelines, character studies…I love the details behind the projects. Sitting down and actually writing what’s in my mind is sometimes a chore.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000I’m the opposite. I’d rather write. That’s probably why I like science fiction… I can make it up rather than doing the work. (Yup, I’m lazy) What book world would you like to live in, why, and what you learned from it as an author?

Any of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I adore Martin’s writing (even if he is a little long-winded) and adore the world he created. I’ve always wondered what life in the middle ages was really like.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Me Too!

Wouldn’t you love to go back to that time???

I’ve daydreamed of time travel, too. I would love to know how Martin keeps his HUGE cast of characters and the timelines in focus and spot on. THAT kind of organization skill could benefit anyone!

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000What book world gives you nightmares?


Oh, what a good question!!! I’d have to go with Sarah J. Maas and her Throne of Glass series. Excellent stories, unbelievable world and characters—and a few spooky ones that would scare the living daylights out of me in real life…witches on dragons. *shudder* I’d love to learn how she think tanks, where her influences for the series came from.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000What’s the funniest thing that ever happened at a book signing?


I had an elderly gentleman shamelessly flirt with me while hand-in-hand with his smiling wife.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Ha! Too funny!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri!

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About Eye of the Soul


That should be Hyla’s first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason.

Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King’s warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents.

Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost.


Shoot me to Goodreads for links to buy it now!

About the author:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

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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

Catch up with me on social media!

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Being Scared Isn’t Always Fun

You guyyzzzzzz! I just started reading Lost Girls by  Merrie Destefano and I’m totally loving it! So I’m thrilled to host Merrie today about being scared. Here we go!

Being Scared Isn’t Always Fun

By Merrie Destefano

I read Altered States by Paddy Cheyefsky when I was in my early twenties and I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that terrified me more. To most people, it’s a science fiction/horror story where the premise is, what if someone combined sensory deprivation research with psychoactive/experimental drugs and it caused a biological devolution. I think this is the book that scared me off altered reality for the rest of my life! 224994It’s been a long time since I read the book, but what I remember is that, as a result of the research he was doing, the main character—Jessup—began to change into a primitive man, probably a very distant ancestor of man.

But wait, there’s more… Jessup kept doing the same experimental research and ended up going back further in time until he became some sort of primordial goo. (Oh, help, just rip my skin off, this is so scary!) And if that wasn’t terrifying enough, let’s just take that premise One Horrible Step Further… Emily, the main character’s ex-wife, reaches into the maelstrom of what’s left of Jessup, takes him by the hand and … Wait for it … She starts to get pulled into the primordial goo too.

At this point, I’m not just ripping off my skin. I’m pulling out my hair and stabbing myself in the eyes with a fork. Make it stop, just make it stop.


I should probably explain that at that point in my life I suffered from acute panic attacks that had not gotten under control. They’re much better now, thankfully. But this book felt like a trip to Hell. Most people would say ‘a trip to Hell and back’ except I don’t remember this book as having a good ending. In my memory, this was what would happen for the rest of their lives. Jessup would slip into the primordial goo, Emily would have to go into that horrible-never-should-have-been-invented-world and pull him out. But every time she did, she got pulled into it too.

I guess I’ve learned to be able to write things I’m afraid of from this. But I’ve also learned that I don’t have to expose myself to ideas/stories/movies that make me feel like my skin has been ripped off. I do my best to stay away from altered reality (I’m talking about YOU Inception and Doctor Strange.) I need my happy ending to survive. Yes, you can take me to Hell in a movie/book, but you best bring me back in the end.

Soooo, ummmm, I guess I can expect a happy ending in Lost Girls? Cause I’m kinda creeped out right now, I’m not gonna lie.


29939399Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry.

Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: She’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad: sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves. The rush of the fight, the thrill of the win―something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

Release Date: 1/3/17

Shoot me to Goodreads to find out more and see purchase links

Author Bio:

Born in the Midwest, magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

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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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Evolution of a Reader into An Author with @SharonLHughson

Education Concept. Read Books Sign.I’ve been reading since before I attended kindergarten. I’ve been devouring books, sometimes at the rate of one or two per day, since I was twelve.

84119That’s the year my parents got divorced. I moved to Narnia. Such a happier place, especially when the two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve were ruling.

In case you wonder, THE HORSE AND HIS BOY is my favorite from the seven-book Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read that one at least ten times.

So_what_started_me_off_as_a_writerIt was reading that spawned my overactive imagination. What then? I wrote my first book when I was nine. In a green spiral notebook. I still have a similar notebook for every novel-length project.

What was my first book? THE HORSE KILLER, which reminds me of the books the horse crazy girl I was loved to read. gabby-balloonI checked out every horse book in the school library and the public library during my third and fourth grade years.

The story I wrote was about a vet who kills barrel racing horses so that his son’s horse will win the big competition. My young heroine figures it all out and stops him in his tracks with the help of her well-trained (but retired from barrel racing) horse.

The rest, some old guy said, is history. Now I’m an author of a novel, two nonfiction books, and five short stories in anthologies.

In The Beginning_CoverIN THE BEGINNING is my debut in the young adult publishing world. It’s a world I’ve dreamed of appearing in for about four decades (did I just give my age away?) so I’m thrilled to share it with you.

If you like dystopian or post-apocalyptic reads, you’ll enjoy this collection of eight short stories. Each one is perfect for a quick reality break.

The Demon was Me introduces readers to Oregon after The Greatest War and the Great Nuclear Winter that followed it. Who knew atomic explosions would ignite seismic and volcanic reactions worldwide? You can bet no one knew there were demons trapped in beneath the earth’s crust and released through a huge chasm that swallowed the Rocky Mountains.
You can buy the Kindle format here. Or if you want to hold a paper book in your hands, pick up a copy here.

In The Beginning_CoverAbout IN THE BEGINNING

Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.
Stories include: Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements, Babylon by Nicole Crucial, Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays, The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson, The Deluge by Marti Johnson, Condemned by Elle O’Neill, First Wife by Lora Palmer and Emmaculate by Christina Raus.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Demon was Me”:

The ghastly black fog overtook me. Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.

“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you resist something as ethereal as air?

Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister. It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A foreign power clutched at my mind.
I screamed. I rolled to my side and squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.

Another dark wave of laughter echoed through my skull. Convulsions gripped me.

Against my will, my limbs flailed in every direction. A spike pressed into my mind. I cradled my throbbing head. My body, a tumbleweed in the wind, spun on the ground.

About Sharon Hughson

RFR-160111-Cent4F1-16476676_GPRNurtured through a troubled teen-hood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. She has published romance and women’s fiction, but her dream is to write young adult fantasy, a genre she credits for keeping her alive during her parents’ turbulent divorce and the chaotic readjustments that followed.
To find her teenage voice, Sharon taps into a lifetime of experience working with young people in both church and public school. She resides in Oregon with her husband and three cats, where she spends her non-writing hours substitute teaching, reading, playing piano, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking her family’s memories.

Handling accurate historical attitudes in a millennial feminist world with @AuthorCKBrooke

Today we’re welcoming author C.K. Brook, speaking about the touchy topic of feminism in historicals. Welcome C.K.!

Make no mistake, I consider myself a feminist. I’m not old enough to have fought for it; I was simply fortunate enough to have been born into a nation and generation where the idea that I could grow up to be or do anything I wanted, regardless of my gender, was something I really never thought to question. I took it for granted. My eyes were opened in high school, when I began to read historical novels and their depictions of how, throughout history and around the world, women had limited rights, if any. Most weren’t allowed to read, vote, or own land. They themselves were property. Independence and autonomy? Many women lived and died without ever having experienced either.

Oddly, that didn’t mean they were all unhappy. pko_0010131Every historical novel about any kind of woman’s revolution will show you the ‘other’ side – the women who didn’t want to vote, the ones who didn’t want to enter the workforce, the ones who willingly embraced what we may consider sexist today: a woman’s domestic and maternal “role”.

To my generation, it feels wrong to be okay with people not wanting or asking for more choices – or indeed, having no choices at all. And yet, that’s how generations of women lived before us, as influenced by the predominant cultures and paradigms of their various societies and eras.

23332977I don’t write a lot of historical fiction. But I do write fantasy that takes place in historical-like settings, and that includes patriarchal societies. One of the challenges of being a writer in today’s market is handling accurate historical attitudes toward women for the integrity and atmosphere of an old-fashioned story, when most of today’s audience may be young millennial feminists like myself, to whom these societal gender structures come across as backwards or even immoral, were they applied in real life today.

For example, the ‘damsel in distress’ is a classic literary motif used by the greatest writers for centuries. But authors paying homage to those old stories today run the risk of being considered sexist. Huh womanIn my opinion, there’s a huge difference between crafting a story in an old-fashioned, patriarchal setting and actually condoning it or thinking the world ought to run that way again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being under the modern lens as an author, it’s that there are as many different reactions to a story as there are readers to react to it.

Historical attitudes towards women in a novel may offend some, while those enjoying the escape to a different world won’t bat an eyelash. While it’s fun to craft plots about women who must somehow assert themselves amidst arranged marriages, forced journeys, and salacious suitors, I’m appreciative to live in the here and now, where the choice to write whatever we choose is ours.

About CK Brooke

C.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers’ Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books – reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them. When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. There’s tons to check out at the new, so come and see what she’s up to!

About The Duchess Quest

23332977Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest to seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward! Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost royal, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart. Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, startling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.

Get A Copy:  Amazon Stores ▾ Audible  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Apple iBooks  Google Play  Abebooks  Book Depository  Indigo  Alibris
Better World Books  IndieBound Libraries

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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

Catch up with me on social media!

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