Archive for the publishing Category

Finally, Sequel.

Posted in book reviews, indie, indie authors, publishing, Uncategorized, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , on June 18, 2016 by rachelcoles

After a long time distracted, I have finally gotten back to my website, and to writing a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl. For those struggling with their ‘sophomore book’, here is a helpful and succinct web-post I found from a writer in Suffolk:

https://authordylanhearn.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/things-you-learn-when-writing-your-second-book/

It was very reassuring to know other people have encountered the same difficulty, and likely for the same reasons.

Another link had a very entertaining title:

https://litreactor.com/columns/the-curse-of-the-second-novel-four-ways-not-to-fuck-up-book-number-two

For writers working on a second book, I hope you get the same comfort from these as I did.

 

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Tapping the Muse

Posted in horror, indie, indie authors, mythology, publishing, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by rachelcoles

Hi Fellow Indies,

 

We’ve had a great week at my writer’s group talking about writer’s block and how to address it. Sometimes problems travel in clumps, and many of us had fallen prey to the writer’s block in the last few months, the bane of every writer’s existence. I write to relax and stay sane, and so not only is it a pain in the butt when I want to write something, but it literally messes with my sanity. Fortunately, I am part of a group that tries to help each other. We get together to critique each other’s work, and sometimes, we can use each other to shake things loose when we’re stuck. One of the things I think we all agree on collectively is that writing should be fun. It’s also hard. But if it stops being fun also, we’re doing it wrong. So one of the things we’re doing is making sure to write something at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, or the great American novel, or even a full story. It can be a scene, a conversation between two characters we make up on the spot, anything, as long as it’s fun to write. And fun for writers could be something that makes us laugh or even cry. Maybe ‘engaging’ would be a better word than ‘fun’. We need to write something that we enjoy writing that makes us not want to stop until it’s on the page.

Throughout history, writer’s block or if you aren’t a writer, creative blocks of all kinds have plagued people who wanted to create expression. The Greeks had nine goddesses who were in charge of such inspiration, and as many gods and goddesses were, they were known for their capricious nature, feeding artists and musicians music with divine origin at times, and abandoning them and taking their inspiration with them at others. The expression in which someone says such a person, ‘is my Muse’, and the term ‘music’ come from these goddesses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemnosyne (lord of the Sky, and Memory):

Clio–Muse of History

Euterpe–Muse of lyric song

Melpomene–Muse of tragedy

Terpsichore–Muse of Dance

Erato–Muse of erotic poetry (my guess is a bit more significant than ‘There once was a man from Nantucket…’)

Polyhymnia–Muse of sacred song

Urania–Muse of astronomy

Thalia–Muse of comedy

I think it’s interesting that they were born of sky and memory, because people have been getting inspiration from looking at the sky for thousands of years, and it takes an act of will and the synthesis of emotion and memory to generate works of art or scientific inspiration that hold meaning for people.

But as with the nature of most gods and goddesses, inspiration can be dark. In Celtic lore, the Leanan Sidhe was thought of as a Muse, who inspired poets, but there was a price. She was also vampiric, sucking the life energy of those she inspired. The next story: The Muse, was based on this idea.

 

The Muse

Rivulets of dark pungent water fanned across the rock, leaving a damp organic smell behind. The moon set beyond the deserted park, leaving only the sodium park lights near the Platte River to compete with the more distant city lights in the LoDo condo neighborhoods. But where the river met the rock, under the diseased elms, the shadows were inky physical things. The rivulets across the rock writhed and surged in black ribbons like the hair of a nymph. The river exhaled gray vapor into the air that smelled like the bottom of a lake. Eliza sat by a tangle of shrubs at the edge of the rock, ruminating about her student debt for the millionth time that day, for the millionth time that year. Pinpoints of light danced in the water.

The miasma pooled around her in the air like spectral congregants to a midnight church. Before she had to return to the dry dusty track home, she basked in the sudden humidity of the night river and inhaled the mist. It slid down her throat like silk. Her vision became blurry as the lights in the water doubled and she fell asleep beside the rising stream. When she woke, the morning star was shining. Her cheek was wet where the water had seeped up onto the rock where she lay. There was no indication of how she had fallen asleep, or why.

She had been pounding coffee since noon. Her mother’s voice rang in her head reminding her of how people drown in an inch of water. Her pad was open to a drawing she didn’t remember creating. But it was dark and she couldn’t see very well. She could barely make out the shapes of figures on the page as she peered at it in the pre-dawn light. The swaths of charcoal shifted and flowed across the page into spirals and eddies. Lighter patches here and there looked like eyes. She shivered in the early morning chill, pushed herself up, gathered her supplies, and climbed up to the footpath for the hike to the Light Rail.
One of the bulbs was out in the dingy kitchen of her Lipan Street apartment when she flicked it on. She tossed her pad and supplies on the kitchen table, pulled a chair up and replaced the bulb. She glanced down at the table and almost fell backwards off the chair. The drawing that had been barely visible earlier was a wash of dark shapes that still looked like they shifted if you glanced at another part of the page. The one certainty fixed at points throughout the page were pale faces caught in various poses of agony, fear and despair, like souls trapped trying to escape Tartarus.
She slowly righted the chair and stared at the notebook and tried to remember drawing it.

#

Jobie padded into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Eliza as she was making coffee later that morning, and nuzzled her thin brown braids. “What the hell were you dreaming about after you finally got in? And where were you so late? I was starting to think I’d have to retrieve you from a crack den or something.”

She turned and swatted him.

He grinned, “And then when you came to bed, you beat the snot out of me in your sleep. I’ll have to start sleeping with my old football pads.”

She lightly bit him on the nose, and then wiped her lips on the kitchen towel. “Ew! Did you take your allergy pill this morning? Your nose is all drippy.”

He laughed. “Don’t blame me, Lassie.” He let her go and blew his runny nose on a piece of toilet paper. “Seriously, you ok? I know you been worrying all the time.”

“I’m fine. What are you talking about?”

“You just had some real whoppers of nightmares. I tried to wake you but you just screamed. You had your eyes open and everything. You stared straight at me. I almost called 911. I’m surprised no one did call. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about our neighbors, in case of a real emergency. ‘No Officer, I didn’t hear nuthin, or see the ax-murderer leaving their house covered in blood, with all of their belongings…’ I was about to call, and then you stopped, and started snoring like nothing had happened. You don’t remember any of this?”

She shook her head and frowned into his earnest brown eyes. “I used to get night terrors when I was a kid, but that was twenty years ago, when I was like four.”

“Did your parents drink? Cuz I sure needed a stiff one after that. Are you sure you’re ok?” He hugged her close. “I’ve been planning to tell my boss to fuck off for a day anyway. I want to see how long that unit lasts without me.”

She shoved him toward the shower. “Go get dressed for work. I’m sorry I woke you, but I won’t be the reason you lose your job in this economy.” Her fingers wandered to the edge of her sketch pad and she just stood frozen in thought as the coffee water boiled.

#

She dodged a frustrated driver trying to park in a spot too small, as she scooted across the street from the station to Auraria campus. The studio was cool in the summer heat as she set up her clay and tools and got to work. Her fingers tingled and the sculpture took shape as though the shape of the piece was flowing out of her hands. When it stood done, it was a long vaguely human form like the statues dubbed the ‘dancing aliens’, outside the Denver Performing Arts Center across the street. But this bore only a passing resemblance to that piece. This solitary form was fluid with curves, like a humanoid shape that was part amoeba. Tendrils from its palms reached out for contact to anyone, anything who glanced at it. It looked strangely hungry.

Mr. Catan, the teacher, wandered over and studied it, and noted the same thing. “You certainly have created a stirring piece.” He smiled at her, “Almost Dali-esque.”

Yeah, stirring, she thought, glancing away from his upswept 50’s greaser hairdo and skater-punk t-shirt three decades too young for him. Just like Hustler is stirring, she edged away and started smoothing the figure’s shoulders with a sponge.

But he didn’t move on to the other pieces. “What were you thinking of when you created this? It looks…lonely, empty.”

As soon as she stepped back from it, she saw that he was right. It did look lonely. Need seeped off of it, reaching for her. She gasped and backed up into the wall.
Mr. Catan laughed and nodded at her reaction. “Well, wherever you got this idea from, you had some kind of inspiration. There was a time when artists who created things like this believed they had been touched by the Muse, or fed upon by her. It depended on their perspective. Men gave their lives to her. Or at least, they gave pieces of themselves. Van Gogh, Pygmalion…what did you give to create this?”
Creep, she thought.

He smiled, “You should enter this in the student exhibit when it’s finished.”

Suddenly, she felt bad at her knee-jerk reaction. He was just trying to help.

The Orphan, its name came to her as he walked away. The curves of the statue almost seemed to lean after him, the vacant eye depressions gazing into the back of his neck. She hurriedly cleaned up her materials, and went to her next class, as the statue faced the door.

#

When she came back to the sculpture the next day, Mr. Catan had moved it to the side of the room to make space for a metal-sculpting class. She uncovered it and her impression of it being ’empty’ dissipated. The atmosphere it created was different now. Maybe its paler color as it dried had changed the feel. It seemed animate, almost sentient. But it no longer felt empty and she almost wished that it had. The head had only the slightest depressions for eyes and merely a sloping rise for a nose, and yet, it had an expression. As she finished the fine details, it still looked lonely, like the embodiment of loneliness, but now it somehow looked full.
Ms. Teague, the visual design teacher, stood off to the side, watching the progress of the shapes taking form in the classroom.

“Ms. Teague? Where’s Mr. Catan?” Eliza asked.

She shook her head, a couple grey bobby-pinned curls escaping. “He didn’t come in today.”

“Is he sick?” The hair on the back of Eliza’s neck stood and she positioned herself so she couldn’t see The Orphan.

Ms. Teague frowned, “I assume so. The office is having me fill in. Do you need anything?”

“No, thanks. Just wondering.” Eliza wandered back to her work area. The Orphan’s form seemed to occupy the room as a crowd of admirers gathered around it.

“Wow, this is really cool. I wish I could make something like this.” Wendy, the wispy Gothic girl of the class whose works all had a Tim Burton-esque look to them, twirled her long black locks.
Her lanky partner, shifted his skull-and-crossbones suspenders. “Yeah, you should enter it in the exhibit. Or a gallery. My brother has a friend who owns a gallery on Santa Fe. He’d probably take it. He don’t pay much though, but people’d see it. This needs to be seen.”

Wendy touched it gently, “May I?”

Eliza shrugged. “Sure. Just be careful.”

The girl nodded, “Funny, it seems like it wants to be touched.” She drew her hand away suddenly and then replaced it again. “It’s warm. Like it’s alive.” She smiled, her red lips stretching into a white smile, “Gives me some new ideas,” and she wandered back to her work area.

Eliza just sat back in bewilderment at The Orphan’s popularity until the students trickled away to their own projects. She added and polished, and couldn’t get away from its warm suppleness and the sense that it felt everything she did to it.

#

Jobie squeezed her, and popped another pig in a blanket into his mouth. He washed it down with another plastic cup of wine and said through a mouthful, “Congratulations, Babe! Wow, my girlfriend won an award from the student exhibit.”

Crowds trickled into the gallery from the street. As the servers moved to the greet them, Jobie snagged another handful of appetizers. She frowned as she peered around. He leaned back and peered at The Orphan. “Wow, it really is something else. It feels like its watching me. What inspired it, was it your creepy greaser sculpture teacher? Those tentacle-thingees in its palms make me think he did a little too much stroking the monkey. You know what they say about that. And your statue’s blind too,” he tipped one of his teetering cups to The Orphan.

Eliza almost shot wine through her nose as she laughed. “I think that’s the four cups of booze you’ve had in the last hour. Not the sculpture.” Eliza smirked.

He looked offended. “No, I’m eating food with my alcohol.” He stuffed three sausage-filled mushrooms into his mouth to emphasize his point. “You gotta live a little, Babe! It’s your art. You painting and sculpting and stuff, that’s the first time I’ve seen you relax a little and express yourself. You’re always so practical, like Spock. Join your own party for a change!” He poked a breaded sausage at her mouth.

She waved him off, and then thought better of it. She grabbed his cup of wine and downed it, and then another.

“See, that’s it!” he beamed.

She basked in the glow as people flocked around the statue. These art classes had been electives to fill in for some liberal arts core requirements. They had been a pragmatic choice, since it seemed like an easy grade. Maybe this could be a second career for me, she thought, but it won’t pay as well as business administration, and at least that’s steady. But now, it was turning out to be satisfying in other ways. It was the first time she had ever felt…expressed. There were other things in life besides a steady paycheck and security. Maybe Jobie was right.

She wrapped her arms around Jobie’s paunchy middle and enjoyed the attention for the rest of the evening while he did all the talking and bragging for her.

She glanced around and frowned. It had been the one sour point in the evening, reminding them of the situation unfolding on campus. Mr. Catan was missing. He had been reported a couple days prior, and it had been on the news. No trace of his whereabouts had been found, the news had said. The university had been silent on any details of the investigation. While she hadn’t much liked him, she hoped he was alright, hoped he hadn’t fled from some heinous crime they had yet to discover. And, she thought, a little selfishly, she wished he had been here to see her piece opening in the gallery.

#

As they returned home, her sketch pad slid to the floor of the train and Jobie picked it up. “Let’s see what Michelangelo’s been cooking up on paper? You never showed me these.” He flipped slowly through the pages of fruit and nature scenes, and then stopped abruptly at the charcoal she had puzzled over two weeks previously from her nap by the stream.

“Whoa…” His soft drunk brown eyes focused on her. A flash of fear floated through them, and then was subsumed again in the haze of alcohol. “Left turn into dark. Which one of these is not like the others? When did you do this?”

She reached for it, and studied it again, swallowing on a lump of apprehension in her throat. “Last week, Tuesday. The day I had the night terrors.”

“No wonder.”

She sighed, “No, night terrors aren’t dreams. They don’t happen in REM sleep. It’s during deep sleep. That’s why no one remembers anything when they have a night terror. They aren’t dreaming or seeing anything.”
“Well, one physiology class and look who knows everything about the brain. I’ll make you a bet that in ten years, they come out with another study that says the exact opposite, just like they did with the study saying fat is bad for you, and then that we need it for brain function. Make up your mind, people!”

She laughed and pushed at his ample chest.”When they said fat is necessary, I don’t think that ten bags of pork rinds a day were what they meant.”

He shrugged and his eyes slid back to the picture. “I’m just saying. Something scared the hell out of you, and this picture scares the hell out of me.” He tapped it, “But it’s really interesting. Interesting and creepy sells. You should get it entered into a contest or put it on an art website or something. Maybe we could win the rent money. And then I could go tell my boss to fuck off for good.”

She smirked and packed the pad away in her bag. “The scary picture’s gone now. And I’ll think about it. There’s a scanner in the student aid office. Maybe they’ll let me use it. In the meantime, you’ll just have to keep being the loathed IT guy until the gravy train comes in.” They linked arms and walked to the station.

#

The studio lit up as she entered, the first one there. She had an extra hour between work at the coffee shop and sculpture class. The block of clay felt cool and satiny underneath her hands as she wet it and began working. The slip glided through her fingers as a shape formed. Other students filtered in. A ring of students gazed at the emerging creation, and then set up their own stations, glancing back at her every so often. Ms. Teague watched her with a pensive look, but said nothing and just let her work, commenting here and there on other students’ pieces.

About ten minutes before class ended, Eliza stepped back from the bench and brought herself from her reverie to look at the sculpture from a distance. It was not even remotely humanoid. There were shoots emerging from piles of loops that looked like internal organs, and hands, dozens of tiny hands and mouth indentations lined with buds like tongues.
Gothic Wendy’s voice startled her, “Girlfriend did some LSD last night.” She stared at the grotesque sculpture. “It looks hungry. But I like it. One brush with celebrity and you go right off the rails.” She smirked at Eliza.

“Don’t go cutting off any body parts to mail to your boyfriend.”

Eliza frowned. It did look hungry somehow, and it wasn’t just the mouths. It had the same vacant feel to it as The Orphan had started with, as though it were waiting. Eliza covered it up and left for her Developmental Psych class.

#

At the end of the semester a couple weeks later, she brought her new piece home, when they emptied their things from the studio. Jobie gaped at it as Eliza partly uncovered it on the hand truck, to undo the cords holding it.

“It’s…unique, in a Crypt Keeper meets the Return of the Living Dead kind of way. What’s this one called? ‘Your Insides on Pork Rinds?'”

She tilted her head at it, while flicking Jobie’s ear. And the name came to her. Bacchus’ End, she realized, like the Baccanalians and their festivities. It was like a mass of senses feeding on itself.
He patted her on the back. “Good job, Queen of Darkness. If you go whip up some grub, I’ll get this unloaded and start the folding the laundry.” He turned the TV on.

As she kissed him and went into the kitchen, she could almost feel the tongues questing and the mouths opening and closing on the scents in the air and the hands reaching for something, anything. About twenty minutes later, the hamburger helper casserole was done and she went into the TV room to catch their regular episode of Bones with Jobie. But he wasn’t there.

“Job? Hey Job?” The television was still on and she lowered the volume. She poked her head in their bedroom, but the rumpled Snoopy sheets were empty. The bathroom door was open and dark. She peered out the window to see if he might be coming from the store. But the only folks she saw were heading to or from the Osage station.

She texted him. A buzz from the counter showed her his phone. She called their friends, his work and anyplace else she could think of where he might have gone. But he wasn’t there, and it didn’t seem likely that he would have just gone without telling her, especially not just before dinner. Finally, she called the police, to say that something must have happened to him, though she couldn’t imagine how. They came and took her statement, and gave the statue an odd glance as they left. She sat on the couch and cried.

Like The Orphan, it seemed different in the dim light of the living room lamp. It had seemed vacant before, but now, though the statue seemed hungry still, it seemed more…present, inhabited. She shuddered and threw the couch blanket over it and went to bed.

She cried until she fell asleep. Every hour she woke and felt the lump of blankets to see if Jobie had come in. He didn’t, and the phone never rang.

#

His side of the bed was still empty in the morning. She pulled her knees to her chest and just rocked for a while. At ten o’clock, she called in sick to the coffee shop. She stared at the screen for a couple hours. He’ll be back from wherever. Those people on TV always come back. Look, those talk show guests have it much worse, they’re throwing shoes at each other. God, where the hell is he? I know there was nothing wrong between us? Was he mad at me? No, he would never just leave me like this, wondering. Oh God, something had to have happened!

She went around and around like that, as the television droned on. Finally, she shut it off. The silence in the apartment was unbearable. Baccus’ End waited under the cloth which she had left over it. She could almost hear it breathe with its many mouths, and feel the pulse of its blood. She grabbed her bag and left, slamming the door behind her.

As she crossed the walking bridge over I-25, she spotted a sculpture she had never noticed before, though she remembered dimly that it had been there for as long as she had been in Colorado. Jobie had snarked about it constantly, because it was the singularly most hideous incomprehensible thing she had ever seen. It looked like a giant pile of red gory jelly beans that had melted and stuck together.

At night, the fine citizens of Denver were treated to its full effect as it was lit from within, so the dribbles of red paint down its side looked like the innards of a demon that had been put through a Star Trek transporter accident. She walked up to it now and touched the cherry red protuberances. And quickly pulled her hand away as they pulsed faintly under her hand. The electrical source used to light the monstrosity must have been buzzing, she thought, but didn’t try to touch it again. ‘Crimson Love’, it was named. Now she had to shut her eyes and press her fingers into her sockets, as a sexual connotation was added to the demon intestine image.
She sighed, checked her phone again in case Jobie called, and headed down the path to the river.

When she got there, she pulled her pad out of her bag, tore the charcoal drawing out and ripped it into pieces, smearing charcoal across her hands. The feeling of loathing she got as she looked at it was irrational, she knew. I still don’t remember drawing that. What if I didn’t? All this started after that strange night. What if it’s the drawing? What if it let something in? Or what if something else drew it and cursed me? Everything went wrong after that.

She thought about the sequence of events. She had never been a artistic prodigy, so why all of the sudden had she suddenly started drawing and sculpting pieces that got people’s attention so strongly? A chill ran down her spine as she thought about the lights in the water that night. What if I did draw it, and whatever was here that night got into me? What are those things I’m creating?

She shivered, and threw the shredded picture in the water. The shreds hit a stagnant pocket of water behind a brake of river debris, so the shreds just eddied around instead of being swept away. As the water soaked through the paper, the images ran and blended together. The eyes in the paper rolled and the faces convulsed and then they were gone. The river exhaled a belch of vegetal air and the breeze whistled a sigh around her ears and through her hair.

Someone wandered by with a dog. It was friendly and explored Eliza with a wet nose, a snort and a wag of its coppery tail.

“Sorry. Down, Chassie! I’m Meg.” She held out her hand.

Eliza shook it. “It’s ok.” She ran her fingers through the dog’s fur and let his drooling tongue comfort her. A tear leaked down her face.

“Are you ok?” Meg came and squatted by her.

She nodded. “I’m just having a bad day. Your dog is nice.” “Well, I hope things get better. You’re an artist? That’s pretty good!” The gray-haired woman peered at the picture exposed in her pad now that the dark charcoal was gone. It was an ordinary mountain scene in watercolors.

Eliza nodded, “Well, I’m taking a class. It was fun, but lately…it feels like it’s been kind of taking over.”

The woman smiled, her crafted earrings swinging as she spoke, “Touched by the Muse, eh? That’s how one of my artist friends in Sedona talked about her art. Like it came from someone else besides her. She also said the liquor fairy breathed life into the things she made. If she stopped drinking and partying, her art started to suffer.” She laughed. “Listen to me, You’re not underage are you? How old are you?”
“Twenty-four.”

Meg batted her hand in the air. “Ah, you’re legal. Anyway, you just look so serious. I’m not saying you should go get liquored up or anything. Just don’t forget to have some fun, eat and drink, before the time goes by, and you get to my age.” The dog began pulling the woman away. “Nice meeting you.”

“You too,” Eliza nodded. She sat until the sun set, not wanting to face her empty apartment. Jobie hadn’t called. The police hadn’t called either. Their friends only called to check in with her and make sure she was alright.
Her fear of the art pieces seemed silly now. Despite the woman’s talk of spirits, it seemed more firmly in the realm of folklore. The police will figure it out. Just let him be ok.

She dangled her feet in the river as the light faded. The trickle and the crystal cool swell around her shins was comforting. The sand swirled around her toes and shaped into furrows around her feet. She flopped out of the water and found a stick, and sat where the beach met a lazy part of the river, next to the sitting rock. There she drew spirals in the sand until the stick broke. Nothing was strange about the doodles. They were just swirls of sand. Just to prove her point she took handfuls of the sand and built a little mound with a moat.

The water shimmered and lapped at her fingers like little velvet tongues and deepened in the moat. The sound of the waves were hypnotic. The twinkles of light in the water were so beautiful and cool. They whispered and sang in high sweet voices that everything would be fine as a cool mist kissed her eyelashes. She relaxed and let the sand settle around her feet and arms. Something in the back of her mind was screaming at her to move, but the troubles with Jobie would still be waiting, and one more minute in the water felt nice.

Her arms had sunk into the sand and dark water. The waning moon was barely a sliver in the sky. The sodium lamps didn’t penetrate the mist that had risen in the trench of the river where Eliza crouched in the pungent water and drank, as the heat ebbed from her limbs.

#

A dog sniffed around the new sandstone sculpture by the sitting rock, and decided that it was not a good candidate for marking his territory. It was too…alive.
The squat amphibious creature sat, almost in the water. It looked like it was made of eyes. The eyes covered its head in clusters, even lining its wide full lips, as though it were a creature that was always watching the world from the sidelines. Long columns of stone drooped down its hunched form, almost like brown thin-braided river-weed hair. And it was surrounded by silence and sadness. Insects moved and chattered about, and the river flowed as always, but there was a stillness around it that dampened the air. As though it were waiting to breathe. Another dog’s owner trotted over. “What the hell is that? What a weird place to put a statue,” her ponytail bobbed as she jogged around it.

The jogger’s companion took a swig from her water bottle and kept jogging in place on the rock. “Have you ever looked around Denver? We’re in the city of weird sculptures. It’s that push to be ‘cosmopolitan’ whatever that means. I think it means you’re acceptably hoity-toity if you have weird art. Haven’t you ever noticed the ‘cosmopolitan’ statues around the city?”

“True. Like that demon horse with the red eyes outside the Denver Airport. There’s something I want to see before I get on a plane. I heard the artist died just before he finished it.”

“Actually, it killed him. That’s what I heard.”

The first woman snapped her fingers at the dog and the two women sprinted up the slope to the trail and ran on.

End Story

 

After all of the depictions of Muses, what is your favorite? Which one are you most affected by? How do you get past your own blocks and lure the Muses back into your life?

Indie Author Club: Toni Lombardo’s Journey

Posted in book reviews, indie, mythology, publishing, urban fantasy, writing with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by rachelcoles

Hi fellow indies,

Last week’s topic from the Indie Author Club, I’m catching up, was about Pinterest.  Unfortunately, though I have a Pinterest account, I have not taken the time to figure out how to use it yet. I’m still at the stage of the circulating Facebook post that reads: “All these Mums who are on Pinterest, making rainbow spaghetti and homemade playdough…I’m all like, ‘I had a shower and kept the kids alive–Go Me!” So, I can’t really comment on Pinterest. It looks nice. It’s probably useful to people who are more savvy at things that take greater than 3 seconds to figure out.

First, I’ll mention my own recent experience writing. I’ve been working on a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl for a while. I got obsessed with making progress on it. As a result, I stopped feeling that excitement about getting lost in the story, that writer’s buzz that can keep me up until 3 in the morning when I know I have to get up at 6. I discovered that sometimes, it’s good to take a break. The Denver Fiction Writers, a group that I am part of in Denver, has regular short story challenges. Someone comes up with a prompt, can be visual, or verbal. And we write a short story having something to do with that prompt, and submit it for people to read at a designated date in the future. This time, maybe because I hadn’t done one in a while, I had a blast, and rediscovered my excitement, and the reason I started writing. It’s cathartic. This particular story, The Littlest Fury, was inspired both by upcoming Halloween, and by the recent invasion of a horde of Littlest Pet Shop toys in our house. Best part about the book, my main character gets to wreak vengeance on corporate inside-traders and child-abductors…and I get to get out of Colorado for a little while, though Hades is not usually on people’s list of vacation spots. Though, with the summer’s wildfires and the recent floods, it’d be hard to tell the difference, caught between the Phlegethon and the Acheron. That story will be posted up on Halloween on this site. Come have a read!

So without further ado, I bring you another post from Toni Lombardo, aspiring writer and beta reader extraordinaire, featuring her ideas on creating characters, in her own words:

I’m back, and as promised, I will be writing about a writer’s relationship with characters.

Now this topic is one T.R. Graves and I have discussed a lot!  Although some writers will disagree, it is very, very important to connect with your characters on an almost supernatural level.

LET ME TELL YOU HOW IT WORKS (for me).

My characters and I are one, although they are far more experienced in life than I am.  Let me walk you through my basic day.  I wake up, usually from a dream either about friends of mine or my characters.  There have been some dreams about my characters that I have woken up from that made me pause and question who I am.  In some of my dreams, I become my characters.  And, I know that sounds like I should be locked up for psychiatric help, but that is the life of a writer (#itsawriterthing).  I go to work with my characters lingering throughout my thoughts.  Leave me alone for five minutes and I’ll be in my book.  I will be interacting with my character and them with me (or maybe not so much, we will get to this later).  I go through my day thinking up conversations, replaying scenes, really, really trying to get to know the subtleties that hide inside my characters.  Let me tell you, it works.  Give me a situation or opinion provoking something and I could tell you in detail how each of my characters would feel about it or do, better than I could say for me.  My day goes on, I write, and eventually I go to sleep thinking about my characters, playing out more scenes.  Side note: sometimes I am working on a different book and characters from one of them will be like, that right there sounds more like a _______ comment than _______.  They are always right (right here I almost wrote write.  I swear writing really is engrained in me.  I always want an opportunity to use the word or write the word ‘write’).

More than that though, I really love my characters.  They are a part of me.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  They are like Anne (my muse and BFF) I would be so, so very lost without them.  There are times where I don’t know how to react to a situation and I say to myself, “What would Jake, or character x do?”  Most of the time that works.

I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE! YAY!

There are a lot of writers who are like me, even ones that write for screen.  March 2010 I met Lee Goldberg (Monk), Paul Wagner (Documentaries), and Hugh Wilson (Bay Watch) to name just a few writers.  They were on a panel talking about screen writing and characters and everything.  It was awesome.  Hugh Wilson was talking and said, “You write and a character says something and everything changes.  That is almost spiritual.”  This couldn’t be truer.  My characters have flipped my story inside out more than once.  Plus, I have to add this made me feel more normal!  Here is this widely known and hugely popular writer, who gets it, who has the spiritual connection with his characters.

Nola Sarina (Gilded Destiny, Jaded Touch, plus an upcoming co-author Wild Hyacinthe) agrees with my stance and like me lets her characters take over, “Sometimes, during revision, writing from scratch gets a sharper voice than re-wording what’s already there.  I like to step away from a story for a while and then let the character tell me the story again from his fresh, enlightened perspective – allowing the character to grow with my style.”

I talked with Nola extensively one day about this and wrote something to her, that I want to share on here (it is only slightly edited to make sense for the blog post): “I promise you, I have looked up from writing and looked to the left and said, ‘but this is my book.’  I hear laughter. And I just sit there in protest until I let Devon have his way. The book and characters take life…we are their way of becoming known, it’s not the other way around. We don’t make them known, they makes us known. I think they are their own wonderful breed that we must take dictation from because I have fought him and it turned out horribly, and when I listen to him, it is flawless.”

There are many other writers out there that go through this, it is normal, don’t medicate!  There are some writers who don’t and that is okay, “to each his own”.  And then there are some writers who refuse to admit that they do this, because they are afraid of how they will be received.  To those writers, don’t worry, allow your characters to take charge and scream it from the mountain and we here will welcome you with open arms and similar war stories.  We love meeting our own people!

BUT, BUT IT IS MY BOOK!

I know your book is your baby, but so are your characters.   And your characters are living the story so if they stop you or you get massively painful writer’s block, then your characters are trying to tell you something.  The book I am writing, (Devon’s book) at times I have fought with my characters or Devon and wanted something specific to happen or not happen because I am the writer and it is my $*&%$@&@* book!  I have felt my characters leave me, until I give in and let them write the book and write what happens to them (basically what I said to Nola in my quote earlier). They are ALWAYS right, always!  It is obnoxious.  Like sometimes to the point where I want to punch my characters, because it is my book and I should have control, but no, they took life and took over.  My book would be nothing or horrible if I didn’t listen to them.  After all they know themselves the best; we can pretend we know them as well and 100%, but we don’t.  We may never, and that is okay, really it is.  I don’t think we are ever really supposed to know our characters, because then writing wouldn’t be magical.  It would be boring and a task.  Eventually we will get to know them quite well and almost 100% but there will always be that magical percent that adds the beautiful mystique that hold us hostage as writers.  I mean, really think about it, do you really know yourself?  Do you really know anybody?  And I am not talking like knowing their favorite color or birthday or food.  I mean really knowing someone.  There are always buried deep secrets that we won’t admit to ourselves, let alone other people.  And if we do that, why do we demand we know our characters?  They deserve privacy too.

ON A CLOSING NOTE

When you are writing and editing and thinking and plotting, take a step back.  Take a step back and put your character into a completely new situation.  You don’t have to physically write it, but really, really think into the story, make it as real as the story you are writing, tell people about it if you have to get opinions (this is what it takes to write a book).  Because based on your characters reactions to the new situation or terrible situation (let’s face it most of us are sadistic and torture our poor loves.  We need to though, if people wanted to read happy books about rainbows and butterflies, they’d be in the children’s section not YA and others) you will learn so much about them.  How they breathe, what position they sleep in, how they smell, their favorite shower gel, laundry detergent, cologne/perfume,  how they feel, how they feel things themselves.  How they feel—I can honestly describe my characters down to the touch, how their embraces feel, what their arm feels like when relaxed and touched or tensed and touched, what their hair feels like, the sound of their voice, the sound of their breathing awake versus sleeping, ugh I could go on and on and on.  These aren’t things that necessarily need to make it into the book, but they need to make it into our hearts and brains to make the story work.  Back to my point, throw them into an unscripted, unwritten plot and see how they react, because it will grow them and you and you will learn them even more, and that will make your story worth reading and re-reading and sharing.

My next post will talk about the importance of music while writing.

Peace, Love, and Inspiration

Keep writing and remember

#itsawriterthing

Quote: “When I write, I go to live inside the book. By which I mean, mentally I can experience everything I’m writing about. I can see it, hear its sounds, feel its heat or rain. The characters become better known to me than the closest family or friends. This makes the writing-down part very simple most of the time. I only need to describe what’s already there in front of me. That said, it won’t be a surprise if I add that the imagined worlds quickly become entangled with the so-called reality of this one. Since I write almost every day, and I think (and dream) constantly about my work, it occurs to me I must spend more time in all these places than here.” – Tanith Lee

 

For this week, check out the other indie authors and see their tips for Pinterest!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
3. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 4. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
5. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 6. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
7. Ella James 8. Maureen Murrish
9. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 10. A Little Bit of R&R
11. Melissa Pearl 12. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
13. Author Cindy C Bennett

And check out the Indie Author Club website for more news on upcoming books and contests!

Colorado Flood Relief

YA Indie Carnival: Author Spotlight Blog, and New Releases!

Posted in book reviews, indie, publishing, romance fantasy, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , on September 1, 2013 by rachelcoles

YA_Indie_CarnivalHi indies! Hope everyone’s enjoying the last days of summer on this lovely Labor Day weekend! I’ve been away lately, recovering from  pinched nerve down my right arm. Contrary to my doctor’s advice, I can’t lie and tell everyone that I got it fighting a bear, or terrorists or aliens. No, I got it in the stupidest of all possible ways: sleeping wrong. If I needed any other middle finger from fate to tell me that I’m getting old…aside from a hairdresser at Floyd’s barber shop asking me, when I pointed out the old rock poster on the wall, ‘Who’s David Bowie?’ Really?

But now that I’m back, this week we have a plethora of new material for indie readers.  First I want to introduce a new writer on the scene, in her own words: Toni Lombardo.

Hello there blog readers! Toni here, I am going to talk about myself now.  Hope you don’t mind.

Okay, so first off I am a twenty something (21)  and striving to be a writer!  I am currently(ish)  a student at a community college (although at the moment I am taking a break from school)  and my plan is to major in meteorology.  Of course I’ll have to transfer to a four year.  In some moments I want to major in English, because I am in love with words (a good thing for a writer, right?) .  I would like to teach an elective class in a preppy school to do with the appreciation of old timey writers (Stoker, Melville, Shelley, etc.) and introduce the kids to modern day writers who I think are fantastic such as John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) , Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) , *clears throat* T.R. Graves (not kissing up, she is actually really great, like go read her books now!) .

I have been writing since I can remember.  I wrote short stories or was forced to by teachers, but I always enjoyed it and nine times out of ten exceeded the length required or well wanted (sometimes they weren’t happy) .  My dad also made up stories for me when I was little, I hope to one day publish and anthology of them (I do attribute that to my love of the plot) .  I actually sat down to write a book when by hand when I was fourteen? Maybe? But I gave up on that book (I will one day reapproach that book, but for now the characters and I are not mixing…it’s not my fault blame them)  to write what I wanted to publish as my first.  I started that book when I was fifteen and finished it when I was sixteen and went onto the next.  I am on the third in the series and am currently rewriting the first book.  I was young when I wrote it and afraid of words like sex, so I would dance around the word.  Plus other things I wrote in it are just cringe worthy and embarrassing.  Trust and believe if a writer says their work is cringe worthy it is…we are our biggest critic yes, but if we can make ourselves cringe it is pretty correct to believe that the reader would wonder what the heck the writer was thinking.

I spend my days working at a clothing store.  I love it.  I work with kids ranging from size 6-20.  I love working with the girls who aren’t societies standard of ‘beauty’.  It’s great because you can see the kid coming in so self-conscious (because they are a size 16 not 12 like their friends)  and leave smiling because you told them they are beautiful and helped them pick out clothes and raved over how amazing the kid looked and sometimes the kid even hugs you.  I know this sounds like I am saying ‘oh look at me.  I’m so great.  Blah, blah, blah.’  That is not my intention.  Today’s society is so messed up, these kids are so self-conscious at such a young age, and they are getting bullied.  Their parents telling them they are beautiful is one thing, when a someone else makes a big deal about it the kid feels good.  I think it’s a thing everyone should do.  Encourage people, because one day you will need it.   Okay enough about my job.

I also spend my days plotting up stories and plot twists.  I like listening to music and sometimes it even inspires or curbs scenes. I like going to the gym and reading, it is where I get most of my reading in.  In one day at work…working on stock in the back room, five new book ideas came flooding in.

I have one dog, a Beta named Platelet in one tank with a snail, eight goldfish all named after characters in my books and a Plecko and a snail in another tank that is huge.  I have the plecko and snails to help keep the tanks clean.

I’d like to write more often and I need to.  It is the best and worst thing in the world, if you are a writer you will understand that sentence; if you are not a writer ask one that you know.

I use Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to interact with writers and friends and share stuff about my books and from time to time excerpts!

I hope to change the publishing world by introducing them to new styles of writing!  And once you get to know me you know I don’t just dabble in things, I jump in whole heartedly with both feet, and most of the time without a safety net.   I am beginning to blog under the supervision and guidance of Graves (I just love her) .  Please come back bi-weekly to join me on my journey of publishing and writing on my blog series called Toni’s Big Six Journey.

It can be found here: http://yaauthorclub.blogspot.com

Listening to: Wishing Well by Ben Moody: All for This

Quote: “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown

 

Spotlight Interview Questions:

 

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (TFIOS) .  It is just perfect.  I cried on every page and went hysterical at Chapter 21.  I re-read the book within two months and re-experienced all that beautiful pain (readers of this book will get it #nerdfighter) .  Also, I bonded with my IBBF (internet best friend forever)  over this book.  We’ve known each other for a little over two months as of 7.12.2013, but it is one of the greatest friendships I have had.  So, beyond being a great book it brought me a great friend.

 

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?

Oh gosh, this is a biggie.  I don’t really know.  I have my own style, but some of my darker pieces, like “The Tale-Tale Heart” which is a re-doing of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by E.A. Poe for a final English paper, have been associated to Poe.  I’m actually about to start a second mirroring piece of his, that T.R. Graves is up-to-date about.

As far as characters…People are going to think TFIOS for some of my characters, because I talk about the book ALL the time and it is a book about kids with cancer.  But my book is about a kid or two with cancer but there is more of a story to it than that, just like Green’s.

 

As far as my characters relating to other characters…oh I don’t know, never thought about that.  I’ve read books with characters that reminded me of mine, but never really thought about it that way.  I think Devon would like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

 

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?

“If you don’t know, you do not deserve to know!” –Devon

Oh my, how can I explain, Devon?  Okay so in this scene Devon just found out something in his family. Sorry for being vague, don’t want to give away plot points. He is really struggling in his life at the moment and this news was just devastating.  Like a lot of teens Devon struggles with the idea of self-harm and when his brother is talking to him he (Devon)  hints to wanting to hurt himself, and when his brother doesn’t get the hint he says the above quote possibly angrily.

 

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?

Things that inspire me to write…I don’t know.  Sometimes I just see something, okay I was in a store the other day and saw a beautiful all glass frame, free standing.  I saw it and instantly knew it belonged to a character in one of my W.I.P.s, and when I got home it was already done the character would have it in their house.  So it is just kind of random, if I see something and it attaches to a character, I say it inspired me.

 

People- My best friend Anne is who I write for along with a few other people.  Anne is my muse and my ‘first reader’.  She keeps me going when I don’t want to write and pushes me to finish projects. So she inspires me as well as Graves, Green, Asher, and others.

 

Music!!! Ahh, such an inspiration!  Don’t want to say too much here because this topic is going to be a whole blog post for me!

 

What makes me want to keep writing—my characters.  I get a points where I miss them and I physically feel missing them, I feel pain of sorts.  Sometimes just thinking and plotting and writing notes just does not suffice, so I write to subdue the longing for interacting with them.  And I love writing, so that helps.

 

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.

They are random.  I write whenever and wherever.  At one point I was writing (more than this at home)  every Friday night at the bar in Red Robin, where one of my friends works.  I would buy an unsweetened peach tea with EXTRA regular syrup and she kept me in well supply.   It was a great writing environment and the support was great!

 

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?

I love, love, love peach tea, but I can’t have too much caffeine otherwise I can’t sleep.  So at one point it was that, but now….yeah, it is still that, I just can’t have it all the time.

 

7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover) ?

Sooooo many things! The book I am working on to get published first is Life’s Not a Fantasy I have a cover idea, but no cover yet!  An excerpt? Sure!  Here is the introduction.  It is written by Devon:

 

It wasn’t ever supposed to be like this.  Our family was always so torn apart, even before what I’m, about to write.  Dad was out fighting for ‘our safety’ but was never home…he was a ‘lifer’.  Mom chose her favorites and clung tightly to them, and I fell to the bottom of that spectrum.  I was okay with it though.

I was always the ‘untypical typical’ teenager, meaning I was or still am the loner.  I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but more on that later.

He, Cameron always held us together.  He was our rock.  He could make or break our family and now his name resonates with pain.

How can one name ruin everything?  How can one name bring so much pain?

It’s been days, moments, but his name already feels like a curse.

Thanks for reading!  Hope this was entertaining.

Keep writing!

***

Left

Next on our indie tour for Labor Day…drum roll please, I’d like to reveal a new release by talented writer T.R.Graves, author of the Warriors of the Cross series, which will also be putting out a new online game soon!

 

Left (Still Standing, #1) by T. R. Graves

A naive Baylee loves Colt, her boyfriend of four years, more than she ever thought possible. After a little snooping, she’s convinced she’s well on her way toward hearing an once-in-a-lifetime proposal and starring in the wedding-of-the-year event. Instead, she’s blindsided by a very public breakup and the crushing news that Colt is marrying someone else… someone more befitting him and the role his father expects him to take in his law firm.

 

Baylee may have spent years resenting Ariana, her mother, and her suicide, an intolerable show of weakness in Baylee’s opinion, but after Colt leaves her just short of the altar, Baylee sees the world through her mother’s eyes. She sympathizes with Ariana’s actions and realizes that some things—soul-deep aches—can irreparably damage you and make moving on nearly impossible.

 

At least that’s how she feels until she meets Ryker. With his help, Baylee discovers there is life after Colt, and she prepares to move on by pulling herself up by the bootstraps, holding her head high, and standing on her own two feet. Unfortunately, a new jealous and hateful Colt has his own plans for her, and they are plans no one—especially Baylee—ever saw coming.

 

Pre-release purchase link: Smashwords

 

Left (Still Standing, #1) Kindle Fire Giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Goodreads 5 Book Paperback Giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

     

Left

by T.R. Graves

Giveaway ends October 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

***

Finally, another new book coming your way to chew on when you’re supposed to be working: Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner!

 

Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner

Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday. Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

Forever Fredless will be available from online bookstores from October 2013.

For more details about Suzy and her books, visit:

http://suzyturner.com

http://suzyturner.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks

http://twitter.com/@suzy_turner

http://pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

***

If you want to check out other authors in the YA Indie Carnival, visit their links and our author homepage!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
3. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 4. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
5. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 6. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
7. Ella James 8. Maureen Murrish
9. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 10. A Little Bit of R&R
11. Melissa Pearl 12. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
13. Author Cindy C Bennett

Have a great Labor Day, and don’t fight any bears…or terrorists…or aliens!

 

Blogging Tips, and More New Releases and Author Spotlights!

Posted in book reviews, indie, publishing, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by rachelcoles

YA_Indie_CarnivalHi fellow Indie Carnies,

I love Connecticut, where I mostly grew up, but having visited there this past week, breathing 94 degree soup, I can honestly say about 94 degree weather in Colorado ‘It’s 94, but it’s a DRY heat’. Wow, it really does make a difference. I’d rather be baked than boiled. And since we are passing marijuana legislation currently, I think a lot of Coloradans feel that way in more than one sense ;P.

On to indie news! Today we have a brief segment on blogging do’s and don’ts, and we’re featuring two authors: Liz Long, and Melissa Pearl, up and coming authors to add to your summer reading list!

Ironic that the topic for today’s YA Author Club is Blogging Do’s and Don’ts, since I’m about the most haphazard blogger ever. So today will also be spent by me checking out other author’s tips. But I can easily fill you in on what not to do, because I’ve probably done them all!

1. Be consistent, blog regularly. Hahaha, I am one of the worst for this. The only things I do consistently are shower, make food, and go to work. I’m a working mother of an 8 year old, in disaster public health. Everything else I do besides keeping my wonderful kid and husband alive, keeping the house from burning down, and keeping my job, is gravy. I see all these Better Homes and Garden-type projects people post on Pinterest and Facebook like making salads look like swans. Awesomely cool, but I look at them while trying to keep the Rice-a-roni from burning while I unstick my daughter’s Skittles from the wall, and laugh and laugh and laugh. The take-away message here is, just try to post more often than once every few months.

2. Try to stay on topic. I also wander and say and do random things at a whim. But generally, if it’s a writing blog, try to have the topics and posts mostly revolve around writing, authoring, reading etc. If it’s a political blog, be sure to discuss current events. But people tend to get a particular flavor from a blog and come to expect a certain type of post. I have the opposite of a poker-face, and no editor between my brain and mouth, so I tend to write about writing or books, until something in current politics pisses me off, and then I throw in a rant or two to blow off steam. Probably not the best practice, but there you are.

3. Include links. If you want people to see something you think is cool, make it easy for them to see more. Hyperlinks are like magical little miracles of point and click. I still remember the days when I struggled to change the color of the screen on my MS Dos computer that took up the size of three desks in our classroom, using code. I failed that class. Now everything you want people to know can be at the tip of their pointer finger.

4. Finally, keep it simple. Unless you have your own programmer/web designer, the simpler the better. No, your website might not have flashy thingees that whiz and bang and sing songs to the person who clicks on it, but I’ve found that I much more like visiting simple sites where everything is laid out logically and is easy to find, and doesn’t take a million years to load. And needing to run my own blog with the tech savvy of a caveman, I find that simple is much easier to maintain.

That said, I’d like to introduce author Melissa Pearl!

This very prolific writer has a couple of exciting books available and coming up: Unknown, and Unseen.

Unknown is the first book in a breath-taking epic fantasy series that will swoop you out of the tedium of everyday and into a mythic world of archetypes impossible to ignore.

Unknown

Summary:

Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.

Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.

Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.

Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.

Unknown is now available at Amazon, along with the second of the Elements trilogy, Unseen.

Unseensmall

Summary:

Danger surrounds the Seekers. Having already faced overwhelming odds, Kyla and Jethro discover it is only the beginning. Now they must face the power of nature itself.

Each day is a test of faith.

Two elements remain undiscovered. The light is yet to be resurrected. Dark forces prepare to descend upon the heroes of prophecy and they have one more power they must over come…their forbidden love for each other.

Each moment is a test of loyalty and courage.

In Taramon, Athra faces his own demons as he frets over the safety of his fiancée while trying to counter a dark evil that is brought to his doorstep. Treachery lurks in the shadows, forcing the future king into an action that could destroy his beloved city.

Through it all, they must cling to the truths hidden in the unseen.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18000448-unseen

Reader Quote:

“The plotting is sublime and the pacing is perfect. I held my breath as I turned the pages, hoping that Kyla and Jethro would return in time to help save their kingdom. What a fabulous addition to this series! I can’t wait for the third book!” Taylor Longford, Author of the Greystone Series.

About the Author:

Melissa_Pearl

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

Contact: www.melissapearlauthor.com

Next, I’d like to feature Liz Long, a fascinating author with a unique view into the world of editing as well!

Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.

Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while.

Her newest release, Witch Hearts, will be for sale on Amazon on April 30th. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com

Author Links:

Website: http://lizclong.com

Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong) https://twitter.com/#!/LizCLong

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lizclongauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LizLong

17616067

WITCH HEARTS Links:

Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIKKEV0

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17616067-witch-hearts

WITCH HEARTS BACK COVER SYNOPSIS

How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?

Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.

WITCH HEARTS Special Excerpt

Cooper and Ruby hopped on his bike and drove back to her place. She even managed to peek out from beneath her helmet to see the city whip past her in a blur. When they finally came to a stop, she untangled herself from him – albeit a tad regretful about it – and handed him back the helmet.

“Thanks again for everything tonight. I know it wasn’t the most fun you could have, but I want everyone to be safe,” she said.

“I understand. I’m glad I went, too. I don’t want anyone else in danger. Plus, you’re good company.” He stood up as he said it, hooking the helmets on his bike.

“You don’t have walk me in or anything. I don’t want to keep you any longer than you need.”

He snorted. “You’re not keeping me from anything. I want to do it, but especially because I want to make sure you’re safe.”

Ruby bit her bottom lip. Her nerves fluttered a bit at the thought of a possible goodnight kiss. She could hardly believe how immature she sounded in her head.

It’s your best friend’s brother. This is Cooper we’re talking about, a voice in her head screamed at her.

Another voice spoke up. Yeah. It’s Cooper. And your thoughts about him have never been exactly brotherly.

Shaking both voices away, she swiped her key fob by the entrance door and Cooper held it open for her. They took the stairs up to the second floor and walked around the corner to her apartment. Ruby stopped as soon as she saw her door.

“Something’s wrong,” she said.

“What? How can you tell?” He looked up and down the hallway.

“There was a barrier when I left. Remember I checked, put my hand on the door when we left? My spell was in place.”

“There was a soft glow on the door,” he said absentmindedly, as though remembering. His eyes narrowed and Ruby could see his veins throb in his neck as his jaw tightened.

“Only witches would be able to see it, but it’s not there.” Ruby took a few steps forward, placing her hand on the door, which was now simply cool and wooden. She retrieved her key and turned the lock, but Cooper stopped her.

“I’ll go in first.”

He swung the door wide open; he held his hands up in case of a fight or a spell, but silence greeted them. Cooper did a quick sweep of the apartment while Ruby waited in the entryway. He returned with Aziza in one arm and a letter in his hand.

“This was on your coffee table,” he said grimly. “Aziza was hiding behind the couch. She hissed until she realized it was me.”

Ruby took the note from him. As she opened it, Cooper stood beside her to read over her shoulder.

“Not all witches are equal. Some are born with extraordinary gifts; anyone can practice, but few are truly powerful. You are one of the lucky ones, Ruby. I apologize about your friend Courtney. She was powerful, but nowhere near your capabilities. I’m afraid that in order for my powers to thrive, yours must come to an end. I’ll be seeing you very soon. –X”

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GIFTED  Links:

Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Donovan-Circus-Novel-ebook/dp/B007VT34J2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336675611&sr=8-2

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13601567-gifted

GIFTED BACK COVER SYNOPSIS

Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.

Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.

When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.

Q&A with Liz Long! See where the stories come from!:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?

I think that would have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To me, it’s the first book in that series that really shows emotional angst for Harry between being a teenager, dating your first crush, and of course, being hunted by Lord Voldemort. We get to see our characters developing into real wizards with the DA (like Neville growing into being a badass), plus the introduction of accepting those deemed a little strange, like Luna Lovegood. We feel our first real loss with a major character as well as the real danger now that dark wizards are out in the open by the end. It’s a full scale of emotions and really sort of sets the rest of the stage for the series, IMO.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?

Oh gosh, it’s probably still a little early in the game for me to presume I can be compared to another author. BookBub compared my Donovan Circus book to the Hunger Games, with a female character destined to discover who she is and stand up for her world. I’m sure my circus folks could hang with any X-Men character, while my characters from WITCH HEARTS would get along well with the Halliwell sisters from Charmed or Sookie Stackhouse and her friends.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?

One of my favorite lines is one Lucy says in the first chapter when explaining why she’s rejoining the Donovan Circus:

“I wanted to be normal amongst the freaks.”

Family and a sense of belonging are heavy themes in my first book and this line sums Lucy up perfectly. Lucy has never been “normal” anywhere in the human world. She thinks – hopes, really – that she can find her place in the gifted world in the circus she used to know. She’s been a loner her whole life because of her gift and now that there’s an opportunity to be a part of something, she’s happy to include herself in the strange gaggle that is the Donovan gang.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?

I listen to a lot of soundtracks, especially movie scores, like Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, and anything else that contains some action type of music. Honestly, nothing has been more motivating for me lately than to hear a reader I’ve never met before tell me how much they loved my work and can’t wait for another book to read. It’s such an amazing feeling to affect someone’s book list and I’m honored to be a part of it. It’s a total kick in the butt to know people are eagerly anticipating another title and makes me want to write that much faster.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.

I work full time, so I write when I can in my spare time. Often my husband will go to the gym for a couple hours after work, so I take advantage and try to crank out a few hundred words. I also give him lots of time to play video games or watch NBA so I can sit on the couch with him and write. And of course, the weekends contain my biggest chunks of writing time, so there’s nothing I like better than a rainy Sunday with coffee and my laptop.

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?

I love Skittles to snack on during the process, though my teeth beg me to stop. I’m also never opposed to a fresh new 20 oz. Diet Coke within reach, but that’s only once a week at most. The rest of the time it’s H2O!

7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?

I am currently working on the second book in the Donovan Circus series. Next up is an NA fantasy novel with a unique twist on Reapers.

**End Interview

Well, I for one, am excited both for these books. Liz Long creates complicated and intriguing worlds and characters that keep your brain moving to keep up.  And now, I am chomping at the bit for the next novel. I love reading about Reapers. I’ve seen Reapers in Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, watched them on television in Supernatural, and Dead Like Me, so any twist on them is welcome! Death, the final frontier, the mysterious beyond that lures me as a reader into wondering what kind of beings exist in that shadow world.

Tune into Liz Long’s writing at the links above!

See what other blogging tips other authors have this week at the links below.

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
17. Author Cindy C Bennett

And what’s new at the YA Author Club?

YA Indie Carnival: Book Length

Posted in book reviews, indie, publishing, romance fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by rachelcoles

Hi fellow indie writers and readers!

Had an exciting weekend! It was the Denver Comic Con weekend, and we dressed up! Got to show off the costumes we’ve been working on for months. My husband and I went as Stilgar and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim. PUT YOUR RIGHT HAND IN THE BOX! THERE’S BACON IN THE BOX! RESIST THE BACON! No, there wasn’t any bacon in the box, but you need to adjust the motivation for your current applicants to the Sisterhood.

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And our daughter, the cutest…I mean scariest weeping angel! I have discovered that while you can’t blink, if you put on iCarly, you can distract this one. But make sure not to leave out spaghetti or chocolate milk. It attracts weeping angels.

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Now that the insanity of Comicon is over, today’s topic is book length! How long should your book be?

The short answer for me is: However long it needs to be to feel done.

I don’t know how long books are supposed to be. I’ve read books that were very short that were page-turners that were amazing and left me satisfied. I’ve read books that were like War and Peace length that felt like they breezed past because they were so well written. And I sometimes feel as though long series with complicated arcs are like that. They don’t seem like separate books. Perhaps they are only separate for the sake of physical publishing limitations, but it is really a seamless story from one book to the next: such as with the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. Some ideas are so sweeping, they need a lot of space to tell. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve read, or tried to read books that felt like I was reading a library after only a few pages. They filled up my attention span with three pages of description about the main character’s baroque button on his velvet shirt against his well-sculpted chest.  For that kind of detail or attention to the characters’ appearances, I have porn.

How well the story is told is, to me, more important than its length, knowing how long it needs to be to really tell the story fully without being repetitive or getting lost in the weeds. That’s not easy to do. I just kind of wing it. I’ve had both situations happen to me in writing where I started off spare, and then realized when I was almost done that a character thread was missing, or I hadn’t given enough detail or backstory. So I go back and add whatever I feel is missing. On the other hand, everyone falls prey to repetition, so I’ve also written pages and pages, then gone back and realized that what I was trying to say could be said in a couple paragraphs rather than three pages. Or I’ve realized that the bit that I was putting in, while interesting to me in terms of the character’s backstory, was slowing down the rest of the flow, and wasn’t really necessary to move the plot.

I think the best advice I’ve gotten about length is: Write the book. Don’t even think about the length unless you are going to submit to somewhere that has a limit and needs to fall between a range of words. And then, go back and see if the length needs to be dealt with in editing, or not. Read through it and decide whether it tells the story you want it to tell. That will let you know if you need to add or take away.

But see what the other indies have to say at the websites below!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights

And here’s what’s new at the YA Author Club!

YA Indie Carnival–Author Spotlight: Melissa Pearl!

Posted in book reviews, indie, publishing, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by rachelcoles

Melissa Pearl is an exciting YA indie author with a very worldly flavor, which is probably an amalgam of the rich experiences she has had in her travels. Her books are interesting and complex, but easy to read and fun. And I’m very jealous because she’s lived in New Zealand, and China. I visited China once. We climbed one of the mountains in the Zhang Zha Zhe province, I’m sure I just butchered and misspelled that all in one. I wound up needing to get shoes because I’d gotten a new pair of hiking boots that had refused to break in even though I ran over them with my car, and discovered, stupidly, that hiking a mountain in China wasn’t a good place to keep trying to break them in. So I stopped in one of the villages to get a pair of sneakers. Seriously, they had to go to the men’s section to find shoes for me, giggling all the way at the Western woman’s giant boat feet. I’m 5’1″. But they were very polite and nice.  It was really a wonderful experience. The people were friendly and warm, the landscape was breathtakingly majestic. The different cultures we saw, since China is not, as many people think, ethnically homogenous at all, were fascinating. We got to meet and see some of the mountain villages of the Tujia people, the ethnic descendants of the ancient Ba people. Their history is incredibly rich, and I’d never known or heard anything about them before. It was an amazing trip. We’d initially gone with the kung fu school I was part of at the time, so we got to do some really nifty things, like perform in other schools there, and meet and exchange arts with Shaolin monks.

I can see how her wide experiences and the places she’s been are firing her imagination! In her own words, here’s Melissa!

Melissa_Pearl

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelissaPearlG

Blogs: http://melissapearl.blogspot.com/ and http://yalicious.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Pearl/e/B0064I6S26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5314516.Melissa_Pearl

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melissapearl

Newsletter subscription:  http://blogspot.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ab5a6cb228dc9203d6c179eaa&id=481344857f

Website: http://www.melissapearlauthor.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melissapearlg/


Interview:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?

Man – that is such a tough questions. One? I’m only allowed one? LOL.

One series that I have read over and over in my time is the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Those books have it all – awesome romance, excellent action and tension, amazing descriptions, plus a deep message running through the books (if you’re into that kinda thing – which I am). They made me laugh, cry and fall in love. Haha 🙂 Just my type of story.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?

Hmmm – how do you answer that question without coming across as pretentious? My Time Spirit Trilogy has been compared to Twilight in the sense of an intense love story. I wouldn’t say my writing is super fancy, but I know how to tell a fast paced story with lots of emotion and tension.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?

Ooo – I have so many. Little moments between my characters are so precious to me. I can feel everything they are feeling and I love it. Here is a favourite of mine, which has also received some highlights. It’s a quote from Golden Blood (Book 1 in the Time Spirit Trilogy).

“How are you okay with this?” Gemma took a step back. “I can travel through time!”

Harrison shrugged and closed the distance between them. “Hey, I was cool with alien, this isn’t much different.”

“I’m a total freak!”

“Yeah.” He grinned as he threaded his fingers through her belt loops and pulled her towards him. “But you’re my freak.” His breath tickled her skin as he leaned towards her and whispered, “Face it, Hart, you’re stuck with me. I knew the second I touched you my life had changed…and you knew it too.”

It always makes me smile. Harrison’s reaction to Gemma’s revelation is perfect in my mind. Those two are made for each other and I love that he figures it out so early on.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?

I get my inspiration from all over the place. Movies are huge for me. I would love to see my stories on the big screen one day. I picture them that way in my head. I always get a tingle running through my body when I watch a movie with a really great kissing scene or an excellent action sequence… anything that makes my emotions start to bubble.

I am inspired by music as well – everything from movie scores to punk rock to country to alternative. I love it all! I even love my toddler’s music, although it’s not that inspiring, just fun to sing along to 🙂

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.

I get up an hour before my family each morning to work on my social media stuff. It takes that long to clear my e-mail, do any blog post stuff I want to do, work through my Facebook notifications and my Twitter news. Time zon wise, it’s the best time for me to do this as there is more traffic around the sites I use.

As soon as my son goes down for his midday nap, I race to my computer. Four out of five days, I spend my time working on my writing and usually one day a week or at least half of one of those sessions is used on admin type things – numbers, blogging, extra marketing stuff. I also get a two-hour sleep in every Sunday morning, so I use that time to write as well. If my husband ever goes out in the evenings, I write once the kids are in bed.

It takes every spare moment I have to keep up with my writing. Thankfully I adore doing it, so it doesn’t feel like hard work.

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?

I never eat when I’m writing. It would slow me down too much. I drink a lot of water, but if I’m really tired, I allow myself a small Coca Cola. The caffine boost can be useful sometimes.

7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?

I am working on a Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy. This is my first attempt into this foray and I’m having SO much fun. The first book has been edited, the second book has been written and the third book is in the planning stage. I’m aiming for June, July and August releases for the three books.

Here’s the cover and blurb for the first one:

Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.

Then a star begins to fall.

Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.

Then a star begins to fall.

Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.

Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.

Excerpt from Unknown (The Elements Trilogy: Book 1): 

Unknown

“Jethro!” Kyla slapped him on the arm and leaned against the grate, patting her chest. With narrowed eyes, she shot him a glare. “So this is how it is now? You don’t have the decency to talk to me in public, but you do take time out of your precious day to come scare the life out of me down in this foul-smelling tunnel.”

A slow, easy smile lit Jethro’s face. “Where have you been?”

“Why do you even care?”

Jethro’s brawny frame leaned against the stone wall behind him. His eyes glimmered with a knowing smile. “Let’s see, a bow slung over your shoulder, a quiver full of arrows… so not hunting then. I’m guessing target practice,” he clicked his fingers, “in the clearing by the waterhole.”

Kyla bit back a smile.

“How’d you do?”

She raised her chin. “I would have split your arrow in two.”

Jethro’s dark eyebrows jumped up with approval as he nodded his head. “Is that all you got up to?”

“Jethro, what are you doing here?” Kyla snapped.

“I just came to warn you.”

“Of what?”

Jethro frowned, making Kyla’s stomach clench.

“Queen Elaina is wondering why she saw her daughter being chased out of the forest by a guard of Ashan when she should have been studying world history with her tutor.”

Kyla stood up straight and swallowed. “My mother did not see. She’s always at prayers this time of day.”

“She was delayed.” Jethro winced.

The blood drained from Kyla’s face. Biting her lips together, she pulled the bow over her head and cleared her throat.

“You might want to present yourself to her before she has every man in the castle looking for you.”

With a child-like groan, Kyla gripped the end of her bow and rolled her eyes. “Fine.” Slumping her shoulders, she spun away from freedom and started stomping towards the dungeons.

“You may want to go past your chambers on the way. Perhaps tidy up a little?”

She came to an abrupt stop and slowly spun back to face the boy she’d known since birth. “Excuse me?”

Jethro’s lips fought with a grin as he pushed himself off the wall and sauntered towards her. “Just because you hate wearing dresses doesn’t mean she won’t expect to see you in one.” He pointed at the attire she had stolen from her brother years ago. She kept it hidden in a trunk at the end of her bed and only pulled it out when she was sneaking from the castle. If only her mother knew how comfortable they were, she wouldn’t insist on mountains of material that were impossible to run in.

“You’re already in for her wrath.” Jethro tipped his head. “You will only antagonise her more by appearing like this.”

Kyla pushed her tongue against the side of her mouth then huffed. “You know I hate you.”

“With the fire a thousand suns?”

Laughter burst from her mouth before she could stop it. “And more!” She punched him on the arm, missing the familiar banter they used to share as children. The amount of times he had driven her to screams of rage with his playful teasing, but a few punches later and they had been best friends again. She often wondered what had happened between them and wished they could return to past days.

As if Jethro could read her mind, he stepped back from her, the playful smile replaced with a new seriousness she did not care for. “You should get moving.”

goldenblood

Golden Blood:  FREE

Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.

Gemma’s parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be “used and abused”, as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew… Harrison Granger.

Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can’t stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Blood-ebook/dp/B0063N0XIM/ref=la_B0064I6S26_1_4_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1356158640&sr=1-4

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Blood-ebook/dp/B0063N0XIM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356158654&sr=8-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/102113

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/golden-blood-melissa-pearl/1107485209?ean=2940032847168

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/book/id481663128?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Golden-Blood/book-euqsycpp9UmNqJv3ntf__Q/page1.html

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/melissa-pearl/golden-blood/_/R-400000000000000546539

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Black Blood

The second book in the Time Spirit Trilogy

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Blood-Spirit-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006M6M0WC/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Blood-Spirit-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006M6M0WC/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/114579

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-blood-melissa-pearl/1108147729?ean=2940032948407

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/black-blood-time-spirit-trilogy/id492220620?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Black-Blood-Time-Spirit-Trilogy/book-k7KgAlUAw0WT8KQ3zztPQw/page1.html?s=O6S48pQ_J0WTZeDcAXDlIg&r=5

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/melissa-pearl/black-blood/_/R-400000000000000583025

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Pure Blood

Third book in the Time Spirit Trilogy

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Blood-Spirit-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0079R4IU0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pure-Blood-Spirit-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0079R4IU0/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/133186

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pure-blood-melissa-pearl/1109506315?ean=2940033065417

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pure-blood-time-spirit-trilogy/id512427248?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Pure-Blood-Time-Spirit-Trilogy/book-_WREC1L9wU-Eq9YQ-SWd1w/page1.html?s=__ucmcQUo0q_jCjwwueUwg&r=4

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/melissa-pearl/pure-blood-time-spirit-trilogy-3/_/R-400000000000000686822

FT front

Forbidden Territory (co-authored with Brenda Howson)

Mica and Lexy have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were eight years old. They share everything and have no secrets from each other until… Tom arrives on Mica’s doorstep – a gorgeous exchange student from England. And Lexy is smitten.

Suddenly both girls are keeping secrets. Mica is hiding news about Tom’s English girlfriend and Lexy hasn’t got the heart to tell her best friend that her brother Eli, the guy Mica is mad on, thinks of her as only a friend.

After a massive fight, the girls decide the best way to mend their friendship is to spend some quality time together. And what better way than to go camping away from their parents and why not invite along the guys they are crushing on.

So the four teenagers embark on a geo-caching expedition into New Zealand’s native bush expecting a long weekend filled with flirtatious fun; instead secrets are exposed as they stumble across a hidden marijuana crop and its gun-wielding watchmen. Forced apart they spend the next forty-eight hours racing blindly in opposite directions as they fight to find each other before the hunters do.

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Territory-Mica-Lexy-ebook/dp/B008GDW3WG/ref=la_B0064I6S26_1_5_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1356159408&sr=1-5

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Blood-Spirit-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006M6M0WC/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177572

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forbidden-territory-melissa-pearl/1112135191?ean=2940044693180

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forbidden-territory/id543947682?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Forbidden-Territory/book-ucR17wO8I0ChDzDlQ76hXw/page1.html?s=QmS2aRjlzECAUFhV7fpllA&r=2

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/melissa-pearl/forbidden-territory/_/R-400000000000000754734

Betwixt

Betwixt

Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Betwixt-ebook/dp/B00A1M5NK4/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352063980&sr=1-5&keywords=Betwixt

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Betwixt-ebook/dp/B00A1M5NK4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352064093&sr=8-2

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/250476

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/betwixt-melissa-pearl/1113732806?ean=9781479165919

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Betwixt/book-zJOYtWnoBEy_mCrpW6Jp0w/page1.html

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/melissa-pearl/betwixt/_/R-400000000000000861663

So now that you have some great new books to add to your reading list, check out the other author blogs on the YA Indie Carnival for some peeks into other author reading lists, author interviews, writing tips, or just chatting about your favorite YA novels!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy

And see What’s New at the YA Author Club for up and coming new novels, cover reveals, new releases, and book events!

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