September Preview!

The year seems to be going by faster the farther in we get. Can’t believe it’s September already!!

Well, we have two books releasing this month.

Michelle McLean’s Wish Upon a Star (a tale of a couple who reconnect while fighting a mega-mall full of zombies created by a mad entrepreneurial scientist and his cyborg zombie creation). It releases from Entangled’s Ever After line on Sept 23rd (cover is under wraps until release day 😉 )

And Christine Fonseca’s Dominus – releasing on Sept 15th

Dominus FINALSometimes death is the only way to save a life.

Nesy knows who she is now, knows what she’s lost. Determined to save Aydan from his fate, she confronts the only one she blames for everything – Azza. But how can she fight the devil when she is nothing more than human.

The fate of Celestium, Infernum and humanity rests in Nesy’s hands. Can she find the strength to confront demons she’s never imagined, face fears she’s never voiced, and release the one things that has held her world together – her love for Aydan. Some sacrifices should never be made…even for love.

Author’s Note:
Each character’s decisions, each twist of fate has led to this – a time when confusion reigns supreme, when up is down and down is up. And when the fate of humanity rests in the balance. In this final installment, the decisions of the past have come back to haunt the future, and the fates of Nesy and Aydan, Zane and Cass, Celestium and Infernum, hang in the balance. The only question is, who will survive?

This story is filled with anguish and betrayal, love and sacrifice, as I bring the series to an end. It’s a story that has been part of my life for many years. Saying “goodbye” to these characters will be a profound experience for me. I hope all of you have enjoyed their stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

~~~

September’s posting theme is a flash fiction challenge!! Our authors will be grabbing the book they are currently reading, typing the last noun of the first sentence into Google (or other search engine), clicking the images, and writing a short scene based on the first picture that pops up.

Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

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Access Your Creativity

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

Whenever I teach freshman composition courses, I like to start the class with a quote on the board. Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes we write about it, and sometimes it’s just there. I think it’s a good way to get fledgling writers thinking because before you can write anything, you have to engage your brain. We think first, then we write.

writingAs a writer, I always struggle with the thinking more than the writing. Some writers come to the page full of ideas and struggle to figure out how to write them. I come to the page ready to write, but often wonder who and what to write about next. I think it’s because I’ve already developed a lot of stories. I’m at the point in my career where I need to continually recharge my creativity.

If you’re new to writing, you’ll be surprised how soon this happens! You think you’ve got enough story ideas for a lifetime, but each book requires so many characters, so much conflict and so many layers of backstory. You tap a ton of creative resources each time you put you pen to paper. It’s important to recharge your ideas early and often before you turn to the blank screen and realize—“ack! I’ve got nothing!”

flowerNot that this has ever happened to me. Cough, cough. But I was fortunate enough to attend a fabulous workshop on maintaining creativity early in my writing journey and I’ve revisited the tips from my old mentor Dewanna Pace many times over the years. She advised a lot of practical things, really breaking down how to experience the world around you in a new way. There are the more obvious things like checking out the newspaper, or different news/magazines than you normally would and visiting new places. But she also helped me to see how to experience the world around me in a different way.

Rowan AtkinsonFor example, turn off the television and watch the actors. Learn about their moods and feelings through their gestures. Or explore the world through the five senses, really focusing on sounds or smells. Describe them. Write about them. Think about how your character would experience those same things. What smells have strong memory associations for them and why? What sounds would scare them and why?

eavesdropWriters learn early on in their journeys that as chroniclers of human drama, we must be keen observers. That means staring conversations with strangers. Eavesdropping whenever possible. Searching for subtext within the smallest of gestures. Make it a game and you’ll feel more creative. Try the exercises when you’re not on deadline and you can really have fun with them. – Joanne

wishme***What do you do to kick start creativity? I have a copy of Karen’s debut adult romance novel, WISH ME TOMORROW for one random commenter! If you haven’t read the reviews of her fantastic book for Harlequin’s Heartwarming series, please take a moment to visit her at http://karenrock.com today!

Once upon a summer day…

In a perfect world I would be able to spend a few weeks this summer doing nothing but lounging around reading. But I have books to write and two small children and a husband who teaches summer school so I won’t have that luxury. That being said I will take the time to indulge in some books. Here are the top 5 titles currently sitting on my Kindle waiting to be devoured…

12929918Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins. I really can’t wait to dive into this one if for no other reason than it takes place in the same town as Catch of the Day and rumor has it Maggie and Malone make an appearance. I’d read just about anything to spend a bit more time with Malone, that being said I’m a big fan of Kristan’s so I know I’ll love this one.

Instant Mom by Nia Vardales. This is actually a non-fiction all about her experience with foster-adoption. This is the same way my husband and I became parents and I love that she’s getting the word out about this invaluable way to build your family.

Something in Death by JD Robb. Okay so that’s not really the title, but I’m somewhere in the middle of the series and can’t really remember which book is next. This is a go-to series for me though because I know that all it takes is one page and I’m immersed in Eve Dallas’s world and ready to catch the bad guys.

GraveDanceSomething by Suzanne Enoch. Another go-to author for me. And again, no specific title, but only because I have a handful of hers that I haven’t yet read and so I’m not sure which one will come next. I love her heroes, they are always to-die-for and she writes great heroines with wonderful humor.

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price. I read the first in this urban fantasy series, Grave Witch a while back and I so loved it. I loved the world and especially the protoagonist’s voice. It was refreshing and irreverant and just plain fun.

Since I have a book out right now I’ve got to pimp it out a little in case y’all are looking for some summer reading suggestions.

releases June 18th

releases June 18th

A lone witness finds her protector… 

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Through the looking glass

signing my first contract

signing my first contract

We’ve already reflected on many of transitions you can go through in life. I thought I might blog about the big transition I made a couple of years ago when I became a mother overnight. But I’ve blogged on that at great length at one of my other blogs – Peanut Butter on the Keyboard. So instead I decided to tackle the transition from aspiring author to published author.

It’s been a while since I was unpublished, I sold my first book in June 2004. To that point I had worked for seven years writing pretty seriously, in pursuit of publication and the book I sold was my 5th manuscript. Wow has the industry changed – there are so many options for authors these days, transitional big NYC publishers, smaller boutique publishers, digital only books and self-publishing is now seen as a viable option and not looked down upon as it once was.

When I sold, I expected that once published everything would be different. That somehow with that contract would magically come success and a deeper knowledge and respect and a slew of other things. And some of that certainly happened, but I wasn’t any smarter the day after I accepted that deal than I was the day before.

releases June 18th

releases June 18th

There was a transition to become a published author, but it was not so much what I expected. Instead of making things easier, taking away all the angst that came with rejection, it came with new challenges, bigger and scarier ones that frankly don’t seem to ever go away. It’s much more difficult to write a book now than it was when I wrote those first books as a fledgling writer.

All that said, it was a good transition and I’m glad I made it. There are plenty of writers out there who have chosen different paths and while mine has been fairly rocky, I’m thankful for all of my transitions because they’ve strengthened me as a person and a writer.

So how about you? Have you ever faced a transition that turned out to be not what you expected?

June Preview!!

We’ve got another great month of releases coming up!!

Michelle Pickette’s PODs releases June 4th from Spencer Hill Press:

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

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating… monsters.
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life–a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Dorothy Dreyer’s My Sister’s Reaper releases June 18th from Month9Books

sistersreaperSixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.

 

PJ Hoover’s Solstice releases June 18th from Tor Teen:

solstice_cover_275_411Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

Kimberly Ann Miller’s Triangles releases June 18th from Spencer Hill Press:

kim coverA cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle – a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser is suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question – how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Robyn DeHart’s The Secrets of Mia Danvers releases June 18th from NAL:

600149_10200771614755067_1586137962_nA lone witness finds her protector…

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Jennifer Allis Provost’s Copper Girl releases June 25th from Spence City:

CopperGirlsFRONTcoverFINALSara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.
Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

For more info on all these amazing releases, check out the author’s pages above.

 

 

This month’s theme is Transitions, so be sure to check in each day for each author’s interpretation 🙂

May Preview!

May is looking to be a wonderful month – we’ve got a lot of awesome releases coming up!!!

~ Lisa Gail Green’s Djinn, The Binding Stone will be releasing from Fuzzbom Publishing:

TheBindingStonecoverfinishTricked into slavery by the man she loved, the Djinni Leela has an eternity to regret her choices.

Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.

Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?

 

 

~ Christine Fonseca’s short story Enigma releases from Compass Press on April 30th:

?????????? Lorelei sees things other girls can’t see. She knows about the demons and monsters. She’s met them. Up close. And it’s cost her everything. Torn between protecting her siblings and avenging her mother’s death, Lorelei must decide which path she will take. And no matter what she chooses, her decision will influence more than just her future in this companion short story to the Requiem Series.

**This edition includes a special excerpt from the anticipated book Dominus, the final installment in the Requiem Series

 

And her non-fiction Girl Guide releases from Prufrock Press on May 14th:

Girl Guide finalFinding your unique voice in a noisy world can be hard—very hard. But not if you have a great guide! The Girl Guide: Finding Your Place in a Mixed-Up World is a must-read for girls in grades 6–8 as they enter the tumultuous world of adolescence. Packed with fun worksheets and quizzes, as well as stories from older girls and women, The Girl Guide covers everything a teenage girl needs to know on the journey toward her own identity. Proven strategies for dealing with stress management, confronting relational aggression, being safe online, navigating the changing mother-daughter relationship, and more make this the ultimate guide for any girl to get through the teen years and discover her unique point of view in the world.

~ Ednah Walters’ Runes is releasing on May 20th from Firetrail Publishing:

RUNES_FINAL_mediumSeventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Links: Goodreads

~ Jennifer Allis Provost is in an anthology that releases from Spencer Hill Press May 21st:

holidaymagickcoverPeople don’t usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed.

Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays.

Consider the following…

Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine’s Day?

Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told?

Why do people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival?

Where does Santa get his helpers?

You may think you know the truth, but you can’t be too sure.

~ Leigh Hershkovich’s Shattered Illustions releases from Full Court Press on May 23rd:

shattered illusionsOne murder. Four eyewitnesses. An unknown assailant…A victim with a mysterious secret. Bystanders beleaguered by life’s losses. A killer at large…​​​

When Sam, a propietor of a local cafe is shot dead on the street, four strangers become the unwitting witnesses to a seemingly accidental crime. As the investigation progresses, this quartest of accidental onlookers find themselves not only haunted by the homicide, but pursued by their own pasts.

The deeper into the death they plunge, each is forced to face to face that the loss of Sam is far from their most devastating. Inner anguish reaches a climax point for Ella, Marco, Sarah and Danny as the answers they want continue to elude them, and the evidence they want to escape refuses to retreat.​​​

~ Kelly Hashway’s Advantage Heartbreak is releasing from Swoon Romance on May 28th:

Advantage HeartbreakSeventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan thought she’d made up her mind about love. But with two guys still vying for her attention, she wonders if she made the right decision. Ash is everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend: loyal, loving, and totally hot. But then there’s Noah: fun, sexy, and the more he sticks around, the more Meg wants him there.

What’s a girl to do?

Make up her mind, before it’s too late. Gorgeous freshman Liz has set her sights on Ash, and Noah is beginning to remind Meg of her last boyfriend—the one who broke her heart. Can she figure things out before she ruins not one, but two relationships? Or is she doomed to serve up heartbreak?

~ And Dorothy Dreyer’s My Sister’s Reaper releases from Month9 Books on May 29th:

sistersreaperSixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.

 

Our topic for this month is Mayday, mayday! Obstacles, unseen dangers and challenges. So be sure to stop by and see how all our authors run with this topic 🙂 And definitely check out our May releases! We’ve got an amazing bunch of writers in this group 🙂

“Three Things & a Cupcake” Interview with our own Leigh Hershkovich

Lena Goldfinch here:

Over on my personal blog, I sporadically post author interviews under the theme “Three Things & a Cupcake.” I post everything sort of sporadically over there, actually. (Sorry, World! ;))

Three Things about Leigh and her debut novel, Shattered Illusions

Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich

Leigh’s cover reveal happens to be today, so look what I get to share!!!

  1. I came up for the idea behind Shattered Illusions while I was in a car traveling with my family from the North of Israel to the South. I had a stomach flu, and between that and in the immense heat, I was a bit delusional. I was reading a fantastic book called The Angel’s Game when the idea suddenly struck me like a bolt of lightening. It took me four months to convince myself that the idea was valid and not based on the other realm I found myself in due to the pain and the heat.
  2. I started writing Shattered Illusions when I was seventeen and completed it three weeks after my twentieth birthday.
  3. The characters of Shattered Illusions are loosely based on people that I had met throughout my childhood.

My favorite fantasy cupcake would be a Fountainhead themed cupcake complete with mini-figures of the characters and blue prints of some of their creations.

Lena again:

Wow, the story of your inspiration for Shattered Illusions is amazing. Also, that you started it at as a teen is impressive (but then teens are amazing–a well-known fact). Finishing it proves you’re a professional writer. And finding a great publisher is icing on the…cupcake. (Sorry, it happens. ;))

Okay, I rather foolishly bragged to Leigh that I had once found an Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed cupcake for an interview, so I suspect she tried to stump me. Actually, I admit, the vast photo database of the interwebs failed me, just this once. I found a tribute cake to Ayn Rand, but nary a cupcake. (I know, right??) But, not to be deterred, I bring you my own version of Fountainhead Cupcake…

Lena's Fountainhead Cupcake

Lena’s Fountainhead Cupcake–get it??
(Photo credits: Book image (Signet), Cupcake (Kristin_A, Meringue Bake Shop, Flickr Creative Commons))

Thanks for playing along, Leigh! I wish you all the best with your new release (squee!!).
Learn more about Leigh & her books at www.leighhershkovich.com or visit her Goodreads page.