Two Releases on the Same Day!

I’ve been really busy lately preparing for two upcoming releases under my pen name Ashelyn Drake. Both blog tour are running at the same time. Why? Well, the books release the same day. That’s right. I have two titles releasing on September 9th. Here they are:

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Sophomore year in high school comes with its own set of problems. You’re no longer a freshmen, but you’re still two years away from ruling the school. So, you sit and languish in a kind of purgatory until junior year, when things start to get interesting.

That is, unless during your sophomore year, you find your boyfriend making out with another girl in front of your locker. Then, interesting takes on a whole new meaning, and that’s what happened to seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan. It’s no wonder her self-esteem suffered a major hit.

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two guys at school (I know, right?). They happen to both be gorgeous, and each vies for her attention in the most flattering of ways. Sounds good, right? Not if one of the guys is her boyfriend, and the other one wants to be.

Meg doesn’t want to lose Ash. They’ve been together for almost five months, and she’s falling in love with him. But Noah. Ah, Noah. He’s the irresistible guy Meg has been crushing on for two years, and she isn’t ready to send him away either. But stringing both along could have disastrous results, leaving Meg in the cold once again.

One thing’s certain. Meg needs to decide between Ash and Noah soon, or she’ll lose her perfect match forever.

 

Expected publication: September 2014 by Swoon Romance

 

Add it on Goodreads.

 

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Sixteen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

 

Releasing September 9, 2014 through Swoon Romance (ebook) and Month9Books (paperback).

Add it on Goodreads.

 

Blog Tour hosted by Chapter by Chapter:

WEEK 1:

9/8/2014             Medeia Sharif – Spotlight/Promo

9/8/2014             We Do Write – Interview

9/8/2014             A Backwards Story – Review

9/9/2014             Vicki Leigh, YA Author – Guest Post

9/9/2014             A Dream Within A Dream – Review

9/9/2014             Kelly P’s Blog – Spotlight/Promo

9/10/2014           Living in a Bookworld – Spotlight/Promo

9/10/2014           Bitches n Prose – Review

9/11/2014           Ketch’s Book Nook – Guest Post

9/11/2014           Bookreviewsandgiveaways – Review

9/12/2014           Angelia Almos – Interview

9/12/2014           Novels by G. Donald Cribbs – Review

9/13/2014           Jen McConnel: Weaving Words – Spotlight/Promo

9/13/2014           Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Review

9/14/2014           Library of a Book Witch – Review

WEEK 2:

9/15/2014           Writer’s Alley – Review

9/15/2014           Mythical Books – Guest Post

9/16/2014           Fi’s Magical Writing Haven – Interview

9/16/2014           Between fantasy and reality – Review

9/17/2014           Lost in Ever After – Review

9/17/2014           Rockin’ Book Reviews – Interview

9/18/2014           Reading Away The Days – Guest Post

9/18/2014           Book Briefs – Review

9/19/2014           Once Upon a YA Book – Character Interviw

9/19/2014           Nicky Peacock Author – Review

9/20/2014           Simplistic Reviews – Review

9/21/2014           Bookraptured – Review

I hope you’ll join me on the tours!

 

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The Monster Within MONSTER Giveaway!

Squee! The Monster Within releases June 17th! That means it’s time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway? But before we get to the giveaway, check out the cover and blurb for The Monster Within.
 
The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.


She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.


But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7
Release Date: 6/17/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order on B&N or Amazon. 
 
So, what can you win? 

 
  • 1 signed copy of The Monster Within
  • The Monster Within bookmarks
  • a mask (winner’s choice of purple, green, or gold)
  • a mood ring (winner’s choice of small, medium, or large)
  • a triquetra necklace (not shown in picture)
  • a paperback ARC of Cold Calls, a YA thriller by Charles Benoit
  • a hard cover copy of The Magnolia League, a witchy YA by Katie Crouch
  • a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice; gift card not shown in picture)

Sound good? Enter by filling out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stuff your Stocking…

December…a freebie month. Ugh, believe it or not, I actually like it better when I have a topic to work with. Sounds weird from an author, I know. I should love the fact I can let myself write about whatever my mind wanders to…but my mind often wanders to places I shouldn’t write about so topics are a good thing.  (That sounds bad…don’t judge me! Ha!)

Since it’s the month of giving, I thought I’d share five books you should ask Santa to leave in your stocking this year. I’m focusing on self or indie published books that don’t often get the attention they deserve.

So, here we go. The five books that should be in your Christmas stocking—in no particular order—are:

13030422“The Sary Series” by Meradeth Houston.  “Colors Like Memories” and “The Chemistry of Fate.” Okay, okay, that’s two books, but it’s one series so it counts as one. Meradeth is a fan-freakin’-tasic author. She has a way of weaving words

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together that just makes them sing. I love to read her writing. Oh, and my favorite thing about Meradeth’s writing, and the thing I get most excited about when I sit down to read something she’s written, is her first sentence of her novels. She has a flair for writing the best ever first sentences. I mean, who doesn’t want to keep reading when a book starts out with a sentence like this:

“I greeted his tombstone the way I always did— with a swift

kick.”  (Colors Like Memories)

That makes me want to know what the heck is going on! Meradeth is one author you need to watch…she’s going places. Plus, she’s just an all-around great person

“At Any Price” by Brenna Aubrey.  This book really surprised me. Honestly when IPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071] received the ARC I wasn’t looking forward to reading it. But, WOW, I’m so glad I did. Itwas such a great story. Brenna blew me away with the story and her writing. The story was original. The plot was well thought out.  One thing I loved the most is that the male lead was a good guy. He wasn’t the “typical” bad boy who has a miraculous turnaround at the end of the story (not that I don’t like those stories too). Adam was just a great guy and I loved that.

Brenna wrote strong, likable characters that I fell in love with. It’s an incredible story about giving up control to grab on to love. It’s definitely worth the time to read, but be warned: once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down until you reach the last page. So clear your schedule! I’ve also been lucky enough to “meet” Brenna through email and she is a sweet and kind person. Definitely give this book, the first in a planned trilogy, a try.

15787222“Quest of the Hart” Mary Waibel’s debut young adult reverse fairy tale retelling. I love fairy tale retellings, but I especially loved this one since it was done in reverse which was just outstanding!  The story Mary weaved was not only entertaining, interesting and engaging, but also empowering for girls. Instead of the prince saving the helpless princess, the princess was the one who saved the prince. This type of message is so important for today’s generation of young women, and Mary delivered it flawlessly. It was truly empowerment on paper!

“The Prophecy” by Erin Albert. Okay, I have to admit—I haven’t actually read this book theprophecy333x500yet. It’s one I want in my stocking and since someone in my family usually buys me a Kindle gift card of some sort for Christmas, I plan to get it. But I know Erin. She’s my Beta and CP so I know how she writes and because of that I have absolutely no doubt that this book is going to be awesome. It’s a young adult high fantasy and the first installment in the “The Fulfillment Series.”

18369048“Addicted Series” by Becca and Krista Ritchie. Okay, this is another series so technically it’s more than one book, but since it’s my blog post I say it counts as one. 🙂  I won’t list all the books, because not only are therebooks in the series, but there are companion books, too. So I’ll stick to the three I’ve read: “Addicted To You,” “Ricochet,and “Addicted For Now.” These books are hard to explain in just a couple paragraphs because they are 1) so, so good and 2) deal with so many emotions and complex situations. Here’s what I wrote on ricochetmy blog for the first book: Raw. Gritty. The nasty side of the upper echelon of society. “Addicted To You.” It’s surely going to be one of those books that people either love or hate. In my case, I loved it. Bottom line: Definitely worth the time. Characters are well written. Plot is well thought out. But continue with caution, this is not a book that glosses over the world of addiction. You’re gonna get it like it is. And that’s what makes the book so great!

17969317The quick synopsis of the books is: She’s addicted to sex and he’s addicted to booze and it’s the story about how they hide their addictions from everyone around them, then how they work to overcome their addictions. Finally, just when they are adjusting to their new life and learning to live and manage their addictions, it’s a story about how one person pulls the rug out from under them and everything comes crashing down–and how they deal with the situation. In short, it’s one of the best series I’ve read. It’s definitely for 18 and above because of the subject matter, but everything in the book is written tastefully and there are no gratuitous sexual situations—everything fits the storyline. It’s definitely a series that should be in your stocking.

Honorable Mention:

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The writing thesauruses by Marsha Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. These books never leave my desk—ever. They include: “The Emotion Thesaurus,” “The Negative Trait Thesaurus,” and “The Positive Trait Thesaurus.” If you haven’t checked these out, give them a try. They are great resources. I love them.

Those are the five (plus the honorable mentions) indie press or self-published books I think Santa should leave in everyone’s stockings this year. I hope you check them out, if you haven’t already. And in a shameless plug, you can always stick a copy of “PODs in your stocking too.

So, what books are you hoping to find in your stocking this year? Whatever you find, I hope it includes love, joy and wonderful moments with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Michelle 🙂

What to expect when you’re expecting a book release

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My book, Breaking Glass released last month on July 9th. Everyone makes a big deal about it. Everyone is excited, just like when you are having a baby! And just like when you have a baby, it’s nothing like you thought it would be.

I’m not sure what I expected. I certainly didn’t expect the post-pub depression part –very much like the post partum depression some mothers experience after the baby comes. Nobody warned me about that! Nobody warned me NEVER to look at my Amazon ranks and not to think about how my book is selling.

I figured that out quickly enough. Don’t do it. First of all, the Amazon ranks make no sense. Secondly, even if it appears you are on top of the world for a day, it’s not going to last. So forget it.

So I got over that. I allowed myself to enjoy the lovely messages from friends and readers who really like my book. I enjoyed my wonderful launch party. I had a great signing. Once I got past the fear, I actually started to feel good.

I obsessed over Breaking Glass for around two weeks. But now there is another baby due. That is Vision, due out May 2014. Breaking Glass is now the older sibling. It’s time to get ready for the new baby. And just like the second time is easier, I expect the birth of Vision to be far less fraught with uncertainty and anxiety.

In fact, I’m hoping that I can finally figure out how to promote a book and still find time to write the next one!

I’d love to hear release day pearls of wisdom from those of you who have already experienced this. I’m sure all the expectant parents will want to hear as well.

Love Triangles: Love Them or Hate Them?

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I first learned about love triangles in Charles Shultz’ cartoon, Charlie Brown. My heart ached for Peppermint Patty’s unrequited love for “Chuck”. Her awkward attempts to move them out of the friend zone made me want to call him a Block Head! Yet I still cheered on Charlie, hoping he and Patty’s BFF, sweet-natured Marcie (such a great foil for the aggressive Patty) would finally get together. The hopeless situation was endlessly fascinating and equally painful. Kind of like growing up… and in contemporary Young Adult novels, that’s what it’s all about. Love triangles in novels work well when they represent a deeper conflict for the main character- figuring out who she or he is in order to know whom he or she loves.

In CAMP BOYFRIEND, our main character Lauren, has always identified herself as a lover of science, an outsider, and Marvel superhero fan- well… Spiderman to be exact. Don’t even get her started on why he kicks every other superhero’s butt. You’ll never win that argument… trust me. She’s found acceptance with her quirky cabin mates at Munchies Manor at Camp Juniper Point and love with her best friend and fellow science nerd, Seth. Yet his wish to avoid long distance relationship problems means he’s convinced her to end things at the end of the past two summers. So far she’s accepted that, but now she wants more… especially after a year spent in a new school where she lost her braces, glasses and catapulted to popularity by dating the school’s star quarterback, Matt. She’s come to realize that she’ll never truly fit in with that group and breaking up with Matt is the first step to returning to her old self… only it’s not that easy when his parents’ divorce means he gets to ask them for what he truly wants, to attend camp with Lauren.

In this way, CAMP BOYFRIEND’s love triangle is more than just a conflict of a girl deciding between two hot guys; they each represent a part of herself. Deciding between them isn’t just about knowing her heart, it’s about discovering who she is- part of her journey in the summer of CAMP BOYFRIEND. Some might say, why does she have to choose which type of girl she is- geek/outsider vs popular/insider… and that’s the heart of the book- the understanding that labeling is a stop sign on realizing your true self. Lauren needs to accept that she can be all things, even if her friends and the boys in her life are slower to come to those conclusions than her. Ultimately, this summer read is a fun romance that also speaks to issues of self-acceptance and not judging one another or ourselves.

Here’s an excerpt in which we see Lauren struggling with this issue:

How ironic that I’d come back to camp to get back to the things I’d loved, especially Seth. But Matt had stopped that chance and, suddenly, I was glad he had. What was so wrong with liking dance and astronomy? Cheering and the science club? The popular and the outsider cliques? The problem was, I hadn’t realized I could do both, be both. If I’d gone back to Seth right away, I would never have learned that.

I looked over at my drying wedge sandals by the fireplace. They were awesome, even if they had slowed us down. And yeah, I was the girl who worried about weather-induced hair frizz.

So maybe I had changed. And Seth had a point about letting my dreams lapse. But why couldn’t he see through the make-up and clothes to the person who still thrilled at the site of a meteor shower and drew constellations on her notebook covers?

I laid back, tired of justifying myself. “That girl’s gone, Seth. I’m different now.”

Seth stretched beside me. His amber eyes searched mine in the shadows between us, a wistful smile lifting the corners of his mouth.

“It’s not a bad thing,” he agreed, his fingers toying with my curls. “I just miss the old you sometimes.”

I closed my eyes and enjoyed his touch, knowing it wasn’t going any further. After all, he cared about someone else, someone I’d never be again.

“Sometimes…” I edged a little closer to ease the empty ache inside. “…so do I.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. To learn more about CAMP BOYFRIEND, check out our website at http://www.campboyfriend.net or at http://www.facebook.com/JKRockwriters. Love triangles can be great, but- for me- the choices need to be more than just about the boys. Please share your thoughts on love triangles in the comments section below and be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of CAMP BOYFRIEND, currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Thanks so much for stopping by Scene 13!

Summer Reading = Summer Critiquing

This summer I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m critiquing other writers’ work and they are critiquing mine. When I first started writing I didn’t know anything about critique groups or beta readers. I just winged it.

After I learned of betas and CPs I found it hard to find a group to join. The writers I met had already built relationships with other writers and most weren’t looking to add another person to the mix, because of time or various other reasons.

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But recently a writer friend from another publishing house asked if I wanted to exchange work. I jumped at the chance. Then she introduced me to a writer she uses as CP, who introduced me to her CP and before I knew it I went from zero to four in a matter of a few weeks.

Before I met the wonderful group of CPs I have now, I’d often wondered if critique partners and betas were really helpful or not and I have to say…absolutely! I’ve learned so much from them. They have great eyes and have caught things in my writing—both grammatically and plot related—that I’d missed. Their feedback and ideas have been incredible.

But more than that, their encouragement has been priceless.

So my summer is filled with books that haven’t hit the shelves yet. Some don’t have titles; some aren’t even finished—and I’m so excited to read them!

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A review of my coolest summer read, EXTRACTED by Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley

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I picked up a wonderfully huge haul of books from BEA and I believed that I mentioned them on my usual posting day. But today I am filling in for Christine Johnson who has been swallowed up by a tsunami of life events. And if you check her Facebook page, you’ll see that she has been a poster child for Murphy’s Law in that whatever can go wrong will. So hugs to you, my dear Christine and may the Gods of Mayhem find someone more deserving to pick on.

That being said, I am taking this opportunity to talk about one of my summer reads, the forthcoming book EXTRACTED, by our very own Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley. This book will not be available until November, but I figured I’d get you all excited now.

I just happen to be the cover designer for this book, and I’m going to admit that when I designed the cover last summer, I had not read the book. I usually don’t read the books whose covers I design beforehand because I prefer to capture the essence of them based on an overall impression—which really helps me grasp how best to market them. With EXTRACTED, I’m really pleased, after having read the book, just how well the cover suits it! I might have designed something completely different had I read it first. And, in an interesting side note, Sherry and I have gotten in contact with the cover model on the book, a professional model from Poland named Lukasz Omiotek. The guy is super awesome and nice and I’m hoping we’ll  possibly be able to collaborate with him remotely on the next cover in the Lost Imperials series! He said he might want to post some EXTRACTED themed photos of himself on his blog. Here’s a pic of him looking a bit steam-punkish. The guy is a real fashionista and the camera worships him!

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So, you’re probably dying for me to get to the review, already. Sorry—I get excited about cover design.

First of all, I find it remarkable that this book was written by two individuals. I could tell the difference in their voices, because of the character’s personalities, but their writing styles mesh seamlessly. And oh, how they can write! Ficklin and Jolley have a very direct, sock you in the jaw style with a beautifully poetic undertone. The book reads like a screenplay with vivid visuals and relentless action. In fact, I am really dying for this to be a movie!

Let me give you a bit of background. The main characters are Lex and Ember, two time travellers torn from their own time periods and stranded on opposite sides of a deathly rivalry between competing factions of time travellers. Lex belongs to The Hollows, a gang of time thieves who pop in and out of the time stream to steal important objects. Ember is a Rifter, who under the guiding hand of Nicola Tesla’s disembodied head, are dedicated to protecting the time stream from the reckless Hollows. Neither Lex nor Ember know each other, or remember their shattered pasts and severed connection to each other. But Ember is starting to have terrifying nightmares. And her memories are coming back—which will cause her to question her loyalties and the version of the truth she’s been told.

When Lex’s girlfriend Stein dies in a mission, Lex provokes a chain of events that begins to unravel the time stream, ultimately throwing he and Ember together to try to save it. They are forced to confront the reality behind of their shared past and to join forces to save themselves and time itself.

The book is inventive, imagination and totally original. Filled with steam punk imagery, it is interwoven with historic figures and full of thrilling action. It’s as if history was thrown in a blender and set to puree, which I totally loved. The main characters, Lex and Ember are tough and hardened teens who can knock out your front teeth with a round house kick you never saw coming, yet whom beneath the steely veneer are loyal and touchingly full of heart.

I have to say, I really have a crush on Lex. He is tough as titanium but would die to save a friend without blinking an eye. He’s the kind of guy that would pull a burning car off of you with his bare hands then brush himself off and saunter away. What a hero! The authors really put these characters through hell. I’m not going to tell you some of the mishaps that befall Lex, but he manages to keep his wicked sense of humor through out, which is another part of his daredevil appeal.

Extracted is really an exciting and adventurous read. I can’t wait to read the next one (and design the cover) and I’m betting you can’t wait to read Extracted!