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Soul Unleashed ~ Release Day & GIVEAWAY

Release Day Blitz

Soul Unleashed by Jean Murray

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Synopsis:

FIGHTING FATE HAS CONSEQUENCES
Kit Carrigan desperately wants to wake from her nightmare of an ancient war raging among gods and demons. Her denial only brings her closer to truth—the end of the world is near. She must secretly use her gift of sight to protect her sisters and prevent a war there is no hope of winning. But, an ancient evil seeks to use her against the ones she loves. Only her protector, the most feared god of the Underworld, can change her fate. Her destiny to destroy everything she ever loved.

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Filed under Giveaway, Key to the Cursed

3 Goddess ~ 3 Books ~ 1 Kindle Paperwhite: Gods & Heroes, Part 1 of 4

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Ready to have some fun?  Okay, that can be a loaded question.  I can be a little unconventional – ie Paranormal Romance based on Egyptian Gods, but hey that’s what is great about this genre.  There are no limits.  So, today is going to be busy with hourly stops, but we are going to make this fun and easy. YAY!  I’m sure you are excited.  (ALL giveaways on these posts are US/Canada.  For international entries – where Amazon available and not to exceed USD).

9am :  Gods & Heroes/Part 1 – Meet Bakari of Soul Awakened ~ Giveaway – Encyclopedia Mythologica  (These books are awesome – pop-up book on steroids.  I love them so much I hate to give them away.  I only have two. Value $30)

12pm:  – Gods & Heroes/Part 2 – Meet Kendra of Soul Awakened ~ Giveaway – Ancient Egyptian Themed Tarot Cards (This is my last deck. Value $12)

3pm:  Gods & Heroes/Part 3 –  Meet Bomani of Soul Awakened ~ Giveaway – Encyclopedia Mythologica

6pm: Gods & Heroes Finale ~  Giveaway – Autographed copy of Soul Reborn  and Wicked Romance Canvas Tote Bag

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 Gods & Heroes/Part 1 – Meet Bakari of Soul Awakened

Murray 2012 282

Giveaway – Encyclopedia Mythologica (Value $30)

SoulAwakened-200x300So, first things first.

Let me introduce my novel, Soul Awakened.

LOVE FOR BLOOD OR HONOR

Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.

HAUNTED BY SINS OF THE PAST

Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most– his Parvana. His butterfly.

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fire scorpion

Black armor glistened in the moonlight. Perfect camouflage against the sand and stone of the night desert. Poised to strike, its arms curled into large claws with back arched and tail raised to the heavens. Patiently waiting. Patiently watching. An opportunist ready to kill. The master assassin has nothing but time in the darkness. One strike to paralyze its victim. The prey will not know its enemy until it begins to savor and consume every morsel with savage glee.

Bakari

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Chapter One

 A familiar refuge of horror.

Black and desolate like his soul, the darkness draped the landscape of Bakari’s world. His prison for how long? He could gauge only by his hunger, an unbearable pain burning through his chest and eating away what little of his soul remained. The darkness consumed everything, but his insanity.

Until now.

The onyx obscurity wavered into shades of grey. Bright sunlight danced and flickered in the barren corners of his mind beyond his reach. Bolts of lightning ripped across his skin and mind and tore at the fine fabric of his consciousness. The sheets of darkness fell like ash and scattered into the cold abyss.

His mind retreated—fearful. He had been tricked before only to suffer at the sadistic hands of his captor. The next arc struck harder and deeper. The white inferno fried what tendrils of his coma remained. In the wake of his agony, the soft caress of a human soul and the scent of sweet honeysuckle penetrated his skin. The very element that fed his power—living energy.

Like water for a dying man, the human’s energy trickled but did not satisfy his ravenous hunger. His chest clenched into a ball of fire, ignited by the minuscule energy he absorbed into his soul.

The vitality extinguished as quickly as it came. Left barren and wanting, rage consumed him. The goddess Kepi would pay for this new level of depravity. To have living nourishment so close, but denied to feed his dark hunger, was a torture like no other.

The walls of his wooden crypt pressed in upon him. He struggled to move an arm or leg, but the spell of his paralysis was unyielding. He screamed but not a word past his lips. In his mind he thrashed against the invisible bonds, willing himself to break free.

He had not reacted this way since the fateful day of his confinement to his tomb. During his imprisonment he had withdrawn into himself. Numb to the world. His only safeguard against the goddess and the oppressive confines of his prison. Those thoughts of Kepi worsened his agony and current insanity.

Silently screaming, cold tears slipped out of the corners of his closed eyes and trickled down into his hair. He called out to the merciful gods to save him, but in all this time none were answered. His despair suffocated whatever hope he may have left.

Bakari, a soft melody of a voice broke through the chaos in his mind.

Ease your pain. She will come to you again. Hold your will, young god. She will set you free.

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Giveaway

Giveaway ~ To enter to win Encyclopedia of Mythologica – Gods & Heroes + 15 extra entries for Kindle Paperwhite

1.  Watch Book Trailer

2.  Like, tweet or post on facebook about Trailer

3.  Answer Poll below 🙂

4.  Leave a comment with your entries (Name/email)

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Great work.  Now off to Lynn’s for more prizes and entries.  http://www.lynnrush.com/blog

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Filed under Events, Giveaway, Heroes, Key to the Cursed, Uncategorized

Author Open MIC: Welcomes Rachel Carrington + Spotlight Giveaway

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Welcome readers!

It was over a year ago that Wicked Romance launched Author Open MIC and it has grown into a huge success. I wanted to take a moment and thank all that have participated over the year’s timeframe. It is a great venue to introduce debut and experienced authors alike. The overwhelming support of readers has made this one of the most enjoyable posts.

Today, I want to introduce Author Rachel Carrington. She has an amazing list of books to her name that spans multiple genres. Not only do we have a great interview, but Rachel has shared an excerpt from her most recent release, Waking Up Immortal, and she is giving a copy away to one lucky winner. Contest ends Sunday (Dec 16) night.

Let’s find out more about Rachel….

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I started writing years ago, and my first attempt was a contemporary romance that will never see the light of day. I think I may even have thrown it away by now. It was absolutely horrific as I knew nothing about well…anything to do with writing.

After that, I started writing fantasy romances about wizards and wizards, and once those took off, I segued to paranormal romances (hello, vampires and ghosts) and romantic suspense. I also write articles for various magazines, including The Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Magazine, Writer’s Weekly, Writing for Dollars, Absolute Write, and Funds for Writers.

I’m fortunate to make my home in historical Charleston, South Carolina. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. When I’m not writing, I love to read paranormal romance, romantic suspense, young adult fantasy and paranormal, create videos, shop, cross-stitch, cook, and drink lots of coffee.

You can find more about me at my website: www.dawnrachel.com. I also offer help to aspiring writers at my blog: www.dawnrachel.com/blog. And, I have a bi-monthly newsletter where I offer giveaways. Readers can sign up at the front page of my website on the right hand side.

THE INTERVIEW

How did you get into writing?  Was it something you were born with or did you discover your hidden talent?

It was definitely a discovery. The first thing I wrote was a poem, and that was when I was sixteen. I didn’t try writing fiction until I was eighteen.

Tell us a little about the genre/s you write.  What attracted you to write about them?

I’ve written a variety of genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and most recently, a science fiction/paranormal romance blend.

I love to challenge myself, but I really just go where my imagination takes me. I usually get the idea for the book, and the idea tells me the genre.

What is the single, most important element in your writing or life as an author?

It’s very difficult to choose one because without one aspect, I probably wouldn’t have the others. If I had to really choose, I would pick determination. I’ve written through some difficult times. Not because I had to but because I wanted to. Writing is an outlet for me much like singing, running, or painting is for others.

What is the most difficult hurdle you have encountered (personal or professional)? What advice would you give other authors who face the same challenges?

As I mentioned above, I’ve written through some difficult times, most of which have been health challenges. Sometimes, I wrote when I was in so much pain I could barely focus on the laptop screen, but I wrote because it helped me not to wallow in the pain. And if I wrote long enough, it would distract me from the pain. I could get wrapped up in the characters and for a little while, I could pretend I lived a different life. But there were other days when I couldn’t write even if I wanted to, and I had to learn how to be okay with that.

I know plenty of authors who do face health challenges, and the only advice I can give is to listen to your body. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t sit at the keyboard that day. The words will return when your body is ready.

You have built up quite an array of books.  If you can pick 2-3 favorites and tell us a little bit about each and why they stand out in your mind.

My favorites have to be the newest one I just completed: Waking Up Immortal. I wanted to create a different kind of immortal rather than a vampire, and I knew I had to give her a hero who could stand up to her. I really enjoyed writing Kier and Chloe’s story, especially the many times they clashed.

Click to request AUTHORGRAPH HERE!

Click to request AUTHORGRAPH HERE!

I also loved all of the books I wrote in the Spirit series, especially the prequel which I’m still working on. It’s called Souls Divided and gives readers a look into some of the backstory of the Council and how they chose Angels of Death. I really enjoyed writing about the spirit world and what happens when spirits don’t want to cross over. It was a question I’d asked myself before.

What do you are you cooking up next?  What can readers expect?

Right now, I’m working on the sequel to Waking Up Immortal, finishing up the prequel to the Spirit series, Souls Divided, and a spin-off of A Vampire Betrayed (from the Vampires Destined series) called A Vampire’s Fury. I usually post the release dates on my website so readers can find out when to expect my latest release: www.dawnrachel.com.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Readers can find me at my website: www.dawnrachel.com, on Facebook at rachelcarringtonwrites, on Twitter@rcarrington2004, on Pinterest @rcarrington2004, on Wattpad at rcarrington2004, on Goodreads at Rachel Carrington, and so many other places. It’s really easiest just to Google my name.

Most, if not all, of my books can be purchased at www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com , and www.allromanceebooks.com to name a few.

Open MIC FAV 5

  1. Favorite hero or heroine: It will always be Jaxon from Indigo Spell
  2. Favorite author: Christine Feehan
  3. Favorite music to write by: Alternative rock,  usually, like Nickelback or Snow Patrol
  4. Favorite inspiration: I don’t know if this is my most favorite as much as it was most memorable. My book, Now You See Me (releasing soon from EllorasCave) is partially based on a killer I met when he was dating a good friend of mine. We didn’t know at the time he was a killer. Not long after I met him, he murdered my friend, and is now serving his sentence right here in my home town.
  5. Most memorable writing moment: There are far too many for me to pick one. I’ve written overlooking beaches and mountains, drafted ideas while inside the RoyalPalace at Madrid, mapped out an entire story while cruising toward Cancun, and wrote one of my best kiss scenes ever after a good-night kiss I still think about. Now you know why there are too many!

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Chapter Excerpt

“Relax,” he whispered in my ear. “I’m taking you to a secure room where you can meet you father.”

“I’d like to talk to him alone.” I knew the suggestion would be shot down, but I had to try.

Kier’s feet skidded to a stop, and the expression on his face said far more than his next words ever could. “No. He’s too dangerous.” He obviously thought I was slightly off my rocker for even broaching the subject.

“What can he do to me here? You’ve given me the neuron blocker, and I’m assuming he’ll be chained.”

“That makes no difference. You’re not seeing him alone.” The huskiness of his voice had deepened, bringing his tone to a low growl.

“Kier, please.” I wasn’t above using my feminine wiles. I linked our hands, and the militant guy with a crew cut coughed. “I need to do this alone. It’s important.”

“Damnit, Chloe.” He shook his head then glared at the guard who took instant interest in the stone wall behind him. “You don’t know what you’re asking,” he lowered his voice, wrapping me in a cocoon of intimacy in spite of our clinical surroundings.

I squeezed his fingers, gave him the full force of my gaze that I hoped revealed some essence of vulnerability. “You can stand guard. Spy on us. Do whatever you need to do, but I have to talk to him by myself. The conversation has to be just the two of us.”

Kier’s eyebrows threatened to meet in the middle. “Why?”

I took his free hand and pressed it over my heart. “It’s just something I feel in here.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed with a hard swallow, and he finally nodded. “Fine, but I’ll be watching.”

With complete disregard for our onlooker, I stood on tiptoe and kissed him. “Thank you.” I surprised myself with my boldness, and, from the look on Kier’s face when I stepped back, him even more.

He cleared his throat and glanced over his shoulder. “Is there something else you need, Agent Winnaker?”

The agent shook his head and clicked his heels together as if preparing to salute. “No, sir.” He turned and marched away.

“What exactly is he an agent of?” My curiosity had me peering around Kier to get a better look at the figure disappearing down the hallway.

“Universal Security.”

The name sounded so formidable. And unbelievable. “Universal Security. As in…?”

“Just what you think it is.” Still holding my hand, Kier led me into a quiet room with dim lighting and glass walls.

Yeah right. There were a lot of things I would believe but an out of this world experience was more than even I would accept. “And I thought being immortal was the weirdest thing I’d ever heard.”

“There are many different types of life forces in the Universe. There has to be a way to maintain order.” Not even a trace of deception in his voice.

“You weren’t joking? I thought you were joking.” Holding a hand against my stomach, I sought the first chair before my shaky legs buckled. What had happened to my staid life in Kansas?

Days ago I was a typical single woman working at a job I didn’t particularly love for a decent amount of money I did care about. I had friends, a relatively full social life, and family. Now all of that had disappeared with my ancestral search.

“Chloe?” Kier’s hand braced the chair on either side of my thighs. “Are you all right?”

If feeling all right entailed a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and gray spots in front of my eyes, I was peachy. “Are you telling me there are other mutants and that you’re some type of alien police officer?” The very idea had hysterical laughter bubbling to the surface.

Kier stroked his fingertips down my cheek, his expression inscrutable. “Don’t you have enough to think about without trying to figure out the rest of the world, too?”

Giveaway/Challenge

Today, I’m giving away a copy of my newest book, Waking Up Immortal. All you have to do is answer this question from the Chapter Excerpt.

What was the name of the agent who was listening in on Chloe and Kier’s conversation?

To ENTER CLICK HERE:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

**If you have any trouble submitting your answers via the Rafflecopter, please email your answer to:

murray (dot) jeanm@gmail.com

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New Release ~ Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers

Book Blurb:

Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not in Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises. Her plans for rest and relaxation are forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two… And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair? Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

InkSpell Link: http://www.inkspellpublishing.com/1/post/2012/03/hollywood-ever-after-cover-reveal.html

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Ever-After-Sasha-Summers/dp/0985148330/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341495273&sr=8-1&keywords=hollywood+ever+after

B&N Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hollywood-ever-after-sasha-summers/1110208518?ean=9780985148331

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Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books visit times past, set in places rich with legends and myth. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ (original title, right?), was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

To find out more about Sasha Summers stay tuned for her Author Open MIC interview here tomorrow at Wicked Romance!!

Learn about her other new release, Medusa, A Love Story.

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Filed under Cover Reveal, PROMO, Uncategorized

Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Aaron Ritchey

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I’m so excited to introduce my next guest, Aaron Ritchey.  He is a newly discovered talent that I think is going to be a big hit with YA readers.  Not to mention he has a great sense of humor and always makes his posts entertaining.  So let me tell you a little about Aaron…

Aaron Michael Ritchey was born with Colorado thunderstorms in his soul.  He’s sought shelter as a world traveler, an endurance athlete, a story addict, and even gave serious thought to becoming a Roman Catholic priest.  After too brief a time in Paris, he moved back to the American West and lives semi-comfortably with three forces of nature: a little, blonde hurricane, an artistic tornado, and a beautiful, beautiful blizzard.

He is happiest dancing among the extremes, reading Twilight,  Atlas Shrugged , and A Case for God at the same time.  Like a playlist on shuffle: Fatboy Slim to Rammstein to George Strait to Katy Perry.   He loves the ambiguous and the incongruous.  The beauty of reality, as well as the tragedy.  From the basest evils to the most transcendent good.

So writing Young Adult novels is perfect for him because that is a time of extremes and firsts, and who doesn’t love firsts?    First time on our own, first kisses, first heartbreaks, first everything.  It’s an exciting, dramatic time, and that’s exactly what a good story needs, excitement and drama.

www.aaronmritchey.com

www.facebook.com/theneverprayer

www.twitter.com/aaronmritchey

So let’s get to it…  Aaron, you have the MIC!

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Thanks so much to Jean Murray for letting me take over the Open MIC night.  I’m here to rock the party, rock the party, right.  Since I think the first chapter of my book rocks, I figured I’d go over the anatomy of my first page.  Caution, my first page is anatomically correct.  Or at least I hope it is.

First, a little summary.  My debut novel, The Never Prayer, is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance about a teenage girl named Lena.  Shattered by the death of her parents, she will risk everything to keep her disintegrating family together.  In love with both a demon and an angel, Lena must unravel the mysteries of heaven’s fury and hell’s desire before she loses everything.  Who is the demon?  Who is the angel?  Lena can’t tell the difference, and every minute pushes her closer to the edge.

Here are the first 16 lines:

“I’m not going to do it again,” Lena Marquez whispered to the red purse across the hall from her nestle of blankets. “Never again.”

All of her other purses, scarves, and belts were just shadows hanging from hooks on both sides of the bathroom door, but in the glow of the cracked Thomas the Train nightlight, the red purse glittered. Each sequin like a teardrop of blood.

The heater chugged on sending lukewarm air into the basement apartment, as cold as an icebox. In October, at ten thousand feet, Avalon, Colorado had no pity for the weak or poor. It killed both.

Through anorexic walls, Lena could hear her aunt’s barking cough in the next room. But it wasn’t the coughing that had Lena awake at 4:46 on a Monday morning. It was her three-year-old brother, Joziah, who would wake up any minute.

He was like an alarm clock, same time, every morning. So regular Lena was awake before he asked the questions she couldn’t answer.

Already the work of the day felt like bricks on her chest. Her junior year homework continued to pile up among the dirty laundry around their mattress on the floor.

But first, Jozey, always Jozey, no matter what.

Now, in the opening, I have to do a number of things.  First, gotta hook the reader.  Hopefully, the first paragraph will get you.  I want the reader to wonder, what on earth is she not going to do again, and what does that have to do with her red purse?

In the first lines, I’m also trying to set the mood and setting.  I tried to use strong language here to give the reader a feeling of desperation and tragedy: the cracked nightlight, teardrop of blood, anorexic walls et cetera.

As for setting, I’m hoping the elevation of the town, her sleeping on a mattress on the floor, the thin walls, will tell you she’s poor and struggling.

Finally, I have to give you a sense of who Lena is and why you want to root for her.  I didn’t want to just say she was sixteen, so I described her Junior Year homework.  And the laundry shows she has a lot on her plate, and she is stressed out.

Now, I did a little telling, not showing, in that last line about Jozey but I would hope I did it in such a way as to emphasize it in the mind of the reader.  If you wanna read the rest of the opening, you can visit:  http://crescentmoonpress.com/books/TheNeverPrayer.html because the next paragraphs show Lena nurturing Jozey.  You gotta have a hero people can like, and Lena starts out troubled, alone, kind of bitchy, so I needed a strong sense of her as the hero, taking care of her little brother.

So that’s what I was trying to do with my opening.  One of my favorite moments in the life of this book was at a writers workshop, where my first chapter was being read aloud.  A woman at the workshop started to read it, but she had to stop because she started to cry.  I cried too.  Our eyes met, and we understood each other at that moment, that life can be hard, but there is hope.  Which is really the theme at the heart of my little book.

For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer.  And I tweet – @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

Thanks again, Jean Murray!

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Okay, Aaron.  You’re not out of the hot seat yet 🙂 snicker, snicker.

Host:  First, I want to say what beautiful writing you have.  It draws you deep into the story’s character and her plight.  I love to garner emotion from the readers, I write with that very goal.  What is your goal when you right?  What do you want readers to take away from your book?  (I know very deep, but you put me in the mood with your excerpt).

Aaron: You know, I find life very difficult.  Other people seem to skate through the existence as if they have the “how-to-be-a-human” manual in their back pocket.  But then, that’s me comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.  I think we all have our drama.  So in my books, I want to present life as it is, hard, brutal at times, gritty.  But then I bring in the paranormal to show that there is hope, there is joy, there is the impossible around us, to save us when we most need saving.  Life is full of miracles.  If you look for them. 

 

Host:  What is it that draws you to write Young Adult?  How do you get into the head of your teenage heroine?

Aaron: Funny, but I had a guy who wondered how I could channel at sixteen-year-old girl so well.  It’s like Dickens, being a teenager is the best of times and the worst of times.  It is a time of unimaginable growth, where children become adults.  For me, I found the whole thing traumatizing.  I wanted life to be like a sitcom, and it wasn’t, and poor me.  So I remember the angst.  I remember how hard just going to school felt.  I still feel like a teenager sometimes, awkward, afraid, yet courageous.  Immortal.  Yes, teens today face a different world than I faced, but it’s still the human experience.  Still, the same old drama.  As for the girl part, I’m part girl—I loved soap operas growing up, I cry at commercials, I find clothes interesting.  And though I think gender is important, being human is more important.

Host:  So what are readers saying about your book?  Yes, it is okay to brag 🙂

Aaron:  I have had some wonderful reviews on Amazon, some from very talented writers.  It humbles me.  Really.  I love it when someone picks up my book, thinking they are getting the same old, same old—the good versus evil, fallen angel versus evil demon, type of story, and then, it grabs them.  Even those that don’t like the paranormal.  I love it when I hook the skeptics because that means I’ve done my job.  My story isn’t about angels and demons, it’s about life!  The Universe!  Everything!  I’ve been compared to Ray flippin’ Bradbury by one reviewer.  Humbled.  And when I hear the words, “I couldn’t put it down”.  Hurray!

Host:  Now that you have teased us, tell us a little about the male hero of this story?  In your description of the book you mention two love interests—do tell.

Aaron: I can’t say much because part of the fun is that you don’t know who the villain is until about halfway through the book.  Both of Lena’s love interests are broken, one shows it, the other doesn’t.  One is an angel who wants the world to be perfect, and the other is a demon who revels in the despair, desire, and death he sees in people, though you wouldn’t know it at first.  Because of course, a good demon will seduce us before we know he’s a demon.  But I can’t give away too much.  Both are broken, but smoldering hot, ‘cause I love a good romance, and a good romance has to have the hunks.

Host:  As a debut novelist, out of all the milestone in your beginning career what one thing stands out?  Unfair question, I know.

Aaron: Two things.  I made my publicist cry.  Bree Ervin is one tough bird, but she cried when she read my book, and she cried when I signed her copy because without her, I wouldn’t have as many readers as I do now.  You can find her at ThinkBannedThoughts.Com.  The other thing was a night I spent with my friend and official Girl Friday assistant, Chris Devlin.  That Tuesday night, when I was overwhelmed with fear and desperation, Chris and our friend Angie Hodapp sat me down in a Village Inn restaurant and we talked about how everyone is afraid, how everyone is broken in some way.  That night, my life changed.  Writing is hard.  Getting published is hard.  But without Chris Devlin, dang, I don’t know here I’d be.  Prolly either at a methadone clinic or a soup kitchen. If you are looking for help with the administrative tasks of writing, or you need a cracker-jack copy editor, you can find Chris Devlin at http://chrisdevlinwrites.com.

Host:  Do you have any advice for new writers?  Words of wisdom to share?

Aaron:  I will now tell you the secret to life.  Get your pencils and paper ready.  Okay, the secret to life is this: enjoy what you are doing and where you are, right now.  I wish I had relished my pre-publication days.  I wish I had breathed those moments in deep.  Because before you know it, your writing time will be cannibalized by marketing your book, doing signings, et cetera.  And learn to love writing, so you’d rather write than eat ice cream, you’d rather write than watch T.V.  Hemingway has a great quote about when writing becoming your greatest joy, you will do it until you die.  Enjoy the creative process.  Laugh at the funny parts.  Cry at the sad parts.  Relish the stories you write.

Host:  What comes next?  I know you are busy promoting your book.  Where can readers find you?  Conferences, book signings, blogs….

Aaron: If you really wanna follow my madness, My News and Events page on my website has all of my doings.  I just got interviewed on Bookmark Radio, which was a great experience, and I have a book signing in San Jose, California at Hicklebee’s on May 12, 2012 followed by a California launch party on June 14, 2012.  The world is invited.  I’ll be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in September, 2012, and of course, Mile-Hi Con in Denver, October, 2012.  Before the world ends in December.

As for projects, too many to count.  I am just finishing up another YA Paranormal about a broken girl who has to overcome her own limitations to help her dying grandmother travel to France to see the grandmother’s love from World War II. 

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Aaron, thank you for sharing your story.  I wish you the greatest success with The Never Prayer

It has found its place on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it.

To find out more about Aaron Ritchey….

For more about Author Aaron Ritchey and The Never Prayer, you can visit them both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, he is on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayerAnd his tweet handle– @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

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Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Ciara Knight

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I love getting to meet new authors, both new, old and in between their writing careers.  Everyone’s writing journey is different.  I’m always fascinated to hear the various stories.  Some authors were born to write, starting at a very young age.  Others went to school to learn the craft.  Some, like myself, evolved or were awakened in some way.

So, let me introduce Ciara Knight.  Let’s find out about her journey:

Ciara Knight always had a passion for storytelling. At an early age, she wrote several short stories and poems, and in college she started work on her first novel. It wasn’t until late 2008 that she returned to her true passion of writing. Over the past few years she has penned five novels and joined several professional writing organizations to better her craft.

When not writing, she enjoys reading all types of fiction. Some great literary influences in her life include Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Francine Rivers and J K Rowling.

Ciara is happily married and enjoys family time. She has learned to embrace chaos, which is a requirement when raising three boys, and utilizes the insanity to create stories not of this world including, Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Young Adult Dystopian.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She’s backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

Ciara, thank you for taking the time to be with Wicked Romance today and taking over the MIC. 

Ciara:  Thank you so much for having me here today, Jean. I’m so excited to chat with you and your followers. I’m curious to see what wickedness goes on here. 😉

Host:  When did writing become part of your life?  Can you describe that journey from the beginning to your debut novel?

Ciara: I wrote my first children’s novel in grammar school. Nothing that anyone could even read, but it kept me busy during summer break. I wrote some poetry in high school and short stories in college. It wasn’t until I was grown and married with kids that I focused on writing a real novel. I wrote my first one while sitting in car pool line, TKD practice, football field, and baseball field. It took a while, but once I typed THE END I was completely hooked. I wrote two more novels in half the time it took me to write the first. I started off writing Christian fiction and now I write fantasy and paranormal. I know what a jump, right?

Host:    Did your journey or focus change after that first book? How did that debut release influence your next novel and the several after?

Ciara:

I shelved the first book I wrote after many changes. After that, I took some writing workshops, and the second book that I completed was Rise From Darkness, which was released last month. It is a young adult paranormal, but the second book I wrote was released first, The Curse of Gremdon. Confused yet? I know I’ve been a few times on this journey.

Host:  You have several books out.  Can you tell us a little about each of them?

Ciara: Sure. They are all SO different.

Young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, has three full length novels and one prequel novella. Book I, Rise From Darkness is about a fallen angel with the hormones of a teenager, strength of an angel, and the self –control of a three year old. Gaby is a troubled young girl that lost her mother, has an alcoholic father, and soon discovers the world is full of dangerous creatures in which she may be one of them.

The Curse of Gremdon is a ‘spicy’ adult romance full of magic, love, lust, and sacrifice. In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures. Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum form the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever.

I’ve also got a new young adult series that will release soon, The Neumarian Chronicles. The prequel Novella, Weighted, will be out in August.

  • The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself.  It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Host:  Okay, I’m going to ask an unfair question.  Out of all your books, what hero/heroine really spoke to you?

Ciara: I have a deep love for all my characters, but Tardon kicked my butt. He ordered me to write his story. That man does not take no for an answer. Of course, I’m not sure anyone had told him no before he met Arianna. 🙂

Host:  Pick one book.  Select 5 words that best describe your hero and then 5 words for the heroine.  Why do they make a great match?

Ciara:

Rise From Darkness

Alexander: Self-brooding, caring, loyal, guilt ridden, and determined

Gaby: Strong, independent, loving, lonely, and hopeful

They are both emotionally wounded. Only together do they become whole.

Host:  Where do you think the paranormal genre is headed?  What can we expect in the future?

Ciara: I think we’ll see more genre blending. My upcoming series, The Neumarian Chronicles is a mix of biopunk, paranormal, and steampunk.

Host:  What are you working on right now?  What can readers expect to see from you in the next year?

Ciara: I’m working on Book I of the Neumarian Chronicles, Escapement. Also, I’m working on the remaining books in The Gremdon Chronicles.

Host:  Will you be attending any conferences this year?  Or have any book signings/giveaways?

Ciara: I attended Romantic Times which broke the budget, but I hope to attend Dragoncon since it is local.

Host:  Where can readers find out more about you and your books? (Social/Web links)

Ciara: Website – www.ciaraknight.com, Twitter: @ciaratknight, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ciaraknightwrites, Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5127753.Ciara_Knight, and Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ciaraknight/

Host:  Do you have a cover or covers you would like to share today?

Ciara: Here are the two first books of The Gremdon Chronicles and Battle for Souls series. Oh, I CAN’T wait to show the cover for Weighted, but I can’t yet. I hope to soon. 🙂

********************

Ciara, I want to thank you for sharing your time with us today.  Your list of novels is impressive. 

Keep up the great work!  Can’t wait for your new release 🙂

Readers, if you have a question for Ciara, please post below.

HAPPY READING!!

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Cover Reveal ~ CRIMSON SUNRISE by Renee Rearden

Crimson Sunrise…

Saari Mitchell attends a Tueri conference in Las Vegas, Nevada to strengthen her bonds with Dhelis Guidry and Brogan Vincent—and see if they can make their three-sided relationship work. But when Saari and her vampire brother Mag’s lives are threatened, her trip to paradise soon becomes a surreal fight for survival.

Dhelis and Brogan’s psychic abilities are no help in finding Saari. Desperate to save their mate, they call in favors from the psychic and preternatural community, but the information leads only to more questions. Is the threat against Saari personal or part of a larger plan that threatens every human and Tueri’s existence?

Crimson Sunrise is the second novel in the Tueri Fated Souls Series.

Said of the first novel in this series, Moonlight Bleu:

“Moonlight Bleu by Renee Rearden is one of those ‘blow your socks off’, totally awesome, amazingly entertaining and, completely wonderful stories that make you want to yell about it, at the top of your lungs, from every roof top you can get to! Rearden’s talent is fresh and brings a new face to the world of the paranormal genre.” ~YzhaBella’s BookShelf

“Renee Rearden has exploded onto the paranormal fiction scene with this debut novel—Moonlight Bleu! The concepts in this novel are fresh and creative, and I look forward to seeing future developments…from an exciting new author to watch!” ~Digigirl’s Library

www.reneerearden.com

www.reneereardenblog.blogspot.com

www.twitter.com/ReneeRearden

www.facebook.com/ReneeRearden

www.goodreads.com/ReneeRearden

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TASTE ~ Cover, Book Trailer & Excerpt

My favorite cover for 2012.  I’m so excited to bring you a little more taste of TASTE.

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.


Song Credits: “Hunger” © Noelle Pico.
Full Download available at http://sheisnoelle.bandcamp.com

About the Author…

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world that she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized that to be a writer, none of those things mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of your computer, writing. For more information on Kate and her writing, you can visit her website: www.kateevangelista.com

EXCERPT…

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ­My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts.  I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.

“Phoenix.”

I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

Links…

Author Website: www.kateevangelista.com

Twitter: @KateEvangelista

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kate-Evangelista/165693410143202

Find Taste on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13484226-taste

Crescent Moon Press page for Taste: http://crescentmoonpress.com/books/Taste.html

Happy Reading!!

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Cover Reveal: BREATHLESS by YA Author Cole Gibsen

Obituary-reading emo girl Edith Small is broken – the end result of forcing herself inside a mold that doesn’t fit. All she wants is to conform to her strict sergeant stepfather’s rules long enough to make it to graduation day. But a boat accident threatens to unravel the life Edith has worked so hard to keep. After waking up in a hospital with a lacerated shoulder, Edith fakes amnesia. Because admitting she received her injuries from a blue-haired girl who breathes underwater is all the reason Sir needs to send Edith on the first bus to military school.

Safe at home, Edith struggles to put the nightmare behind her. But the mysterious creatures that live in the ocean aren’t about to let her forget. After meeting Bastin – a strange boy with silver hair and black eyes – on a secluded dock, Edith learns about the war raging undersea to end human existence. A war that Edith, unwittingly, has become the key to winning.

In a world where death is an ever-present shadow and motives are as dark as the bottom of the ocean, Edith must decide if her life is worth risking for a love that can’t survive past the shore.

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Cole Gibson:  Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.  It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

When Cole Gibsen isn’t writing fiction for young adults she can be found shaking her booty in a zumba class, picking off her nail polish, or drinking straight from the jug (when no one is looking). Cole currently resides in the Greater St. Louis area with her husband, daughter, and one very cranky border collie.

Find her here:

Author Homepage

Goodreads

Facebook

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 This cover is incredible.  I think it captures the book’s title perfectly, not to mention the feeling each of us had when we were in high school– in over our heads, drowning in expectations, struggling to discover who we really were…

Cole’s novel is due out this spring.  Add it to your TBR on Goodreads.  You won’t want to miss this one!

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Author Open Mic ~ Welcomes Elizabeth Cheryl

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I am so excited to introduce Wicked Romance’s next guest for Author Open Mic, YA author Elizabeth Cheryl.  Her debut novel ,The Summerland, is due out any moment now.  I can’t wait.  Elizabeth has an amazing heartfelt story of love, courage and determination. I wouldn’t do her story justice so I am glad she is here today to share her journey to publication with you.  Above are some snapshots of Elizabeth in Salem, MA (the setting of her book) and the individual her book, The Summerland, is dedicated– her mother

Take a look at this beautiful cover…

When Abigail Parker moves to Salem, Massachusetts, with her Aunt Bridgette, nothing makes sense from the moment she arrives. A familiar but unknown voice whispers words of reassurance. Her aunt’s behavior is confusing at best.

When Bridgette’s gravely injured, Abigail desperately seeks help from a spell book she found in her closet. But something goes terribly wrong. Abbey is hurtled three centuries backward in time, landing in a vastly different Salem.

It’s summertime 1692 – the infamous witch trials are in full swing and Abigail’s sporting pink nail polish and a tattoo. Abigail finds William, the source of the familiar voice and something much more. However, she must return to modern Salem to retrieve the spell book.

Can she do so in time to save her family and without exposing herself to accusations of witchcraft? Most importantly, how does she leave when she’s just finding love?

*************************************

Before we get to the interview questions below, I want to give Elizabeth the opportunity to tell her story, and the journey that brought her to this moment and time.  Get your tissues out, because I don’t think there will be a virtual dry eye out there.  When I first heard it, my breath caught in my throat. The amount of love that went into the writing of her book is astounding. 

Elizabeth, thank you for coming today.  Can you please take a moment to tell us your story and the significance of your journey?

 Hi Jean…First of all I wanted to start off by thanking you for including me in such a wonderful blog. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such talented authors like yourself at Crescent Moon Press. Second I would like to acknowledge the loss of one of our own at Crescent Moon Press on Saturday. I just sadly read the news of Judi McCoy and we all will experience her absence in some form or another.

As for my story about how I ended up in such a wonderful family of writers is an interesting journey.  About 2 years ago I had a dream about a couple in the Seventeenth Century. They were young and so in love. I wanted to create a world for them to belong to and a story that would touch hearts as they touched mine. I had decided to write about what life was like for them during Puritan Times and the torture endured during the Salem Witch Trials. What would one do if the man or woman you deeply loved were to be hung in front of you and your children. The thought gripped me. I began researching more about those times and the stories of the accused. During this process I had a notion to have my main character, Abigail live here during modern times and somehow time travel back to Salem, Massachusetts where the story takes place.

I had just recently learned that my mom was ill, possibly cancer but we were not sure of the severity back then. As I created Abigail’s story it took on a very similar spin as my mom’s life. My mom was born in raised just outside of Boston in a town called Millis, Massachusetts. She was about a half hour or 40 minute drive from Salem depending on traffic. I spent countless hours with my mom who needless to mention was also my very best friend. We would sit together in her office as I wrote each page picking her brain about Massachusetts and its scenery, smell, people and so on. Each page I wrote became a part of us. Her past, a history lesson for both of us and a bond of a story that we began to fall in love with. I would write a page and hand it to her in anticipation to see if she laughed at the right parts or cried where I had hoped she would.

So many times over that 8 month period of writing the book she shared that, “I was a wonderful writer” and I would crack up laughing because I had never written a damn thing in my life. I figured she just really loved me…

As the book came to an end, I had written an 85,000 word novel and she had edited her first book. We were so excited with what we had done together. But as life seems to have its own plans, my moms cancer had suddenly worsened. On January 31, 2011 I had just finished the last chapter of the novel when I received a phone call from my mom that she was having trouble breathing. My mom had been diagnosed with Non-Smoking Lung Cancer during our process of writing the book. I drove quickly to her house which was only 7 minutes from mine but seemed like 70 minutes knowing she was struggling to breathe. I had called 911 on the way to her house to make sure they would be there when I arrived. After viewing her CT Scans of her lung our worst nightmares had come to life. My mom was given 2 weeks to live.

I stood motionless in the hospital room with my brother and sister. We had decided to take my mom home with hospice to my bothers 5 acre house at the top of the El Dorado National Forest. There we cared for my mom until 13 days later she passed away in our arms on February 12, 2011. I had painted her toes that day and read to her the first three chapters of the book hoping it brought her some peace. You see Abigail, my main character ended up in Salem after losing her mother to cancer. Before I had any idea that I would lose my own mother to the same fate as the novel unraveled.

The Novel is called The Summerland because according to Pagan belief that is the place where  the soul goes to rest before it is reincarnated into another human body for another life again on this planet. My mom had been Pagan most of my life. So this was a familiar concept to me.The day before my mom passed she was able to whisper a few words to me, her last words were, “I will see you in The Summerland.”

Those words run circles in my head as every day passes but aside from the irony of Abigail in my book and my mom with cancer there was another undeniable coincidence. My mom was very into earthly and spiritual things. She studied many religions but felt a deep connection with the more Pagan beliefs. With that came her appreciation for the cosmic realms of life including the moon. Being that it is one of the most fascinating things in the night sky it can easily become a favorite amongst paintings and jewelry and so on. Her favorite moon was the Crescent. It was her earrings and her pictures and rings…

When I wrote out my submission letters for publishers I was unsure of writing ever again. I lost my desire because she was not sitting by my side reading every page anymore. I had no one to write for. I only sent out 6 submissions at midnight one night. A day later I received a request for my manuscript and 4 days later I was signed with an amazing publisher, none other than its name being, Crescent Moon Press.

Thanks mom 🙂

You mention that your heroine, Abigail has suffered a similar loss.  Was it difficult putting your experience into words? Do you think your story will help other young adults understand how to cope with loss?

Yes, Jean it was very difficult. But you have to understand that when I wrote the novel my mom was still with me. I had never imagined what that type of pain could feel like. It wasn’t until I lost her that I actually could really relate to Abigail’s loss of her mom to cancer. After about a two month period of time, a time when I thought I would never write again was when I had to go through the manuscript and rewrite many parts of the book. From an actual perspective that was so hauntingly familiar to Abigail’s. I can only hope that from reading this story that it would give some peace of the healing process. 

Your novel The Summerland is scheduled to release next month, March 2012 and what a beautiful cover.  Not every author gets input into their own cover, but at Crescent Moon Press the authors get to communicate to the cover artist, key elements from their book.  Themes, symbols etc…  What input did you have in its creation?  Tell us what you love best about your cover and how best it represents your story?

Well the cover was an interesting project. When I first wrote the book, and Summerland was in its baby stages I knew Abigail was young and blonde. I pictured her in a flowing white dress amongst a field of flowers. When you look up the definition of The Summerland on Google many images are described, many that sound similar to heaven. Warm and full of flowers and nature. I pictured that for the cover, but I also pictured an Oak Tree as well. The Oak Tree was a symbol in the book as the tree where the accused were hung on Gallows Hill. I pictured a beautiful strong tree with its mighty branches, but its once strong and magnificent arms had been turned into a killing machine to hang innocent people. That tree was not meant for those purposes and it took away from its pride and beauty. I felt that was significant as well for the cover. Crescent Moon Press created a cover that was beyond what my mind could had imagined. I could not be more proud, it was everything my mom and I had discussed. I can only hope she is looking down to see the beauty we had envisioned together. 

What inspired you to write a YA story?  What do you find most challenging and fulfilling about writing for this particular genre?

 Hmmmm… My inspiration to write this story was my yearning to share with our generation of teens what life was like three hundred years ago. I took Abigail who was immersed in Facebook and iphones as most teens are and I slammed her into the Seventeenth Century. I felt it was important to explore life then compared to the freedoms we seem to take for granted now a days. Our history books only scratch the surface of what life was really like during Puritan times. How far we have come with our civil rights and how far women have come from being dunked in chairs or beaten with sticks for mis-spoken words. It was a harsh time to be a woman or to just be alive then.

I found the most challenging part of writing a young adult novel was tactfulness. I wanted to throw in some swear words every once in a while and maybe a steamy love scene but that was out of the question. I had to stay in the mind of an eighteen year old and that was difficult to do sometimes.

I love that this book travels back in time.  What a shock it would be for a modern teenager to end up in Salem, MA.  Without giving away any secrets… How does Abigail manage?

Haha…That’s a good question! How does she manage? Not very well I guess. She faces a lot of challenges and witnesses a society that is un-accepting of anything that is different, and lets face it, Abigail is very different. But one thing I can say is that she grows on this journey. As we all do in life, we will grow with her in this book and the next three sequels to follow….

Describe Abigail in five words or less…   What about William?

 Abigail in 5 words or less…. Naive, Passionate, Awkward, Caring, and on her way to becoming very strong.

William is Handsome, Well Mannered, Humorous, Compassionate, Sheltered

Do you see a little of yourself or your own children in Abigail?

I see a lot of myself in Abigail as far as her will to try to make a difference. She wants to change history and save the ones she loves. She is absolutely a gluten for punishment as I believe I can be that way and she loves with reckless abandonment. I might have a little of that too….Maybe…

The story’s setting is in Salem, MA.  What inspired you to use this location?  Have you been to Salem and do you have a favorite location you have been or would love to visit?

Well this is a heavy hitter question for me…I had not been to Salem when I first wrote the book. All the information I had gotten about the area I had to research through the internet and see through my moms eyes and her stories. We had a trip planned for last October to go there to visit Gallows Hill and Salem itself. It would be my first trip to the East Coast and Boston. We were going to see where her little house was and her high school. We had bought our plane tickets and were both so excited to go when the leaves were changing. She was so proud to finally share with one of her kids her home town. We were going to stuff our backpacks with food and go on adventures back there for about a week. But my little 4-year-old had gotten sick and I had to cancel our very special trip. She was devastated, she must had known she didn’t have much longer to live but never shared that disappointment with me. She passed away a few months later.

When I was offered a contract with Crescent Moon Press it was around the same time as the NEC Conference in Salem, Massachusetts. Not only was this conference right after I was offered my first book deal but it was in Salem!!! I knew I had to go. I flew out to Boston by myself in May of 2011 on a trip that was supposed to be with my mom. This was our trip, our time and extremely bittersweet…I cried all the way there on the plane because beside me was her ashes. I wanted to bring her on the trip but I also wanted to bring her home. I spread her ashes in Salem Harbor and in the Atlantic Ocean. I went on to Gallows Hill and most places she and I had discussed and I knew she was with me, just not the way we had planned.

I did have a chance to go back again just this last October 2011 for Halloween! It was amazing. I did tons of research on Gallows Hill. Walked Abigail’s street on Belleview Dr and even visited her coffee shop and bookstore from the book. It’s all really there in Salem. And the crazy part is I wrote all of that before I had ever been there. I feel and so does my family and dear friends that as I wrote the book everything that was in it has happened and is real…even finding true love..

Care to share some interesting facts from your research?

I can say one fact that I have learned is that they have said that the exact location of the 1692 hangings is unknown on Gallows Hill. There is a lot of information out there and I have made a commitment to myself over the course of my journey with this series, to find or come close to that infamous oak tree…I know its wishful thinking but I will have many adventures trying to find it.

Do you have a favorite author you would like to emulate?  Or one that has influenced your writing?

Thats actually kind of funny because as a writer I am not exactly inspired by a specific author, I am inspired by history. 

So, what do you have planned for your big launch?  Where can readers find you next month and the weeks to come?

The big awaited launch??? I guess all over Northern California. I am going to RT in Chicago in April 2012 and I am very excited about that. I have many bookstores in Salem that want to do launches there and carry the books and a few things planned locally in Sacramento. I had Sacramento News and Review approach me a few weeks back about doing an article and interview. It will be out the first week in March so that is some great promo and I’m very humbled by the opportunity. I have a few other things up my sleeve over the next few months so I will keep you posted…I am just honored at this point to be able to breathe life into this story. It has so much meaning to me and my mom and I want to make her proud. Everything I do is in her light and its all dedicated to her. She was my everything.

Your social links:

http://thesummerlandnovel.blogspot.com

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I want to thank Elizabeth for sharing her story with us today. It  takes a lot of courage to be able to speak about something so painful, as the loss of her mother.  Her and her mother’s journey inspires me and I have no doubt that Elizabeth will be successful in her endeavors.  Her mom’s legacy will live on in her writing.

I can’t wait to read Abigail’s story.  March can’t get here quick enough.  The Summerland releases next month.  Look for it on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.

Also, I want to second Elizabeth’s acknowledgment of Judi McCoy.  She was a great mentor to those of us at Crescent Moon Press.  It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Judi.  Crescent Moon Press & RT Book Reviews have posted a tribute to Judi’s long-standing career, not only as an author but an avid mentor and teacher.  May we all send our love and prayers to her and her family during this great time of loss.

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