Tag Archives: paranormal

$0.99 Sale: Soul Reborn

Get it for a limited time for $0.99 (retail$3.99)

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iBooks ~ Kindle ~ Kobo ~ Nook

THE HUMAN REALM, HIS BATTLEFIELD

 Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

DEADLY SECRETS BETTER LEFT UNEARTHED

 Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess’ undead army unleashing hell on earth. But Lilly has a secret-one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

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Amazon Giveaway: Soul Reborn (Print)

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Here’s your chance to grab a FREE PRINT copy of Soul Reborn

Click to Enter!

Paranormal Romance

5 Star Ratings / Readers’ Choice

2 Copies up for grabs for limited time.

Ends Feb 23

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Soul Reborn (Key to the Cursed) (Volume 1). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/97d99ed302a3b65c NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Feb 23, 2016 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

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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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Where am I? Cynthia Woolf’s Blog ~ Soul Reborn GIVEAWAY

Giveaway

HI Folks!!  I’m over at Cythnia Woolf’s blog today. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Share your dream world and enter to win a copy of Soul Reborn.

http://cynthiawoolf.com/blog/an-interview-with-jean-murray/

Jean

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Author Open MIC Welcomes ~ Shannon Eckrich

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I am excited to introduce Shannon Eckrich to Wicked Romance.  Her novel Other Side of Forever just released in January.  The story has gotten great reviews and I can’t wait to read it. For a reader and writer of paranormal romance, it wasn’t until this last year I started to delve into Young Adult stories.  Now?  My TBR is 50/50.  The genre captures something that seems pure and real.  I think all of us can relate on some level.  Heck, we lived through those years and probably have our own story to tell.

Born and raised in Delaware, Shannon Eckrich lives with her husband, two children, and chocolate lab, Chewy. She has always had an interest in the paranormal. Ghosts, angels, vampires, aliens, it doesn’t matter, she loves it all. When she’s not writing, you can find her consuming young adult novels. When she discovers an awesome book, one that has a huge impact on her, she has a hard time letting it go, even to lend it to a friend.

Along with reading and writing, she enjoys planting flowers with her daughter, going to the beach, or just hanging out with her family.

So, let’s get started.

Host:  Welcome, Shannon. Tell us a little about yourself and what inspires/motivates you to write YA.  Why do you think it is so popular?

Shannon: Hi, Jean. Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog today. It’s such a pleasure to be here.

I guess I could start out by saying I’m a bookaholic. I absolutely love to read. And it really doesn’t have to be YA. I’m just as content reading my daughter first chapter books as I am reading YA and adult novels. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m volunteering at the firehouse with my husband and my son, spending time with the family, or helping serve lunch to a room full of high school students through the school year.

Yup, I work in a school cafeteria. And it’s the greatest job I ever had besides writing. Watching how the students interact with each other really helps me out when I’m writing, and the teens I come in contact with are pretty amazing.

I enjoy writing YA because it takes me back to my younger years. My husband and I were actually high school sweethearts. We’ve been together since we were fifteen years old, and there’s nothing I love more than reminiscing the mixed emotions I felt the first time our eyes met or the first time we kissed. It was a time of innocence back then, and truly romantic. I think that’s why it’s so popular today with adults. I also think young adults enjoy these novels because they can easily relate to the characters, their emotions, and their problems. Not to mention that a majority of the male characters in YA novels are so freaking hot.

Host:  What are the challenges that young adults face these days?  How do you capture that in your writing?  Are there limitations to what you can or cannot write?

Shannon: Young adults face just as many challenges as we did when we were at that age. Well . . . at least as many challenges as I did in school. They still have the bullies, the peer pressure, and the need to fit in, to be accepted. They’re at that point in their life where they are trying to define who they are and what their purpose is. It can be confusing to them. And I think I captured a majority of these issues when I created Allie in Other Side of Forever. I know we don’t have any special powers (even though it would be super awesome if we did) but that’s what set Allie apart from everyone else. Her powers made her different even though she wanted to be normal. And normal to her was being exactly like everyone else. But as the story progressed we realized that being different isn’t such a bad thing. You know, since she really kicked some major butt in the end. And that’s the message I’m trying to send out to young adults. Be different. Be true to yourself, and just be happy with who you are.

Another way I captured some of these issues is with Becca. Becca is the mean girl, the bully we all had to deal with in school. And even today we’re still dealing with bullies. You see commercials on TV about it and schools claiming to put a stop to it. But the truth is, instead of dealing with it, some schools tend to look away and find it better to ignore the subject. I know this first hand, because my daughter was dealing with it in kindergarten and first grade. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but they start out that young. And even though most bullies won’t go to the extent Becca did, they still make us feel like crap.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations on what I can write. Parents aren’t happy if they find that their child is reading material which contains drugs, alcohol, or any kind of sexual content, so I veered away from that subject as I wrote Other Side of Forever, even though these are some major issues concerning young adults. I wanted this novel to portray the innocence of falling in love for the first time, that first kiss, the excitement and anticipation you feel just by being near that perfect someone, taking in their scent, the electric charge in the air . . .

Oops, sorry. I guess I got a little carried away.

Host:  What are the challenges to writing YA compared to Adult?  Any words of advice for other YA writers?

Shannon: The only challenge I had writing Other Side of Forever versus After the Rain (my adult paranormal short story available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble) is that I had to change my way of thinking. In Other Side of Forever, I had to think like a young adult and ask myself how I would have reacted if I were in the same situation as Allie. After the Rain was fairly easy for me. The story is about a mother, Janie, who runs to the store in the middle of the night and leaves her son with her sister. When she returns, her house is engulfed in flames and her son is trapped inside. Sadly, the story is inspired by a true event, but when writing that piece, I went through all the emotions I would feel, as a mother, if I were to face the same problem as Janie.

I guess the only advice I can give YA writers is to make sure the pacing of their story is fast. And that they end and start a chapter with some kind of action taking place. Young adults are busy these days with cell phones and video games, so it’s our job to keep them reading. And the only way to do that is to give them a reason to keep turning the page.

And to those of you who are aspiring YA authors, my advice to you is to never give up.

Host:  How do you reach out to your audience?  How many of your readers do you think are adults?

Shannon: The fastest and easiest way for me to reach my audience has been the internet. I’m a member of many writing groups and websites and a few critique groups. I also have a Facebook author page and I do have a website. I’ve also been featured in the local paper, attended a book signing at my local library, and shared my novel with the schools.

I think a majority of my readers are adults. There are so many problems in the economy right now that I think adults are looking for a way to escape their everyday problems, and the best way to do that is to be taken back to our youth. Teens and tweens can’t seem to grow up fast enough to their standards. But adults, we want to go back to where we didn’t have to worry about whether or not we might go into work and lose our jobs, deal with those annoying bill collectors, or even worry about whether we bring in enough income to put food onto the table for our families.

It’s really hard out there right now, so we need something to take us away from reality. Even if it’s only temporary.

Host:  What do your kids think of their mom, the author?  Did they help you develop the characters?  What about Chewy? 🙂

Shannon: My daughter, who’s only seven, thinks it’s great. She made sure she told all of her first grade teachers, and I had to set up the computer so she could begin her own story. It’s actually pretty cute watching her type and think about what she wants to write. My son, on the other, could care less. He’s eighteen, so he’s out doing his own thing.

I actually developed the characters myself, but I did run the names by my daughter for approval. 🙂

Of course, Chewy helped me, too. I do a majority of my writing on my laptop while I sit in our recliner, and Chewy, who is about 65 to 70lbs and feels he should be a lap dog, jumps up and squeezes in next to me. He gives me that extra burst of inspiration, if you know what I mean.

Host:  Your cover is so powerful.  Can you tell us what the orb signifies?

Shannon: Thank you, Jean. I think CMP and Taria Reed did such an amazing job bringing Allie to life on the cover of my novel. The orb Allie is holding in her hand is her energy and the energy around her. Once she learns how to control her powers, she can draw in energy and form it into the shape of a ball. It’s really powerful stuff.

Back Cover Blurb

What if your life finally seemed to make sense? But, what if–in an instant–everything is taken away? How far would you go to get your life back?

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson’s telekinetic powers are anything but useful–she can’t bring her father back, can’t stop her mother’s downward spiral into alcohol, and can’t keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals–because he isn’t mortal himself.

When Allie and Ethan’s love is discovered, there’s someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can’t learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.

Host:  There is nothing I love more than forbidden love.  Tell us about the world you created in Other Side of Forever and how does it affect Allie and Ethan.

Shannon:   The world I created in Other Side of Forever affects Ethan and Allie in several ways. They’re in the mortal dimension, so if a mortal happens to find out about Ethan, this could be potentially dangerous for him. He has powers that heal, powers that can manipulate objects, and powers that could actually kill a human instantly if he really wanted to. The scientific community would love to get their hands on someone like him. And he knows this, which is one of the reasons why he has to be secretive about his life. Of course, this is one of the things that really bugs Allie.

It’s bad enough she’s confused about the emotions sweeping through her every time Ethan is near, but to have him wanting to be with her one minute, and then completely pushing her away the next, gets pretty overwhelming for her. Ethan knows this, but he’s caught in a fine line. He views Allie as fragile, since she’s a mortal and can die so much easier than he can. And this frightens him. He’s afraid of not only what the other immortals would do to her if they found out about their relationship, but he also fears that the Darkness, or dark entity, the immortals have warned him about will discover Allie and harm her.

Allie, on the other hand, could care less about her safety. She’s used to taking care of herself, and she sometimes gets a little bothered when Ethan just pops up out of nowhere and saves the day, giving her some lame excuse as to how he managed to get there so fast. When she finally discovers what and who Ethan really is, she goes to every extent to protect his identity, including lying to her friends. This eventually leads to a few confrontations, but Allie and Ethan are determined to be together, no matter what the consequences may be.

Host:  What do you love most about Allie?  About Ethan?  Is there a Hollywood couple that would best represent them?

Shannon: Allie is strong and hardheaded, and I think that’s what I love the most about her. She’s been through a lot; being abandoned by her father, taking care of her alcoholic mother, putting up with Becca, and dealing with these strange powers that she can’t seem to control. But through all of this she continues chugging along. And I think pairing her with a sometimes overly protective immortal really highlighted these traits.

Ethan values Allie’s life over his and he will go to any extreme to make sure nothing happens to her, physically or emotionally. I know that’s definitely a plus on my list. Especially, since he’s so darn good looking.

As of right now I can’t think of a Hollywood couple that would be best to represent them. If something big comes up (which would be so freaking awesome) I would probably leave the casting to the professionals.

Host:  Your blurb makes me curious, (without spilling any secrets) what is the dark entity?

Shannon: Ooh, the dark entity. This is definitely going to be tricky to explain without spilling any secrets. All immortals, or Asterians, have come to believe that a Darkness, or dark entity, is roaming through the mortal world. And that this entity is the cause for war, pollution, and everything else that causes people or mortals, to lose their humanity. The Asterians were so terrified that this entity would make it into their world that they completely closed off the portals to the mortal dimension. The Asterians believe that the dark entity has the ability to jump from mind to mind, leaving nothing but death and destruction in its aftermath, and that it constantly searches for a way into the immortal realm. The only way for it to make it into the immortal realm, however, is for it to attach itself to a mortal who is close to an immortal, and use that mortal as a host to take it through the portal once an Asterian reopens it.

Sorry, guys, but that’s about all I can reveal about the dark entity without spilling any secrets.

Host:  Where can readers find you?

Shannon: I’m normally always online. My readers can find me on facebook, on my website (which I really need to update soon) shannoneckrich.weebly.com, or they can email me at shannoneckrich@gmail.com.

Host:  Where can they buy your book?

Shannon: Other Side of Forever is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and at crescentmoonpress.com.

Other Side of Forever
by Shannon Eckrich

Purchase e-Book
Purchase Print
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN-10: 1937254372
ISBN-13: 978-1937254377
Length: Novel
Publication Date: January 23, 2012
Cover art by Taria Reed

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson’s telekinetic powers are anything but useful–she can’t bring her father back, can’t stop her mother’s downward spiral into alcohol, and can’t keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals–because he isn’t mortal himself.

When Allie and Ethan’s love is discovered, there’s someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can’t learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.

Prologue Excerpt

“There’s always a beginning and an end, Allie,” my mother told me, the poison slurring her words as it wrapped around her tongue. “Nothing lasts forever; not life, not even love.” She slammed her glass of vodka down on the table, venom sloshing up and raining down, beading into small puddles on the linoleum floor. “It all fades away in the end. That perfect little world everyone always dreams about—it never happens.”
Mom spooned this crap to me all the time after Dad left. Big heaping mounds of it. I never knew what it meant because at ten years old, everything seemed to go on forever. The ocean, rainbows, the sky—they never ended to me. They always went on and on with no end in sight.
I mean, really, has anyone ever found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? I think not. And I already had my perfect world I’d made with my best friend Jeremy, a world constructed out of branches, logs, leaves, and anything else we could forage from the forest floor.
But as I grew older, I found meaning in her words. Mom wasn’t talking about what goes on inside a child’s head, inside that world they create where fire-breathing dragons are around every corner and fairy princesses wave their wands to tuck you into bed each night. She was referring to what it was we blossomed into when we reached adulthood. The stuff I would have to prepare myself for, even though some of them would never pertain to me. Marriage (which would never happen), divorce (can’t get ditched if you don’t get hitched), bills (well, yeah), the repo man (her problem, not mine). That kind of stuff.
But more than that, Mom was talking about love (yeah, okay, not a chance). An emotion that turned to dust and got sucked up into our vacuum cleaner a long time ago.
I hated my life. I hated Dad for abandoning me, hated Mom for drinking all the time, hated the fact Jeremy had to move away and leave me.
But most of all, I hated the fact that God had cursed me.

Share with us your thoughts:  Why do you think ADULTS read and/or write YA?

Have questions for Shannon?  Please post below!

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Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Sasha Summers

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It has been awhile since I handed over the MIC, but we are back online and I have a special guest today, Author Sasha Summers.  She has not one book but two that release a month apart.  Needless to say, she is furiously running the blog hop circuit.  Her second book, Hollywood Ever After was featured yesterday here at Wicked Romance– check it out.  I’m grateful to hand her the MIC, but first let me tell you a little about the author.

Sasha and I have an amazing amount in common. Balancing our family life, jobs and trying to fit in writing where ever we can. It is always a challenge and sometimes sleep wins out. I’m so happy to have her on the blog today, because we also share a common interest, the love of mythology and all things gods and goddesses. Sasha—Greek. Me—Egyptian. They have more similarities than you think, but the myths tell their tales in their own unique way.

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.

It’s said love can change a person. Medusa wasn’t always a monster…

Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She’s no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves… and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.

Ariston goes to war with a full heart… and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.

Poseidon will use Greece’s war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.

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

So, Sasha.  Tell us a little bit about your new release, Medusa’s Love Story.  I always felt bad for Medusa.  Did she really deserve her fate?  The Greek gods can be unforgiving at times.  I would hate to be at their mercy and whim.  What inspired you to write about her?

Sasha:  Hi Jean. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m delighted to visit with a fellow mythology fan! We need to stick together 😉

Medusa has always fascinated me – I’m a hopeless romance and tragedy addict and she seemed to represent both. I hadn’t planned to write about her. But I had a dream (I think this happens to a LOT of writer’s) that planted the seeds of my interpretation of Medusa’s story. Once I started writing, I could NOT stop. Not until the last page was done…

Is your book set in present day or the past?  What were the challenges in writing your story?

Sasha: I kept it historical. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted and it was a blend of history and fantasy. The challenge was writing the story, keeping it somewhat historically accurate (somewhat J), and remaining as close to the ‘known’ Medusa myth as possible. I know it’s fantasy, but I wanted it to feel authentic – if that makes sense?

I have always believed you have to stay true to the myth but also exploit the areas that are not well established.  What areas did you stay true to the mythological story?  Which did you exploit?

Sasha:  All of it. None of Medusa’s myth was changed. Ariston, the hero, is my addition – as well as most of the supporting characters – but Medusa’s fate remains the same. I tried to amp up the creep factor with the snakes, that even she was a victim to them. And I made her story about sacrifice versus revenge. In the end, Medusa is more human than most of the characters in the book… I think.

In your research did you find variations in the myth of Medusa or her curse?

Sasha: YES. There are bunches of different versions – everything from the region of her origin to whether or not she was always a monster to a lovely woman. But everything fell into place and I’m very proud of the story that emerged.

Tell me about Artiston?  A warrior guard against Poseidon?  Will he bargain with Hades?  Does he have a chance?

Sasha: He’s an elite warrior for the Greek army – an Ekdromoi. With the Persian invasion an inevitability, the Greek Council decides to place extra safeguards at Athena’s temple. Ariston reluctantly becomes Medusa’s ‘security guard’. When circumstances spiral out of control, Ariston willingly bargains with Hades to return to Medusa. As for the last question – you’ll have to read the book 😉

The Greek gods never play fair.  What is in story for Ariston and Medusa?

Sasha: All I’ll say is this is a tragic love story. Ariston and Medusa are tested at every turn. But they never falter.

Do you have a theme in your story?  If so, would you share?

Sasha: Yes. Love requires sacrifice… day-in and day-out. Not on this level of course… 🙂

Where can readers find more out about you and your book?

Sasha:

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sasha-Summers/213036208773108

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759214.Sasha_Summers

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sashasummers/

Twitter: @sashawrites

Webpage: http://www.sashasummers.com

What are readers saying about your book?  Do have a review/s you are absolutely proud of?  Yes, its okay to brag, if not I’ll do it for you 🙂

This will sound bad, but the greatest compliment I’ve heard is that I made someone cry. I don’t cry easily so, to me, that means they were affected by the book. What more could an author want? I mean, I don’t want to make anyone cry, but I can’t help but feel a little bit proud if Medusa A Love Story causes tears.

A couple of quotes I cherish:

“This book swept me away.”

“The story stayed on my mind for days.”

“This is exactly how I felt about Medusa.”

“I have read a few articles of late from movie producers and they have said they are running out of movie ideas. This I don’t understand with so many great books out there, could you imagine Medusa turned into a movie? If they kept it to your book as is it would be amazing.” – I LOVE THIS one – I am such a movie groupie so this is like… WOW!

Do you have an excerpt to share with readers?

Excerpt:

“You asked for an audience, you have it. Now tell me, where do you belong?” Hades’ voice was deep, emotionless.

Ariston swallowed. “Athens.” He met Hades’ gaze, but the God revealed nothing to him.

“Why? You died with honor and glory. Is that not what every soldier wants?”

“My wife…” His voice wavered.

Hades brow lifted slightly. “Lives. You do not.”

“She is in danger.”

“Earthly danger. She is no longer your concern, Ariston.”

“The danger she faces is not earthly, but far from it…” Ariston’s voice was hoarse, his desperation mounting. He took a wavering breath before he began again. “She is everything to me. I am proud of my death, but it means nothing if she is in peril. I must know.” Ariston kneeled. “I beg you. I beg you to return me to Athens.”

Ariston waited, willing himself to be strong.

“Who is this wife?” Hades asked.

“Medusa of Athens.” He paused. “Now ofRhodes.”

Hades was silent, his dark blue eyes regarding him steadily.

“When I die—” Ariston began.

“You are dead,” Hades assured him.

“When I return…die again, I would serve as guardian to Tartarus. I am a skilled warrior, a skill I might offer you.” He spoke with confidence.

“You vex me,” Hades muttered, the slightest crease appearing between his eyes. “You offer this to me for a woman?”

Ariston nodded. “She is worthy.”

Hades was silent again, his eyes shifting to the blue-white flames in the massive

fireplace.

“My words do not…adequately express the love I have for this woman. But I cannot leave her. She is at risk. I must return.” The words came without thought. How could he justify such emotion to a God who reviled affection or companionship? “AsOlympushas my arm and sword, she has my heart – a mortal, and perhaps weak, heart.”

The room was silent for too long. He would have to fight his way out…

“It is a weakness not reserved for mortals alone, Ariston of Rhodes.” Hades’ words were so soft Ariston feared they’d not been spoken. But Hades continued, strong and clear. “I will return you to your ship so that you may lead your men to victory. Too many have fallen from this war and I would see it end. When that is done, you may go to your wife.” He paused then added, “When you return to my realm, I will have your fealty.”

The God of the Underworld, Lord of Death, gave him mercy? Mayhap there was one God he might serve with honor.

Ariston vowed, “You have it.”

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

Purchase Links

Amazon Kindle (available in paperback as well) : http://www.amazon.com/Medusa-Story-Loves-Olympus-ebook/dp/B007WSV5JI/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

Barnes and Noble (available for NOOK as well): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/medusa-a-love-story-sasha-summers/1110296522?ean=9781937254513

Medusa Book trailer


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90fH7xoZiCo

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Anniversary Blog Hop: I have a contract. NOW WHAT?

Last week on Crescent Moon Press’ Blog, I posted my pitch to my publisher.  It was my first and it wasn’t pretty, but I caught the eye of the editor and here I am today.  But what happened between then and now.  Boy, a whole lot!  (Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and Crescent Moon Press’ Blog and be entered to win signed print copy of Soul Reborn, see details below)

I remember being so stunned by the contract offer.  It took about a month and then I received my first edit reviews and was surprised there wasn’t more red letters and highlighted sections.  I thought wow, maybe this won’t be so bad.  Little did I know the first edits were story structure and plot, which tends to be one of my strengths.  Let’s just say the second and third passes were bloody.  Don’t even talk to me about passive writing.  Ack!  I worked so hard to remove it, I will never make that mistake again.

I think the fabulous part of it all was that my editor was as much a mentor as she was my editor.  She did an amazing job.  I laughed at my own mistakes and learned some hard lessons, all of which have made me be a better writer today.  This is a tough industry and to say you must have tough skin is an understatement.  The key that made it such a great experience was the fact that I wanted her to be brutal, because it forced me to learn and change my habits as a writer.  It was very important not to take her feedback personally. She wanted this book to succeed as much as I did.

Of course I can’t help but share one of my editorial comments.  Like I said before, I did a lot of laughing at myself. A. LOT.

Not many authors share their faults, but what the hell– it’s my anniversary!

Editors comments on my CRUTCH PHRASES:  “You really, really, REALLY love the phrases “clenched teeth” and “ground teeth.” It seems like someone is clenching or grinding their teeth every page or so, sometimes more than once per page. We can’t have that. Delve deeper into the 98% of communication that is nonverbal and find more ways to show your characters’ frustration/irritation. I started marking the ones I saw about halfway through the manuscript. Globally searching for “teeth” and “jaw” should root out most of them. Have fun!”

Her comments inspired me to share my experience.  This is an archived post that I released shortly before my book was released.

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

What I learned from my editor in the first 60 days: “Oh, how I love to “grind my teeth.” Crutch phrases and everything else in between…

I picked my favorite lesson out of the list because I can’t help but laugh every time I see it. “Oh, how I love to grind my teeth” or as it were “Oh, how my characters loved to grind their teeth.”

Being a new writer has its challenges. It is a learning process every step of the way, and thank god for my editor, Heather Howland at Crescent Moon Press. She has held my hand through editing Soul Reborn and its journey to publication. I can’t thank her enough.

Yes, writing about emotion and the display of it is very difficult for a new writer. Whether it is inexperience or laziness, we use phrases over and over and over again. Apparently, my idea of showing frustration was teeth grinding and jaw clenching. My hero, Asar- Egyptian God of the Underworld, is a very intense character, angry and bitter. Poor guys soulless. He gets very frustrated with the heroine, Lilly. She is a serious distraction from his quest for vengeance. For as many times as he ground his teeth (67 occurrences) and clenched (19) his jaw, he would have nubs for dentition and TMJ by the end of the story. A dentist’s nightmare.

Lesson one: Find other body parts and gestures to display negative emotion.
As humans, non-verbal body language is a very important component of communication. It conveys how an individual may be feeling with or without verbal stimuli. It includes body posture, gestures, facial expression and eye movements. Research suggests anywhere between 60-90 percent of our communication is non-verbal. We process these non-verbal cues on a subconscious level. Astounding!

Whether we are using gestures, body posture or even the distance we place ourselves from another individual all conveys some meaning. Some unintentional gestures can act as a lie detector. Using these concepts in our writing empowers the characters, makes them real to the reader. Okay, easier said than done. Right?

How did I solve my problem? I decided I need to make some observations. What better place to pick up on negative non-verbal communication than the metro station in DC. Not a whole lot of verbal communication goes on between strangers in this environment and who wouldn’t be frustrated packed into a metro car with millions of other people invading their personal space.

Frustration cues
Arms crossed over chest
Rubbing/scratching the back of the neck/head
Running fingers through the hair
Short breaths exhaling in small puffs through nose
Clenching hands
Pointing one index finger
And yes, clenching jaw and teeth

Mix these gestures with facial expressions, body posture and verbal exchange and your character comes alive.

What is your favorite crutch phrase? What have you learned about yourself in your writing process? Please take a moment to share…

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

So, there you have it.  From contact to release were some of the hardest days in my writing career.  Writing the stories are easy compared to tearing them apart and accepting your flaws, but in the end the reward was worth THIS…

To see my first cover:

Crescent Moon Press

 To announcing Soul Reborn’s release:

https://wickedromance.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/soul-reborn-available-on-kindle/

To reading my first reviews:

5-slipper review

To attend my first conference & book signing:

Thank you!!

Look out for more things to come. 

Leave a comment on the Anniversary Blog Hop posts and be entered to win a signed print copy of Soul Reborn!   (print- US/Canada only; ebook- international)

1st Stop:  Crescent Moon Press Blog

2nd Stop:  This Post

3rd Stop:  My first conference and Book  Signing.  Is that Lara Adrian?

4th Stop: Last day of Sale/Sunday, July 15th.  The Journey Continues: Book II

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Filed under Craft, Key to the Cursed, Lessons in 60 days

Anniversary Blog Hop ~ Talent Tuesday Interview

I’m continuing my Anniversary Blog Hop today over at Author Sasha Summers’ blog for a fun interview.  Find out a little more about the Key to the Cursed series.

My favorite line from Soul Reborn?  Click HERE to find out

What is yours?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Key to the Cursed, Soul Reborn

How it all began…

Come join my anniversary blog hop.

I’m over at Crescent Moon Press’ Blog reminiscing about the pitch that sold my manuscript.  The once titled Lion’s Flower found a new home and a new name, Soul Reborn.  See how it all started.

Don’t forget…

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Filed under Events, PROMO, Soul Reborn

Midsummer Night’s Blog Hop ~ Asar welcomes Matty to Aaru

What hempen home-spuns have we swagg’ring here, so near the cradle of the fairy queen? Puck, Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Blog Hop has high hopes of honoring the 2012 summer solstice with a character interview spectacle. Characters will be interviewed not by author/reviewer bloggers…but other characters. The twist…the characters will be paired by lots drawn out of a hat.

See participating authors, characters and links below….

Jean Murray + Wendy Russo

Asar, Egyptian God of the Underworld, desires vengeance at all costs against a malevolent goddess that stole his soul. Meanwhile, he serves as judge, jury, and executioner for the souls seeking refuge in Aaru, Paradise Isle of the Underworld. Seventeen-year-old Matty Ducayn, an unruly math-minded genius and occasional smart ass, may offend Asar in three seconds flat. Or maybe not.

Gate to the Afterlife

The fun continues with our character interviews….

Asar paced the short slab of sandstone walk in the garden.  His gaze was met by smiling green eyes.

“You are going to wear a hole in the garden path if you keep this up.  Why are you so nervous anyways?”

He stopped and sat next to his wife on steps and looked out over the green expanse of flowering bushes and trees. Lilly leaned against his shoulder, which prompted him to wrap his arm around her waist and tug her closer to his side. “I have no idea. I have faced down harden criminals without blinking an eye, but this boy, Matty…” Asar shook his head and smiled. “I like him very much. He is curious and is not swayed easily by my presence. Much like you on the day you stood up to me in the tunnel.”

She chuckled. “I like Matty already.”

“You would.” He brushed his thumb over her smooth pale cheek. “He has gotten me thinking though. Have you given it any thought of having our own children?”

“Asar, I…”

The familiar weight of energy press in around them. Black smoke rose from the floor. Matty’s physical form solidified out of the air, shadowed by his brother, Kamen.  Asar stole one last glance at Lilly before rising to his feet. He would have to wait for his answer.

“Matty,” Asar said extending his hand for the boy to grasp, more out of need to stabilize him than a friendly greeting. “The dizziness will pass quickly, just keep breathing.”

“The air is sparkly,” he said breathlessly. The boy blinked his eyes.

“Here let me help, Matty.”  Lilly brushed her hand over his sandy blonde hair. “It’s not easy getting your molecules scrambled. It took me awhile to get used to it.”  His wife’s ability to heal would quickly make the boy feel human again.

“That’s a great trick…Lilly, is it?”

She smiled. “It is very nice to meet you.  Asar has told me much about your world.  I also hear you like astronomy.  Well, you’ll get to see the stars tonight.  Orion’s belt, Ursa Major and Minor.”

“Northern hemisphere constellations!” the boy said excitedly. “That means Mars and Saturn will be on the western horizon at dusk. Leo and Gemini, too!”

Matty turned slowly in a circle. His eyes widened when the enormous sandstone palace came into view. The sun glinted off the gold shields on the front entrance. “Huh.”

“Is everything to your liking?” Asar inquired.

“I expected beautiful…paradise isle, you said.” Matty cupped his hand under a flower, but didn’t touch it. “Underworld…I wasn’t expecting sun.”

“Aaru is a reflection of the human realm, but the cycles are in opposition.  Morning here.  Night and evening there.”  Asar turned to Kamen and gasped his forearm. “Thank you. I will take things from here, brother.”

”He doesn’t talk much, does he?” the boy asked, glancing in Kamen’s direction.

“Kamen is not known for his idle conversation.” Asar shifted his gaze to Lilly. “Matty, you already guessed that this is Lilly.” His eyes lingered on his wife, but he was drawn back to the boy. “I want to show you something before we go into the archive.  Follow me.”

Asar led the group around the edge of the palace to the beach. The serpentine river of the Underworld snaked off into the distance. He knelt next to Matty and pointed. “See the temple there…just to the right of it is a large expansive gate that traverses the width of the river. Do you know what that is on the other side, Matty?”

With his eyes glued to the massive structure, the boy shook his head.

“Those are the gates that separate Duat from Aaru. The temple you see to the left is the Hall of Judges, where the souls come to be weighed. Those worthy will pass and live eternity in the isle you see across the river.”

“Some doors cannot be opened once closed,” the boy said quietly, “or closed once open.”

Asar knew a smart intellectual boy like Matty would understand and appreciate what he was seeing. No living human had ever gazed upon the gates, except maybe Lilly and her sisters, but that was an unusual circumstance in and of itself.  Asar gathered the phrase Matty spoke had a more personal significance than a time honored cliché.  “Your appraisal holds truth. Where did you come by it?”

“A conversation I had with Hadrian a while back,” Matty explained. “When he gave me his challenge, he also gave me the option of going home…to my grandfather’s ranch in the country, but cautioned that some doors cannot be opened once closed.”

“Ah, carpe diem. Seize the day,” Lilly added. “A very well served lesson. So which did you choose?  The challenge or going home?  You don’t strike me as the stay at home and twiddle your thumbs kind of guy.”

Matty snorted.  “Home’s nice,” Matty said with a nod. “My dad’s more concerned with consequences.”

“I only saw a small sliver of your world. Can you tell me more about it and its King? King Hadrian, right?” Asar pressed.

“Hadrian’s got a lot of layers,” said Matty. The boy met Asar’s gaze for the first time since walking onto the beach. “I can tell you this because we’re here. At home, I’m bound by this thing called The Privacy Act. Discussion of the king’s private affairs is a quick way to earn 18 months in jail.”

“No first amendment rights? I’m not down with that.” Lilly scowled.

“You need not worry, Matty. Your transgression is safe with us,” Asar joked, hiding his own concern over the matter.  Even he would not be so harsh and that was saying a lot. Asar headed up the steps from the beach to the Palace hall. Matty followed at his side and appeared to be lost to his own thoughts.

“There are four Hadrians…and which one you get depends more on who you are than him. In Old World kingdoms, being the king was the greatest honor, but in Columbia…Hadrian’s not just the king. He’s the president of the assembly. He’s the prime executive officer of Steer Industries…the company that facilitated my ancestor’s migration. It’s not taught in school, but sources my schoolmasters would consider disreputable say that one man having all that power is not good for society.”

“We have our own problems with certain individuals wanting to dominate.  I’ll join the merry band of disreputables in saying tyranny is bad for society. Even the Pantheons are not set up with one ruler. Asar shares rein with the Mother Goddess.”

“Hadrian makes the risk hard to see. Past the glamour and the guardians, he’s rather boring. He works 16 hour days, comes home nightly to an empty house. He cooks his own supper, cleans his kitchen, and goes to bed. On his rare days off, he reads, naps on his couch. Once he took a sledgehammer and demolished his bathroom, but other than that, his house is exactly as his father left it almost 18 years ago. In a word, I’d call him lonely.”

“The King has shown interest in you. What about your natural father?  He is a general?” Asar asked.

Natural…” the boy scoffed with clear sarcasm. “Centuries ago, our first Assemblymen were the officers of the January Black, the ship that brought our ancestors to Aventine and now lays at the bottom of our bay. When the need arose for someone to oversee the staff of the capitol hill, they called that man ‘commandant.’ Today, my father is that man.”

“There must be expectations of you. It has not left you much room for fun, has it?” Asar asked.

“Oh, I’ve made time for fun,” Matty told them. “My fun is what caught Hadrian’s attention.”

“Tell me of the quest your King has sent you on?” Asar knew better than to think the boy had chosen home over the challenge set before him.

“In Columbia, it is nearly impossible to work for the government without a diploma from the Regents’ School, so when one of my stunts got me expelled, it pretty much ruined any chance I had of living up to the expectation you mentioned.  Not that I cared. I was perfectly happy to go to my grandfathers, but my admission was sponsored by Hadrian, so I had embarrassed him as well. Or I would have, if he had cared, which as I learned that night, he really didn’t. He offered me a Regent master’s diploma…which would qualify me to work in any government office I wanted…if I answered a question.”

Asar pulled to a stop and looked down at young boy. Lilly clasped his hand and squeezed. “What question would be worth what he offered you?”

“What was January Black?” The boy replied. “On the surface, it’s a silly question. It’s a ship, as I mentioned before. But the catch to Hadrian’s challenge is that the answer must satisfy him, and that’s not the answer he wants.  Every road I’ve followed has led to black holes and locked doors.”

Asar guided his young guest to two large ornate gold doors with crystal handles.  “Perhaps you are here for doors you can unlock?”

The boy looked at Lilly anxiously, then back to Asar. His hands fiddled in front of him. “I should mention, um…I uh…I have a…biological response to the smell of old books.”

“I should introduce you to my sister, Kendra.  She gets high off old book smell.  You two could balance each other out.” Lilly laughed.

Asar guided the doors open. Matty held his breath and walked in with his eyes closed. After a moment, he blew out his breath and opened his eyes. With mouth gaping Matty slowly shuffled down the center aisle of the archive.  Large statues rose from the thick black stone and shoulder the massive arched ceiling. Hieroglyphics etched into the ebony marble told a story of a past long since forgotten.  Rows of books too many to count lined the outer walls of the expansive room. Only a few wooden tables stood off to the side.  The most impressive pieces lay in the middle of the room, relics saved from the ruin in the human realm.  Treasures of the pharaohs.  Treasures of earth.

“Two-point-seven-one-eight-one…” Matty mumbled off a stream of numbers.

Asar looked at his wife for a clue of what it meant. She shrugged.

“It’s like Hadrian’s library went supernova.”

“Do you see something that interests you?” Asar asked.

“Everything,” the boy said greedily.  Asar was surprised at the amount of sorrow hidden beneath the boy’s excitement. But then again, he only had a few hours to explore. Matty’s disappointment evaporated, his attention claimed by an object on display. A sextant, a device used by sailors to find their way at sea. “I’ll settle for holding that in my hands,” he said.

“Absolutely!  Take as much time as you want, Matty.” Asar watched the boy’s facial expressions. They were nothing short of reverence and awe.  This boy was truly special. The warm press of his wife’s hand on his arm drew his attention away for a moment.

“You look sad,” she said, as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against his chest. He could still see the boy conversing with the sextant.

“Do I?”

“You’re worried about him.”

“Sorry, I did not mean to burden you.” He should have known that Lilly would feel his concern through their bond. It was a blessing, but also made it difficult keeping feelings private.

“Do you think King Hadrian’s challenge is a ploy?” Lilly asked.

The same question had been bouncing around in his own head.  Asar held his tongue.  He did not want to think the King would abuse his power and put the boy at risk. Gods know, he had witnessed Kings behaving badly over several thousand years of human history.  Even the Pantheons of the gods were not immune to it.  Not a safe time to raise young ones, he thought sadly.

There were no certainties, but one– Matty finding the answer to his question.

Book of the Dead

Wendy Russo is a Big Horn Basin girl transplanted in South Louisiana. Her writing draws from philosophy, pop culture, classic literature, religion, art, anthropology, math, and science. She enjoy writing inquisitive and introspective characters. I like slow reveals and snowballing climaxes. Her novel, January Black, will be released January 2013 by Crescent Moon Press.

January Black….

Sixteen-year-old Matty Ducayn is a disappointment to everyone who knows him.  As the son of The Hill’s commandant, he is expected conform to a strict, unspoken code of conduct. Small acts of defiance over years—like playing in the dirt and walking on the grass—have earned him a reputation for being unruly, but it’s his sarcastic test answers that finally get him expelled from school. Instead of punishing him, King Hadrian offers Matty a diploma, with a catch. He must answer a question: What was January Black?

With the help of Iris, a gardener on his father’s staff, Matty takes his quest beyond The Hill’s walls and tightly controlled media. But trying to solve the puzzle puts him on a collision course with the Janus Law, a royal decree mandating death to those who trespass in a forbidden garden. Has Hadrian set him up from the beginning to lose?

*****

Jean Murray, the owner of Wicked Romance, was born and raised in a small town on the east coast. In her pursuit of a nursing degree, she aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. One of the benefits of her membership in the Armed Forces, she has had the opportunity to travel and live in different parts of the world and the United States. Her travels abroad have given her the opportunity to experience different cultures. It inspired her to delve into Ancient Egyptian myths and legends for her debut novel, Soul Reborn, book 1 in the Key to the Cursed series from Crescent Moon Press, now available.

Soul Reborn….

THE HUMAN REALM, HIS BATTLEFIELD.

Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

DEADLY SECRETS BETTER LEFT UNEARTHED.

Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess’ undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret-one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

CLICK HERE FOR MATTY’S INTERVIEW OF ASAR!!

MORE AUTHORS.  MORE CHARACTERS.  MORE INTERVIEWS!

The Interviews!


The Interviews!


Gregor Caine + Circe
(Christine Ashworth & Claire Gillian)

Sydney + Poseidon
(Cindy Young-Turner & Sasha Summers)

Caleb + Arland and Kate
(Kinley Baker & Krystal Wade)

Leigh Baxton + Micah Fuller
(Lindsay Loucks & Diane M. Haynes)

Shayla Dormyr + Kara Magari
(Raven Bower & S.M. Boyce)

Kellyn O’Brien + Julianna
(Louann Carroll & Siobhan Muir)

Ivory + Sara Wiley
(Rebecca Hamilton & Sandra Bunino)

Xylia and Landon + Avant
(Avery Olive & Kary Rader)

Asar + Matty Ducayn
(Jean Murray & Wendy Russo)

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Filed under Events, Guest Author, Key to the Cursed, Soul Reborn, Uncategorized