April 28, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors: He knows. Not good... RUNNING FROM SHADOWS #8Sunday #RT2013 #Signing

Thank you for stopping by. I'm excited to participate with such a fantastic group of writers! Check out other warriors here!

Today I'm sharing from my (unpublished) young adult paranormal romance Running From Shadows, currently being read by a lovely agent!! Squee!! 

Follow Greta Shore (a 17-year-old, black-haired wiccan beauty) and Paxton "Pax" Craig (an 18-year-old, blond-haired college student with a dark secret) as they discover the fate of their forbidden love.
(Read last week's post) Set-up... Pax has told Greta that he's a unicorn. A unicorn!!! So, of course, Greta is all: sure, yeah, whatever... Prove it! Pax is stubborn, so he says he won't shift into his full monoceros form, but he shows her his horn. Has she had enough proof? Erm, yeah. She needs to find her words. Change the subject. Not think about his horn...

Cover Art by Danielle Fine

Hadn’t he mentioned slayers…witches? “So you know I’m a witch?”

He nodded and laughed, “Yeah.”

I could almost hear another duh in his voice. “All right, smarty, how did you know?” Without thinking, I playfully punched at his shoulder. But I missed because he saw it coming, grabbed my wrist and spun me around. One hand held my wrist and pressed my own arm against my chest, while his other arm wrapped firmly around my waist and crushed me to his body. 

Tune in next week for more Greta and Pax!!

Thanks again for stopping by! Your support and feedback is greatly appreciated!

Because being a warrior is hard work, here's a vid from the Running From Shadows playlist to reward all you sexy, sweaty peeps ;)
Every Time We Touch by Cascada
So, erm, not exactly sure what the library really has to do with this vid...you'll see :P
(Track #9)

Extra! Extra!

*I may be a little slow responding to 8Sunday posts cos I'll be at the RT Booklovers Convention all this week!! Leaving today! And my first official book signing--out in public--will be at the EXPO on Thursday, May 2 from 4-6PM. Stop by and see me! :D

*Self-publishing? Need an editor and cover artist? Check out my uber-talented editor, Danielle Fine, she's wonderful to work with and does exceptional work! Click here for more info! 

*Check out the USA Today recommended book trailer for Witch Way to Turn!! here

April 24, 2013

Midweek Mayhem: Signing books and pitching dragons...holla! :D #RT2013 #PlayListVid

Working it out…
  • (NEW) Monday I spotlighted author S.X. Bradley's Unraveled! A dark and twisty YA mystery...heck yes! On my TBR list for sure!! Check it out here!
  • (NEW) Today I interviewed a lovely friend and talented author Heather Van Fleet! Read here!
  • (NEW) I can't believe the RT Booklovers Convention is almost here!! I fly out to Kansas City, MO in FOUR days!!! Come see me! I'll be signing Witch Way to Turn on Thursday, May 2nd at the EXPO! here :)
The Becoming Playlist!
Wanted to share some of the songs that inspired me as I wrote Becoming...this song always makes me think of Taylor singing to Zoe... Erm, an angrier girl version tho :P
Heart on Fire by A Life Divided 


Hearing voices…
Cover art by Danielle Fine
  • My dark and gritty new adult urban fantasy with cursed dragon shifters, titled Becoming, is currently with my amazing editor!!! So excited to make this story sparkle and then pitch it at RT and RWA soon! Agents, you're gonna want this story...like super bad! Just sayin' ;D
  • Check out my stunning cover inspiration (right side above this paragraph) designed by the talented Danielle Fine!!! 
  • (Read fave sentences from chapter 5 here) Today I'm gonna share just a few sentences from chapter 6 that my editor loved :D The sentences don't have anything to do with each other.
  • Twitter pitch: After a transplant gives Zoe a dragon shifter’s heart, she learns that her online boyfriend is her donor and...a girl.
(Zoe's POV) For a few seconds no one stood under the enormous breezeway but the two of them.  
(Zoe's POV) Wanting filled his eyes, and need lifted his brow, but something else lingered in his controlled expression and subtle smile.  
(Zoe's POV) She’d never been into girls. Never had a curious thought. Never wanted to touch the soft strands of another girl’s hair. Never wanted to feel another girl’s lips pressed against hers, until… 
(Taylor's POV) Couldn’t she have just this one happiness? A moment to enjoy and remember without it being corrupted by murderous temptation. 
(Zoe's POV) Taylor shook her head and smiled—a stunning grin that made Zoe’s words melt away.  
(Zoe's POV) The anxious pounding of Zoe’s heart settled to a sure and steady beat 
(Zoe's POV) Zoe nestled into the petal-like caress, closing her eyes and letting her imagination run wild with thoughts of Taylor’s lips soft and sweet against hers.  
(Zoe's POV) Fireflies flapped in her stomach, lighting up every nerve-ending. Her lips tingled as she parted them, hoping. 
(Zoe's POV) The fireflies in her stomach ignited, flew through her veins and tingled in forbidden places. Here and now were the only options. No worrying about living in the moment, because this moment was all she ever wanted to live.  
(Zoe's POV) Being held captive by Taylor’s kiss was the first time she’d ever felt truly free.
(Taylor's POV) Beauty’s touch couldn’t mask the pain of the beast’s need.

Dragon update... Round one of edits on the last 100 pages of Becoming has begun!! Guess what?? I finished the Becoming prequel on Monday!!!! Ahhh, so excited!! It's nearly 9k words and all from Taylor's POV--let's face it, we all know she's my fave :P Gotta a dragon! 

Cover art by Danielle Fine
Waiting game...
  • On week #8 of waiting to hear back from a lovely agent who is reading Running From Shadows.
  • Partial requests from two agents for Becoming! Squee!!! On week #3 with one awesome agent, and week #4 with the other awesome agent!! *fingers and toes crossed* 
Cover art and editing by Danielle Fine
  • Currently I am beta-reading for a fantastic friend and writer... Katheryn! Hooray for grim reapers!!
  • Finished reading Tsavo Pride by Laura Diamond! A fantastic short story, young adult, horror read with werelions! Check out the stunning cover here >>>>
  • Looking for book recommendations and reviews for your 2013 TBR List? Check out The Perks of Being a Book Nerd

Bonus material... 
*Writers, looking for a talented editor? I highly recommend Danielle Fine. She's edited three manuscripts of mine and has taught me so much! I'm a stronger writer because of her guidance. Also, she designed my beautiful inspiration cover art for Becoming and Running From Shadows! Annnnd she created the book trailer for Witch Way to Turn! 
*For more information on Dani's editing services, cover design, book trailer creation and website design stop by her site >>>> here!

Random Alert! Alert. Alert. Alert...

My current read...

The hubs and I met up with my cousin, her hubby and their adorable two-year boy for some fun in the sun over the weekend...only the sun decided to come out and play the day we left :P Saturday it was too chilly to get in the ocean, so the boys played shuffle board while the girls played table tennis :) I'll admit... I lost >.< *needs a rematch* lolz Ohh, and btw, shuffle board is way harder to play than it looks...just sayin' :P

Ahhh, the randomness y'all have come to expect...my toes in the sand. Huh, just noticed I'm nearly as white as the sand...obviously I need more time in the sun! ;)
Me just chillin'...before we left the beach on Sunday...it was sooo windy!!! Which I gotta say, is uber annoying for someone with bangs...I know, real problems, right? :P
So this painting was in the Mexican restaurant where the hubs and I stopped for lunch on our way home on Sunday. How cool is that?! I was taken by it, so... Picture! :D

Completely random pic from last week...action shot with Rusty pup!! Ohh, Rusty Factoid... Rusty pup is actually his Twitter/Facebook stage name :P His legal name is Russel 'Rusty' Bynum. Buuuut actually the hubs and I call him one of the following: Bunny, Horsey, Kitty, Pony or Bug...normally I always call him Bunny or Bun. Erm, so, he answers to just about anything. Why yes, yes he is a very confused pup! ;)

Author Interview: @heatherlpowell's debut release titled When It's Least Expected!! #YA #Contemp

Hello my darlings! Today I am so excited to interview a dear friend and lovely author Heather Van Fleet!!

Title: When It’s Least Expected
Author: Heather Van Fleet
Publisher: No Boundaries Press
Series: The Perfect Timing series
Release date: 23 April 2013
Genre: MATURE YA contemporary
Pages: 220
Website ~
Twitter ~ Facebook 

Karen: Welcome, Heather! Happy Release Week!!! It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Please, sit, stay awhile. I’ve already made a trip to Starbucks. *hands you white chocolate mocha*

Heather: Yum… thanks! It’s been way too long since I’ve had one of these! *Takes a big gulping drink and then nibbles on a cheese Danish*

Karen: Ooo, you brought Danishes!! *attacks pastry then wipes away crumbs* Okay, let the fun begin! Can you tell my readers what’s the weirdest thing you like to eat?

Heather: Well, let’s see… I really love hummus and I love to dip pretzels in sour cream. That’s about as crazy as I get :)

Karen: Ewww, sour cream! :P Hummus and pretzels sound delish though! Food is getting me distracted... Tell us about your novel, When It’s Least Expected, what’s it about? I love the cover by the way!

Heather: Thanks, the looks on their faces is Harley (my heroine) and Mason (my hero) all the way!

Well, let’s see,
When It’s Least Expected, or WILE for short, is my baby. The very first book I ever wrote. It’s about two high school seniors who meet, fight, and kiss (a lot) all while learning how to get beyond their tragic pasts and fall in love. Mason is new to town, and Harley wants nothing to do with him. It sounds like a typical YA I know, but it’s really not. I like to push the boundaries with my high school characters and in my own Heather-way, that’s what I did with WILE.

Karen: Lots of kissing AND boundary pushing... Sold! What was your favorite part/scene to write in When It’s Least Expected? And why?

Heather: My FAVORITE scene was a funeral scene believe it or not. It’s a turning point for Mason, and also the part where I (as the author) truly fell in love with him.

Karen: I love that moment when we fall for our own heroes! So tell me more, how long did it take for When It’s Least Expected to be published (from offer to release date)? Tell us a little about the process.

Heather: WILE has been through the wringer and back, let me tell you. I was offered a contract a while back through a great publisher, but they closed a few months before my release date. To say I was sad would have been an understatement… But I got back on my horse and queried away. Unfortunately, I got a LOT of rejections. But then I came across No Boundaries Press and they took it on, seeing potential, and offered me up a contract a few months later. Then I realized how bad this book was. I mean, it was terrible! Too much telling, not enough showing, way to long for a YA, and written in third person present tense. Ugh. I was ashamed that I even sent it out. So I took it back from the publisher, spent two LONG months fixing it, prettying it up, and sending it to a few betas for advice. That has been my best decision ever because now I can comfortably say that I am proud of my baby.

Karen: Wow! Sounds like a lot of TLC has gone into WILE :) Will there be a sequel to When It’s Least Expected?

Heather: There will be! But it’s David’s (Harley’s twin brother) and Abigail’s (Harley’s best friend) story. The sequel is entitled A Long Time Coming, and I hope to have it ready for submission to my publisher within the next few months.

Karen: That's so exciting! Great title! (So, erm... Random question alert!!) Be honest, what’s the longest you’ve gone without washing your hair?

Heather: Oh Lord, I can go a week, sometimes more without washing it. I guess I just have that kind of hair :)

Karen: *am so jealous* I can only go a day! :P So, is there an author that you’d like to stalk, uh, meet?

Heather: Um, how many more days until the RT Book Convention? *counts fingers* LOL I can’t wait to meet you of course!! :) I’d also love to meet Kelly Gendron and Jamie McGuire. Both of those ladies write killer books!!

Karen: *hugs* Yayay! The RT Convention is next week! I can't wait to meet you too! We have so much to talk about! :D Maybe you'll even give me the inside scoop on A Long Time Coming! Oh right, back to the questions... Who controls your characters? You or them?

Heather: I’d like to say it’s me, but they are currently beating me in the head as I write this! They do of course, all the way. I can plot and plot and plot, but once I get going they tell me what to do, what to write, unless of course they get too carried away. A lot of times I have to remind them that my books are for YOUNG ADULTS, not grown thirty-year-old women.

Karen: True! ;) I totally understand how that goes! It's like they have a mind of their own or something :P So when would you say they are the most persistent?

Heather: At night, when I’m trying to sleep, when I’m in the shower, and when I am folding laundry :) No, seriously, they speak to me alllll day. Sometimes I have to remind them that I have a life outside of theirs. Then they get mad, and it’s not pretty.

Karen: LOL ;) Once you get all the voices semi under control, where do you write? (office, coffee shop, middle of the woods, etc.)

Heather: I am a Starbucks writer all the way. If I was an academy award winner then I’d be thanking them. Thanking them for not kicking me out when I run a little past closing time, thanking them for always knowing my drink without even asking. A lot of the time I try to write in bed too, but then I get sleepy and end up pulling one of these moves (sleeppppppppppppppp) on my computer.

Karen: Love it! Definitely a BIG caffeinated thank you to Starbucks! I hear ya on the sleep thing...if I try to write in bed, it's over ;) Speaking of writing...how long does it normally take you to write a book?

Heather: Anymore it takes me a good four to six months to complete a novel. It used to be shorter, but I’ve got three daughters, a publicist job, and I help to run the websites Sizzling Hot Books and sizzlinghotyabooks.net so my time isn’t as free as it once was.

Karen: Totally there with ya! Too many things trying to keep us away from our fictional hotties :P What do you do in your down-time…if there is such a thing?

Heather: All my down-time is spent with my girls, my hubby, or with my nose in my Kindle.

Karen: Sounds like an excellent way to spend free-time to me! :) Before we go, you must face the rapid fire round. Dun, dun, dun…

Coffee or tea? Coffee, all the way.
Chocolate: dark or milk? Milk
Flats or heels? Flats
Yes or no? No, because I don’t say it enough
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars, definitely
Ice: crushed or cubed? Crushed
Italian or French (food, not men)? Really, no men? Because I’d take both if that was the case :) Anyways, Italian of course. I am a pasta obsessed freak
Panster or plotter? Panster
Paper or plastic? Paper
Vampires or werewolves? Werewolves
Pencil or pen? Pen
Firemen or cops? Firemen, sigh…
Kindle or Nook? Kindle
Sunshine or Rain? Sunshine for sure!

Karen: Thank you so much for stopping by, Heather! Feel free to visit any time!

Heather: Thanks Karen for having me! You are the absolute best!!!

TEENY TINY TEASING excerpt for When It’s Least Expected:

“Don’t…” he whispered almost aggressively, “…think, Harley. Just feel,” he pulled her so close, that nothing but their clothes separated their skin. When in the hell did this happen? And why in the hell did she like it? She should be embarrassed … no, scratch that. She should be mortified that she was practically pressed underneath him, but as her breathing turned rapid and she got sucked deeper into that come hither smile of his, she had no choice but to drop every single inhibition she had. She was in way too deep to dig her way out. 

April 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: @SusanXBradley hijacks my blog with a dark and twisty YA mystery! #UNRAVELED #EvernightTeen

***Hello my darlings! Today author S.X. Bradley takes over my blog to spotlight her latest release... Unraveled! Check out this dark and twisty YA mystery!***

Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family. When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder.

Happy Monday. First of all-thanks to Karen for let me hijack her blog today.

One of the most common questions I get about my YA mystery, Unraveled, is where did the idea for the story came from. I love talking about this because I can remember it so clearly.

I was a senior in high school (yes, many moons ago) and we were hanging out at South Padre Island in Texas for Spring Break. I grew up about an hour away from there, so it wasn’t as big of a deal to go as it is today. Anyway, a friend told me a story about one of my classmate’s older sisters. Supposedly, the sister was murdered in the family home a few years ago, and they’d never caught the killer. She didn’t know if it was true or not, and to this day I still don’t know if it’s rumor or fact.

I was already a Nancy Drew wanna-be and devoured mystery novels, but this story really struck something inside me. The fact that it was unsolved, and that no one could answer the question why the sister had been home during a school day, stayed with me for decades.

I’d always known I’d wanted to be a writer, but I’d never seriously pursued. I finally had a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with myself and said ‘either do it or stop whining about it’. No more excuses-it was time to put my butt in the chair and write.

By that time, I’d fallen in love with the YA genre and knew I wanted this novel to be a YA mystery. Enter Autumn. She’s a math nerd, wants to be in the FBI, and reads about serial killers. I had an idea of her in my head, but it took me several drafts before I really knew her and her voice. I also began researching and was stunned to find out that people in my life had lost sisters to murder. I was more compelled than ever to share their story in the pages of

Many, and I mean many, agents and publishers thought the book was too dark but I never gave up on it. I also was never tempted to lighten the mood of the book because that would dishonor the victims and I wasn’t going to do that. Enter Evernight Teen. They were a new imprint of Evernight and they were looking for dark, gritty fiction. Finally, a publishing home that would embrace the book as it was written.

Ideas can come from anywhere. I’m like an idea hoarder. I like to mix and match and throw in the unexpected. Challenge yourself to look at something and turn it into a story. You never know where it can lead-that’s the beauty of writing.

I hope you enjoy
Unraveled and thanks again for having me as a guest on your blog.

S.X. Bradley Bio:

Susan grew up in South Texas, about ten miles from the U.S.-Mexican border. As a child she spent the summers in Mexico with her grandparents and extended family. During these vacations, she frequently created mysteries for her siblings and cousins to solve. These mysteries were her first stories. Nancy Drew soon became her childhood hero and inspiration to write mysteries for young adults.

Her greatest joy is her daughter who is quite the storyteller and likes to come up with the characters’ names for mom’s stories.

When she’s not writing or studying, you can find her looking after her personal mini-zoo which consists of two fish, one thief of a dog, and some hermit crabs.

Susan loves estates sales, traveling, spending time with her family, and discovering new books at the Columbus Metropolitan library.

Susan graduated from the University of Texas, is currently pursuing an MFA from Seton Hill University, and dreams of one day owning a touch screen murder board like the one on her favorite TV show, Castle.

Excerpt from Unraveled:

“Autumn, yesterday you had told us that when you arrived home the front door was open. Is that correct?”

I leaned in toward the voice recorder on the table and said, “Yes.”

“Are you positive about that? We interviewed some of the neighbors, and none of them saw an open front door at your house?” No doubt Mrs. Jimenez had told them that. Now that she was retired, she had nothing better to do than watch her neighbors. I wondered if she had mentioned seeing anything to Detective Kasanoff. Maybe she saw something unusual that day, a stranger in the neighborhood, a suspicious car, anything.

“The door looked closed, but when I touched my key to the lock, it opened.”

“Do you know who was the last person to leave the house that day?” I looked over at my parents. Mami had her head buried in her hands. She shouldn’t be here, hearing about all of this. Papi had his arm around her and gave me an encouraging smile.

“I was.”

“What time did you leave that morning?”

“About 8:00 a.m.”

“Did you leave through the front door?” I didn’t like where this was going.

“Yes, and I locked it behind me,” I offered before he had a chance to ask the question.

“How can you be sure? Look, I know how it is. It’s easy to get on autopilot in the morning. You do the same thing every morning, you get into a routine.”

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t forget things, Detective. I know I locked the door that morning.” He studied me for a moment and flipped through his papers.

“That’s right. Here it is. You’re some kind of math genius. You almost made the US Math Olympiad Team last year.” I wanted to reach across the table and strangle him. Someone had butchered my sister in my own living room, and he was reading up on how I’d choked on a freaking geometry question during last year’s Math Olympiad final round and failed to make the team?

“I’m gifted, Detective. I’m not smart enough to be a genius.” He broke into a smile. The first I’d ever seen from him.

“Is there really a difference?”

“Yes, about five IQ points.” He wrote something down.

“Let’s move on. You said you had come home because you’d left your math questions on the kitchen table that morning. Is that correct?” “Yes.”

He lifted the folder up and produced some papers that were protected in a plastic bag. He placed them in front of me. “Are these the questions you were referring to?”

I looked at my parents, and both of them had their eyes glued to the plastic bag in front of me.

Without touching the bag, I looked at the front page and saw the first question. It was the Bernoulli equation question that Celeste had asked me that morning over breakfast.

“Yes, those are the ones.”

“Care to know where we found them?” What did he mean? I’d left them on the kitchen table when I went to brush my teeth after breakfast.

“On the kitchen table?” I asked, trying not to sound sarcastic.

“No. In your backpack. The backpack we found at the scene yesterday.” He looked over at my parents this time. My eyes grew wide, and my mouth fell open.

“Mr. or Mrs. Covarrubias, did either of you put these math papers back into Autumn’s backpack after breakfast?” Papi left for the bakery every morning at 5:30 a.m. so he wasn’t even home. Mami had left right after Celeste and I had eaten because she had a dentist appointment. Maybe Mami’d seen the papers and stuck them in my backpack. Celeste had left about ten minutes before me. Her boyfriend Voss had swung by to pick her up. He did that every day.

“Mami, did you put the papers in my backpack?” Her eyes were swollen, and I swear she was two seconds away from passing out. Her gaze wandered around the room until it fell on me. She shook her head. My heart sank.

“Then it had to be Celeste. She must have put them in there.”

“Her fingerprints weren’t found on the papers.” How was that possible? The oils from her hands would have been transferred onto the paper if she’d stuck them in my backpack. It couldn’t have been her then. That left no one, and I had no answer. That wasn’t good.

“Autumn, look, I’m going to be honest with you. There are some things that just don’t add up here. We have witnesses that say you and your sister were arguing at school that morning and that she looked very upset. Care to explain what that was all about?”

I could feel the cell doors closing in around me. This was a witch hunt, and I was about to be burned at the stake.

My parents were staring at me, begging me with their eyes to explain what was going on. The question mark stabbed my heart. They knew that Celeste and I hardly ever fought. The last time had to have been when I’d accidentally given her a black eye when I was five and was trying to learn to hit a baseball.

I looked at the detective and said the only thing I knew to say. “Detective Kasanoff, I want a lawyer.”

April 21, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors: Now you see his horn. Now you don't... RUNNING FROM SHADOWS #8Sunday #PlayListVid

Thank you for stopping by. I'm excited to participate with such a fantastic group of writers! Check out other warriors here!

Today I'm sharing from my (unpublished) young adult paranormal romance Running From Shadows, currently being read by a lovely agent!! Squee!! 

Follow Greta Shore (a 17-year-old, black-haired wiccan beauty) and Paxton "Pax" Craig (an 18-year-old, blond-haired college student with a dark secret) as they discover the fate of their forbidden love.
(Read last week's post) Set-up... Pax has told Greta that he's a unicorn. A unicorn!!! So, of course, Greta is all: sure, yeah, whatever... Prove it! Pax is stubborn, so he says he won't shift into his full monoceros form, but he shows her his horn and... Holy. Crap. That's a horn!
He asks her...

Cover Art by Danielle Fine

“Had enough proof?”

I nodded.

Yup, his horn wasn’t going anywhere unless he wanted it to. And then…it was gone. Retracted in less than a heartbeat. The skin of his forehead smooth again. Strong.

Furrowed, as he watched me.

Hmm, what's he thinking? And, so, uh now that she's seen it...you know she'll wanna see it again!

Tune in next week for more Greta and Pax!!

Thanks again for stopping by! Your support and feedback is greatly appreciated!

Because being a warrior is hard work, here's a vid from the Running From Shadows playlist to reward all you sexy, sweaty peeps ;)
Listen to Your Heart by D.H.T.
(Track #8)

Extra! Extra!

*Would you like to see some pics of Greta and Pax? Check them out here! Gotta love Pinterest!! Ooo, stalk me there too, please...uh, here! ;) 

*Self-publishing? Need an editor and cover artist? Check out my uber-talented editor, Danielle Fine, she's wonderful to work with and does exceptional work! Click here for more info! 

*Check out the USA Today recommended book trailer for Witch Way to Turn!! here