Monday, March 31, 2014

Here comes TROUBLE ...

It's been a while since I published something. About five months, actually (which to some writers isn't long at all, while others could have published two or three books in that time!). So you're probably wondering what's coming next from me, especially now that the Creepy Hollow series is over. Sort of. (Whaaat? And all the Creepy Hollow fans sit up and take note. Did she just say 'sort of'??? I did. But that's an announcement for another day.)

So ....... Today I'd like to introduce my next series to you:

FORGIVEN (A Trouble Novella) - April 24th
THE TROUBLE WITH FLYING (Trouble #1) - June 26th

These are standalone novels (no cliffhangers!) featuring related characters. You could pick up any individual book and get a complete story (although it would contain mild spoilers for any prior books). They are contemporary romance/romantic comedy in the upper YA/NA category. And I'm having a whole lot of fun writing them!

The grand cover reveal for books 1 to 4 is happening on May 6th (and if you want to take part, you can sign up here at Xpresso Book Tours), BUT I'm excited today to reveal the cover for the prequel novella, FORGIVEN!

Three hundred and six days ago, Julia ran away from home.
Now it’s time to face the mess she left behind ...

Coming April 24th
Add on Goodreads

And you know what's even MORE exciting about this novella (other than its gorgeous cover!)?
It's going to be FREE!

If you're feeling generous with your spare time (ha! Spare time? That's a joke, right?!), it would be super, duper awesome if you could share a tweet about the series or post the cover of FORGIVEN on Facebook or Twitter.

Example Tweet:
Author @RachelMorgan13 announced her brand new series today! #cleanNA #contemporaryromance #romanticcomedy

Example Tweet:
Check out the cover for @RachelMorgan13's brand new #contemporaryromance novella, FORGIVEN! #cleanNA #romanticcomedy


Friday, March 21, 2014

A Picture Story and a HOT Cover for Cassie Mae's THE REAL THING!

I love showing off new book covers! And today it's Cassie Mae's turn (again! I know! She's like a book-production ninja. They just keep coming!). Anyway, Cassie has her own fun way of telling you what this book's about, so here's her picture story for you ...

So, this book... it's about this girl.

And she loves her online time.

Her phone is her buddy.

And her favorite app is her Kindle, because she also LOVES to read.

Read a lot.

Then there's this boy.

He's best friends with this bookworm girl.

He sort of has a thing for her.

But, he's also got major anxiety.

And isn't sure how to make a move.

So when they end up rooming together for the summer, this guy tries to get this girl to put the screen away long enough for him to win her over.

But of course, it's not easy to unplug. Especially for an internet junkie.

Hmm... that girl sounds pretty familiar ;)

And here's the cover you all came over here to see! 

And here's the real blurb, and not the picture version :)
Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.
When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.
Coming Aug 19, 2014

About Cassie Mae :)

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestsellers REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND and HOW TO DATE A NERD, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Double Spotlight: The Awesomely Fun DEGENERATE DICTIONARY & The Contemporary Romance Novel FLESH AND BONE

I recently came across the Degenerate Dictionary by Jessica Bell on Facebook, and couldn't help visiting the page and scrolling through all the entries already posted. I think it's FANTASTIC fun and an awesome idea! It reminds me of a game my parents used to play with their friends when I was little (Balderdash, a game which used words hardly anyone had ever heard of!).

Here's what Jessica has to say about this fabulously fun initiative:

Degenerate Dictionary stemmed from a party game my parents used to play when I was a kid. My mother and her best friend had so much fun thinking of funny definitions to regular words that they began to write them down. Unfortunately, that little maroon notebook got lost when we moved to Greece.

But I remembered a couple:

ARSENIC: A cut on the bum.
PROPAGANDA: Having a good look.

In 2013, I began posting these quirky, idiosyncratic, new definitions of familiar words on Twitter and Facebook with the hash tag #Jessicasdictionary.

And Adam Byatt soon chimed in with his own ...

The exchange went back and forth over a few days until I emailed Adam, fluttering my eyelids, despite knowing he couldn't see how pretty I was making myself look for him.

The gist of my message was: Would you like to write a dictionary with me?

Adam: *brief pause* Yeah!

And so, what once was a party game played by my muso parents in the 80s, then became #Jessicasdictionary almost 35 years later, and is now called Degenerate Dictionary and will soon become a BOOK.

Perfect for every school *cough* classroom *cough*.

So what's the GIVEAWAY?

The launch of this project is going great. So Adam Byatt and I are celebrating the speedy progress of Degenerate Dictionary. And we are giving away two $20 Amazon gift cards.
I’m also throwing in any eBook of mine that you wish to have (i.e. ALL of them if you want them.)
There are two ways you can enter:
The FUN way:
Write an example sentence using one of our Degenerate Dictionary words and tweet it to @DegDic. The author of the sentence we like best will win a $20 gift card + my books. With your permission, we will also include it in the book when it’s published. With credit of course!
Example tweet:
Everyone saw my sparkly string while waiting in the *stationary*. @DegDic Join in to win here: #giveaway
Note: When you tweet your example sentence, make sure the word in question is inside two asterisks, that the link is included, the #giveaway hash tag is included, and that the @DegDic handle is included. Otherwise we won’t see it. Don't forget to replace the sentence with your own!
Enter the contest via the rafflecopter below. The winner selected via the rafflecopter will also win a $20 gift card + my books.


You may enter both ways to double your chances.

Good luck! Please spread the word!

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Flesh & Bone 
A contemporary romance
(The Minstrel Series #2)
Coming April 3rd!
Cover by Steven Novak Designs

She can’t remember. He can’t forget.

Eva Baumann is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless.
It’s not a perfect world.

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers! 

The Music for Flesh & Bone is amazing!  View it here.

Haven't read #1 Sun & Moon?  Get it here:

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

EXCERPT of Flesh & Bone - read to the end and enter to WIN a $20.00 Amazon gift card and songs!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Scars They See

Gabriele had dared her to do this. “Just walk in, sign your name, and play a song for heaven's sake.” It was easy for her to say. Eva Baumann's sister didn't understand what it was like to be afraid. What it was like to be invisible. Gabriele oozed confidence, tall and lithe like a runway model, lighting up every room she entered. She was pretty, talented, smart.

And not handicapped.

Eva eyed the graffiti-marred entrance of the Blue Note Pub and watched as other musicians and-patrons strolled into the darkened room. Music pumping from the sound system escaped into the narrow corridor of four-story stone buildings every time the heavy wooden door opened and closed. Eva carefully set down her guitar case and rested her hand over her chest, willing her heartbeat to slow. The muscle pulsed erratically, and her stomach wanted to dry heave.

Eva gripped her cane with white knuckles. She'd learned to master the uneven sidewalks with careful steps, but the cobblestones were still a nemesis, especially in colder months like March. The rubber knob on the tip of her cane had to center on a stone, otherwise she could lose her balance and fall. It was necessary to wait for a break in traffic or to continue to the corner for a walk light before daring to cross the street.

She took a deep breath. She could do this. This was just an irrational fear—not real. Nothing bad would happen to her in that room. It was filled with people who loved music as much as she did. It was loud and crowded and dark, and no one would expect her to talk. When they called her name, she'd focus on the small stage, blocking out everyone in the room out until she safely stepped up. Then she'd just close her eyes and pretend she was at the street church playing to the people who came for the soup they provided.

She could do this.

A cold wind blew hair across Eva's face and she snapped to attention just as the little green man flashed on to indicate it was safe to walk. She lumbered across with a guitar in her left hand and her cane in her right. The weight of her instrument pulled her shoulders forward, her back arching slightly under her winter jacket. She caught her reflection in a store window and frowned. She looked like a crazy, old lady, not a nineteen-year-old girl.

Eva tucked her cane under her left armpit and reached for the door. It swung open sharply, a patron had exited at the same moment, and she was shoved against the wall, nearly losing her balance.

“Excuse me,” the guy said. He held the door open, waiting for her to go in. She wanted to turn around and head straight home, but the guy's eyes stayed on her, waiting. The cold air whooshed inside.

It would be impolite not to pass through. “Thank you,” she said softly. She leaned on her cane and entered. She'd been to the Blue Note before. Gabriele and her British boyfriend Lennon Smith had dragged her out one night, so she knew what to expect. There was a bar to the right and table seating to the left. A poster on the wall read: “If you want to chat with your pals while the band is playing, take your conversation outside.” The air smelled of beer and cigarette smoke clinging to damp wool jackets. At the back of the midsized room was a small stage lit by two lights hanging from the ceiling.

Her stomach churned, and once again she questioned herself. Why had she come? What did she have to prove? Why did she care so much what Gabriele thought? She stared back at the door.

“Hello, ma Cherie. Would you like to sign your name?”

The gruff yet friendly voice stopped Eva before she could leave. She knew the manager, Herr Maurice Leduc, by reputation, but had never spoken to him before. “I don't know,” she answered.

“Well—” His eyes darted to the guitar in her hand. “I just thought since you lugged that thing in with you.” He pushed the sign-up sheet closer.
Eva didn't have the heart to deny the man. She took the pen and scribbled her name.

“Wonderful,” Herr Leduc said with a sincere grin that filled a round face. “I look forward to hearing you play...” he glanced down at his sheet, “Eva Baumann.”

The room consisted of a lot of wood. Tables, chairs, benches and floors—all darkly stained, old wood. Even the ceiling had rough, open wood beams. Eva claimed a nearby empty chair and breathed in and out, long and slow. She was here. She'd done it. Wait until she told Gabriele. Wouldn't she be surprised?
A server arrived, and Eva ordered a cola. The other people who shared the long table gave her sideways glances at her childish drink and cheered each other as they lifted their beer glasses.

Herr Leduc walked on stage and welcomed everyone. He called the first act, a girl with long, golden hair, he introduced as Katja Stoltz.

Eva listened intently impressed with the girl's talent and the way she took over the stage like she owned it. That was what Eva needed to do. Own it.

The girl finished her song, and after much-deserved applause, she joined her friends at a table across the room. A guy in his early twenties with a peacock tattoo along one arm stood to give Katja Stoltz a hug. He had messy, dark brown hair and bristles on his face, like he hadn’t shaven in a few days. He laughed and high-fived her before sitting and draping the peacock around a thin girl with spiky hair.

A shiver ran up Eva's back. She recognized that guy. Last summer, when she was playing guitar for the homeless, many of them had raised their hands to God in praise. The outside metal blinds had been raised, they always were when the church was open, and a group of guys had stopped to watch from across the street. They began to laugh and then threw their arms in the air, mocking the people worshiping inside.

That was the first time Eva had seen that peacock tattoo, and she'd never forget the laughing face of the handsome boy who went with it.

Her short-lived confidence shriveled at the thought of being the guy's next target. Oh, why did she come? She'd leave right now if she thought she could do it without making a scene. The room had filled, and there was no way she could slip out unnoticed with her guitar and her cane.

She sipped her cola and kept her eyes focused on each act as it was called. Every time Herr Leduc stepped to the mic to call a name, Eva’s heart filled with nervous dread and emptied with a flush of relief when she didn't hear hers.

“Sebastian Weiss,” Herr Leduc said.

The guy with the peacock tattoo hooted, shifted out from behind his table and grabbed his guitar.

So that was his name.

He hopped onto the stage and strapped on a guitar with an over-confidence Eva envied. She wanted him to be terrible so that she could add self-delusion to his other obvious traits of conceit and insensitivity, but unfortunately he wasn't. His voice was smooth and strong, and he had great range.

She also happened to notice the flex in his biceps that poked out of the short sleeves of his dark T-shirt and how his jeans fit nicely on slender hips.

He finished his song and fisted the air like he just won a boxing match. The audience went crazy. Eva couldn't help but join in the applause. Something about Sebastian was electric. His aura and competence, his popularity—she couldn't peel her eyes off him. His arm returned to its position around the girl beside him who hadn't smiled once. Such a contrast to Sebastian who couldn't stop smiling. He seemed quite taken by the pixie girl and kissed her excitedly on the cheek.

“Eva Baumann.”

What? Eva had been so busy watching the table of cool people, she hadn't been paying attention.

Herr Leduc's accented German bellowed again. “Eva Baumann.”

Eva's heart stopped. Then raced. Her hands broke out into a sweat, and she blinked back the tears welling up behind her eyes, which were opened far too wide. Her head prickled hotly, and she swallowed hard. She could sense the attention of the room, necks craning, everyone searching, waiting for the next act to stand.

Herr Leduc stared at her, and all she could do was shake her head. He gave her a gracious nod and called the next name.

A girl with short, dark hair bounced out of her seat, and within seconds Eva was forgotten. She took advantage of the swirl of commotion that occurred between acts, grabbing her guitar and cane, and limped to the entrance.

It was a terrible mistake to come, she thought as she hobbled down the crusty street. She kept her head bowed low against the cold, and gripped her guitar case and her cane. If she'd had a third hand, she'd swipe at the bitter tear that slid down her cheek.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Authors: Your Characters are Defined by the Actions they Take

I've never been big on plotting and planning. I know the major points of my story, and I know the main details about my characters, but beyond that, I just. can't. plot. any. further. I have to dive into the story and get going. It's like the story details "reveal" themselves to me as I get further and further (this is why I totally get what E.L. Doctorow said: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”)

So. I recently picked up my copy of The Story Book by David Baboulene (a book I haven't looked at in a long time, and only read parts of the first time I went through it), and I found something that made TOTAL SENSE to me!

"... Writers are advised to make a list of their characters and what they are like. The literature tells you to 'know them' as if they are family. To define them from birth -- their childhood experiences, their schools, their house moves, their siblings -- everything. For each one we must think long and hard about what these people are like as 'characters', and list their traits and attributes, from their physical characteristics to their likes, dislikes, allergies, toughness, weaknesses, ancestors; how they feel about the other characters around them, what their pose is towards life events, what they eat, what sort of sex they like, and so on. Again, this is useful, and I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, but these activities should come with a health warning: characters that are fixed in advance can badly damage your plot!

You cannot possibly define your characters before you know what they are going to do.

Only the actions your protagonist takes -- specifically those actions taken under pressure and when facing dilemma -- will define his character ..."

Yay! So there ISN'T something wrong with me for being unable to write out every single detail there is to know about my characters BEFORE I start the story. It MAKES SENSE for me to "release" the characters into the story and to FIND OUT what kind of characters they are by the way they interact with the plot and each other.

Anyone else think this makes sense too? ;-)

PS - I totally recommend The Story Book. All the stuff about subtext and knowledge gaps and conflict triangulations is really helpful. (Oh, and it's all delivered with a dash of humour. I like that ;-) )

Monday, March 10, 2014

Win YA & NA Books in the St. Patty's Day Pinterest & Facebook Party!

Join your favorite YA and NA authors as we celebrate being Irish for a day and play on Pinterest. There will be over 45 e-book giveaways! 

You can join the Facebook party HERE!

You won't want to miss it!

Participating Authors:

Lila Felix   A. W. Exley  Melissa Pearl   
Jessica Gibson  Cindy M. Hogan  Sarah Ashley Jones  
Marie Landry  Rachel Morgan  Jennifer Snyder 
Stacey Marie Brown  Jessica Therrien  D.L. Raver 
Stacey Wallace Benefiel  Marilyn Almodóvar  Angee Taylor 
A.O. Peart  Devyn Dawson  Rick Chiantaretto 
Raine Thomas  L.P. Dover  Tamara Hart Heiner  
Leigh T Moore  Meradeth Houston  Amber Argyle 
Tawdra Kandle  Carlyle Labuschagne  Lisa Collicutt
Christy Dorrity  Stephanie Fowers  Kristina Renee
Faith McKay  Charlotte Abel  Jamie Ayres
A.M. Hargrove  Charli Webb  Amy Harmon  
Alyssa Rose Ivy  Kristie Cook  Lani Woodland
T.M. Franklin  Laura Howard  Sharron Riddle
Eliza Tilton  S. M. Boyce  Bethany Lopez 
Dawn Leigh  L.A. Casey  Emma Adams  
Amber Garr  Liz Long

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cover Reveal for BREATHLESS by Krista McLaughlin

I'm very excited today to help Krista McLaughlin reveal the cover for her debut novella, BREATHLESS! Krista has been a blogging buddy of mine for a while now, so it's really cool to witness her first steps into the publication world :-) (And the other reason this is a super exciting cover reveal is because I designed the cover!)

Author: Krista McLaughlin
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Cover Designer: Morgan Media

Eighteen-year-old Lainey is the only witness to her best friend losing her life to the depths of the ocean. She stays close to the water, a small part of her hoping to surrender to the same fate. On her birthday the waters almost overtake her, but a mysterious young man rescues her and disappears.

Lainey can't stop thinking about the stranger from the beach, and one night she finds her rescuer naked and bleeding on the shore. Jon doesn’t know what pancakes taste like, how microwave popcorn cooks, or own shoes, but he seems to be just what Lainey needs. As the anniversary of her friend’s death looms, Lainey opens herself in ways she never thought possible. But when Jon’s identity comes to light, Lainey has to save him before she loses another love to the sea.

A little bit about Krista ...

Krista McLaughlin graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services, and a minor in English. She was born and raised in the Midwest with her nose stuck in a book and her hand smeared in pencil lead. When she is not cuddling with little ones she nannies, she is reading or cross-stitching. She loves J.R.R. Tolkien and all things Star Trek.

Visit Krista at one of her online hangouts and let her know what you think of her cover :-)