Surviving Stitch by Stitch: Guest blogging at HobbyReads This Week

The earthquake hit L’Aquila, Italy on April 6, 2009. Maria D’Antuono, a resourceful 98-year-old, grabbed her knitting supplies and crawled under her bed. The stone house crumbled around her, yet, when firefighters found Maria 30 hours later, she was not only unhurt but continued to knit.

“At least let me comb my hair,” she said to her rescuers as they helped her to safety.

Read the rest of my guest post at http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/hobbyreads/surviving-stitch-by-stitch.html .

The Griffin’s Secret: Risking everything to escape an invisible prison

It’s wonderful to once again host Cate Masters on my blog and participate in her most recent cover reveal, which are always spectacular.

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The Griffin’s Secret by Cate Masters
Reimagined fairy tale/fantasy romance novella

Coming May 12, 2015

Preorder: Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Kensington

In this contemporary re-telling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale The Griffin, two people must risk everything to free themselves from the invisible prisons that keep them from love…

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…

Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

Excerpt

The faint scent of an exotic flower on an ocean breeze hit him the second the girl walked in. Every part of his body stood at attention, taking in the way she moved. The curve of her slender hips. Those long legs…they’d wrap around the back seat of his Harley perfectly. Wrap around him perfectly, too.

A flip of her onyx-silk hair sent it behind her shoulder as she sat opposite. “Who are you?”

Good question. He’d been seeking the same answer for too long. “Jackson Grant.”

Her eyes darkened, deep brown to charcoal diamonds. “Why are you here?”

“For the roadie job.” Was she the first gatekeeper? A gate she kept locked, he’d bet. Or maybe she was another test. Kev had warned him there’d be tricky questions and to answer straight. Something told him she asked out of curiosity.

“You think you’re up for such a demanding job?”

Again, the impression hit him she was making these questions up as she went along, ad-libbing off his replies.

He’d play. “I’m strong. Dependable. I follow orders, keep my head down, and stay out of trouble.” And he liked his privacy.

Her features smoothed, hard as porcelain. “Do you.” Not a question.

He’d answer anyway. “Yes.”

Did disappointment curl her lip? Or boredom? Why did he care? If he could, he’d blast out of there before his own curiosity got the better of him. Already, she’d gotten under his skin. Crazy how the tat no longer singed him, but now twisted like a trapped animal.

With a plastic smile, she batted her eyes, and the false flirtation didn’t suit her. “So. You’re a yes-man.”

The way she said it, he’d be no different than any other roadie serving the great rock star, Malcolm Fetterman. Fine by Jackson. The less he stood out, the better. Except for her. He hated to think of her glossing over his presence, but that would be better, too.

He drummed his fingers on the table. “I need the job.” Where the hell was Malcolm anyway? The longer he stayed with her, the more he wanted to. Definitely couldn’t afford that kind of trouble. He glanced at the open door, hoping he wouldn’t have to go through the same interrogation again.

She tapped the table. “You’d have to travel constantly.”

Perfect.” No different than his usual way of life. Except this time, his paycheck would remain steady.

“You wouldn’t miss your family?” She dipped her head. “Your girlfriend?”

He curled his lip this time. No one’s business but his. He shifted in his seat. “They’re better off.”

Her brows knit, and then her expression became unreadable as the Sphinx. “The hours are long, and the equipment’s heavy. Everything has to be exactly as Mal orders.”

Did he imagine it, or had she winced at her own words?

He shrugged. “It’s his show.” Someday, Jackson would have his own roadies. And would treat them much better than Malcolm Fetterman did, if the stories proved true.

Her steely focus cut into him. “Mal doesn’t hire musicians except for those in the band. And there aren’t any openings in Malcontent.”

He didn’t allow himself to blink. “No problem.”

“But you play, don’t you?” Her gaze dropped to his callused fingertips drumming the tabletop.

He drew his hand down. “No.” A necessary lie. She might suspect, but couldn’t possibly know the truth. Almost like leaving one of his limbs behind, he’d locked his Fender in storage in New Jersey with his paltry possessions for six months. By then, he’d know whether this gig worked out.

About the Author

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts
Twitter:  @CateMasters

Blood Stitches Steps onto the Dance Floor

It’s official: my novella, Blood Stitches, has joined the spring debutantes patiently waiting to strut their stuff on the dance floor. And at a $1.99, she’s not only an inexpensive date but will also keep you mesmerized until the wee hours of the morning.

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Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

And an enormous thank you to my Facebook friends and the following blogs for helping with her big reveal:

http://catemasters.blogspot.com/

http://calisarhose.com/chit-chat-blog/

http://christamaurice.com/

http://desiremeonly.com/

http://www.danilynalexander.com/blog.html

http://maeclair.net/blog/

http://tracybilen.com/blog/

http://sandracox.blogspot.com/

http://jencolly.weebly.com/

http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

http://ninacrespo.com/category/nocturnal-nina/

http://asfenichel.net/blog/

http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/

http://www.kristirose.net/

http://www.aniserae.com/journal/

http://www.pamela-turner.com/

http://www.sundaewithnuts.com

http://pattigail1.com

http://aprilvineauthor.blogspot.com

http://cindyfazzi.com

http://www.itchingforbooks.com

http://addictreaders.blogspot.com/

http://www.dinagiven.com

http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com

http://thereadingchameleon.blogspot.com

http://readingadd.blogspot.ro/

http://bitchesnprose.blogspot.com/

http://www.starangelsreviews.com

http://iheartyabooks.blogspot.com/

http://www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com

http://crasyabout.blogspot.com

http://rockinbookreviews.com

http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

http://bookclubsisters84.blogspot.com

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Sapphyria’s Book Blog

Bibliophilia, Please

Confessions of a Reader

Urban Girl Reader

Book Liasion

RhiReading

Crazy Four Books

What is That Book About

Carti Cu Colti

I Smell Sheep

Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

The Gal in the Blue Mask

Review From Here

Literal Exposure

The Literary Nook

The Writer’s Life

The Dark Phantom

The Revolving Bookshelf

The Book Refuge

Bent Over Bookwords

From Alligators to Kickball: Talking with author C. Lee McKenzie

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Click on the cover for more information.

Author C. Lee McKenzie is well known for her ability to tackle modern teen issues, but she’s equally comfortable exploring magical worlds as she proves in her most recent novel, The Great Time Lock Disaster. In the following mini-interview, she discusses her writing process…

Do you have a specific style?

I’ve been told I have a lean prose. I’m not given to flowery words and long phrases, I guess. No mellifluous, abundant sentences. However, I do like description, so I have to watch not spending too much time on that aspect of a book.

How did you come up with the title, The Great Time Lock Disaster?

It took a while. I really wanted to have something catchy like Alligators Overhead (the first book), but since this story is about how Pete messes up a Time Spell, the best I could do was The Great Time Lock Disaster. I prefer short titles, but sometimes they don’t capture the story, so then I have to go for the long one.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

This has changed over the years. Right now I’d love to have Margaret Atwood or Barbara Kingsolver as mentors. Their writing stirs some very deep things inside me. When I’m into one their books, I do nothing but read.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I got to play with Pete and Weasel (my main characters) again. It was kind of like going back to a younger time when I played kickball with the kids on the street, and we told ghost stories to see who could scare all of us the most. I love middle grade books, so I guess writing them is pure fun for me.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Well, I haven’t seen many adventures with alligators being helpful. Even in Peter Pan, the alligator is nasty. I guess you could say that at least makes my book stand out.

Anything else you want to add?

To celebrate the launch of The Great Time Lock Disaster, I’m giving 20 eBooks away. Hope you’ll jump in to the copter and go for a ride! ~ Rafflecopter giveaway ~

Inside the The Great Time Lock Disaster

There’s nothing’s more dangerous than a wizard-in-training. And Pete Riley, has just proven it. He’s worked a bad time spell–a very bad time spell.

No YouTube, no smoothies, no Manga. Not ever again. Not unless Pete figures out how to reverse his spell and free Weasel and him from Victorian England.

He has until the next full moon. Only a few days. Tick. Tock.

More about the author

Usually, C. Lee takes on modern issues that today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Double Negative (2014) was her third young adult novel. Researching it turned her into a literacy advocate. Her fourth YA, Sudden Secrets came out in December 2014. When she really wants to have FUN, she writes middle grade books. Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster are now available.

Love can be hell: Deception~Demon Hunters Book Two

The demon hunters, first introduced in author A. S. Fenichel‘s Ascension (see my review here), are back, and I’m thrilled to host the cover reveal for Deception, Demon Hunters Book Two, along with a sneak peek at the adventurous–and steamy–plot.

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Coming July 7, 2015 from Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing.

Pre-order: Amazon  ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kensington

Enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn…

For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.

These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

About the AuthorA.S.

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

 

Love, Lattes, and Mutants: Adventure and humor meet teen romance

Love, LattesWith a book titled Love, Lattes, and Mutants (available today!–see my review here), you just know that author Sandra Cox has a good sense of humor, along with an adventurous spirit and a creative imagination. Delving  into Love, Lattes, and Mutants proves it, as does the following mini-interview…

Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…

Sandra CoxBio and mini-interview

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee, and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
England. I love listening to Brits.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, shop and go to the movies.

What were your favorite books when you were a child?
Anything that had a horse in it.

Buy Love, Lattes, and Mutants

Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Kobo

And be sure to enter the giveaways:

First prize: A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbuck Card

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Second Prize: A Piper-approved bracelet

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Divergent Writing: Tips from author Veronica Roth

Am I the last person in the world to read Divergent by Veronica Roth? Okay, so perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration.

Still, even though Divergent sat in my to-read pile for more than a year, I remained fuzzy on the plot. A conversation with my niece, then 13-years-old, didn’t clear up the intricacies: an overview of the story  wandered off into a discussion of what faction we would belong to and how no one’s personality can be defined by a single trait. She was clearly a combination of dauntless and abnegation, and I was left with a vague impression of the houses from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. After consuming Divergent over the weekend, I now realize how wrong I was.

Ms. Roth’s tale of a dystopian society unfolds in a clean, elegant prose–not a stray adverb or adjective to be found–and the factions reflect the protagonist’s unflinching observations. So it came as no surprise when I read Ms. Roth’s writing advice, among the bonus materials in the back of the book, that her tips contained a straightforward simplicity; although, I’m sure, not particularly easy to implement:

Divergent’s Bonus Materials ~ Writing Tips from Veronica Roth:

Stage One: Word Vomit. (Sorry for the graphic image there.) Just write. Do not reread what you’ve just written, even if you don’t remember it and you want to check it for the sake of consistency. Don’t do it! You will be tempted to edit, and editing before you finish the draft is the enemy of writing progress.

Stage Two: Let it sit for a while. This is a good time for you to reconnect with friends and family you may have neglected while writing, and to recharge your writer batteries, so to speak. Not writing is as important as writing— go out into the world and remember how interesting it, and the people in it, are.

Stage Three: Reread, and make notes. I prefer the Microsoft word in-text comments, but I have also used notebooks. I try to write down big, plot-or-character- shifting things the first time I reread. Like “remove this character” or “the end has to happen differently” or “set up this huge plot element earlier in the story.”

Stage Four (view spoiler): Rip draft to shreds. The phrase “murder your darlings” (meaning: the stuff in your manuscript that you love best is probably the stuff that needs to go- and you have to be willing to get rid of it) has been important to me in developing as a writer. I try to make it a big, dramatic event wherein I save my old draft, copy past the text into a new document, and start deleting huge sections of text. It hurts, but it’s oddly-liberating. The story can become something new now- something better than it was before, something it couldn’t become if you clung to everything.

Stage Five: Start writing again.

~~

What do you think? Good advice?