February 1, 2016

February #InkRipples #Giveaway - Chocolate!

Happy February. Thanks to St. Valentine, this is a month often associated with love. And what better way to show your love than with chocolate. Sweets for the sweet, right?

I'm afraid to admit this out loud for fear it might change your opinion of me, but I'm not a chocolate fanatic. I go through short bursts of chocoholic phases where I can't get enough of the stuff, but then I come out of it and will turn my nose up at it for months on end. Even I think my Jekyl & Hyde treatment of chocolate is strange, but it is as much a part of me as is my intense love of Triscuits and squeeze cheese.

When my taste buds are tuned into the creamy delight, I tend to prefer dark chocolate. I'm even more pleased if it's smothering caramel and nuts or if maybe it's in the form of a peppermint patty. But usually by the time my tasters come back around to letting chocolate in, I'm not too picky - brownie, hot fudge sundae, hot chocolate - it's all chocolate to me and will satisfy that rare craving.

Are you a chocoholic? In which form does chocolate make your tongue do a happy dance?

Selection may vary
To honor the popular addiction people have with chocolate, I'm offering a bit of indulgence. Plus, I'm keeping things local. I'm giving away a signed print copy of my romantic suspense Finding Thor, set in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, and a box of truffles from Goody's Chocolates - a chocolate and ice cream maker here in Central Oregon. I've tasted their candy and their stores are aptly named, because their candy is good(y's). Plus, it's preservative, wax and gluten free. Read more about Goody's chocolate here.

Enter to win before midnight on Valentine's Day. Come back and share both tweets daily to increase your chances of winning. Because - CHOCOLATE! Open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary WaibelKatie L. Carroll, and me,Kai Strand. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

January 22, 2016

Book Spotlight on Landry in Like by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Today I welcome Krysten Lindsay Hager and her new book Landry in Like!

Genre: contemporary clean teen fiction

Landry in Like (Landry's True Colors Series: Book 3)
​ Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi is becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes. Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cupcakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?  

I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.

“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”

“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”

“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”

I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.

“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.

I called Ashanti next and told her.

“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”

“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide IngĂ©nue modeling competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”

I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.

“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.

Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.

“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.

Book trailer: 


Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series and the new ​Star Series. Krysten writes about  friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? And Landry in Like, as well as in, Next Door to a Star (Star Series). Her sequel to Next Door to a Star will be out March 22 2016.
Krysten is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes YA, MG, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Author talk show interview: http://wdtn.com/2014/11/06/true-colors/

Series Info: The Landry's True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult humor series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up.

True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book 1):
What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: “This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!”

Krysten, tell us, who is your favorite author?
F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite. I had to read The Great Gatsby twice in school, but I didn’t connect to it until I was an adult and then I fell in love with it.

How do you describe your writing style?
I always write with humor and my main characters wear their hearts on their sleeves. My two teen series both deal with self-esteem, growing up/coming of age, and first love.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Landry in Like will take you back to your school days and make you laugh and feel for her as she grows up and navigates through school. There are funny moments, cringe worthy moments, and life lessons on how to deal with everything from frenemies, first loves, anxiety, and friendships.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I would choose Hadley from Next Door to a Star (Star Series: Book One) because when she moves to a beach town, she has the chance to reinvent herself and start over and that idea is very intriguing to me. Plus, she lives in Grand Haven, Michigan—a beautiful beach town.

What books have most influenced your life?

I read a biography of a YA author, Paula Danziger, years ago and it made me realize that writing young adult fiction was what I was meant to do. It was always something I wanted to do, but I never realized that all those awkward and difficult moments I went through in my teen years might have been setting me up to help another teen in the same situation down the road. That biography shaped my vision of what I wanted to do in life.

Thanks for visiting with us today and sharing your new release. 

January 13, 2016

Spotlight on Hot Ticket by Tracy Marchini #Freebook

HOT TICKET is available as a free ebook on Amazon from January 10 – January 14, 2016, and is also available in print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

(Backstory: Juliet has just come from the principal’s office after accidentally hitting the most popular girl in school in the face during a hallway collision.)

At lunch detention, all I could think about was how I better get a shame ticket for accidentally punching Cindy.

There's just no way the ticket dispenser could ignore the fact that I just punched the most popular girl in school in the face, right?

But still, I worried that the dispenser was going to ignore me again.  I'm basically the only sixth grader without a hot ticket. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t go to John Jay Jr. High.  (Triple J, for short.)  Everything is hard enough as a 6th grader.  We’re the lowest on the totem pole.  The tadpoles of the pond.  But it’s even worse to be a tadpole without a hot ticket.

Hot tickets could be awarded for doing something cool, saying something funny, or sometimes even just wearing something the ticket dispenser liked.  All authentic hot tickets were two inch by six inch rectangles made from this orange cardboard material, with “HOT TICKET” written in big bold letters at the top.  Hot tickets first started becoming popular about a month after school started.  Then there was this rash of copycat tickets on regular paper, but people just tossed those in the trash.  Everybody could figure out it was one of their friends that made it anyway.  But an authentic ticket – that was something you kept.

Some people had their lockers decorated in hot and shame tickets.  Some people kept their hot tickets at home to prevent theft.

If I got a hot ticket, I would definitely keep it taped on the inside door of my locker.  Right now my locker only had a locker mirror, a picture of Lucy and I from my birthday party at Six Flags and these annoying cat stickers from the person who had my locker before me.

Fifth grade did not prepare me for this at all.

Lucy, my next door neighbor and best friend, came up to my locker between periods.  Her smile was so big I could see the bread from her lunch stuck all the way back between her molars.

“Why weren't you at lunch?” she asked.

“Detention, again.  I sorta punched Cindy in the face,” I said.

Lucy's jaw dropped.  “Holy crow!  You punched Cindy Newsome in the face, and you're still alive?!  She already hates you because --”

“I know, I know,” I said.  “What's up?  You're like, super smiley.”

“Oh yeah!”

Lucy pulled a piece of orange cardboard out of her back pocket.

“You didn’t!” I shouted, prompting stares from the girls next to us.

“I did,” she said, turning the cardboard over to reveal the words ‘Hot Ticket’ in big, bold print.  “I found it in my locker after sixth period – another hot ticket!”

Lucy passed it over and I read the smaller print beneath.

“For the joke, 'Even Einstein would have trouble in Carmoody’s class.'”

I looked up as a couple of sixth graders pointed to Lucy’s hot ticket as they walked by.  They smiled at Lucy, but she was still looking at her ticket.

“Totally ridic, right?  Who could have heard me say that?” she asked.

“It must have been someone standing next to us in the hallway yesterday.”

“That could be anybody,” Lucy said as she flipped her hot ticket over in her hand.

The bell rang and Lucy and I trudged to our last period, the only class we had together.

“So who do you think it is?” asked Lucy.

I shrugged as another group of sixth graders pointed to the hot ticket in Lucy's hand.  They started guessing what cool thing she could have done, commenting on her new shoes, and how awesome she did in gym class today.  Suddenly it felt like everybody in the hallway was saying Lucy's name.

“Who cares?” I said.

But I did care.  And if I didn't have at least a shame ticket tomorrow for punching Cindy, then it was time to find out.

About the book:
Hot Ticket
Tracy Marchini
Middle grade mystery
Squirrel Books
Amazon | Goodreads

Juliet Robinson is the only sixth grader in John Jay Jr. High who hasn't received a "hot ticket" from the mysterious ticket dispenser. When one of the dorkiest kids in school - Crammit Gibson - receives a ticket before she does, Juliet decides that the ticketing system has to stop. With the help of her best friend Lucy, a Daria-esque Madeline and her almost-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to climb a few rungs on the middle school social ladder and catch the ticket dispenser once and for all!

Hot Ticket is a laugh-out-loud middle grade mystery.

About the Author:
Tracy went to parochial school and was picked last in kickball for all eight years. Before she graduated with her B.A. in English, she got into a prank war over Jane Austen quotes and was out-pranked by the third or fourth day. She ran the NYC marathon to make up for her years of terrible kickball playing, but has yet to redeem her sub-par pranking abilities.
She is now a freelance editor who specializes in children’s and young adult literature, and holds an M.F.A. in Writing for Children. Her next book, Rock, is a YA anthology of stories inspired by her favorite songs, and will be published on September 6, 2016.


January 4, 2016

Travel - January #InkRipples #Giveaway

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016. Do you have any big plans for the year?

Quick housekeeping. I'm posting a chapter a week of Worth the Effort, Ella's Story over on Wattpad. A new chapter goes up every Monday. I'd love if you follow, read, recommend, rate - all that jazz. Though the novella is free to download on all e-platforms, so hop on over to my blog if you'd rather just read it all at once.

Onto 2016. I usually have big, clear writing goals, but this year I don't. I hope I publish something this year, but I don't have anything under contract and I don't have anything close enough to being finished to feel confident I can make it happen. But I'm not too stressed about it. I know what I can accomplish, I'm just not really inspired to accomplish big things this year. And you know what? That's okay. It gives all you readers out there time to catch up on reading my books (wink!)

As I announced in my last post, we have decided to continue Ink Ripples and we've moved it to the first Monday of the month. That's today. Eep. After you've read my post and entered my giveaway, be sure to visit Katie and Mary. If you're looking for more ripples, search #InkRipples on Twitter or Facebook.

January's theme is fun. TRAVEL

I love to travel. I travel frequently. Not necessarily how I want - on a plane to exotic locales - but I find myself often preparing for long car trips, usually to visit family. I live in Central Oregon, which seems to be a three hour drive from the nearest civilization. Portland, Eugene, and Salem, where I have family - all about three hours away. Or I'm driving to Boise, Idaho (six hours), Northern California (eight hours), or occasionally to Southern California (sixteen hours). Since I try to look on the bright side, I love that it gives me a lot of time to listen to audiobooks.

This year we're celebrating my mother-in-law's ninetieth birthday with a large family gathering on the MacKenzie River. She has seventeen kids, so when I say large...yeah, I mean it. Hubs and I have decided to extend the trip by camping our way from there to Boise and then home again. Though I'm not too fond of camping, I'm really, really fond of spending time with my husband, kids and other family members, so I'm really looking forward to the trip.

What is your favorite trip? Do you have any trips planned for this year?  Answer in the comments and then claim an entry toward winning a Kindle copy of one of these great reads in which the main character goes on a quest.

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little. A sweeping, epic saga of romance and hardship, set against the dramatic backdrop of ancient Mesopotamia—perfect for fans of Cleopatra's Moon or the adult bestseller The Red Tent.
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden's tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden's turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe's leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family's position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden's heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden's heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb's increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden's every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family's survival on the line, Jayden must finish the deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find true love for herself.

Elixir Bound by Katie CarrollKatora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone. It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly BlackTana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Some really good reads, and plenty ways to enter to win one. Enter before 11:59 pm on 1/17/16

a Rafflecopter giveaway #InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary WaibelKatie L. Carroll, and me,Kai Strand. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

December 14, 2015

December #InkRipples #Giveaway - Celebration/Gifts

I must take care of some InkRipples business before I get to this month's post.  Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll and I have decided to continue the meme into 2016, and we'd love for you all to join us! We have a new streamlined name: #InkRipples (formerly Ripples in the Inkwell) and brand new images to go along with it. 

We also have a new set of monthly topics for discussion in 2016:
January - Travel
#InkRipplesFebruary - Chocolate
March - Feminism
April - Poetry
May - Memories
June - Movies
July - Inspiration
August - Guilty Pleasures
September - Banned Books
October - Masks
November - Heritage
December - Cookies

How can you participate? Glad you asked because there are lots of ways. The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, or image into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. We provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, we ask that you link back to our three blogs in your post. Or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag (#InkRipples). Or even just comment on one of our posts. Tag us and we're always happy to share your posts and thoughts to keep those ripples going and intersecting. 

There is no structured format to #InkRipples. It's about having a conversation, sharing ideas, and connecting. So if this sounds at all interesting, please do participate in whatever way you can. And feel free to use any of the meme's images (created by the wonderful Mary Waibel). 

Now for this month's InkRipple: Celebration/Gifts.

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know I like to celebrate with gifts. I love to give free books whenever I can - whether they are my own or other books I think you'll enjoy. Or I give gift cards so you can choose what you like. This month is no different. This month I'm going to celebrate having read at least 100 books (at time of post) this year by giving a lucky winner the Kindle version of one of the few I rated as 5 STARS. Are any of these books on your to-read list? Do any of them intrigue you? Maybe they all do! Enter to win - enter as many times as you like. Tweet each day. Repin to several boards. Rack up as many entries as you can. Do it before 11:59 on December 27th. Here are (some of) my 5 STAR reads from 2015.

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit and see something new. She never intended to fall in love with a boy at space camp. And she certainly never intended to stumble into a frightening plot that just might destroy everything and everyone she cares about. But now there's no going back - Maisie's the only thing standing between danger and annihilation. She must become the hero the world needs, before she loses her heart . . . and her life.

Equal parts romance and action-adventure, this explosive story is sure to leave both longtime Shannon fans and avid sci-fi readers completely breathless.

The Whispering Skull by (one of my fave authors) Jonathan Stroud - this is a book 2, but book 1 was awesome too.

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper. Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well—until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

Zombie Rapture by Stuart West - this is for a bit more mature of a reader. Maybe more NA than YA, imho.

Zombies, dark humor, suspense, and Stuart R. West also adds a love story to this 'end of the world' book: ZOMBIE RAPTURE... 

Life is good for Hunter Wright. He's just about to graduate from high school and he's found true love. Just in time to lose her. Because the Rapture's begun and those in his path, living and dead, stand in his way of finding her. And it's not the Rapture the faithful have been expecting either. Someone failed to tell the dead they’re not in Heaven.

The Boyfriend Project by Mary Waibel (first in her novella series)

Samantha Jones’ world revolves around her neighbor, Jordan Kingsley. In fact, her boyfriend broke up with her because of the time she spends with Jordan. Sam longs to move their relationship to boyfriend/girlfriend level but there’s a problem. She’s afraid to ask him out because he’s one of her closest friends. 

When her BFF, Emery, suggests using advice from her favorite romance novels, Sam reluctantly agrees. But will she find herself worse off than the heroines of her beloved stories?

Crimson Bound by Rosamond Hodge

An exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and the extravagant court of Versailles, from the author of Cruel Beauty. A doomed warrior and the king's most notorious bastard must join forces to defeat a dark evil in this gorgeously intricate fantasy—perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in a vain effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as the two become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic . . . and a love that may be their undoing. Within a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Super Bad by Kai Strand - I'm sorry! I couldn't resist. I love the conclusion of my series!!!

The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing. 

Sandra’s concern over finding her brother Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double-crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend. 

When Sandra is taken and held as bait by some kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?” 

Enter via the rafflecopter below! Open Internationally as long as you can accept an Amazon gifted copy of the book via email. End 2015 on a 5 STAR note!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and be sure to visit Katie and Mary's blog to see their #InkRipples

December 11, 2015

The Orion Circle by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Welcome to my stop on the Twisted Sisters blog tour!
Here's a link to the host list if you'd like to follow the tour Click Me!


I sense movement, and in the next moment Tracy throws herself at the barrier, a screaming, howling banshee. She fights against the magic barring her. Static electricity sparks through the room, zooming around, visible in the darkness. I push Kacie behind me as the manic ghost continues her relentless assault on the barrier. A deafening boom reverberates through the room, followed by a wave of energy. I push Kacie down, falling on top of her to shield her from the ghost’s wrath. Pain lances up my back like thousands of cat claws, making me cry out both in shock and pain. I glance back—Samson and Delilah hiss their displeasure at Tracy, their claws digging into my back.
The claws retract when I yell at them, and all the other pain surfaces. Ignoring the throbbing in my ribs, I roll to my side to free Kacie, sending the cats leaping away. Tracy lets out one last anguished wail before slumping and falling to the floor. My familiars circle her prone body, mouths open, scenting the air. The heaviness in the air lessens, but I continue to take in shallow breaths to keep from aggravating the pain. I watch Tracy, searching for… well not signs of life, but existence? Her form flickers like an old movie, and I wonder if she’ll just wink out of existence.
“Is she…” Blake trails off, pushing himself up on his elbows. “That was quite a blast. You both okay?”
“Yeah,” Kacie says, rubbing her head. “Where’s Mr. Kincaid?”
“Out here,” Mr. Kincaid says from the hall. “I got out just before the explosion.”
“Logan…” Kacie pulls on my arm while pointing at Tracy’s prone form. “I’ve never seen, I mean, she can’t…”
“Her spirit would’ve disappeared if she was destroyed.” I try to struggle to my feet but give up, sagging back down. Kacie leans against me, and I wrap my arms around her.
Blake eyes us. “You two are not okay.”
“When Tracy forced the barrier, she released a lot of psychic energy,” I say, resting my cheek on Kacie’s head.
“It drained all of us, not just her,” Kacie adds.
“I feel fine,” Blake says stretching his arms over his head.
“Yeah, why is that?” I ask, unable to hide the genuine surprise from my voice.
“Rebecca will be thrilled,” Kacie says.
Blake raises his brows. “Why, she like stamina?”
Kacie giggles. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Blake. She likes researching puzzles.”
“Oh, no. I ain’t no one’s guinea pig.”
Tracy’s spirit releases a soft sigh, like a light exhale of breath… if ghosts could breathe. She floats to her feet as though controlled by invisible strings. Still solid, her dark eyes scan the room. A smile crosses her face when she realizes that she made it through the psychic barrier. All I can do is stare at the ghost and wonder what that mysterious smile means. Maybe she’s as drained as we are. Kacie squeezes my hand, her aura flickering from exhaustion. I meet her gaze. Evade and stall for time to recover—I try to send the message to her in my expression.
“Now that you’re in here, love,” Blake says, gesturing at the room. “Care to share why you wanted in so bad?”
Tracy blushes at Blake’s obvious flirting. I had no idea a spirit could blush, even one who appears as human as she does. I mean, it takes blood to blush, right? More manipulation? She glides to one of the beds and reaches out to it. Her hand goes straight through. When she tries again, she lets out a frustrated growl as her hand once again passes through the mattress.
“I can’t touch anything?” she says, her words sounding more like a question than a statement.
One moment she’s by the bed and the next she appears inches from Blake’s face. He doesn’t flinch, which I have to admit is rather impressive. I’m pretty sure even I’d have reacted to her sudden appearance.
“Are you really a werewolf?” she asks, leaning so close they’d touch were she human.
“Yep.” Blake manages a blank face as the ghost circles him.
“Shift for me.”
“It ain’t a full moon, love,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. I’m well aware that Blake can shift whenever he wants. He’s a born alpha werewolf, not a bite victim. Blake’s features take on a look of complete innocence. Damn but he can rival Kacie and Daniel in the acting department. “Why’re you deflecting attention from that bed? What’s under that mattress?”
“Nothing,” she says, backing away, shaking her head furiously.
“Now we both know that ain’t the truth.” Blake saunters over to the bed and lifts the mattress.
“Now what have we here?” Blake tosses a small book to me.
I open the book and flip through the pages. “It’s a journal.”
“It’s mine!” Tracy howls, making a grab for the book. But her hand passes through. She may have enough power left to look almost human, but not enough to manipulate physical objects.
Kacie takes the book, hugging it to her chest. “This is very private, but it could also be what’s keeping you from moving on.”
Tracy’s form flickers and sinks to the floor. She returns to an ethereal, misty spirit, and I can’t help but notice how much lighter she is now than before. Swirling white and light gray misty energy compose her figure, a sure sign that she’s close to acceptance of her fate.
“I’ll talk, but just to you,” she says, pointing at Kacie.
“No,” I say, unwilling to leave Kacie alone with this dangerous adversary.
“Of course,” Kacie says, directing a glare at me.

Twisted Sisters
The Orion Circle, Book 2

Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Sea Dragon Press
October 27, 2015

It’s a child’s toy—what could go wrong?

While playing with a spirit board, two sorority sisters summon the vindictive spirits of three women brutally murdered by a psychopath. Join Logan, Kacie, and the rest of the Orion Circle as they delve into the disturbing events of the past to find the key to freeing the spirits.

But this isn’t any ordinary haunting.  These ghosts were banished before, and now they have returned more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Anger breeds hatred and hatred leads to darkness—these phantoms are on the verge of losing their last spark of humanity and becoming completely lost to the shadows.

Can Logan and Kacie convince the tortured souls to embrace the light and move on, or will the spirits succumb to the hypnotic pull of evil, leading to an eternity of torment and suffering?

About the Author

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. In addition to writing, she works as an editor for two publishers, as well as select indie authors. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and lots of dragons. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, video games, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) Winner of the 2014 Rising Star Award at the BTS Red Carpet Awards in NOLA & a Silver Medal for YA Mystery/Horror in the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

Author Links:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/URgwH


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December 10, 2015

A Love Letter to my Readers

Five years ago today I became a published author with the publication of The Weaver.

I suppose technically I was published before that with several short story publications to my name, but my goal was to have a book published, and that goal was realized on December 10, 2010.

I still chuckle at how anti-climactic the moment was. I found The Weaver available on Amazon. I lifted my laptop and spun it in all directions to show off the Amazon page to my family. Then the oven timer beeped and I got up and finished cooking dinner. Yeah, being a published author is just that sexy.

But I’ve had many amazing moments too. The Weaver was a finalist in a couple award contests I entered it in. It received (still receives—bless all you reviewers out there) really positive reviews. And it opened the door for me to step into classrooms. One of my favorite things to do as an author is to be able to visit with readers. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you walk into a room and hear a child whisper reverently, “The author is here!”

Writing has helped me to step outside my mundane life. In order to write believable characters in believable situations, I’ve visited teen transitional housing, received valuable input on anxiety disorders and dealing with suicide, and planned an entire camping trip to research ghost towns.

Five years later I have a dozen published titles and I’ve got the next two in the works. However, I’ve had a rough writing year, battling something more than writer’s block, more like writer’s incentive. For me the act of writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the value of the time put into it. I love to write, but I also want my time to count. Especially for my family. And this year I struggled to define that value. As much as I love school visits, blog visits, Facebook, Twitter, etc, it is time taken from my family life and if in the end it holds little value beyond making me feel good (in other words, doesn't sell more books), then I need to fill that time with more constructive pursuits, like working at a job outside the home. It's important to me to feel I'm contributing, not just leaching from the family dynamic.

I believe I’ve finally found a better balance of the time I put into my writing career and the value I get out of it. Because of that, my mind is free to create again and I can move into the next five years of my writing career with a better idea of the pace I want to set for myself.

If you’re still reading this post, thank you. Really the reason I’m sharing this is for you to know that the authors behind the books you read are real people investing valuable time and self into creating entertainment. In the five years since my first publication my daughter has graduated from college, my son joined the Navy, I lost my mother, my sister started her battle with cancer. Life. Life has happened. All authors experience life while creating new ones for you to enjoy. So when you do enjoy the work they do, take a moment to tell them with a review, a note on their Facebook page, recommending or gifting their book to a friend. Your single message might truly be the value the author needs to invest more time into writing another book.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have given your attention to my work. I look forward to an ongoing relationship filled with fantasy or grit, raw emotion or joy, and all the stories I can make up for you. Thank you for letting me do this with you.


December 4, 2015

Cover Reveal - Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here by Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Judith Natelli McLaughlin and revealing the cover for her middle grade novel Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here.

More about Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here

Dear Diary,
E. P. Thompson here.
Worst. Year. Ever. First semester in sixth grade, and my best friend Debbie has dropped me because my boobs aren’t big enough. Well, she didn’t say that exactly, but I just know that’s the reason. Then I got paired with Adam Berry, the biggest pencil-protecting geek of the decade, for the never-ending, semester-long math project. And as if that’s not bad enough, Thomas Maxwell, the cutest boy in my grade, only pays attention to me when I’m making a total fool of myself. Ugh.
Weirdest thing of all: it seems Lucas C. Tanner Middle School has a full-on, bona fide thief! Now all the teachers are going crazy and all the students are too, because Mrs. Peule has promised to make this year a living nightmare until the culprit is caught. We have to find out who is ruining sixth grade. Like, now!
Well, at least the criminal activity has taken the focus off my lack of bra ownership. Sigh.
I have to go. I’ll write again soon. Promise.

More about Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Judith Natelli McLaughlin grew up reading a solid diet of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Shel Silverstein. Her mom was famous for telling her, "You are never alone if you have a book," and her dad, a lover of words, was always reciting poetry to her.
She went on to write, illustrate, and publish her own poetry book,Poems on Fruits and Odes to Veggies—Where Healthy Eating Starts With a Poem. Her other works include a women’s fiction novel titled This Moment and a soon to be released children’s chapter book, Mackenzie Goode Makes A Mistake—A Big One.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband Brian; her three daughters Katie, Lindsay, and Maggie; and her faithful writing companion, a Westie named Duke.

And the the big reveal...