New Release and Sale! Bewitched Beginnings

A Paranormal YA Anthology – On Sale for 99¢!

Not only is this a great sampling of YA authors and stories, including Jen’s latest release Going Under (The Oracles of St. Ambrose Book 1), but 100% of proceeds from the sale of Bewitched Beginnings go to the charity Kids Needs to Read (see info below). That’s right – 100%.

 

Bewitched Beginnings Cover

 

Bewitched Beginnings: Five full length YA Paranormal novels included in one bundle. Delve into the supernatural worlds created by Angel Lawson, Magan McMinimy, Jennifer M. Barry, Erin Danzer and Sharon Rose Mayes and follow the stories of strong young men and women as they hold their own against the forces of nature.

Wraith by Angel Lawson

Freak. Weird. Crazy. These are the names tossed around seventeen-year old Jane Watts by her fellow classmates. But things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes there’s a reason for talking to yourself in the hallway at school.

Jane struggles with adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move. She wants one thing in life—to be like everyone else at school, but that’s hard to do when you’re the new kid. But she does manage to make one friend, Evan—he’s sixteen, charming, and protective. Everything a girl could want in a best friend…with one minor caveat.

He’s dead.

Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one can see or hear him.

That is until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in Juvie. Connor can see Evan and he’s not convinced the ghost is being completely honest. From his own experience ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments isn’t any different.

Jane is resentful of Connor’s intrusion but realizes soon enough he’s right. Evan has secrets about his past and not only did his life end tragically but members of his family are still in danger. Jane must face her fears and battle Evan’s human demons to free both of them.

Going Under by Jennifer M. Barry

Chase Bradford, king of New York City’s high school elite, is dragged to Nashville for his senior year at St. Ambrose Academy. On his second day, the Queen Bee is found dead in the school swimming pool. Chase isn’t surprised, since he saw a vision on the water’s surface during swim practice just hours before Cheyenne died.

Before Chase can properly freak out, he discovers snarky writer Natalie and narcoleptic computer genius Bryan also possess unusual abilities. The three must work together to discover how Cheyenne died and why…before the killer can get away with it. But Natalie and Bryan are from different social circles and pose a threat to Chase’s elite status. High school politics are nothing new to Chase, but the psychic abilities are.

The list of suspects isn’t surprising, since few people actually liked the popular queen of the elite. Chase, Natalie, and Bryan follow every vision, every lead – even Cheyenne’s own father – right up to the shocking end.

Twins of Aurora by Magen McMinimy

Life seems relatively normal for eighteen-year-old Avalina, who spends most of her time hanging out with her outspoken best friend, Jess, her twin brother, Aiden, and his best friend, Nick. Avalina fights against the overwhelming crush she has on Nick, harassment from her cruel ex-boyfriend, and an over protective brother while trying to make it through her senior year of high school.

Their lives are forever changed when the mysterious Araios, who looks remarkably like Nick, appears at a party in their sleepy little town in Northern Idaho. Araios holds secrets Avalina has long forgotten, secrets of a past based in a world of magic, mythical creatures and a royal lineage.

Follow the group of friends as they travel through this thrilling new world while Avalina learns to control the magic she needs to save everyone from the darkness that threatens to destroy Aurora and all who live within it.

Into the Spiral by Erin Danzer

Being struck by lightning is just the beginning…

Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Lambert wants to get out from under her older brother’s shadow. When Ronnie gets a tattoo and then is struck by lightning, she suddenly finds herself able to see and hear things in shadows that don’t appear to others. Then Ronnie meets Gavin Clearwater, the hot new guy in all of her classes and finds out he can see and hear the same things she can.

Gavin tells her about the Spiral Defenders, a group of warriors that travels through space and time to defend the planets of the Spiral. After meeting the Commander of the Spiral Defenders and realizing his intentions might not be pure, Ronnie struggles between following her destiny to become a Spiral Defender and trying to regain the life she had before being struck by lightning.

Blood Pact by Sharon Rose Mayes

Riley Spencer has spent most of her life doing what is normal for her: attending school, spending time with her mother, and training to hunt vampires. It was how she grew up as part of the organization and when Nick comes to town and joins her team everything changes. Now Riley and the rest of her team begin to question everything they have learned about vampires and the organization that trained them to hunt the vampires that hide in the world.

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Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for chances to win a KINDLE FIRE HD, autographed print copy bundle, swag grab bag, and $15 Amazon gift certificate!

Kids Need to Read Charity

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All proceeds from Bewitched Beginnings will be donated to Kids Need to Read.

Kids Need to Read works to create a culture of reading for children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged children.

Founded by YA author PJ Haarsma, Denise Gary, and Nathan Fillion in 2008.

Kids Need to Read provides books to adolescent juvenile offenders, high school dropouts, youths living in poor urban or rural communities, immigrant kids, kids with learning disabilities, and kids living on Native American reservations. They do not discriminate and submissions are prioritized by severity of need and probability of impact on the children served.

They have provided over 47,000 books to 166 schools, libraries, and literacy programs in 41 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

Author Stalking Links

Jennifer M. Barry

http://jennifermbarry.com

@jennifermbarry

 

Magen McMinimy

http://www.magenmcminimy.com

@MagenMcMinimy

 

Angel Lawson

http://www.angellawson.com

@TheAngelLawson

 

Sharon Rose Mayes

http://www.sharonrosemayes.com

@SharonRose

 

Erin Danzer

http://erindanzer.com

@ErinDanzer

 

On Writing: Thinking Outside the Box

Do We Choose Genres, or Do They Choose Us?

Guest post by Angel Lawson

writing process choosing genres

© Photoeuphoria | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I’ve never been one to settle inside a particular box. This holds true in most areas of my life but definitely in the creative ones. The more pressure I feel to fit inside a particular mold the more likely I am to kick and push and flex to get outside.

I’ve spent years as a visual artist and teacher. There’s nothing I enjoy more than finding materials and figuring out how to make them into something new. Bottle caps, scrap paper, paint, wood and anything else reusable can be reconfigured into a million different original pieces.  I think this is what held such appeal with writing, taking words and ideas and situations and then forming them into an entirely original creation.

My favorite part about being a writer is the endless possibilities and directions I can venture into. This is especially true as a self-published author. Once upon a time I queried agents and publishers. Going the traditional route seemed the best way to go, right? What did I know about publishing? Nothing. But the more and more I learned about self-publishing the more it appealed to me. One reason was the fact I don’t “fit” in any one box very well, I never have. Playing in a variety of sandboxes makes me happy. Because of this I started playing “What if?”

What if I get an agent and they only want YA paranormal?

What if they want a series and I get writers block? (I don’t do well when people tell me what to do).

What if I decide I don’t want to write anymore and I want to do something different creatively?

I slowly started to realize that the traditional route wasn’t really the best direction for me.

The first book I published fell in the Paranormal YA genre. Before that was published I’d finished another book, a Contemporary, Coming-of-Age YA. Next up was a New Adult novella. Followed by an Adult Urban Fantasy. Because I’m bound to no one but myself (and my readers) I write what I want to write and how I want to write it. Sometimes I like to write things that test the waters. Other times I write what comes from my heart and brain at the moment. It’s all done at my own pace in my own way. Some books come very quickly while others require a lot of plotting and planning.  Like most things in life, I think the books we love and work on the most probably receive the least attention. The others that we write in a manic flurry in the middle of the night receive the most.

What’s it like to write so many genres? Pretty fun, actually. I do think it confuses readers some. They don’t know exactly what they are getting from book to book.  I have to hope that if they enjoy one book they’ll pick up the next one and give it a shot. I never get bored and I never think, “Oh I don’t write X genre so I can’t go there,” or “you can’t use footnotes or illustrations.”

Why not? The best way to me to be successful and happy is to ride the wave of my creativity, which over the years I’ve learned, holds no bounds.

About the Author

Angel Lawson lives in Atlanta with 2 mini-superheroes, one big-superhero wannabe and a growing herd of pets. She spend her days creating art out of words, glue and glitter while chasing away zombies, serial killers and ghosts at night. She is the author of FanGirl, The Wraith Series and an adult romance, Serial Summer. The third book in the Wraith series will be released in December 2013.

Follow Angel Lawson

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J to tha M Review The Elemental Mysteries Series

Four Book Reviews in One!

elemental mysteriesSince our scheduled reviewer was unable to make the deadline, we decided to post a J to tha M chat about a series we both read and really enjoyed. Hope you do, too!

M: So, that rec you gave me last week.

The Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter

That Kindle is doing the job and making you read more – yay!

J: Heh, yes. Did you like?

M: I really did. Ate them up.

J:  the most impressive thing about these books is that they’re self-published

I know she works with an editor or several

M: I think the most impressive thing is the world building, to be honest

Vampire clans coming from each of the four elements and being able to manipulate them

the self-publish adds to the interesting, though

her books are a great example of self-pub done right

elemental mysteriesJ:  I really think so, too. What was amazing was that I didn’t THINK I was super attached to the characters in the first one – A Hidden Fire – but I still couldn’t wait to read the next one – This Same Earth. So apparently I was connected. And then The Force of Wind, and A Fall of Water.

M:  yes, exactly. I felt there were some minor issues with the first one – pacing, some editing, small stuff like that – but I was so happy to find she fixed those little irritations in the subsequent books

I think in fixing those issues, it allowed me to make that strong connection I wanted but just didn’t quite get in the first one

J:  Another surprising thing was how much I actually rooted for the heroine. I mean, she managed to get herself kidnapped every time she turned around, but she wasn’t whiny or weak

M:  yes, she did a great job on that balance

making the heroine strong and self-sufficient while still having human weakness in a vampire world

and then toward the end – yeehaw. B was an awesome badass

J:  Oh, and real vampire fights. Hallelujah! I don’t usually seek out vampire books, and it actually surprised me when this one was

but I was excited to see real action

not lots of worry for nothing

elemental mysteriesM: and well-written real action

J: ohhhhh

and the love scenes

the way the vampires mated and drew strength

M: mm, yes

it’s similar to BDB in that they get strength in feeding from their mates

which is a huge sexy trigger, I think

and she managed to do it very well and very uniquely in the world and mythology she built

J:  hmmm. I still haven’t read that

it’s kind of funny to see the different vampire mythologies

how they cross and mirror and then take off in another direction

elemental mysteriesM:  lots of fun things to work with when writing about vampires

but speaking of all the sexy triggers…

Giovanni

J:  oh hey

the name is enough

M:  I mean, she hit just about all those triggers and made him believable and not over the top

Gorgeous Italian renaissance man. Ruthless and unbeatable fighter. Deadly killer. Protective, faithful, loving.

and a fire vampire

I mean, come on. That was awesome.

A vampire who can control fire

J:  without killing himself

also important

so he’s specialer

M:  just the mental image she painted of him walking toward his enemies with blue flames licking all over his upper body, ready to blast them out of existence

Yep. Sexy.

elemental worldJ:  and then there’s Carwyn

adorable

and set up beautifully for his own book – Building from Ashes

M:  yes

and I love how the characters are not all purely good or purely bad (except Lorenzo – he’s a great villain)

she manages that balance very well, too

shows the real flaws like we all have and makes you cheer for them

J:  he seemed a little….dimwitted for a villain at times

but then that was a great device, too

because dumb people are often more dangerous than the smart ones

M:  I didn’t exactly see it as dimwitted, more like he let his personal vengeance get in the way of world domination

that was his flaw

I went through all four Gio and Beatrice books this past week, and am halfway through Carwyn’s story

J: Yay! Glad you liked.

M: Oh, yes. I really did. So glad I continued on to the second. I feel it’s much stronger, as is the rest of the series. Isn’t A Hidden Fire still free on Amazon right now? I need to go buy the next in the spin-off series.

brb

Book Review Elemental Mysteries

About the Author

Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College in the Department of English (Linguistics) and a former English teacher.

She currently lives in Central California with a seven-year-old ninja who claims to be her child. She enjoys reading, writing, travel, and bowling (despite the fact that she’s not very good at it.) Someday, she plans to learn how to scuba dive. And maybe hang glide. But that looks like a lot of running.

She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, and other works of fiction.

Book Review: Obsidian by Kayla Curry

Novel Review by Lisa Lester

Book review Obsidian by Kayla CurryKayla Curry’s Obsidian is the first book in her planned Mystic Stones series.  I wasn’t familiar with her work prior to this one, but after reading the summary on goodreads, I was intrigued.  Set in the year 2020, the world has become completely dependent upon technology, to the point that societies can no longer function without it.  Then comes the day that the technology fails.  Cars stop working because they are dependent upon GPS satellites to simply drive down the street; computers won’t work without the internet. And on islands like Hilo, Hawaii where our story takes place, food supplies can quickly become scarce when ships can no longer travel the oceans.  Within the first few chapters we meet our protagonist, Ava, a building manager whose company rents out office space.  We also meet Tom, another main character, who we quickly discover is one of the vampires behind the technological collapse in order to coerce humanity into trading their blood for use of technology.  When Ava spurns Tom’s offer of becoming a vampire like him, she goes on the lamb and we meet a colorful group of characters including surfers, rogue vampires, and an immortal with a secret of his own.  This group decides to band together to try and take down the vampires and save humanity, starting with the group on Hilo.

Overall, I loved the premise of this book.  It was a fresh and original take on the vampire/supernatural mythos.  I really, really, wanted to like this book.  However, the main plot of technological failure quickly takes a side rail to the romance between Ava and Tom, and later Ava and Jesse.  There is a brief Twilight-esque love triangle between Ava and the two men, which further muddied the plot for me.  While the love story interwoven in the main plot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I felt that she could have done much more with the technological angle.  If the lack of technology is supposed to be such a world-changer, it isn’t really shown as much more than a minor inconvenience in Ava’s world.  Newer cars won’t start, and computers won’t run, but paperwork still exists in the year 2020.  Restaurants are still able to cook and serve food, and there are still plenty of cars and motorcycles and boats that work perfectly well without GPS.  There’s also some aspects thrown in that defy the suspension of disbelief, such as when one of the characters, Hui, asks Ava if she still throws [knives], and she replies with a comment about being rusty, but yes.  Nowhere in her back story does it ever mention that she would have a hobby such as throwing knives, and there would be no reason for a building manager to have a skill like that.  Another such example is (minor spoiler here) Ava’s own progression from mere mortal to powerful immortal.  In the course of a few chapters she experiences a build-up of power that defies logic and sense.  Even characters such as Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan went through a progressive buildup of power.  Even to say that Ava was born with this much power, there should have been hints of it earlier in her life, and even earlier in the story, that would have made more sense.  The aforementioned examples also had their moments of failure with their powers, which makes them more believable, while Ava’s powers never go awry or fail her at any time.  The other consequence to a power build up so great this soon in the series is that the author leaves Ava no room to grow as a character.

This book had a lot of promise.  Like I said, I really wanted to like this book, but the more I read, the more I felt as if the story pacing and character development was lacking.  The characters were likeable, and I enjoyed the use of Hawaiian slang and pidgin. Unfortunately I would hope that in future books we would see more of the main story and less of the romance, and more character development, but I have to say I was disappointed with this one.

2BrassMonkeys3

About the Book

Ava Tanner finds herself in a world without satellite technology in a time of GPS, Smart phones, and Tablets. When she discovers that a corporation headed by vampires with sinister motives is to blame, her world is turned upside-down. After a narrow escape, she learns a mystical secret about herself that could aide her in her fight against the vampires. Unfortunately, the vampires see her either as an asset or a target.

When the world is on the brink of complete social and technological destruction, one must ask themselves: Would I give up my blood for the modern ideal way of life, or will I risk my life and wage war with the overlords of chaos?

About the Author

Kayla Curry lives in North Platte, Nebraska with her husband and two year old son. She is always getting ideas for stories from random thoughts and places, but a lot of inspiration comes from the wide range of people she sees while working front desk at a local hotel.

In her free time, Kayla likes to do arts and crafts and also dabbles in knife throwing. As of late, her son and her writing take up most of her time, as well as preparing for a new addition to her family. She plans to continue writing even with a new baby in the family. Follow her on Twitter and Goodreads, or visit her website. You can find Obsidian at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and many other online retailers.

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Lisa Lester lives in humongous house with three cats, three dogs, two dudes (one of which she’s married to, the other one is a refugee from New Jersey) and a partridge in a pear tree…okay, just kidding about the pear tree.  And the partridge too. When she’s not working for the Man. she’s reading or killing stuff on World of Warcraft. She also enjoys nerdy things like Star Wars, crocheting, and pretty much any kind of music.