Indie Authors, writer's life, YA Author Club

Categorizing Books

YA Indie CarnivalHappy Friday, friends! This week the YA Indie Carnival is discussing the complicated topic of book categories. If you’re an author, I’m sure you know how hard it is to fit your book into just one (or even two!) categories. For the rest of you, please let me explain…

When I finished writing my first book, A Light In The Darkness, I called a fantasy. And it is a fantasy novel. Characters with magical powers, fighting an evil sorcerer, set out on an impossible quest across the kingdom only to battle the very essence of darkness. Add a few dragons and we’d call this thing an epic fantasy.

Well, the problem is…it’s not an epic fantasy. As a matter of fact, die-hard fantasy fans would say it’s hardly a fantasy at all since I didn’t use a lot of the traditional and expected elements of a fantasy. No wizards, no elves or dwarves, no dragons. Even the magic is very different. So, is it really a fantasy?

And another problem – I call this series “young adult” (YA) because the main characters are older teens. When I started shopping it around to agents the year after I finished it, I labeled it MG (middle grade) because it isn’t very “mature”, meaning there isn’t any bad language or sex or even much violence despite several battle scenes. It’s safe to hand to a 5th grader who loves to read adventure stories and you won’t be corrupting their brain or giving them anything too heavy to handle. Still, this creates a problem. Which category is it? MG or YA?

Then, the problem gets messier. Several people reading it started to comment about how “religious” the story was in their opinion. I knew when I finished it that the theme of the story was faith and how it affects our relationships and our choices. Although I had set out to write a fantasy adventure, I somehow ended up with something a lot deeper. It wasn’t really intentional. I wish I could credit for it, but I can’t. It just sort of happened along the way and then as I’m reading through the book, I kept thinking, “Wow. Is that symbolism there? Huh.” Apparently other readers felt pretty strongly about it. Some were even offended, as though I were using the book to trick them into believing my own beliefs. I wish I were that clever! Instead, it looks to me like the book could be speaking about any sort of religion or belief system that someone really held on to. For that matter, the way the main character, Merrilyn believes in Loian doesn’t seem that far off from how some people might believe in aliens or big foot or fairies if they claim to have seen them. The difference is, Loian is telling her to do something and she does it. You can imagine the problems this creates around her when other people don’t understand her actions. THAT is what I believe the story is really about – how a person’s faith in something affects their relationships and the choices they make for their own lives. That seems interesting to me. Anyway, you can see how some began to categorize the book as “religious” or “inspirational”.

So what is it? An action adventure set in a fantasy setting with some magic and still some possible inspirational meaning that chronicles a “coming of age” between middle grade and young adult. Wait. That seems too long. Amazon only allows me to choose one main category. I can tag it in a few more categories. What should I choose? Ugh! This is tough! And for every single book I write, I find myself in the same predicament. How do I narrow this story down into one category?

For many of us indie authors, that difficulty may be one of the reason we’re indie authors in the first place – our books just don’t fit in with the mainstream books you’ll find on bookstore shelves. They won’t be chosen by agents or publishers because they cross enough genres to make marketing a little tricky. Does that mean the story isn’t good or that the writing isn’t excellent? No! It just means that we don’t fit in their nice little boxes that they’ve created to label stories that earn them the big bucks. For a publisher, it all comes down to the money. They must choose books that they can sell quickly and with the least amount of effort or investment.That’s business.But as a reader, that isn’t what I’m looking for exactly. I want a story that intrigues me, that pushes the boundaries of the expected. If you only publish books that fit into 4 or 5 categories, eventually all the books look the same.

Do you ever feel that way? Like all the books and tv shows and movies are all the same? Well, there’s a reason for that! But the indie writers are shouting, “It doesn’t have to be that way!” Give us a chance and we’ll knock your socks off! Grab an indie book and see the diversity you’ll find in our stories. We’re not offering you the same old boring product. We’ve got new things to share and we’re just looking for a few good readers. If that’s you, then check out my books and the books of these other fabulous indie authors listed below. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite and give up the same old boring for something new. Then, be a good friend and share it with others. An indie author will be forever grateful.

The Young Adult Author Club

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy
Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Author Spotlight: Melissa Pearl

Melissa PearlMelissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.
“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”
 Facebook Author Page:http://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelissaPearlG
Blogs: http://melissapearl.blogspot.com/ and http://yalicious.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Pearl/e/B0064I6S26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Goodreads Author Page:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5314516.Melissa_Pearl
Smashwords Author Page:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melissapearl
Newsletter subscription:  http://blogspot.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ab5a6cb228dc9203d6c179eaa&id=481344857f
Website: http://www.melissapearlauthor.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melissapearlg/

 

Interview:
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Man – that is such a tough questions. One? I’m only allowed one? LOL.
One series that I have read over and over in my time is the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Those books have it all – awesome romance, excellent action and tension, amazing descriptions, plus a deep message running through the books (if you’re into that kinda thing – which I am). They made me laugh, cry and fall in love. Haha 🙂 Just my type of story.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Hmmm – how do you answer that question without coming across as pretentious? My Time Spirit Trilogy has been compared to Twilight in the sense of an intense love story. I wouldn’t say my writing is super fancy, but I know how to tell a fast paced story with lots of emotion and tension.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
Ooo – I have so many. Little moments between my characters are so precious to me. I can feel everything they are feeling and I love it. Here is a favourite of mine, which has also received some highlights. It’s a quote from Golden Blood (Book 1 in the Time Spirit Trilogy).
“How are you okay with this?” Gemma took a step back. “I can travel through time!”
Harrison shrugged and closed the distance between them. “Hey, I was cool with alien, this isn’t much different.”
“I’m a total freak!”
“Yeah.” He grinned as he threaded his fingers through her belt loops and pulled her towards him. “But you’re my freak.” His breath tickled her skin as he leaned towards her and whispered, “Face it, Hart, you’re stuck with me. I knew the second I touched you my life had changed…and you knew it too.”
It always makes me smile. Harrison’s reaction to Gemma’s revelation is perfect in my mind. Those two are made for each other and I love that he figures it out so early on.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. Movies are huge for me. I would love to see my stories on the big screen one day. I picture them that way in my head. I always get a tingle running through my body when I watch a movie with a really great kissing scene or an excellent action sequence… anything that makes my emotions start to bubble.
I am inspired by music as well – everything from movie scores to punk rock to country to alternative. I love it all! I even love my toddler’s music, although it’s not that inspiring, just fun to sing along to 🙂
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
I get up an hour before my family each morning to work on my social media stuff. It takes that long to clear my e-mail, do any blog post stuff I want to do, work through my Facebook notifications and my Twitter news. Time zon wise, it’s the best time for me to do this as there is more traffic around the sites I use.
As soon as my son goes down for his midday nap, I race to my computer. Four out of five days, I spend my time working on my writing and usually one day a week or at least half of one of those sessions is used on admin type things – numbers, blogging, extra marketing stuff. I also get a two-hour sleep in every Sunday morning, so I use that time to write as well. If my husband ever goes out in the evenings, I write once the kids are in bed.
It takes every spare moment I have to keep up with my writing. Thankfully I adore doing it, so it doesn’t feel like hard work.
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
I never eat when I’m writing. It would slow me down too much. I drink a lot of water, but if I’m really tired, I allow myself a small Coca Cola. The caffine boost can be useful sometimes.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am working on a Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy. This is my first attempt into this foray and I’m having SO much fun. The first book has been edited, the second book has been written and the third book is in the planning stage. I’m aiming for June, July and August releases for the three books.
Here’s the cover and blurb for the first one:
Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.
Then a star begins to fall.
Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.
Then a star begins to fall.
Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.
Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.
Excerpt from Unknown (The Elements Trilogy: Book 1): (keep in mind this book still needs a final proof read)
“Jethro!” Kyla slapped him on the arm and leaned against the grate, patting her chest. With narrowed eyes, she shot him a glare. “So this is how it is now? You don’t have the decency to talk to me in public, but you do take time out of your precious day to come scare the life out of me down in this foul-smelling tunnel.”
A slow, easy smile lit Jethro’s face. “Where have you been?”
“Why do you even care?”
Jethro’s brawny frame leaned against the stone wall behind him. His eyes glimmered with a knowing smile. “Let’s see, a bow slung over your shoulder, a quiver full of arrows… so not hunting then. I’m guessing target practice,” he clicked his fingers, “in the clearing by the waterhole.”
Kyla bit back a smile.
“How’d you do?”
She raised her chin. “I would have split your arrow in two.”
Jethro’s dark eyebrows jumped up with approval as he nodded his head. “Is that all you got up to?”
“Jethro, what are you doing here?” Kyla snapped.
“I just came to warn you.”
“Of what?”
Jethro frowned, making Kyla’s stomach clench.
“Queen Elaina is wondering why she saw her daughter being chased out of the forest by a guard of Ashan when she should have been studying world history with her tutor.”
Kyla stood up straight and swallowed. “My mother did not see. She’s always at prayers this time of day.”
“She was delayed.” Jethro winced.
The blood drained from Kyla’s face. Biting her lips together, she pulled the bow over her head and cleared her throat.
“You might want to present yourself to her before she has every man in the castle looking for you.”
With a child-like groan, Kyla gripped the end of her bow and rolled her eyes. “Fine.” Slumping her shoulders, she spun away from freedom and started stomping towards the dungeons.
“You may want to go past your chambers on the way. Perhaps tidy up a little?”
She came to an abrupt stop and slowly spun back to face the boy she’d known since birth. “Excuse me?”
Jethro’s lips fought with a grin as he pushed himself off the wall and sauntered towards her. “Just because you hate wearing dresses doesn’t mean she won’t expect to see you in one.” He pointed at the attire she had stolen from her brother years ago. She kept it hidden in a trunk at the end of her bed and only pulled it out when she was sneaking from the castle. If only her mother knew how comfortable they were, she wouldn’t insist on mountains of material that were impossible to run in.
“You’re already in for her wrath.” Jethro tipped his head. “You will only antagonise her more by appearing like this.”
Kyla pushed her tongue against the side of her mouth then huffed. “You know I hate you.”
“With the fire a thousand suns?”
Laughter burst from her mouth before she could stop it. “And more!” She punched him on the arm, missing the familiar banter they used to share as children. The amount of times he had driven her to screams of rage with his playful teasing, but a few punches later and they had been best friends again. She often wondered what had happened between them and wished they could return to past days.
As if Jethro could read her mind, he stepped back from her, the playful smile replaced with a new seriousness she did not care for. “You should get moving.”
golden bloodGolden Blood:  FREE
Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.
Gemma’s parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be “used and abused”, as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew… Harrison Granger.
Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can’t stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.
black bloodBlack Blood
The second book in the Time Spirit Trilogy
pure bloodPure Blood
Third book in the Time Spirit Trilogy
Forbidden Territory (co-authored with Brenda Howson)
Mica and Lexy have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were eight years old. They share everything and have no secrets from each other until… Tom arrives on Mica’s doorstep – a gorgeous exchange student from England. And Lexy is smitten.
Suddenly both girls are keeping secrets. Mica is hiding news about Tom’s English girlfriend and Lexy hasn’t got the heart to tell her best friend that her brother Eli, the guy Mica is mad on, thinks of her as only a friend.
After a massive fight, the girls decide the best way to mend their friendship is to spend some quality time together. And what better way than to go camping away from their parents and why not invite along the guys they are crushing on.
So the four teenagers embark on a geo-caching expedition into New Zealand’s native bush expecting a long weekend filled with flirtatious fun; instead secrets are exposed as they stumble across a hidden marijuana crop and its gun-wielding watchmen. Forced apart they spend the next forty-eight hours racing blindly in opposite directions as they fight to find each other before the hunters do.
Betwixt cover-01 Betwixt
Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.
Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.
Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?
Melissa Pearl is just one of the many fabulous writers in the YA author club we like to call the YA Indie Carnival. Check out these fabulous blogs and let me know if you find a new author to love.
1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy
Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Author Spotlight: KC Blake

KC BlakeK.C. Blake is a ninja on the keyboard.  When she is locked away in her office, pounding out another story, no one dares disturb her.  She probably wouldn’t hear them anyway.  They don’t get it.  They think she’s in her office, but she’s lost in another world.  Sometimes she is fighting vampires or hunting ghosts.  Sometimes she is running with a werewolf pack or falling in love with a misunderstood creature.  Her books appeal to lovers of the paranormal.  Whether you are twelve or fifty, you will fall in love with her stories.

Twitter:@kasiblake
 
Here’s what we wanted to know about K.C.:
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
City of Bones.  I love the way Cassandra Clare writes, so visual that I can see it, and I love her awesome characters.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
I don’t think my characters are like any other characters I’ve read about.  My writing is my own.  I’ve been told I have a unique voice, a unique way of writing.  Some people love it and some of don’t.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
This is a hard one. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, so I will use one that people have put on Goodreads as their favorite.  It is from Vampires Rule.
“Stop!” she screamed. “Don’t hurt him.”
“Back off!” Billy shouted.
She yanked harder on Billy’s arm.
“He isn’t a vampire anymore, idiot. Look! Do you see that big, yellow thing up in the sky? That’s called the sun. It’s shining down on him, and he isn’t exploding. His fangs are gone. He’s as human as we are. Case closed.”
Billy stared up at the sky, his jaw slack. “Not possible.”
Jack mumbled, “They don’t call me Jackpot for nothing.”
“What?” Billy blinked at him.
“Private joke.”
I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Jack was a vampire and now he’s not, and his brother just found out.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
There isn’t any certain thing that inspires me.  Once in a while a movie or book will speak to me.  Sometimes a person I know will say something that sends me into a ‘what if’ daydream.  As for music, I love listening to songs while I write.  What I listen to depends on what sort of scene I’m writing.  I need a song that captures the emotions of the scene.  Then I can picture it in my head, and I’ll listen to that song a hundred times if I have to in order to finish what I’m working on.
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
Within five minutes of waking I am thinking about whatever book I’m working on.  I might listen to music and daydream about it for a while, or I might jot down some notes.  Usually I spend time on-line before pulling my book up on the computer.  I check email, do some research, and play games (lol) before starting to work.  Then I work on and off all day until I get a chapter finished or am too tired to keep going.  I take breaks quite often.  If I don’t, my eyes and head hurt so bad the next day that I can’t work at all.
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
No.  Eating and or drinking distracts me from the writing.  If anything, once in a while I will have some chocolate, something I can just pop into my mouth.  I’ll use it as a reward.  I get one after I finish a certain amount of pages.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am editing a book called Bait, the first in a new series.  Here is the blurb for it:
At sixteen, Bay-Lee Bishop is not your typical girl.  The last thing she wants is to be popular, but flying below the radar isn’t easy when you’re the tallest girl in the eleventh grade.  She works hard to keep a steady C point average, never raises her hand in class, and avoids extra-curricular activity of any kind.  The other students would be stunned to learn she’s living under an alias as she and her uncle move from town to town, just barely staying a step ahead of the monsters hunting her just because she’s Van Helsing’s daughter.
Life is weird.  Then it gets worse.  A reaper uses her closet to cross over with a dire warning the day before she’s whisked away to her new school.  This time it’s the school she was always meant to attend, a school that trains hunters.
This is what she’s been waiting for her whole life, only it isn’t anything like she imagined. The other students hate her, something evil is killing hunters, and her mentor refuses to give her the slightest bit of help.  Determined to make her father proud, Bay-Lee focuses on her training.  Nothing is going to distract her.  Not border monsters or wraiths or the boy with jungle green eyes.
For Bay-Lee, love is not an option.  But try telling that to her heart.
Excerpt: (keep in mind this book is still being edited)
At some point during the night a stranger crawled into Bay-Lee’s bed while she snored softly, unaware.  The mattress springs squeaked in complaint beneath the additional weight as he reclined on his side and stared down at her face in the moonlight.  It bothered him that she continued to sleep.  After all the stories he’d heard about this girl, exploited rumors verging on myth, he’d expected more from her.  Shouldn’t she be able to sense danger?
This was Van Helsing’s daughter?  She looked insignificant, vulnerable beneath the green sheet.  He could snap her neck so easily—and maybe he should.  The world would continue on, undisturbed, but the dark cloud hanging over his head would finally dissipate.
A fraction of moonlight filtered through partially open curtains, not enough to see clearly, but it didn’t matter because he’d seen pictures of this girl on Van Helsing’s desk.  Her features were burned into his retinas.  Every time he went into the office he tried not to look at the photographs, purposely pointing his gaze elsewhere.
There was something about her, something unsettling which inevitably pulled him back to stare at her reproduced image.  She looked like an average girl at first glance.  A pretty face framed by dark hair that nearly reached her waist, parted in the middle and layered stared back at him.  Of Brazilian descent, her eyes were the darkest of browns, nearly black.  They hid a mountain of secrets.  She had attitude to spare and the camera caught it, recording it for future historians—if the prophecies were correct, they would want to study her.
She possessed a ‘bite me’ expression that must drive vampires crazy.
Fortunately, he was not a vampire.
Her mouth bothered him the most. Full lips haunted his dreams with a secretive smile curving the ends and a bottom lip that begged to be nibbled on. Sometimes, when he wasn’t carefully controlling his thoughts, he wondered what she would taste like.  In his dreams, when he wasn’t fully in control of his mind, he kissed her without ceasing.  He wondered what would happen if he kissed her in real life.  Would it stir something deep in his soul?  Would the prophecy come true?
Something hard lodged in his throat and he swallowed.  It was a near miss, so he swallowed again.  Kissing her shouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. This girl was the reason he didn’t have a home or a family.  It was her fault he’d grown up on the outside looking in, her fault people whispered behind his back, and her fault he was destined to die young.
Bay-Lee stirred in her sleep.  Mumbling, she pushed against his chest with two fingers.  “Go ‘way.”
Cute like a box of kittens, for a second he forgot to hate her.  His heart momentarily softened—not for long.  The unfamiliar sensation was enough to wipe the half-smile from his face.  Delivering a mental kick to his brain, he reminded himself this girl was the last person in the world he could let his guard down around.  She was worse than trouble.  If he wasn’t careful, this seemingly harmless meeting would lead to his total destruction.
Ready to wake her, he leaned in close and whispered her (fake) name.  Like him, she was forced to live under an alias.  Michelle.
Vampire RulesVampires Rule:  FREE
They don’t call him Jackpot for nothing.
Jack has always beat the odds… until now. When a werewolf tried to kill him, vampires saved him. When he got tired of life as a vampire, another attack gave him back his mortality. Now Jack just wants to live a normal life, but what’s normal about having a hunter for a girlfriend, a brother who wants to stake him to be on the safe side, and a werewolf building an army to rule the world?
 
 
werewolves ruleWerewolves Rule: $2.99
 The second book in the Rule Series
Shifters Rule: $2.99SHIFTERSRULE
 
Third book in the Rule Series
 
crushed4Crushed: $2.99
 
The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers.
Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe.
But something isn’t quite right about Zach Bevian. He doesn’t behave like a boy who’s been Crushed. He goes from hot to cold, from looking at her with contempt to asking her out on a date. She doesn’t know what to think. Does he hate her or is he truly falling for her? Is he trying to kill her, or is he trying to save her?
 
 
Witch Hunt: $2.99
A magical game of Hide n Seek begins.
Find the missing player and win.
The game resets, everyone forgets, and they start to play again.
Starr Hughes hasn’t believed in magic since her mother died. As a reporter for the school paper she’s only interested in cold, hard facts. When she hears rumors that the mysterious It-Squad members are about to play a secret game, she is determined to learn all about it, especially since she’s been in love with one of the members half her life. Hiding under the headmaster’s desk, planting bugs, and breaking into a fellow student’s locker are all on her to-do list.
Starr is about to discover that witches not only exist, but they need her help. Someone is using the game to steal their memories, their powers, and maybe even their lives.
ATTENTION: Although this is the second book in the series, each book has its own set of characters and can be read as a stand-alone book.
 
 
Bait:  (coming Summer 2013)  FREE
 
If you don’t think monsters in the closet are real, ask Bay-Lee.
At sixteen, Bay-Lee Bishop is on her way to a new school, a training ground for hunters.  Before she leaves she gets an unexpected visitor, a reaper with a warning: It kills you on your birthday.  For years she’s dreamed of becoming a great hunter so she can avenge her mom… but school is nothing like she imagined.  The students resent her, a border monster is running loose, her mentor refuses to help her, and hunters are dying on their birthdays.  If she’s going to live long enough to reach her goal, she’ll have to solve this mystery before the day of her birth arrives.
The last thing she needs is to fall in love.  No problem.  Bay-Lee is focused and determined.  She barely notices boys.  Then she meets Nick Gallos, a gorgeous boy with jungle green eyes, a reckless heart, and a past darker than her own.
Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Author Spotlight: Rachel Coles

Here’s another fabulous writer from the YA Author Club, Rachel Coles.
Rachel colesRachel Coles lives in Denver with her family in Denver, Colorado. She works in public health disaster preparedness. She enjoys researching mythology to incorporate into story-telling. Her family and friends share her enthusiasm for fantasy and science fiction, she is the proud mom of one of the youngest Trekkies in the state.
Social Media Sites:
Spotlight Author Questions
1. What is your all-time favorite book, and why?
I’m not sure I could pick a single one. One of my favorite series is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series: Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion. I loved those books because they were complex, and when I put the last one down, it felt like my brain had changed after reading them. Mind-blowing. The series explored human evolution, not just physical, but religious and cultural, in the kind of time-span covered by Dune. It also explored artificial intelligence, in a different way than anything I’d read before. I also loved reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I always enjoy reading that because Discworld really picks you up and carries you away in the story. And that world is hilarious. Terry Pratchett takes typical tropes like vampires, dwarves, werewolves, etc, and turns everything on its head. He’s a really fun read, great for escaping. But I would say that the book whose phrases stayed with me for decades was either Something Wicked This Way Comes, or The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. He was one of the most poetic writers I’d ever seen, and really impressed upon me the power of words.
2. Is there an author you could be compared to or a popular fictional character you could relate to and why?
 I have been compared to Neil Gaiman once or twice, because of the mythological content of some of my stories. That absolutely makes me feel honored. He is another one of my favorite authors, and I have to admit that I’ve emulated him in a lot of ways. As for characters I could relate to, I guess I would have to say Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. I come from a family of Hobbits, pretty much. We’re mostly little people who love to eat and talk, and eat and talk, and eat and talk. I’m mostly not exaggerating. When I went to my aunt’s retirement party, we stopped at a deli and got pounds of meat, knishes, whitefish salad, bagels etc, on the way to her place from the airplane. Two hours later, we went to her party at which we didn’t stop eating, talking, and dancing for five hours. And when we got home, we cracked open the leftovers and ate again, chatting around the kitchen table. And that was just the beginning of the weekend. Elevensies/luncheon/afternoon tea/dinner/supper, they all ran together. Somehow I’m not 800 pounds. That’s why I think we’re secretly Hobbits. I am specifically a bit like Bilbo Baggins because I like telling stories, I am a creature of habit, and don’t normally go for anything unexpected, but every once in a while, I throw my hands up, give in to my wild side, and get into trouble.
3. Can you give us your favorite quote from your book and explain it?
 My favorite quote, spoken by Pazuzu, is “I will do whatever I have to do to protect you, even if I do it poorly in your eyes. You are young and angry and nothing is as simple as you imagine.” I like it because Pazuzu’s Girl is partly about what it means to be a parent. Whatever his other flaws are, he loves his daughter, and insists on being a dad, even if it means Morpho is mad at him. It reminds me of what I have heard some parents say, ‘It’s not my job to be your friend, it’s my job to be your mom/dad.’ I’m sure that I will someday have this conversation with my daughter when she is a teenager, because I had it with my parents at some point.
4. What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep on writing?
 Everything. I’m a space cadet and cannot stop daydreaming, and every experience I have somehow wends its way into a story. But specifically, I’m a child of the 80’s. I mostly listen to 80’s music because even though it’s corny often, there was an optimism then, and now a nostalgia. It’s energetic, bittersweet, and just kind of grabs my emotions. I write best when I’m caught up in some emotion or other. People who inspire me to keep writing are my family and friends. My daughter was the reason I started writing. She loves to hear bedtime stories, particularly scary stories. And when we had burned through all of the remotely age-appropriate scary stories we could find, we started making them up together. I started writing them down, and kept going. My husband who is my best friend is really supportive and beta-reads my stories. The writing group I’m part of, we critique each others material, and have peer-pressure writing nights and get each other to write (pssst, just a few words, you know you want to, all the cool kids are doing it…)
5. Describe your typical writing day or week.
 My writing can be kind of scattershot. I have weeks where I’ll sit up until midnight after my daughter goes to bed, and write every night. Other times, it’ll be only on peer-pressure writing night, when I take my daughter with me to Panera and she plays Minecraft, while we all write, though I often have her write me a story on her iPad too.
6. Is there a typical food/drink you have to have when you write?
 Well, I don’t know if I have a particular food or drink, whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. Usually iced tea of some kind. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating a Panera sandwich and soup, and one of their brownies. I love eating their brownies when I’m writing, and am sad when they’re all out by the time I get there. Their chocolate chip cookies are nice, gooey, and chewy too. But I can’t eat those every time I write, or I’d need a forklift to get me to the restaurant.
7. Can you tell us what you’re working on now, possibly an excerpt?
 I’m working on a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl. For now the working title is Iron Butterfly. But I will probably change it, because there are really four main characters: Morpho– the demon Pazuzu’s daughter who is also part Sidhe, Ereshkigal–ruler of the Underworld, Ninhab Agresti–Morpho and JD’s high school principal and future consort of Ereshkigal, and Marduk–ancient god-king of Babylon now a CEO.
From ‘Iron Butterfly’
The tunnel went on in darkness for a ways. Morpho couldn’t tell how long. She had the feeling of rough walls on either side and above. The ground felt like loose dirt underneath her sneakers. But light grew ahead, and slowly they emerged out of the tunnel. There was sky overhead, but it wasn’t like any sky she’d ever seen. There was a moon like the moon outside in the regular world, except bigger, and brighter. It was clearer, and looked somehow like a bowl of molten silver dripping little pearls into the rest of the sky. The sky around the moon was deep emerald green shading into black velvet, which was littered with rainbow swaths of stars.

“Whoa.” JD stared around him at the thick bushes and trees. Their leaves were bronze and teardrop-shaped, with an iridescent sheen. Other bushes looked periwinkle blue in the glow from dozens of insectile motes that flitted away through the trees. The forest went dark, and she had somehow gotten the impression that they hadn’t been alone when they had come out. “Okay, then.” JD whispered. He kept going along a faint trail. “That was cool. Like Tinkerbell’s family.”
She looked back at the tunnel, but there was only foliage behind them. “Tunnel’s gone…Of course.” She muttered. “Okay.” She followed him until the trees thinned out to a broad plain of rolling grass-covered hills. The trail widened into a road that threaded through the swells of land. They had been walking for about five minutes, cresting the first hill when the baying started in the distance to the left. It got louder quickly as whatever made that sound came closer, but as she stared out at the hills, she couldn’t see anything, at first. Then a form took shape in the low mist that cloaked the valleys. As it got closer, it looked like a woman riding a chariot, that was drawn by the largest dogs she had ever seen. They were the size of horses, so black the light of the moon just sunk into their fur. Their ringed yellow and red eyes shone from their heads like lamps, and their sharp teeth were as black as obsidian. She didn’t get as far as noticing what the woman looked like.
“Oh hell!” Morpho and JD turned and ran.
“Change, Babe, change!” JD yelled to her. “They won’t be able to chase all of you!” he panted. “Or maybe you could test your Cuisinart wings move!”
She changed into a cloud of butterflies with razor wings and flew up into the sky above the chariot to get a vantage point, but the chariot had gained on JD. Then just when she thought that it couldn’t get worse, the chariot split into three. Three chariots, three sets of hellish dogs, and three women. They circled JD.
Leave him alone! She thought, as she dived at them. But the woman in the middle raised her hand, and suddenly, Morpho was human again as she slammed down onto the ground in front of the figure, whose hand was still outstretched toward her. Morpho couldn’t move, not even to turn her head, so she had a moment to see the women who had captured them. The tallest one had blazing red hair, not just Irish red, but so red it was almost like flames drifting around her head, barely restrained in long braids that were bound by delicate chains ending in tiny golden balls. She wore a gold circlet with swirls across the band. Her eyes were blood red. The woman to her left had a face very much like the red-haired woman, enough to be sisters. Her hair was as black as the messenger Raven’s wings, almost as black as the hell-hounds’ fur, absorbing light. Her black irises were like two holes in her eyeballs. Her nose was long and slightly curved, and her lips were thinner than her sister’s. The last woman was as pale as her sister was dark, the shortest of the three. She had pure white hair, as long as the other two. Her skin was the color of bone, and the eeriest part was her eyes. They were completely white. There were no pupils or irises, just milky white all the way across. They were terrible to look at, and oddly beautiful.
The red-haired one spoke. “You certainly are curious little creatures, aren’t you? Lugh told us you were coming. I warned your mother that you would be too curious for your own good at some point. I told her you would be your father’s child.”
“Who are you?” Morpho choked and strained against the force that held her head down. It released suddenly, and she sat up, spitting soil.
“I am Nemain. We are the Morrigan. We rule here. You would do well to show us some respect. Especially since you are trespassing.”
“Lugh is here? He told you about…us?” She glanced at JD. The dogs stood in front of him, a low rumbling growl issuing from their throats.
“Yes, though Macha saw that you would come.” She nodded at the white sister.
“Uh, sorry, we didn’t mean to trespass.” JD gulped, looking at the length of the dogs’ teeth.
The black-haired sister turned to her sibling, opened her mouth and a caw bordering on a shriek came out. It wasn’t amiable, like Raven’s caw. It was sharp and dangerous. Her nose seemed longer and her lips and white teeth seemed sharper.
Nemain studied JD. “Badb says you are young and…cute, like a lapdog. She wants to let you live, for now. Very well.” She reached over Morpho, as if her arm simply stretched and grew. Her long-fingered white hand grasped the back of Morpho’s shirt and hauled her up as if she were a kitten, into the chariot and dumped her at her slippered feet. Badb took JD. His face was frozen somewhere between terror and the goofy look he got when he stared at his busty guitar girl posters. If Morpho had been closer to him, she would have smacked him. But then, the chariots took off with a lurch and they were moving so swiftly she didn’t have a chance to do anything but slit her eyes against the wind as they flew. Everything turned grey and when she looked down at her hands, they seemed insubstantial, like mist. The dogs, JD, Badb and Macha, all of them seemed to blend into the grey so their edges blurred. She didn’t want to turn and see the red-haired queen behind her. And then, they slowed to a halt. Now, they were in a circle of grey stones so tall, the shadows they cast from the moon must have spread across the plain they were on for a mile. And across the shadows, filling up the plain behind them were hosts of fairies of all kinds. At least that’s what Morpho thought they were when the chariots pulled around. There were some very powerful looking fairies around a semicircle of thrones in the center of the stone circle. Their thrones were all different too. One of them was made of what looked like carved amber, inlaid with gold in the same swirling designs as the red-haired queen’s circlet. Another was made entirely of silver, another of pure gold, shining in the moonlight. Another appeared to be made of woven branches and soft emerald moss. Lounging in the amber throne, was Lugh, their erstwhile legal guardian. He had a gold circlet around his forehead, the only thing controlling his wild tawny locks. He wore what looked like a fine red linen tunic with gold embroidery and woolen plaid leggings.
“Hi, luv! Took you long enough.”
“You knew we were coming.” Morpho said.
“I’ve been livin’ with you for almost a year. And I know your mama.”
“So…you’re not mad? That we, uh, poked around and, uh, followed you?”
“I didn’t say that.” His pale eyes flickered for a moment with golden light. “But you’re my cousin’s girl. I’m under a geas that I’d look after you if something happened to…the other side o’ yer family.”
“Under a what?”
He smiled grimly. “Geas. An oath.”
“Oh.” She swallowed, somehow deflated.
“Relax, I like you. I like yer boy too,” he nodded at JD, “or we’d be havin’ a very different conversation right now.”
 “Do you vouch for them, Lugh Lamfada?” The man who sat in the golden throne boomed. Though he was seated, he was obviously tall and powerfully built. His hair was silver. He had none of the other marks of advanced age, but Morpho could tell he was old. Really old. Not crusty though. He radiated power. He had the bearing most jocks took steroids to try to look like, with half the brains.
“I do, your Highness.” Lugh inclined his head.
The Morrigan hauled her and JD out of their chariots in front of the King. Then the chariots collapsed into a single throne made of black sharp rock and padded with what Morpho seriously hoped wasn’t human skin. There were six heads tied by the hair onto the sides of the throne. And instead of three women, there was only Nemain now. She stared at Morpho. Her expression was somewhere between contempt and curiosity. Either way, it was unsettling. She said nothing.
 
 Books by Rachel Coles
Pazuzu's girlPazuzu’s Girl – Morpho Wilson thought her life was difficult enough. Her father is Pazuzu, the Mesopotamian demon of plague and the Southwest wind. As a teenager Morpho struggles against her father, while trying to adjust to high school in a new neighborhood. The family is constantly moving in an attempt to elude Pazuzu’s murderous ex-wife, a demoness known for killing children.Then something unique happens. A socially-impaired classmate becomes so intrigued by Morpho that he pursues her, despite the mystery surrounding her family and the danger that accompanies it.

But before their romance can grow the demoness tracks Morpho down, and now only needs an ancient artifact called the Tablet of Destiny to complete the destruction of the world. The tablet confers on its owner the ability to control the fate of everything and everyone on earth.

Once the tablet is discovered in the Middle East, the oldest and most powerful gods begin a battle for its possession, with the human population caught in the middle. Morpho, her family, and her new friend must decide, do they escape from the horrifying demoness or fight for their own destiny. How far will Pazuzu go to save his daughter from a hellish fate? Will his banishment from Heaven so many millennia ago end up being a curse…or a blessing?

Into the RuinsInto The Ruins is an urban fantasy anthology featuring life-changing or world-changing events. They feature everything from comic horror, as in Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, horror, as in Mushrooms, historical fantasy, as in Plagues, science fiction, as in Whistles, and finally a fun animal story, as in Beergarden.In Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Detective Nate Mallon investigated vice, when he was alive. Being a police officer was his life. Even dying didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for solving his last case. However, there are others who aren’t ready to be dead yet, and they aren’t trying to solve cases. They are at the center of them.

In Mushrooms, Kallie and Mark Sangiovi didn’t live complicated lives. They enjoyed their humble home in Denver, fresh food, and most of all: each other’s company. But one strange summer in 2011, everything changed. What begins with an invasion of ants, and summer colds, brings them to the brink of death, in a few days. And they aren’t the only ones. During this time, Denver becomes an eerie city, populated by the sick, whose imperative is to bite the people closest to them. The city grows still as the epidemic progresses, and Kallie and Mark leave the human race behind.

In Plagues, Miryam, humble daughter of Hebrews, doesn’t have many aspirations as a slave in the city of Ra’amses. It might not be much, but the stability of her husband, child, and home are enough for her to live her life as it is. Her brother, Moses, raised in the Pharaoh’s palace and ‘touched by God’, has grander aspirations for their entire people. But there are many sides to the growing conflicts. The political situation deteriorates in Mitzrayim with the rising power of Ramses, and the advent of terrible environmental disasters. And Miryam finds that her friendship with her Egyptian neighbor, Acenath, means as much to her as her religion.

Beyond the VeilBeyond The Veil is an anthology of ghost and spirit stories that encompass everything from vengeance, closure, or justice from beyond the grave, to portals from which sinister things can enter our world. Take a ride through these stories and explore some of the possibilities of existence beyond life.Bees of St. John:
Shana Latray needs a vacation. Her life as a telecommunications service provider feels like a dead end. St. John of the Virgin Islands seems like paradise, but behind the frozen drinks, and the beaches, is a complicated history of invasion and ancient predators. Shana Latray realizes quickly that nothing, from the warm, friendly locals, to the ever-present bees among the profuse tropical flowers, are at all what they seem.

Kisses:
Terry Cooper always hated Valentine’s Day, more so since losing her husband. In fact, she hated it so much, she inadvertently put a curse on it. Now, dreadful things are happening on this romantic holiday, as anyone who is kissed will die. And in the midst of this crisis, is a strange ancient ghost warning Terry that only she can revoke the curse. But she doesn’t know how. What she does know is that if she doesn’t find a way, for hundreds of people across the city, their Valentine’s Day kisses will be their last.

Tribulations of a Jewish Vampire:
Becoming a vampire was not on Leah Horowitz’s list of life goals. Contrary to all the romantic and dark hype about the sexy life of vampires in the movies and books, Leah’s life, when she was turned after her fatal motorcycle accident was anything but glamorous. With no guidance but her still human wedding-happy cousin, her orthodox Jewish aunt, and skeptical mother, she almost dies as her culture and her needs as a vampire clash.

Full Circle:
Life for Jim Red Eagle and his family is unfair. He is an auto-mechanic in his Lakota community, who runs a simple honest business. When his son is involved in an accident that leaves him paralyzed, and he can’t seem to find anyone who can help them, he starts falling apart. As he sits in the hospital chapel, wondering what to do, a mysterious Irishman shows up. As the two men get to know each other, and the man’s shocking history are revealed, Jim finds that good deeds in the past can return in forms he never expected.

The Muse:
Do you ever feel like statues can hear you, see you, feel your presence? Eliza Shourd is a sometime sculptor, filling credits with an art class while she works through another degree. But after falling asleep by the Platte River in the middle of the night, and waking up to a disturbing drawing she didn’t remember doing, her life, and her art takes a turn for the dark. When people in her life begin disappearing, she returns to the river to find out why.

You can follow Rachel at her blog and find out more about the authors of the YA Indie Carnival at our website where we just posted a cover reveal of Witch Hearts by Liz Long. Tomorrow, meet KC Blake, author of books filled with vampires, werewolves and witches. Oh my!

Happy reading!
~ Heather

Indie Authors, YA Author Club

YA Author Club is Awesomesauce!

I promised yesterday that I would cover all that I missed during my little winter hibernation. The area I regret neglecting most is highlighting some fabulous indie authors I get to call friends through the YA Author Club. These women are incredible and I just know you’ll find a book worth reading (or half a dozen!) when you check out their mad writing skills! Since they are all so fabulous I’ve decided to highlight one each day until I’m caught up. Let’s start with the ring leader of this circus, T.R. Graves.

T. R. Graves is the mastermind of our cirque magnifique we call the YA Indie Carnival. I’m blown away by her work and personally can’t wait to read her Warriors of the Cross series. You may remember that she offered them as a prize in our Share the Love Scavenger Hunt! The YA Author Club made her our spotlight author back in February while I was distracted with our Share the Love Scavenger Hunt, so here is what you all missed, dear friends.

T. R. Graves T. R. Graves lives along the Texas coast with her husband. Together, they raise T. R.’s beta-reading daughter and their football-loving son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as a registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals high on her list of fulfilling accomplishments.
Social Media Sites:
Spotlight Interview Questions
What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I have a  – very eclectic – three-way tie that includes The Mortal Instruments Series, The Tiger Saga, and the Fifty Shades Trilogy.
All three of these series have strong female leading characters, and they are written by authors who are amazing enough to write romance into the story in a way where it actually becomes tangible for the reader. I can’t help but love stories that make me fall in love with the characters or admire the authors who are talented enough to just that.
Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
My beta-reader claims I could be compared to Colleen Houck (separated at birthwere his exact words). Our similarities may be the reason I love her and her books so much. He believes we both have the ability to turn situations that could easily be unrealistic into scenes that seem absolutely real.
 Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
 In Grave Bound (Secrets), Levi Bryson journals. His writing is not traditional, perfect, or by-the-book, but it sweetly shows Emily how he feels about her. Something about it is charming. Below, I’ve included one of his many doodles:
Facets
 Her words… sweeter than any book written, poem recited, or song recorded.
Her intentions… pure as the driven snow; a wholesome schoolgirl, and a naive child.
Her beauty… perfect as an emerald’s cut; stunning as a ruby’s color; and timeless as a diamond’s clarity.
Her essence… struck me with the force of a bolt of lightning, the power of a sledgehammer, and the command of the chosen one.
Her love… engulfed my life the way the dawn’s rays swallow the darkness, the tsunami’s waves ravage the coast, and the tornado’s funnel plows its way through a forest.
– Levi Ian Bryson
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Books inspire me. Not just any book. It has to have strong characters, a mission filled with action and romance, and unfathomable consequences attached to failure.
Music inspires me. There is nothing fad-like about the artists I appreciate most. The music I listen to is embedded with so much emotion that it is palpable all the way through the song(s): Kings of Leon, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Alanis Morissette, Adele, Diana Birch, Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem,….
People inspire me: My nineteen-year-old daughter worked hard through high school, graduated with both a high school degree and an associate’s degree, and she’s now trying to get into medical school. She did all of this while working and saving almost every penny of her money so she’d have a nest egg when she went away to school. That is inspiring. My eight-year-old son practices (baseball & football) four to six days a week (depending on the time of year) and turns all of that training into winning championships. He does this while maintaining A’s & B’s on his report card and without the first complaint. I can’t help but be inspired by their dedication and commitment and work ethics.
 Describe your typical writing day or week.
 Monday thru Friday, I’m up at 5:30, writing/reading/socializing from 6:30 – 7:30, commuting from 7:30-8:30 (or 8:45), working from 8:30-5:30 (or 6:30 or 7:30), commuting from 5:30-6:45, supper/homework/miscellaneous from 7:00-8:30, and writing from 8:30-10:00.
 On Saturday/Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., I have family, errands, reading, writing, socializing, etc.
I put in the hours I do because I’m fortunate enough to have two jobs that I’m passionate about. First, I work within a hospital system where the patients (not their ability to pay) are our priority. The nurse in me… the humanitarian in me is thankful there are still healthcare systems where curing illnesses and saving lives are the focus. Second, I’m an author. If I’m not writing, I’m planning and plotting in my mind. My goal with each new book I write is to create a great story that is thrilling, suspenseful, and romantic enough to take the reader away from their own problems/lives for a few hours. Nothing more. Nothing less.
One thing is for sure. I’d never be able to do all of this if it weren’t for my husband. He does everything around our house I can’t do, and he never says a word. He’s supports me, loves me, and cares for me. I absolutely adore him.
 Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing? 
 Diet Dr. Pepper (preferably) or Diet Mountain Dew. I work, write, and drive so many hours a week that caffeine is a basic necessity.
 Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
 I’m working on my first adult contemporary, Grave Bound (Secrets)(tentative release date of 3/1/13). At the same time, I’m writing book four of my original young adult paranormal series Dark Angels of the Cross (Warrior, #4).
Books by T.R. Graves
 Grave Bound (Secrets)
Some Secrets follow you to the grave. Others send you there.
Emily Riddle has lived her entire life inside a patriarchal commune led by her father. There are many rules, but the most important one,‘keep it in the commune’, is the most difficult for her to follow… especially since the only people willing to champion her cause live on the outside.

When Emily learns her father has promised her to Lorenzo, a perverted man who has plans for her that extend well beyond marriage and kids, she rebels. Regardless of the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who’d rather beat her than caress her.
A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance – sneaking out of the commune for a swim – turns into a day filled with hope. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that’s filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.
That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily’s existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she’ll ever be able to tolerate the life chosen for her instead of the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.
Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily expected. The secrets she knows, as the leader’s daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her – and Levi – there.
T. R. Graves’s YA Books:
WOC - book 1Warriors of the Cross (Warrior #1)
Allison La Crosse, beginning a challenging family medicine residency, leaves the protection of her family. With the transfer, her worst nightmares come true. Her closely guarded mystical talents – those which seldom appeared before the move – unleash themselves from her confinement and reveal their presence with very little provocation.Allison’s most terrifying power is her compulsion to cure the dying with her touch. Given her career, this gift would be valuable if she were not drawn like a magnet to the ailing person’s every symptom. Some of which are fatal.

At the hospital and surrounded by life-and-death emergencies, Allison’s inability to manage her impulse turns deadly. When it does, her mentor, Brody, rescues her from her own demise. His resuscitation ignites an exciting and tempestuous bond between them.

Desperate for a cure, they join forces and embark upon a journey to uncover the origins of Allison’s lethal curse. In the midst of their adventure, Allison exposes a secret pursued by many…known by few.

GOC - book 2Guardians of the Cross (Warrior #2)
Allison La Crosse discovers she has several powers, including a spiritual gift to heal the dying with her touch. With the newfound awareness, she uncovers mind-boggling truths about a world, which has been hidden her whole life, thanks to her mother’s selfless actions.The most important revelation pertains to her ordained place within The Disciples of the Cross as one of their Warriors. This position moves her even closer to her mentor, Brody Kennedy, who ends up being the only other Warrior.

Just as suddenly, it catapults her into the middle of a war between The Sect and The Disciples. Allison’s appointment to Warrior—alongside Brody—exacerbates the leader of The Sect’s malicious hunt for her.

As a result, everything about her existence is altered. With the modification of her life, she prepares to do anything necessary to save everyone loved by her… including Brody and Clark.

EOC book 3Enemies of the Cross (Warrior #3)
Allison La Crosse’s picture perfect world quickly becomes more of a nightmare than the fairytale she’d been expecting when she married Brody.With enemies leading and destiny in control, she embarks upon a journey of the soul where she unearths an underwater realm that is beyond believable…beyond fantastical…beyond comprehension.

Deep within this undiscovered world, Allison is forced to battle a new breed of adversaries. Ones willing to do whatever necessary to capture her — dead or alive. While fighting for her life, she joins forces with an exceptional team of protectors. Because they are unconditionally loyal, she sees firsthand that they are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to guard her existence and defend the purity of their world.

Love, friendships, and unforgivable actions have Allison wondering if going home will ever be an option even if home is the only place where she can have a life with Brody.

I hope you’ve enjoyed “meeting” my pal T.R. Graves. Join me tomorrow for a close up look at another one of my friends from the YA Author Club and Indie Carnival, Rachel Coles.
Happy Reading!
~ Heather
encouragement, Indie Authors, Share the Love Scavenger Hunt

Share the Love for Your Favorite Author

Heather headshotAll month long we’ve been sharing the love of books and our favorite indie authors with our Share the Love Scavenger Hunt. If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that the authors are sharing some too and that means FREE books!

Most of us become authors because we have a story to tell. Before we were writers, we were readers, and even now the writers I know are passionate fans.  The discussions and debates over books in a group of writers can get downright…lively. So, if you ask us what we think about a book or an author, we’re happy to tell you! And that is the best thing any reader can do for an author they love – Tell someone!

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few tips on how YOU, dear reader, can share the love with your favorite authors.

Share a Review
This the most powerful way to shout your love from the rooftops and tickle your favorite author’s fancy. A review is a public declaration of your affections. It not only cheers your author on to greater things, it sells books! That’s right – YOU have the power to help your author succeed. In the end all the work we put into our books is still worthless if our readers don’t share their enthusiasm with other readers. We rely on you to tell friends and family and anyone on the street with an iPhone or Kindle that we have a story worth reading. A positive book review is even better because it’s permanent and posted for all to see. Book reviews sell books!

While I was preparing for this post, I hopped over to Amazon to check out the changes they’ve made (They’ve recently nixed “likes” and “tags” which used to be easy ways to help readers find your favorite authors.) I stopped by the Amazon page for A Light In the Darkness and found a new review had been posted. My heart began to race and I nearly squealed with delight (yes, I really do this!) A new review filled with thoughtful opinion and cheerful enthusiasm can carry me afloat for the rest of the day and drives me back into the arms of my worrisome “work in progress” so that I struggle through another round of edits just to satisfy the desires of my readers who leave comments like, “I can’t wait for her next book in this series!!” Want to see more books from your favorite author? Leave a review telling everyone why they should read the author’s book and end it by cheering them on to keep writing. At the very least, maybe your review will help sell a few more books, pay another bill or even fund the next book in the series. Remember, reviews sell books!

Share a Link
Do you follow your favorite authors online? Another simple way to share the love is to join an author’s Facebook page, Twitter following, and blog and then share the links with friends. This is twice as fun when you are a fan of indie authors because most of us have a lot more time on our hands for fan interaction than the big names do. As a matter of fact, even when we don’t have a lot of time, we are likely to respond because most of us opted for indie status in hopes of connecting with our readers in a more personal way than traditional publishing allows. We’re fan girls (or boys) too, for the most part, so we get it. You want to know what’s up with a certain character or when the next book is coming out? Wonder how they were inspired or why the book writing is taking so long? All of that is usually shared in social media if you’re keeping up. So, if you have groupie tendencies, join the fun. Then, share the love by retweeting or sharing links to the posts that fascinate you and might interest your book loving friends. Who knows, you might even become actual friends with your favorite author! Wouldn’t that rock?!

 Share the Love
Now that you know how to share the love with your favorite author, it’s time to get busy! Come back later for today’s Share the Love Scavenger Hunt clue! 

 

Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Author Spotlight: Laura Elliott

I’m thrilled to share with you another fabulous YA author from our Indie Author Club, Laura Elliott. Her books have recently hit Amazon’s best sellers list in multiple categories and her new book, Shadow Slayer, is now available on Audible and iTunes.
Laura A. H. Elliott
Laura A. H. Elliott, best selling author, loves writing about enchanted road trips, shadow worlds, and alien romance while eating lots of popcorn. She lives in a tree house on the central California coast. After twenty-plus years as a freelance graphic designer/animator with clients including E! Entertainment Television and The Los Angeles Times, she crossed over into the world of publishing non-fiction and followed her heart to the world of fiction. She is the author of the paranormal romance Shadow Series (also available in audiobook format), the sci-fi romance Starjump series, and stand alone literary romance novel Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Her latest release is Shadow Slayer, book 2 of the Shadow Series. Moon Killers, book 3 is due out this spring. She’s also due to release her first adult title later this year. She’s happy to have been included in the new adult anthology Midnight Surrender.

Laura A. H. Elliott’s Books:

Moon
Killers (Shadow Series #3) Spring 2013
(Shadow
Series #4) Fall 2013
 
When fear’s as blind as love, how far would you go to find your own happily ever after?

One mistake will change Ginny’s life forever. One answer will set her free. Once upon a time Ginny’s road blood ripened, the day she got wise to love. Engaged to the high school quarterback, his quarter-carat ring and enchanting smile should have been enough for her. But, she stands him up and takes a walk where every step questions her happily ever after gone-bad and the fate of the mother she never knew. The mother her father refuses to talk about. Ginny fights to untangle her big, fat, lie-of-a-life on an enchanted road trip to Winnemucca, where she believes all her answers lie. To solve the riddle of her past, she must outrun everyone who wants a piece of her future–including a man determined to see she never has one. 


Transfer Student (Starjump #1) (YA Sci-Fi Romance)

Two Worlds–Two Teens–One Wish
Rhoe and Ashley would never be friends.
Even if they lived on the same planet.
But, they’ll become so much more.
They’ll transfer.
Earthling Ashley’s world revolves around winning daily popularity contests at Beverly Hills High School and surfing competitions with sweet scholarship prizes that will finally help her break free of her control-freak mother. Meanwhile on planet Retha, Rhoe misses his dad, loves his mom’s home-cooked Glechy crag with a side of ory sauce, is desperate to heal his sick brother and wants more than anything to win The Retha New Invention Competition. But Rhoe’s invention teleports him across the universe with an unintended side effect, Ashley and Rhoe transfer. They swap lives when they make the same wish at the same time.
Popular-surfer-turned-boy-geek alien Ashley must handle life on Retha as Rhoe complete with webbed feet, low-gravity, and an obsession with Yuke, all the while being hunted by Rethan spies and resenting her hairy, flat chest. Boy-geek-turned-popular-surfer Rhoe must fit in at Beverly Hills High School as Ashley, compete in The Laguna Beach Invitational without becoming shark food, dodge boys’ affections, cool his preoccupation with Tiffany and his new body, and find the healing rocks he believes will save his brother’s life.
If only it were that simple. Some wishes can’t come true. Some have to.
(THIS ENHANCED EBOOK CONTAINS LINKS TO THE MUSIC, STORIES, PHOTOS & VIDEOS THAT INSPIRED THE STORY.)

 

Roxie has the best night of her life until the popular kids decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way Roxie never expects––in her attic, with a gift that’s out of this world, and a pact to never tell a living soul what happens next.
Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the popular girl who gets everything she wants––a flock to prowl around the mall with; invitations to parties; and for Hayden, the cutest guy in the eighth grade to, you know, notice her. When Roxie invites all the eighth grade peacocks (code word : popular kids) to her first ever thirteenth birthday party on Halloween, they all come and give her a gift that’s literally out of this world. Roxie astral projects to Planet Popular where she becomes seventeen instantly and gets everything she’s always wanted, but nothing is as it seems. Being a high school peacock is complicated and Roxie will risk everything to be who she thinks she wants to be. Oh yeah, there’s Prom, doppelgangers, a mysterious map, and lots of bad peacocks too.
BONUS EXCERPT! Two Chapters of Shadow Slayer, Book 2 in The Shadow Series
13 on Halloween, (Shadow Series #1) is now available as an audiobook on iTunes, Audible or Amazon.
Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) (YA paranormal romance)
Shadows will do anything to become human. You see their influence everyday. You say things you don’t mean or do things that aren’t like you. You look, different. Friends you’ve known forever suddenly never call.
As a freshman, Roxie just wants to fit in which is impossible because she barely runs into her friends at her huge high school. Adrianne’s disappearance and Hayden’s attention rock Roxie’s world. But nothing rocks it like the most gorgeous guy at school, Drew. And nothing is more important to Roxie than astral projecting back to Planet Popular to solve the mystery of the map. But that changes when Drew invites Roxie to homecoming. Hayden warns her that something’s wrong. Why would a guy like Drew like Roxie anyway? Drew must want something. Hayden’s right. Drew is…different. Planet Popular was just the beginning. Part of a bigger world, the Shadow World. There’s a war brewing between the world of humans and the world of shadows. When the shadow invasion begins at Roxie’s high school, she’ll not only fight for her life but the lives of her family and friends, when she discovers she’s the Shadow Slayer, the one human who can save Earth from the shadow onslaught. But, Roxie can’t even kill a spider. Oh yeah, there’s an evil English teacher, an enchanted play, a sword of Sandonian steel, a homecoming of horrors, and seven magic words too. Audible (Audiobook) |iTunes
Indie Authors

Author Spotlight: Bryna Butler

Happy Friday! Today I’m introducing you to another fabulous author from the Indie YA Author Club, Bryna Butler. Bryna’s young adult paranormal novels feature strong female leads and are woven from elements of horror, suspense, comedy, and mystery, all in a modern, small town setting. Here’s what Bryna had to say when we gave her the YA Indie Carnival quiz:

What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I adore The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Its style is like nothing else I’ve ever read. I found it to be almost hypnotic with its imagery and near poetic cadence.

Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why? 
Because I tend to write about strong female characters, I think that one could draw a comparison with Charlaine Harris.  I had the opportunity to meet her this summer and, to my surprise, she is a down-to-earth hillbilly just like me.
Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
 One of my favorite quotes comes from my newest book, Shadows Rising. In this scene, Keira faces off against the leader of a group of extremists that believe her charge is keeping her from her destiny. I think this quote is a great mix of Keira’s courage and her youth.
 “You keep yapping about my charge being a distraction, but here I am dealing with you again. Leave us and my charge alone or die tonight at my hand. I mean it, jerk wad.”
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
 I’m very inspired by my favorite authors. I often name characters, places and things in my stories in homage to these authors and their work. For instance, in the Midnight Guardian series there is a goth girl named Mikayla Collins whom everyone calls Mikey. Mikey is clearly named in honor of Michael Glass and Shane Collins, two of my favorite characters from Rachel Caine’s Morganville series. Her goth look comes from another beloved character in that series. Also, I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan (who isn’t?). If you look hard enough, you will find several subtle references to Buffy and Firefly sprinkled throughout my books.
Describe your typical writing day or week.
 Just call me the “Night Writer”, not because it sounds like an insanely cool superhero, but because it is true. For me, writing typically begins after the kids are tucked into bed somewhere around 9 p.m. I grab a soda from the fridge and settle in with my laptop. Typically, I first re-read and edit the last thing I wrote before I start writing anything new. That refreshes it in my mind and allows me to move forward.
Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
 I can’t eat while I write. Sounds good in theory, but it never works in practical application. BBQ sauce on the keys…melted cheese on the screen…a whole chapter about brownies.
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
 Shadows Rising was released on January 18th. In this 4th installment in the Midnight Guardian series, Keira and her friends race to rescue her charge before The Harvest and the rise of a new form of evil, the shadows.
Book 5 is well underway with the working title of Book of the Lost and an anticipated late spring release. I’ve also begun work on a young adult werewolf trilogy set in Alaska. The story centers on a girl that walks the line between two feuding werewolf packs.
 OF SUN & MOON (Midnight Guardian #1)
Teens are disappearing in a small river town in southern Ohio as Keira Ryan begins her freshman year. Kidnappings aside, her worries mount as she crushes on an older guy, her best friend starts dating a spoiled cheerleader, and the parents that abandoned her at birth arrive at her doorstep. And, oh yeah, she’s a tooth fairy destined to kick some butt and bring about the end of a royal line of vicious, blood-sucking tyrants. Over the years, humans have pieced together sightings and assumptions to create the myth of the tooth fairy. As it turns out, they were pretty much wrong.
WHISPERING EVIL (Midnight Guardian #2)
Keira Ryan has moved on. It’s the start of her sophomore year at Valley View High School. This means big changes like a new guardian mentor, taking (and passing) her driver’s test, dating her best friend, and figuring out how to stop the new Empress Gammen and her reign of terror. Will she survive it all or will she fall victim to the whispering evil that surrounds her?
MIDNIGHT CHILD (Midnight Guardian #3)
Join Keira Ryan as she chases her destiny in this exciting third installment in the Midnight Guardian Series. While Keira searches, her enemies draw closer. A history of trust is tested. A promise of passion turns deadly. A surviving evil creates doubt and there’s only one way to stop it…Find the Gift. Just what do you get the spoiled gremlin queen that has everything?
SHADOWS RISING (Midnight Guardian #4)
Senior year has begun. Keira Ryan should be worrying about the two boys that are vying for her heart. She should be worrying about Prom. She should be worrying about graduation. But instead of a dress, she’s choosing which dagger to carry. In this fourth installment in the series, Keira and her friends race against time to rescue her charge before The Harvest. They must hurry. Their enemies are bringing forth a new evil to sway the balance. The shadows are rising.
Exclusive Shadows Rising Excerpt that you will only see on YA Indie Carnival author sites…
The night was warm, even though a slight breeze stirred. Keira made her way through the soybean field. She knew the way over the uneven path, even if she couldn’t see. That was nearly the case as clouds worked to block out the moon and stars. The air was thick; the kind that always preceded the summer rain.
As the dirt started to dimple here and there, her steps came quicker. Cool drops chilled her shoulders left bare by her tank top. Steps turned into a jog as the two-story farmhouse came into sight. If she ran hard enough, she could reach his porch before the downpour.
In seconds, she covered the yard. Just a few strides more would land her on the steps where she could wait out the rain on the porch.
Maybe that’s why it happened. Keira was so focused on escaping the rain. Her sneaker slid on the wet grass. Arms circled wildly over her head, eager to find balance or support. They landed on clean, soft cloth. Her feet skittered beneath her as the man under the white robe grabbed her hair and pulled her head back.
“The guardian,” a whisper rose and echoed among the small group. “The guardian,” their murmurs above the tumbles of the strengthening rain. “The guardian.”
Hands flew to her sides and held her arms out. She pulled against them, but there were too many. “Let me go,” she screamed.
Immediately, they let go. She hadn’t expected it and fell on her knees.
“We wish you no harm, guardian. We have come for the midnight child. Trust that this is for the best,” a tall man said. His mouth barely moved, unmarked by expression or emotion of any kind.
Rain began to pour over them. Keira scanned the group to etch every face into her memory; two eager young men, perhaps twins, with strong chins and light coloring; a plump, young woman with red curls falling out of her hooded cloak; a buxom brunette with a permanent sneer; and a mustached brute with a nasty scar through his left eyebrow.
Then, her eyes flickered back to the leader, a bald man with soulless black eyes. Him she knew. It had taken her only a moment to realize he was the one that crashed Jumper’s last Halloween party. He had come for her charge that night too.
“You know that I will never allow you to take him.”
“Your loyalty is misplaced with the Hayes family,” the bald man answered with a voice that chilled her to the bone. “Allow us to remove the distraction so that you may fulfill your true destiny.”
“He is not a midnight child. He is my charge.”
“He is of no consequence.”
A crack sounded, causing everyone to look up. A dark figure stood on the edge of the roof. He stepped forward and landed softly on the ground. He stood tall beside Keira.
Brun’s voice was heavy with anger. “You heard her. The child is not to be touched.”
“But…” the leader of the group started.
His dispute was not heard because Brun was behind him in the next second. The shine of Brun’s short sword glistened at the man’s ear.
“If you will not listen, perhaps you do not need this ear,” Brun growled. “From this day forward, let it be known that the guardian and I both protect this child. Whoever dares to approach him will succumb to the full wrath of the Empire and Elsted. You will leave now…ahhh!”
The leader wrenched his dagger out of Brun’s side. Blood dripped from the dagger’s edge. Brun stumbled back, his face a mixture of disbelief and horror.
 Wanna See More? You can find Bryna here:

Blog

Next week on the YA Indie Carnival we’ll be discussing Barnes & Noble and Nook apps. All the YA author club members will weigh in on how we feel about working with B&N, so stop by and check it out. Happy reading!
Indie Authors

YA Author Club

Sometimes it feels good to be the new girl, especially when you get to hang out with such cool people as The YA Indie Carnival crew. I am thrilled to be apart of this smart and sassy group of writers. If you haven’t yet heard about them, here’s the scoop:

Every Friday, the members of the YA Author Club will discuss and post (on their individual blogs & the central website) topics pertinent to indie authors. This unique twist on a club allows our supporters to get to know us, our books, our opinions of other books, and our experiences with indie publishing.

So, not only will I get to share with you all sorts of fun blog posts about my life as an indie author, I’ll also include the links to my fellow YA Author Club members so that you can see what they had to say about that topic, too. AND you’ll get to meet a lot of fabulous YA authors along the way. Twice a month you’ll see a new author that we’ve interviewed so you can read all about how and why they write and then read an excerpt of their latest work. How cool is that?!

Today we’re all discussing KDP Select, a majorly hot topic in the indie publishing world. For those of you who are not authors, let me first explain a little about KDP and how it works. Kindle Direct Publishing is a branch of Amazon that allows us to upload our manuscripts and sell them to the public as ebooks for Kindle apps and devices around the world. It’s truly amazing and has opened the door for authors everywhere to share their work with the literate masses. This kind of technology is what allows us to call ourselves Indie authors and to hope for some measure of success.

Until recently, many authors were buying into a program offered by Amazon called KDP select which asks the author to list their work only on Amazon for a set amount of time. In exchange, the author could list their work for FREE for a specified number of days in the hopes of gaining a larger audience. This is how many indie authors grew to bestseller status very quickly because those free day downloads still translated as “sales” to Amazon’s computers, thus skyrocketing a few lucky authors to instant stardom (of sorts). In turn, more and more authors began to choose the KDP Select program, hoping for their own success. Over time, KDP Select has altered their program (or more to the point, Amazon has altered the process) so that it is much less lucrative than it first appeared.

So, when a self-published author finally has their completed work in their eager little hands, one of their first decisions is this: Should I list with KDP Select or list my book across multiple sales channels so that readers with Nooks or Kobo, or iTunes can read my book, too?

It’s a tough choice, I won’t lie, and the first of many you’ll have to make as an indie author. I decided to list my books EVERYWHERE. I’m still not quite there (Sony, I’m coming, baby!) but if I had chosen KDP Select, then my first rush of readers wouldn’t have been able to find me on their brand new devices. I wanted everyone who could possibly enjoy my book to have access to it and KDP Select would at best delay that goal. So, for me, I opted out. You can still find all of my work on Amazon Kindle and it often shows up there first before all others, but they can’t have it all to themselves. If that means I give up a few opportunities to share my book for free… Well, that’s okay. I spent seven years and money out of pocket preparing my first two books for the world, so I think asking readers to pay a dollar or three isn’t too bad. If it isn’t worth that to them, then they’ll pass. I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll catch them next time around.

Now remember, I’m the newcomer here and completely new to the whole game of publishing, so this was just my opinion on KDP Select. If you’re curious how other authors feel, please visit a few of my new friends by clicking on the links below and read their experiences. In the end, I’m sure you’ll have a much better understanding of how it all works and how each of us makes the choice for ourselves. After all, that’s what being an Indie is all about.

THE  YA  AUTHOR  CLUB

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy
Indie Authors

Author Spotlight: Suzy Turner

Recently I joined the YA Indie Carnival, a group of wildly talented Indie authors. Each month the YA Indie Carnival will be bringing us news from the frontlines and introducing us to fabulous YA authors for you to check out. Today we welcome author Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga.

Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor, magazine editor and has even been the Script Supervisor for a full length feature film. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed a trilogy for young adults, The Raven Saga (the first of which is FREE) and started a brand new series, The Morgan Sisters. The first full length novel in this series, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw is now available, as is a shorter novella, Daisy Madigan’s Paradise which is FREE!

Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. For now, the Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 14 years, Michael.

We asked Suzy a few questions about her writing. Here’s what she had to say:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Ooh it’s so tough to just have one book. But I’d probably go with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I studied the book at college and totally fell in love with it. I guess it was because it was so different to anything I’d ever read. Perhaps the dystopian side of it also appealed. I’m not sure. Strangely though, I’ve never read anything else by Margaret Atwood. Not sure why!

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Recently, my newest series (The Morgan Sisters) was described by a book blogger as ‘possibly the next Harry Potter’. Clearly this made my decade and I’d love to be compared to the Great Almighty JK, but I would never compare myself to another writer. I’d like to think my writing is my own… kind of unique, you know?

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
My favourite quote? That’s a toughie, hmmm. How about this…
‘She could hear her heart beating, feel it thudding in her chest. She couldn’t open her mouth; it was too dry. All she wanted to do was scream but she couldn’t even do that. Please God don’t let me die, she thought.
A sudden massive gust of wind took her feet from beneath her and she was forcefully pushed from the top of Carlton Point, falling silently and peacefully to the rocky hills below.’
The reason I like this scene so much is because I have such a vivid image of it in my mind. When you read on to the next chapter, you’ll see that she didn’t actually fall. That image of Lana slowly floating, almost in slow motion, reverberated with me. Almost like a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I am particularly inspired by places. For instance, my first series (The Raven Saga) was inspired by the awesome mountains and forests of Western Canada. My new series (The Morgan Sisters) was inspired by places I’ve been to in London (as well as by a London actor I met last year).
I think the UK is perhaps one of the most inspiring countries I’ve ever been to. Every time I visit (although I’m English, I currently live in Portugal), I am blown away by its capacity to inspire me… with its historical buildings and heritage. I’m actually selling up and moving back to England. One of the reasons why we chose England is because of its hold over me with my writing. I can’t wait! (Anyone wanna buy a villa in the Algarve?)

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
When I have deadlines, I write every morning until I’ve reached my target (if I’m in the zone, I’ll write a lot more) and then I chill out with my favourite TV show and a nice cup of Rooibos tea 🙂

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
Just Rooibos tea and water.

7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I’m about to start the second novel in The Morgan Sisters series but it doesn’t have a title yet!

EXCERPT – THE GHOST OF JOSIAH GRIMSHA
Lightning shattered the darkness. Not even Emma’s thick purple quilt could shut out the light as it filtered through to her closed eyelids. A low echo of rumbling thunder made its way across the North Sea towards Andilyse Island and she shivered. Suddenly something landed on top of her head and she shrieked.
The sounds of laughter emanated from the bed across the room.
‘Lana, you cow,’ shouted Emma as she threw back the covers and tossed the pillow back at her sister who just shook her head and giggled.
‘It’s only a storm. There’s nothing to be scared of.’
‘There is everything to be scared of,’ she replied as she cowered beneath the quilt again.
‘Oh come on, Sis. We’re quite safe in here. This house has been standing for hundreds of years, it’s not like it’s going to collapse is it?’
‘It nearly did the last time,’ Emma croaked.
‘That was like sixty years ago, Em, and none of the houses collapsed. The only thing that took the brunt of the storm was the pier.’
‘And the church.’
‘Exactly. None of the houses. Stop being such a coward. You’re fifteen! It’s a storm, it’s rain, it’s not the end of the world.’
‘It was for all those poor people.’
‘Oh stop being so dramatic. Things were different back in the 50s, Em. We’re safe, now stop worrying.’
The sound of the front door slamming downstairs made both girls jump. Emma glared at Lana before they both hopped out of bed and ran to their bedroom door which they opened, looking down over the banister.
‘Dad?’
Peering up at them from the bottom of the stairs stood an attractive grey-haired man in his early 50s, taking off his soaking coat.
‘Shhh, we don’t want to wake Greg and Lucy,’ he said as he summoned them downstairs.
‘Oh Patrick, they should be in bed too,’ whispered a voice from the kitchen as the two girls skipped down to find out what was going on.
‘You know what they’re like, Audrey,’ he said as he hung his dripping coat on the stand in the hallway. Tutting, his wife promptly removed it and placed it in the sink in the downstairs cloakroom before going back to give him a kiss.
‘What’s happened, Dad?’ asked Emma as she sat huddled up to her sister on the bottom step. A clap of thunder made her jump and she shivered, her eyes wide open with apprehension. Lana rolled her eyes and put her arm protectively around her sister.
‘Let’s have a cup of cocoa,’ Audrey said, recognising the look on her husband’s face. There was bad news.
While they waited for the milk to heat up on the stove, Lana went into the lounge looking for candles as the lights continued to flicker, constantly threatening to go out for good.
‘I’ve found some,’ she said, setting them down on the kitchen table with a box of matches, ‘just in case,’ she smiled. ‘So what’s going on, Dad? Why did you have to go out so late?’
‘He’s the Chief Constable… it’s his job,’ answered their mother as she poured steaming milk into the four mugs, before stirring them as quietly as she could.
Lana stood beside her, adding a spoonful of sugar to her own mug before passing the calming drinks to her family, who stood sipping the chocolatey goodness silently for a moment.
Rubbing his forehead, Patrick put his cocoa down on the table just as the rain began to clatter loudly on the roof tiles.
‘Oh no,’ whispered Emma as she pulled her feet up towards her bottom and rocked back and forth in her seat.
Patrick put his hand on her shoulder, ‘it’s okay sweetheart. It’s just a storm, it’ll pass. Everything will be all right.’
‘Well then why did you have to go out in it, Dad?’ she asked.
‘I was called out to the old Grimshaw farm… Josiah was seen wandering close to the pier again.’
‘What? In this weather? Does he have a death wish?’ said Lana without thinking as her mother tutted, glancing towards Emma. ‘Did you find him? Is he okay?’
‘I’m afraid he’s nowhere to be seen. And in these conditions, it’s impossible to send out a search party. We can’t send out the lifeboat without risking the lives of everyone else, I’m afraid. He’s a silly old man, he should never have been left alone in this storm. Everyone on the island knows how it affects him.’
Audrey patted her husband’s hand, ‘there’d be no stopping him, love. He’s just looking for her.’
‘Well, maybe he’s finally got his wish.’
‘Daddy?’ said an innocent child’s voice from the stairs.
‘Oh we’ve woken the kids,’ said Audrey as she stood up and went to check on her two younger children.
‘Hey sweetheart. Sorry we woke you. Come on, let’s go back to bed,’ she said to her family. ‘There’s nothing we can do now. We should all try and get some sleep.’
More from Suzy Turner:
After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor’s parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets… Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was… well, not very motherly. After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that’s not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn’t who, or what, she thinks she is. Lilly has a very special ability and it’s just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again.
Catch up with the YA Indie Carnival and check out the authors below: