June 17, 2015

Three Times A Charm with Marie C Collins

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to people involved in children’s publishing. Today we have middle grade author, Marie C. Collins joining us. She’s going to talk a little about her book. But first tell us a little about yourself.

I’ll share a few pieces of me that relate to my Secrets of Farbookonia series. First, I am guilty of extreme house envy. I covet big old Victorian homes. They call to me with their turrets and window seats and attics. They intrigue me and comfort me. Their paneled walls, old portraits, and butterfly collections reek of stories. Since I was a child, it’s been clear to me that life is just better inside these houses. And so book 2 of my series – my work-in-progress – is set in one.

Second, like my character Anne, I have a very active dream life. I have had several dreams set in the same Victorian house of my own design. I don’t know what it would look like on the outside, because inside, its corridors seem to go on forever. In my dreams, only I know where to find its false walls and other secret places. And knowing these things saves my hide!

Finally, I know this is a bit of a tease, but it has to be because of spoilers: One dream Anne has in A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp is a dream I had when I was her age. And one character in the book came to me in a dream years before I even thought about writing A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp. Readers who want to guess at these things after reading the book are welcome to do so on my website.

I believe you are the first author to use the 3’s theme when talking about yourself. I tip my hat to you! Now, tell us more about your book.

Once you find out your mother is an alien, what ISN’T possible?!

That’s what 12-year-old Anne and 10-year-old Atticus Reade want to know. Minutes after learning that their mother is from the planet Farbookonia and that their parents’ secret project has put them all in danger, the children are wrenched from their sheltered existence in the Midwest and whisked off to a safe sleep-away camp in New Jersey — each with a tiny, protective “Globot” on one shoulder.

Painfully aware they’re not like the others at camp, Anne and Atticus do their best to fit in while concealing their alien background and the “special talents” that go with it. But everything is so new to them, they have a hard time sorting reality from fiction. Quirky campers, campfire ghost stories, a bizarre camp director, Anne’s mysterious dreams, and Atticus’s unusual animal encounters are all equally disturbing.

Just as they start getting the hang of life among young Earth humans, a broadcast on the Rec Hall TV shakes things up, and things that are truly strange emerge from normal newness. It turns out Anne and Atticus — and their new friends — may not be safe at camp after all. A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp soon thrusts them into a reality they wish was fiction.

I recommend A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp to readers who like:

I myself struggle with these comparisons, but a friend who works in a library has told me she recommends A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp to readers who like:

         The Kane Chronicles, The Lightning Thief, “and everything else Percy Jackson-related,” all by Rick Riordan; and the Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis.

I haven’t read these, but to me they look a little more adventure-driven than A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp. I would love any reader feedback on how A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp compares with other books they’ve read.

Now it’s time for The 3’s. Or rather, it’s time to carry on with The 3’s. Give us the top three answers to the following questions to help us know you better.

Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.

What writer can resist this question? The challenge is limiting it to three ... I chose these for their strong female characters, because I believe we still need more of them.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is my all-time favorite novel. It is so many stories, rolled into one: The horrid family situation Jane deals with as an orphan; the boarding school story in which her friend dies of consumption with only Jane to ease her suffering; the 5-alarm romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester; and the mysterious mad woman in the attic! What’s not to like?! Jane is a smart, confident, plucky underdog with immense presence in spite of being tiny and lacking social stature. And Thornfield is a one of the great houses of literary fiction.

With Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery gave literary fiction one its most unique, loveable, and memorable heroines. As readers of my book know, I named one of my two main characters “Anne” in honor of Montgomery’s famous redhead. I didn’t try to model my Anne on hers, but it’s possible they share a characteristic or two. In Green Gables, Anne Cuthbert’s determination to be true to her values and intelligence make the series what it is — with some help from three equally memorable characters: Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert and Gilbert Blythe.

Elizabeth Bennet of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is strong but flawed. Like many contemporary YA heroines, she has a hard time seeing past her own perspective, and that gets her into trouble. But another reason to love Pride and Prejudice (as if Mr. Darcy is not enough) is the strong, clear voice of Jane Austen as the ironic narrator who neatly skewers her society with her long, sharp sentences and descriptions.

Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

As someone whose schooling straddled the typewriter and the Mac SE — and who *cough!* had to drop typing in high school or face failing it — number one, hands-down, is my computer.

Standing again in the brink between two eras is number two: The Internet. Remember when fact-finding required an hours-long trip to the library? No? Consider yourself lucky. I know I do. Almost all of my research — and there was a lot of it — was done online.

Number three involves tools of my own making. I am very visual, so I use a 2-foot-by-3-foot pad of sticky notes to design my settings. I refer to these drawings constantly while writing (the camp maps I include in A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp started out on this pad). I also use other visual tools, like tables to track the threads of my stories (e.g., a column for each day at camp) and concept maps to visualize plot elements (e.g., how events converge at the end of the book).

Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

I chant “Don’t think, just do,” to wake myself out indecision and procrastination. It’s not that I resist thinking — quite the contrary: It’s that I can over-think things.

Continuing the old house theme, in the Doctor Who episode, “Blink” (which first introduces the weeping angels), Sally Sparrow enters a musty old house and says, “I love old things. They make me feel sad.” Her friend, Kathy Nightingale, looks at her strangely and says: “What’s good about sad?” To which Sally replies: “It’s ‘happy’ for deep people.” (The sentimental side of me feels vindicated by that statement! I often find myself having to explain why I prefer drama over comedy — and I do not lack a sense of humor!)

To me, this quote, by the poet Nikki Giovanni, is an antidote for apathy and a prescription for living mindfully:

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don't expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

Marie, where can our tech savvy readers find you and your book online?

Thank you for visiting with us today, Marie. Continued good fortune to you and your book!

GUESTS WELCOME!  I’m always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

June 15, 2015

Amazon's Awesome Series Pages

I don't know about you, but one of my pet peeves as a reader is when it isn't clear that a book is 1) part of a series and 2) what order to read the series in. I have stopped reading a series because I've had to work to hard to figure out which book is next.

Amazon is making it much easier to find that information.

First off, they've added the series information directly under the book information. See how when you are on The Weaver's page on Amazon, it shows all the books in the series? This is especially helpful when the author and publisher didn't expect the book to become a series (as in the case of The Weaver) so you didn't indicate anything about additional books in the first one.

The second very helpful information is when you click through to the series page. For example, I looked up my book, Polar Opposites. It shows that it's the second book in a series, so I click through to the series page and I'm provided with buy links for all three books and I'm allowed to leave a review of the entire series. So readers can say things like "satisfying ending," "Surprised where the twists and turns of the story line ended up," and "I really hope this isn't the end of these characters. I'm in love." Or - you know - things like that. (Insert big obvious winking emoticon here!)

Anyway, as a reader, I'm super excited that it will be easier to know when a book is part of a series. As an author, I'm excited that readers will know there are more Weaver Tales or the order to read SVA in. Authors, make sure your books are part of a series. If they aren't visit the book page in Amazon Central and then drop Amazon an email to let them know which of your books should be included as part of the series. You don't need your publisher to do it. You have the power!

Anyone else excited about this too?

June 12, 2015

Hidden Fire by Deirdra Eden Blog Tour and $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Today I welcome Deirdra Eden to Strands of Thought. She's here to talk a little about her new release, Hidden Fire. Take it away, Deirdra.

There are terrifying things in the world.

Perhaps there is truth behind the tales of the monster in the closet and under the bed. They are the creatures in the dark places that wait for us to let down our guard.

Stories and parallels have been used since the beginning of time to teach children and adults how to fight what they can’t always see, or worse, the big bad wolves who pretend to be grandma.

The Watchers is another tale of good vs. evil, with mythology based on supernatural beings from the Apocrypha.

Although it is a fantasy similar to the types of fantasies you would enjoy in a Tolkien or C.S. Lewis tale, The Watchers takes places in this world and weaves through historical events while remaining relatable for the modern reader.

The Watchers, like everyone on this planet, have been given gifts and unique talents to battle darkness. We must develop these gifts and not be afraid to do hard things.

We are all in a battle and facing something that is testing us. The monsters are real. They may not hide in our closets or under the bed, but we will face them in whatever form they come in.

The Watchers novels provide strong and virtuous role models who must prepare constantly to not only survive whatever life throws at them, but fight for their dreams.

Book Summary
Auriella’s new life as a royal protector is in shambles. The new king ignores her warnings of a Shadow Legion invasion and he is determined to marry her off. Ghosts from her past, the discovery of other Watchers, and a handsome Scottish warrior throw her off guard and weaken her emotional defenses. Caught in a web of secrecy and betrayal, Auriella struggles to control and protect the devastating power of Starfire. A terrible truth and a fateful choice will lead her to her destiny as the fabled Lady of Neviah, or could shroud the entire world in eternal darkness. 

Filled with action, romance, drama, and comedy, Hidden Fire is an addicting read that you won't want to put down. 

“Deirdra Eden has surpassed her earlier achievement in this daring tale of struggle between good and evil forces that exist in every universe.” Mark F. Cheney, author of MARK OF THE JAGUAR 

“Thought provoking and full of action, I didn’t want to put the book down! I really loved the symbolism and it was a fantastic read.” Mary G. – age 15

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June 10, 2015

Three Times A Charm with Melanie Hooyenga

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome back YA author, Melanie Hooyenga. Melanie visited Strands of Thought before with a great guest post. (I’ll put the link at the bottom so you can re-visit it.) She’s going to share a little about her series. But first, Melanie, can tell us a little about yourself?

I first started writing as a teenager and find I still relate best to that age group. I’ve lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but have finally settled down in my home state of Michigan with my husband Jeremy. When I’m not at my day job as a graphic designer, you can usually find me attempting to wrangle my Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.

I love the image I have in my head of you wrangling Owen. Those small dogs can be bossy! Now, can you tell us about your series, please? I LOVE the covers!

The Flicker Effect trilogy is contemporary YA with a sci-fi twist. The first book, FLICKER, tells the story of 17-year-old Biz, who uses sunlight to flicker—travel back to yesterday. Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to yesterday. No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way, until little girls in her town start disappearing. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.

In book two, FRACTURE, Biz wakes up from surgery after helping catch a kidnapper and soon discovers that her ability is stronger than ever. But her newly-shaved head brings out the bullies, her boyfriend Cameron is getting a little too chummy with a girl from the kidnap support group, and Cameron’s formerly kidnapped sister is having some serious adjustment issues. When her dad’s health takes a turn for the worse, she turns to the neurosurgeon who operated on her. If she tells him the truth, he could figure out why she and her dad flicker and save her before her entire world—and her own health—crumbles. But can Biz trust him with her secret?

In FADED, the third book (which comes out today!), Biz didn’t think life could get worse after the tragic events that surrounded her last flicker, but when she accidentally flickers on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined. When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop. Forever.

I recommend my books to readers who like:

The Wake trilogy and the Visions trilogy, by Lisa McMann. Both series are contemporary with a sci-fi twist (sound familiar?) where the main character has something a little off in her head. In Wake, Janie gets pulled inside people’s dreams, while in Visions, Jules sees visions of future tragedies. Both series stuck with me long after I read them I recommend them to everyone. Bonus: I had the honor of meeting Lisa at a book signing on my birthday last year.

Let’s get to know you a little better. Share with us your top three responses to the following questions.

Things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.

1 – It’s not as solitary as you think. Yes, you sit alone while you write, but there’s a whole world of writers out there to help you through the process. My best friends live all over the country and have very different lives, but they are always there for me, ready to help when I need them (with personal and professional advice).

2 – If you’re going to be an indie author, you need to write a lot. When I published Flicker, I received positive reviews but sales were abysmal. With Fracture, having a book already published really helped boost my credibility, so I cannot wait to see how the launch for Faded goes. My sales have increased every year and I know I have my backlist to thank for that.

3 – Every situation is an opportunity to make a connection (i.e. a sale). Despite the fact that I work in a marketing department, I am terrible at marketing myself. This has hit home for me a few times while chatting with a coworker who I’ve known for years but who had no idea that I am a writer, let alone have published novels. I’m trying to be better about working my books into conversations and – very important – I carry postcards with my book and contact info with me at all times. You never know when you’ll meet your next fan!

Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

1 – Artist. I’m a graphic designer by day so I’d say I did well here. I also love doing DIY projects. I recently built the desk for my office and am planning to refinish our coffee tables later this summer.

2 – Writer. Again, I seem to have followed my dreams.

3 – Number three is a little fuzzier. I can’t remember anything specific beyond artist or writer, so we’ll go with professional athlete. In the past few years I’ve played: softball, volleyball, golf, soccer, dodgeball, kickboxing, and bowling, plus I played co-ed football in my 20s and basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse in high school. My husband and I regularly bike and hike, plus I really want a kayak and snowshoes now that we’re living on Lake Michigan. And of course the Schnauzer wrestling. (We also play a lot of “bar” sports: pool, darts, and bags/cornhole.) So perhaps I AM a professional athlete.

Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

1 – “You’ll never get it if you don’t ask.” Sometimes people surprise you and what you want may not be as far-fetched as you think it is. I’d much rather be told no than always wonder what if.

2 – “What would you do if you couldn’t fail?” I’ve seen this phrase in different coworkers’ offices over the years and it’s always made me stop and think. The first time I saw it, I hadn’t written since I was a teen and it made me wonder what I could do, even though I didn’t envision myself as a writer at the time. I’ve learned that ignoring the fear of failure is very necessary if you want to finish anything, especially something as long as a novel.

3 – “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.” This serves as a reminder to press pause and enjoy life. We all get caught up in the day to day, rushing from one thing to the next, then spend our downtime glued to a digital device. If you don’t consciously choose to set down your phone (sometimes I throw mine out of arm’s reach), the entire world will pass by without you noticing.

Melanie, now that the readers have fallen in crush with you and your books, where can they find you online?

Thank you so much for having me!

It has been lovely to have you back on SoT (10 Steps to Editing Your Novel). Best of luck on the release of Faded!

GUESTS WELCOME!  I’m always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

June 8, 2015

June #InkRipples - Summer (#giveaway)

As a teenager in Southern California, one of my favorite summer past times was getting a tan. My friend and I would catch a ride with her sister to her sister's work early in the morning. She worked close to the beach. Then we'd hop on a bus for the rest of the trip. We'd get there so early in the morning, the fog hadn't burned off yet, but that was okay because we'd be able to pick out the ultimate spot on the still empty expanse of sand. While the seagulls cried and the waves shushed in and out, we'd get to work forming our beach beds for the day. The first bed, we scooped out a deep ditch into the sand where our bottoms would rest, building the sand we removed into a pile of high behind our heads, and a smaller swell under our knees. The second bed would be flat except for a "pillow" made from sand for when it was time to turn over and tan our backs.

We slathered on tanning oil, the distinctive coconut scent lifting into the constant wind. We'd carve out a cup holder for our drinks, and drape our towels over whichever bed we were going to start with. But the last and most important thing inside my beach bag was my book. If I was going to lay on the beach for eight hours until my friend's sister came to pick us up when she got off of work, I needed entertainment. A good book was crucial.

So this month, I want to provide you with a 'beach read.' Even if you don't have a beach nearby, I'm sure you can find a shade tree in a park, a picnic table next to a river, or a maybe a rocking chair on your front porch to make yourself comfortable in while you lose yourself in a good story.

I've listed a few of the books that I enjoyed reading. There's a cross section of fantasy, contemporary and historical fiction, so there should be something for everyone. Or, if you are like me, you're up for anything. You have your choice of a Kindle copy of one of the following:

Faery Marked by Mary Waibel

When Callie Rycroft wakes to find purple flames flickering on the ceiling, she believes she’s still dreaming. But soon she’s forced to accept that she has magic―a special magic that grants her entrance into the Faery Realm.

For centuries humans have been banned from Faery, but dangerous times call for dangerous measures. Declared Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is assigned a Guardian, and tasked with finding the Cordial―a magical elixir needed to keep the portal to the Faery realm a secret from humans.

The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she's been crushing on for years, is her Guardian. Callie hopes that, by spending time with Reece, he'll start to see her as more than just his best friend's sister.

The downside? She's in a race not only against time, but against another Champion, and a rogue Guardian―a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.

Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie's worries when she learns that the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk everything―even Reece―to complete her task as Champion? Or will she let the portal open, and doom both realms?

Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll

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

An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbles across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.

Caves, Canons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure

In May of 1863, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stamford decides to enlist in the Confederate Army. Two incidents trigger her decision. First, for months General Ulysses S. Grant and his Federal troops have been shelling Vicksburg, Mississippi. To control Vicksburg is to control the Mississippi River. Now, Vicksburg is under siege, cut off from the rest of the world.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines is the story of Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stamford and her family's daily struggle to survive a changing way of life during the American Civil War. This is a story of fear, courage, and understanding that people, no matter where they live, have the same needs: love, peace and security.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure is an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award in the category Young Adult, an Award-Winning Finalist in the Novella category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and also an Award-Winning Finalist in the category of Teen Literature Fiction in the 2011 Global eBook Awards.

Vitamins and Death by Medeia Sharif

Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.

Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.

Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.

Okay, I could keep going forever, but I have to stop somewhere. Which of the books would you like to read? Tweet about it to enter the rafflecopter (hint, the Twitter msgs below are in the same order as the books above, so tweet the book you'd like to win!) Or add the book on Goodreads. Or repin my Pinterest posts of the book(s) you are interested in. Share one or share them all, but only share if you want to win that book, because if your entry is chosen, you will win the book the entry was about. Don't worry, they're all good!

Enter before June 22nd. You can tweet every day, so feel free to come back again and again.

Good luck and happy summer reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you enter the contest, hop on over to Mary's InkRipples post and Katie's InkRipples post. 

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the second Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

June 5, 2015

Why YA? The Best Kept Secret Guest Post by Wendi Nunnery

I'm excited to have Wendi Nunnery visit Strands of Thought. She has a shiny new release, The Best Kept Secret, that she's here to talk about. Take it away, Wendi!

Thank you for having me on the blog today, Kai! I’m so excited to be here and share a few thoughts with you guys on The Best Kept Secret.

The Best Kept Secret, as you know, is a young adult novel, and I’ve received a few odd looks when I tell people this is the kind of book I wrote. Sometimes those who are unfamiliar with young adult novels tend to believe that the subject matter is light and fluffy, or perhaps even immature, because of the target demographic. They don’t seem to understand why I would want to write for this particular genre. At least not at first.

In recent years, young adult books have been making a dramatic shift from vampires and werewolves back to the daily struggles that teenagers face in an attempt to connect more personally with readers. Among the day-to-day issues like school, friendship, and love, authors are tackling really heavy issues, like bullying, sexual assault, death, teen suicide, eating disorders, sexual orientation and gender identity, and self-harm. And I think this is important because it helps people who might not usually read young adult novels remember that teenagers are real people, too. They aren’t one-dimensional. And sometimes they face incredibly difficult problems, just like anyone else.

The Best Kept Secret attempts to approach some of these issues - like bullying, sexual assault, and teen suicide - while still allowing the characters to live within a broad range of experiences where humor and love and friendship are still present. To give you a better idea of what I mean, I’d like to share a little bit about each character.


Emma is the narrator and protagonist of the novel. She’s a 15-year old sophomore at Cley High School, located in the fictional town of Cley, Georgia. She has a loving family and she was raised a Christian. This informs many of her beliefs, but she is struggling now that her friends are starting to differ in their views on issues like sex and relationships. Emma is strong and kind, but she often feels insecure. And this causes her some problems throughout the book.


Andy is Emma’s best friend, and he’s also a sophomore. He is 16, though, so he does all the driving. He’s popular, handsome, and very likeable. Andy is different from Emma in that most problems just roll off his back, but he’s loyal to her even when they start to face some big changes in their relationship.


Jesse is Andy’s older brother, and he’s an 18-year old senior. Jesse manages Andy’s band and he is incredibly smart. He’s also quiet and unassuming, so people usually like Jesse because they like Andy. Emma and Jesse have never been close, but they begin to build a relationship as Emma starts to question her other friendships. Jesse is my favorite character.

Elsie is a junior and she’s Emma’s closest girl friend. She’s very sweet, but Elsie wants to be liked and kind of follows along with everyone else. In the end, though, she proves herself to be much stronger than even she, or the reader, realized.


Georgia is what I like to call the “Regina George” of Cley High School. She’s popular and pretty and incredibly snarky. Georgia does what is best, or most entertaining, for Georgia. And she causes a few headaches for Emma along the way.


Deegan is the guy every girl wants to be with, but he has some pretty big secrets. He becomes Emma’s love interest early on and because of this relationship, Emma has to answer to herself in ways she had never imagined she would.

Thanks again, Kai, for having me on the blog today! I’m so grateful for the chance to tell you more about The Best Kept Secret and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Author Links/Bio:

Wendi Nunnery is the author of The Mayfield Family Story. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and The Simply Beloved, a lifestyle website for women of faith. She is a proud alumna of Georgia Southern University and, at any given time, you can find her with a cup of coffee and a book. She lives, loves, and mothers in Atlanta, Georgia. The Best Kept Secret is her first novel.

Find her online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wendinunneryauthor
Twitter: @ladynunnery
Instagram: @ladynunnery
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ladynunnery
Blog: www.wendinunnery.com      

About TBKS:

In high school, everyone has secrets. Even well-brought-up Emma Fraser.

Emmas sophomore year started out all wrong. First, her best friend Andy confessed to losing his virginity leaving Emma all alone in the V-Club. Then the rest of her friends got weird and suddenly Emma finds herself feeling like the people she knows best have become total strangers. And total strangers are becoming friends.

When Deegan Burke, a rich, gorgeous senior, asks Emm
a to be his date for the prom, Emma thinks her luck has begun to change. But rather than being able to bask in this newfound glory, her whole world starts to unravel. And when secrets that once seemed so innocent start to take a very dangerous turn, Emma discovers that true friends are friends no matter whatand some secrets arent worth keeping.


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

June 3, 2015

#IWSG - Grateful Author

Be sure to visit the grand master Alex Cavanaugh
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts today are M. Pax, Tracy Jo,Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee! Please visit their blogs & say hi!

First, I just want to share that AYDEN'S STORY is only 99¢ for one more day - and I'd be honored if you picked up a copy.


My #IWSG Post:

In the past week I had a couple writing related surprises. I ran into a few people in my life (as people do when you are out and about) and as we were catching up on life, they asked when a sequel to one of my books is coming out, or bought copies of my newest releases to catch up on their Kai Strand collection. I didn't even know some of these people read my books. I can't begin to tell you how much I needed the affirmations, nor how soothing these interactions were on my deep gaping writer wounds. 

So today I want to take the time to say thank you. To each and every person who has tweeted about my work, or re-tweeted a giveaway - Thanks. To all readers of this blog, and Lightning Quick Reads - Thank you. To Facebook fans whether you silently stalk or actively engage on the page - You rock. And of course to each and every person who has read a book or short story that I wrote...the biggest thank you of all. 

Having several 'out of the blue' experiences made me realize how many people are out there who I simply don't know about. Authors only know if their work is enjoyed when the reader takes the time to say something, whether thru a review, via email, a post on FB or Twitter, or if they say out right, "When is the next book coming?" It's like manna from heaven to a writer to hear that not only has someone read the book, but they liked it enough to be interested in more. 

So a heartfelt and special thank you to the people who made me remember all the silent readers out there that we write for. The more reminders, the more likely writers are to keep writing. 

I wish you a month of happy writing - from a grateful author.

June 2, 2015

Celebrating the Release Day of The Darkness Within by Kelly Hashway

Release Day Celebration Hosted by MMSAI Tours
June 2nd
The Darkness Within
The Monster Within #2

Author: Kelly Hashway
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Press

After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives--the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life--things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? 


Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he's Sam's sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he's a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what's wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

Book Links:
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as an editor for Leap Books as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

Website: www.kellyhashway.com
Blog: http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellyhashway
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KellyHashway

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kellyhashway/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Hashway/e/B004B3W3CU Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4528793.Kelly_Hashway YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kellyhashway


One winner will get their choice of any book written by Kelly Hashway.
(Ships in US Only | Must be 13+ To Enter)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 1, 2015

Meet Teen Witch Sophie Goodchild from Disenchanted by Leigh Goff

Today we welcome Sophie Goochild the main character of Disenchanted. Sophie is here to answer a few questions about her story. First, let’s find out a little more about Disenchanted.

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

-Welcome Sophie! Thanks for visiting with us today. We’ll start things off easy. How old are you?

I just turned sixteen and what a crazy ride it has been since my birthday. My magic was always less than expected and hard to control. My Aunt Janie thought my ordinary half was affecting my spellcasting witch half, but I recently learned that my diamond bloodcharm, a gemstone pendant from my mom, enhances my magic, and it has really made a difference in my spellcasting, but don’t tell anyone! I have a surprise in store for my coven.

-Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

Sadly, my parents passed away when I was a small child. I have some memories of them, especially sitting on my mother’s lap and the warmth of her embrace. Their deaths haunt me because I have a feeling the mystery surrounding what happened has something to do with black-hearted Judge Mather. He is the father of the guy I’m falling hard for, but he is an unethical man who stops at nothing to get what he wants. He’s locked up half of my coven’s witches for magical slip-ups, and I fear he had something to do with my parents’ deaths.

-If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

My godmother Phoebe’s sugared pansy petals because they are delicious and they melt in your mouth. I would bring my red diamond bloodcharm for sentimental and practical reasons. It belonged to my mother and it enhances my magic, which would come in handy on a deserted island. I would also include my hot boyfriend because he’s fearless when danger is near and that’s been a lot lately.

-Do you have a hidden talent?

I can make a mean purple spaghetti sauce. It requires purple tomatoes and pink Parisian garlic along with a few special herbs from my Aunt Janie’s enchanted garden. I cast a simple puree spell on it to blend the ingredients together and it’s delicious.

-Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?

I’m an introvert. I’m not sure if being an introvert is my true nature or from a habit of keeping secrets and trying to blend in. The ordinaries in Wethersfield, a small Connecticut town steeped in Puritanical history, just can’t handle witch magic, so it’s best for everyone involved if we keep our talents hidden and being an introvert helps.

-What is your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect day would be a day full of swoony kissing with my forbidden boyfriend, Alexavier. He’s an ordinary and a Mather. In case you don’t know your American history, the Mathers played a big role in condemning witches to hang in New England. Alexavier is a descendant of the man who condemned my ancestor, Rebecca Greensmith to hang at Gallows Hill so I get that he’s forbidden, but his bad boy ways and his hot British accent are so irresistible. Plus he’s hiding a secret that I just have to know. Did I mention he’s tall, dark-haired, and has lips that taste like sun-ripened peaches?

-If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?

A journal? I’ve been trying to unlock entries from my ancestor’s enchanted journal from three hundred and fifty years ago. So if I had a journal of my own, I might want to repay the favor and write something down that would help my descendant sometime in the future.

-Tell me something no one else knows about you?

I love living in Wethersfield. It’s a small town, but I think in time, the people here will come to embrace the witches living among them. Fingers crossed!

It's been great to get to know you, Sophie. Readers, now that you know Sophie (and that swoony boyfriend) better, aren’t you dying to read her story? Pick up Disenchanted here:

Mirror World Publishing Link:  Disenchanted

Amazon Purchase Link:  Disenchanted

About the Author:

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters  ♥

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an unusual childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her WEBSITE or at Mirror World Publishing.

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