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Cover Reveal for Hollywood Homicide

I’m thrilled to participate in a totally awesome cover reveal for a totally awesome person. I met Kellye Garrett during PitchWars ’14. There were only three of us in the contest with mysteries so we became the mystery sisters, and I’m so proud that both of my myst sisses have gotten book deals (shout out to our third sis Kelly DeVos).
 
Today is the big day to reveal Kellye’s cover to the world. Here it is!
 
Hollywood Homocide
 
Isn’t it gorgeous?!? That pink light reflecting off her main character is everything. 
 
Weird confession: Last night I dreamed I was in a world where the lighting was the same vivid pink lighting shining in from the same angle. And in the dream, I knew it was the lighting from Kellye’s cover, yet I didn’t think that was strange. 
 
Even weirder confession: Earlier in the night, I woke up snarling. Like jaw clenched, lips peeled back snarling. All I remember is that there were rabid dogs in the dream, but I have no idea if I was a rabid dog or if I was just foolishly trying to scare one away. 
 
My brain is whack. 
 
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. You know a cover is striking and memorable when you start dreaming about it. And knowing Kellye, I’m sure the book inside is just as striking and memorable.
 
Here are all the details: 
 
Hollywood Homicide
Book 1 in the Detective By Day Series
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Release Date: August 8, 2017
 
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
 
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
 
And there are no second takes in real life.
 
Kellye GarrettAbout Kellye Garrett
Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day series.
 
Connect with Kellye
 
You can pre-order the e-book and print edition on Amazon.
 

Cover Reveal for MY PERFECT MISTAKE

My Pitch Wars friend Kelly Siskind is on a roll! She released her first novel Chasing Crazy in early January, and she's already having the cover reveal for her next novel. Check out all the fun stuff for MY PERFECT MISTAKE: the sexy cover, description, and excerpt, plus there's a giveaway. Make sure to enter!

Congrats, Kelly!

And now here's the cover!

Siskind_MyPerfectMistake_2

About MY PERFECT MISTAKE
 
What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . .
 
A girls' trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She's got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared.
 
Kolton doesn't know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool---although she does have an unholy gift for that---but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they're both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don't kill each other first.
 

MY PERFECT MISTAKE releases April 5, 2016 - add it to your Goodreads list here!

Preorder MY PERFECT MISTAKE now: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

 

Excerpt

He tosses me my anti-sexy helmet. “We should take another run before we head down.”
 
I catch it and shake my head, unsure I heard him right. “Sorry, we? Shouldn’t you be skiing with your buddies? It’s bad enough you hijacked my lunch and I have to sit at a table with you again tonight. Now you want to ski together? Thanks but no thanks.”
 
He lifts his arms over his head and stretches from side to side. A sliver of skin peeks out below his jacket. “The guys called it quits early. Worried you can’t keep up?”
 
As fucking if. The dude’s obviously egging me on, but he snaps my self-control. Everything between us is action, reaction. Spark and flame. What’s his deal, anyway? Why sit with me and ski with me when we’re worse than cats and dogs? If he thinks firing me up means he’s getting a replay of last night, he’s mistaken. Still, I need to beat his ass on the slopes. “Fine. I’ll take that run. It’s about time I put you in your place. But let’s be clear. We can have lunch and ski together, but there will be no sex.” A teen walking by stops midstride and doubles over in a fit of giggles.
 
“I didn’t catch that.” Kolton leans forward and cups a hand around his helmeted ear. “Do you mind speaking up?”
 
What a total douche.
 
“Everyone is wise until he speaks,” I mumble, recalling my granddad’s words.
 
Kolton straightens, a question passing across his face. “Are you Irish? My granddad used to say that all the time. Along with, ‘Shut your mouth and eat your dinner.’”
 
I laugh, abrupt and maniacal, the sharp sound catching me off guard. The energy shifts between us, like the first time I understood my Spanish teacher—the foreign becoming familiar. I frown, unsure I want Kolton to feel familiar. “Yeah, I am. The first curse I learned was feckin’ arse, and I’d kind of like to use it now.”
 
He smiles to himself, as though we’re friends who would sit and talk and laugh about our shared upbringing. Ruffled, I cram my helmet on, get geared up, and try to stomp out of the lodge all look out, buddy, but with the boots and Martian head, it’s a fail.
 
Skis on and goggles down, we race to the lift. He arrives first, making like he’s been waiting forever with a dramatic yawn. I roll my eyes and push past him. The lift line is empty, so it’s just him and me on the four-person chair.
 
“Mind not doing that?” he says partway up as I swing my skis.
 
The chair sways in response, and I rock my legs harder. “This?”
 
His olive skin grays. “Yeah. That.” He leans his elbows on the safety bar and closes his eyes.
 
If he pukes, I’ll likely toss my cookies, too. When my brother got food poisoning from China House’s all-you-can-eat buffet, it wasn’t pretty. I hadn’t eaten a thing there, but the second he threw up, I proceeded to reenact that pie eating scene from Stand by Me: projectile vomit, solid stream, fire hydrant force.
 
I still my skis and stop bouncing.
 
We pass one supporting tower, then another, before he opens his eyes.
 
“You regretting that lunch?” I ask, smirking.
 
He flexes his hands, and the poles dangling from his wrists knock around. “No. I’m regretting getting on this chair with you.”

Such a charmer.

 

Giveaway

Want to win a digital ARC of MY PERFECT MISTAKE? You can enter to win on the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Kelly Siskind

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.

She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.

She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.

2015 Golden Heart® Finalist

Connect with Kelly Siskind Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

TOUCHING FATE Release

Touching Fate by Brenda Drake

If you’re part of the writing community, you are most likely familiar with the amazing Brenda Drake: the Queen of Contests. She is extremely generous in all she does for other writers. I also think she must be part robot to accomplish everything she does!

I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of several of Brenda’s contests, and I've met so many fabulous writers because of them. So I’m thrilled to have a chance to help with Brenda’s Release Day Launch for her book TOUCHING FATE. Check out the book and excerpt below, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway!
Touching Fate by Brenda Drake
Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift—with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.
Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.
Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.
But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

Excerpt from TOUCHING FATE

The spell was broken when some partiers ran up the beach screaming and laughing. Aster turned in the direction of the noise and spotted Reese standing there. He waved. A moronic move, he reprimanded himself. Strolling up the beach James Bond-style would have been better, but instead, struggling in the sand, he headed for her. He decided if she moved toward him as well, it would be proof that she was attracted to him. Aster spun around and faced the ocean again.
 
Reese stopped. She was still angry with him. Just when he made up his mind to leave her alone, she started down the beach toward him.
 
“Hi,” she said, staring up at him. The golden specks in her eyes were like stardust glinting in the low-lying sun.
 
“What are you doing here?”
 
“Leah invited Jan, and he brought me along.”
 
“I see.”
 
“Well, I didn’t put up a struggle. I have to admit, I was hoping to see you.” He held out the aster. “This is for you. A peace offering. One simple flower can mean so much more than a bunch, don’t you agree?”
 
A shocked expression crossed her face, and Reese thought he had blown it. But then she gave him a sweet smile and took the flower from him. “Stolen ones are even better.”
 
“Well, in all honesty, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. A gentleman doesn’t court a lady without bringing a gift.”
 
“So you’re courting me?” She tried unsuccessfully not to smile. It was rather fetching, her pink glossed lips twitching at the effort. “You don’t even know anything about me.”
 
“Well, that is the point of dating, isn’t it? To get to know each other?”
 
“I’m not sure.”
 
When the silence between them got uncomfortable, she lowered her head and picked at the stem of the flower.
 
“Not sure, huh?” This girl was a hard nut to crack. Reese got an idea. “How about we play a game?”
 
She looked back up at him. “What kind of game?”
 
“One where I tell you something about me, then you tell me something about yourself.”
 
“Sure, why not?” She twirled around and padded across the beach, lifting up sand with her toes and flicking it into the air in front of her. “You go first.”
 
“All right, then,” he said, keeping pace with her. “My family lives in a castle just outside of Amsterdam, complete with towers and turrets. It’s been in the family for generations. We only live in a few rooms. The rest of the place is open for tours. It helps pay for the upkeep and taxes.”
 
“Really?” She knotted her fingers behind her back. “Does that mean you’re royal?”
 
“No. But my father is a count.” He hated talking about his lineage. “It’s just a title,” he said, as if it wasn’t a big deal, which it wasn’t, at least to him.
 
“That’s pretty awesome,” she said.
 
“Now you.”

Brenda Drake

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up are of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling.
So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Giveaway

Giveaway is 3 winners of …

Grand Prize of the Kindle + Swag Pack (US/Canada) $50 Amazon Gift Card (INT) $50 Amazon Gift Card (US/Canada)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 157 + Book Release

I’ve joked before that Medeia Sharif is a novel writing robot, and I’m starting to suspect I’m on to something because I’m pleased to announce that she has just released another YA novel called 52 Likes. I think this makes four books released in a year. It boggles my mind – I truly wish I had her discipline. Congrats, Medeia, on another release!! Here’s the info:

52 LIKES, Evernight Teen, 2015
Purchase from Amazon, Evernight Teen (vendor links will be updated on the author's site)

After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. She’s plagued by not knowing the identity of her rapist and by the nasty rumors in school about that night. Valerie follows clues from ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

 
Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon
 

Wow, that sounds dark and super creepy! Right up my alley, so I can’t wait to read it! Make sure to enter Medeia's giveaway of a $50 Amazon gift card and Kindle copy of 52 Likes:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
And now here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:
 
1/21 - As students run down the hall regardless of threats of detention, she breaks out a paddle, which is ultra vires her hall monitor role.
 
1/22 - He gets verklempt at baby pic sent by grateful parents. Another patient he helped to conceive. Another kid who'll never know he's her dad.
 
1/23 - At wedding, groom gives toast celebrating bride's wanderlust, which brought her to his country. A year later, he curses it as she leaves.
 
1/24 - She sighs at zaftig women in paintings. Then stomach gurgles. Screw her diet! They were beautiful and so is she! Eats sweets at museum cafe.
 
15 Minute Tweet Tales1/25 - The agent loved the thrilling novel about fighting aliens. Until the addendum claiming military covered up real-life battle. Form rejection.
 
1/26 - She'd had beaucoup rich boyfriends who showered her with gifts, but none equaled the one she'd loved but left because he lacked ambition.
 
1/27 - A cocky movie star, trashy affairs, and a wife lost at sea make for a cause célèbre. His wife grins watching him convicted of her murder.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 150 + Book Launch

My tweet tales post is going to slip in just under the wire of actually being posted on Tuesday, but I have a fun excuse for its lateness. My sister lives several hours away in Greenville, and the tradition is that I go up and spend a week with her in December, and we stuff ourselves silly at area restaurants and watch the latest Hunger Games movie. So I arrived yesterday to commence with the eating, and we’re going to do the Mocking Jay thing on Thursday.
 
But tonight we had a enjoyable adventure – we went to a book launch in Asheville. Although I was a twitter acquaintance of Jaye Robin Brown, I didn’t actually meet her until the SCBWI-Carolinas conference in September, and she was a lot of fun. So when I found out her book launch for No Place to Fall was happening at the same time I’d be in Greenville, I convinced my sister to road trip up to Asheville.
 
The book launch had a very cool vibe. First Jaye talked about writing the book. Then because her main character is a singer, Jaye would read a passage from the book and a talented young musician would sing a corresponding song. It was an entertaining way to really bring the book to life. And the bonus? There were cupcakes! 
 
There were also other writer friends there to chat with, so that was another highlight: Lauren Johnson Patton and Megan Shepherd, both talented ladies I met at Chautauqua, and Robin Constantine, another new friend from the SCBWI conference. I love how my circle of Carolina writer friends keeps expanding.
 
So even though it was a bit of a hike up into the NC mountains, it was totally worth it. And I’m glad my sister was willing to be my chauffer and photographer!
Jaye Robin Brown and Jocelyn Rish Jaye Robin Brown signing book for Jocelyn Rish
 
Now here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales from the past week:
 
12/3 - He follows etiquette rules to avoid suspicion, but his punctilious manner makes them think he's weird. Though they'd never guess alien.
 
12/4 - Walking on stage of reality show, he trips. Audience goes wild. Was going to sign opera, but realizes pratfall routine will be more popular.
 
12/5 - She overhears kids connive to fake broccoli allergy. When Tim gasps for air, she laughs. Too late she realizes he's choking on a floret.
 
12/6 - Classmates envy her nobby outfits. When asked where she buys them, she smiles and says it's a secret. They'd never believe mice made them.
 

15 Minute Tweet Tales

12/7 - A rutilant light causes her to look out window. She appreciates beauty of explosion blossoming seconds before blast destroys her building.
 
12/8 - Hypermnesia seems cool until you drive loved ones away by not forgetting any bad & then desperately miss them from not forgetting any good.
 
12/9 - The tutelary owner of the shelter smiled and waved when each animal was adopted. Then she went to her office and wept from missing them.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 147 + Book Release

I’m starting to think Medeia Sharif is a novel writing robot. It was only last month that I participated in the cover reveal for her latest YA novel, and now she’s releasing a MG historical/fantasy. Or maybe she has Hermione’s time turner. Or maybe she’s secretly traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor. I’m sure the actual reason is that she has a lot more self-discipline than me, but the other possibilities sound like more fun. Before I get to my tweet tales, I’m turning my blog over to Medeia.

THE ATTIC OF SAND AND SECRETS 
by Medeia Sharif

Vendor links will be updated on Medeia’s site.
 
Middle Grade Historical and Fantasy, Featherweight Press, November 2014
 
Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.
 
Learning-disabled Lily desires to prove herself, although her mind freezes when presented with big problems - such as her mother's abduction. With a French father and Egyptian mother, Lily worries that her mother hid her ethnicity from her French in-laws. However, there's something deeper going on. Lily finds a way into an attic that's normally locked and encounters a mysterious, moonlit Egyptian night world. There she finds Khadijah, an ancient stranger who guides her to finding clues about her mother's whereabouts. Lily becomes a sleuth in both the real world and magical desert, endangering herself as she gets closer to the kidnapper.
 
The book takes place in 1976. Every host for this book blast is going to post one fun fact for that year. For some of you, this will bring back memories. For younger blog readers, you'll learn something new.
 
Sugar Ray Leonard won an Olympic gold medal in boxing.
 
Find Medeia – Multi-published YA and MG Author
 
Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon
 

Medeia is doing a giveaway of her book and a $50 Amazon gift card. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lily sounds like a unique character who experiences all kinds of exciting adventures. Best of luck with your book release, Medeia!

And now for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales from the past week:

11/12 - Hotel guests are frightened at first, but the ghost is quite biddable. He'll even turn out the lights so you don't have to get out of bed.
 
11/13 - Pressure builds and he can't hold it in. Disgraceful for notorious thief to be caught via eructation. Should have skipped pre-heist soda.
 
11/14 - His destructive toy store tantrum was a watershed in her parenting style, going from "whatever you want, dear" to "I'll tan your hide!"
 
11/15 - Boyfriend brings in unwieldy present. She hides disappointment. Turns out to be nesting doll of boxes. Longed-for ring wrapped at center.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

11/16 - She drank 3 more shots knowing it would impair her ratiocination. But she was finally alone with brother-in-law and dreamed of kissing him.
 
11/17 - She searches for most debonair man in the bar. Their confidence in their charm always keeps them from seeing the trap until they're caught.
 
11/18 - Her pertinacious belief in her hotness despite reflection in mirror gave her a sparkle that made men who usually wouldn't ask her out.
 
Have you read any of Medeia's books? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 144 + Books Excitement

Buckle your seatbelts, y’all, this is going to be a long post! It seems like all my writing friends have some type of book-related excitement happening today. Okay, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. It’s actually kind of weird that there are so many releases and cover reveals today. Something in the air? Halloween magic? I don’t know why, I’m just happy great things are happening for writers I adore, and that I can share the news here.
 
First up (in alphabetical order) is Martina Boone, who is an online friend who became a real-life friend and is now kinda sorta my boss. Her YA Southern Gothic Compulsion releases today and has been getting fantastic advance reviews. And since it’s set in Charleston, I can’t wait to read it.
 
Compulsion
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
 
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt's South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
 
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
 
 
Next up is my local writing friend S.K. Falls with a bit of a déjà vu cover reveal. I shared a cover reveal and release post for a previous version of this novel when S.K. indie published it. Then an agent found it, read it, loved it, and offered representation, and now it’s going to be traditionally published on January 13th, 2015! So it has a new title and cover to go with the revamped story. It’s now called One Last Song, and you can find it on Goodreads.
 
One Last SongI was seven when I swallowed my first needle.
 
My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.
 
She stayed by my side all night.
 
I never wanted it to end. When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It's scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it's like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.
 
For me, that someone was Drew.
 
 
The next novel release is from Jessie Humphries, who is my Pitch Wars mentor. I read her first YA mystery Killing Ruby Rose at the suggestion of a friend who knew I was having trouble in my own WIP balancing a humorous voice with dark events. Jessie does a great job handling that balance, so I was excited when I saw she was a Pitch Wars mentor, and I entered hoping for the best. I couldn’t believe it when she picked me as her alternate – there was lots of happy dancing. She’s really helped me identify the places where I took the funny too far when it should be more serious. Now the second book in her series is being released today called Resisting Ruby Rose
 
FYI - there are some spoilers from the first book in this description.
 
Resisting Ruby Rose
Still reeling from the heartbreaking events that unfolded on Grissom Island, Ruby Rose is trying to come to terms with the fact that she’s gone from a vigilante in killer shoes to a stone-cold killer. Everyone from her therapist to her smoking-hot boyfriend keeps trying to convince her that she hasn’t crossed over to the dark side, but Ruby isn’t so sure. It doesn’t help that her nemesis, Detective “Mastermind” Martinez, is still out there, waiting for another chance to take her down.
 
When an alleged CIA agent named Skryker shows up and asks for a meeting, Ruby figures it just means more questions about her case. But he has information of an entirely different nature and a job offer: join an elite force of young assassins, including Skryker’s right-hand guy, Quinn Donovan. Quinn is distractingly charming, handsome—and deadly. Ruby resists becoming a killer again, but as she becomes more ensnared in a web of deceit, no one around her is safe.
 
 
Leah Rhyne is another local writing friend who has made past appearances on my blog for the release of her zombie novels. Today is the cover reveal for the third and final book in the Undead America series called Jenna’s War. The book will actually be released this Friday because a story this scary must be unleashed on the world on Halloween.
 
Jenna's WarJenna Price knows how to survive in Undead America:
 
Kill zombies;
 
Find food; 
 
Most importantly, don’t trust strangers.
 
It’s a bleak, meagre existence in the Nebraska countryside, but Jenna Price is willing to make it work. That is, until her feud with Michael explodes. Only then will she risk everything with Sam, Will, and Rosie, leaving Nebraska behind in search of a pipe dream: a cure to the zombie virus that plagues them.
 
So begins their journey east. East is where the old cities lay, sleepy relics of a world long gone. Controlled by a power-hungry warlord from Sam’s past, it seethes with zombies, alive and undead. East is where the future may lay, but it’s also where the worst things can happen.
 
For war is coming to Undead America. When her time comes, and the survival of her beloved family depends on her trusting a strange man with an ominous name, will Jenna Price be ready to fight?  
 
 
And finally there’s my online friend Emma Scott. We met through the forums for the NYC Midnight Madness writing competitions, and her stories were always amazing and her critiques helpful and supportive. Since she lives on the West coast, we’ve never met, but we’ve kept in touch via Facebook, cheering each other on in our writing journeys. Her main project is an epic fantasy she wants to get traditionally published, but in the meantime, she’s written a fun side novel she’s decided to self-publish in order to explore the process. So today she’s releasing her new adult romance Love Beyond Words
Love Beyond Words
 
She thought the best love affairs only happened in books…
 
Traumatized by the deaths of her parents three years earlier, Natalie Hewitt lives an introverted life, going to school during the day and working as a barista in a small coffee shop at night. Natalie uses the writing of world-famous, reclusive author Rafael Melendez Mendón to assuage her grief. His words are her refuge, his characters better company than anyone she could meet in real life… until Julian Kovač walks into the café one summer evening. A handsome, wealthy, quiet young man, Natalie feels an immediate connection. 
 
But Julian has a secret that is both the most wonderful revelation she could possibly imagine…and the very thing that could tear them apart.
 
Whew, I told you it was a lot! Now go check out the books by all these lovely ladies. But before you leave, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:
 
10/22 - After a steady diet of MacGyver reruns as a kid, Bob's ability to extemporize helps him survive the zombie apocalypse. TV IS good for you.
 
10/23 - Coach didn't homologate harassment of the girl on team but didn't stop it. She transfers to rival school. Leads them to state championship.
 
10/24 - The director's a demiurge because he wants all the acclaim when his movie wins an Oscar. Satisfyingly, he gets all the blame when it flops.
 
10/25 - As the light left her eyes, an enigmatic "Oh!" whispered past her lips. He obsessed over what she'd seen until it was his turn to go.
 

15 Minute Tweet Tales10/26 - He mocks her remodeling ideas, so she drugs him and immures him in the dividing wall she wanted. He only criticizes it a few more days.

 
10/27 - Whenever her stepmom mutters something, Suzy thinks it's a malison. Dad says she's read too many fairy tales. Until Suzy wakes up a frog.
 
10/28 - Knowing her grades wouldn't get her in, she took an ad hominem approach to college essay. Google told Admissions her sad story was lies.
 
Do you look forward to reading any of these books? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Cover Reveal + Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 142

Before I get to the tweet tales, let’s do a cover reveal! Medeia Sharif is one of the most prolific writers I know. She released a book earlier this summer, and now she has another one coming out in December. I’m honored to be participating in the reveal of this haunting cover:
 

VITAMINS AND DEATH by Medeia Sharif

YA Contemporary, Prizm Books
Release Date December 10, 2014
 
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.
 
Find Medeia
 
 
 
Whew, that definitely sounds like some heavy stuff poor Deidra must deal with – I can’t wait to read what happens!
 
And now for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales:
 
10/8 - Magician's illustrious career ends with slip of assistant's knife. Sleight of hand is tough when down 3 fingers. Now assistant is the star.
 
10/9 - She chokes down dog food, imagining it's viands from before the bombs. After 4 months of surviving, it's not even worst thing she's eaten.
 
10/10 - Ty's tomfoolery in class gets him in trouble, but it always makes Jen smile. From the shouting he hears next door, he knows she needs it.
 
10/11 - His rejection is a shard of glass to her heart. Wanting him to feel the same pain, she breaks a window and shoves a piece through his chest.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

10/12 - He often practices his gormless expression. People are more likely to talk around a slow janitor, so he's made millions selling secrets.
 
10/13 - Her doctor said she's sterile. Now all she does is watch episodes of the fecund Duggar family, crying and screaming about the injustice.
 
10/14 - The red garnitures look like blood splashed around the waiting room,making him extra nervous since the dentist is about to murder his mouth.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

City of Bones – Read-n-Feed

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a Read-n-Feed post, but I’ve decided to jump start it again with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Cassandra was the keynote speaker at the 2012 YALLFest, along with Holly Black, and it was very inspiring hearing them talk about their writing friendship, especially as I sat in the audience with so many of my own writing friends. 
 
Category: Young Adult
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 496
Amazon Description: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
 
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...
 
My writing lesson from City of Bones is the way Cassandra used the main hobby of the protagonist to color her writing. And in this case I literally mean color. Clary is an artist, a talent she inherited from her mother. In the beginning, she uses her art as a form of stress relief and to work though her feelings like others might use a journal. Later, her artistic ability comes into play in a way that is important to the narrative. 
 
Most of City of Bones is told in third person from Clary's POV, so Cassandra uses Clary's artistic eye to full effect in her descriptions. Sometimes she actually compares things to famous paintings, like: “There was a queasy sense of something organic about the bikes, like the bio-creatures in a Giger painting.” and “If Bosch's paintings of hell had come with a soundtrack, they would have sounded like this.” Other times, she describes things in a way linked to her hobby like: “When he smiled at Clary, a thousand small lines rayed out from around his eyes, like the cracks in an old painting.” and “Luke's expression went blank, like a canvas wiped clean of paint.”
 
I don't have any talent in the visual arts, so I'm not really keyed into color and light when I take in my surroundings, but it completely makes sense that someone whose passion is art would hone in on hues and shadings, like Clary does when she describes things. And this would apply to other hobbies as well: if the protagonist is a musician, the wind blowing through the trees might remind them of a piece by Bach; if they cook, then the smell in a friend's car might remind them of a certain spice; if someone is into fashion, then the first thing they'll notice about other people is what they're wearing. The viewpoint character's passions and hobbies are a lens through which his/her world is filtered. 
 
And this also applies to secondary characters. Even though the narrative might not be filtered through their point of view, their passions and hobbies will still impact other aspects like their vocabulary and physicality. A love interest who writes poetry might speak in lyrical sentences. An athletic best friend might pepper their speech with motivational phrases like "keep your eye on the ball" and "it ain't over until it's over." But all athletes aren't the same because one who plays football moves differently than one who excels at golf. These types of small details make characters feel real rather than just cardboard cutouts spouting dialog to move the plot along.
 
The way Cassandra utilizes her protagonist's artistic eye to highlight the beauty and creepiness of her New York settings is a great reminder to use our characters' interests and talents to full advantage. Having a number of interests make characters three dimensional, and these interests should affect the way they see and talk about the world around them.
 
If you’ve read City of Bones, what did you think? Do you use your main character’s passions/hobbies as a filter through how s/he sees the world? Do you use passions/hobbies to add dimensions to secondary characters? 

Friends with Books

Lots of my friends have had exciting book happenings the past two weeks, so I wanted to share all the good news.
 
First: Happy Book Birthday to my critique partner Rebecca Petruck! Her middle grade novel Steering Toward Normal officially releases today. I joined her critique group after the novel was sold, so I sadly can’t claim any credit for its awesomeness, but the book is so fun and charming. There are pranks and bad horror movies and model rockets and cow poop. You know you want to read about the cow poop! 
 
If you live near Wilmington, NC, Rebecca is having her launch party on Saturday, May 17th at Pomegranate Books at 3pm. She’s going to have two actual steers there to greet people – how cool is that?!?
Steering Toward Normal
Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop. What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.
 
 
Second: Kami Kinard released her second middle grade novel The Boy Problem two weeks ago. It’s a companion to her first novel The Boy Project, which I adored, so I can’t wait to read this one. 

The Boy Problem

Kami’s going to be at the SC Book Festival in Columbia, SC, on May 16-18, so stop by to see her if you are in the area. Megan Shepherd is going to be there, too!
 
Tabitha "Tabbi" Reddy believes in signs. Like fortune cookies. Magic 8-Balls. Shooting stars. And this year, she hopes, looking for the right signs will lead her to the right boy! Inspired by her BFF, Kara (star of THE BOY PROJECT), Tabbi starts her own "project" in the hopes of finding a cute crush. With the help of a math lesson on probability, Tabbi tries to predict who the right boy for her might be! Where is she most likely to meet him? What is he most likely to look like? Full of fun illustrations, hilarious equations, and lessons in cupcake-baking, life, love, and friendship, this book has a 100% probability of awesomeness. A perfect "next step" for fans of DORK DIARIES.
 
 
Third: Medeia Sharif released a new YA novel a few weeks ago called Snip, Snip Revenge. With the recent discussions about the lack of diversity in kidlit, it’s great to see this book hit the shelves, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Medeia is participating in a blog tour all week, so catch her at some of the stops
Snip, Snip Revenge
 
Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. 
 
With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.
 
 
25 RosesFourth: It’s cover reveal time for Stephanie Faris’s new middle grade novel 25 Roses. I think it’s adorable! It won’t be released until 2015, but I’m already looking forward to it. 
 
Valentine's Day means one thing at Stanton Middle School: students will send each other chocolate roses. Each year, Mia Hartley watches while the same group of students gets roses and everyone else is left out. This year, she decides things will be different. As the student assigned to write names on the cards, Mia purchases 25 roses and writes her own cards, designating them to 25 people she's personally chosen. But she soon learns that playing matchmaker is much more complicated than she thought it would be.
 
 
Congrats, ladies, on all these wonderful book happenings!