Author Krysten Lindsay Hager has shared with me in the past about her amazing stories, and I'm so excited to host her today as her latest book releases.
Kadee asked me to write about my favorite scene in the book and one of my favorites is Cecily at her first magazine photo shoot and she feels totally out of her element. She’s overwhelmed when she hears the magazine people gossiping about a bigger name model also there because she feels like if this model, Scarlett, can’t win them over, then how could she? Then Cecily overhears them questioning if she’s really qualified to be there—something she has already worried about herself.
I think we all go through moments like that with imposter syndrome. It’s not uncommon to feel you don’t belong somewhere or didn’t deserve something even if you’ve worked hard for it. So, having Cecily doubt herself, and then hearing those exact doubts confirmed, is everyone’s nightmare. She goes through panic initially, but after a talk with the other models, Scarlett and Neneh, she keeps going. She fights through her fear and goes on to do the best job she can do and winds up impressing the magazine people because of her acting ability. Pushing through her fear was one thing, but bringing what she could offer to the shoot made the very doubters see how capable she was.
Cecily walked in doubtful, went through fear, but came out better than ever because she stayed professional and learned what she brought to the table. I loved seeing her growth in this scene and also seeing the other models share their difficult times in modeling. You also see the other models’ knowledge of the business side of the industry come out. These other models are playing the long game in terms of business growth and I think that’s inspiring as well. I hope other people will be inspired by Cecily’s journey as they laugh and cry with her.
Krysten also let me ask her some fun questions so we can get to know her better:
Where are you from? What has been your favorite place to live?
I’m from Michigan, but have lived in several different states and even in Europe. I would have to say of my top three favorite places they would be Michigan, Ohio, and Portugal.
You finally have an evening free to spend any way you want. Money is no object. Where do you go? What would you do?
Okay, if money is no object then I’m going shopping! Particularly to a bookstore and someplace with cute stationery products like journals and other fun office stuff. Then home to watch a good movie and finish up the night with a mystery novel.
What do you think your greatest weakness is? (writing or in general)
How much time ya got? I guess I would say tend to get overwhelmed easily.
(LOL! I think we can all relate!)
What do you think is your greatest attribute? (writing or in general)
Being able to cheer people up and make them laugh in their darkest hour.
Do you have any regrets?
I regret not calling people out on bad behavior. I tend to swallow things and worry, what if no one believes me, and just hold it all inside.
Do you have any bad habits?
What has been your greatest adventure to date?
Moving overseas was quite the adventure. We moved to a European island for three years. Thankfully, I decided to finish and submit my thesis the semester before we left since I got to the island, but my computer didn’t get there until four months later! I would have missed my deadline by months had I not made sure to finish it early.
What is your most favorite moment from this book?
I love seeing Cecily get to embark on her acting and modeling dreams and her relationship with the pop star, Andrew, is so sweet. I also enjoy watching him learning the best way to deal with the anxiety he has with his singing career.
What is one takeaway you would like readers to get from this book?
I hope the readers see that it’s important to stay true to yourself. In the book you see how even having your dreams come true—whether it be the dream career or whatever it is that they think will make them feel complete—might not be all that they imagine. Andrew seems like he has the dream life, but he’s dealing with anxiety that’s taking over. Cecily sees these models who look like they have it made and yet they’re dealing with a lot themselves with critics online and in the fashion world. No one has it easy, but with the right foundation you can get through the storms.
About The New Book:
In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety (The Cecily Taylor Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Young Adult Romantic Comedy from Clean Reads
Cecily wants a big life, but can she handle it?
Cecily feels like she has it all: great best friends, the beginnings of a career as a model/actress, and she’s dating her favorite singer, Andrew Holiday. Then Cecily’s best friend Lila begins to ditch her every time Lila’s boyfriend calls. Cecily feels lost, but she and Andrew begin connecting more and she’s never been in a relationship where she felt so understood. Andrew even begins to confide in her about his anxiety. Soon Cecily experiences her own anxiety on a magazine photo shoot, but she manages to impress the magazine staff. Just when it seems like all her dreams are coming true, everything comes crashing down when a photo of Andrew with another girl appears online. He swears nothing happened, but Cecily is crushed. She feels like she’s lost two of the people closest to her.
Was her perfect relationship real or was she in over her head?
“Good luck at the photo shoot tomorrow,” he said. “You’ll be great.”
I stared out the window on the ride back to the hotel taking in all the sites. As I walked into the hotel, I felt a new air of confidence. Instead of just reading about someone going out with a pop star to some fabulous rooftop hotel restaurant and being in the big city, I was living it. This was my life and not some YA book heroine’s. Tomorrow I was off on a modeling shoot. I was living a dream and proving how I was ready for a big life. This was my destiny. I could do this.
My alarm went off and at the same time an alarm went off in my brain saying, no, I could not do this. What was I thinking? Me, model? That’s where people take photos of you for the sole purpose of other people looking at them, which encouraged judgement and evil comments. People don’t just keep those comments to themselves anymore. Oh no, they grab their phone or laptop or whatever device helps them spew out unhelpful and cruel comments on people’s appearances online for all the world to see.
My stomach felt like spewing all over the nice hotel sheets I was wrapped in. Why did I ever think I was up for this? Those strangers online would destroy me within seconds. Girls like Harlow who were born with an undeniable beauty could do stuff like this and even then, I had seen strangers criticize her online when she posted selfies.
Being anxious always made all my senses go nuts. I ate two slices of toast and then my stomach did a weird flipping thing. Oh no, not today. Looking over at the clock I realized it was almost time for us to leave. Come on, stomach. You’re fine. Just relax and…nope, time to hit the bathroom. Why can’t I just be a big girl and go to this stupid shoot which most girls would kill to do without my stomach freaking out?
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRYS65N/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon Japan: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07VRYS65N
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Krysten+Lindsay+Hager
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2ZuKQun
Book One: https://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Come-True-Cecily-Taylor-ebook/dp/B079S3KJSH
Author Bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, and Can Dreams Come True. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for children/teens. Best Friends…Forever won the Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal. Competing with the Star is a Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist. Landry in Like is a Literary Classics Gold Medal recipient.
Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.
Check out Krysten's other award-winning work!
It's release day for my friend B.W. Morris! The third book in his YA Sci Fi "Six Pack" series drops on Amazon today, and B.W. stopped by to visit with us to share his favorite part of this new book, UPRISING:
In the first two books of the Six Pack series, my characters didn’t get much time to enjoy themselves. They spent their time in hiding, in danger, in stressful situations. Whenever they got the chance to just sit around and chat, it wasn’t what you would call a time to relax.
That changed when I included a scene in my third book, Six Pack: Uprising, which featured my young characters going through a commencement ceremony. This scene was probably my favorite one to write. They got to dress up in fancy clothes, they had a wonderful meal, enjoyed music (minor spoiler: two of my young heroes got to share their musical talents) and simply had the chance to enjoy each other’s company in a pleasant setting.
I think back to The Hunger Games series and how those books partly inspired my writing. What I appreciated the most about Suzanne Collins’ writing was how she built tension. However, I also liked the scene in her third book, Mockingjay, in which Finnick and Annie get married. Though Mockingjay is a book in which Collins puts her characters through a lot of difficult, stressful situations, I appreciated that she added at least one scene in which there was joy, a cause for celebration.
I thought it was important to have a similar scene in my Six Pack series. Though I don’t go quite as dark as Collins goes, I’m not exactly being gentle with my characters. I think all characters deserve to have a moment in which they can experience simple joys of life, rather than going through one stressful or dangerous situation to the next.
This entire series has been a labor of love and made me appreciate what authors go through. Though I’ve spent many years as a writer, I never experienced what it was like to be an author. But I’ve found the journey rewarding.
And the way I wrote reminded me that, while we all go through a lot of stressful situations in life, there are always the moments in which we get to experience joy and times of celebration.
It’s easy for an author to think your characters must always be put through the worst – but, once in a while, it’s OK to have them enjoy the best.
Six Pack: Uprising Available Now!
Though the Underground Network has lost a lot, its leaders believe there may be ways to bring down President Douglas Irons and the Novusordo government. Tyler Ward and his friends are more determined than ever to take action and break the control the president has over the citizens.
But more must be answered than how they will accomplish their objectives, even with the superpowers they have. They must ask themselves who they can trust — even within the Network’s ranks. They must ask themselves who might become new allies — even if they work for the government. Most of all, they must ask themselves how much they are willing to sacrifice — even if it means self-sacrifice.
The Six Pack Series:
It all started with a drink – a drink that gave Tyler Ward and five of his friends superpowers. Now they must figure out how their new powers can change society.
But who can they trust?
Who has their best interests in mind and who has a bigger agenda?
And what cost comes with change?
The young adult, science fiction/dystopian series is published by Clean Reads.
B.W. Morris is a longtime writer for small-town newspapers who put his inner comic book geek to work through writing novels. He has published two books in the Six Pack series with the third to be released soon, and has written the Arrowverse Elseworld, which you may read at his website at bwmorrisauthor.com. Born in Texas but grew up in Colorado, he has lived in New Mexico, Oklahoma and currently resides in Kingman, Kansas.
Greg Weisman, Suzanne Collins, Stan Lee, George Orwell and Conor Friedersdorf all influenced his writing. Morris is a fan of the Young Justice animated series, the Arrowverse shows on the CW Network, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars films and more graphic novels than he can keep track. He volunteers his time for the Kingman County Humane Society.
Follow B.W. Morris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sixpackwriter
Visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bwmorrisauthor/
Stop by his website: bwmorrisauthor.com
Email him with questions about his work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fear may be a liar, but hope can be a monster.
Saylor single-handedly saved the world from a devastating solar flare...and it nearly killed her. Now her father's Alliance Military Guard must track down pirated tech, missing ships, and a rogue billionaire, and they’ve requested a reluctant Saylor’s help.
Tucker spent a year training the rookie Guardsmen. They call themselves Dragons. He calls them defiant. Dispatched across the ocean on a mission to retrieve AMG's bootlegged tech, he rallies Saylor to overcome her fears and return to the field by his side.
Working together wielding unprecedented tech and determined to defy their destinies, the two wrangle missing ghosts, brunt force betrayal, and the swagger of power. What lies beneath the earth just might save it.
EARTHSHINE is the final book following the McConnell clan and Alliance Military Guard, a standalone for the seeker of YA Sci Fi Action Adventures.
Today is RELEASE DAY for Earthshine! Go grab your copy on Amazon! Wooooo!
For the faint-hearted. For the disillusioned. For the lonely. For the seeker. For the adventurous. For the lost. For the found.
May you be the hero. May you face the fear with a grin on your face. May you overcome the odds. And may you be somebody’s Earthshine.
My fellow Clean Reads author BW Morris allowed me to visit on his blog the other day. He let me share about the idea of what makes a superhero and how that relates to our real lives. I hope you'll read on and check it out. And share with a friend who could use some encouragement.
Happy reading, friends!
~ Saylor ~
Sitting on my stool at the dry cleaner’s, my foot tapped
along the ground in a steady rhythm. The humid, thick air
wrapped around my face and up into my hair like a bath towel. I
grinned a little. My heart thrummed. It was safe. Not deadly. I
haven’t heard of many cleaning-related deaths. One guy in the back
burned his hand real bad because he shut the press lid too quick,
but I don’t do the presses. Just the buttons. Unbuttoning the shirt
buttons, buttoning the pant buttons, zipping the zippers, pinning
on the tags. Tag it, bag it, and repeat. It’s simple. Again, not deadly.
It’s practical. Comfortable.
The wooden, swinging door to the back thrust open toward
me. A screeching stack of hangers filled with clothes, covered in
plastic, swayed along the rail mounted to the ceiling.
“Rack these and you can go,” Crystal called out from behind
the bags as the door shut between us. “Slow night. I’m closing.”
Her voice faded behind the rattling of the steam-powered presses.
Nobody had come in for the last half hour; surprising, for a
Wednesday night. Crystal was right. The hand of the clock on the
wall ticked to seven. Finishing up the last tag on the shirt, I tossed it
in the silky red bag. Drawing the string tight and yanking it into a
knot, I pulled the lumpy sack up from its stand. Red meant rush.
Following where Crystal exited, I ducked around the plastic
bagged laundry and tossed the red bag into the big red bin by the
metal wash tubs. The last of the presses hissed, winding down, and
the back room seemed to sigh in relief. Usually the area rang with
conversations of the ladies cleaning and pressing. They’d gone
already, booking it to dinner with their families.
Crystal was probably in the office counting the registers.
Shoving back through the door, I wound over to the front
entry and glanced out the windows. Clouds made the sunset hazy.
Three small trees lined the edge of the parking lot, their flimsy
branches and leaves flopping about in the soft breeze. Golden
flecks of light pranced upon the blacktop in the empty parking lot. I
snapped the lock on the door. Closed. A burly black truck rumbled
into the drive, gleaming black rims on the tires tagging the
I couldn’t help but grin then, and tossed a wave to the dim
interior. Holding up a finger, I spun on my heels and ran to the
“Crystal!” I called, grabbing the heavy hangers. “My ride is
Ten bags for customers whose last names began with M
later, Crystal slumped through the swinging door. “What’d you
“My ride’s here!”
“Oh. Alright. See you tomorrow.”
“Okay. See you!” Yanking my thick time card out of its slot
on the wall, I penciled in the time for the day.
“What shift you working?” she asked.
“Early!” I whined. “I’m the six crowd. Have to open.”
“Fun for you!”
“You know it.”
“I bet Earl brings coffee.”
“Eh. I guess it helps.” I shrugged. The lights from Tucker’s
truck shone through the front doors.
“Yeah. Nicer looking driver inside.” I jiggled my eyebrows
She giggled. “You go get it, girl.”
“You bet I will.”
“Here, I’ll lock the door behind you.”
After last waves and condolences for opening so early the
next morning, I ducked out of the glass entryway and flung open
the truck’s passenger door. Tucker hunched over a pile of papers
stacked up in his lap and propped against the steering wheel.
“Whoa.” I breathed out. “That’s a lot of paper, yo.”
“Hm.” Tucker tapped a pencil against his forehead. He
squinted at his other hand’s grip on the wheel.
“Are—hey? Hello? Everything okay?” Hefting myself up
into the body of the truck, I hauled the door shut behind me. Cool
air drifted around us. I sighed, liquifying against the soft seat. “Air
conditioning.” I breathed in the sweet, crisp wind. A last beam of
sunlight meandered across the dashboard, renewing the cab with
the fragrance of freshly ground coffee beans. Wiggling my
throbbing toes against the soles inside my hot shoes, a shudder ran
through my spine.
“Sorry.” Tucker glanced up. “I have to finish a project before
we can grab dinner.”
Dinnah. Dinnah with Tuckah. I’ll take it. His lovely Aussie
accent. Say anything, Tuckah. “What kind of project?” I asked.
“Hold up.” He held out the eraser end of the pencil for a
moment, then sighed, and scrawled several sentences on the paper.
While he finished, I buckled my seat belt, untucked my
white polo shirt from my khaki pants, and re-did my ponytail into
a fabulously unkempt messy bun.
Tucker gathered all the papers, shuffling them into a huge
stack, and dumped them into a box in the back seat. “Have you
talked to your dad today?”
“No. But he’d be happy to know you have a huge box in
your back seat.”
Tucker huffed out a laugh as he twisted back to face the
steering wheel. “Too right.”
“You don’t need a back seat in a truck, Thompson,” I
mimicked Dad’s stern concern. “A vehicle serves as transport and
Tucker furrowed one eyebrow, lowering his voice. “When
you take Saylor out in that truck, imagine I’m right there in the
Giggling, I rolled with it. “Is he in the back seat? In the box?”
Tucker’s humor loosened then, and the one eyebrow rose.
“What? Is he in the box?” I glanced back at the box. “Did
you kill somebody?”
He rolled his shoulders back, and sniffed. “Let’s eat.” He
forced a smile onto his chiseled jawline. “Starved. Absolutely
“Did—did you kill a guy?”
Tucker’s emerald glance rolled over to me and then behind
him as he reversed the truck away from the front of the building.
“I’m in the mood for pasta. Something saucy. And bread.”
His hunched shoulders swelled into tense arms, gripping his
menu. In the three months he’d been working with the new
recruits, he had spent a lot of hours in the fitness center. Those
muscles on the sides of the neck, the perfect place to rest a head or
nuzzle a kiss, had become more defined along with his shoulders.
His camouflage uniform jacket didn’t hide it.
A single candle in a red glass holder flickered between us
upon a red and white checkered plastic tablecloth. Only a block
down from the dry cleaner’s, we hadn’t had a chance to say much.
But the waiter would be bringing our water glasses any time and
Tucker just stared at the menu like he wanted everything on it.
Maybe he did. That was entirely possible.
“What’s in the box, Thompson?” I breathed out the question.
“The tears of my ancestors.”
The waiter stalked up then, carrying two ruby jars filled
with icy liquid. Setting them down before us, he offered a quick
smile. “Have you decided what you’ll be having this evening?” He
readied a notepad from the black apron at his waist.
Tucker tossed the menu onto the table, the cardboard
slapping onto the plastic. “I can’t. I’m sorry.” Tucker ran a palm
across his forehead and jerked his head my way. His eyes stared
through me. “Here’s—let’s—I need to—”
Tucker slid his chair out while the waiter stared. Tucker
grabbed my wrist and heaved me toward the door. I mouthed a
silent “apologies” to the stunned man, as the muggy evening air
filtered around us. Tucker charged onward, until he stopped short
at the bench on the front porch. Robotically, he sat, stiff, on the
edge of the metal furniture.
“Are you alright?” I asked. “Seriously, what is in the box?”
“I have to leave.”
“You should eat dinner. I think you’re having a hangry
moment. Hungry and angry. All at once. Hangry.”
“It’s not like that.”
“We all get cranky. The waiter—”
“I’ve been called up for duty overseas. On the seas. Away.
Not sure exactly where we’re going.”
My tongue melted into the roof of my mouth. “The—why?
What?” All the questions I wanted to ask clung to my ribs, sticky
“We need to find—” He stopped, licking his lips and then
clamped them shut. “I’m not supposed to say. It’s a high-level
“Do you know who’s going with you?”
“Your dad will be assigning duty recs tomorrow.” He
heaved out a heavy breath through his nose.
“But. You. You just—for how long? How long will you be
gone?” As the sun sank behind the trees, so, too, my heart tugged
into the horizon.
“Until we finish the assignment.”
“You can’t tell me?”
His palms wrapped around my cheeks, guiding my eyes to
his. “If you were to join us, I could tell you everything. And we
wouldn’t be apart again. We’d be side by side on the field.
Together. Working as a team for a greater good. And I wouldn’t
have to garner secrets or confidences or keep information from you.
You’d be right there.”
“I can’t. I won’t.” Shuddering away, I had to break free from
his warm, pervasive grip. He’d have me sunk in an instant. The
chill helped. “You know I can barely walk by myself. I’ve spent
months, months, getting to where I can stand up for an hour at a
time without leg braces.” Anger welled up, underlining all the
words as they tumbled out.
“You’d see it all for yourself.” He continued his line of
thought, ignoring my argument. “You wouldn’t miss out on
anything, because you would be on the front.”
“Can you not hear what I’m saying?” I cried out. “You hear
me, Tucker. If there’s one thing I love about Tucker Thompson, it’s
that he hears me in all the noise. No matter what I said, you heard
“That’s the thing.” He pleaded back, just as sunk in his own
case. “You will be heard. By getting back out there, standing on
your own, you’d be free.”
“Stop. You haven’t seen me broken. I’m broken. Remember
those months you traveled the world doing missions for Alliance?
While you were out exploring, I recovered from nearly dying.
Wheelchairs, leg braces, endless dark nights where my voice
refused to meld with my mind. The words refused to come out, but
they’ve started to come back. But look at me now. I’m done with
“You aren’t, Saylor! Remember the nanocomputers! I
brought them back for you. Those weeks when we injected the
serum of nanocomputers back into your blood, they changed you
for good. You are a whole new person.”
“No! I am not. I’ve lost.”
“Why do you continue arguing a moot point? Quit being
dramatic about the pain and use it. Move into it. Make it a stepping
stone and not a crutch.”
“Easy to say.” I spat out the words. He doesn’t hear me. The
idea drove burning and blurry tears into my eyes.
Tucker stepped back. He studied his shoes and lowered his
voice. “You need to come with us, Saylor.” He planted his balled-
up fists in his pockets.
A man and woman walked up to the front door, eyeing us
discreetly. I offered a tight smile as they entered the restaurant.
Tucker sank onto the bench.
“You might want the old Saylor to come with you. The one
who was reckless and bent on destruction. She stole a boat and
convinced everyone she could save the day. That Saylor didn’t
know her limits. She didn’t realize how tall the heights truly are.”
“But I’m not Yesterday Saylor anymore.” I held up a palm to
stop his beautiful voice from bickering. “I’ve built big walls and I
ripped them down. I did my hard thing: saved the world from a
global wave of solar radiation. And it struck me down. I cannot do
“Why do you believe that lie?” His voice breathed out
question after question, unhearing, misunderstanding.
I can’t face any more giants. “Some people face death and it
makes them stronger. It makes them want to live each day fully
and do big things. But I did those big things. I gave away my time
for people who hate me now, and who say I’m this despicable
“You’re not despicable. Why do you care about what
strangers think of you anyway?”
“Stop. You are not listening to the words coming out of my
“I’m hearing you.”
“No.” Quaking in my white tennis shoes, I bit back loathe
for his thick-headedness. “You used to hear me. I’m not sure—”
“Saylor, I refuse to leave on a bad note again. I’ve left twice,
wait, three times from a bad spot. I won’t do it.”
“Maybe it’s our fate.”
“And since when do you believe in fate?”
“When have I not?”
“Who am I even speaking to right now? Where’s my Saylor?
The Saylor who forges her own path, come what may?”
I let out a quick yell, a quite unladylike grunt, and tossed my
fists in the air. “Do you not see I’m losing this battle inside of
myself? Do you not see I’ve got nowhere to go? I’ve got nothing to
give. I don’t care about the things I used to dream for. Now I dream
of blood stains. Now I dream of falling into darkness. My losses
outweigh any wins I’ve ever had. My clothes don’t fit. My knees
always hurt. And I can’t train. And I can’t run. And I can’t be who I
used to want to be, because I tried, and it ripped me apart. I cannot
face the darkness again.” The tear spilled out of my eye, running
down the side of my nose, dragging a river of black mascara with
it. I didn’t care.
Tucker sprang up from the bench, wrapping his arms
around me. His coffee scent devoured the hunger and wrenched
hope. Whatever spices of cinnamon or leather or mountain forests
he’d used earlier, bound the splinters of fear. He held me, resting
his cheek against my ragamuffin hair.
“All I want,” I whispered, “is to sit on a porch with you,
watching a sunset together.”
He swallowed, breath ragged. One of his hands buried into
the back of my hair. “We can find a sunset. That I can do.”
He laced his fingers through mine and we wound over to the
truck. He parked us by the small pond over the hill from Fort Story,
and we sat in the back of the bed, legs dangling over the gravel,
while stars dropped into their places above the trees.
We didn’t say much.
The stars didn’t either.
But Tucker held my hand the whole time, even as he walked
me to the door of the house, and kissed my cheek. I ached for more.
I wished he’d said less. His eyes, oh those eyes, they shone with
questions and unstated opinions.
That night behind my closed eyelids, black pools of wide
oceans quivered with unblinking eyes and hollowed cheeks.
Somewhere someone laughed, but it silenced with a quick crack.
Somewhere in the deep forests, monsters lurked, snapping and
flapping their vicious wings, heaving fire at those who’d charge
Grab your own copy of EARTHSHINE next Tuesday, October 9th!
Windchimes swung in the background. A gentle wind hummed. Fingers picked the tinny strings of an acoustic guitar, one at a time cascading into a tender melody.
“Belief in the breeze
The smoky morning haze
The sun on her face
and the touch of lovers' hands
The pain that comes today
Is here, then goes away
And we are homeward bound
I want this more than life…”
Whitley’s version of the song, “More Than Life,” brought Saylor and Tucker into my mind, sitting on a porch swing, watching the sun set.
The two characters have stayed with me over the years, as I have traversed their roads, through wet marshes, muddy mountain trails, and the wilds of the Australian outback. What would they be doing right now, I’d ask myself. The hard part about meeting characters and following their stories is that they stay with you, real as friends. Their lives influenced mine. Their stories shaped mine. So in that smoky morning haze, in the golden, setting sun, what would they be doing, I’d revisit the question in my memory.
Would Saylor ever be satisfied with her ending?
What would she want more than life?
And from the ashes of broken dreams, from the depths of dark nights, of agony, of restlessness, of inability to wait with inaction, the story of EARTHSHINE came to be. Could a girl who’s “done the hard thing” once more rise to the occasion? You see, there is not just one “hard thing” to face in life. There will be one, then another, and another. Each time more difficult, each time more unhinged and chaotic, each time drawing the protagonist further into the hero position. What would Saylor do when asked to face her greatest fears, knowing they are real?
I wasn’t ready to write EARTHSHINE when the words began spilling out. It began with another title – Deadlight.
Halfway through, exploring the theme and tone brought on by the title “dead-light” generated, the word no longer fit. Is death the finale? While it served as an intriguing vocabulary word, no, it didn’t fit with Saylor and Tucker’s story. Theirs is a story of perseverance, of love, of hope. Of reflection. Of audacity. Of moxie. Of grit. One morning as I began to wrap up the final chapters on my manuscript, my “Word of the Day” email popped into my inbox. The term, “earthshine,” lit up my screen. In fact, it lit up my eyes from its first appearance, because earthshine means…well...I suppose you’ll have to read the book to find out.
I hope you will.
I hope you enjoy the story that had to be written.
I hope you may also get back up, once your heart has broken.
I hope you will be the one who shows up, builds up, and believes.
May you be the light, shining into the abyss. May you be someone’s Earthshine.
Earthshine releases in three weeks, on October 9th. Happy reading.
Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?
Clean Reads Author Krysten Lindsay Hager's latest YA Contemporary Romance released this week, and you should definitely check it out. To celebrate the release, she let me ask her some fun questions about the book and life as an artist.
1. Where did you get the idea for this book?
It was basically one of those daydreams I had been having since grade school! I used my own celebrity crushes to create a “what if” moment and to see what the mindset would be for a girl who was suddenly given the opportunity to date her ultimate crush while she’s a regular high school student.
2. Who was your teenage rock star crush?
I started my main lifelong crush way before my teen years. I fell for George Michael when I was a kid and that lasted until he passed away in 2016. I liked Enrique Iglesias a lot, Johnny Gill, and probably a Backstreet Boy or two—haha. And I had a lot of basketball player crushes, too.
3. How long has this book been in the works?
I’ve been planning on writing it for years, but I never quite got the story quite how I wanted it. It was one of those stories that doesn’t go onto the paper/screen the way you imagined in your mind. So I had a lot of false starts. I think this version of the story started out officially around 2015.
4. How many books do you have published total?
This is my seventh book. I have three middle grade books and four young adult novels.
5. If you could live vicariously through an actor/singer/artist, who would it be and why?
Ooh, good question. Jennifer Lopez, but just for a day because I’d get tired out with her schedule!
(Girl, yes. Those celebrities have to be exhausted.)
6. What is one piece of advice you'd tell your teen self?
To stop worrying what people think of me. There was a lot of stuff I did and a lot of stuff I didn’t do simply because I worried about judgement. That went away in high school somewhat though. It was really bad in my middle school years because a couple times I did put myself out there and really got made fun of, but eventually it helped me because I realized those people weren’t nice, so why did I care what they thought anyway? I didn’t see it that way at the time though.
7. What's one thing you'd like to leave as a legacy?
That people found solace, escape, and encouragement from what I wrote or said.
Enjoy An Excerpt From
CAN DREAMS COME TRUE?
I started to feel anxious after lunch. After all, I had been an Andrew fan for a long time, and even though I had seen him in person, this was a huge deal to get to meet him. What if he wasn’t what I had imagined? I didn’t expect him to fawn over me or anything, but what if he was rude or ignored me? It would kill my fantasy of him as being this sweet, quiet, sensitive songwriter who wore his heart on his sleeve while also being kind of a loner/rebel with just a touch of bad boy in him. Oh man, I would be crushed if he didn’t notice me or worse—if he ended up flirting with Harlow.
In all his magazine interviews Andrew always said looks weren’t important to him, and what he noticed in a girl was if she was true to herself. He said he went for “bright girls who were sweet and easy to be with.” Now that I thought about it, that was the kind of fake crap magazines put out about all the teen celebrities. It was like when I saw Lawrence Claibourne, my favorite actor who claimed to be Mr. I’m-just-looking-for-a-sweet-girl-to-read-poetry-to on a red carpet with a model whose boobs were falling out of her dress and had overdone the lip fillers—I mean, you just knew he wasn’t into her for her personality. But Andrew wasn’t like Lawrence. Andrew seemed so sincere and deep. Lawrence had a smirk and you could tell he was a player, but Andrew seemed like he had been hurt and needed to find the right girl who he could open up to and learn to trust again. . .or at least that’s what he said in his last interview.
The final bell rang and my heart shot up to my throat. This was it. I was on my way to meet my crush. From now on, any dreams of him would be marred by the reality I was about to face.
Was it better to keep wondering what if and keep the fantasy alive or to go and actually meet him?
Now available on Kindle Unlimited or in Paperback!
PURCHASE ON AMAZON TODAY!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, and Can Dreams Come True? True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist.
Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News,and on the talk show Living Dayton.
Connect with Krysten on social media! (She's got a lot of fun, encouraging content and will make you laugh. Go check her out!)
AMAZON BIO: https://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1518310668&sr=8-1
“Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain;
If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death!”
It’s release day for HERE BE DRAGONS! My heart’s roaringly thunderous inside my chest. The pressure, the epitome, the culmination of months of work—no, years of work—leading up to THIS one moment…it’s finally here. Are you ready?
Breathing life into her awoke my own resolution to restore others. Saylor didn’t know I’d revived her. She didn’t know for months, and during that time I traveled across our blue sphere and back to her recovering form at Fort Story, Virginia. Little blonde firecracker. Changed my life.
Sergeant Merritt Steele sat beside me on the cargo plane carrying us to Camp Kissinger, located deep in the heart of Australia’s Outback. “Sorry to see them go,” my co-commander noted, a slight tremor in his blue eyes. I knew he meant more than he said. He’d connected with Saylor, her sister Micah, and the McConnell family during our three-week leave.
Neither of us knew when or if we’d see them again. But that was life as Echo Company of the Alliance Military Guard, and we held that knowledge closer than our body armor. Never quit. We defeat. Let the enemy fall, come what may. That’s what we did, that’s what we were, and not a single one of us doubted it.
Not even when we landed in a war zone.
(HERE BE DRAGONS, Chapter One Excerpt)
Are you living in a war zone?
Fiction shows us how to deal with our non-fiction. We can read these characters’ stories, see their pain, feel their journey, and tremble as their spirits quake. We get invited into their space and see the world with its crumbles, heartache, and power. Fiction’s miraculous. Fiction offers a gift of escape, of courage, of grit, of shuddering through temptation with the hero. Are you facing some serious shadows? Are you hearing the grinding of bones in the distance? Follow Tucker into the heart of the Outback.
Where are the heroes?
A friend of mine recently said she wondered where the heroes were. The current trend for stories is that they often feature a strong heroine—and while I am ALL about a strong heroine, and inspiring girls to believe in themselves—I also believe we need to encourage boys to protect, to serve, to lead humbly, to explore, to create, and to forget stereotypes. Be inspired. Be fearless. Be wise. Be the hero.
Temptation leads us down paths where we consider retreating or cheating, or complaining or blaming. Well let me ask you, can fiction teach us to face the shadows? Can fiction show us the glory in the fight for life?
The amazing thing about HERE BE DRAGONS is it’s only $4.99 on Kindle Unlimited AND if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for FREE! I’ve had several readers who’ve provided feedback, and what they’ve all said is how much they enjoyed the ending--do you need a great ending? HERE BE DRAGONS is currently only available as an ebook, until I sell 100 per my publisher’s contract. Help both of us hold that book in our hands. We need to grip this, to flip through these pages. Connect with a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and download your copy of HERE BE DRAGONS and soar through those Australian skies with Tucker and his rag-tag crew of Guardsmen.
What is HERE BE DRAGONS about?
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping on a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.
Readers love HERE BE DRAGONS! One reviewer stated:
“On the surface, this novel is a good dose of sci-fi and futuristic drama. Deep down, the realistic characters, with their daily struggle, not only for survival but also for understanding their sense of purpose in life, meets the need of young adult readers who, similarly, are seeking a meaning of life. The message is clear: work hard, stay the course, and look for the good in everyone and everything. Life can be good.” (Emily-Jane Hills Orford)
Are you wanting to add a great book to your reading list for 2018?
Grab HERE BE DRAGONS today. I’ve seen those dark days, those dark nights. I’ve felt the gripping fingers of desperation slipping around my neck in the trenches of writing, amid crying children, tight finances, broken down cars, endless mounds of papers to grade. I’ve scraped by on my knees and had to carry heavier weights than I thought possible. But you know what you find in the darkness? You find the light. You find the people who help, the people who stride through your front door with chocolate and coffee, and the people who truly believe all of which you’re capable.
You need to believe it, too.
The stories you tell yourself in the dark, those are the ones that stick with you.
You have the opportunity to build upon the bricks of shattered dreams and mortar of confusion, and turn it into an empire. What do you do, what do you tell yourself, when the lights go out?
Some may beg for light. Others may beg for relief, beg for some give in the take. Others may bury their faces further into the miry pool.
Something I’ve learned in the dark places: there’s always someone around to bring in the light. There’s always someone around to absorb the spilled tears, to carry the weight, and to offer a square of chocolate. Death brought confusion. But, ultimately, life wins.
You see, people are intrepid. People do seek life and life fully. There may be a lot of dark, but the warriors for light rage on. They cannot, they will not rest, until the light shines over the horizon. You see it among the darkness: a sparkle, a spark, a crack of hope against all odds.
The people who feed the darkness, they are confused. They are trapped. They are prisoners enchained by lies. They are enveloped by the monsters who devour them.
Another lesson? The hardest battle may be around the corner, trapped in the tunnels, snarling against the bright light you carry. Be prepared. Be prepared for anguish, be prepared for a cold chill to grasp for the warm light. Be prepared to fight with courage, with kindness, with tenacity, and grit. Expect among the war cry a song of hope to emerge. Be the singer. Be the strong arms carrying the weak into the night. Be the grammar joke, when death is on the line.
Bang the war drums.
Rattle the cages.
Here be Dragons.
Pre-order your copy of the Young Adult Action Adventure HERE BE DRAGONS for only $4.99 and receive your own Alliance Military Guard Training Guide containing TWO WEEKS worth of exercises, guaranteed to get you in battle-ready shape to train as a Guardsman.
In addition, every purchase earns an entry into a drawing to win a MONTH-LONG online FAT LOSS PROGRAM, worth $150!
With over ten years of experience specializing in metabolic conditioning, and as the official trainer of the Alliance Military Guard, Fit By Faith© owner Krista Johnson has created ten workouts to get you in gear and ready to crush life. Utilizing a variety of whole-body strengthening techniques, your free gift with purchase will be just what you need to start your new year off the right way. Each of the ten workouts can be completed at home or in a gym, and takes approximately thirty minutes or less.
ALSO Krista has generously given me one spot in her online FAT LOSS FORMULA PROGRAM. I've participated in her online program several times and learned something new every single time, along with losing over 10 pounds and 8 inches in one month! Over the course of six months where I've been measuring my progress and working consistently on my eating habits, I've lost over 20 pounds and 17 inches. Krista's program is worth its weight in gold. She gives you the education and information to manage your own nutritional and fitness goals to live a fat loss lifestyle like a boss. For every HERE BE DRAGONS receipt received, you earn ONE ENTRY in a drawing to win this spot in her class! Krista's online course begins December 31st. (See more about Krista's program, workouts, and courses at http://www.fitbyfaith.net/index.html)
***To earn a spot in the drawing, entries must be received by Wednesday, December 20th at 11:59 PM***
Click this link to pre-order HERE BE DRAGONS and submit your receipt to get your FREE GIFT NOW:
What's HERE BE DRAGONS about?
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.
Pound the war drums. Rattle the cages. Here be Dragons.
Excerpt from HERE BE DRAGONS:
Creeping through the sultry space, footsteps steady and stealthy, we readied our weapons. Blood and fire pulsed through my veins like they’d done so many times in training. This was the game, after all. These Alliance builders loved their long hallways.
Our rustling stirred up dust underfoot, and cement beams overhead groaned in disuse.
“How many feet‘re we underground ya think?” Hawk asked from the back of the line.
Flashlights and head lamps illuminated the way before us, stark tile work on the ground cracked and chipped. With every few feet we advanced, the walls became more fractured and peeling, as if a wave of tremors had rippled outward from the explosions of the bombing. Like vines along the paint, crevices in the cement grew substantial and entangled. Cautious and wary, we proceeded.
After several minutes of quiet steps echoing along the corridor, someone’s beam of light caught a fleck of darkness upon the wall.
“What’s that?” Norita asked.
Burkman shined his light to the scrawled paint upon the wall. The black paint dripped the warning: Beware.
GET IT HERE: HERE BE DRAGONS
I'm meeting more and more lovely, brilliant authors because of my connection with Clean Reads publishing. One author who I've had the pleasure to meet online, Jordan Elizabeth, introduced me to her books and I've found that she has a book for almost any reader who likes a good thrill. I wanted to highlight three books I've read recently that I enjoyed so you can grab some books to add to your list! That's what a friendly recommendation is for! While Jordan Elizabeth's books fall a bit outside of my normal pick for a book (I'm more of a historical fiction or action/thriller reader), she gets five stars from me on her storytelling. Her stories roll and pitch, the imagery crackles, and her characters spring to life from the pages. I do hope you will consider trying a Jordan Elizabeth book. You'll find heroines to root for, powerful themes of identity and grit, and poignant conclusions that will leave you wanting more.
Escape From Witchwood Hollow
After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to the small town of Arnn. Honoria receives constant warnings of the dangerous forest outside Arnn, the forest named Witchwood Hollow. In the lure of Witchwood Hollow's perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.
Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.
To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness. How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?
From the first page to the last, I couldn't put down this thrilling story. While we meet a different kind of heroine, we also meet a different kind of 'witch.' One poignantly considers titles and the boxes into which we put people after reading the stories tumbling from the impenetrable borders of Witchwood Hollow.
Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary.
Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.
One Amazon reviewer stated, "I wasn't sure what to expect upon purchasing this book but then again with this author I never do." And folks, that's the truth. Jordan Elizabeth draws a story of friendship, courage, tenacity, and wonder. Our heroine must fight the label she's been given, and find her true identity in the process.
When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.
Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.
Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.
Heart-wrenching and harrowing, Edna's adventure makes you want to flip those pages and hang on to your steampunk silk hat. Jordan Elizabeth's unique manner of storytelling and world-building provide a rich story of one girl's journey to understanding her identity...and those of the others around her.
Happy reading, folks! What are some fabulous new books or authors you've discovered recently? I hope you'll comment and let me know!
Sensations and sights sharpen. Those molten maple pools watching me. The heat pressing against my body. Those Adonis lips parting on an inhale. The bead of sweat raking down my spine.
I lean forward, and my eyes widen the moment my next sense registers something. A scent, the kind of scent that has your head tilting reflexively, your mouth opening just a touch to see if it will land on your tongue.
I don’t know what amber smells like, but I think this could be it. Woodsy, spicy…tempting…moreish. It’s the kind of smell that makes you wish you could spend more time breathing in than out. One hand reaches out to the red plastic fender rising from the back of the bike. The moment woven cotton presses into my fingertips, rather than smooth plastic warmed by the sun, I stop. It’s all I need to return me to reality.
I take a step back, having to mentally force my nose to follow. PJ was never meant get close enough to smell, because exactly what I thought would happen just happened.
He smells as good as he looks, and I don’t need any more temptation to fight.
He’s irresistible…but she’s the one person who knows his days are numbered.
Casey’s touch can reveal the one thing a person would never want to know — the number of days they have left to live.
By the time Casey turns seventeen she’s learnt to withdraw. But the phobia she fakes in order to avoid human contact is sorely tested by hot, persistent, motorcycle riding PJ. For a girl who craves contact, maple eyed PJ is impossible to resist. When the inevitable happens, when hands, bodies and lips collide, Casey sees PJ's number, one that can only be seen as a cruel twist of fate.
Now she must decide. Will she continue counting the days of her life, or start living a life that counts?
With the memorable writing and humor of writers such as Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun blended with the attitude, chemistry and unexpected plot twists of Katie McGarry’s best sellers, Make it Count is a romance that will leave you swooning and smiling.
Make it Count (ISBN: 978-1-62135-708-7, Clean Reads Publishing) is now available at www.tamarsloan.com and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
See more about Tamar and her books at:
Purchase Your Copy: https://books2read.com/MakeitCount
Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36284190-make-it-count
I had the opportunity to ask Tamar about her new release. Check it out!
Where did you get the idea for Make It Count?
Make it Count, a young adult contemporary romance, is one of those books that comes to you at 4am (even though you just had major surgery!) and you just know it’s going to be a special story. It started with the seed – what if with one touch, a girl could see how many days a person has to live? Apart from all the heart-wrenching considerations like touching your loved ones, I knew she’d avoid touch at whatever cost. But then PJ arrived, and he was hot, and irresistible. I had to capture their chemistry, and their story.
Who's your favorite character in it?
I know this is going to be predictable, but it would have to be my heroine, Casey. I love Casey. She’s the character that is least like me so I had to really work to see the world from her perspective. I knew if anyone that had to live with seeing what Casey did, it would heart-wrenching. When Casey really showed herself, I realized it was harder for her than I could have imagined. Casey is impulsive and fun-loving and loves human interaction. Being so isolated is such a challenge for her (and the primary reason PJ’s tenaciousness is just what she needs!). Casey was the only person that could pull off Make it Count, and really glad I got to tell her happy ever after.
A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy and Touched by Love Series. Tamar is also the author of PsychWriter: where psychology meets writing, a blog that supports and extends writers.
When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush.
(That's right my friends, Ms. Sloan lives in the Great Down Under!)
Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related. You can find her at www.tamarsloan.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com.au/tamarsloanwriter or Twitter www.twitter.com/sloantamar.
At sunset, Travis and Hillerman reached St. Joseph, a smattering of buildings perched on the grassy eastern bank of the Missouri River. Thousands of people were already encamped around the frontier town. Tired as the two travelers were, the sight of countless glittering campfires sprinkled across the low rolling hills fueled them with energy. As they drew closer to the expanded town, a cacophony of guitars, banjos, and voices reached their ears. The emigrants played and sang the raucous, popular melodies of the day, as well as the occasional staid church hymn, all at the same time. Here and there the popular Christy’s Minstrels tune “Oh! Susanna” was belted out, but an intent listener would have noticed that, now and then, the destination named in the song was not Louisiana but rather California. In fact, new versions of the song had been written, in which a young man with a gold pan on his knee said goodbye to the poor forlorn Susanna and set out for the West.
~ Excerpt from WEST FROM THE CRADLE, Brigid Amos' latest release from Clean Reads! ~
If the West doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger.
Travis Cooper was not meant to be a prospector. Small for his age, he has never been much help on the family farm in Missouri. How could he survive the journey west to take up such backbreaking work? But when he sees a copy of the California Star in the fall of 1848, everything changes. One shining word jumps off the page: GOLD! Now staying alive is a struggle. Keeping his partner from getting himself killed is even harder!
Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. Her first novel, A Fence Around Her, was published by Clean Reads in 2016. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the boards of Angels Theatre Company and Women Writing the West. She is also an active member the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.
I had the wonderful opportunity ask Brigid a few questions about her writing process and stories. Here's what she had to say:
Who's your favorite character in WEST FROM THE CRADLE?
My favorite character in West from the Cradle is my protagonist Travis Cooper. When I used to hike through the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California, dreaming of writing a book about the Gold Rush, Travis was the first character that appeared to me. I saw this young man astride a horse, looking down from a ridge upon a valley of Ponderosa Pine, Manzanita, and Madrone. In my mind, this optimistic and enthusiastic young man had just arrived from a farm in the Midwest and was looking with hope upon his future. If you read the novel, you will imagine something quite different. Perhaps you will see Travis barely able to walk, leading the mule he purchased in Fort Laramie, all his remaining possessions packed on her back. But the enthusiasm and optimism are still there, despite all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles he has faced on the trail west. Travis is my favorite character because he rises to a challenge while remaining humble. He is a survivor while maintaining his good heart. And most importantly, he is the best kind of friend a person could have. He would risk everything, even his own life, to save his friend. Who wouldn’t love someone like that?
What are your favorite and least favorite things about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is how I feel after a productive writing session. I can only describe this feeling as euphoric. This feeling doesn’t last of course, but I know I can always get it back by opening up a notebook and clicking a pen. I suppose this is addictive behavior, but I thank God for such a healthy addiction!
There is nothing I don’t like about the actual act of writing. I even enjoy revision. However, the editing process before publication, in which every little comma must be properly placed and every adverb assessed can make writing feel like work. I think this is because at that point, there is less creativity involved. As a writer, I so appreciate those who actually enjoy editing. I was at the Nebraska Writers Guild booth on Labor Day, and a woman who told me how much she loved editing stopped by. I must have been looking at her as if she were an alien from another planet, an exotic creature whose thought process I could never understand. I’m at my best while scribbling with abandon in a notebook and everything that pours out is new and exciting. Not so much when I’m trying to make it perfect on a computer screen.
Thank you for sharing your passion for those characters and your craft, Brigid!
Brigid Amos' newest release, WEST FROM THE CRADLE, has hit shelves everywhere, and if you're a fan of historical fiction, you'll want to grab this one quick!
Click on the link below to download today!
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/west-from-the-cradle-brigid-amos/1126943650?ean=2940158732119
Join Brigid’s mailing list: http://www.brigidamos.com/mailing-list-signup.html
Like Brigid on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigidamoswriter/?fref=ts
Follow Brigid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Brigid_Amos
Visit Brigid’s website: http://www.brigidamos.com/
Brigid will be giving away one FREE copy of her book to one participant who comments on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random by October 13th. Simply comment on this post to enter!
Like a fun Young Adult sci fi? What about free things? Well my fellow Clean Reads author BW Morris is celebrating with a bang this month! Check it out!
What if society was controlled by a drink, but there was another drink that might allow one to change the way things were? This is the question faced by Tyler Ward and his five friends in the new book Six Pack: Emergence.
Tyler is set to graduate from secondary school when he learns the truth about the nation of Novusordo and how the government controls the population through a drink. He and his five friends visit a professor’s house, consume another drink and gain strange powers. Now they find themselves part of a movement against the government and must learn to control their powers and how they might change society. But can they trust the movement… or even each other?
Six Pack: Emergence, a young adult, science fiction, dystopian novel is written by B.W. Morris, a longtime writer for small-town newspapers, though it took him a while to embrace his inner comic book geek and put his overactive imagination to work through novel writing. The novel, published by Clean Reads, is Morris’ debut work, the first in a planned trilogy.
To celebrate the month of his birthday, Morris is giving away a free ebook of his debut novel. You must enter the giveaway at Amazon by Aug. 16 and may do so by following this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1f12261980c92216#ts-afo
Morris may be reached via email at email@example.com or to learn more about his work, visit his blog at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com.
Friends, so check out that giveaway, enter for your chance to win, and enjoy a new author on the scene. Feel free to share with your friends ~ sharing is caring! Happy reading!
Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy, available NOW! It's time for you to download this fantastic adventure, readers. Go Team Messy bun, and roll out. Click HERE to see all the purchase links. (Only $4.99 on Kindle, Nook, iTunes and more!)
Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.
Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to Breame’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood? Saylor must decide.
Humanity will always be worth fighting for.
Read an excerpt HERE!
I drummed the coin against the table. Three fast, one slow, then repeated. My foot tapped. Jitters ran down my legs, and every few minutes, I’d hold still. Not even a breath would escape. Then I’d begin again. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the sun dip lower, inch by inch, in the sky. It trickled down like a waterfall of gold sinking below the darkening cityscape. The steady warmth of summer faded with each vanishing ray though August – in name alone – would remain for another few days.
“Come on,” I whispered.
The sky shifted. My leg stilled. Metal paused, hanging above then falling to sit against the wood. As the sun fell down below the horizon, the Void Hours came in spades. Evening turned to night inside the bookshop, but I still pressed into the rising tension. A figure shifted down the street, but I kept my eyes straight ahead. The street lights buzzed and flickered on. Lemniscates shimmered over the window panes. From one side of the glass to the next, the sideways figure eights connected one into the next like linked chain. Inhaling, I let my eyes shut as the world hummed around me. Then the angel rang, and the door opened as if by a gust of air. The whole shop stretched out in the same breath and eased back with a sigh as the door locked. Fingers tapped the chalk remnants on the door before unhooking the ringer.
I smiled, opening my eyes. “Welcome back to the States.”
Sometimes the fairy tale’s end is just the Grimm beginning.
Enjoyed this excerpt from Eli Celata's new novel, Grimm Remains? Then be sure to check out the whole thing, available for $3.99 now on iTunes, Amazon, Nook, and more!
Purchase on Amazon
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Back Cover Blurb:
Mammon’s summoning turned Rochester into a beacon for the denizens of Hell. As demon activity increases, Jon settles in for a new academic year, and Jordan moves in as the city’s protector. Unfortunately, the young warlock of Rochester might not be around long if the Devil’s marine legion has a say. Havfine, demonic mermaids, don’t often leave deep lakes and ocean waters. They’re better known for drowning mortal sailors than hunting magic users, but something has sent them upstream from Lake Ontario. When three orphans vanish from a magical sanctuary in Toronto, their caretaker – the Wizard Monday – dredges up a part of Jordan’s and Jon’s father’s history that Jordan would have rather forgotten. In this race against the Bane of Hamelin, more than three souls may be on the line.
Eli Celata was born in Rochester, NY and currently attends Binghamton University as a doctoral student in Biological Anthropology. When she isn’t studying bones or working on interdisciplinary experiments, Eli writes science fiction and fantasy.
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Young Adult book lovers have plenty of exciting, clean fiction to keep them company during these breezy spring days! From mythical tales in faraway lands, to contemporary romances, and epic science fiction adventures, this list of new releases from Clean Reads offers something excellent and fresh for every reader.
Book blurbs and buy links included! Comment with your favorites!
Dating The It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life, along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.
Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan
On the first day of her new school, wounded Eden wants to finish her senior year and escape to college. It can’t be too much to ask for, can it?
Noah has spent two years not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has. Two years drifting aimlessly, searching for direction…
When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.
A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed. A prophecy others are willing to kill for.
As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.
Prophecy Awakened is the first book in Tamar Sloan’s Prime Prophecy Series. If you enjoyed Stephanie Meyer, Lauren Kate or Maggie Stiefvater, then you’ll love a series that captures their best traits in an epic, captivating story of a love that defies boundaries.
Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams
Thirteen-old ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu which hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother.
Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth, and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.
Beautiful One by Mary Cope
Elizabeth Ryan is a beautiful, shy, naïve high school senior. Having never dated she meets the boy of her dreams, Aidan Mitchell. Despite his history of womanizing Liz is drawn to him. Soon Liz becomes the envy of all the girls on campus, when they become a couple and her dream boyfriend sweeps her off her feet and into the dating world that is all too new and strange for her. When other guys start to take notice of Liz, Aidan is troubled with fits of jealousy.
Elizabeth then meets the ruggedly handsome, Spencer Hayes and they quickly bond over their passion for music. Liz begins to struggle with the feelings that spark between them.
In the end Elizabeth finds herself torn between helping Aidan overcome his jealousy and anger and giving into what her heart truly wants.
The 12th Girl In Heaven by R.J. Conte
Macy Bandele's goals are simple: get good grades, don't make waves at the university, and find some place to belong. The mysterious princess sorority, Rho Lambda Tau, seems like the answer to her problems. If only the handsome Dillan Noughton didn't keep challenging her way of thinking. What sinister plans do the sorority hide? And can Dillan help save her from herself?
Day Moon by Brett Armstrong
In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.
The Marked by Emerald Barnes
Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.
When she's offered a full scholarship to Knight's Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.
As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.
Celeste by Ann Evans
Megan Miller doesn't believe in ghosts or in reincarnation. But that soon changes after moving to a new city and a new school. It starts with feelings of déjà vu. Vague feelings at first that remain annoyingly just out of reach. Then the flashbacks start – memories of ancient times and frag-mented dreams of when she had been called Celeste. Then comes the haunting. After visiting the old bombed out cathedral, Megan believes some dark ominous presence is haunting her, following her, whispering in her ear. And always the same question, where did you hide it? Megan becomes entwined in a frightening and heartbreaking world as she slips uncontrollable between her present life and her medieval past. But the links are fiercely strong and she fears that a new friend is actually a past enemy – and evil has followed her through the centuries.
High Summons by Eli Celata
Jon Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he's ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the world of demon hunters. He just didn't really expect a bleach blond bookstore clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon's only hope. When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he's becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s hooked.
Healing Rain by Katy Newton Naas
Some people just naturally seem to have it all. Until five months ago, sixteen-year-old Rain Sawyer was one of those people. She had the perfect life, with a loving, wealthy family and a strong Christian faith, complete with popularity, sports, clubs, and good grades.
When one tragic incident shatters everything Rain thought she knew, she finds herself five hours away, starting over in a small town very different from her glamorous big-city life.
Armed with a different outlook on life – one that no longer includes her faith – she struggles to create a new identity for herself. Determined to keep her dark past as secret, she navigates through a new school year, a new town, and new relationships while trying to figure out who she wants to be.
Accepted by Coleen Lahr
Ashley Smith spent her life being shipped from one family member to the next. When Ashley’s estranged father dies, she finally has the money to go to college and the chance to find a place where she belongs.
Within days, Ashley has found the one thing she’s always longed for – a family. She may have even found love. There’s only one problem. Ashley likes Colin…a lot, but so does Randi, and everyone likes Randi. Randi’s approval is the single easiest way to belong. Falling in love with Randi’s crush is the single easiest way to find one’s self on the outside for the next three years.
When Ashley arrived at college, she never dreamed she’d find this kind of happiness. Will she allow herself to hold on to this happiness, and Colin, or will her fear of losing her friends, the only friends she’s ever known, dictate her actions?
The Devil and Danna Webster by Jacqueline Seewald
Danna Webster, a shy fifteen-year-old high school student with a talent for art, is studying in the school library with her friend Joyce when a dark, handsome boy starts flirting with her. Rich bad boy, Kevin Moore, continues to pursue her. But Danna is pulled in another direction by Gar Hansen, football quarterback and honor student who has been assigned as Danna’s math tutor. What is Kevin’s connection to the eerie stranger who offers Danna everything she could ever want in life—in return for her soul?
The Dragon's Ring by Debra Daugherty
Sir James Trueblood is determined to capture a unicorn so he can marry Princess Isadora. The knight begins his quest, not realizing the Princess is following him in disguise. On his journey Sir James encounters a witch and a dragon. With the dragon’s ring his mission is a success, but then he learns the unicorn will die if not set free. Now he has a dilemma; marry the Princess or free the unicorn.
Shadow Fire by Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Ashlyn – a free-spirited teenager whose peaceful life is shattered when the village elders honor her with a perilous quest to recover a stolen relic.
Zane – a jaded mercenary, torn by his undeniable desire for Ashlyn and the dark secret that could make her hate him forever.
Delistaire – a malevolent sorcerer driven by an insatiable lust for power.
All three are bound together by an ancient relic supposedly infused with the power of a Goddess.
As Ashlyn and Zane race to stay one step ahead of the evil lurking in the shadows, their passions are ignited and their bond strengthens. But will they find the relic before Delistaire? Or has their entire quest been orchestrated from the very beginning by a madman in pursuit of ultimate power?
Six Pack: Emergence by B.W. Morris
Just weeks before Tyler Ward is to graduate from secondary school, he learns the truth about Novusordo and how a drink controls the population. After sharing this information with his five friends, they visit a professor’s house, take another drink and gain strange powers. It leads to them learning more about how the government controls people and the discovery of a movement against the government. Calling themselves the Six Pack, Tyler and his friends must learn how their powers can change society. But they first must learn to trust this movement… and even each other.
Different by E.A. West
Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned upside down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.
Unexpected Rewards by Jane McGarry
Olivia Davenport is looking forward to her future. After all, Prince Liam has professed his love and King William has promised her a reward for her role on a recent mission. She fully expects to continue her knightly training while enjoying a blossoming romance with her Prince. The King, however, has other ideas, appointing her as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Helen.
Thrust into unfamiliar territory and left to fend against the malicious women of court, Olivia feels awkward and confused. With the help of her new friend, Kat, and her sister, Anne, she tries to find her footing among the courtiers, their protocol, and the added complication of Jocelyn Crawford, a lady who has her eyes set on becoming Liam’s bride.
When, a disturbing prophecy puts the safety of the King in question, fear spreads through kingdom. Intrigue abounds at the palace with an enigmatic witch and a strict Friar at the center of the controversy. Olivia must use her training and instincts to unravel what is truly going on in order to protect the King. Through it all, she questions if she will ever be able to fit into Liam’s life and if, in the end, their love can prevail.
Kitishi Island by Jordan Elizabeth
Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary.
Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.
Incomplete by Kadee Carder
Power within her. War without. Between the lines of flirtation and justice, Saylor must clench the missing pieces of her fate. While harnessing her ability to communicate with deadly weapons of mass destruction, attending the annual gala, and fighting her growing feelings for the hunky Australian soldier, Saylor’s instincts become increasingly distressed. Tempted by greed and independence, she must determine what she stands for and on whose side she belongs.
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