Tuesday, October 2, 2018

YA Scavenger Hunt and Giveaway!

Welcome to the Fall 2018 Young Adult Scavenger Hunt, with SO many prizes to win, including an ARC of my upcoming YA contemporary romance, KISS COLLECTOR!! Please visit HERE for rules and to enter!

As you can see, I am on the Red Team. Woot!

I am super happy to be hosting Margot Harrison, author of THE KILLER IN ME. Margot lives in Vermont, where she writes scary YA books and movie reviews. She loves terrible horror movies and not-terrible podcasts, especially if they're about murder. THE KILLER IN ME is her first novel. My blog is all yours, Margot--take it away!

This is the first novel aesthetic I've created, and it was a blast! Much of The Killer in Me takes place in the deserts of northern New Mexico. So I used photos from my trip last year to a breath-taking site there called Ghost Ranch. You will also spot the shovel, which appears on both versions of the book cover, and a close-up of the wall of an actual cave. But to find out what happens with the shovel in a cave hidden deep in the desert, you'll need to read the book...

This sounds like the perfect spooky book for fall!!

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Buy now on Amazon! Visit Margot Harrison on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

This seriously looks so good. I need to curl up in a cozy blanket and read it, like, 33 times!

Below is an International Rafflecopter Giveaway for some KISS COLLECTOR swag--signed bookmarks and KC mints! This giveaway is completely separate from the YA Scavenger Hunt. To continue the scavenger hunt, head over to the blog of Paula Stokes! If you're ready to enter, go HERE. Good luck and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, September 28, 2018


Usually when I receive a book cover, I take time to set up a cover reveal. But when I got this beauty from Jennifer Munswami, I abandoned all reason and posted it immediately. I am just so, so, so in love.

I'm currently writing the story of the god Cupid and the mortal/human Princess, Psyche from Roman/Greek mythology. The amount of romantic tension between them has me seeing hearts and stars, so I knew the cover needed to be HOT. I'm not going to give anything away for those who don't know the mythology, but here's some information about my version of the tale: it's going to be a standalone, full length novel. The genre is crossover, meaning it starts as YA and she becomes an adult, so it will appeal to ages 16+. Yes, it's mature and sexy. It's historical fantasy, taking place in Ancient Greece. Some will call it paranormal, and that's fine too.

Back in 2013, graphic artist Jennifer Munswami created fan art for Sweet Peril (I was calling it Sweet Hope at the time) and I have forever been obsessed with that image. Here is a picture I have of the hard copy of Anna and Kaidan from the Sweet series.

When I began writing SOUL IN DARKNESS this year, I kept going back to the fan art in my mind, wanting something with that level of passion. So I talked with Jennifer Munswami, and she was able to take that art and recreate it for Cupid and Psyche.

Oh. My. Great. Steaming. Goodness.

Here's the thing about the characters on the cover...Psyche is based on a stock image that Jennifer photo-manipulated. But Cupid? Y'all. SHE DREW HIM. She drew Kaidan in the original fan art too. I just can't get over how beautiful he is--how gorgeous they are together!

Without further ado, I give you the cover image for SOUL IN DARKNESS, coming February 12, 2019, just in time for Valentine's Day!


People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche's punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche by Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Preorder Links are coming later this fall! For now, please add it on Goodreads!

Bloggers/Reviewers: I will be doing a very small amount of e-ARCs in January. Please keep an eye on my Facebook Page or join my Facebook Group for a sign-up in late December.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Outdated. Tired. Obsolete.

What happens when the types of YA stories you write become outdated?

I know I'm not alone in this dilemma. In the past few years I've watched many YA paranormal romance authors who started around the same time as me fall off the grid. It happens without fanfare. Often without notice. As a mid-list author, when trends change and suddenly your passion stories are seen by publishers as tired, you have to be flexible about what you write or risk becoming obsolete.

This isn't a "poor me" post. Y'all know I like to be transparent. Some would call me an oversharer. But when readers are messaging me with a hint of frustration asking when I'm going to put another book out like Sweet Evil, I feel the need to explain.

I want to.

After finishing the Sweet Evil series, high fantasy and fairy tale retellings were beginning to hit a crescendo, and paranormal was "out." This saddened me terribly, but then I got the idea for The Great Hunt, and I felt extremely lucky get another publishing contract. Funny thing though...the tons of readers that made my Sweet series hit the New York Times bestsellers list did not carryover to my fantasy series. It was something I'd worried about. Just like actors, authors can get pigeon-holed into certain genres. Readers have come to want a certain thing from me. They want that real-world urban fantasy feel. They want my paranormal bad boys, and I want to give it to them. So, what's the problem?

Publishing trends.

From what I've seen, contemporary (realistic) fiction always has and always will be "in," though the sub-genres can vary in popularity. But fantastical trends rise and fall almost severely. Publishers and booksellers get burned out on seeing the same things. When a new series of a differing genre hits it big, they chase that direction. It's the nature of the industry. It sucks for those left behind. And then there are real life issues, like politics, war, and the overall state of society that affect the book market. Basically, it's out of an author's control.

Last year when I was looking for a new YA idea I polled the readers in my private Facebook group to see what they wanted from me. I ask them this question every year, and the answer rarely varies. They overwhelmingly want PNR/UF. This time when I asked, it turned into a crowdsourcing of ideas for a series. What we came up with together was a dark magic paranormal with a bad boy warlock. They got me super excited about it, bringing me back to my roots as an author, and I wrote up a full synopsis and sample chapters. I went on submission with the idea, but nobody picked it up. I was told paranormal is a hard sell. Too familiar. The time isn't right for it yet. Please don't mistake this as me badmouthing publishers. The industry is a beast made up of many cogs that have to line up to move the wheels. Agents are at the whims of editors, who look to marketing for permissions, who seek approval of booksellers, etc. It's a behemoth cycle.

After speaking with many author friends at events, it seemed YA authors across the board were having the same issue, even in other genres. The market was saturated. Many of us were turning to other sources for work and income--for me I picked up editorial work. Many were stopping writing all together. I have to admit, I thought about it. It's a terrible feeling when one day you're living your dream job, and the next day it's crumbling around you and you're grasping at anything you can to stay in the game.

It's been six years since Sweet Evil published. Last week I posted this question to my readers on Twitter. As always, they excitedly begged for paranormal. You can see their responses for yourself.

*heavy sigh*

I know what you're wondering. Why don't I just self-publish it? I'm no stranger to self-publishing. I've got 4 books on the indie market. But from what I've seen, few teens buy books online or read ebooks. Most of my teen readers want to shop in a brick and mortar store and have a hard book in their hands. Majority of my online ebook readers are adults. It's hard for me to swallow the fact that I'd be writing YA and not able to reach my target audience. Yes, I could raise the ages of my characters and make it an adult series, but that gives my tummy a sinking feeling. I have a heart for teens. I want to write the stories I desperately needed when I was in high school. So I've made a pact with myself that my adult books can be self-published and my Young Adult books need to be with a publisher who can get them into stores.

It might take awhile. And maybe my dark magic book isn't the one that will get me a deal. I have no idea what's going to happen. All I can do is promise my readers that I'm not giving up yet, and to be patient with me and other authors as we wade through the politics of this crazy process. In the meantime, I beg you to please support the authors you love by giving their other genres a try. The tide will roll back around eventually, though it will undoubtedly look different from before, and that's not a bad thing. Thanks for reading this far. Please let me know if you have any questions. Sending each and every one of you a big hug! Happy reading.

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