Friday, July 31, 2015

New Release Alert: Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Excerpt & Giveaway

Enter to Win A
Surprise SEP Prize Pack

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Releasing in Paperback July 28th
Avon Romance

The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.
A woman.
A sinister house looming over the sea ...

He's a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she's not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

Now Available in Paperback
Amazon | B&N | BAM


The cold slapped her in the face and stole her breath. She had to force her legs out. Her beat-up brown suede city boots sank into the snow, and her jeans were no match for the weather. Ducking her head into the wind, she made her way to the rear of the car to get her heavy coat, only to see that the trunk was wedged so tightly into the hillside that she couldn’t open it. Why should she be surprised? Nothing had gone her way in so long that she’d forgotten what good fortune felt like.
She returned to the driver’s side. Her puppets should be safe in the car overnight, but what if they weren’t? She needed them. They were all she had left, and if she lost them, she might disappear altogether.
Pathetic, Leo sneered.
She wanted to rip him apart.
Babe… You need me more than I need you, he reminded her. Without me, you don’t have a show.
She shut him out. Breathing hard, she pulled the suitcases from the car, retrieved her keys, snapped off the headlights, and closed the door.
She was immediately plunged into thick, swirling darkness. Panic clawed at her chest.
I will rescue you! Peter declared.
Annie gripped the suitcase handles tighter, trying not to let her panic paralyze her.
I can’t see anything! Crumpet squealed. I hate the dark!
Annie had no handy flashlight app on her ancient cell phone, but she did have… She set a suitcase in the snow and dug in her pocket for her car keys and the small LED light attached to the ring. She hadn’t tried to use the light in months, and she didn’t know if it still worked. With her heart in her throat, she turned it on.
A sliver of bright blue light cut a tiny path through the snow, a path so narrow she could easily wander off the road.
Get a grip, Scamp ordered.
Give up, Leo sneered.
Annie took her first steps into the snow. The wind cut through her thin jacket and tore at her hair, whipping the curly strands onto her face. Snow slapped the back of her neck, and she started to cough. Pain compressed her ribs, and the suitcases banged against her legs. Much too soon, she had to set them down to rest her arms.
She hunched into her jacket collar, trying to protect her lungs from the icy air. Her fingers burned from the cold, and as she moved forward again, she called on her puppets’ imaginary voices to keep her company.
Crumpet: If you drop me and ruin my sparkly lavender dress, I’ll sue.
Peter: I’m the bravest! The strongest! I’ll help you.
Leo: (sneering) Do you know how to do anything right?
Dilly: Don’t listen to Leo. Keep moving. We’ll get there.
And Scamp, her useless alter ego: A woman carrying a suitcase walks into a bar…
Icy tears weighed down her eyelashes, blurring what vision she had. Wind caught the suitcases, threatening to snatch them away. They were too big, too heavy. Pulling her arms from their sockets. Stupid to have brought them with her. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But she couldn’t leave her puppets.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soars onto the New York Times bestseller list with every new publication. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. Susan delights fans by touching hearts as well as funny bones with her wonderfully whimsical and modern fairy tales. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a wife, and mother of two grown sons.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Unlikeable Characters by Pembroke Sinclair, Author of Good Intentions - Giveaway

I love this guest post by Pembroke Sinclair, author of Good Intentions. We run into unlikeable people all the time, yet there is a stigma about writing about unlikeable characters. Nobody is likeable all of the time. I actually prefer my characters to have faults and quirks-- you know, like real life. Like all of us.

Unlikeable Characters
By Pembroke Sinclair

Characters, like real people, have their quirks.  There are parts of them readers may like, and others readers may find loathsome.  Katie, my main character from the Road to Salvation series, isn’t always liked.  In fact, some readers have even gone so far as to say they hate her. 

My first reaction to that was that I needed to come to Katie’s defense.  I felt like I needed to protect her like I would protect my own children.  I would explain that she acts the way she acts because she’s a 17-year-old girl or give some other excuse, like she’s naive.  I was upset that they would attack her like that.

Then, I stopped.  I was talking to an author friend of mine about how not all main characters have to be likable.  The point of stories is to put characters in challenging situations and see how they react to them.  Not all of them come out fighting.  Some are more passive and maybe a lot more self-centered.  Some are unreliable.  You can’t trust anything they have to say, and they often twist the truth to their own benefit.  Some are sneaky.  Like the real world, characters in fiction display a wide range of personality traits--not all of which are desirable.

Katie is young, naive, self-centered, needy, and whiny.  She has moments of being strong, but they are fleeting and quickly devolve into self-doubt and insecurity.  Katie is who she is, and she shouldn’t have to apologize for that or explain it to anyone.  And neither do I.  If she was any other way, it wouldn’t be the same story.

I understand that readers don’t like her, but some do.  And both of those feelings are correct.  Katie isn’t always my favorite either, and I know her really well.  I don’t cringe anymore when reviewers write about how much they despise her.  In fact, I laugh.  To me, that’s an awesome compliment.  I love to see that my character evokes such a strong emotional response.  It means I’m doing something right.

Good Intentions
The Road to Salvation #3

Pembroke Sinclair

YA Paranormal Romance
Booktrope Publishing
July 28, 2015

Amazon | Goodreads

Katie has been through Hell—literally—and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. In fact, she kind of enjoyed it. She got to be with Josh, found out about her past, and discovered who she wanted to be as a person. Katie didn’t care that her actions went against social norms. She was happy.

But things are changing—again. Wes has come back into her life, and that can only mean trouble. His presence threatens to unravel her new-found happiness. She can’t allow that. She won’t let him back in. Yet, Katie can’t push him away.

Thrown back into a state of confusion and uncertainty, Katie is once again forced to pick sides, and in the process, she may lose herself.

About the Author

Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming--the home of 56 nationalities--it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up. 

You can learn more about Pembroke Sinclair by visiting her at

Social Media Links:

Tour-Wide Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Character Interview with Matt and Melanie from Arcadian Wars by M.H. Soars

Love character interviews as much as I do? Then you're in for a treat! Today author M.H. Soars joins us with an interview with Melanie and Matt from her YA paranormal/sci-fi series, Arcadian Wars.

Who doesn't love an interview with fictional characters? Wouldn't you like to know what was going on in Legolas's mind right before the big battle at Helm's Deep? He looked super calm and cool, but was he really?

Interviewing your own characters is a great way to make them come to life. Most often, I'll use this technique when I'm in the beginning stage of writing a new novel. It's a fantastic exercise, and it helps me develop my characters properly, find out what makes them tick, bring forth their flaws, etc. I'll put them in extreme situations and see how they will react. Most of the time, those interviews or scenes never make it to the novel.

As an example, you will find below an interview between two characters from my YA Paranormal/SciFi Romance series, Arcadian Wars. This series has a fairly large cast, so I wanted the interactions between them to feel genuine. I wrote it as a scene. Here it is.

I'm sitting at my desk, writing on my diary, as usual, when Melanie comes barging in without bothering to knock. I know it's her and not one of the boys by the clank-clank sound her heels make on the hardwood floor. Without turning around I ask.

"What do you want, Melanie?"

She ignores my question and flops on my bed. "Ugh, sometimes I hate my job."

I put the pen down and swivel on my chair to face her. It's not like we have done much in our "jobs" yet so I don't understand her complaint. "Please, enlighten me, sis."

"The paper is publishing their annual list of hotties and they expect me to contribute by doing an interview. Can you believe it?"

I give her a blank stare. Here I'm thinking she's referring to our jobs as Alexia's protectors. I shake my head and turn back to what I was doing before she interrupted me.

"Fine. Ignore me. But so you know, I'm supposed to interview you."

I face her again. "What?"

She props herself up, leaning on her elbows, and smirks at me. "You've made the final five list. Aren't you honored?"

I roll my eyes. "Please."

"Anyways, since I know you hate people prying in your life, I convinced my editor to let me interview you. The other girls were pissed. You can thank me now."

My mouth opens involuntarily as I stare at my twin. The glint in her eyes tells me that I won't be able to escape without answering her stupid questions. I guess it's better to be interviewed by her than a stranger.

"All right. Fire away."

* * *

Melanie: "So, Matt. Besides brooding in your room, what's your favorite hobby?"

Matt: "Ha-ha. I don't brood."

Melanie: "Sure you don't."

Matt: "I don't have one particular favorite hobby. I like to go on hikes, swim, read a good book."

Melanie: "Likes to read depressing novels and to walk aimlessly in the middle of nowhere. Got it."

Matt: "If you're going to distort everything I say this interview is over."

Melanie: "I guess that answers my following question. Touchy."

Matt: "Do I even want to know what the question is?"

Melanie: "No. Next question. Which celebrity would you want to be stuck with on a deserted island and why?"

Matt: "That's easy. Bear Grylls and do I need to explain why?"

Melanie: "I guess not. Moving on. According to you, what are the best and worst shows on TV right now?"

Matt: "Best, Believe. Worst, any reality TV show."

Melanie: "Believe, Matt? Really?"

Matt: "What? I can relate."

Melanie: "Then you should have picked Star-crossed or Defiance."

Matt: "What's Star-crossed?"

Melanie: "Never mind. Last question. Describe your ideal girlfriend."

Matt: "Must I?"

Melanie: "This is the only question that really matters. You know that."

Matt: "Fine. The ideal girlfriend to me must be confident, funny, loyal, have killer fashion sense...

Melanie: "And she must also have white long hair, blue eyes..."

Matt: "Wait, what?"

Melanie: "Matt, do you realize you were just describing Sam?"

Matt: "I was not!"

Melanie: "Sure you weren't."

Matt: "Shut up, Mel."

The Phoenix Shadow
Arcadian Wars #2

M.H. Soars

When the walls of lies begin closing in, who do you trust?

There is nothing worse than failure, especially one that results in your school being attacked by a ruthless enemy. Still reeling from the aftermath of the previous night, Sam and her cousins must deal with another crisis: Alexia has run away. 

To top it off, there are new players in town. The young Arcadians will be forced to work closely with the prestigious Nox Elite. But they will soon find out that nursing a bruised ego is nothing compared to fighting a faceless enemy, battling personal demons, and dealing with revelations that will forever change their lives.


About the Author

M. H. Soars always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would become an author. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first novel, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born.
M. H. Soars resides in Florida with her husband and baby daughter. She is currently working on the Arcadian Wars series, the Elements series, and the Love Me, I'm Famous series.

Arcadian Wars is a YA Paranormal/SciFi Romance series. It follows the life of a group of teens who possess incredible powers and have a very important mission: save their planet and in the process, save Earth too. The first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, and the novella, The Fall of Arcadia, are already available. The second book, The Phoenix Shadow, will be published in the summer of 2015.

Elements is a new YA Paranormal Romance series. It focuses on two sisters who hold the key to stop a full-blown war between elemental beings and humans. Look for the first book by the end of 2015.

Love Me, I'm Famous is a NA Contemporary Romance series and each book will be a standalone focused on different characters. As the name of the series suggests, at least one of the characters in each book will be somewhat famous. The first book is slated to be published later in 2015.

To learn more about M. H. Soars and her projects you can visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



VIP LIST sign up:

Cover Reveal: The Affiliate by K.A. Linde - Excerpt & Giveaway

I'm in the mood for a cover reveal today-- how about you? Here you go!

Title: The Affiliate (Ascension, 1)
Author: K. A. Linde
Release Day: September 15th
Genre: YA Fantasy

TA Amazon

About The Affiliate: On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm's lifelong plans come to fruition when she's chosen as an Affiliate to the Queen. Or so she thinks. When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene's position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have... King Edric himself. Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

Add on Goodreads Pre-Order Now: Amazon | Itunes

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Do you enjoy the view?” King Edric asked.

“The rains have made the gardens bloom, and it warms my heart to see it so.”

“It is good to know that the gardener approves of the work.”

Cyrene laughed lightly. “I have not gardened in a month’s time. I fear I can no longer call myself a gardener.”

She remembered when she had told the king of her interest in gardening at the last feast day almost a week ago. After that dance, Queen Kaliana added a list of plants to her assignment, forcing her to reread every page she had already dredged through for information. It had wasted two entire days. 

“Perhaps I could change that,” he offered.

He directed her down the staircase and into the courtyard below lit solely by the setting sun in the distance.

Her stomach churned at the thought of him offering assistance to any of her needs. It was like what she had read in her children’s books of the tales of Leifs, and how one request would be necessitated by a much larger sacrifice. Her biggest sacrifice at the present moment was time. She wanted nothing more than to finish her work on agriculture and prove that she could get moved somewhere that involved traveling…and adventure.

“On the contrary, My King, I am fully enthralled in my Affiliate duties, and believe that gardening would only distract me from my work.”

“You cannot spare one afternoon to spend in my gardens?” His blue-gray eyes searched her face. “If you have half the green thumb you suggest, then it would be delightful to have you on the grounds.” 

She swallowed. “I really have much work to accomplish before we go on Processional.”

“I could speak to the Queen and request it be lessened,” he whispered into the evening air.

“No!” It was the first time he had ever admitted to discussing her with the Queen. Hearing him admit it aloud made her voice come out strangled.

Cyrene missed her footing on the pebble path and stumbled forward a pace. Edric steadied her. He turned his body to face her in the middle of the garden, and her breath caught at the sight of him in the setting sun.

“You do not wish me to speak to the Queen?”

“I spoke out of turn. Please forgive me.”

“I cannot forgive that which I do not understand. Did the Queen somehow offend you?”

Cyrene shook her head. “I fear that the Queen does not…like me.”

Edric laughed softly, taking one of her hands in his own. “Oh Cyrene, I believe that the Queen likes no one but herself.”

Cyrene found that she, too, could laugh at his comment.

“Now, tell me what the Queen has done to make you believe that she dislikes you.”

“It’s nothing, my King.” She turned her face away from his. She couldn’t possibly tell him the real reason.

“Enough to infuriate you, which is enough for me.”

When she looked back up into his blue-gray eyes she felt that same magnetic pull between them. Somehow she had not realized how close they were standing. His hand felt warm against her bare skin. His body only a few inches away from her. His breath hot on her face. Her heart contracted in her chest, and she forced herself to respond.

“She speaks of…of your interference, as if…as if you…”

Time stretched between them, and she thought for a split second he might move even closer to her. She was rooted in place, captivated by his gaze.

“Yes?” His other hand drifted to her waist, and she was suddenly on fire.

Their breath mingled together as she murmured, “As if you favor me.”

“And do you think that?”


“Yes?” he asked, stepping closer.

“I think you have your queen,” she breathed.

kalinde copy
About K. A. Linde: USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper. When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Enter KA’s fantastic giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh - Giveaway

Confessions of a Queen B*
Queen B* #1

Crista McHugh

YA Contemporary
July 28, 2015

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.

Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.

Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Confessions of a Queen B* is a cute, fluffy YA contemporary read. Very fast-paced, I raced through this story in just a couple of hours. With endearing characters and a fun plot, this is a nice book to read during a balmy summer evening.

I really liked Alexis. Perhaps it was because I could relate to her. There was just something about her drive and hidden vulnerability that drew me to her. I also loved Brett-- another almost-too-good-to-be-true leading man. Lots of teenage stereotypes mixed with some intriguing non-stereotypical characters made for an interesting line-up.

Loved the snippets from Alexis's blog posts at the beginning of each chapter-- they helped me understand her character more. Though I really liked the characters, the plot didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped. I found myself frequently skimming to get to the next part. The ending wasn't really an ending as much as an invitation to continue the series. If you're looking for HEA, you won't find it here. That's not to say it's bad, in fact I liked the ending-- it was much more realistic than a HEA would have been.

If you're looking for fun and fluff to read on a hot summer day, this book should fit the bill.

About the Author

Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.

She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

For the latest updates, deleted scenes, and answers to any burning questions you have, please check out her webpage,

Author links:

Tour-Wide Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cupcakes & Characters with L.L. Crane, Author of From the Mountain

Hi, everyone! Today L.L. Crane, author of From the Mountain, joins us with a fun character post. I actually have two cupcake favorites, though I love way more than that.

Cupcakes and Characters    
(Choose 4 of your Characters and tell us what their favorite cupcake is and why)

Teak – vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting because she is one of the last remaining light skinned people, and it would represent her fight for keeping these people alive.   She also struggles with thinking she is inferior because of her skin color, so by eating these cupcakes she could strengthen her self-image.

Thann – a giant cupcake with swirls of different flavors and a thick raspberry filling.  He would have to have confetti frosting about a mile high.  He is so huge and fun loving that his cupcake would have to be the biggest and wildest of all.  He would eat it and ask for a second or third one.

Koree – chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.  He would choose this combination time and again, not sure why, but deep down it represents his parents, who he watched die when he was seven years old.  His mother was light and his father was dark, and Koree battles with his power and seriousness throughout the series because of this.  Deep down, because of the terrible world they live in, he struggles with being a half-breed, which doesn’t bother anybody but himself.

Echo – she wouldn’t settle for just one cupcake, because she was raised impoverished with five older brothers who only left scraps for her.  She would take one of every flavor available and gobble it down with glee, barking for gummy worms, sprinkles, candy hearts, and chocolate swirls.  But, after finally getting her fill, she would be the most grateful of all.

So, yeah, I'd have to say cupcakes may just be my favorite dessert. There's a great cake to frosting ratio. I especially love the cupcake cakes-- I saw a Minion one at Target. If I could eat 24 cupcakes without any guilt, I'd have bought it. My favorite cupcakes: vanilla with chocolate frosting and chocolate with cream cheese frosting topped with chocolate chips.

What is your favorite cupcake?

From the Mountain
Mark of Power, Book One

L.L. Crane

Ya Dystopian
February 14, 2015

What would you do if you were one of the last of your kind on earth? Sixteen year old Teak’s Mark of Power has kept her alive, but will it last?  Although she is a trained killing machine, it isn’t by choice. Slated to be one of Siv Gareth's elite soldiers, her life seems to be on course, but she has a decision to make.  Does she follow her father’s wishes and become a soldier, or chase after her own dreams of training dragons?  Persecuted, shunned, and tortured because of her skin color, Teak is mad, and somebody is going to pay for it.  Siv Gareth’s race war has just begun, and now that the Purity Law has passed, the Destroyers are out in hordes to kill her and any others with light skin.  When she shoots an arrow at Siv Gareth, a chain of events unwinds that ultimately threatens her very existence.  Accustomed to going it alone, Teak finds herself on a long journey with a group of inept teens, and she must learn to depend on them…or die.  When two boys enter the scene, one irritating and the other mesmerizing, Teak wonders if she has a shot at a normal life. But will her lack of Power and skin color ruin it? This dystopian society novel, Book 1 in the Mark of Power Series, is riveting with suspense, action, betrayal, and the brimming hope of romance.


“You ready?” he asks. 
I stop.  Am I ready?  Will I ever be ready?  “Sure,” I answer, more calmly than what I feel inside.
Thann takes off at a rapid pace, his long legs flying under him like machines pounding against the black earthen tunnel.  Since I am connected to him, because he holds not only my hand but my future tightly in his, I have no choice but to follow.

About the Author

L.L. Crane lives in a remote area of Northern California with her two horses, six goats, three dogs and two cats.  When she was a child, L.L. Crane dreamed of being a writer. She used the name, “Katie Bush” as a pen name for the famous writer she hoped to become, cranking out book after book on her mom’s old blue typewriter.

 As life often has twists and turns, L.L. Crane found herself becoming anything but a writer.  She graduated with a B.A. in Education, even though she was honored to begin her college career with the aid of writing scholarships.

After becoming a teacher, raising three children primarily on her own, as well as owning and operating a business, L.L. Crane finally pursued her dreams and began writing novels.  She brings her own experiences from teaching and her love of animals to her stories.

L.L. Crane is an avid reader and writer and loves children, animals, reading, riding horses, and gnomes.

Author Links