once upon a time

I’m doing what?

I think I lost my mind this past month.  The good news is that I have a FREE contemporary romance story, I’ll Be Waiting, coming out that is a prequel to Winter’s Sweet Kiss – One in a Million Snowflakes. The other fun part is that I have a Fantasy Romance Novella – Finding Bell coming out in a collection called Once Upon A Time!

A little secret is there will be a scavenger hunt for Roane Publishing’s birthday this September and Once Upon a Time is on pre-order on Amazon for $.99c.

 

I'll be waiting_free read once upon a time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Bell Part of : Once Upon Time

Annabella can’t remember anything before the last six years, and her dreams are telling her something, she just doesn’t know what. Desperate to find the missing pieces in her life, she heads to France  where a castle exists that matches the one in her dreams. Once there she has to figure out if the mysterious place holds the key to unlocking the past she can’t remember.

Henri, once a powerful Fae prince, is locked within the home he built for a princess that can’t remember him. A rose blooms every hundred years signifying the chance to break the curse placed on him and his Faerie Court. Something is changing, and the girl he loves has returned, but can he get her to love him again and free them all from the endless cycle?

***

I’ll Be Waiting

Finding someone that makes you smile is worth every risk.

Angela has pined away for Nick since they were kids, but he’s off limits. She’s supposed to plan a going away party with his sister, but Angela’s spending more time daydreaming than planning. Every glance from him drives her closer to throwing caution to the wind and has Angela wondering if he might feel the same way.

Nick has devoted his life to the military and is heading out on one more deployment. The party his sister and her best friend throw him is another excuse to spend his last few hours  with the woman he can’t get out of his head. Nick chases off the competition, but might have overstepped this time. Will one last parting gift be enough to keep her thinking of him until he returns?

BATTERED not broken by CHARITY WEST

 

****

10 Random Things about Charity West

  1. Even though I write YA Romance now, I actually went to college for Mechanical Engineering, which I later changed to Psychology. I guess I was trying to figure out where I fit in the world. It wasn’t until I finished my first novel that I figured it out.
  2. I have a house full of cats and almost always have a furbaby sitting with me when I’m working. Sometimes, the like to help by lying on the keyboard or the mouse.
  3. Since I completed my first book in 2008, I have gone through several laptops. I’m on #4 at the moment, which I just bought this past spring. I wear off the letters on the keys within six months, and after a year or two, things start to break on them. My last one only lasted two years.
  4. I love breakfast food and can eat it any time. I love going to IHOP for either their French toast platter or their country omelet with pancakes on the side.
  5. I love to drink Starbucks when I’m writing. I’ll either go to Starbucks and get a hot white mocha, or I’ll drink a bottle mocha or a mocha energy drink when I’m at home. I try to keep both stocked in the fridge at all times.
  6. My favorite YA authors are Chris Cannon and Lisa Brown Roberts.
  7. I have eclectic taste in music, but I love classic rock. Kansas, Foreigner, The Doors… but when I’m writing, probably my two favorite songs to play are by Tone-Loc.
  8. My favorite Tim Burton movie is Corpse Bride. I watch it at least once a week, usually when I’m writing.
  9. I wear a lot of printed tees. Duck Tales, Dark Crystal, Beauty and the Beast, Fraggle Rock, Nightmare Before Christmas…I have a bunch. I get a lot of them from the Disney store at the mall, or I’ll order them online.
  10. I have cable TV, but I seldom watch it. The kids and my husband like it, but the few times I watch something on TV, it’s usually a DVD/Blu-ray, or I stream Netflix. I even wait for my favorite shows to come out on DVD before I watch them, then I binge watch the entire season.

****

BATTERED
not broken
by CHARITY WEST
Contemporary/Romance/Young
Adult
40K,
Evernight Teen Publishing
Who knew falling for a
man in Khaki could cause so much trouble?
Battered and
bruised, Wren has taken a lot from her father over the years, but when he
throws her out of the house, she sees it as a blessing in disguise. She has no
job, no home, and never finished high school, but what’s all that compared to a
life without abuse? When she starts over in a new town, under a new identity,
she makes it her goal to fly under the radar.
New town,
new life. Only, there’s a corrupt deputy intent on stealing Deputy Gray
Frampton’s family fortune, a slight case of aggravated identity fraud, and a
night in the local jail. It’s enough to make any girl’s head spin. Wren
Michaels has to find a way not to spend the next three years in jail, warn Gray
that Deputy Pritchard is after him, and somehow hold onto the
happily-ever-after that is finally within her grasp—assuming Gray wants a felon
as his girlfriend. Who knew falling for a man in khaki could cause so much
trouble?
Buy Links:
Evernight
Teen
    Amazon    ARe
14+ due to violence and
adult situations
Excerpt:
The shadows crept closer as a deep
cold settled into my bones. I cowered on the floor of my closet, hidden behind
shoes and clothes, as I listened to the slap of flesh against flesh. He’d come
home drunk again, even more so than usual, and he’d barely cleared the door
before landing the first blow. It was cowardly of me to hide. I should stand up
and fight—do something to make him stop. My phone was still clutched in my
hand, and my heart pounded in my chest, the thump-thump loud in my ears.
I knew I should call 9-1-1 and get help for Mom, but I also knew that even if
they arrested him, they’d never keep him. Mom would give the cops some bullshit
excuse as to why he was beating her, or say she fell, and then she’d refuse to
press charges. If I thought things were bad now, they’d be even worse if he
went to jail for the night. We’d lived through that horror once already, and
once was more than enough. No one had to tell me my dad was an abusive asshole
who thrived on being a bully. I’d experienced it firsthand.
My palms grew slick as I heard my
mother’s whimpers and then booted steps coming down the hall. Was I going to be
next? The footsteps grew louder, and I heard my bedroom door slam into the
wall. I bit my lip to stifle my cry, hoping he wouldn’t find me. He shuffled
around my room, his boots clomping and scraping the wood floor as he searched
for me. When the closet doors were flung open, I squeezed myself as far into
the corner as I could, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.
An iron grip closed around my arm,
his fingers biting into my skin, as he jerked me out of the closet. I stumbled
and fell to my knees at his feet, bracing myself for what would happen next. My
head was wrenched back, tears stinging in my eyes as he fisted my hair. There
was such hatred in his gaze, such contempt, as if he couldn’t even stand to
look at me. I’d always done everything he’d ever asked, and still it wasn’t
enough. As far as my dad was concerned, I’d ruined his life, and he was going
to make me pay for it until I was able to leave this place behind.
“Thought you could hide from me?” he
slurred. “Stupid little bitch.”
The slap across my cheek made tears
spill down my face, but I ground my teeth together so I wouldn’t make a sound.
When he knew he was causing me pain, he seemed to enjoy it more, and I wouldn’t
give him the satisfaction. He pulled hard until I was standing upright, my hair
still clutched in his fist, and then he punched me in the stomach. I folded at
the waist, gasping for breath as stars danced in my vision and bile rose in my
throat.
“Worthless. That’s what you are.” He
kicked out and knocked me to my knees again. “You should be groveling, thanking
me for your life. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be here, you
ungrateful shit.”
Yes, because thanking him for the
abuse he heaped on me day after day, thanking him for all the hurtful names I’d
been called, thanking him for the days I’d had to skip school because I
couldn’t hide the bruises—that was exactly what I wanted to do. One day, he
would get what was coming to him. I didn’t know how or who would do it, but I
knew someday he’d piss off the wrong person and they’d beat his ass until he
cried like a baby. And I hoped like hell I was there to see it. I’d kick back
with some popcorn and enjoy the show. I hated him. Hated him.
“You think I don’t see the way you
look at me?” he demanded. “Well, I’m tired of it. I’m finished with you. My
life was better before your mother got knocked up. Ever since she popped you
out, you’ve been nothing but a financial drain. Not anymore. You have five
minutes to pack your shit and get the fuck out of my house. And if I ever see
you again, I’ll make you wish you were never born.”
Like I didn’t already wish that every
day of my life. I should thank him for offering me freedom, even if I had
nowhere to go. Anything was better than staying here. Plenty of people lived on
the streets, so there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t do it, too. It just meant
I’d have to find a way to get my GED sooner rather than later. Dropping out of
high school hadn’t been the best decision in the world, but when Dad had broken
my arm, Mom had thought it would be better than facing questions we couldn’t
answer.
He stomped out of the room, and I
heard his bedroom door slam. After grabbing a bag out of my closet, I shoved
several outfits, underthings, and socks into it. I snatched my toothbrush and
hairbrush out of the bathroom and crammed them in there, too. As an
afterthought, I grabbed the travel pouch from under the sink that had shampoo,
soap, and a razor tucked inside. I didn’t know where I would go to shower, or
where I was going to sleep tonight, but I would figure it out. Maybe Mom would
let me come home to bathe while Dad was at work a few times a week. Plus, it
would give me a chance to check on her.
I zipped up my bag and then grabbed
my backpack and purse off the bed. With my keys clutched tight, I walked out of
the only home I’d ever known. Mom didn’t say a word as I passed her, and she
didn’t try to stop me. Maybe she figured I was better off living anywhere but
at home, and she may have been right.
About the Author:
Charity West is a young adult romance
author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when
she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over
heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping
from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and
she’s been married to him ever since.
By the time Charity was twelve, she
was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when
she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school
for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew
that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.

Giveaway:

$10 Evernight Teen GC

 

Book of Angels (Night Angels Chronicles, 2) by K.H. Mezek

Who Are the Night Angels? Marianne Tells her Story

In Book of Angels, readers get more insight into who the Night Angels are, from learning about their past lives. After Sera’s Turning, in Strejan’s castle overlooking Lake Roza, Marianne sits with Sera in her room, at the top of a tower in the castle, and recounts her past….

“I was twenty-six years old when I was turned into a vampire. On the edge of old age for those times. Before my Turning, I lived in a village by the sea, in the wild lands of Northern Ireland. My family were Druids. I was married to the gods and no man had ever touched me. We worshiped many gods and practiced human sacrifice. For you, in these days, it’s hard to understand. But for us, it was our life, we didn’t know any different. Everyone had a purpose, to toil or to serve the gods, one or the other. Life was hard, but easier for me than most. Then, the Vikings came to our village and hell descended on earth. A horde of them swept through like devouring insects. They threw my father from the cliffs. My younger sister, they raped and ran her through with a sword. My mother, they crushed her head with an anvil when she tried to protect my sister. They were dragging me by the hair to do the same when a great warrior on a white horse swept down like an angel, his brilliant eyes fixed on me in a stern and noble face.”

Marianne paused in her story, overcome with the memory. Then, she continued. “He lifted me onto his horse. You must understand it was the first time in all my life that a man had ever held me. I fought, clawed, bit and kicked. But he was an unbreakable tower of steel and only held me tighter until, finally I gave up my stuggle. We traveled back across Europe, his warriors torching the land, destroying everything before them. He kept me safe, caring for me. Anything I needed or desired, he gave to me. He became my world and I worshiped him as my new god. He brought me back to Constantinople, to that beautiful city, to his palace. He washed and perfumed me, dressed me in the finest clothes and presented me at the Sultan’s court.”

“You loved him so much!”

“Love?” said Marianne, as if trying to remember what the word meant. “Oh, yes, I loved him. But he didn’t love me. When the Sultan demanded me for his own, my lord gave me up. As a gift. Without a second thought. And then, after I had been taught and trained to obey my new master, the Sultan Turned me.”

“What happened when the Viking died?” I asked. “Did you cry, or was it sweet revenge to watch him grow old and wither away while you stayed young and beautiful?”

A dark fire smoldered in Marianne’s eyes. I dropped my gaze, out of the horror of what I already knew, not wanting to hear what she was going to tell me. “He isn’t dead, Sera. The Viking who saved me and brought me to Mehmet is Fabian Gore.”

I gasped and doubled over in agony. Every evil that existed, every cry of pain, every struggle against the darkness seemed to point back to Gore.

Marianne got up from the bed, walked a few paces, and then turned back to me. “So you see? I have no explanations for you. I now fight against the denizen that once I loved. How can I understand anything of this world, or we creatures that inhabit it?”

****
Book
of Angels
(Night
Angels Chronicles, 2)
by K.H. Mezek
 
Evernight Teen Publishing
Romance,
Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
All Sera ever wanted was to solve the
mystery of her dad’s death and find out whether or not the Night Angel, Peter, really
loved her. Now, there are bigger issues at stake. After being saved from death
by the Night Angels, Sera returns to Oak Haven to find her brother, Salem, has
been saved by her nemesis, the sinister Los Angeles mayor-to-be, Fabian Gore.
Sera and her brother meet again in their hometown of Oak Haven as powerful
denizens. And as enemies. Someone is channeling power to the Queen, imprisoned
in St. Catherine’s Monastery. If she escapes, the Ancient Ones will rise up
from their sarcophagi beneath churches throughout the world and wreak vengeance
on denizens and humans alike. 
To thwart
the Queen, Sera has no choice but to form an uneasy alliance with Gore.
Meanwhile, Sera’s power and her connection to the Key of Mystery is growing.
Only she can open the Book of Angels. But whoever does that will become
something that Sera never wants to be: the Seventh Angel. How can Sera solve
her own problems when everyone else wants her to solve their problems as
well?  
Buy Links:  Evernight Teen / Amazon  / ARe
 
14+ due to adult situations
Excerpt:
The next thing I knew I had leapt
into the air with the two of them, my mind on St. Catherine’s Monastery, and I
found myself hurtling through the Passage, horribly aware of every atom in my
body and the indomitable forces of the universe that were trying to pull me
apart.
As if it were a part of my very
being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the
Passage.
Within seconds, I was floating down
from the sky, surrounded by the immense, desolate beauty of what looked like a
moonscape. Except that the moon shone brighter and bigger than I had ever seen.
Behind me, sand stretched, wave upon wave of it, with not a hint of grass or
trees, while in front rose a sheer cliff, taller than a skyscraper. The
monastery seemed to grow out of the rock, so closely was it pressed against the
cliff.
“All looks peaceful,” observed Peter.
“Maybe too peaceful,” said Blanca.
Together, we jumped over the fortress
walls, landing in the empty courtyard. We entered the sixth century basilica.
We walked from the vestibule into the ornate nave and down the aisle, toward
the sanctuary. I gazed in awe at the ancient artifacts and the icons shining
with gold. Hundreds of lamps hung from the high ceiling like glittering
galaxies, bathing the vast room in an eerie light. Out of the shadows the
figure of the Abbot appeared, wearing a long gray robe and a cylindrical,
flat-topped hat. His long black hair was tied in a knot at the nape of his
head, a frizzy beard spreading out from his face like tangled wire. His large,
hooked nose resembled a bird’s beak and his dark eyes burned uncannily from
deep sockets.
He greeted us with a humble bow and
wordlessly led us through a dark and narrow arched doorway into a small,
circular, windowless chamber, padding silently on bare feet. The chamber was
empty except for one plain wooden table. On the table sat the black lacquered
Life Box, looking just as insignificant as the Object Holder had when I had
first seen it and fought over it with Salem. This box, though, was about twice
the size of the one that had held the key. And, whereas the Object Holder had a
gold lock and tiny gold key to open it, the Life Box had no lock and no visible
way to open it.
On either side of the table stood two
impressive Bedouin warriors. Each had one hand resting on a curved scimitar and
the other holding the hilt of a knife tucked into a belt. Their faces were
lined and weather-beaten and expressionless, as if carved from the rocks of the
mountain. The desert surrounding the monastery was home to many Bedouin. They
were devout Muslims with a long history of guarding the monastery. They had
made a vow to guard the Life Box with their lives.
The Abbot motioned for the Bedouin to
stand at ease.
Bowing low to us, the guards said in
unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
Along with Peter and Blanca, I
responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be
peace.”
Like everything else in my crazy life
these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
The Abbot didn’t speak, just gestured
for us to gather around the box.
“He has taken a vow of silence and
hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
My attention was drawn to the box. I
realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I
remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it. 
“This it does without stopping and
just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
Sure enough, as we watched, the box
jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its
continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
As I watched in fascination, I slowly
became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to
burn.
The box vibrated more violently and
hummed louder. As it did, it rose into the air and hovered about two feet above
the table. The vibrating and humming grew so loud I thought the box might split
apart.
The key was searing my skin and I
yelled in pain. I tried to tear it off, but it was stuck to my chest and my
hand burned when I touched it. I felt the Queen’s presence, reaching out to me.
It was pure evil and I felt attracted to it. I wanted to bow down and worship
the Queen, give her the key. I became brutally aware of her perfections and my
own failings. I loved the Queen! I despised and hated myself! Horrible thoughts
rose in my mind, the impulse to do horrible things.
Blood was pouring from my eyes. Tears
or something worse, I didn’t know.
“Take me away!” I cried out to the
others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!
The Bedouin had drawn their swords
and whipped out their daggers, but there was nothing they could do except stand
there, at the ready. Blanca and Peter had drawn their swords, too. They’d
placed themselves as a shield between me and the box. The Abbot ran in front of
us all and pushed Blanca and Peter back.
He turned to face the box, bracing
himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
Peter and Blanca were then able to
pull me out of the chamber. I don’t think I could have moved before the Abbot
faced the box. As soon as we were back in the nave, I collapsed onto the
ground, gasping great gulps of air, thankful to find the heat of the key
subsiding. With a great cry, I tried to take it off, but it was stuck.
Completely stuck now. To my skin.
“Fuck this key! Why am I cursed with
it?”
My entire body was bathed in red
sweat. I looked down at myself in horror. What had I become? What nightmare had
I entered? I pushed back my hair and swallowed, my throat dry and constricted.
I had to get control of myself. I breathed in and out deeply.
“She’s getting stronger all the time.
She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
“But you didn’t,” said Peter.
“At least now we are sure she is
still inside,” said Blanca.
“She won’t stay there.” I could see
my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever.
One day I would face the Queen. 
And I would fail! How could I not,
when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
One of the Bedouin exited the
chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling
power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
“It’s just not possible,” said
Blanca. 
The Bedouin bowed respectfully. “I
only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
“Thank you,” said Peter.
The Bedouin continued. “The Abbot
further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them
or she will escape.”
He bowed again and returned to the
nave.
“He’s right,” I said, as we walked
out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and
take the key.”
“Coward.” Blanca kicked the church
door open with her foot. “We might as well be protecting a pile of trash! If it
weren’t for the key around your neck, I’d kill you myself!”
For the first time, Blanca’s words
didn’t bother me. “You can call me what you want, I don’t care. But you better
listen because she will escape and we won’t be able to stop
her. We need to figure out what to do instead of arguing all the time.”
“Well said,” said Peter. “Let’s get
back to the castle and tell the others.”
We were outside of the basilica now
and we stood for a moment, surveying the courtyard, the full moon casting eerie
shadows across the ground. I looked more carefully and saw that some of the
shadows moved like living things.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Peter and Blanca looked up to the sky
and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across
the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“What the hell…” I said.
“Wind demons,” said Blanca.
I looked at Peter inquiringly.
“Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake.
Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
The Abbot and the two Bedouin had
joined us in the courtyard.
“We have never seen them here
before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“And so many,” said Peter. He sighed.
“I hate wind demons.”
The Abbot was motioning us to follow
him. We hurried across the courtyard, which was now filled with a howling wind,
the shadows of the wind demons slithering back and forth across the stones like
snakes. A group of monks appeared, running in the opposite direction, heading
for the church.
“They will pray,” yelled one of the
Bedouin above the din.
This was not making me any happier. I
had just escaped the clutches of the Queen and now I had to contend with wind
demons? Was there no end to the problems I had to face in one day?
The Abbot led us into the Fatimid mosque
that stood across from the church. Standing on its own, opposite the gigantic
bell tower, was the minaret and we entered and climbed swiftly up the stairs.
It was from this highest point that the muezzin sang across the desert, calling
the followers of Islam to prayer, five times a day. We climbed out onto the
little platform that ran around the top of the minaret, and from here, I felt
the full force of the gale. The shadows screamed and I could see cavernous,
greedy mouths appear and disappear as they whipped around the tower, creating a
whirlpool of darkness. Only when I looked straight up could I see clear sky and
stars. But that opening was growing narrower by the minute. All around was
completely empty of light, as if the very sky itself had been sucked into a
giant black hole of whirling mouths and tails, into which we, too, would be
sucked if we tried to fly upward.
Peter and Blanca unsheathed their
swords and I did the same.
Peter pointed with his sword. “We
must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
The Abbot nodded, making motions that
we should hurry.
“Put your sword away,” Peter said.
I began to object, then obeyed. This
didn’t seem like the time to argue.
He gripped my arm. “Listen carefully!
Jump onto my back. Once we’ve achieved the Passage, we’ll be safe. Until then,
you must hold your breath—don’t breathe, understand? If you do, the shadows
will enter and steal your soul.”
I nodded, terrified.
I jumped onto his back and held on
tightly.
The Abbot raised his arms, while the
Bedouin brandished their swords at the swirling darkness. It seemed to abate a
bit, and Peter and Blanca seized that moment to leap into the air. I breathed
in deeply and held onto my breath.
All was chaos in the tunnel through
the shadows, the terrible wind trying to push us back down, a screaming noise
like a thousand pigs being gutted. Flying straight upward, the two Night Angels
fought the demons with their swords, slicing into the tendrils that tried to
encircle them.
I was sure we had almost made it when
I felt an icy tendril touch my leg. I almost opened my mouth to scream. As it
was, I let go of Peter with one arm and tried to reach down to bat at the
tendril. I felt myself slipping halfway down his back and scrambled to pull
myself back up again.
I was falling!
The snaky thing had my ankle now. I
tried to kick with my foot to shake it off, while struggling to get a better
hold on Peter. I was growing weaker. I had to take a breath. My chest was
exploding.
And then, the Passage was achieved
and we were through. I pushed away from Peter with relief, feeling the now
familiar force of my molecules trying to split apart and me holding them
together, as we rocketed through space and time, landing within seconds in the
little garden of the castle. 

Key of Mystery, Book 1,  is also available now:  Amazon   Evernight Teen    ARe
About the
Author:
Karen
Hunt aka KH Mezek
 is
the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays
and short stories. ‘Reflections from Istanbul,’ an excerpt from her childhood
memoir, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the
co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated
youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting
youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing
and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt
right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in
Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her
adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London
and a village in Yugoslavia. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels, volumes
one and two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, are published with
Evernight Teen.  
* * *
Giveaway:
$25 Amazon GC and $25 Evernight Teen GC
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Manifesting Destiny (Changers) by M Pepper Langlinais


 

****

Top 10 Favorite Authors (and why)

M Pepper Langlinais: Really, guys? You’re going to ask me to pick favorites?

 Okay, I’m not going to rank them. But I will pick some favorite authors and why I like them. In no particular order: 

  1. Richard Adams. He wrote Watership Down, which I read in sixth grade. It had a huge influence on me, simply captivated me. My friends asked me what it was about and maybe that was the moment that I learned to tell a story, or at least learned to pitch one. My friends started calling me Hazel-Rah (after the chief rabbit in the book—yes, Watership Down is about rabbits on a journey to find a new warren), and then they began choosing rabbit names too. It was a great experience of literature bringing people together.
  2. Neil Gaiman. Someone gave me some copies of Sandman while I was an undergrad. I was never a comic book person, but that changed my view of ways stories could be told. I still really want to do a graphic novel some day, if I can find an illustrator.
  3. Anne Rice. Yes, she can get flowery with her descriptions, but I re-read Interview with the Vampire every couple years. Lestat may be showy, but Louis is still my favorite.
  4. Ben Aaronovitch. His Peter Grant series is just so much fun. When I told my 10-year-old son about it, he said, “Oh, it’s Harry Potter for grown-ups.” Yeah, that’s about right.
  5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Without his writing the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I wouldn’t have a career.
  6. William Shakespeare. I’ve been in a Shakespeare troupe, and I’ve taught Shakespeare’s plays to kids, and I still just love his work. Once you get past the language (which isn’t a problem for me, but I had to show the kids how to read it), the stories are incredible. And really, the language is clever and lovely once you get the hang of it.
  7. Jane Austen. Speaking of clever language. She’s so smart and funny and I can read her over and over.
  8. Kate Morton. Her books have a definite formula to them, but I still find myself entranced and unable to put them down.
  9. Tana French. The Dublin Murder Squad books are a neat interlocking chain of stories. In the Woods is still my favorite, but they’re all great.
  10. Agatha Christie. I discovered Hercule Poiroit as a pre-teen and still just love to pick up one of those books when I want a quick, fun read.
****
Manifesting DESTINY
(Changers)
M Pepper Langlinais
Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
65K, Evernight Teen Publishing

Sixteen-year-old
Cee has a hopeless crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s
gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie,
Marcus has become increasingly distant. When Cee discovers she has a
troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more
complicated. 

Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian
removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions
the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never
love her anyway?
Buy
Links:  ARe   Evernight
Teen
   Amazon
Excerpt:
Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her
arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very
heavy. The bony spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to
double over to allow the wings to grow.
Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her
instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a
glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the
details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks
and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot
and insect thereupon.
How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level
with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing
themselves even harder against the trunks, making way for Cee’s—or Livian’s,
she supposed—tail as it snaked by.
Yes, we’re very pretty, said
Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.
The massive wings began to move, slowly at first,
gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to
shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all
Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.
It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting
through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend
more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black
bug, and Livian went right for it.
* * *
About the author:
M
Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and
author. Her latest novel CHANGERS: MANIFESTING DESTINY, first in a new YA
fantasy trilogy, is now available from Evernight Teen. 
M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and
Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love
of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also
interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson
before deciding to devote her full time to writing (and occasionally
parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cat, and
hamster. Find out more about her and her books at PepperWords.com.
 ***
Giveaway:  $25
Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In Her Own Time by Christine Potter – Guest Post

 Guest Post by Christine Potter

Pant-sers, Planners, and In Her Own Time, Bean 2—Sequel to Time Runs Away With Her

You come to know your characters like friends if you write fiction.  I was happy for my friend and main character Bean Donohue at the end of Bean 1, Time Runs Away With Her.  At the close of that book,  16 year-old Bean’s crazy in love with her boyfriend, artist Zak Grant.  She’s got a good folk-rock band together.  Her impossible mother has been…well, slightly less impossible.  The spring of 1970 has been good to Bean.  She should be able to stay put in her own time—right?

But Bean let me know she wasn’t done with her travels to the past not long after I finished that first book.  There are two kinds of fiction authors, they say: planners and pants-ers. Pants-ers are writers who steer their stories “by the seats of their pants.”  Planners have charts and maps and circles and arrows.  I’m totally a pant-ser (and I’d like to share with you that I have on some very nice pants as I’m writing this.  Rayon.  A cool black and white print, for what it’s worth:) )

Anyway, I listened to what Bean was telling me, and so I started the second book, In Her Own Time, RIGHT after the close of Book One.  Often, when I’m making fiction and I’m really into it, it’s like watching a movie, and it was super-true this time.  Except this movie was a darker and scarier one than anything I’d written before.  I knew right away that there were going to be other people capable of time traveling with Bean.  And they began to introduce themselves to me…

No spoilers, but I’ll tell you right now that some of the stuff that started to play out in the theatre of my computer screen scared the snot out of me.  As in I was so wrapped up in it that I couldn’t stop thinking about it before I went to bed.  And then it gave me some pretty interesting dreams.

There’s also some really funny stuff in the new book.  Bean gets involved with an FM rock and roll music station.  Radio of that period is dear to my heart…well, because I did some.  As in I spun discs and stuff.  And so I had a great time putting Bean and Zak and gal pal Samantha  in the middle of 1970 rock and roll DJ’s!  If you’re kind of interested in what it was like to listen to your music on vinyl back in the day, you are going to love this story.  (Hint: vinyl just SOUNDS better.  It does.)

There’s also more from the ghosts of the Deerwood Academy, and some time travel to a new and very scary period.  Plus two places in the book where you WILL cry.  I did, writing them.  And my editors cried, too.

Official announcement: there WILL be a Bean 3.  I wrote the first chapter of it this month.  But my lips are sealed about what’s even in the opening.  You’ll have to read In Her Own Time first!

****

 

In Her Own Time
The Bean Books, #2
by Christine Potter
Romance/Time
Travel/Suspense
63K,
Evernight Teen Publishing
Summer 1970: Bean Donohue’s sixteen, she’s
finally got a good band together, and she’s crazy in love with her artist
boyfriend Zak. 
She’s also about to get the coolest summer job ever, and her
impossible mom’s conveniently out of town.  
So why does she keep
ending up in 1953…or 1779?  
And who’s that guy with the black ponytail and
the Kent State t-shirt?  
He knows way too much about her.  Should Zak
be worried—or should Bean?
  
Buy Links:    Evernight Teen    Amazon    ARe
 14+ due to
sexuality and adult situations
 
 Excerpt:
Bean found herself alone, just outside the
house. The air was sharp. Tall trees that had just been in full summer leaf
were suddenly bare, and smaller than they’d been seconds before. Bean tried to peer
back in through the kitchen window, but the lights were off, and she couldn’t
see anything. She stood in her side yard, sometime in the past. It was
happening again…
And It was enough of a shock
that she didn’t even know how she felt. She’d been glowing from the night
before with Zak, happy to have had Sam pound on her door with music and
laughter. Bean stuck her hands in the pockets of her thin blue cotton robe, and
looked up. The sky looked like early afternoon: pale sunlight behind a thin,
high layer of clouds. In front of her house, underneath the living room windows
stood three overgrown barberry bushes. Bean had never seen them before. The
ground was hard and cold, and she was barefoot.
Alrighty, thenDamn
it.
 Lately, Bean had been perfectly fine with life in 1970. What
year is this supposed to be?
 She had no idea.
Zak said love is always why this happens, she thought.
But then she felt the happiness beginning to leak out of her. If Zak were
right, why had she slipped backwards just now? She had a whole June weekend to
spend with him, feeling nothing but love…and now, this.
It made no sense. All she could do was watch, deal, and try to keep warm.
It really was pretty chilly. She tried jogging
in place to warm up, which helped a bit. Her toes were soon numb, though.
After a few minutes, a black car with big, round bumpers pulled into the
driveway and clattered to a halt. There was the rasp of an emergency brake
being set.  And Bean
s father—very
young, and too thin for his thick, grey winter coat—got out of the driver
s side. Bean put a hand
over her mouth, and watched as he ran urgently around to the passenger
s door. He yanked it
open.
“Can you make it?” Bean’s dad called into the
car.
“Of course I can
make it,” said her mother
s voice. A high-heeled
shoe and a nylon stocking-covered leg emerged. Then came the rest of Bean’s
mom, wearing a brown tweed overcoat and a floppy green beret. She walked a bit
unsteadily, clutching a bundle of white blankets wrapped around a baby, which
began to wail.
“Sh-sh. Sh-sh-sh,” said Julia as she wobbled up
the walk. She stopped when she got to the front door.
“You wouldn’t happen to have remembered the
house keys, would you, Tom?” she called. Tom patted down three pockets in his
coat before something jingled. He rushed a key into the lock. Then he looked
back at the car. Both 
its front doors now stood wide open, and he sprinted back down the
walk toward them. Bean sucked in her breath hard, taking it all in. Was that
her days-old self,crying, inside the house? Sixteen-year-old Bean felt a little
weepy, too.  It’s 1953, then, she thought. Just after my actual
birthday. Wow…
The wind blew and she shivered.
 And then there was a hand on her
arm. 

 

 

Book 1 in The Bean Books series
is now available:
Time Runs Away With Her
About the Author:
Christine Potter lives in a small town not far
from the setting of Time Runs Away With
Her,
near the mighty Hudson River, in a very old (1740) house with two
ghosts.  According to a local ghost
investigator, they are harmless, “just very old spirits who don’t want to
leave.”  She doesn’t want them to.
Christine’s house contains two pipe organs (her
husband is a choir director/organist), two spoiled tom cats, and too many
books.  She’s also a poet, and the author
of two collections of verse, Zero Degrees
at First Light,
and Sheltering in
Place.
Christine taught English and Creative Writing for years in the
Clarkstown Schools.  She DJ’s free form
rock and roll weekly on Area24radio.com, and plays guitar, dulcimer, and tower
chimes.
Twitter: @chrispygal
*  *  *
Giveaway:
The
author will be giving away 1 book copy per day
chosen from
comments left at the tour stops.

Star Spangled Cowboy Release!

star spangled cowboy
paige warren
Erotic Western Romance
Evernight Publishing
Heat Level: 3 Word Count: 20, 610
ISBN: 978-1-77233-936-9
Combat-wounded vet, Tyson Braxton,
feels like half a man since losing his leg in Afghanistan.  After
returning to the family ranch, he wonders what any woman would see in him now.
His scars and self-doubt run deep, and while feeling desperate, he hires a
prostitute to ease his sexual tension.
Dacey Morgan
has lived a life of horror since the age of seventeen when her pimp lured her
into a life of prostitution and depravity. She wants out, but the last girl who
tried to run ended up dead in a ditch. So, Dacey tries to do what she’s
told—but she has one guilty pleasure, her two nights a week she gets to see
Tyson.
Dacey longs
for the day she’s free to love the man she’s falling for, but she knows that
freedom will come at a cost.
Buy Links:
 Evernight
Publishing
    Amazon    Bookstrand    ARe
* * *
Excerpt:
Tyson slowly
kneeled and took her hand in his, his touch gentle. “I know that we only have a
business arrangement, Dacey, and I have no claim on you. That being said,
despite the fact I use your services, I don’t like your job. I don’t like the
thought of other men’s hands on you, or that you have to sleep with random
strangers just to pay your bills. I once offered to help take care of you if
you would just give up that lifestyle. Why won’t you let me?”
“I’m not a
problem for you to solve, Tyson. My life may not be perfect, but it’s mine. My
trailer isn’t much, but at least I own it. And my job may not be as glamorous
as it looked on Pretty Woman, but I’m
careful.”
His hand
tightened on hers. “I don’t like it, but I know I can’t force you to quit. One
day, you’ll decide you’re ready for a respectable life, a home, and a family.
What are you going to do when that happens?”
She already
wanted those things, desperately, but how was she supposed to get away from
Carlos? She wasn’t as popular as the other girls, but she still brought him a
steady income, and he wasn’t going to let her go anytime soon. He owned her,
and there wasn’t anything she could do about it. If she went to the police to
turn him in, they’d just arrest her as well for prostitution. And she couldn’t
let Tyson go after Carlos, not with his disability. He might act all big and
tough, but she knew he was still recovering.
“No one’s
going to want a washed-up whore, so I guess I never have to worry about that.
Besides, I don’t think I can have children. Back when I first started working,
Carlos took a few months to get my birth control lined up, and he didn’t always
make the customers use a condom. I think I’d have gotten pregnant if it were a
possibility.”
She’d gotten
frequently tested during that period of her life, and she still went every
month. Of course, she also made sure her customers used condoms and refused to
service the ones who wouldn’t. It had been the cause of many fights between
Carlos and her, but knowing she wasn’t doubling her chances of an STD was worth
the beatings.
“You can’t
save me, Ty,” she said softly. “I appreciate that you want to, really I do, but
it’s too late for me. I’ve been working this job since I was seventeen. I’ve
seen things and done things that I’m not proud of, but I’ve done whatever was
necessary for me to survive. You think someone’s going to want a woman who’s
been a whore for five years? Someone who never graduated high school? What’s my
marketable skill, that I can make you come in less than a minute?”
He smiled a
little at that. “I’m not sure I would consider that skill. I like it when
things are dragged out for a while. The anticipation and incredible sensation
of feeling you wrapped around my cock are even better than coming.”
“You get my point,
though.”
Tyson
caressed her cheek and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. “I will do whatever it
takes to protect you, Dacey. Anything. If it hadn’t been for you, I probably
would have blown my head off months ago. Knowing I’d get to see you twice a
week has been the only thing keeping me going, and yeah, I know I pay for your
time, but I also know that you enjoy being with me.”
She leaned
into his touch. Just thinking about him ending his life was enough to make her
cry, and for once she was thankful for her job. If she hadn’t been a
prostitute, they never would have met. He’d gotten Carlos’s number from a
friend and she’d just been lucky to be the girl her pimp sent out that night.
Ty had made her life so much better, even if she didn’t get to spend much time
with him. They’d laughed and talked, and just genuinely enjoyed one another’s
company. He’d been so cute that first night, unsure of himself to the point of
refusing to take off his pants. It had taken her weeks to get him to undress in
front of her, and when he had, she’d taken the time to kiss all of his scars,
including what remained of his left leg.
“You’ve made
me whole again,” he said. “You never cared that I only have one leg now, or
that I’ve had more holes in me than a pin cushion. My scars don’t disgust you,
and I was finally able to see myself through your eyes and come to grips with
the body I have now versus the one I had before the explosion.”
* * *
About Paige Warren:
Paige Warren spends her days weaving
tales about alpha male cowboys and the women who love them. There’s nothing
hotter than a man in tight Wranglers and a pair of well-worn boots. You have to
admit, there’s something sexy about a man who knows how to use a rope!
A cat lover, she has more than one
furbaby running around, keeping her company in the wee hours of the morning as
she tries to find just the right way to say “His skin gleamed, the early
morning rays caressing his sun bronzed flesh, as he studied her from beneath
the brim of his Stetson.” Or, you know, something similar.
When Paige isn’t dolling out tons of
affection on the furbabies, or slurping down a pot of coffee (Yes! A whole
pot!) so she can get in her daily word count, she enjoys reading and watching
movies – romances, usually.
Author Links:
 
heat wave

Heat Wave Blog Post

heat wave

Life has gotten in the way lately, and I have neglected my blog. I hope a giveaway will make it up to you.

Roane Publishing is hosting the hop, and giving away a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Amazon Gift Card. But to sign up for the prize, you have to visit their page and enter to win. Don’t forget that a blog hop has a LOT OF PRIZES, as each of the sites taking part is giving away something – View here.

I am giving an INTERNATIONAL/US eligible prize. See below for the details.

Thank you to Roane Publishing for hosting the event. Now make sure to enter my giveaway!

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY HERE

OR Enter on Facebook

Vanity isn’t Always in the Mirror

Do you know what a Vanity Press is?

Not everyone does and I am not looking down on someone who goes this route, but it is warning to ensure authors understand the risks.

Obviously I am a fan or independent publishers as well as traditional publishers. I have my reasons. Self publishing is a whole new world that is allowing a lot of new books to flood the market. What of vanity presses though?

A vanity press is a ‘publisher’ that requires the author or perspective author to sign a contract that requires them to pay money up front in order for a book to be accepted.* I don’t mean a small amount either. Most request a few thousand. Some request the author to buy a certain amount of books, or to buy others books from the publisher. There are a lot of different ways to identify a vanity press, but the biggest is that your book was not accepted due to merit, quality, plot line, or any other point that most agents and publishers look for.

A indie and or traditional publisher has contracts, but they never ask the author to foot the bill. Some do not pay advances; this is usually an Indie publisher due to their size and is not uncommon nor a red flag to worry about. Royalties should always be addressed, you’re a publishing to make money – let’s not kid ourselves.

If you aren’t sure if the publisher is a vanity press, where you are pretty much paying to have your book printed rather than self publish in ebook first, Google search and look for reviews. I am not saying all vanity presses are bad, some help market even. Just be aware of what you are getting into before you sign over a lot of money that might be lost for good rather than an investment.

*Please know that it is not uncommon for agents to ask for the author to pay their printing of manuscripts that will be shopped around to potential publishers.

Fighting the Demons

Is May the month of struggle for anyone else? Or maybe it is the Friday the Thirteenth thing, plus a full moon. I never believed in that kind of thing before, but this week has been a rough week of Mondays. In fact, I missed Tuesday altogether.

I need help. No, really. I need it. I struggle with the demands of life from kids, to cleaning, to working, to wanting to read a book. Where exactly is writing happening? It’s not. It’s fighting with some demons that say ‘this is never going to go 2016-05-11 23.43.37anywhere” and “no one actually reads what you write anyway.”

It’s hard when reviews are so daunting to pull out of readers. It’s hard to sit and write when entire stories play out in my head a million times better than I write it.

So, there you have it. That little doubt monster is back.

Pushing it all aside, I am doing as Taylor Swift does. “Shake it off.” I am going to start the synopsis. I feel like I need something to remind me where I was going. I don’t do outlines – too many rules to follow or change. A synopsis though is a great highlight of all the big parts of your book. I hope this will focus my energy and make me stop doubting. Besides, I love writing. Who cares if no one writes it, other than I would love someone to come visit me in my made up worlds.

 

 

Investing in MY Dream

I want to write full time, it’s my dream. I don’t make very much right now, but I technically don’t write for the money. The thing is, I would LOVE to be able to write full time and that means I need to be able to make money with it.

It comes back to me now and than, that you have to spend money to make money. That being said, there have to be reasonable risks.This year I hope to join RWA and my local chapter – again. I havn’t been a member in years, five to be exact. This isn’t a cheap investment when you make much, much less than the membership. I am hoping that joining will inspire me to find new ways to reach new fans. Most of all though, I hope to find a group that will be supportive and inspire me to continue down this sometimes very hard road.

If you are a Romance Writers member, how beneficial do you think it is? I don’t mind giving some, if I can get something out too. Even if no one ever read my books, which at the moment is actually not the case, I would still write.

What investments in your future are you making this year?