Author Interview: Jordan Elizabeth

Here’s another great author interview with interesting answers. Check out Jordan Elizabeth’s new book KISTISHI ISLAND!

Serena has always been plagued by imaginary friends… But what happens is they aren’t imaginary?

Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary.  Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.

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What inspired you to write this book? I wrote this book during college. I was studying childhood education, and one textbook discussed how healthy it is for kids to have imaginary friends. I started to think about what it would be like if you were a teenager and still had those imaginary friends.

That sounds really cool! How long have you been writing? Forever! When I was an infant, my grandmother wrote my stories for me. Eventually I started writing my own in notebooks, but my handwriting is atrocious. My stories really took off when I got my first computer.

Are you an outliner or pantser? Definitely a pantser! I never know how the book is going to end until I reach the final page.

Although I love outlining, I completely understand how your stories will take you on a roller coaster ride. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? I take a walk. Even just a walk around the block inspires me to continue the story, or sometimes to start a new one.

What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love to make jewelry and paint.

We have so much in common! I love to paint and make jewelry. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? A haunted castle in Europe. I can just imagine all the stories it would inspire.

If you were just given an Island, what would you name it? And who would live there with you? Kistishi Island! Serena’s imaginary friends would live there with me…and it would be awesome.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I have no idea! I love food. I guess tofu? People think that’s very odd (but it is one of my favorite foods).

Tofu is the staple of every vegan and vegetarian. There’s so much you can do with it! If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Clark Treasure from TREASURE DARKLY. Is it bad to have a book-crush on your own character?

img_7391Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t take rejection personally. Everyone likes something different. It can feel crushing, but you have to find the perfect place for your writing.

Jordan Elizabeth writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. Follow her on Facebook!

You can purchase here and read the first chapter of Kistishi Island below:

Chapter One

“How are your imaginary friends?” Serena read aloud from the black marker scrawled on her locker. Her dry lips stuck together with each word as the sarcasm stung her mind. The janitor might scrub the permanent marker, but it would always remain a faint reminder of how much people ridiculed her. The washed out marks from last week, “Schizo,” “Fake,” and “Your imaginary friends hate you,” still showed up against the brown metal.

“Aw, someone cares about my day.” Krieg hovered behind, picking fuzz off her dress. “You should answer them. Write ‘Krieg says hi’ underneath.”

The last thing she needed was people knowing how much she still communicated with Krieg. Serena glanced down the hallway, but the students strolling by didn’t look her way. Who could have written the graffiti? Roxanne? Her hand trembling, Serena spun the combination on her lock and jerked open the dented locker door. The hinges rattled.

Did it hurt them if she had an invisible friend? As she exchanged a textbook for her social studies notes, someone bumped her butt. She lost her balance, flinging out her hand to grab the locker.

“Whoops,” a boy said and snickered.

Serena’s cheeks burned as she stuffed her supplies into her messenger bag. One more hour of high school and she could go home. Tomorrow she would bring another marker to scribble out the words that branded her.

Krieg leaned in close enough for Serena to smell her peppermint bubble gum, and said, “Bludgeon them. It’s the only way to get them to shut up.”

“No one’s talking about me right now.” Serena’s sneakers squeaked against the tile floor as she ducked into the classroom. Afternoon sunlight reflected off faded Holocaust posters on the off-white walls.

“It’s annoying when you allow the little rodents to torment you.” Krieg stuck her tongue out at the few students settling into their seats. “Where are the beheadings and crocodile pits? How about some maiming? I want to hear screaming and bones crunching.”

“This is the suburbs in the twenty-first century. People don’t do that stuff here.” Serena took her favorite seat in the back near the globe and opened her messenger bag to remove her notebook. Glancing around the room at the few students, she smiled. Since the teacher hadn’t arrived yet, she could grab a few minutes to work on her novel. Hopefully, the story would be done by her mother’s next visit. Look what I did, Mom!

“Whatcha doing?” Krieg leaned her hip against the desk and rearranged the pleated folds of her silk stola. Beneath the sleeveless dress, she wore a turquoise tunic. A thin silver belt fastened beneath her breasts, and another clasped around her narrow waist.

“I’ve got an idea for chapter seven of my Jennifer Erik story.” Serena pressed her pen to a clean page. “Jennifer’s going to be caught by a gargoyle.”

Roxanne stalked from two rows over and blinked her glittered eyelids at Serena. “Did you just call me a gargoyle?”

Serena tightened her fist around her pen. “No.” Her throat constricted. Why does Roxanne always have to single me out?

Roxanne yanked Serena’s black notebook from the desk; the metal spirals scraped against the hard surface. Serena’s pen slipped from her hand and struck the tile floor, the sound eerily loud.

Fail. She hadn’t made it through that last hour of the school day. “I wasn’t talking to you.”

“Who were you talking to? Your imaginary friends?” Roxanne bent the notebook, her biceps flexing beneath the short sleeves of her skull-and-crossbones T-shirt.

Serena cringed. Even though she would still be able to read the words, her stomach twisted into a knot. It wouldn’t be the same as having the pages crisp, new.

“I told you to bludgeon everyone before they could start on you.” Krieg rubbed her knuckles together.

“Forget to do your homework again?” Roxanne asked.

“It’s not my homework—”

“Maybe they should put you in Special Ed.”

Blood drained from Serena’s head, her heartbeat ringing in her ears. Classmates stopped getting out supplies from their backpacks to stare. Of course Roxanne would have to bring that up.

Serena toyed with her nose ring to calm her nerves. I will not fight back.

Krieg flounced across the room to push Roxanne’s baseball cap off her desk and jumped aside when a boy almost walked into her. He stopped to pick up the hat, and Krieg pointed at his bottom as he bent. She lifted her foot in a mock kick. “You know you want to.”

Serena drew a deep breath, dragging her gaze away from Krieg and back to Roxanne. “Please give my notebook back.”

One, two, three… uno, dos, tres… Her last psychiatrist promised counting in foreign languages would help her calm down faster because it took more conscious thinking to do it.

Her pulse still pounded.

Serena wouldn’t react. She knew better. It was just a spiral notebook.

Roxanne, standing over Serena’s desk, thumbed through the pages, tearing the college-ruled paper with her thick fingers. “Your handwriting sucks.” Needles scraped across Serena’s skin with each rip.

“Do something.” Krieg punched her fist into her palm.

Four, five, six… no, Serena would not talk back. Seven, eight, nine… she wouldn’t say anything this time. Ten, eleven, twelve… maybe she could still make it through the final hour.

“What is this crap?” Roxanne ripped out a page. Smirking, she crumpled the paper and tossed it at the garbage can in the back of the room.

“Don’t let her ruin your story.” Disgust coated Krieg’s words; she spat them out as if they were spoiled milk. Eyes narrowed, Krieg brushed her hand across Serena’s shoulder. Electricity shot through her body, arching her back.

“Give it back!” Serena launched to her feet. No, not again. She grabbed the notebook with two hands while she jammed her shoulder into Roxanne’s sternum. The force knocked Roxanne backward, but she clung to the notebook, dragging Serena with her as she hit the floor. Roxanne rolled until her muscled frame pressed against Serena’s ribs, forcing the breath from her lungs. Serena squirmed to get away, bumping her leg against a desk. She wouldn’t fight, didn’t want to, couldn’t, not here, not again…

Krieg’s voice echoed in her mind. Squelch her. Tie her to the rack.

“Cool. A fight.” A girl sitting across the aisle from Serena laughed.

I don’t want to fight. Krieg’s electricity still burned Serena’s veins, muting her urge for peace. Even if Serena didn’t win, she wouldn’t let Roxanne walk away without a few bruises. Maybe Roxanne would finally quit bullying her. Then Serena would never have to fight again, no matter how much the urge overtook her.

“You think you’re better than the rest of us?” Roxanne bared her teeth. “All alone back here, just because your mom was in National Geographic?”

She wrapped her legs around Serena’s, and they rolled. Serena’s back hit another desk leg. Pain flared along her nerves. A few quick twists of her hands on Roxanne’s head, and Serena could have broken her neck the way Krieg had taught her, but she stilled. Perspiration broke out across her forehead as she forced herself not to move.

“Fry her.” Bloodlust tainted Krieg’s voice. Her unbound hair hid her face, purple eyes peeking out.

“You gotta see this,” a girl said from the other side of the classroom into her cell phone. “Roxanne took on Serena!”

 

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Bleeding Hearts eBook Giveaway

Bleeding Hearts will be out for four months on Christmas day!

So, in celebration of my four month eBook anniversary, I will be doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for a free copy of my book! How exciting!

In case I haven’t talked about my book enough, here’s the blurb and links for you to check it out. This would make great Christmas gifts.

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare. 

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.  

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

 

Buy Here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and iBooks

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Book Review: Blood Kiss

Blood Kiss by Karen Tjebben

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Alisha Woods knew she was in trouble. The situation was progressing. The harmless flirtation had long past intriguing and now bordered on terrifying. She had to take action, go on the offensive against her stalker. As she opened the door of Young Guns, she promised herself that she’d be ready when he came for her. She would survive.
Mike Lewis lived each day knowing that life could evaporate in a moment. Ghosts followed him, haunting his soul. He craved redemption, a chance to right the wrongs of his past. And when Alisha walked in, he recognized his chance at redemption. He would save her.
After everything Mike had done to prepare her, she thought she was ready. But as the blood spilled from her lips, Alisha’s mind raced for what she could have done differently…
She should have listened to Mike.

 

I love a good suspense novel! Blood Kiss starts out with the main character(Alisha) buying a gun. She’s done her homework and knows what she wants. I think starting with this scene helps the reader determine just how much trouble Alisha is in. I really like how the author changes points of views. It gives the reader a level of suspense. The romance between Mike and Alisha is a little cute, a little steamy.  I couldn’t stop turning the page. Overall I would rate this book five stars!

5stars

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Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.

If you are interested in purchasing this fantastic read, you can do so on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Stay up to date with the author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, Pinterest, and Amazon.

Book Release for The Decision by L. K. Kuhl

A dear friend of mine has published yet another book! The Decision is a second in the Everlasting series. If you missed out on what the first book is all about, I will list it here so don’t worry.

The Decision’s made. The choice is simple. Or is it?

thedecision200x300The guests are invited. The cake is all set. In just a few short hours Sophia Bandell will be saying “I do” to a guy she isn’t sure she loves. But where does she go from here? She feels her life is headed in a downhill spiral. Her first and real true love, Tate Forester, is a ghost. But he’s the man she wants to be with…the one she can’t live without. Sophia is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Does she forget about Tate and marry the egotistical lawyer, Aaron Stuart? Or does she take the plunge and join Tate to be with him for eternity?

You can purchase The Decision on Amazon and iTunes. It will also be available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

Read an excerpt here:

Sometime through the night, Tate’s kisses woke me. They landed on my cheek like a soft sigh. He began on my cheek and traveled down my neck, resting delicately on my shoulder. But each one felt like he was snuffing out a candle flame. I knew that this would be the last time I’d ever feel him again. He was telling me goodbye in the gentlest way he knew.

I held in my sobs but couldn’t stop the silent tears from sliding down my cheeks. They spilled to my neck and pooled there in the deep, hollowed indent above my clavicle. Tate kissed them away, and wiped a wet strand of hair from my face.

“Don’t cry. I was hoping I could slip away without waking you. I need to go. Aaron will be home soon.”

My throat ached. I grimaced and tried to swallow away the soreness, but it had its claws dug in too deep. There was no way to release it, to ease this massive tumor that kept growing inside of me each time it was time to say goodbye.

“This is the end, isn’t it? Your kisses told me everything you can’t say. So do your eyes.”

“It has to be. It’s time.”

lynetteL.K. Kuhl is the author of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Series, The Everlasting Trilogy. The Decision is book two of this trilogy. She has also penned Chasm, a Romantic Suspense novel. Chasm was released in May of 2016.

L.K. lives in Nebraska with her husband Gene of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg and Will, their furry dog kids. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.

 

Everlasting is L. K. Kuhl’s debut novel. It is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance novel, the first in the series.

Dying wasn’t a choice. For Sophia, it was a need.everlasting.png

Seventeen-year-old Sophia Bandell is scared of boys, and her biggest fear is dying. Boys make her uncomfortable and itchy and dying is …well …dying. She is ecstatic when her long lost friend calls her, inviting her to spend the summer with her on the beach at Charleston, South Carolina.

When a plastic saucer hits her in the head as she’s sunbathing, Sophia has no idea it will forever change the course of her life. It is there she comes face to face with the impressive Tate Forester.

She is scared and …itchy, but he’s gorgeous and she can’t shake him from her mind. They begin dating and Sophia soon knows he’s the one.

But things turn dark when she learns Tate isn’t the person she thinks he is, and the real reason her friend has brought her to the beach will teach her about life after death.

This everlasting summer on the beach gives Sophia a sweet taste of first love—the happiness as well as the heartbreak.

Everlasting is available for purchase as eBook or paperback on Amazon!

 

CHASING TRUTH BY JULIE CROSS

New York Times Bestselling author has a new book to share with us. Chasing Truth (Eleanor Ames #1) is published with Entangled TEEN on September 27th, 2016.

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At Holden Prep, the rich and powerful rule the school—and they’ll do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden.

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him—she doesn’t even like him—but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he thinks she’s the killer.

 

Link to Goodreads:

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | IndieBound | BAM | TBD

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-schedule-chasing-truth-by-julie-cross/

Giveaway Information:  Click Here

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card + a paperback copy of Whatever Life Throws at You (INT)

 

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).

She’s also the author of the Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.Julie Cross_Author Photo.jpg

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing cred, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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Edenhart’s Rivalry Book Blitz

 

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Title: Edenhart’s Rivalry

Author: 14273411_10208612105032637_1582943358_o

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Hosted: Mythical bat reviewsJohn Cintron PA

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A dark power is rising, and a kingdom is in dire need of a leader when the King of the Faeries falls in battle. Or so, that’s what they’re led to believe, but his only heir and daughter, Aurora, suspects murder. But when she and her loyal friend Percy, the Captain of the Elite Guard, discover an ancient prophecy foretold by the enigmatic Faerie Sorcerers, Aurora finds herself an unwilling pawn in a dark plot that will threaten everything she holds dear. Her courage and magic will be her greatest weapons if she hopes to succeed where all others have failed. But will she? Aurora must ask herself this very question: just how far is she willing to go to save her kingdom, and at what costs?

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Author Bio

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Julianne Nicole Tomczak (Tom-Zack) is the writer of Kingdom of the Faeries: Edenhart’s Rivalry so here’s a little bio. Julianne grew up on a small farm in central Arkansas and now lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband. When not writing, Julianne loves playing video games, listening to music, hiking, and binge-watching Falling Skies while eating non-nutritional food.

Author Links:

Goodreads  Twitter  Facebook Author Page  Street Team  Pinterest  Instagram  Tumblr  Amazon  Newsletter  Website 

Buy Links:

Amazon: The Kingdom of the Faeries: Edenhart’s Rivalry

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingdom-of-the-faeries-jn-tomczak/1123402817?type=eBook

 

Excerpt

One

Shadow of the Storm

Aurora’s blade whirred through the air of the empty training yard as she blocked and exchanged blows with imaginary foes. She delivered a killing stroke and then whirled around to ward off another fictitious attack. A sharp ring pierced the air and stung her senses as her sword struck metal.

Her eyes flew wide finding herself face-to-face with Percy, who stood in the raiment of the Elite Guard—the faeries’ special select force, handpicked by the king himself.

Percy’s lips lifted into that familiar yet annoying smirk of his. But at that moment, it was the most welcoming sight Aurora had seen all day.

“Rule number one,” he said, dropping his blade. “Always be aware of your surroundings.”

“Percy!” Aurora abandoned formalities and grappled him in a hug. “When did you get back from Dragonspire?”

“Today,” he said, returning her hug with equal fervor. He broke the embrace first and smiled, but his hands still lingered on hers. “It’s good to see you.”

She punched him in the shoulder. “That’s for leaving me with no one to spar with!”

“I was only gone for two months!” He laughed, rubbing his shoulder even though Aurora knew it didn’t hurt. On a more solemn note, he added, “But they were the most brutal two months of training I’ve ever received. I never want to do that again.”

“Congratulations.” She treated him with a smile but was reluctant to pull away from his touch to sheathe her weapon.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Something is bothering you, or you would have noticed me watching you for the past five minutes. You’ve never let anyone take you by surprise before. Are you not happy to see me?”

He sounded a little hurt.

“Of course I am!” she said.

“Then what’s wrong?”

Aurora knew he wouldn’t relent until she told him.

“I’m not sure, really,” she said.

“It’s your father.” He said it without question.

She sighed and lowered her gaze. “Every time he leaves I can’t help but worry if he’ll ever return.”

Percy shook his head. “Aurora, you’re worrying over nothing. He’s the king. He can look after himself. Or have you forgotten he single handedly defeated a goblin Cabal? Not many can say the same.”

Now it was her turn to shake her head. “This time it’s different.”

“He’ll return,” he assured her. “You’ll see.”

Aurora nodded, but his words did little to quench the ache deep inside her chest.

He shifted, and the golden pendant holding his cape together winked at her. A closer look revealed the crest of a phoenix in flight. Only high-ranking officers wore them.

“Your new rank fits you well, Captain,” she said and gestured at the emblem on his chest.

The sharp points of his ears reddened under her compliment, but then he said, excitedly, “As does this sword. I call it Phoenix.”

He extended his blade, hilt first. Releasing a quick breath, Aurora found it surprisingly light. The polished hilt and cross guard sported golden floral embellishments, and a glazed blue stone beamed within the pommel. This was dweor work at its best. Even though it looked like a gilded side ornament, Aurora knew better. All dweor weapons were forged for one purpose—killing. The adornments made it no less deadly.

Aurora slid one finger down the blade’s spine then gave it a few practice swings for good measure. Percy gulped and took a step back as she thrust and twirled the sword through the air with practiced ease before presenting the hilt toward him.

“This is a good blade,” she mused. Percy beamed and slid it back into the sheath at his side.

“Of course it is. It was made by the dweor,” he said as if it were obvious. “No faerie could hope to wield a finer blade.”

Aurora sized him up and down as she circled him. “I said it was a good blade, but I wonder how well its master can handle it?”

Much to her surprise, he didn’t rise to the bait. “I’ve no time for sword games, Aurora,” he said. “I’ve now got responsibilities that your father—I mean, the king—has entrusted to me.”

She brought the circle to a close. “So am I to understand the new Captain of the Elite Guard is…a coward?”

Still he refused to be baited. Before, she’d had no trouble in goading him into a duel. Now, it seemed he’d finally learned patience. Even now she could see him sizing her up, as if he were debating if he could actually best her. After all, her skills with a blade were renowned throughout Silverbroke—and unmatched. Save for her father, who’d trained her himself.

“Come, spar with me,” she insisted when he said nothing. Then, with a wicked smile that often made him blush, she added, “I command it.”

Both of them knew he couldn’t refuse her challenge now. He stood calmly for a moment, his expression betraying nothing, when finally the slither of his blade answered her.

They circled each other, eyes locked, as the tips of their blades skimmed one another in a lethal dance. This was a game they were all too familiar with.

All her focus on him, Aurora tightened her grasp around the hilt of her blade.

His gaze didn’t vary as he spoke, “No magic—and the first one to drop their weapon loses.”

Her blade twitched in response, and Aurora smiled. “And no mercy.”

She rushed forward with the speed and ferocity of a charging lioness and swung her blade. When their swords met at the center, she relished the welcoming sting it left in her hand but stood firm.

Aurora steeled herself against him, their swords the only thing keeping them apart. Her arms shook. Then he pushed forward with a grunt and shoved her to the ground. Before he could disarm her, Aurora retaliated with a swipe of her leg. He staggered, knocked off balance, and fell on top of her.

For a moment, they locked eyes, their lips almost touching. Her stomach fluttered, but then she elbowed him in the side and jumped to her feet. Percy was just as quick.

He surprised her afterward with his sudden aggressiveness which forced her in the defensive. His blows came fast and hard, barely giving her enough time to shield herself.

A sharp sting landed across her face, and she stumbled back. Her hand flew to the wound as warmth trickled down her cheek.

When she pulled her hand away, beads of blood appeared on the tips of her fingers. Percy frowned and reached toward her, unknowingly falling for the ruse. She sprung to life and thrust her sword with a quick jab to his exposed front.

He threw his blade up, blocking it, and staggered back, shaking his head.

“Rule number two: never underestimate your opponent,” Aurora mocked.

Out of breath, he countered, “Rule number three: pointless chatter is a waste of energy.”

For the next several minutes, they blocked and traded blows across the training yard when Aurora’s blade came crashing down hard over his. While their blades were locked, Percy managed to jab her in the ribs, hard enough so he could shove her away from him. He rewarded her with a daring smirk.

“You’ve improved, I see,” she told him.

“You couldn’t expect me to come back from Dragonspire without having picked up a few tricks, now could you?”

“Now you’re just boasting. Remember, over-confidence can get you killed.”

While he caught his second wind Aurora waited, when she could have taken advantage of the situation. But where would be the fun in that? She watched him carefully from a safe distance. His short blond hair stuck to his brow, sheened with sweat whereas she barely perspired beneath her chainmail and long hair.

“Had enough?” she goaded with an energetic twirl of her sword.

He wiped the sweat from his eyes and snorted. “You wish.”

If he’d said anything less, Aurora would have been disappointed. One of the things she loved about Percy was his tenacity to see a fight through, no matter the odds. The determination reflecting behind his sea green eyes did not go unchecked. Percy was amongst the few who relished every opportunity to test his luck against her.

But his luck, it seemed, along with his strength, were wearing thin.

Aurora allowed him only a brief respite before she lunged at him again. This time with a means to finish this as she abandoned all formalities.

He confronted her forthright attack as if he’d been expecting it, resulting in a crisscross of steel. But a weakening in his stance turned against him—one she was quick to exploit. Aurora wound her sword around his and jerked up. The sudden movement disarmed him before he could register what had happened.

With the point of her sword trained below his neck, he said, between breaths, “Your father…taught you well.”

Aurora smirked and sheathed her blade. “Only fair since you snuck up on me. Your reflexes are sharper, I noticed, but then you lost the angle to your blade. Watch your stance.”

He retrieved his blade form the ground. “Sometimes I forget how light this sword actually is,” he said, giving the sword a spin. “But I’ll take that as a compliment, my lady, even if I’m half the swordsman you are. What I or anyone would give to train with your father. You’re lucky.”

Aurora frowned. “You’d come to regret saying that if you had the chance. With him it’s learn fast or fail. He was not gentle.” She winced from the memory. “But he saw it necessary I learn at a young age.”

“And I agree with him. Danger lurks everywhere. Even in places where you think you’re safe.” He offered her a consoling smile. “Well, at least no one was here to witness my disgrace. I’m sure the men would have liked nothing better than to witness their new Captain shown up by a woman.”

“Ahem.”

Both of them turned and shared a look of surprise, finding an audience. From the visible carrot-colored beard beneath the helmet, Aurora recognized Flynn, the Warden of the Elite Guard. On one shoulder sat his silver-speckled falcon, Aeris. Despite the collected stature the Warden posed, he suppressed an amused grin.

“What are you gawking at?” Percy snapped.

Flynn’s grin disappeared. “N-nothing, Captain! I didn’t see anything.”

The Warden wheeled around and left in a hurry, as if he had something more important to do. Percy glared daggers in his direction while Aurora stifled a laugh. Percy gave her a look as well that said he didn’t find anything amusing.

“You’re a good soldier, Percy,” she reassured. “Better yet, you’ll make a good Captain of the Elite Guard.”

“You think?” He sounded uncertain at first, then cleared his throat. “I mean, of course I will. I admit, it was unexpected that I took over Captain Urien’s position after he…”

His gaze dropped to the ground, and his shoulders sagged. “I wished I’d been there.”

It pained her to hear him say that, and Aurora reached out to console him. “If you had, you wouldn’t be here. The goblins wiped out their entire patrol. Urien would’ve been proud to know his son succeeded him. It’s what you’ve always wanted.”

“And the reason I went through with the training. I’m just…surprised, that’s all. I expected it to be Flynn or someone else. I…I just hope I don’t fail in my father’s place.”

“You’ll make him proud, Percy. Or should I say Captain.”

He allowed the barest of smiles to slip. Then, without warning, he brushed away a lock of golden hair from her face, his thumb pausing to graze the side of her cheek. She stiffened beneath the timid touch, and her stomach twirled. A soft green light illuminated against her skin proceeded by a tingling numbness. But when he drew his hand away, the warmth and light vanished. She touched the side of her face.

The cut was gone.

“Thank you,” she said, hoping she wasn’t blushing. “I could have done that, you know.”

Percy smiled sheepishly at her. “It’s the least I can do,” he said, and then added: “By the way, I heard Mitas is looking for you.” Now it was his turn to grin. “Wouldn’t want to keep her royal highness from her royal studies. Back to the tower with you, milady!”

Aurora scowled and clipped his ear, making him cry out. “Tease me all you want to, but I actually enjoy my lessons.”

“I’m surprised Mitas hasn’t bored you to death yet.” He snorted. “A hundred and twenty years cooped up with him would drive anyone over the brink.”

This time, he dodged her incoming hand to his ear.

“He’s not just an old, kooky hermit like everyone believes he is,” Aurora defended. “He’s the eldest amongst our people, and I believe in his wisdom…however far-fetched it might sound at times.”

Percy didn’t grace her with a reply, instead shrugging his shoulders with a deep sigh. It wasn’t the first time they’d had this argument, nor would it be the last.

“If you see him, let him know I’ll be with him shortly,” she added stiffly, putting an end to the conversation.

He crossed his arms. “Yes, princess.”

“Percy.” She narrowed her gaze. “You know I hate it when you call me that. I have a name. Use it.”

“I’ll try…princess.”

Before she could retort, he lent her a swift bow and left her standing in the training yard. As he went, his red cape billowed out behind him, trying to catch up with his long strides.

She crossed her arms in his direction and blew out a frustrated sigh. But as always, she did not stay mad at him for long. Something else distracted her thoughts.

A wind had risen, blowing her long hair into her eyes and obscuring her view of him. A low rumble off in the distance disturbed the peace settling over Silverbroke. She glanced northward through the square of stone colonnades that bordered the training yard.

There, a migration of dark clouds gathered and shrouded the northern kingdom of Rimscour in shadow. She watched it, wary. Every so often pulses of sporadic light seared the sky in half, followed closely by a low, menacing rumble. Even with miles between them, the storm looked fierce. She trembled inside.

With an audible sigh, Aurora tore her gaze away and started from the training yard, when a braying horn cut her short in her steps. She smiled with uncontained joy and hurried to meet the sound. As she ran, her chainmail jingled loudly down the side passageways as those she passed bowed after her retreating form.

Arriving at her destination, Aurora paused, out of breath, and looked out over the terrace overlooking the high-walled garden courtyard.

Another horn blast echoed down the path followed by a troupe of faeries on horseback. A line of palace soldiers formed an honor guard on both sides of the walkway and lifted their swords high in salute. At the head of the Elite Guard stood Percy. He caught her gaze and winked up at her with a look that said, I told you so.

At the troupe’s lead rode her father, King Homleck, ruler and protector of the kingdom of Edenhart, clad in the ornamental armor of the Elite Guard. The golden-feathered pauldrons and gilded crown above a head of long, silky auburn hair shimmered in the sunlight. Behind him flew the banners of the king: a phoenix needled in gold thread on a red velvet background. Its wings were opened, with the head bowed amongst its breast.

She caught her father’s gaze, but his eyes quickly averted when a guard strode forth from the ranks and took the reins of his white mare, Sassafras. Her father slipped free of the saddle, landing with graceful poise. Aurora counted the soldiers with him. Only a few saddles lay bare. Upon their return, it was clear the threat of recent goblin attacks had been dealt with.

Aurora yearned to greet him. It had been weeks since she had last seen him, but she knew he had other important matters to deal with before they would have time to talk. She’d learned long ago that matters of the kingdom always came first. She would never be first in his life.

Her smile slowly faded as she watched him walk away with his entourage into the palace. Aurora drew back from the balcony and slipped away quietly, where she retreated to the training yard.

She took up a bow and a quiver full of red-tipped arrows from one of the training racks, then lined herself up with her first target: a stuffed, makeshift dummy of a goblin.

Aurora nocked an arrow to the bow then drew the string taught. She held it steady for a moment to build the tension in her right arm but kept her sights on the target in front of her before releasing. Arrow after arrow she freed from her bow, not even caring that she missed her mark. That wasn’t the point of this exercise.

When she ran out of missiles to shoot, Aurora retrieved the arrows and took up her stance once more, fitting another shaft to the bow. Within a second’s calculation, she let the arrow slip through her fingers. A soft thud greeted her ears as it lodged itself an inch from the center. Aurora sniffed disdainfully. She had never cared much for archery, preferring a blade to a bow, but right now it made the perfect excuse to vent some anger.

Just as she made ready another arrow, Aurora jumped when something whirred past her head.

She blinked and found a stray arrow sunk into the epicenter of the red circle where the goblin’s heart would have been. Aurora whirled around to find her father standing behind her. Startled by his unexpected presence, her anger dissipated, and she wondered how long he’d been there watching her.

With calm poise, which her father so often exuded, he replaced the bow he held on the rack next to him.

“I take it the battle went well?” she asked, breaking the awkward tension that had fallen between them.

“We drove the goblins back into their mountain,” he answered. Even though he carried himself tall, his voice came out drawn and hoarse, raw from constant fighting and shouting. And his bright blue eyes, sunken and heavy with fatigue, observed her from beneath a brow strained with tired lines. From this, she gathered that he had not slept much or not at all.

“I noticed the bare saddles when you arrived,” she said.

“Our casualties were minimal compared to our enemy’s. For every faerie they felled, we killed a dozen goblins in their place,” he said.

Aurora decided now was a good time to voice one of her concerns and boldly stated, “These goblin attacks are becoming more and more frequent as of late. With every raid it seems they are reaching closer to our borders.”

“Probably a new, ambitious leader,” her father surmised without much concern. “It’s my job to put them in their place, which is why I came to see you beforehand. Scouts have discovered the source of these skirmishes. I’m going to lead the attack that will put an end to all resistance.”

Aurora blinked. “But you just got back!”

He sighed, making it clear he had been expecting her reaction. “There’s trouble near the Border Mountains. We believe their leader has taken root there.”

The way he frowned caused a sinking feeling to settle in her stomach. “What kind of trouble?”

“There have been reports of goblins amassing near the Wall. Strange, even for them, to wander so close to the northern rim.”

She knew what he referred to as the ‘Wall’ as the ‘Golden Wall’. A massive dweor fortress that’d been abandoned several thousand years ago when the dweor had been driven into the mountains by the elves. Built out of the mountain crags, the towering stone wall overlooked all who entered and left the kingdom of Rimscour. Where its parapets were once manned by thousands of dweor, it was now only kept by a handful of wary human guards. The territory was known to be thick with goblins and other monstrosities, hence why it had been built in the first place—to keep them out.

Aurora shivered inwardly just thinking about it, having grown up on its horror stories.

“Once we find and kill their Cabal, they won’t be a problem anymore—until a new leader arises,” her father continued. “And that usually takes days and sometimes even months of infighting, which is just doing us a kind favor. Just another rabble, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing for you to worry your pretty head over.”

But she did worry, and she didn’t know why.

“You have soldiers who can fight in your stead!” she protested, trying to keep the rising anger from her voice.

“Aurora,” he said, giving her a hard look. Normally, she would have wavered beneath his tone, but her own fears made it anything but reproving. She took a timid step toward him, wanting so much to reach out to him. Instead, her eyes and her voice pleaded for her.

“Please…stay. I can’t…” She took a deep breath to steady herself. “I can’t bear to see you go. It doesn’t feel right. Please, just this once let someone else go in your stead.”

She didn’t know what had come over her. She had never once gained enough courage to tell him face-to-face how she felt, how much she missed him whenever he left, or how much she feared he may never return.

Nothing changed in his expression, no tell-tale that he understood her plight. Nothing, except a growing hardness in his gaze that stilled anything else she might have said.

“Aurora, my duty is to the kingdom. I swore an oath to protect my people and defend them with my life if necessary. One day you will understand.”

Stilling her words, she suppressed the emotions boiling inside. She didn’t want to understand! What she wanted more than ever was a father. Why couldn’t he see that for once? Now, more than ever, she wanted to shout at him. She wanted to tell him that he’s never been there for her when she needed him most—that he’s never once shown any love or adoration toward her, casting her off instead and making her feel like the unwanted heir. Yet even with all these thoughts going through her head, it all boiled down to a stiff, wordless nod.

As if to counteract her angry thoughts, something in the way he looked at her shifted, and as he drew nearer, the hardness within his gaze softened to the point where it looked like he was about to cry. This baffled her, and then she slowly came to understand what that twinkle in his eyes reflected: compassion.

“I know I haven’t been much of a father to you, Aurora, and you have every reason to hate me for it. But I want you to know: everything I do, everything I’ve done, has all been for you. The training I put you through was so that if I was never around, you would be able to protect yourself. I admit, I might have been a bit harsh on you, but it was the only way I thought best. I risk my life every day to make the kingdom a safer place for you. When I die—”

“Don’t say that.” It was hard enough to keep her voice from shaking, but that? Just imagining her father dead brought tears to her eyes.

He raised a gauntleted hand for silence, and she fell quiet. Aurora wasn’t sure if she could bear what he had to say, but she wanted to know—she needed to know. So she forced herself to look him in the eyes, tears and all.

“I won’t be around forever and one day you will have to rule in my stead.” He reached up and cupped the side of her face. Aurora stiffened at the sudden contact, unable to grasp why her father was telling her this now of all times. She remained mute, which was just as well, for she didn’t think she could speak without her voice breaking. “You’re all I have in this world, Aurora. You’re more precious than any dragon-coveted gold a cave could hold. Do not think because I put the kingdom first that I don’t love my own daughter. I promised your mother I would keep you safe, and I will fulfill that promise till my dying breath.”

He closed the remaining gap between them and pressed their foreheads together in a lingering embrace. “Be strong,” he said, kissing her brow, then moved to whisper in her ear, “Hliallu.”

Aurora blinked, shocked by his proclamation of love for her. The word sounded almost foreign to her ears.

He withdrew, and the rims of his eyes were damp. Without another word, her father spun on his heel and left without a backwards glance. Aurora followed in mute despair, wishing there was something she could say or do to change his mind, especially now when she knew the truth, which made this goodbye the hardest of them all. But she knew her father. His mind was made, and she was powerless to stop him. When they arrived in the courtyard, a troop of guards awaited them on horseback.

As her father mounted Sassafras, Percy came and stood beside her. He must have sensed her discomfort, for he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. But it did little to ease the pain inside as she fought to remain composed while forced to watch her father leave all over again.

Her father turned in his saddle to face them. The tears that had rimmed his eyes before were gone, as if they had never existed, and his eyes were as hard as blue marbles.

“Captain, keep my daughter safe,” he said. Aurora caught the undertone in his voice, which hinted that it was more of a command rather than a request. But it wasn’t her safety she was concerned about.

“She’ll be in good hands, Your Majesty,” Percy replied with a slight bow. “Alonde yalla mara.”

Just as her father began to wheel Sassafras around, Aurora broke. She rushed forward and seized the reins, pleading, “Don’t go!”

Her father stared down at her, his eyes alive with mixed emotions, but he spoke nothing. Not even a simple phrase promising her he would return. Instead, he steered Sassafras around and set off down the path toward the eastern gate with a handful of his chosen men. And did not look back.

Aurora didn’t wait to watch them leave. Once the king’s banners faded from sight, she rushed inside the palace, ignoring Percy’s shouts behind her.

Soldiers and retainers bowed after her retreating form as she ran headlong through the marble hallways, which she barely acknowledged. At the end of the corridor she followed her feet carried her up a stairwell.
Chainmail rang loudly in her ears as she raced up the stairs. She dashed through the door at the top and came to an abrupt halt over a balcony. There she watched her father and his guards depart until the glint of their armor could no longer be sighted. Tears fogged her vision as she gave a silent prayer to their Creator to guide and watch over them.

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New Release: A Fence Around Her

Author Brigid Amos has a new release to celebrate!

Can a girl break free from her mother’s past?

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Having a mother with a past is never easy. For Ruthie Conoboy it becomes the struggle of a lifetime in 1900, the year Tobias Mortlock arrives in the gold mining town of Bodie, California. Ruthie is suspicious of this stranger, but her trusting father gives him a job in the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that her mother and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?

You can purchase this book on Amazon   iTunes   Kobo   Smashwords.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m almost hesitant to admit this, but a TV show was my initial inspiration for A Fence Around Her. Let me explain. Having just finished writing a novel about the California Gold Rush of 1849, I was desperately seeking an idea for my next book. Enter Huell Howser, host of “California’s Gold,” a program that highlighted the lesser known places of interest around the state. One evening, Mr. Howser visited the ghost town of Bodie, California. Bodie was a gold mining district that boomed in the early 1880s, declined rapidly, and was then devastated by fire in the 1930s. The minute those images appeared on my television screen, images of scattered ramshackle buildings abandoned in lonely, treeless hills, I was hooked on the place. In early June, I packed up my dog and camping equipment and headed for Bodie. A volunteer dressed in period costume and claiming to be the head machinist gave a fascinating tour of the Standard Stamp Mill, where ore was crushed into dust in the first step in extracting gold and silver. As I hung on his every word, the ghost of an idea began to take form in the back of my mind. That tour guide playing the role of head machinist became the basis for Mike Conoboy, the father of Ruthie Conoboy, my protagonist in A Fence Around Her. After my first visit, I read everything I could find on Bodie, and the rest of the story and characters arose from reading and visits to Bodie.

How long have you been writing?

A very, very long time. That isn’t helpful, is it? Ok, I got serious about writing twenty two years ago, but as my husband likes to say, “life intervened.” I got deadly serious about writing five years ago. Now, there’s no going back.

Are you an outliner or pantser?

Very much a panster, but I like to think there is always an outline hiding somewhere in my subconscious.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

At the risk of being cheeky, just sit down in front of a piece of paper with a pen in your hand, put pen to paper, and go. But seriously, I don’t believe in writer’s block per se. I only believe that sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re not. A lot of people stop writing when they don’t feel inspired. Write when you’re uninspired. That may be when inspiration sneaks in the back door.

What are your hobbies aside from writing?

I love to ski. Skiing combines so many of my loves: mountains, trees, snow, speed, and adventure. And I ski with the love of my life, my husband Bob. Oh yes, I have many other interests, hardly worth mentioning after SKIING! By the way, I sneaked a ski scene into A Fence Around Her. Just couldn’t help myself.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Virginia City, Nevada. I actually worked Virginia City into the backstory of Lilly Conoboy, the mother of my main character Ruthie Conoboy. But I’ve never been there and would like to go someday.

You were just given an Island. What would you name it? And who would live there with you?

I would have an internet contest and let people submit names and then vote on them. It would be fun to see what kind of crazy names people might come up with, like Floaty McIsland, Shelley Long Island, or perhaps Dez Ertisland. Of course my husband would live there with me. And other people who are easy to get along with, because it’s hard to avoid people on an island.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten.

I’m torn among goat, octopus, and frogs legs. Which one do you think is the weirdest? (By the way, I’m not advocating for any of them, and won’t eat them again!)

If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be?

In A Fence Around Her, I gave my main character a best friend by the name of Susanna Hunnewill. Susanna is kind, loyal, caring, wise, dependable, and even-tempered. In other words, she is the perfect best friend. I would totally bring her to life and keep her close by. Everyone needs a Susanna Hunnewill in their life!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t fret over the first draft. No one else has to read it. In the first draft you can write anything you want, make all kinds of mistakes, and relax into the writing. Later you can edit it. So don’t labor over every word and sentence in a first draft. Have fun with it. Writing should be fun!

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Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of Women Writing the West and the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.

Can you share an excerpt of your book with us?

                   When I left the house that day to go to the Sawdust Corner Saloon to fetch my father, the day we met Tobias Mortlock, my mother was still lying in bed moaning as if from a mortal wound and threatening to do herself harm. While I was gone, she had gotten up and tried to console herself by working on her latest landscape. But something had gone wrong, for when we came through the front door into the parlor, we found my mother slumped on the floor. Her silk dressing gown lay in folds around her and her blond curls stuck to her head in a multicolored array. Little pots of oil paint were scattered across the floor dribbling the last of sky blue, forest green, and yellow ochre onto the Persian rug.

“Lilly, what have you done?” My father reached down and lifted her to her feet, then walked over to where the easel lay collapsed on the floor and righted it also. He peeled the wet canvas from the rug and set it on the easel, then stepped back to have a look at it.

Somewhat distracted by the bits of red fuzz from the carpet embedded in the wet paint, I fixed my eyes on the canvas, trying to sort out the swirls of color into a cohesive image. My mother waited silently for our verdict. She seemed, in that moment, as fragile as a sparrow. I was relieved when my father broke the silence with his jovial critique.

“Why Lilly, it is the spitting image of Mono Lake. Yes, here are the islands in the center, and here the mountains rising up in the background. It is quite an impressive site, just as we saw it that day.” Two summers before, my father had taken us on a trip to the lake on the narrow gauge railroad that brought us firewood from the lumber mill on its southern shore. I remember how much my mother enjoyed that rare outing, saying over and over that the lake reminded her of the San Francisco Bay.

“It’s a fine painting, Mother,” I said. She moaned.

“What was that, Lilly?”

“No, Father, she didn’t say anything. She only made a sound.”

“Not good enough!” Mother wailed. Her sticky, colorful curls quivered like bunting in a light breeze.

“That’s not true, dear,” my father said. “You are a fine artist. It’s these fools in this town who don’t appreciate it. Look around at all the beauty in this parlor! Every day, I come home and think, who else has so many beautiful works of art on their walls? Maybe just Leland Stanford, Randal Hearst, and me.” He reached out to brush back her sticky hair. She slapped his arm away, smearing paint on the cuff of his sleeve.

“I’m not talking about the stupid painting,” she said. “It’s me. I’ll never be good enough, not in Bodie.”

“Of course you are. I married you, didn’t I?”

At this she let out a wild scream and shook her head as if fending off a swarm of bees. Oil droplets sprayed in all directions, and I looked out the window to see if anyone could have heard. Mortlock had long moved on, and the street was deserted.

My mother stopped shaking and screaming, but she was still furious. “I am so sick of hearing about how you did me this grand favor by marrying me. If you’d wanted to do something for me, you would have taken me away from this awful place. You would have taken me somewhere people didn’t know me, where I could have been a regular woman.”

My father looked at the paint-spattered rug. “Ruthie, why don’t you go in the kitchen and start boiling water. I think your mother needs a bath.”

As I lit the stove and poured water into pots, I could hear their voices in the parlor, still going back and forth as they always did. Hers was like a mournful violin, his like a jolly French horn hopelessly out of step with the violin. Together they made a dissonant sound like musicians trying to play a duet, but each playing a different piece of music. And it never mattered what they were playing since it was always a variation on the same theme.

Connecting with Brigid:

Join Brigid’s mailing list: http://www.brigidamos.com/mailing-list-signup.html

Like Brigid on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigidamoswriter/?fref=ts

Follow Brigid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Brigid_Amos

Visit Brigid’s website:       http://www.brigidamos.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure

Happy day-after release day for Emily Steward!! She has an amazing book and interview to share with us.

When 13 year-old Penelope Gilbert accidentally transforms into a stapler during math class, she’s sure she’s going crazy. But she’s not imagining the men in black suits now patrolling the halls at school, nor is she imagining the new substitute teacher who orders the class to take a special new test. A test that requires blood. Hunted for her powers, and torn from the life she knows, Penny is swept up into a world in the clouds where magic meets machine and pirates rule the sky.emily

Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.

What inspired you to write this book? I wish I had some kind of revelation to share on what got me inspired, but the truth is, I just decided to quit waiting for inspiration to strike, and start writing. The story looks a lot different now than that early draft, but it was effective because it got me out of my head and actually writing.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing stories pretty much since I can remember. I created a whole series when I was about seven or eight about a monster family. The mother was always yelling for the kids to come to dinner, the kids were always jumping on the bed, and the main character was prone to bonking his head on everything. Apparently when you are seven, bonking you head on things is the peak of hilarity.

Are you an outliner or pantser? Oh I am such a pantser. Probably to the point of detriment. I started writing this book with nothing in mind except that I wanted something magical to happen to this young boy named Bobby Brown. Well I managed to write nearly a third of my novel before I decided it might need some sort of loose outline. It took me several years and a lot of revisions including changing Bobby Brown to a girl named Penelope Gilbert (RIP poor Bobby) and switching my audience from young adult to middle grade.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Just don’t get too caught up in getting things perfect the first time. It’s better to get down a bunch of silly ideas and words until you push past your writer’s block, then to look at a blank screen for days. Computers are very forgiving. You can change, you can delete, and you can revise. Just get something written!

What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love kayaking but I don’t get to do that nearly as often as I’d like. I also enjoy tennis, board games, frisbee golf, and playing guitar. But after becoming a mom, I would sadd Netflix is the hobby I generally have time for. Oh yes, I have gotten very skilled at the Netflixing.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? SO many places. Underwater in a submarine, a real tropical deserted island, ancient ruins, a huge old castle, Lake Loch Ness at night in a row boat, just to name a few. Oh wait, I just read the question again. You said one place. So I’ll say, back in time to see a dinosaur.

You were just given an Island. What would you name it? Something majestic like Azure, or majesty… or Debbie.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten.I once tried some Pup-Peroni. I smelled so good. Smell can be very deceiving.

If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Probably Haldor. He’s quirky and kind, plus he can bend metal with his mind. Do you know how handy that would be for home repairs?

Do you have any advice for other writers? Listen and learn from other’s feedback on your work, but ultimately trust your gut. Don’t get discouraged when you run up against harsh criticism. Use that criticism to fuel your fire. Edit like crazy and show them you do have a story worth sharing that only you can tell. And those rejections you have piling up in your inbox… they really are subjective. Somewhere, someone is looking for your book, it just needs to fall into the right hands at the right time.

Can you share an excerpt of your book with us?

 “Come on!” she yelled to Haldor who was wriggling out from under the spider corpse. She ran to the spot where she saw the creature enter as Haldor hurried to catch up. She scrambled through the brush until she came to a stream. There she saw the spider. He was across the water under a large tree.

Above him were several objects swinging in the breeze. It took her a moment to realize that they were rotting bodies strung up by their necks. Their unseeing eyes stared eerily into the darkness. Upon closer inspection, she saw that there were at least thirty of them. She wretched silently as she tried to think of a way for Crane to not become one of them. The spider was already trying to wrap a strand of webbing around his neck.

A thought occurred to her. An outrageous, outlandish thought. I can do this, she assured herself. She tried to picture every last detail of her slain foe—every creepy crawling, hairy, shiny detail. Penny could feel the energy pulsing through her. Her hands were no longer her own. Her teeth had become fangs, and her eyes were the eyes of a killer.

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I absolutely love this cover! If you wish to purchase this book, you can do so on Amazon. Congrats Emily!!

Bleeding Hearts Cover Reveal

With only 16 days left until Bleeding Hearts comes out, my book cover is finally here!

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Isn’t it wonderful?? This was designed by Cora Graphics.

If you want to join me and some other great authors in my virtual release party on August 27th, you can do so on Facebook. There will be games, prizes, and free books!!

In case you forgot or are seeing this for the first time, here’s the blurb for Bleeding Hearts:

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

Remember to get your copy on release day, AUGUST 25! 


The Countess Intrigue BY Wendy May Andrews

Engaged to a rumored murderer – what’s a lady to do?

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During her second Season, Lady Elizabeth Castleton is found in a compromising situation with Lord Justice Sinclair, the Earl of Heath. Despite her attraction to him, she is dismayed to find herself betrothed to the man who is rumored to have killed his first wife. Her parents refuse to lend credence to the rumors, so she is soon married and on the way to her husband’s estate.

She cannot decide what to make of the handsome earl but after an attempt is made on her life, Elizabeth is terrified that history is about to repeat itself. She determines to find out once and for all if she is married to a murder.

Can she stay alive long enough to find her happily ever after?

Wendy May Andrews is a fellow author friend of mine from Clean Reads. She has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them.

You can follow her on  Facebook   Twitter   Instagram  and her website. WMAndrews author pic

Brief Excerpt:

The evening had already been harrowing with the abduction of her dearest friend from that very ballroom mere moments earlier, but it already felt like eons. After she had left it in the Duke of Wrentham’s hands there had been nothing she could do to help. She had no desire to stand about wringing her hands so she was making every effort to remain calm, keeping up appearances in order to prevent Rose’s absence from becoming common knowledge, in an effort to preserve her reputation. The last thing Elizabeth needed was to be seen conversing with the controversial earl. But despite every instinct shrieking for her to leave the man’s presence on the instant, she forced herself to meet his eye as she bade him good night.

His handsome face always made her blink. Well defined, with a sharp jaw and angular cheekbones. His skin looked smooth, as though he had just left the ministrations of his valet. His wide set eyes were a unique color, somewhere between blue and green, and leant an air of watchful intelligence to his beauty. She wondered if he found it amusing to be constantly faced with wide-eyed women or if he had become immune to it. Perhaps he took it as his due, Elizabeth thought absently, before she refocused her attention. She ought to be keeping her wits about her. Exhaustion from the evening’s turmoil was dulling her senses.

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