Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2015

It’s been forever since I’ve posted on this blog. Actually, an entire year if you don’t count the posts for other authors. Clearly, I’ve been slacking. Well, with the blog. Not so much in other areas. Let’s recap 2014 and see how I’ve done with those 2013 resolutions!

Books Published
2014 saw the publication of two new books: A Single Swim and Damsel Not. A Single Swim was the hardest book I’ve ever written, as it is a nonfiction and because it deals with not only a personal matter of losing a family member to a brain-eating amoeba, but also scientific data, which I’m not good with. But I am proud of the finished result and continue to help raise awareness.

Damsel Not is my first romance. It was born from a trip to Medieval Times with some of my best author friends. If you like knights, cynical romance, and steamy scenes, then this one is for you :).

Books Started
Oh, so many! I’ve started the sequel to Fragile Creatures, two standalone novels, and my first horror series (more on that in a bit). I’m also in the beginning stages of a new adult fantasy series. 2015 will probably only see two new books, but 2016 will be THE year :).

Here's a little preview to that fantasy series.....

Big News
In August of 2014 I landed my first publishing contract with Permuted Press for a 5-book horror series. These will be released starting November 2016 and each consecutive month after, into 2017. But the books have to be done before then, so I’ve been writing like crazy! Book 1 is done and book 2 is in progress. This series is based around ghost stories and legends in Savannah, along with demon possession (literally my biggest fear). More to come on this as more news develops!

In February I will also be part of an anthology where authors take a “fade to black” sex scene from one of their YA novels and expand it. 20-something sexy stories just in time for Valentine’s Day :). Promos are coming soon.

More things are in the works, so I’ll update when I have more details.

Lots of Travels!
I traveled more in 2014 than ever before, and had an absolute blast. Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Savannah, Nashville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, and even Augusta, Maine. I met so many amazing authors who are now great friends, made business connections, and just grew as a person. I can’t wait to see everyone again in 2015 and travel to new places.

So, how about those resolutions? Let’s build off last year’s:

1) Exercise more. Not to lose weight, but to gain a little more muscle mass, actually have some strength to me.

Well, let’s just say I didn’t do all that hot. I did start eating better, which was good, but as for exercise, I conveniently forgot that part. However, later in the year I bought a dip rack (NOT for chips, as so many people seem to think :)). Dips were my favorite exercise back in high school and I can do a few different exercises for my arms, legs, and stomach all from the rack. I’ve been using it almost every day for a couple months and I think I can see a difference.  

So, for 2015, I want to continue using the dip rack combined with healthier eating.

2) Be successful with my books and editing services.

Success is hard to measure. Do I think I’m successful? No. I think I’m on the path to getting there. But I don’t really know what I’d have to do to consider myself successful, so it’s a bit of a conundrum. I don’t consider success to be a best seller or make a lot of money, because that’s not why I write. Writing is the art of storytelling, and I think my personal success will come when I feel I’ve told the perfect story.

3) Be happy with what successes I do earn. I have high expectations for myself and often set unrealistic goals, so it can be hard for me to be happy where I am.

I’ve been better about this. I’ve let myself be happy with my accomplishments, even as I think beyond them. For 2015, I want to continue building on the successes of 2014 and see where I can grow from there. I consider this past year to be a building year – traveling, meeting new people, setting up the foundation for future projects. 2015 is where I do something about it all.

4) Get better at writing things down. My memory is shit unless it's a book I'm writing/editing. In 2014, I shall become The Rememberer of Things.

Um. I don’t think this happened. I wrote more stuff down, but I’m just as spacey as before. I think this one is a lost cause, haha. 

5) Take more time for myself. All I do is work and it's getting to be too much.

I did do some of this. My husband and I took a trip to Savannah, we went to Pennsylvania for Christmas, and I just took nights off to watch movies and veg. And I needed it. I feel refreshed and ready to take on 2015. Next year I plan to continue this so I don’t get burned out.

New Resolutions!

1) Be more social at book events. I think I did well, all things considered, this past year, but I can do better. Now that I know more people and am more comfortable, I think I’ll be able to open up more at each event. Those who have known me for a long time will probably agree that all the travels in 2014 have helped me grow as a person, for the better. I don’t want to go backwards, so I have to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I’m coming to realize I actually enjoy it.

2) Be more focused. I love to write, and have to write every day or I go crazy. But I have so many ideas zooming around my head combined with my other jobs that it’s hard to focus on any one thing, which leads to burnout. So I need to get better at forcing myself to only work on one or two projects at a time, and actually finish them. I foresee a vision board being created soon.

3) Organize the house. I have a lot of stuff, and it needs to be figured out. Maybe a garage sale. Maybe we build shelves. SOMETHING needs to be done, that’s for sure. I am in stuff overload.

4) Go to Megacon and meet Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon). I am not a fan girl, but ... I can't promise I'll react like a sane person when I see them in person. 

So, there are my goals. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer! For now, enjoy a picture of kitten #1, Lord Finnegin the Fierce.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Release by Denise Grover Swank!

Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans, the sixth book in the USA Today bestselling Rose Gardner Mystery series will release on November 4, 2014.

Rose is called into action when Neely Kate’s cousin goes missing and the police refuse to take it seriously. But while the authorities—Rose’s ex-boyfriend, included—are certain the missing woman has run away, mounting evidence points to foul play. Rose agrees tohelp her friend, even if it means partaking in Neely Kate’s shenanigans, including an impromptu trip to a strip club.

And because trouble never comes without a guest, Skeeter Malcolm, Fenton County’s newly crowned underground king, resurfaces, saying he needs Rose’s visionary gift to track down his enemies. He makes her the only offer she can’t refuse: The guaranteed safety of her assistant DA boyfriend, Mason Deveraux, who is being threatened by forces unknown. The Fenton County law enforcement is still abuzz about the infamous Lady in Black, who took part in the underground auction that earned Skeeter his crown. Can Rose risk a reprisal of her role?

As the stakes continue to rise and the search for Neely Kate’s cousin becomes increasingly complicated, Rose must struggle to keep both her secret identity and her sanity.

THIRTY-THREE AND A HALF SHENANIGANS is an iBooks Best Books of the Month in
 Australia and New Zealand!!!

Rose Gardner is an endearing heroine who’s just trying run a landscaping business, but her ability to glimpse the future keeps putting her in harm’s way. The latest lighthearted installment in Denise Grover Swank’s bestselling romantic suspense series should hook newcomers while continuing to delight established fans. With its small-town Arkansas setting, likable characters, old-fashioned mystery, and easygoing humor, Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans is an entertaining weekend read. 

--iBooks Editors’ Note
--iBooks Best Books of the Month, November 2014, Australia and New Zealand
#ibooks #rosegardner

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks.
 She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity.
Or so she leads you to believe.

 Denise Grover Swank, Amy Miles, Kristie Cook, AnnaLisa Grant and Chanda Hahn
 will be touring the UK April 21-30th 2015!

We will be stopping in London, York, Glasgow, Birmingham and Cardiff. Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday 21st April 2015
4pm – 7pm
Kensington Central Library
Phillimore Walk
W8 7RX

Thursday 23rd April 2015
3pm – 7pm
Hotel 53
53 Piccadilly
North Yorkshire

Saturday 25th April 2015

Tuesday 28th April 2015
5pm – 8pm
Library of Birmingham
Centenary Square
Broad Street
B1 2ND

Thursday 30th April 2015
3pm – 6:30pm
Cardiff Central Library
The Hayes
CF10 1FL

Space at the signings are limited. To guarantee you get to meet the authors we are recommending that you purchase an exclusive book bag for £5 and this will confirm your spot. Book bag purchases are not a requirement but are recommended.
Here’s the link to purchase your book bag and guarantee your spot at your desired location: 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in you.

I’m feeling a bit reflective tonight, perhaps because of A Single Swim coming out and the stories it entails, so I wanted to take a moment to think back on my own dreams and journey. And I just feel like writing something that isn't a novel.

From the time I was a kid I dreamed of being a writer and editor. I wanted to own my own literary agency called Second Star Books (yes, my love for Peter Pan started young) to help aspiring authors. Of course, at the time I didn’t realize how much help I would need to get started - and hell, still need even though I (kinda) know what I’m doing.

I got my start with super-dramatic teenage angst poetry, then branched off into short stories that were a mix of weird and dark and just plain lame. I remember, at age 12 or so, writing my first official book inspired by The Neverending Story and told my mom it would be the next best-seller (it wasn’t, it was an awful book). But even after suffering through all thirty pages of it, Mom then printed out the story, helped me research publishing companies, and mailed off a query to one of the Big Six. Unsolicited, of course, because that’s how we roll J.

Of course, it was rejected, and I was thoroughly bummed. But it didn’t matter. Mom believed in me, and that was all I needed to keep writing. Others told me it couldn’t be done, that I’d never be published, that I was too young, pipe dreams were just pipe dreams - the same words most authors have heard at some point in their own journey. But Mom? Those words never left her lips. Maybe she thought them, but to me, she was the inspiration and motivation I needed to gain confidence in my work.

Looking back on all those years, I realize even more so now that Mom was the common thread. I needed 1,000 pieces of paper and $50 in ink to print my books? She drove me to the store. I needed someone to give up their weekend to help me man my booth at an event? She was the first to volunteer. I needed someone to call the radio station to book an interview because I'm too chicken to call strangers? She picked up the phone with only a single eye roll. She was the one who started it all, and the more she believed in me, so too did others.

Of course, this is not to say that no one else ever believed in my writing dreams. My family, my husband, all were by my side every step of the way. Without them, I’d still be a kid just slapping away at the keyboard. But Mom, she was the one who believed enough in the dream to help make it come true. Some 12 novels later, I like to think it’s been a joint effort.

Mom, I was nice and posted the smiling pic from this night, not the one with our less-than-flattering faces ;)
But that dream’s not over yet. After all, Second Star is yet to be opened! I am one step closer though. Over the years that dream shifted a bit to include starting my own editing business, considering how much of a grammar nerd I am. I mean, I read grammar rules for fun. That can’t be normal.

The idea of starting a business is daunting, especially for someone as lazy as myself, and it wasn’t until I met my husband that I even saw how it could be done. He runs a business that grows each year, and I get a front-row view of what it takes to make a company work. The idea for Red Road Editing rolled around in my head for a long time. I talked about it to people, got ideas, but never knew where to start.

All it took was one person, and I will be thankful to her forever. Friend and fellow author Sarah M. Ross asked me to re-edit one of her previously published novels, recommended me to other authors when I was done, and in less than a year I had a steady and growing list of clients. Sarah was the first to believe in me, knowing me really only from the local events we attended together. She took me at my word that I wasn't just some weirdo who wanted to take her money and run for the hills. Instead, she welcomed me into her group (that included the lovely Tiffany King, Raine Thomas, and Carol and Adam Kunz), and, while she probably never even realized it then or now, gave me the encouragement I needed to fulfill my dream.

 It amazes me that sometimes all it really takes is that one person. Maybe it’s your mom, sister, best friend, spouse, or someone in the industry who just needed a second pair of eyes on her book. It doesn’t really matter who it is. If the person listens to you, looks past the surface to see what you're truly capable of, gets as excited about seeing you achieve your dreams as you are going after them, then they can completely change your world.

I’d like to think that one day I can be that person to someone else.

Cover reveal for Dawn Pendleton and Magan Vernon!

30b4c-covere 1

Title: A Tale of Two Pretties

Subtitle: Hopeless in Hotlanta #1

Authors: Dawn Pendleton & Magan Vernon

Release: May 19, 2014

Cover design by Sharp Designs

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shattered Soul by Jennifer Snyder - Preview!

Today I have the pleasure of taking part in helping to reveal the new look for Jennifer Snyder’s Mature Young Adult novel SHATTERED SOUL!

  Shattered Soul PROMO Image    
Here is the stunning cover redo for this gritty novel:
Shattered Soul Nook - Jennifer Snyder
Awesome, right? It was designed by Once Upon A Time Covers.
Ready for this intense blurb?
Hellish Nightmare.
If Seth Bradson were to describe his life, those would be the two words he would choose. Preferring to cope with his crappy existence and horrible home life by spending his days in a drug-induced haze, Seth coasts through life. Until the moment his path crosses with Ali Carson. In her, Seth finds something he’s been subconsciously seeking—a new drug, one that consumes his mind unlike any other.
But when Seth finds himself in a situation he could have never foreseen, and foolishly allows Ali to try his most addictive temptation—crystal meth—the unraveling of both their lives occurs before his very eyes, forcing Seth to learn the definition of the word regret the hard way.

Are you dying to read this one yet? Here’s some great news then, Shattered Soul will be discounted to .99 for a limited time on Amazon and B&N!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Introducing "Control You" by Jennifer Snyder!

I am so happy to be part o the tour for Control You, the latest from the talented Jennifer Snyder. Check out a little preview to her new novel (a teaser into the head of Cam, the main character) as well as a sneak peak into the book :).

Cam’s Top 10:

1. Favorite actress? 
Jessica Alba. No question. Brunette, gorgeous smile, what more could a man ask for?

2. Favorite song?
Hurt by Sevendust. I know it was a Jonny Cash song first, but damn those guys took that song and hit a whole new kind of emotional level with it.

3. Favorite place you would love to visit?
I’ve traveled a lot, but there’s always more to see. I’d say Ireland. It would be freaking awesome to visit an actual castle.

4. One item you cannot live without? 
Music. If I truly had to pick only one thing, music would have to be it. It’s a personal thing—an expression of someone’s soul, when it’s done right.

5. Who would you like to meet? (dead or alive)
Abraham Lincoln. That dude knew what the hell he was doing with things.

6. Favorite hobby? 
Sex. That counts, right? It’s very enjoyable—when done right—and can be a kick ass pastime.

7. Guilty pleasure?
Sleep. I could sleep for fourteen hours straight if I was uninterrupted.

8. Favorite author? 
Ernest Hemingway. He was a fucking genius.

9. Do you collect anything?
Broken hearts. No, I’m just kidding. I’m actually not much of a collector. The only things I collect are songs and my own paintings. 

10. Favorite color?

Where to Buy:


Friday, February 21, 2014

"8 Weeks" Cover Reveal for Bethany Lopez!!

8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez
Cover Reveal

Title: 8 Weeks
Author: Bethany Lopez
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Summary: Is eight weeks enough time to earn back the love of someone you've betrayed...the only one you've ever loved?

Shelly has been in love with Cal since they started dating in eleventh grade. Despite everyone saying that the odds were against them, they got married after graduation and built a life together. Now, six years later, she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. Devastated, her first instinct is to call it quits…

After a drunken binge at his best friends’ bachelor party, Cal betrays the one person who has always been there for him, his wife, Shelly. Terrified and realizing she might divorce him, Cal must come up with a way to prove to her that his love is true…

Cal asks Shelly for eight weeks. Eight weeks to convince her that their marriage is worth the fight. Will Shelly be able to trust him again, or will their marriage end the way many others do when faced with opposition… In divorce?

About Bethany Lopez: Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"A Zebra Like Me" Release Day!

Today is A Zebra Like Me's Book Birthday!
Maybelle Dawson longs for normalcy and belonging. Often misunderstood, she struggles with a rare disorder, labeling her a Medical Zebra.

Maybelle’s happiness and well-being threaten to slip through her fingers as she battles to take control of her life. She faces a never-ending battle on her journey to find love, courage and friendship in a world lacking acceptance.

With the guidance of her guardian angel, Maybelle finds her way out of emotional and physical isolation to discover lasting love and amazing friendships.

A Zebra Like Me is the story of one teenager’s battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder affecting one in five thousand people.

(Personal Note - I had the opportunity to read this book before its release and I can't recommend it enough! It's original, thought-provoking, endearing, and truly unlike any YA book you've ever read before. You don't want to miss it.)

About the Author

Amy Maurer Jones has been happily married to her own version of Edward Cullen for sixteen years. She lives in the small town of Tabor City, North Carolina (close to the North and South Carolina shore) with her husband Kelly and their two beautiful children, Olivia and Keaton.

Amy loves reading and writing Young Adult because she finds young people inspiring. She appreciates how teens are able to look at the world with a fresh perspective and willingly open their minds to the endless possibilities that life has to offer. She particularly enjoys writing strong heroines who face problems head on, learn, grow and mature into the type of people who do the right thing.

When Amy isn't reading and writing, she teaches high school theater arts and dance. To say that Amy has a flare for all things creative would be an understatement, just don't ask her to assemble anything that requires instructions or sadly, you will be out of luck!

Favorite quote:
"You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost." ~ Martha Graham


The Giveaway
A Zebra Like Me is a work of fiction but Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and the message in this story are very real. I have EDS and I’ve learned to live with this disease. Sadly, much of my battle has been seeking compassion and finding acceptance from those who don’t understand it. My mission in publishing this book is two-fold.
1 – Awareness – I aim to educate people about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I’m a teacher and through my teaching I’ve learned the best lessons are learned in unexpected ways. I hope my readers will gain a better understanding of this disease through the fictional world I created for Maybelle. There are people like her all over the world. Some EDS patients’ symptoms are less severe than Maybelle’s, some are worse. You may know someone with EDS and not even realize it.
2 – Self Empowerment – I want other people with EDS to know they are not alone. There are support groups and resources online that can help you learn how to cope with this disease. Don’t give up on a normal life. Learn how to avoid injuries and the external hazards that trigger your issues. Find hobbies that are safe, fun, and relieve stress. Surround yourself with positive people and avoid or tune out the people who can’t or won’t support you. Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Need Help? The Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation is just a click away.