Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god-decreed rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: train to fight and fight to survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Eelyn loses her focus and is captured. Now, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan settling in the valley, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend who tried to kill her the day she was captured. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

 

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Excerpt

 

“I saw him. I saw Iri.”

He wrapped the torn cloth around my arm, tying it tight. “What are you talking about?”

I pushed his hands from me, crying. “Listen to me! Iri was here! I saw him!”

His hands finally stilled, confusion lighting in his eyes. “I was fighting a man. He was about to . . .” I shuddered, remembering how close to death I’d come—closer than I’d ever been. “Iri came out of the fog and saved me. He was with the Riki.” I stood, taking his hand and pulling him toward the tree line. “We have to find him!”

But my father stood like a stone tucked into the earth. His face turned up toward the sky, his eyes blinking against the sunlight.

“Do you hear me? Iri’s alive!” I shouted, holding my arm against my body to calm the violent throbbing around the gash.

His eyes landed on me again, tears gathered at the cor- ners like little white flames. “Sigr. He sent Iri’s soul to save you, Eelyn.”

“What? No.”

“Iri’s made it to Sólbjǫrg.” His words were frightening and delicate, betraying a tenderness my father never showed. He stepped forward, looking down into my eyes with a smile. “Sigr has favored you, Eelyn.”

Mýra stood behind him, her green eyes wide beneath her unraveling auburn braids.

“But—” I choked. “I saw him.”

“You did.” A single tear rolled down my father’s rough cheek and disappeared into his beard. He pulled me into him, wrapping his arms around me, and I closed my eyes, the pain in my arm so great now that I could hardly feel my hand.

I blinked, trying to understand. I had seen him. He was there.

“We will make a sacrifice tonight.” He let me go before he pressed his hands to my face again. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you scream for me like that. You scared me, sváss.” A laugh was buried deep in his chest.

“I’m sorry,” I murmured. “I just . . . I thought . . .”

He waited for me to meet his eyes again. “His soul is at peace. Your brother saved your life today. Be happy.” He clapped a hand against my good arm, nearly knocking me down.

I wiped at my wet cheeks with the palm of my hand, turning from the faces that were still watching me. There were very few times I’d cried in front of my clansmen. It made me feel small. Weak, like the early winter grass beneath our boots.

I sniffed back the tears, piecing my face back together as my father nodded in approval. It was what he had taught me—to be strong. To steel myself. He turned back to the field, getting to work, and I followed with Mýra, trying to smooth my ragged breath. To hush the waves crashing in my head. We walked toward our camp, collecting the weapons of fallen Aska warriors along the way. I watched my father from the corner of my eye, still unable to shake Iri’s face from my mind.

My feet stopped at the edge of a puddle and I looked at my reflection. Dirt spattered across my angled face and neck. Blood dried in long, golden braids. Eyes a frozen blue, like Iri’s. I sucked in a breath, looking up to the thin white clouds brushed across the sky to keep another tear from falling.

“Here,” Mýra called to me from where she was crouched over an Aska woman. She was lying on her side, eyes open and arms extended like she was reaching for us.

I carefully unbuckled her belt and scabbard, piling them with the others before I started on the armor vest. “Did you know her?”

“A little.” Mýra reached down to close the woman’s eyes with her fingertips. She gently brushed the hair back from her face before she began, the words coming softly. “Aska, you have reached your journey’s end.”

In the next breath, I joined with her, saying the ritual words we knew by heart. “We ask Sigr to accept your soul into Sólbjǫrg, where the long line of our people hold torches on the shadowed path.”

My voice faded, letting Mýra speak first. “Take my love to my father and my sister. Ask them to keep watch for me. Tell them my soul follows behind you.”

I closed my eyes as the prayer found a familiar place on my tongue. “Take my love to my mother and my brother. Ask them to keep watch for me. Tell them my soul follows behind you.”

I swallowed down the lump in my throat before I opened my eyes and looked down into the woman’s peaceful face one more time. I hadn’t been able to say the words over Iri’s body the way I had when my mother died, but Sigr had taken him anyway.

“Have you ever seen something like that before?” I whispered. “Something that wasn’t real?”

Mýra blinked. “It was real. Iri’s soul is real.”

“But he was older—a man. He spoke to me. He touched me, Mýra.”

She stood, shifting an armful of axes up onto her shoulder. “I was there that day, Eelyn. Iri died. I saw it with my own eyes. That was real.” It was the same battle that took Mýra’s sister. We’d been friends before that day, but we hadn’t really needed each other until then.

I remembered it so clearly—the picture of him like a reflection on ice. Iri’s lifeless body at the bottom of the trench. Lying across the perfect white snow, blood seeping out around him in a melted pool. I could still see his blond hair fanned out around his head, his empty eyes wide open and staring into nothing.

“I know.”

Mýra reached up, squeezing my shoulder. “Then you know it wasn’t Iri—not his flesh.”

I nodded, swallowing hard. I prayed for Iri’s soul every day. If Sigr had sent him to protect me, he really was in Sólbjǫrg—our people’s final sunset. “I knew he would make it.” I breathed through the tightness in my throat.

“We all did.” A small smile lifted on her lips.

I looked back down to the woman lying between us. We would leave her as she was—as she died—with honor. Like we did with all our fallen warriors.

Like we’d left Iri.

“Was he as handsome as he was before?” Mýra’s smile turned wry as her eyes flickered back up to meet mine.

“He was beautiful,” I whispered.

 

Q&A with Adrienne Young:

  1. What inspired SKY IN THE DEEP? How did the idea and Eelyn come to you? Do you have any favorite Viking stories?

The sibling betrayal was definitely the first inspiration for this story. I was driving in the pouring rain on this country road and that first scene just hit me – Eelyn, seeing her brother on the battlefield after thinking that he was dead for five years. I pulled over on the side of the road and scribbled a million notes on an old envelope. I was immediately hooked to the idea and I wanted to know what had happened. I started writing that first chapter and I just never stopped.

  1. What type of research did you do for your characters and world-building? What languages did you study to implement the languages that the Aska and the Riki speak? What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?

I did a ton of research for this story. I actually really love to research things so it was a lot of fun. A lot of it was stuff like clothing, landscape, weapons, food, etc. But I did a lot of research into Norse mythology as well to build a foundation for this world. The language used is Old Norse, but it’s a dead language so studying it was really difficult. There is a lot of controversy about it among scholars and there’s no real way to fully understand it, so I just did my best based on my own investigation. I’m definitely not an expert! The weirdest thing I had to research was how to tear out someone’s eyeball. Yuck.

  1. What was your writing process like for SKY IN THE DEEP?

Complete and utter obsession. When I draft, I get really buried in the world and I don’t really come up for air until I get to the end. I write as much as I can and limit my intake of other influencers that could mess with my mindset. I don’t watch TV or movies or listen to music that’s not on my playlist, and I kind of don’t have a social life until it’s done.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?

I really didn’t struggle to get this story on the page the way I have with other books so I really don’t know what the hardest scene to write was. But the easiest was the first chapter. I wrote it so fast and it just clicked in so perfectly.

  1. Which of your characters are you the most like? Who was your favorite to write?

Eelyn! We have so much in common and she really inspires me. But I think Halvard was the most fun to write. I really, really love him.

  1. Do you have a soundtrack for SKY IN THE DEEP? Can you share a couple songs? What would Eelyn’s favorite song be?

Yes! Music plays a HUGE role in my writing process and I have a playlist for every project. The ones I probably listened to the most while drafting SKY are To the Hills by Laurel, Bare by Wildes, and Rise Up – Reprise by Foxes. But a link to the whole playlist is on my site!

  1. What books have inspired you to write? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

The ones that inspired me to write are nothing like my books. One of the most influential ones for me was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, because the human element is so beautiful and the author explores so many things in that book that really took my breath away. I wanted to write stories that went deep like that, but I love fantasy so I try to it within that realm.

  1. Any advice on querying? Or writing advice for aspiring writers?

Querying – do not just sign with any agent who will take you. Make a dream agent list of qualified agents who have good reputations and make consistent sales. Query them. If they don’t bite, then write another book that they might want. Believe me when I say it is worth waiting for the right agent!

  1. Any details about the companion novel?

I can’t say anything about the companion novel yet! But I’m hoping that we can start talking about it soon because I am really excited about it!

 

Final_Young, Adrienne_NO CREDIT

About the Author

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

 

 

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Love at the Edge of Seventeen YA #Romance Anthology on @Kickstarter

Kickstarter Header_Love at the Edge of Seventeen

An author friend of mine will have her story published in a ya romance anthology, Love at the Edge of Seventeen. The publisher who will publish the anthology in April 2018, is using Kickstarter as a pre-order platform. Back up the authors by pre-ordering the anthology here.

I have to say I like the design of the banner and the book cover of the previous anthology.

Here’s to Campfires and S’mores by Brooke Moss

Brooke Moss has a new romance novel out. The cover looks gorgeous and the blurb is intriguing. I have a short excerpt below. Do read it, it’s full of emotions and promises a great book.
book cover

Sparks flew the moment fifteen-year-old Molly Kaff and Jamie Burnham locked eyes across the dusty Camp Chimalis parking lot. From that moment, they were undeniably and irrevocably in love.

Until they weren’t.

Months after the demise of their fifteen-and-a-half-year marriage, a mutual friend from those treasured summers at camp dies, rattling their tight circle of friends to the core. Her dying request? Bring everyone back to camp one last time.

Returning proves more emotional than Molly expected. Sweltering heat in un-air-conditioned cabins is just the tip of the iceberg. Memories, both delightful and dispiriting, press down on Molly as she grapples with the momentous grief from the loss of her friend…and her husband.

Trying to honor her wishes with the ex hanging around is one thing, but being stuck in the woods with no cell service and years’ worth of hurt and resentment is another. As Molly tries to navigate her way through the heartache, she starts to wonder if she was wrong about the reasons behind her failed marriage. And if maybe her friend orchestrated their Chimalis homecoming from beyond…

Can a few evenings sitting by the campfire eating s’mores be the salve her battered heart needs to finally move on?

Excerpt
I fumbled for the handle to the janitorial closet door, my palm slipping on the cold metal. When I finally managed to push it open, I stumbled in and slammed it shut behind me. The motion sensor light popped on, and I made a beeline for the utility sink in the corner. I retched up every bite of the chicken salad I ate for lunch, as well as the four cups of coffee I downed since my shift started. When my stomach was empty, I hung limply over the side of the metal basin. With one last feeble gag, I choked on a sob, burying my face in the crook of my arm to muffle the sounds.
“Oh, Bree, no. Not yet. Not yet…” I moaned into the fabric of my scrubs. I’d chosen the purple pair with little grey hearts. Purple was Bree’s favorite color, or had been, when we were teens and coordinated our outfits. Had fate stepped in and helped me pick those stupid purple scrubs? Could she see me wearing them now? Was she watching me barf all over a mop head in the filthy sink?
With a jolt, I stood upright and scanned the tiny four by six-foot space with wide, blurry eyes. “Bree?” I whispered at nothing. “You were supposed to wait for me.” Another whimper escaped, and I clamped my hand over my mouth. She joked last time I saw her, even with oxygen tubes in her nose, and sallow, greyish skin, that she wouldn’t dare croak without me being present. We sealed the promise with a pinky swear, which was the ultimate in contractual agreements between friends who’d known each other since before puberty.
When she was diagnosed with cancer at four months pregnant with the twins she and her husband Zane had so lovingly prayed for, she also promised to kick cancer’s ass and make it cry for its mama. Unfortunately, cancer had kicked Bree’s butt, and by the time she had the twins, her body was so ravaged and unhealthy, it was a miracle Max and Maddie were born pink, plump, and healthy. But Bree hadn’t cared. She’d been in her oncologist’s office three weeks later, demanding she help her combat the disease full force. She announced she wasn’t going out without a fight, that she wasn’t leaving her children.
While her new role as mommy had rescued her heart from despair, it hadn’t rescued her body from illness. The cancer metastasized, spreading to her colon and eventually her lungs. She did chemo and radiation, traveled to Seattle to stay with April’s family while trying experimental drugs, and even went to a healing shaman that Rachael swore cured her IBS. But the desperate measures weren’t enough.
By the time the twins had their first birthday, she was in a wheelchair, unable to bear her own weight. Because of her intravenous nutrition, Bree’s teeth started to decay. She was a ghost of the vibrant, confident, barefooted girl who forced me to get over my crippling homesickness at Camp Chimalis. She wasted away right in front of our eyes.
I sank to the floor of the janitorial closet, ignoring when something dampened my butt. Placing my head in my hands, I wept for the missed opportunity to hug Bree one last time, for the friend I would never see again, for the sweet parents who outlived their adult child, for the adoring husband she left behind, and for those two magnificent children she fought so desperately to live for…
I had to call April. And Rachael. And I had to call Sue back. Oh, lord, that was a call I wasn’t looking forward to. I wondered if Jamie knew. He knew Bree almost as well as I did. Would Sue have thought to call him, too? Surely Zane would’ve asked someone…
I don’t know how long I sat on the floor, my shoulders shaking, hiccups the only sound besides the overhead speakers in the hallway, paging doctors every five or six minutes. But when the door opened a crack, and cool air filtered in, I shivered.

Brooke was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing life and about this book.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually about 4 to 6 months, but this most recent book was 3 years in the making. We lost a daughter, then moved abroad for my husband’s work, and I simply lost my writing mojo after that. It took until last spring to come back, and then I wrote Here’s to Campfires and S’mores in about 5 months.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write while my children are in school, so about 6 to 7 hours of writing time per day, though I balance that with real life at the same time. So between laundry, house cleaning, working on promo, etc, for my books, and doing errands out of the home, I would say I get 3 or 4 hours of solid writing (when my muse cooperates) a day.

What is the first book that made you cry?

Charlotte’s Web. Oh, so sweet! But most recently I wept while I read John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back. I was on a long flight from America to South Korea and I read the whole book in one sitting, and it just got me right in all the feels. So good.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! When I am cranking out the words and really feeling my characters, it pumps me up, and I feel hyper and excited to keep writing. Other times, though, it can be draining, depending on how personal the material is. When I was writing Here’s to Campfires and S’mores I found the material draining, because there is a lot of talk about infertility, and I had to draw from some of the experiences some friends have had, and that was emotionally draining. But when I wrote the flashback scenes from 1994, I found myself feeling really excited, because I could tap into my own teenage experiences.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Television. I tend to turn on the Real Housewives when I’m writing, and when that happens, all bets are off. I won’t get anything done, except having Tweeted about how rude Vicki is, or how drunk Brandi acted. It’s very time sucking.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Pour your heart onto the page, and edit it later. If you edit as you go, you’ll have a dry, state book. If you put your everything into it from the beginning, you’ll have plenty to work with. It’s always easier to scale back than to add to later.

What does literary success look like to you?

Making a regular wage and having readers who put me on their “auto-buy” list. It would be lovely to see my books made into a movie someday, as well, though I always feel like that’s a pipe dream. We’ll see…..

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I usually start writing, and stop to do research as I go. I find that if I don’t do the two things in a parallel manner, I’ll take a year or longer to plan, then lose interest in writing the actual book before I’ve even started chapter one. So I try to do both at the same time.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Probably the scene where Molly finds out Bree (her BFF from childhood) has died. It was very emotional and trying to write. I’ll admit…I teared up!

#Coverreveal for Tainted by H. C. Harris

 

 

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Buy Links:

Amazon

Kobo

ITunes

  

Blurb

Whoever said college was easy? Certainly not Faye Johnson! With shadow creatures stalking and hunting her from the depths of the darkness, Faye soon realizes that being a Light Soul and destroying the evil that lurks in the shadows, won’t make her freshman year any easier.

With the help of her wisecracking best friend Jack, Faye discovers that her ordinary life is about to change drastically. She has an ancient power that the darkness desperately desires. But being untrained, she can’t protect herself for long. That’s when Gabe, a dangerously gorgeous ex-Dark Soul enters her life – seemingly out of thin air.

Jack and Faye’s friendship is put to the test when she starts training with Gabe. Jack warns her that Gabe is dangerous, but she can’t seem to resist her electrifying feelings for him. Events become deadly when the Dark Souls attack and Faye discovers Gabe’s horrifying secret.

Can she count on Jack to be there for her? Can she trust Gabe with her life? Will she be strong enough to protect herself from the darkness that is desperate to kill her?

…And you thought college was easy.

 

Excerpt

I jumped to my feet, feeling restless as my mind continued to speculate. He didn’t even know me. Why was he being such a major stalker? My rage tempted me to find him and demand he start answering my questions. But some sensible part reminded me that probably wouldn’t be a very good idea.

I took my frustration out on my pillow, slamming it against my wall and then falling face down on my bed. This helped me cool off a little bit. But thoughts of Gabe, Jack, and my weird connection with fire still danced in my head.

An idea occurred to me.

All this time, I was in my room, I had bought the candles, I had put them away. But none of them were lit! I got up from my bed, and made my way to the closest one.

“Light,” I commanded.

Nothing happened. The candle just sat there, perfectly untouched and brand new. I felt a little bit relieved. Maybe if my old one had been defective, then maybe everything else Jack and I had been worried about wasn’t true?

“Light!” I commanded again, a little bit more forcefully. Still nothing happened. Before giving up and giving into my endless pile of homework, I gazed at the candle and concentrated my focus.

I blocked out the sounds of the people in my hall, the cheers and laugher flowing in from my open window, and the smell of pizza originating from the dining hall around the corner. It was just me and the candle. We were the only two things in this world. It was just us.

“Light.”

It burst into flames!

I stumbled back against my bed, shocked. I had made the candle burn, without a lighter or matches. I did that: I’d lit it. How was that possible?

I felt the heat from my anger begin to boil my blood as I realized everything Jack and I were fearful of, was true. I was in trouble. I had no idea what I was, or what it meant. I had no idea why Gabe was stalking me. I had no answers and I didn’t know what to do or who could help me. All of my confusion just further fueled my anger. I felt myself begin to lose control. As my anger grew, so did the flame.

I stood up straight, a determination igniting in my veins. I might not have all the answers, but I sure as hell knew someone who did. Without thinking, I gave into temptation and ran out of my bedroom, down the hall, and burst through the front doors of the building. I ran past all of the buildings on Redstone Campus and into the surrounding woods. I felt the branches and leaves scrape against my skin, but still I kept running. I didn’t stop. Not until I was deep enough into the forest to find I was alone with the darkness.

He’ll come, I thought. Soon enough, he will find me.

 

About the Author:

H. C. Harris has been daydreaming, imagining stories, and composing music since before she could even write! She was born and raised in New Hampshire before moving to Burlington, Vermont for college. During her senior year at the University of Vermont, she discovered she had a passion for creating fantasy stories that transported her readers to mysterious and romantic places.

H. C. Harris shared samples of her work with her online audience. Fans have described it as, “addicting,” “a page-turner,” and “swoon-worthy.” With their encouragement, she submitted her work to publishing companies and is now contracted with Inkspell Publishing!

She currently lives in Hartford, Connecticut where she is working on her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She teaches Spin classes, loves playing the piano, drinking coffee and taking her German Shepherd and Black Lab for runs!

You can follow H. C. Harris on Twitter at: @writeforlifehch, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/hcharris.tainted/ and follow her book updates on her personal website: www.hcharris.net

#teasertuesday Hearts must be broken

Hearts must be broken SQ Teaser.png

Excerpt

“I’m hungry,” Damon said, reminding her he was still splayed out on the floor beneath her.

Why was he even here and not running as fast as he could away from her after she’d hurt him so terribly and so often? Why did he bother? It didn’t make sense.

“Why?”

He raised his eyebrows. “Because the last thing I ate was a sandwich yesterday noon. Plus you seriously zapped my energy last night.”

She huffed. “I meant why, after I’ve treated you like shit more times than I care to remember, you still care?”

When he just stared at her for a moment, she wondered if he was trying to come up with a lie.

He pushed himself up into a sitting position. Being so close to his serious face and intense eyes was frightening. She had never before been so vulnerable, not even with Ralph. Because with Damon she cared, and he had the power to rip her apart with mere words.

“Sometimes, when I look at you, you are so utterly sad. And it’s like you’re not even aware of it. It’s like you only let yourself feel anger and disgust because they’re your crutch and if someone took that away from you, you’d fall and shatter. You deserve to be loved, Anaïs.”

Pre-order Valentine Kisses while the $0.99 offer lasts!

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Cover reveal #giveaway for Valentine Kisses

Here it is — the stunning cover for Valentine Kisses, an anthology of romance novellas, and a GIVEAWAY (look for it below).

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Naj has done phenomenal work yet again.

You can pre-order the box set on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com.au, Amazon.ca.

To convince you that you have to read it, here are the stories:

Lola Flannigan by Abigail Drake (sci-fi)

Hairdresser Lola Flannigan has a little electrical problem. After getting struck by lightning seven times, her hands now shock everyone she touches, except for one person; the very sexy, very wealthy Morgan Slade. But is Morgan really looking out for her, or is he just planning to use her to get what he wants?

~*~

Hearts must be broken by Bridie Hall (suspense)

When a ghost from her past wants to take revenge on twenty-year-old Anais, the only one she can turn to for help is Damon. But things quickly become complicated because he has feelings for her and she doesn’t want a relationship. Can she learn to trust him and can he forgive her past?

~*~

Lost & Found by Shilpa Mudiganti (sweet)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and Aisha, who is still grieving for her ex boyfriend John is in for a surprise. Liam, John’s bestfriend, who has had feelings for her but had to keep his feelings in check is ready to prove his love for her. But is she ready to risk her heart again?

~*~

Avalanche by Kim Briggs (sweet with a side of steamy)

Lexi returns to her first love, Wolf Creek Ski Resort, with ambitions of becoming a ski instructor. She soon finds herself in the middle of a longtime feud between Gabe, a snow groomer who gives off the broken vibe Lexi finds irresistible, and Harrison the fourth, playboy son of Wolf Creek’s owner who always wants what Gabe has. Tensions boil at Wolf Creek, and Lexi’s heart might not be the only thing at stake.

~*~

What’s better than a book boyfriend by Sarah Vance-Tompkins (small town contemporary romance)

Shy librarian Charlie Bishop has spent every Valentine’s Day in the company of one of her beloved book boyfriends. Despite his many attempt to gain her attention, Charlie is absolutely certain she has nothing common with hunky construction worker Hank Carter. So how far will Hank have to go to prove to Charlie he’s better than any of her book boyfriends?

~*~

Not today by Lisa Hahn (contemporary)

Emily Scott is mourning the loss of a parent. Ezra Cavanuagh is ready to give up on his dreams of literary success. Will their new connection be enough to help them pull through these trying times?

GIVEAWAY!

We have a giveaway too! We are giving away 5 copies of the boxset and 1 $10 Amazon gift card! If you would like to participate in the draw, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cxARrv

But this is not all. Each story in the box set has an individual cover, and here’s the one for my story Hearts must be broken by Eva Talia.

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cover-reveal

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m so excited to share the wonderful cover for Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales. This anthology of fantasy/SFF short stories has been put together in aid of Lift 4 Autism, and releases April 1st, 2017. 100% of the proceeds will go to Lift 4 Autism. How great is that?

So, let’s take a look at the gorgeous cover!

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Isn’t it beautiful?

The cover was designed and created by Stephanie Keyes, and it fits the stories in the anthology perfectly.

About the anthology…

In Ever in the After, 13 authors come together to explore fantastical realms full of supernatural creatures, dark intrigue, and spells that may–or may not–be curses.

ever-in-the-after_cover_3dThis anthology features work by:

  • Melle Amade
  • Miracle Austin
  • J. A. Culican
  • Madeline Dyer
  • Jessica Hawke
  • Alaina Hebert
  • Elizabetta Holcomb
  • Stephanie Keyes
  • Christopher D. Morgan
  • Mandy Peterson
  • Alice Rachel
  • Cadence Rae
  • Jaqueline E. Smith

A must-have fantasy collection full of surprises, secrets, and strong teenagers who know what they need to do to succeed in these mystical realities.

Add Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on Goodreads now!

Buy your copy of Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on April 1st, 2017!

Michelle Hauck’s Faithful

The next volume in the Birth of Saints series is available now!

Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!

 


A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.
Faithful– November 15, 2016
Harper Voyager

Also enter to win a signed paperback of Grudging, the first book in the series: 

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A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.



GRUDGING
November 17, 2015
Harper Voyager


Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads


Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two kids in college. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging and Faithful (November 15, 2016), is available from Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. She’s repped by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary.

Rebel Storm Rider and a recipe (!) by Jennifer Macaire

I’m excited to host Jennifer Macaire and her newest release on my blog. She was kind enough to share a recipe with me and my readers – how cool is that!

Now on to the intergalactic herders and their story:

When intergalactic herders Carl and Ruby Cadet find a Raider baby in a wrecked spaceship, they decide to keep her as their own daughter. Raiders are considered the scourge of the galaxy and the Federation, never having captured a Raider alive, demands they give her up. When Carl and Ruby refuse, the Federation declares them outlaws and sends Raider hunters after them.
The hunters have been given an order: capture the baby alive but eliminate Carl and Ruby if necessary. Despite the danger, the young herders decide to go rogue and flee. Their only hope of saving themselves and the baby Raider will be the space-travelling horses, and the mysterious Horse Passages.

NOW AVAILABLE!
Rebel Storm Rider is now available here at Evernight Teen or as a kindle at Amazon.com. for 3,99$.
rebel-storm-rider-evernightpublishing-jayaheer2016-3drender-ereader-sml

It’s winter, and the Herders hunker down around the campfire. Soup is a favorite during winter months – root vegetables abound on the planets, and carrots are a favorite. What Herder doesn’t have a jar of peanut butter in his saddle pack ? (Allergies excepted, of course!) This soup can be made with or without the peanut butter – but if made without, you can use half a cup of heavy cream to make the soup delightful !
Bright carrot peanut butter soup to add sunshine to a cold gray day !
Ingredients

  • 1/2 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 500g carrots, scrubbed (or peeled) and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups Veggie Stock + 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Dice onion and garlic. Add to pot with 1 Tbsp melted butter or oil. Add carrots and onions & cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and wait until it’s golden.
  3. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper, then add veggie stock and 2 cups of water and stir.
  4. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender (test by cutting a larger piece of carrot in half – it should cut with ease).
  5. Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth and creamy. (Cover with a towel in case your lid leaks any soup while blending.)
  6. Add peanut butter and blend thoroughly.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. For a touch of added sweetness, add a Tbsp or so of brown sugar or maple syrup.
  8. Enjoy !You can find Jennifer Macaire’s blog here, and her author site is here!

That recipe came just in time for the colder months, didn’t it? I’m adding peanut butter on my next shopping list so I can try making the soup soon.

The Pixie Queen

Today is the publication day for The Pixie Queen by Susan V. Vaughn

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Blurb:

In the small town of Caseville strange things have occurred…

From the time Jane Hensley was little, she knew she was different. Instead of hanging out with friends, she was often in the woods, alone, chanting magical words that filled her with power and effected the environment around her. A sudden summer storm on a perfectly sunny day. Monster waves crashing into the shores of Lake Huron. Strange things happening in nature with no rhyme or reason. Residents are mystified by these occurrences, but would never dream they could come from Plain Jane Hensley, the girl that was so quiet, it was like she wasn’t there at all.

But David Reynolds, the town’s football star, has noticed Jane. In fact he has been secretly in love with the strange girl for years. And on the morning of her sixteenth birthday, he is determined to finally reveal his heart to her. Instead David discovers Jane’s powerful secret. A secret that has brought a magical stranger to their town. One who claims to be a Pixie King, and entices Jane on a quest.

Now David must choose whether to allow the girl of his dreams to disappear forever. Or follow her on a journey that defies logic.

 

 Excerpt

Well that’s too bad. She was sick of blending into the background. She was sick of not being noticed. Today she’d turned sixteen and drowned plain Jane.

“I’m sorry you don’t like it, David.” She brushed her hair back off her face and smiled. “But I’m not sorry I made a change, and I’m not sorry I waded out into those waves.” Why would she be sorry? Especially when she knew her magic had made them. She had power and fire running through her veins.

“Even though you almost drowned?” He cocked one handsome eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest, emphasizing his muscles. She ignored the way her heart fluttered.

“Even though I almost drowned,” she repeated, raising her chin defiantly. David could waste his charming looks on another sucker. She wasn’t some silly schoolgirl with a crush.

He smiled, softening his features and bringing out dimples in both cheeks. And just like that, Jane’s heart pounded wildly once again. So much for not being one of those silly girls, she thought bitterly.

“I guess I shouldn’t have saved you, then,” he teased, shrugging his shoulders.

“Maybe you shouldn’t have,” she clipped back, as if she hadn’t a care in the world. Too bad she was already standing straighter and pressing her chest forward, which only made her washboard curves more obvious.

Her efforts paid off as his eyes did that “sneaky travel up and down her body” thing again. She saw interest in his disarming gaze that made her thankful she’d let plain Jane drown.

“Well there’s still time, Jane.” His voice dropped an octave when he said her name, making her shiver with delight. “You could go back into Lake Huron, and this time, I’ll stand right here.”

Jane felt the need to smile and turned toward the lake to hide it. She didn’t want David to know the effect his teasing had on her. It was time to play it cool. “Maybe next time,” she responded and then forced a yawn. “I’m ready for bed.”

She walked past David, refusing to look at him again, knowing he was displaying those dimples, the ones that made her knees weak. “Thanks for the save, David,” she called over her shoulder, offering him a parting salute.

“Hold it.” David jogged to catch up with her. Jane refused to stop, even as her heart felt as if it would crawl out of her chest. “Let me walk you home.”

“Home? I live right up the hill, David.” She glanced over at him and of course wasn’t prepared for his striking brown eyes and terribly distracting dimples. Why hadn’t she noticed how handsome he was before?

 

About the Author:

Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk.  Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings.  When she wasn’t working on the next soul crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.

It didn’t take long for Susan to take her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories.  Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.

Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.

 

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Twitter-@susanvaughn1124

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