Friday, May 30, 2014

Spotlight on Jaclyn Weist

What can I say about Jaclyn Weist that will convince you what a great author she is? She's cranks out the books pretty quickly, something I wish I did better, and her Luck series (Stolen Luck and Twist of Luck) is doing really well. She's offered up her latest release, The Princess and the Prom Queen, which is getting rave reviews, for the party this weekend. What a fun story!

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Spotlight on JR Simmons

JR Simmons. He's a good guy. He's also offered an ebook up as part of the Psyched birthday party awesomeness. He's the author of a fun MG series called Ragesong, and I have to tell you, these books rock. My 11-year-old daughter is in love with his books. Sparky seriously fangirls whenever I mention I chatted with him, and she's begging me for spoilers for the next book in the series, Ragesong: Uprising. The first book in the series, Ragesong: Awakening is the one you get a chance to win this Saturday!
Such a great book. Don't forget to join the party this Saturday and play along!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spotlight on Krista Wayment

Do you like dragons? Would you like the chance to win a ebook by Krista Wayment? Yes to both?

You love me, then...because here's your chance! Drop by the Psyched birthday party this Saturday -- you can play along and enter to win Trusted.

Here's the blurb:
The legends are true, dragons speak.
Renick, the fifth son of a dragon breeder, crashes into an unexpected adventure that challenges everything he thought he knew about dragons, history, and himself.
Stranded in the massive Helath forest, Renick meets two other passengers: Thane, a noble training to be a dragon knight, and Lainey, the orphaned niece of a healer. Together they survive an attack by vicious wolves, rescue a baby dragon with a broken wing, and escape from a band of dragon hunters as they make a perilous climb into the mountains. What they discover there will change everything. 

This looks like such a fun book! Don't miss your chance to win!

Spotlight on Mikey Brooks

Up for grabs at my Facebook party for Psyched: two ebooks courtesy Mikey Brooks, kickin' children's and MG author extraordinaire.  He's giving away The Dream Keeper and his latest release, The Stone of Valhalla, which is an Amazon best seller in mythology for kids! You'll love it. He's also a crazy talented illustrator and graphic designer. He did all the covers for the Gates of Atlantis series, coming this July (and he's the author of book 6 as well.) Seriously, the guy is Superman.


Look at that art. How cool is he? Don't forget to drop by the Psyched party this Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. mountain time and join the fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spotlight on Shantal Hiatt

The next author whose book you may win this Saturday is a girl near and dear to my heart, a "most beloved sister," as Jane Austen would say.  Yes, Shantal Hiatt is my big sis as well as author of the novel Agency. It's a coming of age story as a girl leaves home, starts modeling, and tries to balance everything she learned, the girl she was raised to be, with the woman the modeling world expects her to become.
Please note this is not the book cover anymore, but it is her first official head shot. Love that '80s hair!

Agency is fiction, but it's also a little autobiographical--my sister was once one of the top models in Salt Lake City.  Do you have any idea how weird it is to turn on the TV and see your sister in a Taco Time commercial? I'm just so sad she modeled before the internet was a big deal, because she has some awesome stuff and none of it is online! Oh, the injustice...Her debut novel Agency delves into what it's like to enter a world so enticing and foreign, and eye-opening.Come to my Psyched birthday party this Saturday, and you'll get a chance to win a copy for yourself!

Shantal is currently hard at work on her second novel, which is a completely departure from Agency. She shifts from 80's glam and hair bands to a medieval world at war, and two starcrossed lovers in the middle of it all. She was gracious enough to allow me to post a snippet for you, so you can see what an amazing story she'll be sharing with the world soon!  This is where you get to meet her handsome hero Nicholas and his wise-cracking lieutenant Luke.

* * *

The sentry, returning to his post earlier than expected, must have been on the opposite side of the rounded guard tower and would see him if he didn’t move soon. Luke heard the sound too, and looked at Nicholas in frozen horror, the coiled ropes dangling from his arms. There was no time; no contingency plan for encountering a guard, except murder, and he wouldn’t do that. He couldn’t raise the alarm. Nicholas had to penetrate the castle tonight.
Remembering vaguely a subtle ledge on the outer wall, he lunged between the notch in the merlons and prayed for a way to slow his scuffling with the rock wall. He heard Luke’s muted curse as he slid down, the rough rocks scraping flesh from his hands and punishing his knees. When his toes found the ledge, Nicholas reached for his dagger and slammed it into the mortar, and stopped his descent, though he hung precariously. He clung to the wall, his cheek indented against stone, his other hand grasping for a cleft. Nicholas cursed his stupidity. So concerned was he for the welfare of the young soldiers that he didn’t pay enough attention to the return of the guards. He should not worry over them so much. If they were anything like Goodman, and he knew they were, they were becoming skilled spies and could kill if necessary. Just like he had been. He had to stop thinking of them as children stolen from their parents. . . though they were. “Good God,” he whispered through ragged breaths. “I have more to worry about than the past, like getting the bloody hell off this ledge.”
“That’s my line, laddie,” called Luke quietly from above, dangling a rope within reach. “I thought I’d lost you.”
“Thank God,” whispered Nicholas in utter relief, as he caught the rope and used it to pull himself up the side of the wall.
              “No, I think you have me to thank,” said Luke, grinning widely, as Nicholas cut through the crenellation through which he’d fallen.

* * *
Fun stuff, yes? I look forward to reading more! Shantal is going to be online during the party, so come say hi, ask her questions, and play along to get a chance to win!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spotlight on Cindy Bennett

Hey, friends, this week I'm going to be giving a shout out to some amazeballs authors who have generously donated prizes for YOU to win at this weekend's Psyched birthday party!

 My first shout out is to the incredibly talented Cindy Bennett. I joined her critique group around 18 months ago, and I have to say, this girl gets it. She understands writing and how to craft a story better than most, so having her offer help and feedback as I write is kind of awesome. She helps writers with the nuts and bolts of editing and formatting for publication. In fact, she's the main reason we're having this party on Saturday--she reformatted Psyched. See how pretty she made my first paragraph?

Cindy is the author of several books, as well as owner of a business helping indie writers like me. Love her! She offers formatting services, editing services, and other fun digital projects which you can see in her Geek Girl Etsy shop. And if you want to read any of her amazing stories, feel free to check out her Amazon author page. I love her books, so by all means, check it out! Her latest release, The End of Feeling, is a total tear jerker and I highly recommend it.

You can win a copy of The End of Feeling this weekend at my Psyched birthday party. Hope to see you there!  This Saturday, 8-10 p.m. Mountain time. Whee!

Monday, May 5, 2014

For Yo' Momma...Because she deserves it!

To help decide which books might best suit those you gift on Mother's Day, all week during the Book Bash,we're going to be posting tidbits about these books--excerpts, deleted scenes, etc.--on our Facebook event page here.

Eye on Orion by Laura Bastian
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $3.99  Amazon
Genre: YA Fantasy

Falling in love with your gorgeous new neighbor isn't a bad thing, but when he turns out to be the bodyguard of a princess from a planet nine billion light-years away, life gets complicated.

Seventeen-year-old stargazer Holly Adams never imagined she’d find herself trying to prevent the overthrow of an alien government. When Jai and his sister Amira move into the house down the street, Holly is immediately drawn to them. Jai acts suspicious of her from the start, making Holly more curious about their oddities. When Holly learns they are from a different planet, she does what she can to help protect Amira from Shander, a man who wants to marry her by force in order to take over the kingdom her father rules.

Mistaken identity, a botched kidnapping, and a first kiss that bonds Holly and Jai for life are hard enough, but when Shander believes Holly to be the princess, things get even more dangerous.

Arms Wide Open, a novella by Juli Caldwell
Price: $.99   Amazon
Genre: Romance

Lauren Brooks is in a rut, and her roomie is determined to yank her out of it by convincing her to participate in a local coffee shop's 5-in-5 speed dating event. Once she agrees, it takes her about 30 seconds to realize if there's an oddball out there looking for love, he'll find her. And creep her out. She confronts one weirdo after another until someone she used to know winds up in the same place, and she has to decide what she wants more: to make a break for it, or embrace the possibilities of another chance.

Not So Easy by Sherry Gammon
Sale Price: $2.99, regularly $4.25   Amazon
Genre: YA Fantasy

Senior Max Sanchez has it all. 

He’s the star pitcher for Port Fare High’s baseball team. He’s dating the head cheerleader, Emma McKay, and he has a great group of friends. 

Junior JD Miller’s life is Not So Easy. 

Unlike Max, JD struggles with making friends. He’s a social misfit, and he’s being bullied at every turn. He’s also barely surviving. 

A tragedy forces these two together. Now Max must face the hardest challenge of his life as he works to help JD. A tragic accident changes everything, merging their lives together, and Max soon learns that life is not so easy for everyone. Max works to the point of exhaustion trying to help JD survive the chaos that is his life, and his eyes are opened to a world he had no idea even existed. 

Not so Easy is a story about hope, surviving, and never giving up. Download a free sample and start reading now!

Adrenaline Rush by Cindy Hogan
Sale Price: 1.99, regularly 3.99   Amazon
Genre: YA romantic suspense

A madman with a mission is kidnapping groups of thrill-seeking high school seniors across the country, and it’s up to Christy to stop him. To do so, she must take on a fearless alter ego and infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkies bent on pushing life to the limit. Death-defying stunts are only the beginning: two groups fit the profile, and Christy must discover the real target before it’s too late. 

If she chooses the wrong group, more people will disappear. But choosing right puts her as the prime target—with no guarantee that she’ll get out alive.

Rising Book 1: Resistance by Laura Josephsen
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $3.99   Amazon
Genre: Science Fiction

All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he's attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king. 

Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse's urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die. 

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon. (Book 1 of 2)

Chimeria Omnibus Edition – Blood Will Tell and Blood is Thicker by Meredith Mansfield
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $4.75   Amazon
Genre: Portal Fantasy

Blood Will Tell
A half-werewolf and a dragon in disguise join forces to rescue an innocent woman from an unknown attacker. Without knowing who or why, each tries to solve the mystery in their own way. But a decades-old crime and the dragon's true identity may destroy their collaboration--and their growing attraction to one another--just when their enemy has found their hide out.

Blood Is Thicker
Rolf and Valeriah are back. Even while Valeriah struggles to adapt to her new life, a new crisis arises. If they can't figure out why the dragons' hatching grounds are suddenly going cold, a generation of dragons may never hatch--including their own eggs.

How to Have Peace When You’re Fall to Pieces by Rebecca Rode
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $4.61   Amazon
Genre: Nonfiction

You haven't seen your kids' bedroom floor in weeks, your schedule is overflowing, and the drive-thru lady knows you by name. But even when life feels chaotic, peace is possible. Packed with poems, quotes, and inspirational stories, this book gives a fresh perspective on a mother's work and helps restore calm to a hectic world--starting at home.

"Charming . . . full of wit, humor, and great ideas." ~Sandra Covey

A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $3.99 (If you get the Kindle book, you can add the audiobook for only $1.99) Amazon  
Genre: Clean New Adult Adventure Romance

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old Colorado high school teacher wants is to forget that her dead fiancĂ© was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a vacation diversion; what fate provides is Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and its temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. But Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. However, paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped. Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

All the Finer Things by Stephanie Connelley Worlton
Sale Price: $.99, regularly $2.99   Amazon
Genre: Romance

Married to one of the most lucrative and sought after plastic surgeons in SoCal, Megan Hamilton has it all. Her posh life, designer clothes, and stunning penthouse leave her wanting for nothing… or do they? Controlled by his obsessive pursuit of perfection, Doctor Matthew Hamilton will stop nothing short of breaking his young, spirited bride into a subservient trophy wife. But when parenthood enters their picture, the entire game changes. How far will Megan have to go to escape Matt's obsessive control and abuse? And how much will she have to lose before she gets there?

Friday, May 2, 2014

For Anna Smith Elementary

A few weeks ago, I was so lucky to meet some amazing kids at Anna Smith Elementary in Wendover. I got the chance with Wendy Knight and JR Simmons to talk to them about all the elements of a good story, and we made one up together that day. So much fun!!! To say thank you, we decided to write a version of the story we created together. This was what we came up with together:

And here is my story for the awesome kids at Anna Smith. Thanks for having me!

The full moon cast an eerie glow as its light hit the gray headstones in the cemetery. Hammock oak trees spread their long branches over the graves. Moonlight filtered through leaves dancing in the night breeze, dotting the ground with speckled light.
Two teenagers with full, heavy backpacks stepped carefully around the headstones. They aimed flashlights at the ground in front of them as they walked.
“The report said the monster would be by the biggest tree,” the boy said, “but they all look pretty big to me.” He was a good-looking guy, with thick black hair falling over one eye and dark eyes that glittered in the blue light of the moon.
The girl sighed as she brushed her long red ponytail back over her shoulder. A grimace of annoyance crossed her freckled face. “Think a little harder, Bright,” she replied. “It said we would find the monster near the biggest tree, on the hill, in the center of the grave yard.” She stopped and pointed her flashlight to where a slight hill rose in the middle of the cemetery. A single, tall monument rose next to a tree in the center of the hill. Spanish moss and leafless black vines dangled off the branches and spilled to the ground near the grave.
“Hey, look, Jackie!” Bright said with excitement. “I found it!”
She rolled her eyes. “Sure you did. This is why I will graduate from monster hunter training before you. You can’t do anything without my help.”
Bright turned to her, ready to argue, when a wail of rage echoed from behind the tree. They switched off their flashlights and ducked behind the nearest headstone. Each yanked off their backpacks and pulled out special black gloves that only monster hunters wear.
“I know you’re hiding,” the angry voice taunted. Snapping twigs told them whatever roared at them was stomping nearer. “I told the last kids who came here to leave me alone! I don’t need you here!”
Jackie clicked on a fuel pack with a tube that led from the pack to her gloves. She pulled them a little tighter. “You ready to give these new gloves a try?” she whispered, glancing at Bright.
He nodded as he adjusted his pack and gloves. “Let’s just hope we don’t have to use them.”
Jackie rolled her eyes. “Have you met a reasonable monster yet?”
“He only chased those kids who filed the report with a mop,” Bright pointed out. “Maybe he’s not such a bad guy.” When she rolled her eyes at him again, he grinned. “One more mission and we can both graduate from training and be certified monster hunters! Let’s do this!”
Together they jumped up from behind the headstone and aimed their hands toward the creature clomping toward them. It was the bogeyman. They recognized him from pictures in their training manual. They burst out laughing when that fearsome face with red eyes and sharpened teeth stomped toward them in his bathrobe, shaking a dirty mop at them.
The bogeyman stopped in his tracks. “What are you kids laughing at?” he demanded.
“Mr. Bogeyman, sir, we’ve received an official complaint that you are chasing people from the cemetery,” Jackie began, trying to stop snickering and keep a straight face. “The Monster Bylaws clearly state that you are not allowed—”
“Forget the bylaws!” he bellowed. “I want to be left alone!”
Bright snorted. “And you’re gonna make us leave with your scary mop?”
The bogeyman stopped and stared. His eyes glowed. His expression terrified them. They took a step back. His bathrobe shifted, with a snap of his fingers, into a black robe with a hood covering his head, so all they could see were his angry red eyes. He grabbed a strand of the mop’s head and yanked. A loud buzz ripped through the air as the mop changed into a chainsaw. He strode toward them and growled, swiping at the air between them.
Jackie jumped back. “He tried to cut us in half, Bright!”
“Not gonna happen!” Bright said, lowering his head and raising his eyes to glare at the bogeyman.
“Bright,” the bogeyman laughed. “How did you get such a ridiculous name?”
He glanced over at Jackie, who stood behind with a determined look on her face. “Should we show him why they call me Bright?”
Jackie nodded. They both thrust out their hands toward the bogeyman. Flames shot from their palms, fueled by the packs on their backs. Bright’s flames shot out orange and blue, like a blow torch, while Jackie’s pulsed in different shades of red and purple. Jackie volleyed balls of fire to the hem of his long robes. The bogeyman had to jump as he stomped out the flames. He dropped his whirring chainsaw. Before it even hit the ground, Bright shot a beam of flames to the chainsaw, and it exploded in sparks and a puff of blue smoke.
“Hey, stop it!” the bogeyman howled. “I’m just trying to keep kids away from my grave. Nobody was ever nice to me when I was alive and I don’t want them near me while I’m dead!”
Jackie tilted her head thoughtfully. “Sorry, Mr. Bogeyman, but the bylaws clearly state that if you attack a person, we have to banish you to the depths of the sea.”
“No!” he cried. He reached into his robes to fire grenades at them, but each of Jackie’s fireballs met them mid-air, and they exploded in his face. Bright used his stream of blue flames to draw a cage around the monster cowering on the ground. He reached back to his pack and flipped a switched. Frost shot out of his palms and the cage around him turned into dry ice. Jackie sent one flaming purple orb to the cage’s door, and when it met the dry ice it turned into a lock.
“Good job,” Bright said as he reached back to flip another switch on his pack. “Do you think we’ll graduate now?”
Jackie smiled at him as she slipped a switch on hers, too. “I think you might even graduate, but I’ll still be first in our class.”
“Should we call for the helicopter?” he asked. He walked to the cage and rattled it. The bogeyman shrieked inside, begging to be let out.
“Let’s use our packs instead.”
Jackie and Bright each grabbed a corner of the cage and pushed a button on their gloves. Their packs ignited, converting into jet packs. They rose over the graveyard, carefully holding the cage between them as they soared over the graveyard in the blue light of the full moon to drop the bogeyman into the ocean.