Cover Reveal: The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Today is the day! Happy Friday the 13th! To celebrate I get to show you my cover.

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How do you like them apples? Pretty nifty, eh?

Here’s the info for prizes:

· One (1) ebook copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

· Open Internationally

· Winner will be drawn June 20, 2014

· Winners will receive their book on release day

Rafflecopter Link (Winner will be drawn June 20, 2014):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YzA4YzllOGVhNjNmZDBjNGRjZjNjYzUwYzFhNDY1OjE5Ng==/

And just to sweeten the pot, if you are a fan from WattPad, leave me a msg with your WattPad username in the comments below and I’ll put you in a drawing for a ThinkGeek.com gift card.

Cheers all!!

Books Make a Difference

I had the opportunity to write an article for the Books Make a Difference blog. Here’s me saying “Thank you!” and pasting the story in its entirety. (Will update with links ASAP)

Cheers, loves. Keep reading!

In late 2007 I was living in the vortex of a huge family hurricane. My husband was working away from home during the week. We had two small children and a third on the way. We had moved to a new town for a job that ended up being in another town entirely and I had no friends or family for support.

I hoped that I would make friends through my children’s friends. My oldest was only three years old, but like so many new parents, I was eager for him to be social. Unfortunately, the few play dates we were invited to he hid in a corner and cried. In church he obviously hated the music and cried when we left him in the nursery. There were a lot of other issues that, being a first time mom, I didn’t recognize as atypical. Oh, and did I mention he never slept? He stopped napping as soon as he turned two, every night was an hour long knock-down-drag-out fight that usually ended in pregnant me too exhausted to fight him anymore and just walking away from a child proof door. After that he’d get up two and three times in the night, sometimes screaming, sometimes singing. I never knew what I would get with him. 

But then one day a new family moved to our church. They had a little boy just my son’s age. He wore noise cancelling headphones on Sunday and had a quietness about him that made him seem like the kind of kid who wouldn’t poke my sensitive son. Other people whispered about the family and talked about the boy having autism, like it might be contagious. I noticed that they weren’t invited to play groups or birthday parties either, so I decided to reach out and take a chance – what could it hurt? I was pretty sure things couldn’t get much more miserable and this strange little boy might be just the kind of friend my strange little boy needed.

The mom, Kristen, was lovely. We spent our first play date at her home where she immediately noted how tired I looked and offered me cheese and crackers. “You need your protein!” It was like I instantly had the friend I’d been looking for. I felt very few people had taken an interest in me or my life in a very long time and I almost cried in my cheese. 

I told her about my sleepless nights, the tantrums, self injury, other kids tormenting him, and the fact that he didn’t have any real friends. She listened quietly and nodded, deep in thought. She didn’t say anything; she didn’t give me advice like so many other people had. She didn’t tell me to spank him and keep him in time out, or “just keep trying, dear!” – I was so sick of hearing those things. She simply gave me a hug and said, “I’ve got a book you need to read.”

It was called “The Out of Sync Child“. I wasn’t skeptical or offended at all, I took it gratefully. I was at my wit’s end. The book promised to walk me through several different types of disabilities and possible solutions for my son’s quirky behaviors. I had never considered he might have a disability before. I thought I was just a seriously crappy mother with a super touchy kid.

I’ll never forget lying in bed, unable to sleep after a particularly difficult Saturday. I picked up the book and started to skim through it. I quickly found myself sucked into the text. I’ve never been one for self-help books, but this book was actually interesting. It outlined in detail the similarities and differences children with different disabilities may have. But it did it in a way that an exhausted mother could understand. It also talked about why so many children go undiagnosed for years, even with more severe needs. I read until I came to a chapter with a quiz. I still wasn’t convinced that my child had an actual diagnosable issue, but I took the quiz anyway, answering the questions and turning quickly to the key with explanations. I thought, if anything, he’s probably got OCD and a touch of ADHD. Boy, was I surprised when my answers pointed me definitively to the autism spectrum. 

I believe my first reaction was something along the lines of “what in the world?” peppered with expletives. I elbowed my snoring husband and made him wake up to look at what I had just discovered. He grunted, called me crazy, and rolled back over, but for me it was like someone had flipped a switch in my heart. I was both sad and elated at the same time. If this was really what we were dealing with, it answered so many questions. It meant that this was most likely not all my fault. I was most likely not a bad mother and my kid wasn’t just quirky or weird. He had real needs and there were people out there that could help us meet them. 

Then it really hit me, hard – there were thousands of people out there that could help us! There were clubs and foundations and books and therapies and doctors and specialists and best of all, support groups full of potential friends. 

I finished reading the book and I cried that night. I woke up in the morning able to look at my little boy with a new set of eyes. I promised him we were on this journey together and we’d find the people we needed to find together. Then I called my friend and thanked her for being brave and kind enough to give me that book. It changed our lives for the better, forever.

Branded – An Emotional Rollercoaster

My lovely CP Katie Teller has released not one, but two books so far this year. I feel exhausted just thinking about it! But that’s Katie for you. She is a powerhouse of writing amazement.
I must confess at this point that I’m no where near as organized or disciplined as Katie. I wish I were. I blame it mostly on my kids (and I openly admit that’s not quite fair either:). I’m at least three days late posting this blog for her, but hey – better late than never eh? And now.. on to Katie’s book Branded.
Add it on Goodreads or purchase through Amazon

Synopsis:Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

I read Branded in just a few sittings. It was very fast paced and exciting but left me with a lot of questions for Katie (a good thing in my reading book). Lucky for me, I know her and can ask her. Lucky for you, I’m going to share those answers with you in the following interview:

This is a really intense book. Was it hard for you to write?
At time, yes, especially when I looked up forms of torture. Nasty stuff. You see elements of Nazi torture, and also animal cruelty. They weren’t pleasant reads.

Do you ever carry the mood of your books with you when you’re done writing for the day?
Certainly. Getting into a character’s head lingers.

The general is one messed up dude. You touch the surface of why he’s obsessed with Allie, but there isn’t any one major reason explained in the book. Is it just because he can’t have her? Or is there more to the back story than that?
For him, he just slowly went mad because of her defiance. At the beginning you see a fairly composed, intelligent man, but by the end he is acting rash and aggressive. At first he just wants her because he’s attracted to her, but as she becomes a symbol of defiance, he sees that forcing her into submission will win the war and break the rebel spirits.

Allie escapes and is captured multiple times in the story. Why was this important to your plot? What made you decide to write this way rather than an extended imprisonment like most terrorist stories these days? (I may have just answered my own question:)
Each escape shows important elements about some character or another. It also shows her defiance while also showing her human compassionate side. Her time in the “bush” also gives her hope for freedom one day and helps spread the word of her story.

Nick and Damien are both such strong and interesting men. Was it hard for you to decide how to resolve that triangle? (I don’t want to give anything away.)
Oh my yes. I tossed between several endings for most of the book. But the one I chose I feel has the most impact.

At the end of the Hunger Games, Katniss is basically a walking PTSD nightmare. How do you think Allie will handle the rest of her life?
I think since Ali lived a stable, normal life most of her life, then received intensive psychological treatment right away so she could testify, she will be fine. She will have some emotional scarring, but she is a fighter and with those she loves around her, she will bounce back.

Thanks for chatting with me today Katie! And thanks for being an awesome CP :)

Stacey Nash Gives Birth – LIVE On My Blog!

Hello readers! Today we have the lovely Stacey Nash writing to us about the process she went through in giving birth to her book baby, Forget Me Not. Consequently, this is an awesome read and you should buy it right now – GO!

Without anymore shameless marketing or dumb birthing jokes here’s Stacey!

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The Birth of a Story

In some ways books are like babies. First there’s the idea, then there’s the creation, (don’t think dirty thoughts) then after that there’s the birth. A lot of sweat, blood and tears go into making books!

When we talk about the idea, it’s really the story concept, and they come in all sorts and kinds. I’ve had stories come to me in dreams, and others grow organically, but the idea for Forget Me Not brewed over time. The basic concept had been floating around in my head for too long. It’s the first book I ever wrote, so I guess the concept was born from many years of reading and knowing what I love to read. Then there was my love of a good tongue in cheek conspiracy theory. I have always found them fascinating and enjoyed picking them apart.

After I had the basic concept of a secret organization who suppressed advanced technology from the public, the rest of the story grew and expanded as the book unfolded. That’s the creation. As I wrote, I discovered my main character, a tenacious seventeen-year-old, and her long time friend who just wants to look out for her. The actual plot came organically too, each chapter at a time. I just sat down in front of the computer everyday and the words fell off my fingertips. Kind of, that makes it sound a little too easy. :)

I guess you could say that Forget Me Not is the story of my heart. They say to write the book you want to read and that’s exactly what I did.

Happy Book Birthday Stacy Nash!

 

 

 

 

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Stacy Nash is awesome. She’s an Aussie writer who, I’m pretty sure, the whole universe adores. I’m so excited to announce the birth of her book, Forget Me Not. And I can’t wait to read it!!

If you don’t know Stacey, you should. Look her up on Twitter, her  website, and Facebook .

(P.S. I reblogged the following content from Louise D. Gornall – also a fabulous author.)

Don’t miss the give away at the bottom of the excerpt!

Don’t you love this cover? Now more about her book:

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 Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother’s favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. When the brooch and the pendant are worn together they’re no longer pretty pieces of jewelry — they’re part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewelry’s power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device — and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she’s Enemy Number One.

She’s forced to leave her father behind when she’s taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO THE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS AND SUPREMELY TALENTED STACEY NASH…I CAN’T WAIT TO READ!!

 

An Excerpt…

The gas meter beeps when he reaches the top of the staircase. Coming upstairs seems kind of strange. I mean, surely gas leaks would have to be a kitchen thing. The beeping sets my teeth on edge, and I just want it to stop. Maybe there’s something wrong, but here in the upstairs hall?

“That doesn’t sound good,” I mutter.

“It means there is indeed…”

He twists, angling himself toward my open bedroom door, and his gaze locks on my dresser. The back of my neck prickles, a sure sign something about this just isn’t right. What the…I step past him and pull the door closed, but he pushes me aside and slams it open. Panic shoots through me, but I’m fast enough to dart around him. Turning my shoulder and reaching for the box.

He lunges toward me, grabs me from behind, and his arm pins my neck to him with a shoulder crushing grip. He pushes me against the dresser, and the box falls open, its contents spilling across the top. Heart pounding, my throat burns with a scream. I’ve got to get him out of here. He must know about my pendant, the brooch. Dammit. I wriggle to escape his vice-like grip, but it’s no use — he’s too strong.

My hand darts toward the pendant. I snatch it, but he grabs my wrist. Adrenaline tries to pound my heart right out of its home in my chest. If only I can get the jewelry on, I might be able to make its magic work and hide.

“Tech breech confirmed,” he speaks into his collar in a matter-of-fact tone; then he turns his gaze to me. “Give me the pendant.”

There’s a tiny ripping sound, like velcro torn open. A young guy in a black leather jacket flickers into my bedroom. A sharp gasp leaves me. I can’t escape one attacker, let alone two. Where the heck are these men coming from? I’m not going down without a fight, so I kick at my captor’s shins. The leather jacket guy wrenches the man’s grip from my shoulders and punches him square in the chin, knocking his head to the side. Shaking his head, the gas man stumbles backward.

The jacket guy raises his knee and drives a foot into the other man’s stomach. The straight, hard kick makes a loud thud and forces the dude to double over and curl in on himself. The leather jacket guy crouches and drives his fist straight up into the man’s chin. It knocks him flat on his back like a felled tree.

My chest rises and falls with my quickened breath. My heart thuds like a booming drum. The mysterious rescuer turns toward me, holding my gaze with intense, steady jade eyes. He grabs my assailant by the arm, and they both flicker out of my room.

My mind spins.

Legs, arms, body — I can’t move, but it doesn’t matter. Moving is the least of my worries. Who were they, and what just happened? The meter seemed to lead him straight to Mom’s pendant. Gas man, my ass.

I clutch my head in an attempt to stop my mind spinning, but my hand slides off my sweaty forehead and falls against my tightened stomach. What if they come back? The guy in the jacket…

What was that? The brooch, the pendant…my disappearing reflection. They wanted it. Damn.

Sweat trickles down my forehead and into my eyes. I wipe it away with a trembling hand. Questions hurtle through my mind, all jumbling together as they race faster and faster in my mind. Seconds, minutes, hours I don’t know, but a single thought emerges through the haze of my mind.

Will.

 

What others had to say…

“I certainly won’t be forgetting Nash’s debut, FORGET ME NOT! A vividly fast-paced tale with adventure, secrets, and kissing!” -Kimberly P. Chase, Author of THE APOLLO ACADEMY.

“Vivid, fresh, and unforgettable!” – Kimberly P. Chase, Author of THE APOLLO ACADEMY.

And now a giveaway…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacey Nash (3)

About the Author…

Stacey grew up in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards. Full of history and culture, it provides wonderful writing inspiration. After dabbling with poetry during her teen years, Stacey stopped writing until after university when she was married with young children. Now she loves nothing more than spending her days with her children and writing when inspiration strikes.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Is She Talking About Her New Book Again?

I am pretty sure my friends and family are sick to death of hearing me talk about my new book. I’ve been working on it off and on for the better part of a year. And in that time I’ve talked about it to anyone who will listen. It’s definitely a pet project. I mean, you have to get excited about anything you’re working on, especially a novel, because it takes up so much of your time and brain. But this book means more to me than any other book I’ve written. That’s why it’s taking me so long to write. It must be PERFECT.

The other books I’ve written have taken me about a month to plan and research and a month to write. I just throw them together, do an editing pass, and send them off to a critique partner. I don’t stress over the project, short of a plot hole or two, I just enjoy being creative through writing. It will be interesting to see how a book turns out when I actually agonize over it, write it, rewrite it, dream about it and research the topic at length. I’m hoping the results will be infinitely better than what I’ve written in the past. 

Or, it could turn out to be mediocre. And that’s ok. Because I’m fairly certain that all of this plotting, planning, researching, writing, rewriting and polishing will make me a  better writer in the end – even if I don’t end up with a better book. 

You’re dying to know what it is? Aren’t you? Ok. You twisted my arm. (Feel free to skip this part if I’ve already yacked your ear off about it.)

Every American knows the story of the pioneers crossing the plains to settle the West – Manifest Destiny, sea to shining sea, wagons ho! I’ve had those stories drilled into me from birth because I come from hearty pioneer stock. I think most of us westerners do, in one way or another. I think I’m probably alone when I say I wish I could have lived back then. The thrill of settling a new land, of walking the plains, of living under the stars and finding all your own food and water. I dunno… the adventure just appeals to me. But I’m sure I would miss my iPhone and my computer something awful. 

So my book is about a boy immigrating west with his parents, only their wagons are mechanical, their oxen have glowing eyes, and the bad guys aren’t Native Americans. There are a lot of parallels to my LDS faith, a lot of twists and turns, some death, some deceit, and some heartbreak. But ultimately, I’m hoping to wrap it all up with redemption. 

I love this story so much I had to share my excitement somewhere other than with my family. I hope you don’t mind reading about it here. 

Where am I at in the process now? Well, I have the entire book laid out, maybe even enough material for a trilogy (I’m not fond of those,) and I have half of it written. But it’s been bothering me. It doesn’t flow as smoothly as I’d like it to. I feel like the whole thing is sort of blah.. it’s missing something. So I spent the first month of the year stressing about it. I went over the plot a million times in my mind, wrote it out, threw it away, thought about different possibilities. Then I realized what my issue was – I was starting the story in the wrong place. I had at 3,000 words of back story, and that’s not good for any novel, especially if you want your readers to jump right in and love it. 

Last week I got brave and hacked out the first four chapters. This forced me to start right at the heart of the action. Yes, that leaves a lot for the reader to put together, but isn’t that what’s fun about reading? Fitting all the little pieces together? Getting to know your character like you would a good friend? People don’t walk up to you and dump their whole life story on you in the street. A book shouldn’t either. 

And don’t worry, I always put big chunks of things I cut out in a file called “Stuff I Might Need Later”. It’s dead, but not forgotten.

The next thing I did was to take one of my favorite characters who doesn’t show up till the middle of the book and I put him front and center at the beginning. And I changed a couple of the names. Names are a big deal to me. If I don’t like the name, I won’t like the character, etc. 

Now I’m going through what’s left and carefully reading with a fine toothed comb, trying to spot anything that needs to be updated to match the new first chapter. It’s a good review for me as well. I actually had three different names for a certain minor character – oops! 

I’m hoping to finish the editing quickly so I can jump back into the writing. I feel like there is good momentum and excitement now, a reason to stick with the main character, who also got a new name. Why did I change his name? Because I love this little boy more than any other character I’ve ever written about and I wanted to reflect that. So what name did I give him? Of course, it had to be Daniel :)

More soon!

Hybernation

So, it’s winter here in NC, and it’s much more winter than I ever really planned on “enjoying”. I’ve mostly been cleaning up kid puke, nursing a cold and chasing chickens around the yard. I’ve squeezed in a few hours of writing here and there, but nothing like I’d hoped to get done while hiding in my cave. I’m sitting at my desk watching it snow like Alaska (to those unfamiliar with the south, it’s not supposed to snow like Alaska here.) We moved to NC to get away from cold winter weather. I’m a sunshine girl. Can’t even think straight if I know the beach isn’t available for me to drive to when I feel like it.

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NO!

YES!

But enough whining. I did force myself to come out of my cave and work on the latest issue of Quantum Fairy Tales, and what an awesome issue it is! I’m quite proud of our little webzine. The staff is awesome and the contributors just keep getting better and better. I also got off my duff and wrote another short story for this issue. You can read it here: Subterfuge

Let me know if you like the story!  A lot of people say I end my work too quickly and that I need to continue the story to a nicely wrapped up ending. I’m not sure I agree or not. I like to read stories that leave things to your imagination. I like to read stories that inspire my brain to take over and figure out what happens next. I hope to write those kinds of stories as well, but maybe I’m taking it a bit too far. Two of my favorite books are the Life of Pi and The Giver, both have less than traditional endings. Some people love them, some hate them. What do you think?

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

If you’ve read my blog much over the past year you’ll know I love giving away gifts! I wish I could have a give away every week, but then my kids would starve and go shoe-less.

Anyway! Thank you to everyone who took time to read and comment on my story, Helpless. I really love getting feedback, good and bad. It’s great to know that people are out there reading and sharing their thoughts. Why else would I write? In case you missed it a couple of weeks ago, before my extended vacation from the real world, I offered to draw a name from the comments section of my story and we have our winners today.

Ashley Ryan Snyder!!

Congrats Ryan! You win your choice of the following:

A spooky book: Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner

A free critique: First chapter, query or poem

A gift card to Think Geek : because it’s the coolest shopping website ever. I highly suggest the bacon hand sanitizer, especially if you want to annoy your pregnant friends or coworkers.

 

And just because I can… I decided to draw a second name :) Ready? Here we go!

 

Second place goes to: Myrna Bob Foster!

You get your pick of whatever is left!

 

Congrats girls! And thanks so much for participating :)

Treats for my Readers

Happy Halloween!! (So, so very late!)

As usual, I’ve been super busy chasing little kidlettes around to parties and trick-or-treating. Plus I’ve never been much good at scheduling blog posts ahead of time. But I’m here now and I need your help!

I’m part of a very scary blog hop at Aussie Owned and Read. These fine ladies have provided a chain of spooky websites and stories for you to follow. Best part? Every blog has a prize! Including mine!

 

My prize involves Quantum Fairy Tales’ new issue. Let me tell you, it’s awesome! So many great stories and poems! And this one is mine: Helpless

Since it’s the super awesome Halloween anniversary issue of QFT, they are offering a few awesome prizes just for commenting on the pieces of your choice. Each comment on a unique story, poem, or work of art gives you an entry. And since I’m curious to see what you folks think of my story I’ve decided to offer the same deal. Leave a comment on my story there and you’ll be entered to win a QFT prize and a prize from me!

How fun are we? TOO FUN!

So, go here: Helpless, read, and leave a comment. Then on November 13th I’ll randomly pick a name from the comments section and you can have your choice of the following:

A spooky book: Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner

A free critique: First chapter, query or poem

A gift card to Think Geek : because it’s the coolest shopping website ever. I highly suggest the bacon hand sanitizer, especially if you want to annoy your pregnant coworkers.

 

KiYA: Mother of a King is in the HOWSA!

Today is the day that the second book in the Kiya Trilogy releases; Kiya: Mother of a King.
You can find book one, Kiya: Hope of a Pharaoh HERE
To celebrate, Katie has opened up the comments on her blog for you to ask what you want to know about the series. And yes, book 3 is written and contracted so you will be seeing the final installment before you know it.
So, here is the details for Kiya book 2:

Amazon Kobo B&N Goodreads
Nefertiti has forced Naomi to flee Amarna with Malachi and the three children. But even under the protection of Naomi’s family in Thebes, Nefertiti still hunts her and Tut. Nefertiti sends assassins to kill them, and while Naomi fights to protect the children, Malachi fights to keep her safe.


With three children in tow, one of which isn’t her own, she is labeled the harlot outcast wife of the pharaoh and is shunned. She isn’t safe among her own people, and flees from being stoned to death. Although her family protects her, she must find a way to survive.


While Naomi struggles to keep herself and Tut alive, old adversaries return as Smenkhkare takes advantage of Akhenaten’s ailing health. Naomi must rely on Horemheb’s promise to protect Tut’s birthright, but her feelings for Malachi could cause more problems with Horemheb than she expects.






CQ is also hosting a giveaway for Kiya: Mother of a King on Goodreads! So jump in!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

KIYA by Katie Hamstead

KIYA

by Katie Hamstead

Giveaway ends November 20, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win