Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Feature: Tempting Death



The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi pancake, but a mysterious boy named Aaron saved her life instead. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper. The bigger problem? He saved her life so she can take over his job. 

Libbi has just days to choose between dying like she was supposed to or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. The choice only gets harder when she learns Aaron’s reasons for wanting out of the whole morbid business. Basically, his job sucks. 

Still, when Aaron looks at her, there’s something more in his eyes. Something dark and secret. Something he’s hiding. Libbi will be damned if she’ll die without figuring it out. And she’ll be damned if she lets him go. 

Excerpt:

The creep is back.

I may not be able to see him, but I know he’s here, somewhere. Call it intuition. Or maybe it’s just the eerie memory of when the guy stared me down last night. I don’t know, but I’m not taking any chances.

I hunch over my history final and release my thick hair from behind my ears. It swings forward like a dark-brown curtain and hides my face.

Show’s over, buddy.

I can’t look around, not with Mr. Winkler on “cheater duty.” Hopefully, the guy will get bored and go wherever the hell he went last night when he took off.

The final is what’s important. I need to focus on this test.

I read the next question on the page, but the loser’s gaze bores through my dark shield of hair and my arms erupt in gooseflesh. Before I can skim the multiple choice answers, my eyes betray me and shoot up to scan the classroom.

Mr. Winkler sits at his desk scratching at some poor schlub’s paper with his red pen of doom. His bald head gleams in the harsh fluorescent light. God, I hope it’s not my paper he’s destroying. I can’t afford another bad grade in this class.
I quickly scan the rest of the classroom through the part in my hair, but everyone is working. Eerie feeling or not, nobody’s looking at me.

But I know someone is watching. Just like last night, I can feel his stalker stare.

This is ridiculous. I shake my head and rub my arms to dispel the goose bumps. This guy has freaked me out so much I’m imagining his eyes on me now. I don’t have time for this. I have an exam to finish.

The tip of my pencil hovers over the letter C, and something in my peripheral vision shifts. I snap my head up and finally see him.

The guy I caught staring at me at the art show last night, the guy who warned me something bad was going to happen to me today, stands at the tiny rectangular window in the door. He tilts his head and his ice-blue eyes lock on mine, sending a shiver through my body.

Shake it off, Libbi, I tell myself. He’s just a crazy boy with a crush.

Actually, with his tousled black hair and his nose pressed against the glass like that, he looks a little like a lost puppy. If he wasn’t so creepy, I’d almost feel sorry for him. But couldn’t he choose a better time than the middle of my history final to eyeball me? Plus, he said he wanted to talk to me alone, and this is most certainly not alone.

I point to my partially finished test and mouth, “Final exam.”

He nods. A half-smile lifts the corners of his lips.

“Bye.” I wave my hand.

“I need to talk to you,” he mouths.

“No,” I reply, but he continues to stand at the door.

Dude, catch a clue already. I spin away from the door, sneak a peek at Mr. Winkler, and shove the eraser of my pencil between my teeth. I yank the eraser out of its metal holder and flick it at the back of Haley’s head. Her chair squeaks as she jumps and whips around to glare at me.

“What?” she whispers.

“Look.” I point over my shoulder with my pencil to the classroom door. “That crazy guy I told you about is at the window.”

We turn to the door together, but the window’s empty. He must be a shy creeper.

“Where?” Haley says.

“Never mind. He’s gone.” I slump back in my chair. At least I can finish my test in peace.

Grab a copy on Amazon.

Elizabeth Holloway is a maternity nurse, an avid reader, an artist, a karaoke singer, a music lover, and a kick-ass Pictionary player. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Protecting Yourself as an Author

Over the past several months, this industry has seen many publishers go south. I'm referring to them closing for various reasons and/or getting exposed for not paying their authors. First, let's be clear that I'm not going to name any publishers or speak ill of any either. The intent of this post is to simply inform authors and help them in seeking a publisher for their work.

One question that seems to pop up a lot in writer forums is how to know if you're signing with a "good" publisher. To be honest, sometimes you can sign with a great publisher and then that publisher is bought out, which changes everything. Other times you sign with a publisher that has good intentions but winds up going under. And other times still, things look great on the surface but there's another world happening behind the scenes and it's not good in the least. 

So what's an author to do? The best advice I can give you is to find out which authors are with the publisher you're interested in and then contact those authors to hear what their experiences have been like. I have people do this with me all the time, and I'm very honest about my experiences, both good and bad (and yes, there have been bad ones). Also, if you notice an author has left that publisher, find out why. Keep in mind that nondisclosure agreements might keep some authors from dishing the gory details, but that should also send up a red flag. Nondisclosure agreements are set in place for a reason. As a writer, you should question that reason.

Please, research and contact authors to find out what's really going on outside of the public eye. Protect yourself and your work.  


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Mishmash 5/23/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Book Signing at Blairstown Elementary  I'm returning to Blairstown Elementary today. You may remember I had a school visit there in March. Well, the students had the opportunity to order my books and I'm returning today to sign them. I was amazed at how many ordered books. I'm doing hand exercises to get ready for all the signing. ;) 
  2. Drafting  Drafting at half my usual pace is going well. It's hard for me to not fully jump in and let the manuscript consume me, but I'm forcing myself to only write half the day to keep balance between editing and drafting. So far so good. Or so I keep telling myself.
  3. Editing  I'm managing to stay on pace with edits even though I'm cutting my day's in half. The key is I'm staying sane and healthy. No stress. I'm calling it a win.
  4. Summer Schedule  This is my daughter's last full week of school, which means my summer schedule will be in full effect beginning June 1. My work hours will be early mornings and late evenings so I can spend the bulk of my day being Mom (my favorite job of all).
  5. Visions of Mockingbird Point  I should be getting edits back on the third book in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series in early June. This is the final installment and while I'm sad to see the characters go, I'm happy with how the series ends. Expect the book sometime in July.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Feature: Shadowed Eden



High school senior Avery Miles is ready to spread her wings and prove her worth on a mission trip to Iraq, but when their entourage gets blown off course in a dust storm in the desert, the group finds themselves lost in an inexplicable garden oasis. Along with the luscious fruits and crystal springs, Avery and her friends find poisonous snakes, deadly sink holes, and a group of natives that are almost unearthly—but that’s not their biggest problem. No matter which way they trek, they can’t seem to leave. Avery steps up and takes charge to keep the group safe, but it isn’t long before she begins suspecting things aren’t as they seem. She isn’t the only one seeing the mysterious boy named Rae, and after following her father’s path in the jungle she’s pretty sure he’s sabotaging her rescue efforts. Gathering her courage, Avery must decide what’s most important to her—finally winning her father’s approval, or getting out of the jungle for good.


What others are saying about Shadowed Eden:
"A truly original premise…filled with danger, redemption, and a cast of teenaged characters that I grew to love. I enjoyed Clark's story and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next." ~Jill Williamson, Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid and Captives

"Shadowed Eden is a unique and intriguing tale that will keep the reader turning pages…and the suspense doesn't stop until its surprising end! I highly recommend it." ~Melanie Dickerson, Carol Award-winning author of The Merchant's Daughter



KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her YA supernatural novel, Shadowed Eden, as well as The Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Two Become One


In my Monday Mishmash and all over social media last week, I announced that I'm merging Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway. Why you ask?

When I initially launched the pen name, Ashelyn Drake, I wanted to make sure I could stand on my own two feet as a romance author, separate from Kelly Hashway. Once I did that, I revealed Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway are the same person. And since then, I've been using this banner to show that I'm still one person even though I write under two names: 


The problem is, I wasn't acting like one person. I have separate Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and blogs for Kelly and Ashelyn. Why? My website, newsletter, and Instagram are for both names, so why aren't my other social media accounts?

From now on, they will be. I'm moving Ashelyn over to Kelly. You'll notice my Facebook page now has both names listed. As does my blog. Twitter won't allow enough characters to display both names, but you'll see this banner and Ashelyn's name appear in my bio.

Very soon, Ashelyn's accounts will disappear, so make sure you're following the new links below to stay up to date on my Ashelyn Drake romance books as well as my Kelly paranormal and upcoming mystery/suspense/thrillers (Yes, I'm branching out!):

Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Google+

Look at that. Kelly and Ashelyn are truly merging into one author with two names, just like the slogan says. :)


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Mishmash 5/16/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Ashelyn Drake is merging with Kelly Hashway  Last week I made the decision to fully merge my Ashelyn Drake accounts with my Kelly accounts. That means pretty soon the Ashelyn FB, Twitter, and blog will all be deleted. My Kelly accounts will be for both names now. If you follow Ashelyn, make sure to follow the Kelly accounts to stay updated on Ashelyn's work. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. (You already know this blog, and might have noticed it has both names on it now.)
  2. Drafting  I'm working on an Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance right now. I'm going to call this adult, but the characters are in their mid-twenties so it's teetering the line of NA/Adult.
  3. Balance  I'm really proud of myself because I've been balancing my days with editing in the mornings and writing in the afternoons. I'm so much happier! Balance is good, guys. :)
  4. Field Trip  I'm chaperoning my daughter's field trip to the Adventure Aquarium tomorrow. I'm dreading the two and a half hour bus ride (each way!!!) but I love aquariums.
  5. Cover reveal for MORE by Keren Hughes Check out this gorgeous cover for Keren's July 19th release, More. I love it.
Drake Anderson is all the man Annalise Duncan ever wanted…

Annalise has it all. The perfect husband. The perfect son. The perfect life. After the father of her son Ayden abandoned her to be a single parent, she finally felt like she hit the romance jackpot. Her boss, Drake Anderson, turned out to be more than just a friend. He’s the love of her life, and an amazing stepfather to her son.

But the picture perfect marriage is merely an illusion…

After seven wonderful years, Drake leaves. He doesn’t give her a reason, or even the courtesy of a return phone call. Six months go by without even a single acknowledgement. Annalise is devastated. Her heart and soul belonged to Drake, and he was the only father Ayden ever knew. She’d dedicated her life to him and the family they built together, and she isn’t willing to let that dream go easily.

When Annalise spots Drake out at a café with a woman, her heart shatters all over again. But it’s not what Annalise thinks. He isn’t cheating on her. There are things about leaving that Drake just can’t or won’t explain. Some things should remain a secret. 

He wants his old life back, but Annalise won’t accept anything but the truth…

Drake has to find a way to convince his wife, his Cariad, to take him back, but it may mean facing a truth he wanted to keep hidden. He must prove to Annalise that despite his past, he wants her…

More.
Add it on Goodreads.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Feature: The Haunted Stepsister


Today, I'm excited to share a book I acquired and edited for Leap Books Seek. I feel in love with The Haunted Stepsister immediately for several reasons. First, Medeia's writing is great. Second, it's about a haunted bathroom! Third, this is a diverse book.

If you haven't checked out The Haunted Stepsister yet, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.


Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father's recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever. 

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets. 

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?

Find it on:
Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she's a public school teacher.


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.