Category Archives: Young Adult Books

$.99 Featured Fantasy Book: The World of Ato by Patrick Borosky @patborosky

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Fantasy – Sword & Sorcery

the world of ato

Ato was never one to shy away from adventure. She traveled her small world with her friend Reed to discover lands that others could only dream about. However, unlike Reed who sought to unravel the mysteries of the world, Ato had a different reason for her adventures – her art.

It was her deepest desire to share her art with others and show them the entire world, but that was before she met Iro. The tiny dragon opens the door that leads Ato into her art and into a world of her own creation.

On sale for $.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited!

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$.99 New Release! Featured Rockstar Romance Boxset and Interview: Heavy Influence: The Complete Series by Ann Marie Frohoff @frohoffwrites

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Young Adult / New Adult

Heavy Influence 1

Release Date: 3/27/18

The complete, highly-rated, six book Heavy Influence Series. Where love makes and breaks the music. Heavy Influence takes you on a heart thumping journey through the trials and tribulations of a rising rockstar who reaches unimaginable fame, yet the only thing his heart desires is having the love of his life by his side. From angsty teenagers and forbidden love to lusty twenty-somethings, Jake & Alyssa will endure more than love and loss. Their happily-ever-after will bring more than bargained for.

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Seeing her standing curbside at Heathrow was hard for me to believe. She was bundled up in a snug-fitting black wool coat. Her head was down, and she didn’t notice me pulling up. She looked different, taller and more beautiful than I’d imagined. She wasn’t the tear-streaked girl I left standing in the driveway. Her face had thinned out a bit and her hair was lighter and longer. She’d grown into herself, and the picture and video chatting images only told half the story. She was radiant. I sat there staring at her for several seconds. I had to admit I was nervous. This was her idea. I knew the inevitable was near, and it had me locked in. Knowing nothing could keep us apart had my mind spinning out of control with the possibilities of our future and the little box sitting in my nightstand drawer.

“Hey Alycat.” I got out of the car. She didn’t hear me at first. “Yo, Alycat!” I said louder.

“Oh my God, Jake,” she said, breathless. She beamed and my knees went weak. I was shaking from the excitement.

As if no time had passed, she threw herself onto me, hugging me tight. I took her face into my hands. The sound of her sigh made me want to take her right then and there. We stood, making out, until the airport cop pulled us from our love-drunk haze.

She’d never been to London, and she was wide-eyed with excitement as we made our way through the tight cobble-stoned streets of my temporary neighborhood. She marveled at how small the cars were. –

“They look like oversized roller-skates,” She mused. She would be with me for only a week, and rambled on about how she wanted to squeeze in every possible thing before she left.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

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About the Author:

Ann Marie Frohoff

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? As with many, it all started with a dream. I took my kid to a Jonas Brothers concert and it all exploded from there. I began touring with young bands and their families, to really get into the nitty-gritty life of going after “the dream.” One of the bands actually is making it big, Bad Suns. The frontman, Christo Bowman, has become like a son to me. I met him at 14 and now he’s 23. Strange thing is, as I was writing this series, some of the things I wrote about, happened. For instance I named the love interest Aly (short for Alyssa) and Christo ended up falling in love with a girl named Ally – weird. They are still together and making it. My extensive interviews and being a fly on the wall during travel and recording sessions really played into the backdrop of the story. I mean, when you think about the songs/music out there being produced – 90% of them are about love, tragic or finding your forever.

How many books do you currently have published? I’ve published 7, all belonging to my Heavy Influence series about an up and coming rockstar who falls for the girl next door. From teenage forbidden love to lusty twenty-somethings, their love story comes with more than bargained for.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? The entire Heavy Influence series was awesome to write, but if I had to pick one it would be Broken Notes. That book is when it all comes to a real head, the wheels totally fall off with the bandmates and love, and you wonder if any of what’s happening can be mended, healed or put back together. I’m happy to be moving on to other stories now though.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? I just finished writing my first book that’s not about a rockstar. hahaha. It’s a YA tale, and a bit of a secret right now as it makes the rounds. I’m hoping to have news about it sooner than later. But a hint is: The one person you can’t stand, ends up being the one who stands by you. Think – Pride and Prejudice meets Confessions of a Shopaholic.

What do you enjoy most about writing? The dreaming – where anything is possible.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? I actually don’t get writer’s block. It’s finding the time to write. I do like to take breaks and think about where the story is going, but I don’t consider it a block. I have so many stories that are half written, because I get so inspired by so much. I’m surprised I finish any one story at all. haha.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? YES!!! Omg… totally. I love how my characters end up surprising you like real people.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? Hmm. Great question. It’s interesting because there is actually a little of me in all of my characters, and since I’m older and more of an extrovert, I’ve lived many lives and have been probably too cavalier in my life haha. I’d have to say my Heavy Influence character – Jake, my hunky rockstar. He’s so unbelievably flawed, but you root for him because he can’t get out of his own way. He’s like so many people I’ve met and love/loved in my life. I can’t say I have a “least favorite” – meaning I don’t like some of the things they’ve done, or do, but they all come around and become better people. However I am writing a thriller right now, and I hate the bad guy, and I can’t wait for my protagonist to torture him – I’m writing “my crazy” right now. hahahaha.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? My first stab at Urban Fantasy / Magical Realism that I’m also writing right now – the scenes taking place at Hearst Castle, in California – which is the backdrop of the story. I seriously can’t wait for this one to release someday.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? Hire a great editor. Invest in one. Get recommendations. I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I’ll always say – INVEST in an editor. If you’re serious about your writing and want to get better.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? I’d have to say start with the very first book I published – Heavy Influence: Skid Out – it’s perma-free, so go grab it. There’s nothing like young love, or your first infatuation, or your parents telling you that you can’t have a boyfriend.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? I love the Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin. Harry Potter is a huge. I’m actually reading the screenplay Fantastic Beasts right now (I went to school for screenwriting so…haha). Contemporary, I love anything by Katie McGarry, or Tammara Webber. I have to say my all time faves aren’t YA or NA. There is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and just recently, The Nightingale. I’m reading How To Stop Time by Matt Haig and I’m loving it.

What about television shows? Movies? Any 80’s flick – specially the teenage ones by John Hughes – The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles etc. I loved American Horror Story.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? I would have to say most recently, The Nightingale – WWII France. The writing is beautiful and there is something about “based on true stories”. Also The Outsiders from my teen years. That story never gets old. I can still recite the poem at the end. “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? I plan on doing a few in 2019. Right now I’m traveling a lot for a couple of book series research. So my money and time is going there. I really can’t write a story without seeing the land and places with my own eyes, and talking to the people. Also, my kid just started playing college sports, and I’m traveling to see her. So YES! 2019!

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? Coffee. Yoga. Write. Wine. Repeat. I love writing stories about real people, real feelings; adventures, and spinning them into something fantastical too. lol. Sorry, that’s more than ten!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? Happy Reading! xoxo – oh and don’t forget to download my perma-free book: Heavy Influence: Skid Out (avail. on most online retailers) and if you join my Newsletter – I’ll mail you some free swag:

8+ Recommended Books For Fans Of Young Adult Gothic Fiction

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young adult gothic fiction recommend reading

Readers, if you’re a fan of young adult characters AND Gothic fiction, you are going to love the list of books below!

Since her father’s mysterious death, Lauren Cowley has been stuck in a pitiful rut until she begins having ominous encounters, haunting her every move. While attempting to break free from her wretched life she meets Donovan. He is tall, dark, good-looking, strangely familiar – and yet terrifying. His unexplained ability to stare deep into her soul with emotionless eyes frightens her, yet she has no desire to break free from the gravitating pull he has on her. He unlocks her passion…and suppressed memories forcing her to fight for everything she loves. Lauren now has to face the reality of demons and the tragic consequences they have had on her life.

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silent song

His love was her secret

Alice always saw his talent, his passion. She saw his soul every time he played, and she was obsessed with it. Maybe even enamored. That’s why she kept sneaking into his practices, risking her reputation every night just to listen to him. But was that tenuous, furtive connection enough of a reason to take the final step? Could she stand by his side, when that meant standing alone?

Her love was his strength

But no secret can stay hidden forever. When Keith is drawn into composing the soundtrack for the high school play Alice is starring, their worlds crash together and she must make her choice: is Keith worth risking it all? Can they have something strong enough to withstand not only their differences, but also the malicious darkness that seems to be entwined with their performance of Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan?

A curse two hundred years in the making. One soul to break it…

Ghosly Rhapsody Duology: a Young Adult Gothic Romance

Silent Song
Shattered Silence

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Four saucy tales from the legendary vampire girls of Victorian London, bound up in one alluring volume.

These stories quicken the pulse, thrill the mind, and excite parts of the body that other, lesser books fail to reach.

Novellas and short stories featured in this sweet confection of blood, sex and gothic melodrama include Holmes of the Baskervilles, Miss Katie Bell – Victorian Vampire, Joan Dark is Lost, and The Vampire Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Welcome to the Gothic London of the 1800s, where vampires walk the streets and some of your favorite characters from Victorian literature are twisted until they snap.

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Portraits have been removed from the walls, and areas of the house are off limits. Some rooms even seem to have been walled off completely. No one will talk to her.

It’s been a difficult year for Abilene Collins. Since her father’s death, her whirlwind life of adventure and travel has come to an end.

Now, she’s living with her mysterious uncle. He’s a man with secrets, living almost alone in a ridiculously large mansion that he doesn’t own. He doesn’t like questions, and when Lena starts asking about his job, it isn’t hard to tell that he’s keeping some family secrets from her.

The young and ambitious groundskeeper has become her only friend, and one day he tells her that she was stolen from her mother years before. Lena’s family are all telepathic, and that isn’t all…they’re a religious pillar of the Silenti society. Her grandfather has used his standing to gain political power, decimating his rivals along with anyone who gets in his way.

Suddenly thrust into a life of political plots and religious fanatics, Lena finds herself struggling to navigate her own life. Some people aren’t fond of the Darays, and the family has nearly died out through assassination.

It appears Lena is the latest target.

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The #1 New York Times Best Seller is now a major motion picture from visionary director Tim Burton, starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Judi Dench.

Bonus features
• Q&A with author Ransom Riggs
• Eight pages of color stills from the film
• Sneak preview of Hollow City, the next novel in the series

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

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“Almost everyone is convinced I’m mad. But I’m not sure I believe them.”

Seventeen-year-old Seluna doesn’t know why she was admitted to an all-female insane asylum called Silver Hill. She doesn’t know exactly how she makes inanimate objects come to life. And she can’t figure out the reason for the sadistic and brutal experiments on girls here—many of whom are never heard from again.

When Seluna sneaks out to the moonlit, forbidden garden behind Silver Hill, she meets a mysterious boy swimming in a pond. She senses there’s a connection between him and what’s happening at the asylum, but he’s not telling what. Then there are the screams from down long halls and the constant absence of light. No doubt they’re all part of the scheme concocted by the merciless head of the facility, Dr. Catron. He’s growing more and more frantic and violent in an attempt to find the person—or thing—he’s looking for.

Yes, there’s a lot Seluna doesn’t know about Silver Hill. About why moonlight, madness, and murder are following her. But she needs to find out fast . . . before she becomes the next victim.

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When Anne’s mother agrees to marry a wealthy, mysterious man, she expects a nice mansion in the hills. But their new home, Belrose Abbey, is more like a castle—imposing, cold, and full of shadows. The more Anne explores the corridors and vacant rooms and dusty crannies, the more she discovers about the abbey’s master—her soon-to-be stepfather—Ivan Helsburg. As her mother’s wedding draws closer, Anne begins to harbor a creeping suspicion that all is not well at Belrose Abbey.

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Of all the folks in the mountain shacks, the Casteels were the lowest — the scum of the hills.

Heaven Leigh Casteel was the prettiest, smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes and dirty face…despite a father meaner than ten vipers…despite her weary stepmother, who worked her like a mule. For her brother Tom and the little ones, Heaven clung to her pride and her hopes. Someday they’d get away and show the world that they were decent, fine and talented — worthy of love and respect.

Then Heaven’s stepmother ran off, and her wicked, greedy father had a scheme — a vicious scheme that threatened to destroy the precious dream of Heaven and the children forever!

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An innocent bayou girl lost to New Orleans. One of the most popular storytellers of all time, V.C. Andrews (Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina) layers psychological suspense with sheer terror in this provocative first book of the classic Landry Family series.

Even in the heart of the bayou, innocence can’t last forever….

The only family Ruby Landry has ever known are her loving guardian Grandmere Catherine, a Cajun spiritual healer, and her drunken Grandpere Jack. Although thinking about her dead mother and mysterious father sometimes makes her feel as sad and solemn as the wind sighing through the Spanish moss, Ruby is grateful for what she has. Her life is filled with hope and promise, especially when her attraction to handsome Paul Tate blossoms into a wonderful love affair. But Paul’s wealthy parents forbid him to associate with a poor Landry, and Grandmere urges Ruby to focus on her dream of becoming a great painter.

An uncertain future looms….

A shocking scheme of blackmail and deception comes to light when Ruby sees her father for the first time in a faded photograph. Stunned and devastated when Grandmere dies soon after, she is left to seek out an explanation on her own. Finding her father in his massive New Orleans mansion, Ruby is quickly subjected to his world of lies, torment…and madness. Still, she clings to her memories of Paul—for only true love might be able to save her now.

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Young Adult Fiction Spotlight and Author Interview: Twisted Faith by Victoria Schwimley @schwimley

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Fiction, Family Life, Religious & Inspirational, Christian, Young Adult

Twisted Faith

Abby Stein is young, smart and obedient. But even obedient girls can make a mistake once in a while. While most girls learn a lesson and move on, Abby isn’t allowed to do that. When a poor choice at a party leaves Abby pregnant and alone, her overly religious parents and church community will make her life so miserable that she’s forced to consider suicide. In desperation, Abby makes a desperate call from the parking lot of New Hope Christian Church. Pastor David Owens leads a fledgling congregation at New Hope Christian Church and answers the call. As the suspense increases, so does the little group of congregants working together in a race to save her life. Can they get through to Abby and show her God’s true love before it’s too late?
**Twisted Faith is the second book in the Faith Series**

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“It’s about babies,” I blurted out.
“Babies!” my mother cried, incredulously. “You know I can’t have any more babies,” my mother said, a bitter sadness in her eyes. My mother had lost two babies following the birth of my little sister. My parents had wanted more children—a fact I couldn’t understand—but after the last miscarriage, my mother had hemorrhaged and the doctors had to perform a hysterectomy. They said it was God’s plan and they would have to live with His decisions, but I could see the pain.
I shook my head again, more slowly this time. “Not you, Mother…me,” I said, my voice a soft fluff of words, but loud enough to be heard.
“What did you say?” my mother demanded.
I looked at my father, who sat with his fingers laced together, two fingers sticking up, like he used to do when my sister and I were little and he would play the “here’s the church” game with us. He just kept tapping his two index fingers together, his eyes stonily boring into me. I didn’t answer my mother’s question, as I took it to be rhetorical.
After what seemed like an eternity my father spoke. “No, Abigail.” His tone was low, guttural, commanding. As if merely by demanding “no” of me, my body would comply. I almost laughed, but I didn’t, catching myself just in time.
My mother, taking me totally by surprise, rose from her seat, strode across the room and struck me across the face. “Whore,” she spat. My mouth hung open slightly, and I could feel the tingle where she had slapped me. I would have expected it of my father, but my mother! My mother, in all my conscious memories, had never struck me.
I raised my hand, caressed my cheek. “Do you think that will make it go away?” I asked. Her response was to slap me again. This time I stood straight as an arrow. My mother reached out, grabbed a handful of my hair and dragged me through the doorway and up the stairs, stopping outside the bathroom. “Get in there,” she demanded.
I narrowed my eyes at her. My heart started thumping so hard I could feel it punctuate my breathing. “Why?”
“We are going to wash the seed of the devil away from you.”
I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but I complied. I would have been more than thrilled to make this whole thing go away. I’m not sure what I expected, but I followed her command without comment. I was shocked when she followed me in. “I can bathe myself,” I said.
Wordlessly, she reached under the bathroom sink and took out a box. Immediately I thought of the kind nurse who had given me the pregnancy test. The words on this box read Massengill Douche. I’m not wise with the ways of the world, but I did know what a douche was. “Mother!” I cried.

About the Author:

victoria schwimley

Victoria was born in Jamestown, New York, but grew up in Southern California. She now resides in Elk Grove, California with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She was an avid reader as a child and couldn’t wait for the next good book to be placed in her hands. It was only natural she would turn to writing as a career choice. She has been writing since childhood, always looking for the next story to tell. Writing is as natural to her as living. She loves getting to know her characters and bringing them to life. She is in as much anticipation about the ending of a story as she hopes her readers are.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? I began my writing career somewhere about the mid-eighties. I did it because I wanted to see if I could do it. Well, I did do it. But that’s where it ended. When my mother-in-law came to visit, she happened to pick it up off the typewriter and came to me saying, “Did you write this? It’s really good.”
So, I merely said, “It’s not really that good. It has tons of holes in the story and many mistakes in the manuscript.”
She said, “So you’ll fix it and get it published.” I just smiled, put it in a box and placed it on my closet shelf. It stayed there for over a decade and a half, while I went on living my life, never pursuing my dream of becoming a writer.
Of course, I never had a lot of self-esteem growing up. I was a moody kid who loved to read and dream big about being a writer. I had a boring life and often pretended I was someone else. I carried on conversations with myself, imagining what I would say as this person, and what would my companion say back? I had little encouragement from my parents, who would say, “You have some imagination there… which I took as a put-down. Something as foolish as writing was a dream I couldn’t possible achieve. I took creative writing in high school, loving the exercises the teacher would give us. My favorite was when she’d take us outside to lie down on the hill and look at clouds. Then we’d go back into the classroom and describe what we saw. My teacher always praised my work, but still I lacked confidence. I published many poems in the high school newspaper, receiving plenty of praise from classmates, but still I didn’t think I could make it.
So, I graduated high school, got married and had a baby right away. Then I went to medical assisting school and spent the bulk of my career tending to patients’ needs. Not that I didn’t find that fulfilling, I did, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do, what I felt was my path. Somewhere around 2008 my youngest child and I were discussing dreams and visions. I told her I’d always wanted to write a book. She said, “You should, Mom. I’ll bet it would be good.”
I said, “Actually I have written a book.” I still had that 1987 manuscript on my closet shelf. Although it had moved many times with me to different closet shelves, it was still there in the box I had sealed it in. I pulled the yellowed pages out of the box and handed them to her, a sheepish grin on my face. She immediately sat down to read it. When she finished it, she exclaimed how good it was, but pointing out it still had all the typos in it.
She said, “You should get it published.”
I thought about it for a while and realized, how could I encourage my children to follow their dreams if I wasn’t willing to do the same.
So, I ripped it apart, changed, deleted, and updated scenes, got out as many typos as I could find by myself and sent it off to an agent… and then another one… and another one… and another one… After some disappointing relationships and failed attempts, I finally saw my first novel in print. Then I immediately began on the second.

How many books do you currently have published? I currently have 9 novels and three short stories published. Of those nine novels, four of them are adult stories, two are young adult, and three of them are children’s middle-grade stories that feature my grandchildren as the main characters.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? I think I felt the most satisfied after writing, Lacy’s End. I had a friend who was a victim of domestic abuse. She taught me that victims don’t always feel they have a choice. I wanted to show my readers the possibilities that were there for them. I had the most fun writing Fight For The Kingdom. I never thought I could write a fantasy, but when I finished it, I realized how much fun I had.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? I’m currently working on the third segment in my Crime Solver’s Detective series. The title is Carnival Caper, and it will take all my grandchildren to the California State Fair. It will be the next published story. Also, in the research and outline stage is book three in the Faith series. Darkest Faith will again feature Pastor David Owens as he helps a girl deal with Bi-Polar disorder.

What do you enjoy most about writing? Writing is an escape for me, a way for me to experience life a different way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a story teller. When my children were young, they preferred stories I’d created for them over books I could buy them. I enjoy entertaining people with story.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? I am fortunate not to have experienced writer’s block. I have, however, been stuck in a dilemma as to which way I wanted to take a scene. When that happens, I just step aside from my writing and go and do something else for a while. When I’m ready, I just return and my indecision has resolved.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? I have had characters surprise me. In The Victim’s Shadow is a prime example of that situation. When the concept of Katherine and John first came to me, they were meant to be lighthearted co-workers who decide to have a baby together when Katherine begins to hear the tick of her biological clock. They would soon realize they are really in love but won’t admit it to each other. As I began writing the story, Katherine’s backstory developed into an unsolved mystery and she became a victim.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? Jessica Crawford, Coveting Love and Confronting Truths is my favorite character. What I love about her is the honesty, integrity, and strength she shows. Having been abandoned by her father when she was a child, and then later overcoming the betrayal of someone she trusted, she became a strong woman. I’m not sure I have a least favorite because all my characters intrigue me. However, if I’m forced to choose, I would probably choose Phillip Stewart, also from Coveting Love, because he hurts my Jessica.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? In Capturing Faith, Ryan has a conversation at a graveside. The scene represents an experience I had after my father died.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? Telling a story is easy. Writing a quality novel is hard; it takes determination, lots of studying the craft of writing, and endless hours of marketing your work. It’s a highly-competitive market these days, but the joy of seeing a review from a reader who gets the message of your story is worth all the work.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? That’s not an easy question to answer. I write multi-genre, so if you like a good suspense novel, I would recommend In The Victim’s Shadow. If romance is your thing, Coveting Love. If you’re looking for a book for your kid who likes adventure, Fight for The Kingdom. YA enthusiast, Twisted Faith.

Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release,  a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character? Here’s the prologue from my upcoming novel, Darkest Faith.

Darkest Faith
Into darkness I descend where not one bit on light can peer.
There is no ladder upon which I can climb, no friend to reach down a hand
No enemy to spur me to action, for I am alone.
Who then will be my light in this darkest of pits.


I looked toward the ocean, at the boardwalk where the crowds of day visitors had thinned to nearly nothing, and then back at the ocean. The sun was just going over the horizon and cast an orange glow low in the skyline. I looked back at the boardwalk again. Nobody was looking at me. But then, why would they? I’m so plain and ordinary…nothing but a speck in this giant bed on sand.
The wind blew back my hair, giving me a whiff of what four days on the run smelled like. I had to find a shelter where I could bathe. Even I couldn’t stand my stench. There were two in town. One had full facilities but made you work for your keep. I didn’t mind the work, but the facility lacked anonymity—and I desperately needed that right now. The second one was always full. Even when I tried to get there early, all the beds were taken. There was a third shelter, but it had no bathing facilities, and it was at a church, where someone told me the pastor made you listen to a two-hour lecture—that he called a sermon—before he’d hand out a bowl of soup and a pallet and blanket. I’d rather sleep under the boardwalk with the hobos and rapists.
I hoisted my pack over my back and began to trudge toward the street. I would be better off there, where the sounds of the traffic would drown out my thoughts and take my mind off what I’d done. I knew they were looking for me. My phone had rung every five minutes until I’d finally turned it off. Then I’d dumped it in a trash can outside the Starbucks where I’d spent my last two dollars on a hot coffee.
I’d walked by an electronics store, stopping to see if I could catch any evidence that my crime had gone live for all the world to see. Stabbing your mother in a fit of rage was not an acceptable form of behavior, according to my father at least. I felt a tug on my heart, more like a piercing pain. Was she dead? Was she seriously wounded? I longed to know, but I didn’t want to risk calling home. What if my father answered the phone? But maybe it would be Timmy. Timmy would be home from football practice by now. Why didn’t those news people give a helpful update? All they kept doing was running the same ole news footage. “Teenage girl stabs mother after altercation at home.” Then they showed my mother being loaded into an ambulance and the ambulance driving away.
Someone bumped me, and I looked up. A man was talking to me.
“I asked if yous gonna eat that.”
“Eat what?” I said.
“You stupid?” He pointed to my hand. “You gonna eat that sanwich?”
I looked down at my hand. “What?” I didn’t even remember getting the sandwich. I looked around. Where had it come from?
The man snatched the sandwich from my hand. “That be my can, by the way. You get yous own can. And all the cans on this block be belongin’ to someone.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
The man walked away. I shook my head. I looked back at the TVs. There was no mention of any woman being murdered, just the loop showing them taking my mother away in an ambulance. That was a good thing. That meant I’d probably only wounded my mother.
I shuffled away from the electronics store. I tried the first shelter, but when I got there the doors were closed and a dozen or more people sat on the front steps. I had no luck with the second, either and began to cry. My head pounded with pain and I’d never been so hungry in all my life. Maybe I could try the church, if I could find it. Ashcroft wasn’t nearly as big as say San Francisco or Portland, but it was big enough and my family wasn’t into the church thing.
I walked up to a woman I’d seen before, waiting outside the shelter. The woman was scraggly, more so than I was anyway. Her matted hair had things sticking out of it as if some bird had decided to make a nest in it. The woman immediately clutched her bag to her. “Go away,” she said, cowering against the wall.
“I just want to ask you a question.”
“Go away. I don’t know nuthin.” The woman pressed herself harder against the wall.
“I just want to know if you know where the church is.”
“Go away. Go away. Go away.”
The woman began rocking back and forth. I stepped back.
“Leave her alone,” a man’s voice said. I whirled to see a man who was just as dirty and disheveled as the woman. He was bald and his face and scalp held days, weeks, maybe even months of grime. His two front teeth were rotting and had big black holes in them. He pushed a shopping cart full of cans, blankets, take out containers, most likely rescued from a dumpster behind all the restaurants on sixteenth street.
I fought back tears. Is this what was going to happen to me if I stayed out here too long? What choice did I have, though? I couldn’t go home, not after what I’d done to my mother. Even if the police weren’t there to arrest me, there was still my father to deal with. “I just want to know where the church is.”
“She can’t tell you nuthin. Can’t ya see she ain’t right in the head? What yous want with the church?”
I sniffed to fight the tears. The last thing I needed was to look like a baby out here. I closed my eyes, smelling the man, or was it me, on the breeze. I couldn’t stop the tears and began to sob.
“Shiiit,” the man said, drawing out the word. “Princess, you need to get yous ass home before you’s Daddy sends out the guards.” He laughed and began to walk away. He got about ten yards when he turned back to speak to me. “It’s on Fourteenth and J. You can’t miss it—big cross in the yard says New Hope Christian Church on it. But just so yous know, he don’t give nuthin for free. He’s gonna dice you up and feed you to that god of his. He’ll take away every inch of you’s soul, and you won’t even knows what he’s doin’.” He turned back and walked away.
I pulled my flimsy jacket more tightly around me and crossed my arms over my chest. The breeze coming off the ocean was no longer just a breeze. A full-force wind had picked up, with the night temperatures dropping rapidly. I shivered and looked toward fourteenth street. It wasn’t that far. It shouldn’t take more than fifteen to twenty minutes to walk to it. Could I survive a two-hour lecture in exchange for a bowl of hot soup and a pallet? A gust of wind blew the hood off my head. I yanked it back on and began walking in that direction. What would it hurt to just check it out?
I saw the cross come into sight and knew this was the place. I looked it over. It didn’t look that bad. There certainly wasn’t anything there that would make me think they’d steal my soul. Exactly what that something might look like, I didn’t know.
I approached the building with trepidation, hesitating at the bottom of the steps as I stared up at it. Slowly, I began to ascend the stairs, my legs feeling heavier with each step I took. When I finally reached the top step, I hesitated outside while I contemplated going in. The door creaked when I opened it. I cringed, hoping nobody heard it. The man on stage was talking. He couldn’t possibly be the preacher the rotten-tooth man spoke of; he looked young. I’d expected some old man with hard, lecturing eyes.
He paused as I took a seat and I closed my eyes. “Please don’t talk to me,” I whispered. “Please…please…please…leave me alone.” I bowed my head and the man started talking again.
His words weren’t threatening at all, and his voice was smooth and lulling. My eyes grew heavy and began to close. I opened them wide with my fingers, holding them there. I’d barely slept last night, having crawled under a bush in the park, where I had to battle a multitude of critters who were scavenging for food. The previous night a policeman had chased me off the park bench, yelling at me that it wasn’t a bed and the good, hardworking people of the community didn’t put that bench there for me to sleep on.
I sneaked a peek at the preacher and quickly looked back down before he caught me looking. My head grew so heavy that I couldn’t hold it up. I lay down on the bench and draped my arm across my eyes. Thoughts drifted through my head, visions of the year soaring by. How had I come to this point? What went wrong? What happened to the happy child I used to be? When had I stopped being Jordan Hampton, obedient daughter and loving sister, to Jordan Hampton possible murderer?

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? Oh goodie. Favorite all-time book thus far is Intensity by Dean Koontz. I just love the determination and bravery of Chyna in that story. I also love books by Jodi Picoult and Stephen King.

What about television shows? Movies? My favorite TV shows in order are: The Walking Dead (love,love,love this, but not for the zombies. I enjoy the struggle for survival), Criminal Minds, Chicago Fire, Mom, Big Bang Theory, and Young Sheldon. I could go on, but I don’t want you to think I’m a total TV freak. I’m not a big movie fan. I typically go with my husband, but I love movies with Liam Neeson or Denzel Washington.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? I’ve read many heart-felt stories, but I can’t recall any single book that has made an impact on my life, unless you want to consider the Bible.

Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? I recently spoke at a women’s luncheon, but I have no upcoming events scheduled at this time. I will post any future events to my website, so check back later.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? Being a writer is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever done.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? I love to hear from readers. I want to know if my writing touches you. So please, contact me, connect on Facebook, leave reviews. I do read them all. And thank you for being a reader.

Young Adult Fantasy Spotlight and Interview: Mercenary by Catherine Banks @catherineebanks

Disclosure: This post contains compensated affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Click here to read more.

Young Adult Action Adventure Fantasy

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00039]

Little Death Bringer Book 1

Release Date: 1/9/18

Marin doesn’t want to be a lady. She wants to kick ass and take names. But that’ll be hard to do if she gets captured by an unknown enemy…

Being raised by the King and Queen of the Elves has given Marin quite a diverse background. Burdened by her humanity and femininity, she must push herself and train every day to hold her own against the elves around her.

But while Marin wants to be the first girl to graduate Macon Academy as a mercenary, her mother wants her to be a lady. And an attempt by an unknown enemy to kidnap Marin is not helping her case.

Between the kidnapping attempt, growing feelings for her best male friend, and now a fiery magic growing within her, Marin’s life is changing in ways she can’t understand. If she doesn’t get a grasp on things quickly, she may lose everything she’s fought so hard to gain.

If she survives at all.

Fans of Kristin Cashore and Sarah J Maas will love this fantastical adventure of passion, love, and loyalty.

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I watched as Cesar, King of the Elves and my foster father, fought hand to hand with Favian, Prince of the Elves and my best friend. Favian was fast and an incredibly better fighter than me, but he still had a lot to learn before he could best his father. I watched their fight and smiled as my two favorite males battled each other. A few minutes later Favian was pinned to the ground by Father who had a wide smile on his face. “Still too slow, Son,” Father said.

I clapped my hands and whistled. “Good job! Nice fake pinning, Favian.”

Father looked at me curiously a moment and that was all it took for Favian to escape the pin and whip around his father to put him in a choke hold. “Never take your eye off of your opponent, Father.”

The crowd cheered and laughed and Father patted his son’s arm. “I concede. You won, but only because of Marin’s trickery.”

I pretended to look offended. “Me use trickery? I would never do such a thing.”

“Come into the ring and let us see how much you’ve learned,” Kato, Father’s guard and a man who had spent much of my childhood playing with me and carving toys from wood for me, said. He was like an uncle to me and I never took his love for me for granted.

I jumped into the ring and walked as though I were holding up a dress in my fingertips. “Sir, I am but a sweet maiden who is appalled at your crude ways and cruel words.”

Kato tossed a sword to me and I caught it easily. “You, my dearest child, are a very adept liar. It frightens me quite a bit.”

I spun the sword and said, “I learned from the best,” and bowed to him. The crowd laughed at our banter and I smiled happily.

He smiled back at me and then took a ready stance. “Come at me, girl. Let us see if you can last more than three seconds today.”

I took a ready stance and then charged forward, slashing downwards and then sideways, but of course he easily dodged both attacks and attacked me, forcing me on the defensive. I rolled to the right to avoid his strikes and then kicked at his legs, but my timing was poor because he chose that moment to strike downwards. I rolled to the right just in time to avoid the blow, but that was also because he drew back enough to stop the blade and not cut me.

I stood up and sighed. “How long was that?”

“Four seconds,” Father said from the fence.

I groaned and Kato patted my back. “That’s better than last time,” he consoled me.

“Only because you pulled back that last strike,” I grumbled angrily.

About the Author:

catherine banks author

Catherine Banks is a bestselling fantasy author who writes in several fantasy subgenres under two pseudonyms. She began writing fiction at only four years old and finished her first full-length novel at the age of fifteen. She is married to her soulmate and best friend, Avery, who she has two amazing children with. After her full time job, she reads books, plays video games, and watches anime shows and movies with her family to relax. Although she has lived in Northern California her entire life, she dreams of traveling around the world. Catherine is also C.E.O. of Turbo Kitten Industries™, a company with many hats including being a book publisher and Etsy store full of nerdy fun.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? I’ve been self-publishing since 2010 and now have over 20 books published!

How many books do you currently have published? Over 20 with at least 5 more planned to be released this year.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? That’s a hard one. Probably Pirate Princess because it’s so fun and has so much action.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? I’m working on Royally Exposed, book two of the Her Royal Harem series. Book one comes out April 1st and book two will be out a couple of months after that.

What do you enjoy most about writing? The freedom to create whatever story I want.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? Sometimes I get stuck on a story and will switch to one of my other works in progress. I always have several works in progress going at once.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? Always! My characters are in charge of their stories and I have very little control. I might have a plan for them, but often they go completely off track and I have to follow them where they want to go.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? I can’t decide on either of those! I love my characters in different ways and hate some in different ways as well.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? Too many to choose from!

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? Write everyday. Practice really does help improve your skill. Also, find other authors who can help encourage you when you’re having a rough time. My author friends are indispensable.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? Depends on the interests of the person. Young Adult, Pirate Princess or Mercenary. Adult, Demonic Contract probably.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? Too many to list! My favorite author is Ilona Andrews. Everything they write is amazing.

What about television shows? Movies? One Piece. One Punch Man. Stranger Things. Princess Bride. Man, I have a lot in so many different genres!

Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? I will be at the Behind the Mask Author Event and Masquerade Ball in Nashville, TN February 24, 2018. I will also be at the Wanderlust in Historic Salem, MA in October 2018.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? Fun.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? Thank you for reading my books! I hope you enjoy them and always welcome contact from you!

Young Adult Romance Spotlight and Interview: Worst Case by Beck Anderson @BeckAndersonID

Disclosure: This post contains compensated affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Click here to read more.

YA Realistic Fiction/YA Romance

worst case beck anderson

Release Date: 1/16/2018

Will she risk the fall and take a leap of faith?

Vivi Lewis just wants to stay in one place for more than a minute. It’s April of her senior year, for crying out loud, and here she is again, packed into a beat-up white Toyota with her anxiety-ridden single mom, fleeing the Washington coast. She hopes that this move—the one that’s taken them inland to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—will finally be their true fresh start.

There’s little to indicate this time will be much different from all the others…until Vivi meets Win Kemper at the city bus stop before her first day of school. Win and Vivi are a perfect match—both self-defined weirdos. Vivi trusts Win, and their time together is a whirlwind of cliff-jumping and paddleboarding, a life immersed in nature that would have given her, and especially her mom, a panic attack in the past. Their instant spark becomes a rock-solid friendship, and might be even more, if Vivi can stick around long enough to experience it.

But having a reason to stay also raises the stakes. Running from their fears has never made Vivi and her mom safe enough before, and now everything she has to lose appears in sharp relief. Can she find the strength to separate herself from her mother? Will the burgeoning bond she and Win share be enough to get them beyond the last twenty-six days of senior year—even when the worst-case scenario comes to pass?

Buy this new release book now at:

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Win looks at me. “Did something bad happen to you all when you were in Washington?”

Win hasn’t really pried or pushed for more on my long story. It’s fair that he’s asking, I think.

I consider it, but I can feel the heat already spreading up my neck, just thinking about telling him more. “Code word palindrome, but I will say this: my mom’s running from something.”

Win looks out at the lake, and when he speaks his voice is low and resolute. “I wish you’d been safe from whatever it was.”

I consider this. “But if we’d been safe there, I wouldn’t be here. So…” I leave the sentence in the air.

He smiles and touches the inside of my palm. “And whose names would we be graffiti-ing all over the place? Our careers as defacers of property—”

“And persons,” I remind him, since I’ve traced his name in Sharpie on the palm of my hand, after all.

“Yeah, our careers would be cut short, underdeveloped by serendipity or whatever.” He stands there for a moment, then touches my hand again. “That kiss…”

I worry. It fit perfect out there in the water. Maybe talking about it here, maybe it doesn’t fit. Is that what he’s going to say? “Yeah?”

He looks down at the ground for a second and then up at me through a fringe of bangs. His face is tan, his mouth soft, his dark eyes wide and earnest. “I liked it. I don’t want to rush you, but we fit. We know that, and I want more of that.”

All the air goes out of my lungs. “We’re going to have to get to know each other in condensed form. We don’t have much time.”

“We can spend every waking moment together as soon as school’s out.”

“Until you go away to college,” I say, and I can hear a tiny tremble in the sentence.

He shakes a finger at me. “Don’t get to the end before we even have our beginning.” He comes closer and weaves his fingers in between mine. “You can’t live life like that.”

My phone vibrates again, and I remember my real life, which will be lying in wait when I make it back to my house.

About the Author:

beck anderson

Beck Anderson loves to write about love and its power to heal and grow people past their many imperfections. She is a firm believer in the phrase “mistakes are for learning” and uses it frequently to guide her in writing life and real life.

For Beck, the path to published novelist has taken lots of twists and turns, including a degree in anthropology, a stint as a ticket seller at a ski resort, a much-loved career as a high school English teacher, and a long tenure as a member of the best writing group ever, hands down.

Beck balances (clumsily at best) writing novels and screenplays, working full-time as an educator, mothering two boys, loving her husband, and making time to walk the foothills of Boise, Idaho, with Stefano DiMera Delfino Anderson, the suavest Chihuahua north of the border.

Learn more at

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey?

I started writing seriously in 2009 after procrastinating for most of my life. My first novel, Fix You, was a Romance Writers of America Rita © finalist for Best First Book and Best Contemporary Romance. It got picked up from Omnific Publishing and re-released by Simon and Schuster. That encouraged me to keep writing. So far my journey has been a lot of persistence and hard work (and avoidance of hard work — still a terrible procrastinator) punctuated by a series of surprises.

How many books do you currently have published?

Worst Case is my 5th novel.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?

Each one has its own personality, like siblings. Use Somebody was a lot of fun, but was really hard to start. The Jeweler was my first novel I wrote, but not the first I published. Fix You was the one that scared me the most because it was the first time I put myself out there.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

I didn’t expect to like Jeremy and Macy, the main characters in Use Somebody, as much as I did, because they’ve made big mistakes in the past. They grew on me. And Jack McCann in Worst Case is a terrible scene hog, but he is a blast to write. Every hero in my books, and Win in Worst Case is no exception, is a person I wish I could meet in real life, but each of them is real enough that I think you could meet someone like him in real life.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

Not everyone will like your story. There is a wonderful Dita Von Teese quote– “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” That is really great advice to remember, especially if you are used to pleasing lots of people. Writers can’t please everyone.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

I loved Big Little Lies and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? . I am reading and loving A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and I read and loved A Darker Shade of Magic.

What about television shows? Movies?

I loved Kingsman and Guardians of the Galaxy but didn’t love either sequel as much. I kind of love Madam Secretary but if you get a chance to watch the West Wing on Netflix it’s the real deal. Also I love Doctor Who and the Great British Bake Off more than one person should.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?

All of the books I read from the ages of around ten to seventeen made huge impacts on me. I can remember crying my eyes out over Watership Down and being obsessed with The Dark is Rising series.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Thank you for supporting writers! I hope that reading brings you as much happiness as writing makes me miserable (mostly kidding). But seriously, passionate readers are lifeblood for writers — you keep us going when the going is very, very tough. :)