Sunday, April 6, 2014

Going Steady

I get to tell you something exciting. (There's another exciting thing but it's kind of like Fight Club right now, in that, if I tell you, I'll get beat up by someone who is still sort of invisible to the rest of you.)

So, THIS exciting thing, is a new relationship (of sorts) that I'm super stoked about--and yes, the darling boyfriend is aware and fully accepting of said relationship.

I am now working with Rebecca Friedman of RF Literary!!

Woot woot! *throws confetti* *gets it in her eye* *doesn't care*

In Rebecca's words, we're going steady. *cheesy grin*
This is exciting to me for a couple of reasons.
1. Rebecca is awesome.
Exhibit A: she's been to Thailand
Exhibit B: All you have to do is talk to her on the phone for approx 3 seconds and you'll agree that she's awesome.

2. Working with a literary agent has been a goal of mine since I started publishing in 2009, but most SERIOUSLY, a goal that I've focused on for about a year now. (It's a HUGE step toward another goal of mine, to become a hybrid author.) So much so, that I painted it on my wall in November 2012 so that I would see it every day and embed it into my subconscious. It would be so ingrained in me, my brain--and the Universe--would have no choice but to make it a reality.

Looks like it worked!

And any time I reach a goal (especially one of those I painted), it's like the Universe saying "See, you're taken care of. And that was easy. Give us another one. Make it good!" And it makes me warm and fuzzy all over.

So, this: Rebecca Friedman, you make me warm and fuzzy all over.

Yeah, that's on the internet now. Don't make it weird.

And also this: Whether you paint your dreams on your wall or just Sharpie it onto poster board, HAVE GOALS. Write them down. Read them over and over. Embed into subconscious. And then watch them happen to you.

Seriously. It's a thing. I know it sounds ridiculously simple. Maybe too simple. But it works. I encourage you to try it. Don't stop believing in yourself. You can do this! I can't wait to see it happen to you too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Extra, Extra...!

SO MANY THINGS. New things. Old things. Anticipated things. Surprising things <-- can't tell you about those yet. But I want to!!

Deviation is out!!!
woot woot!!!

This cover just amazes me. Fascinates me. Seriously, Emily Tippetts is a genius and sort of my new idol. After these past few weeks I'm now convinced, she can do everything. I mean, everything. If you want to know how to turn water into wine, you should probably email her. Just sayin'.

Anyway, Deviation, book 2 in the Clone Chronicles, is now available for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.
Coming soon in pb and everywhere else that's important. 

And to kick things off, there's a giveaway (there should always be a giveaway) and it's this:

And the tour kicks off at A Book Vacation with Shana who rocks because she made me this:

And goes to places like Happy Tails and Tales on 3/15 with Maghon 
who will have a special announcement!!!!
and end with Kristen at Seeing Night Reviews
and then Cameron at What the Cat Read on 3/26. 
Be sure to enter the giveaway by then!!

Also, in the "New and Fantastically exciting department" is this AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT I CAN FINALLY SHARE WITH YOU ALL!!!

I feel like I should do a cheerleader kick here--but I don't know how, so I'll just say it:
I am officially the proud (one-third) owner of a publishing company!!!!!!
OH yeah-- you heard me right!!! Check it:

And the best part is that we're not your average, run-of-the-mill publisher. Oh no (I don't do anything average and I don't really know what run-of-the-mill looks like so...)

What are we about?

While sharing marketing tips and discussing cover art, independent authors Amanda Aksel, Heather Hildenbrand, and Sara Panek all came to the same conclusion; wouldn’t it be great if there was a publishing house that offered all the resources of traditional publishing, while still allowing the creative freedom of independent publishing? They set out to create their vision, and Elephantine Publishing was born.

Elephantine is a collaborative publisher. Our goal is to partner with you to turn your love of writing into a successful career for years to come. We work side by side with our authors through every step of the publishing process to create a unique and professional title to share with the world. Using strategic marketing, we provide our authors with industry tools and resources to build readership and grow sales.

Our aim is simple. We seek to provide access to all stories worth telling, whether or not the words fit into a neatly labeled box. Words that resonate in your bones. Stories you’ll never forget.

I am so excited to be able to FINALLY share this news with you!!! 
(THIS is where I've been hiding for months.)
I hope you'll check us out.
I'm pretty proud of my elephant baby.

in the "EXCITING STORY OF MY LIFE" department
(I'm just full of good things lately and I love it)
I am still in Guam, still soaking it up. 
Still hanging out in places that look like this:

And I just want you guys to know I am so GRATEFUL for so many awesome readers and bloggers. You guys are what makes this possible for my life!!! Thank you so much for giving me this gift!! <3
Every day I wake up in awe of the life I get to lead. 
Much love. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guam and New Adult new releases

Uh, yeah, she’s in Guam.

I feel like this is probably a typical conversation right now among some of you. I have been here for 11 days now and I’ve been pretty quiet online because, really, I’m in GUAM!! And it looks like this:

And this:

Yeah, you’re seeing right. I took this from the back of the motorcycle. The ocean is that close to the road. It’s amazing. So much beauty and sun to soak up!
Okay, but I have been working here. Between trips to beautiful beaches and hiking to waterfalls, I have been working on Deviation. It comes out 3/12 and I can’t wait to share it with you!!!
The awesome Shana at A Book Vacation has made a killer tour banner and I’m getting the prize pack together and sending out review copies. Things are happening. Also, some of you have asked me and YES, there WILL be an NA version of Deviation. It will be called The Girl Who Was, a sequel to The Girl Who Wasn’t which came out a few weeks ago and looks like this:

It’s available now for Kindle and on Smashwords for any format. I am really excited to do this companion version!! It’s a gritty, sexy version of Imitation which is how I saw the story to begin with but because it’s the SAME story as Imitation, I wasn’t sure of the response. And so far, everyone has loved it. So I am going to do the same with book 2. It should be out by end of March. I will keep you posted.
For now, it’s back to the beach…

Friday, February 14, 2014

A teaser for Valentine's Day!

Me and some of the other awesome authors over at The YA Storytellers do a really cool thing called Fun Fridays where we post about the same theme every couple of weeks. This week, the theme is Romantic Teasers, for Valentine's Day.

And what better way to TEASE than with my upcoming sequel to Imitation?????
I, for one, would really enjoy Linc Crawford--for Valentine's Day or any other day!! And the cover for this one will be revealed on MONDAY!!! wooohoooo!

Here's a romantic peek at book 2:

The darkness is so complete it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I raise my hand in front of my face but the blackness remains undisturbed. I blink. Still nothing.
“Ven?” Linc’s voice is low and gravelly. It echoes around us.
“I’m here,” I say, whispering so the sound of my own voice doesn’t startle me.
Sometimes, all I have is a flashlight and a stick. Morton gave me the stick after that first time I came through alone. Linc had been on assignment and I’d come alone.  I was a shaking mess by the time I’d reached the entrance. It’d taken me two hours to muster the courage to leave. Titus had sent security to look for me. I’d almost blown it despite Linc’s assurances that he’d remotely masked my GPS reading.
Now I have the scrambler. Linc made me promise not to use it unless absolutely necessary. He’s programmed it to redirect instead. “Remember how Williams ran in all crazy-eyed when he thought he lost you? Yeah, scrambling does that. We don’t want to alert the cavalry. Only divert them.”
I agreed and let him do the fancy finger swiping—but only if he promised to show me the workings of the device later.
I use my stick like a cane, lightly tapping the floor and wall as I shuffle forward. I don’t like the darkness here. I don’t like darkness anywhere. It feels too unpredictable. Darkness, like memory, is the sort of thing people disappear into and never surface from again.
After my previous trips navigating this tunnel, I should be accustomed to the pressing blackness. The dampness. The slimy walls and squeaky rodents I imagine scampering around at my feet. But it’s still just as terrifying as the first time Obadiah brought me here. I wish there was a better hiding place for them, but so far, I haven’t found one.
I fumble for Linc’s hand and slip my fingers through his, pulling them tight until we’re hooked securely together. Linc squeezes once, and I am reassured enough to press on. “Ready?” he asks.
“Ready,” I say.
“Let’s go.”
We move slowly, dragging our feet to detect any change in the floor.  My shoes, black ankle boots that lace up the side, scuff louder than Linc’s. I scowl at the sound—and that my wardrobe is not exactly ideal for a covert outing.
Two right turns and a low overhang of metal piping later, Linc stops. There is the slightest bit of shadowed light filtering from the path that veers left before abruptly disappearing. It’s enough to create a silhouette of Linc’s features. He hovers in front of me, his body language protective even in the absence of danger.
“Why are we stopping?” I ask, breathless from anxiety and Linc’s proximity. Now that I can see him, my senses are on alert and I am aware of how close—and how alone—we are down here in the depths of the warehouse district.
In answer, Linc leans forward and cups my cheeks with his hands. His mouth hovers less than a breath away and he whispers, “I just wanted a minute alone with you.” His lips brush the edges of my mouth. “Is that all right?”
I nod and wait, mouth open and eyes closed, for our lips to connect. When they do, it sends a ripple of pleasure through me. A small noise escapes me and Linc deepens the kiss. I am lost in a sea of passion and disbelief that these feelings are mine to experience. Linc’s tongue slips out to trace the inside of my lip and my knees weaken. I wrap my arms around his shoulders for support and lean into him. I could kiss him forever and the miracle of it would still never grow old.
His mouth leaves mine to trail kisses across my cheek. “Linc …” I whisper. His hands drift lower, cupping my hips. His mouth dips to my neck and finds its way to the space just below my ear. I shiver.
“God, I love the way you feel in my arms,” he murmurs.
I offer silent agreement in the form of more kisses.
Linc’s hands wander, slipping underneath the gauzy fabric of my blouse and working their way up my ribs. His fingertips graze the underwire of my bra. I tense.
He backs off, lowering his hands to my waistline while slowly tempering our kisses. Even so, by the time he pulls away, my chest rises and falls heavily.
I reach up and trace his lips with my fingertip. Their shape is curving and I recognize a smile. I can feel his eyes on me, a delicious tingle of awareness that trails over my skin and down my back.
I hope he’ll kiss me again.

If you want to read more YA romantic teasers, check out these other YA Storytellers:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

From the Ashes... How I became a Phoenix

I'm copying and pasting this post from my blog on Phoenix, which you can read here, because it's personal and relates a lot to some things I've already blogged about here in the past. SO, if you missed it and you want to read a pretty inspiring and uplifting story about how I got here and from where,
and why I chose to launch Phoenix, you should keep reading...

Trustworthy. Boldness. Passion. Authenticity. Inspiring.

When asked recently to choose 5 words that mean the most to me in my business and in my life, I chose these. The interesting thing is, five years ago these are not the words I would have chosen as important.

That’s because five years ago, I was stuck. Stuck inside my comfort zone spot. I was married with kids, busy cooking and cleaning and balancing the budget. I spent a lot of time worrying about the future and frowning into the present.

We’ve all been wedged into that spot. A place where you’re just getting by, existing, floating along. You aren’t sad or lonely or depressed. You aren’t thrilled or excited or passionate either. It’s not a place of fulfillment. It’s certainly not joy, it just IS.

Then an event happened that shook absolutely everything I was made of.

In one single moment, everything crumbled. My foundation was reduced to rubble and I was nothing more than a pile of ashes. Now, this event that I’m talking about was HUGE. Life-altering game-changing, identity-challenging. It’s a story with a tragic core and a beautiful rebuilding. And it’s not entirely my story to tell. At least, not on a public platform.

What I know is this: the details of the event don’t matter because we’ve ALL had it happen. That game-changing MOMENT in our lives. That split second where we are forced to take a step back and SEE things for how they truly are.

And for some people, it’s not a life-changing event. It’s straws placed over and over until your back breaks and you can’t imagine working that cubicle another day. Or answering to someone else’s demands on your time. Or missing just one more school play or soccer game. Or paying a babysitter another dime for childcare when you really want to be home.
Or continuing to live one more day in a life that’s become a lie. A s a person who isn’t fully YOU.

Being a Phoenix doesn’t always mean rising from tragedy. It means releasing an old life and rising into a new one.  

For me it was that one single event. An event that hurled me out of everything familiar, forcing me to either sink or swim.

I decided to swim. And it wasn’t easy. I had to tread water for several months, clawing my way back to who I was. Who I wanted to be.

The months coming away from that experience were difficult. I went through a very intensive and thorough self-discovery process. I had to rediscover myself from the ground up, all the way down to my soul.

Finally, when I felt myself regaining my footing, I re-discovered my love of writing.
And that’s where my real journey began.

What ended up happening next was miraculous and awesome and exciting. I found my way back through writing and then, on the priceless advice of a dear friend, I found my way to self-publishing.

You might not think discovering my calling as a writer sounds life-changing. And I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Being an author and a coach is so much bigger than putting words on a page.
Bigger than “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Bigger than making a living.

Being an author and a coach, for me, is about fulfilling my own Definite Purpose. For me, it's Maktub, an Arabic phrase from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It means: It is written. 

It’s about realizing I have something to contribute to the rest of the world. It’s about connecting. And when all of those things come together, it’s about the RUSH I get. And the complete assurance that I’m right where I’m meant to be.

Now, five years later, I’ve turned that thing that happened, that SHOVE out of my old life, into a PUSH that led to a new life.

I realized I was no longer the same person and not only that, I didn’t want to be. I’d spent too long fitting into "the comfort zone." This pre-conceived idea or space that I thought my life should be.
And I looked that old life in the face and said NO.

This time, it was a choice. I chose to PUSH myself outside my comfort zone and take a chance on my dreams.


And now, I wake up and choose me every single day and in doing so, I’ve created the life of my DREAMS.

Five years ago, I couldn’t imagine riding or owning a motorcycle—but I do. I couldn’t imagine travelling for pleasure on average every two months or spending ten days in the mountains of Colorado (kid-free) on the back of a motorcycle—but I did! I couldn’t imagine waking up every morning and saying to myself, “Today’s agenda, wherever it fits between the beach and a motorcycle ride, is to write and help other authors sell more books.”

In two weeks I leave for Guam where I’ll live and work for the next two months so that I can spend time with the person I consider the most exciting addition to this life I’ve created. And I can do ALL of my work from there just as easily as I can do it from the shore of eastern Virginia.

This is my outRAGEous life.

A fulfilling and passionate life created out of the ashes of a broken one. Full of a RAGing fire inside me that will never let me quit or give up or move on.

Following your dream is not an easy thing. It’s not comfortable or cozy. It’s messy and scary and probably makes you want to throw up a little. That’s good. If it doesn’t make you nauseous, it’s not big enough.

I hope my story inspires you, nudges you, SHOVES YOU out of the comfort zone you’re hiding in and into the discomfort of PURSUIT of your dreams.

At the very least, go have an adventure—and claim your own outRAGEous life!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Frozen Reads: Top 5 List

It's Fun Friday!

Me and the gang over at YA Storytellers do Fun Friday posts together and link them up so that you can get to know multiple YA authors at once. Check out some of the other posts here:

Bryna Butler
LM Preston

This week is:
 FROZEN READS: Top 5 List of Books to Curl Up with on a Cold Winter's Day

And it dawned on me, it really depends on where you live as to whether you have a COLD winter's day or a warm one. Here in Virginia Beach, it's a smooth 39 F as I write this at 9am. And that's on the warm side of average for this time of year. For New Year's I was in the Poconos and it was SIX DEGREES! But in a month or so, I'm headed to Guam and it'll be around 80-85 so... it's all relative. 
But no matter where I am, I will still curl up with a good book!
So, here's my list.

1. Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
I first heard about this book last year from my good friend and fabulous author, Tiffany King. She was raving about it and how it was one book she'd read over and over again. As you can see, my TBR pile is wayyyy too backed up. I just read it in paperback during my Christmas vacation. Needless to say, once I got going, I couldn't put it down and was so disappointed to find the series wasn't available on Kindle (still not sure why.) and I had to wait until arriving home from vacay in the mountains to get book 2 and 3. Reading book 3 now and let's just say, all I want for Christmas THIS year is a tiger-prince from India. For real. I now have a picture of a tiger hanging in my bedroom--it's officially been added to the bucketlist to go to India and see a tiger. Awesome series!

2. Cross Country Christmas, A Woodfalls Girls Novella by Tiffany King
This one is a novella so don't get TOO cozy because it will leave you wanting more, which is the point of a good novella. It's a story between stories in this series by Tiffany King and it's all about being snowed in wtih the hottie of your dreams. So, perfect winter read!

3. Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace
If you're looking for a story to keep you not just warm but HAWT on a cold day, this is IT! Dallas is a motorcycle-riding, bicep-bulging, smartass HOTTIE. If you don't believe me, read for yourself. And let me just say this: my blood boiled. #YUM **This one is New Adult and NOT intended for readers under 18.

4. Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon
If you want to laugh so hard you forget what season it is, this is the one. It's hilariously relatable--there's a man waiting in the bedroom. To shave or not to shave??--and romantic and REAL. Such a fun and outrageous story about love and life and choices that shape both. It's the first of many great releases for Eliza Gordon (which is by the way a pen name. If you MUST know who the woman behind the mask is, email me and maybe I'll tell).

5.  Because of Low by Abbi Glines
This one is an oldie but goodie in my opinion. It's the FIRST indie contemp I read--and could probably be considered New Adult, although the genre didn't really exist yet when this came out--and it's why I fell in love with the genre! It's so fun and warm-blooded. No chills while reading this. You're too busy going "awwww" or "ohhhh" to notice the cold nipping at your doorstep. Not that you'll leave your house. This one won't be put down.

What's your Frozen Read?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year ... and what I resolve

I just love New Year's!
And not for the confetti or the noisemakers or watching the ball drop in Times Square. I love it for all of the stuff that goes on inside me. The reflecting back over the past twelve months, appreciating and enjoying the memories and adventures and successes and victories of the past year. And taking what lessons are to be learned from the good and the bad, and applying it to the coming year. Deciding where you want to go. There's something about standing at the front edge of a new year that makes a person feel like they're fully capable of driving their own ship. And in such an exciting sea of possibilities!
Here's what I've taken from 2013 and applied to what I will manifest for myself in 2014. Or my "What I Resolve" list.

I resolve to treat people with love. And kindness. To be the ultimate Golden Rule follower and "do unto others." In 2013, there were times I felt such sucking, black energy that was so anti-love and so judgmental that it was stifling. How do people live that way? When you aren't sure where to go or how to respond in a given situation, always go with love. There isn't enough of that being spread around and for some people, yours will be the truest expression. Make it pure.

I resolve to choose myself. Too many times and for too many years I chose duty and obligation and what I thought I should do instead of what made me happy and what made me grow into the best version of myself I could be. In 2014 and beyond, I choose to release myself from the guilt of anyone else's opinion of my decisions, and choose ME. My own happiness and passion, no matter what others say or think.

I resolve to pursue my passions with my WHOLE heart. To radiate it and let my work--whether it's books or coaching others--glitter and shine and pulse with the excited energy that spills over from a heart that is full.

I resolve to write more Wes and Alex and Linc. This is for my readers--and for the pull of stories in my heart that makes me love being a writer.

I resolve to live every day like it's my first. Not my last. Live like life is fresh and full of newness, not desperate, like you're hurrying to fit it in before you reach the end.I will seek adventures, small and large, and always be open to new opportunities and experiences. There is an adventure right outside your back door if you're open to experiencing it.

I resolve to seek balance. Work, family, spirit, physical, and love--all of these have a place in my day. I will seek each one so that I am a full cup, always able to give when needed. To my children and my family and the ones I love. And to those I meet who are empty and in need of what I offer.

And last, I resolve to always say what I mean. I choose truth and light, no holding back. No worrying what others will think of my true thoughts and opinions. I will be true to my deepest self even when it requires bravery.
My theme song for 2014:

What's your theme song for 2014? What do you resolve?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tyler

Yesterday, December 15, was Tyler's 2nd birthday.

For those of you who missed it, 2 years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who had a heart that was medically (and I believe, metaphorically) too big for this world. He was kept on life support until it was all too much and five days into this world, he went to Heaven.
You can read the full post on the experience here.
In short, it was amazing. We had the best doctors and even better nurses, who I believe were sent and placed there for us for this event and time in our life--and for Tyler. These women were beautiful inside and out, strong, and compassionate and they helped me get through a time no mother should ever have to experience. I can never, ever express the depth of my gratitude and love for these women or for the UVA hospital--the doctors and staff who were there for us and for our baby. It was a sad time but also a time full of miracles and everywhere I looked, I saw the good.

Since then, I have tried to see that good every single day. It IS there, if you're looking. People are compassionate and giving and life IS exciting and rewarding. My renewed outlook on life centers around two truths: One is the fragility of life. We are not promised tomorrow. We have only today, only this life. And it's up to us to live it fully. To experience NOW. To never wait to say or do what it is we feel and what is important to us. I have had such a blast living that way and done some of the most exciting things I never thought I'd get to do--and I wouldn't have, if I'd continued to have an "I'll do it later" attitude.

One of the biggest so far is the start of my author coaching business, Phoenix, where I can help others do exactly what I've done and that is to create a career of freedom and full-time income doing what I love while still spending plenty of time with the people I love. Some others are: standing on stage at a Zac Brown Band concert to a sold out crowd, meeting Plain White Ts, owning and riding a motorcycle!, Visiting Colorado (on my bucket list) and seeing the mountains for the first time, vacationing in the Dominican Republic and sipping a margarita on a white sandy beach!, standing front and center at an Andy Grammer concert (his music inspires me to press on and achieve my dreams!), visiting New Orleans for the first time, travelling multiple times a year for pleasure, and SO MUCH MORE.

My point is this: do it now. Whatever "it" is--stop waiting. What if "that day" never comes and you die without doing "IT"???

The second thing I've become aware of and centered around is a collective connection we all share with one another. The entire world is a collective consciousness. Have you ever had a great idea that feels inspired by the Universe itself only to hear someone else has started or done something similar shortly after?
Me too.
And I think it's awesome because it's a sign we're all connected. To a higher power and to each other. How cool is that??
In honor of seizing the day, our birthday present to Tyler was the gift of making someone else's life better or making their dream come true, through a Kiva loan.
If you're unfamiliar, Kiva works like this:
You make a loan on Kiva. All Kiva loans are made possible by our Field Partners, who vet, administer, and disburse each loan. Throughout the life of the loan, you will see progress updates from Kiva through your email, and if you come back to the site.As the borrower repays the loan, the money becomes available in your account. This is called your Kiva Credit. You can now use it to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw it to spend on something else.
Who do you loan to? 
There are hundreds of stories and potential borrowers listed on the site. This year, my kids and I chose someone from Senegal. A single mother who will use to money to buy fresh vegetables to resell in her local market. She will use the profits from her business to pay for her children's schooling. 

Basically, this is awesome. 
It helps someone else live a better life NOW and it connects us. 
If you're looking for a way to honor someone or give back in any way, Kiva is it. 

This entire week is a way for me to look back and remember those beautiful five days and be grateful for that time as well as all the time I get now to make my life the best it can possibly be. This is something I can do for Tyler and for myself, to honor him. And through it all, I've had unending support from my reader and author friends and I am SO grateful for every single one of you. I didn't set out to be an example or inspiration, but for those of you that have told me I am that for you, it warms me to know my story--Tyler's story--is able to help in making your life better and to connect us. 

Happy Birthday, Tyler.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Interview with Liz Long, YA Author

Friday Fun: An author to author interview series by the Society of YA Storytellers. Author Liz Long stopped by the blog today for a fun Friday the 13th author interview. You can find me returning the favor here
Thanks for stopping by, Liz. I can't wait to check out your books!

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Brita pitcher, sweet tea, spaghetti leftovers, maybe butter and cream cheese, and sandwich meat. Hunh. Sounds like I need a grocery store trip.

If you got arrested, what would be your crime?
Honestly? Probably verbally assaulting an idiot.

Werewolf or Vampire? 
Werewolf - they can walk around in the daylight, too. Plus, that whole drinking blood thing sort of gives me the heebs AND the jeebs.

If you took the aptitude test from Divergent, which faction would you be assigned to?
I'd say Amity (the Peaceful). I'm laidback and pretty upbeat, plus I'm definitely more a creative type than anything else. I like to keep the peace and avoid confrontation.

What is your favorite scary movie? 
Scary movies aren't high on my preferred watching list, but I've always remembered Scream really setting that sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat bar.

You write YA and we have to know: Describe yourself as a teenager:
I was pretty quiet and preferred keeping to myself and reading a lot. I had plenty of friends and participated in things like Colorguard/marching band and Yearbook, but I spent far more time sitting alone on my balcony under the stars, writing in journals and obsessing over Harry Potter.

About you, as the writer:

What do you write?

What are you working on now?
I'm about to release my third book: Burned, A Donovan Circus Novel, which is the second in the series. Next up is an NA title with a unique twist on Reapers.

Which of your characters is most like you?
I would probably have to say Lucy - while I'm not as fiery as her, I tend to let my snark get ahead of me. I also try to think logically about all my options, and above all value my relationships with family and friends. 

About LIz:
I am lucky enough to have my dream job as the Social Media Editor atLeisureMedia360, where I run the social sites (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) for our publications: The RoanokerBlue Ridge Country, and bridebook. I also write articles for print issues, though my focus is online content. I will be leading social media workshops at the 2014Roanoke Writers Conference and over the next year for work-related interests. I was an editor and writer at Bella Magazine, as well as a marketing associate at a small book publishing firm in Nashville, TN. I’ve also worked for publicity in radio and newspaper. (Now you know I have some experience with the articles I write for you.)
And if that doesn’t do it for you, I was a hipster and did the fan fiction writing and online socializing thing back when the Internet was still a baby. Now I wish someone had taught me code so I could’ve built Facebook (and subsequently a small fortune) first.
Let’s rock this. Got questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at!
Twitter: @LizCLong

Thanks, Liz! Happy Friday the 13th!!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Vampy, Sleepy Beauty

A few weeks ago I had the experience and privilege of hanging with a most awesome group of fifth graders. We talked about working in your PJs and what it takes to create a story and "why haven't you made your books into movies?" (Good question. Hollywood...? Anything... ?)
We also wrote our own story together, just to show how fun the process of creating can be. There were two classes and two stories. The first is a Zompire Love Story, which you can read here. This is the second:
BTW-our future authors have some crazy, awesome imaginations!
I had SO MUCH FUN with you guys!

A Vampy, Sleepy Beauty

Once there was a girl named Kate who, through a paranormal curse from an evil vampire, became trapped in permanent sleep. Doctors came and went. Her mom even hired healers, shamans, and medicine men but no one could figure out how to wake her up. One day, her boyfriend Shawn came over. He was a vampire but he still had a good heart. Shawn loved Kate and would do anything to save her. Someone had told him the only way to heal Kate was to bite her. He didn't want to. He was scared to hurt her. But nothing else had worked.
Shawn waited until Kate's mom had left the room and then he bit her.

There was a lot of blood. It ran onto Kate's bed and the floor, staining Shawn's sneakers. 
Kate's mom came in and screamed and Shawn ran out just as Kate woke up. 
Kate opened her eyes and when she saw her mom standing there, Kate's fangs came out and her stomach growled.
She jumped out of bed and tried to bite her mom. Kate's mom ran into the basement and called the police. 
Kate was captured and locked away in a mental hospital. She insisted she wasn't crazy--she was a vampire. But humans didn't believe in vampires. So they kept her locked up in a padded room.
One day, Kate's childhood friend, Kody Bahnks, came to visit her.
Kody was a werewolf. He'd moved away because he couldn't let anyone find out, but when he heard Kate was a vampire, he wanted to help. and he wanted a friend again. 
Kody promised Kate he would help her get free.
One night, when the moon was hidden in the clouds, Kody broke into the hospital  and freed Kate. 
Prison Cell by Chapboy, DeviantArt

They decided to run away together but first they had to stop at Shawn's one last time so Kate could say goodbye. He was the one that saved her from the sleeping curse, after all. 
When Shawn saw that Kody was a werewolf he became very angry. 
"You can't leave with him," Shawn yelled. "He's our enemy!"
"He is my friend. He helped me escape," Kate yelled back. She tried not to cry. She was already sad because she had missed Shawn. She didn't want to fight with him on their last night together. 
Kody growled at Shawn. Shawn bared his fangs. Before Kate could say anything, the two boys leaped on each other, fighting and biting and wrestling the other to the ground. 
"Stop!" Kate screamed but neither boy listened. 
Kate jumped in between them and wedged herself in front of Shawn's raised fist. "Stop," she repeated. "You can't find about this. Or about me."
Shawn stepped back. "Fine," said Shawn. "But I love you, so you have to choose one of us."
Kate looked at Kody. "He's right," Kody said. "Choose one. You can't have both."
Kate was sad. She loved Shawn but Kody had been her friend since she was a kid. And both had saved her. She couldn't give up either one.
She hesitated and a noise came from the darkness behind her. 
"Look out," Shawn yelled, his eyes wide. 
But Kate didn't move in time. 
Something grabbed her wrist in a tight grip and lifted her clear off the ground.
She screamed as her feet scraped the grass and then lifted higher before carrying her up into the clouds.
The boys yelled and stared after her, trying to see which direction she'd gone, but the darkness swallowed her up. 
The only thing they could see was a white trail of whatever ghostly kidnapper had taken the girl they loved.
To be continued.... (maybe.)

--Story by Mrs. Strohecker's Fifth Grade Class.

Side note--I want to mention an awesome giveaway going on right now: UtopYA's Unofficial 25 days of Giveaways has officially begun! 2 Kindle Fires up for grabs, loaded with books, and a prize pack every day from now until Christmas!!!

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Ultimate Black Friday Book Sale & Giveaway!

Black Friday might be the ultimate shopping day, but it's also the ultimate crowd of crazies. If you'd rather skip the mommas wrestling for a new sheet set in the middle of Wal-Mart, shop online and grab some deals on both of our favorite things... BOOKS!!!
Here's my list of best book buys for the Black Friday weekend:

Dreamwalker by Andrea Heltsley 

Meant For Her by Raine Thomas

Sacrificed in Shadow by SM Reine

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Imitation by ME!
AND if you buy the paperback from Amazon for $11, get the kindle version FREE!

Skinless by LM Davis

The Indie Author Guide: A Self-Publisher's Toolbox by ME!


Dirty Little Secrets by Liliana Hart

Now, for the giveaway. A $50 Amazon GC is being given along with Flash giveaways on our Facebook event page. Hang around there and good things will happen! Now, have a safe Black Friday weekend. And don't get crazy. Or at least don't let anyone take a picture of it. #socialmediatellsall

Facebook Event Page for Black Friday Extravaganza!

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