Beautiful Something Else
by Sheila Hageman
The Compass from the Red Lands
by Matt Thomas
The Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
The Fourth Piece
Order’s Last Play, Book 1, Coming Soon
The Near Deaths Series, Book 2 Pre-order
On the Other Side
The Red Pearl
The Light Side of the Moon
Holly M. Campbell
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Exclusive Sale: New York Dolls
For a limited time, New York Dolls, by Catherine L. Hensley, is on sale for only $0.99 at 48fourteen. At check out, enter coupon code: BOOK SALE.
A chance encounter at New York Fashion Week turns Denton Hodges’ life upside down–and into the biggest story she’s ever reported…
FEATURED NEW RELEASE
THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell
Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war…
Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option… READ MORE!
Enjoy this sneak peek of the Fourth Piece by E. Ardell.
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Get a FREE copy of On the Other Side in exchange for a REVIEW!
Hey, y’all! I need YOUR help. I want On the Other Side to go viral, and to make it spread, 48fourteen and I are giving away a FREE copy of my 5-star young adult novel in exchange for a quick REVIEW on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, or all three! To whet your appetite a bit, here’s what other readers have already said: In a market flooded with dystopian novels aimed at young adults, this world created by Nicole Aube definitely stands out! I am amazed that Aube is able to transform NOLA from the jazzy, beautiful streets I know and love to a dismal, watery graveyard filled with lost memories. I knew from the moment I picked up On The Other Side I would be reading it all weekend, and I wouldn’t stop until I was done. It was absolutely amazing. I honestly felt like I was a character in the book by the way it was described. It was like I was in New Orleans as the characters themselves… Wow!! What a fantastic novel!! It is one of the best reads of the year!! Fantastic read. I’m a sucker for science fiction with a purpose, and this novel is an excellent study of race, adolescence, identity, and sense of place. And, now, YOU get to join them in telling me what you think! If you’re ready to join the movement, click here: FREE eBook Need a little incentive to join my review team? I’m giving away *two* $25.00 gift cards randomly to those who post a verified review within the next 60 days–that’s by September 15, 2016, y’all! EVERYONE who posts a review that I verify will receive some awesome author swag as well as the option to review On the Brink before it releases later this year! Want to *really* guarantee I see your review, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know it’s posted! This offer is open to EVERYONE, fellow authors at 48fourteen included. 🙂 Still not convinced you want to read On the Other Side? Check this out! Bound to the Flood waters, sixteen-year-old Hilaria McCleod gathers relics from the days when Orleans wasn’t divided in two by the Wall and long before NAP—the Name Acquisition Program—governed her beloved city. But pieces of a lost past do nothing to satisfy Hilaria’s desire to escape. Beyond the Wall lies the land of the Named. There, those who have earned their Name and Purpose live in prosperity on coveted dry ground. To earn her place among them, Hilaria makes a deal with an unlikely ally to reveal dark secrets about her own heart and NAP’s true intentions for the future of Orleans. The fate of her city depends on listening to those who cannot be trusted while her own destiny lies in embracing the love of a boy who will drown her yet. Now is the time—Hilaria will make a Name for herself. Do you dare to journey to Orleans for yourself? Hope to see you there! Nicole Aube
I just did my first author interview!
You never know just what an author interview is going to entail, until you get the list of questions. Magda put together a fun list and has a great blog! Check out the interview here: https://maginibooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/interview-with-e-ardell/
Quick Thought: Some Random Thoughts on Music and Writing
Download the novel by clicking here! A short time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I used to work Manhattan’s music and nightlife beat for a bunch of small publications. This meant covering concerts, movie premieres, hotel openings, etc., etc. I got started by simply wanting to listen to as much music as possible. I loved talking with artists about their projects, their process, their struggles to create, sell, market, and support their work. Recently, I listened to Blink-182’s new album, California. It’s a somewhat controversial LP since the band’s beloved co-frontman and guitarist, Tom DeLonge, unceremoniously cut certain ties to the group to pursue different endeavors. Mark Hoppus, now the band’s only original member, and drummer Travis Barker, moved on by recruiting Alkaline Trio’s guitarist and co-frontmant, Matt Skiba. The newly formed trio collaborated on the aforementioned album, which, I think, is a resounding success. The group, which has now been around for decades, has found a way to revisit their classic pop-punk sound defined by power chords, fast beats, and catchy lyrics while appropriately aging with their audience. There is angst in the album; there is sophomoric humor, but there is also introspection; there is reflection. In many ways, it could be labeled as some of Blink-182’s best work. So, why am I drifting into a quasi-review of a music album when I’m supposed to be promoting a novel? Music, quite simply, is a fundamental part of my own writing process. Whenever I write a scene, whether it’s for a short story or a novel, I try to accompany it with a song that matches the tone I’m going for. Music, no matter what the genre, is an important aspect of how we come to understand a story or an experience. It is emotion in audio form and therefore universal. There’s a scene in The Compass from the Red Lands in which Tom and Lynette, the story’s heroes, are traveling from New York City to Colorado. During the road trip, the two come to know one another before venturing into a questionable place to save Tom’s half-sister. The image that kept on flashing through my mind was a bird’s eye shot of the ’76 Grand Prix they’re traveling in with a dusking sky in the background; the headlights are on; the heavy relic cuts through the curving highway to the sound of Ra Ra Riot’s “Ghost Under Rocks” from their debut album The Rhumb Line (great track, incredible first album). The tune perfectly captures the transition from the certainty of routine, no matter how mundane it might be, into an adventurous yet potentially very dangerous world. A song helped me make sense of that section. It provided me with a framework. After listening to the track over and over, I knew what I was going for, I just had to find a way to match it. Listening to Blink’s California made me think about specific scenes from The Compass from the Red Lands in new ways. Which songs from that album would match specific chapters? How could they heighten the emotions being conveyed in forms that I hadn’t previously considered? Each track lent a new perspective and fresh take on work I didn’t think I’d ever revisit. Wouldn’t it be nice if every novel were accompanied by a soundtrack? The other side of that coin: wouldn’t it be great if every album tried to tell an extended story? Maybe Blink-182’s next piece will be a pop-punk narrative of epic proportions, and maybe my next post will be the soundtrack for The Compass from the Red Lands!
Hot New Summer Releases!
This summer, indulge in our hot new releases! Something for everyone! ✔ Paranormal ✔ Mystery ✔ Romance ✔Fantasy ✔ Chick Lit ✔ Young Adult THERIAN by Roxanne Kade All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death, on the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that. Plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror, with a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long, she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amberlyn will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING ELSE by Sheila Hageman Beautiful Something Else is a contemporary romance with smarts and humor. Lizbeth, an outwardly-confident but overly self-conscious thirty-year-old, is spurred on by her New Age friend, Janet, to trust the Universe and ask for what she wants in life—to land a starring role, lose five pounds and find herself naked with a man. The stars seem to be aligning for her, but not exactly in the way she meant. A chance encounter with a film director at Grand Central Station may be her lucky break, but the New York City actress is blindsided when she is fired from her bill-paying waitress job, and she must decide where her true values lie. Should she take a position as a “pretend secretary” for a handsome, but holier-than-though chiropractor and healer with questionable morals to pay her rent? While Chip Duncan woos a potential investor for his new healing center, he fights his romantic urges for Lizbeth. She finds herself falling in love with Chip’s caring, healing heart, but she’s equally frustrated by his greed and dishonesty. Can Lizbeth resolve her body image issues and find a clear path to satisfaction in career and relationship? And will Chip realize in time that Lizbeth is the woman for him before he blows off her love? THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS by Matt Thomas For twenty-year-old Tom Gareth, life couldn’t feel more pointless. He’s working as a dishwasher at a greasy-spoon to pay tuition for a college he doesn’t even want to be attending. And Lynette, the love of his life, has relegated him to the dreaded friend zone. All that changes when Tom receives a letter from his father. Pretty standard, right? Not really. His father is supposed to be dead. Half-sister he’s never met? Kidnapped? Taken to the Red Lands? Find her and never stop running? It all sounds like a prank, a crazy lie, until Tom finds a compass in the envelope. It glows and screams and burns, until it eventually reveals a path to Tom’s lost sister – in the Red Lands. A place not on any map. To unlock the compass’s secrets and discover the terrifying realities of his father’s past, Tom embarks on a quest and crosses into a mystical and deadly world. Surviving its jade infernos and bizarre residents will take more than just blind bravery. It will mean letting go of everything he knows, dispelling his fears, and making the ultimate sacrifice. But Tom has to be willing. Is he? THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war… Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option. In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games. FOREWARNED by Holly M. Campbell Death is not finished with her… With a little help from her death-seeing boyfriend, Lance Hampton, Hope Murdoch has already defeated fate once. Doing it again—and stopping a serial killer in the making—shouldn’t be too hard…except she hasn’t healed from her last brush with the psychopath, Lance is struggling with his personal demons, and she’s grounded. Tracking down a murderer is not easy when you’re basically under house arrest. Yet, the seventeen-year-old mind reader isn’t about to let those trifling obstacles slow her down. So what if she has to lie to her parents and sneak out of the house to catch him? She is not the only one in danger. Once again, Hope is faced with the burden of choosing between saving her own life and the victims starring in Lance’s visions. Getting past her parents’ house alarm is a walk in the dark compared with trying to get a murderer behind bars…or in the ground. With only a few clues to piece together, every path looks like a dead end—literally. This time, the cost of changing her future may be too much to bear. THE WRONG PRINCE by C.K. Brooke FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED! Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding… Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy? Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri. When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.
Did You Accidentally Write Yourself Into a Book?
I was genuinely shocked when my best friend texted me that she was simply envisioning me in a black wig for the character of Dainy while reading The Duchess Quest. “How am I anything like Dainy?” I demanded at the phone. My sister, wading into the pool with me, insisted, “You’re exactly like Dainy! Innocent, sweet, and curvy too.” Curvy, I’ll give her. By the time I wrote my debut novel, I was so sick and tired of reading about skinny heroines, I knew I had to break the mold and make my MC on the shapely side. But I’d thought that was where it ended. I don’t have black hair or green eyes. I’m not royalty. I wasn’t raised in a bungalow on the beach and I’ve certainly never had more than one man after me. I turned to my sister. “Why would anyone think I’m as innocent and naive as Dainy? The character I’m most like is…Jon.” I didn’t realize it until I said it aloud. But, by God, I was most like Jon Cosmith. Not that I’m a sexually promiscuous Casanova or a wanted thief, mind you, but my head is often in the gutter and I’m usually looking for the personal advantage in a situation. “Then your mind is like Jon’s,” said my sister, “but the way you act to all of us is like Dainy.” She proceeded to point out that ‘Dainy’ and ‘Caity’ are just 2 letters apart. I tried not to panic. The truth really was that I wanted to spell her name Daney, but was afraid people would pronounce it as “Danny”. Dainey was too many letters, so I took out the ‘e’. I swear, it was an accident that both our names are five letters long, with three of the same letters in the same places. It was unintentional. I had no desire to write myself into any book. But I continue to be amazed at the number of friends who ‘call me out’. “She is SO YOU!” And here I am, insisting that SHE IS SO NOT. I’ve seen some novels on the market where the main character’s name is fairly similar to the author’s. And I’ve wondered why, whether it was intentional. Fellow writers, what about you? Have you ever purposefully – or accidentally – written yourself into a book? How close to home are you willing to let your characters and storylines get? 🙂
The Compass from the Red Lands: Influences
There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back. As a kid, I was a huge comic book fan. It started in third grade when my father brought home the bound collections of all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics (I loved the cartoon show), and it quickly grew from there. My consistent go-tos were Spider-Man and Batman, but after a while I found myself taking on any superhero title that was available. Some heroes were goofy, others were dark and aloof. Many in the end, just weren’t all that interesting. At least not for an extended period of time, so it made sense to jump around from title to title. Yet, the hero I always returned to was Spider-Man. I, like most other nerdy comic book fans, related to the SUPER nerdy Peter Parker. It wasn’t just because he was a nerd who lived every nerd’s fantasy of gaining a super power and kicking bad guy butt every night. It was more than that. Peter Parker, unlike so many other heroes who rose to prominence in the sixties, was, IS, inherently flawed. If you look back to Spider-Man’s origin story in Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter lets a robber escape in a petty attempt to get back at a man who wronged him earlier. Somewhat ironically, it is later revealed that the same robber murders Peter’s Uncle Ben. Peter could have prevented the act had he just been more responsible. It’s a tough lesson, and one that he has to keep at the forefront of his mind. As the character grew, his temptation to sometimes do the wrong or selfish thing was always present, and it wasn’t uncommon to witness Peter doing the wrong or selfish thing. What set him apart, and what I believe made him truly heroic, was his ability to recognize these transgressions and attempt to make up for them. Peter Parker / Spider-Man is severely flawed, but he knows it! This fascinated me, and it’s something I often try to include in the characters I create. What is the protagonist’s central flaw? Will he recognize it? If he does, will he be able to learn something new about himself in order to improve? In my novel, The Compass from the Red Lands (I know, I know, cheap and shameless plug), Tom Gareth is selfish, manipulative, and cowardly. It takes him a while to truly accept that these negative traits are cornerstones of his personality, but once he does his true growth begins. The reason why Peter Parker / Spider-Man has remained relevant over the last fifty years is because he keeps on growing. He’s willing to change. And so often the only way to progress is to acknowledge the hurt you’ve inflicted on others and seriously try to atone for it. These contrite actions, if genuine, are self-sacrificing and, ultimately, heroic, which most audiences find to be both endearing and captivating. So, is Tom Gareth a hero? Not really, but in The Compass from the Red Lands he desperately tries to be.
How to Make a Book
There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back. Officially, The Compass from the Red Lands, has been released! You can buy it on Amazon and other digital media outlets. It’s available in both electronic and print forms (sweet!). Here’s what I learned about making a book: it’s really, really hard! I’ve published articles, essays, short stories, all kinds of stuff, but never anything at this length or on this level. The first version of The Compass from the Red Lands was written when I was in grad school. I workshopped it, and it received a fairly good response. Back then, it was more of Catcher in the Rye meets the Dresden Files. Kind of like an introspective/conflicted private eye working in a real fantasy world. I only had three chapters written, but it seemed promising. I put it on the shelf for two years, revisited it, and completed a first draft of a novella. When I thought it was polished, I workshopped it with another group of writers. This was a much older collective, and they thought the piece was simply too weird and dark, which, at the time, was a bit devastating. I didn’t know what to do. Should I chuck it and start a new piece? Do I give up on writing altogether? No. Neither of those things made sense. What I needed, was a definitive approach. My thoughts as a writer had shifted and refined. I knew that I wanted to write books and stories that teenagers and new adults would find engaging. But finding the right mix of world-building, realism, action, and character growth would be difficult. The story had to feature real tragedy and consequences, but it couldn’t be overwhelming. There had to be fantasy elements that were intriguing but not unbelievable. To find this balance, I essentially rewrote the entire novel about four times. Yadda, yadda, yadda . . . a few months later I had a publishing contract, and the real work, the editing, began. After about eighteen months of going back and forth with 48Fourteen’s AMAZING editors (and I mean that with all sincerity!), we arrived at a point where we thought we could start thinking about the cover. Basically, that’s the publisher saying, “OK, I can definitely get behind this!” Originally, I wanted an illustration. Something abstract and cool and edgy. So an artist was hired, and she worked on a series of drafts. The publisher recognized the beauty of the depiction, but it didn’t quite match the content and feel of the story, so they went back to the drawing board (no pun intended . . . well, maybe a little). That’s when we agreed that the protagonist, Tom Gareth, should not be on the cover. Instead, the mystical compass, which represents the personal and literal journey Tom must undergo, should be at the forefront. Colors, fonts, types of compasses, sizes, etc. were all evaluated and discussed until we came up with what you see at the top of this post. I think it looks absolutely incredible. I’m proud of this book. It’s a good story with polished prose that is accessible, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Yes, I came up with the plot, I wrote the piece, but the completed novel is the result of a team of people coming together to try to provide an audience with a wonderful and unique reading experience. If you decide to download the book, and if you (fingers crossed!!!) enjoy it, send the team at 48Fourteen an e-mail. Thank them. They’re working hard so you, dear reader, can escape into a world of excitement, adventure, and fantasy, which is no easy feat. . .
History with a Twist
It’s no secret that The Chemical Attraction Series is based on Allegan, Michigan. That’s three books and a fourth to be published later this year. Although my husband and I have only lived here for four years, I’ve worked here for over twenty and claim it as my hometown. So when the city manager with ten years of notes on the history of Allegan asked if I’d write a story using it, I was thrilled … and honored. Then I thought, holy moly, how was I going to do that? Where do I start? Well, Google has become my new best friend. I found a great article by Dave Hood about creative nonfiction history, which “presents facts and cause and effects but also adds narrative including storytelling, dialogue, setting, and character development.” At first, I thought the genre I’d write in would be creative historical nonfiction, but now I think it’s still fiction, specifically historical fiction. This genre, in which the story is made up, is set in the past and borrows characteristics of the time period, basically fictional characters in documented situations and/or fictional characters in fictional situations but in the context of a real historical period. BINGO! In my Series, I’ve used real places in Allegan (aka Allenton) and fictional people. In this next story, main characters will still be fiction even though I’m using the real history of Allegan. My plan is to create people to observe and participate on the periphery of the town’s history but still have lives and adventures of their own. How boring would this story be if they didn’t? I love the idea of connecting this story with my series, so I’m going to use Matt Connor’s family tree since his family has lived in the town since it became a town. (Okay, I just made up that last part, but see, I’ve already gotten the creative juices flowing.) With the basic ideas set, my next step is to outline Allegan’s history focusing on major events peppering in a few minor ones. I’ve gotten off to a great start with notes from the city manager, Allegan: Images of America by Nancy J Ingalsbee and Carol B. Garofalo, and Allegan’s History by Joe Armstrong and John Pahl. Then, I’ll outline my people and plot. I have a feeling I’ll be camping out at the Allegan District Library for the summer. What do you think? Is this the best way to take on this huge undertaking? Please, comments are appreciated. I’ll keep you posted. Inset picture is the Griswold Auditorium (aka the Hartford Auditorium from the Series)
Therian, The Bloody Crescent: 1 is HERE!!
Therian (The Bloody Crescent #1) by Roxanne Kade Genre: YA Paranormal All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death, on the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that. Plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror, with a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long, she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amberlyn will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. EXCERPT HER HEAD ACHED. THE COLD air wrapped around her bare skin, and the damp earth was hard against her cheek. Amber slowly opened her eyes. Was she dreaming? She thought so. The tall trees that stretched to the heavens along with the lush green vegetation seemed all too familiar. Every night, for the past few weeks, she had dreamt of this exact place. The dream was always the same…. She was running, terrified, but from what, she never knew. The farther she ran, the more peculiar she felt. Her vision sharpened, and her sense of smell brought forward overpowering scents. Amber inhaled the sweet aroma of the flowers in the woods, and the musky odor of moss and damp tree trunks filled her nostrils, relaxing her. She was at home in this foreign place. In one swift movement, she was running on all fours, faster than she’d ever run before. Whatever she was trying to escape was no match for her speed. A sudden movement to her right brought Amber to a halt. The heartbeat of a tiny rabbit was deafening. She could taste its warm blood before she even took a bite. The poor creature didn’t stand a chance. That’s when she realized she was not running from something but after something. With lightning speed, she grabbed the rabbit, crushing its small frame with her powerful hands. The rush of the kill empowered her…. Amber never saw further into her dreams, always jerking awake before she saw the monster she had become. She never had such vivid dreams before; she didn’t even have a vivid imagination, but since coming to CFU, nightmares were becoming more frequent. Only now, as she lay on the ground looking up at the dark sky through the branches of the trees, she knew this was not a dream. She lay amongst the fallen leaves on the floor of the forest, confused and vulnerable. The air was thick with a fog that clung to the lower branches of the trees, and although it was cold, her body was on fire. Amber tried to sit and the stiffness from lying in one position for too long shot through her side. She stretched her body, but it didn’t help ease the pain. Amber listened, trying to hear anything, but there was nothing. The silence was frightening. She lifted a hand to her clammy forehead. The perspiration ran down her spine, and her hands were wet and sticky. Her breath came in quick gasps with a fear that rose inside her every second she sat in the dark, cold, damp forest. Amber lifted herself slowly, testing her legs for balance. Her blue cotton pajamas were badly soiled by the thick mud that clung to them. She walked slowly, not really knowing which direction to go. She didn’t know how far into the woods she was. Should she just choose a path and hope it leads to civilization, back to campus? Her fear grew stronger, and the fuzziness in her head made it difficult to focus. Amber stumbled along, slipping over the mossy ground. As she walked, an unusual sense of familiarity welled up inside her. She continued forward, and when she caught sight of the road, not too far ahead, relief washed over her. That is when she heard it. The long and anguished howl of a wolf pierced the silence. It sounded close, too close. Fear gripped her again. She found the strength to move a bit faster as adrenalin began pumping through her veins, and she ran toward the road. Was it her imagination or did she hear the snapping of branches behind her? She was not alone; a fierce growl confirmed that. Amber stopped in her tracks and turned slowly, staring back into the thick bushes she had emerged from, but she saw nothing. She sensed, however, that there was something watching her, and it wasn’t friendly. Goosebumps spread over her skin, and she turned to run again. The sound of something behind her forced her to quicken her pace. Amber raced forward, and, clearing the remaining trees, made it to the road, but she tripped on the graveled path. A sudden flash of light stopped her dead in her tracks. She was blinded by a set of headlights only a short distance from her that were growing brighter with each passing moment. There was no way the person driving could stop in time. This was not the way she had imagined dying. Amber screamed and covered her face with her hands, as if that would lessen the impact of the car as it slammed into her. She waited for it to strike her. But the pain she was expecting never came. Had it happened so quickly she didn’t even feel it? Was her life over? She was still breathing, crouched on the road, her hands over her face. By some miracle, the car had stopped, only inches from her. Amber’s breath came in quick gasps, and her lungs burned. She couldn’t get the air she needed. Tears were streaming down her face as she lay on the warm asphalt. Her mind swam, rushing through the dreams and the odd place where she mysteriously awoke. The howl she heard played over and over in her head, like an evil echo sent to torment her. Amber tried to focus, but she knew it was no use. Her breathing grew shallow, and the lack of oxygen made it hard for her to keep her eyes open. She heard someone speak—a muffled voice, but it was calling her name. She caught the hint of a southern accent but couldn’t be sure because whoever it was sounded like they were miles away. A blurry figure appeared next to her. Strong arms lifted her, then darkness took over, and she was gone. About the Author Roxanne Kade lives in the land of Funsunzi. Affectionately named by the locals for its fun, sun and sea, Durban, South Africa is a culturally diverse and beautiful city that offers warm weather, big smiles and a host of attractions. Roxy spends her nine to five in the finance division of a shipping company and is currently studying her degree in Financial Accounting. Words are her escape from reality. When She’s not working, writing or studying, she can be found devouring a book or baking to her heart’s content. Author Links: 48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/users/roxanne-kade Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5133405.Roxanne_Kade Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RoxyKade Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthRoxanneKade/?fref=ts Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/roxykade/ Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+RoxanneKade Instagram: http://instagram.com/roxykade18 Roxy’s Reviews: http://roxykade.blogspot.com/
AXED: What Got Cut from the Jordinia Novels
The Books of Jordinia were the first novels I wrote to completion. As a new writer back in 2013, my greatest struggles were wordiness, and learning how to leave out all but the crucial details. As I’ve stated in numerous YouTube interviews and blog posts, two to three books’ length in words and chapters were deleted from the original novels, which are now published as a duology. Today, I’m sharing with you 10 axed characters and plotlines – 5 from each book! The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1) 1. Golbain Golbain was one of the characters I had to remove from The Duchess Quest, for brevity. He was originally the messenger of Francosto Eco – the soldier who saved the condemned duchess – charged with delivering Eco’s scroll to the duchess’s uncle. Of course, Golbain read the scroll in transit and had to make the decision whether or not to deliver it. He was not a very decent person, with less than decent intentions, and died pretty early on in the story. I got rid of him altogether, but borrowed his name for a pirate in Book Two. 2. Ezra MacNeale The original surviving search party (after the fire) included a fourth man, Ezra MacNeale. Ezra had a woman he loved back home in Bainherd, but was on the quest for the financial reward, in hopes to start a family with her. In early drafts, he parted ways with the three leading males once they reached the Bainherd Plains. (I think primarily he was homesick, but it was also due to Jon bugging the dickens out of him.) After feedback from beta readers complaining of too many characters in the first hundred pages, I used Ezra briefly in one scene, then killed him in the fire. However, a succeeding plotline, involving his father in the second book, survived the cuts. 3. Pascale and Priya My first draft of Book One had much more detail about Dainy’s Uncle Pascale and Aunt Priya’s history together, and even hints of Aunt Paxi’s past. When rejection letters from agencies came pouring in due to length alone, those were some of the first chapters axed. 4. Jon and Selu Jon and Selu’s characters were sort of conceived together, as counterparts. I was going off of the Johnny Depp/Penelope Cruz dynamic their characters shared in “Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides.” I thought Jon and Selu were a perfect match, until I wrote Chapter 30 and discovered that Dainy and Jon’s chemistry was far more interesting and heartwarming. 5. Pascale’s Precursor A very early outline (more like a skeleton sketch) had a young Heppestonian man romantically linked with Dainy. He was the one who alerted her aunts about the quest and the men seeking her. Fairly soon, however, I realized that he would result in too many love interests for Dainy, would block her motivation for leaving Heppestoni, and that her character worked better as an unassuming girl, completely inexperienced with men. So, the character was changed to Uncle Pascale, Aunt Paxi’s twin brother, whose relationship with Dainy was fatherly instead. At one point, when reading the early manuscript, my dad joked that Dainy might end up with Pascale for all he knew. I was surprised by his perception! The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2) 6. Trilogy Book Two was originally written as two books: The Duchess Inheritance and The Duchess Revival. Both manuscripts were too wordy and contained some major plot and character issues. By the time I rewrote both of them and fixed all the issues, each novel was too short to stand on its own. So, I combined them into one punchy, epic conclusion. I sometimes regret the decision, and wish I would’ve found a way to expand them into three books again. 7. Dainy’s Jealousy My sister read the original draft of The Duchess Inheritance, way back when it was the second book of a trilogy, before I had a contract on the first book. In that version, Dainy had a much more difficult time accepting Jon’s past promiscuity, and trusting him around other women. My sister complained that Dainy was so jealous and insecure, it drove her nuts. I completely agreed and eliminated many scenes and arguments between the couple, which dramatically shortened the book. As a result, Dainy became much more likable for her unconditional love of Jon and forgiveness of his past. 8. Mac and Indi The Asiotican translator, Indriel Chow, a.k.a. Indi, was originally romantically interested in Mac, while he had no interest in her – a sort of poetic justice for his and Dainy’s relationship in the first book. But after reading it, my husband and sister still said it didn’t work. Indi now appears in the book as a guide and translator, for expository purposes, but her romantic feelings for Mac were chopped out. I’m very glad for it, because his love story in Part 2 of Book Two ended up being a charming subplot and one of my favorite aspects of the book. 9. Maxos and Franz are a gay couple. Okay, this actually wasn’t axed. It’s still in the novel, but seems to fly right over everyone’s heads. LOL! 😀 10. One of the main characters might’ve died. No spoilers here, so I won’t say who. But I definitely toyed on-and-off with killing a character, and giving their partner to someone else. Then I decided I didn’t have the heart to do it. Plus, I’d already conceptualized the character’s children. I think readers would’ve been furious with me, had I done it. I’d have been furious with me too! ~ If you haven’t begun the journey yet, now’s the time to dig in! The Jordinia books are available via Amazon, B&N, BAM and 48fourteen.
4 Fun Factoids: The Wrong Prince
Since The Wrong Prince is my fourth 48fourteen novel, I wanted to share four fun factoids today, on May the 4th! 1. The idea for this book originally held the working title Witches of Tybiria. It was going to be about three women accused of witchcraft, who must use their ambiguous powers to murder a new king and rescue the old one. I have no idea how it eventually morphed into the story it is now, but I’m glad it did! 2. I was watching Antiques Roadshow at my mom’s when I first heard the name Geo. It was the name of an artist’s son, short for “George”. I instantly loved it and used it for the main character’s name in Prince. 3. There are some Oliver Twist references in this book, because that was one of my favorite musicals growing up. Big bonus points if you catch them! 4. I was at a grocery store when I came across a bag of Michigan cherries with the French word “cerise” on them. I knew it would be the perfect name for the redheaded “hitwoman harlot” in my story. *BONUS TRIVIA* This is the fourth manuscript I’ve written (some of my work has been published out of order), as well as the first book I wrote sitting properly, in a chair, at an actual desk. My previous three novels, The Duchess Quest, The Duchess Inheritance and The Red Pearl, were written lying on my stomach in bed. The Wrong Prince is coming soon to 48fourteen! From the Back Cover: Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding… Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy? Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri. When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.
10 Turning Point Quotes
That moment in a novel when you know things are about to get real, and you are there, feverishly flipping through the pages of a book… Enjoy these 10 turning-point quotes from our 48fourteen novels. Better yet, WATCH THE VIDEO!! 1. The Fourth Piece by E. Ardell “You’ll get stronger, and you’ll stand up for weak people, and I’ll be glad. I’ll know I was the first one to tell you to stop being a punk.” Coming soon! Add it to your Goodreads To Be Read List. Meet the author, E. Ardell. 2. Without Curtains by Holly M. Campbell “Have you ever considered, Becca, that the Shadow was never a figment of your imagination?” Read the first two chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 3. New York Dolls by Catherine L. Hensley Amber needed her Dee-Dee, Josie needed to breathe again, and Chris wanted to hang out with me. My trip to Fashion Week—and likely with it, what I thought was my dream job—had ended, but my night out was just getting started. Read the first three chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 4. Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson My Call swept out in a current of brilliance. It soared out of my body and into his, lighting us both. Shielding wings of warmth enveloped us, carrying us away from danger. I felt the tugging grasp of the cold and claiming tide retreat further and further into the cry of the ocean. I sang and sang, a song to save. In the bright shine of a new beginning, I Called him back to me. Photo by Lyndsay Johnson Read the first two chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 5. Forewarned by Holly M. Campbell Everyone has been praising me for going after Claire and putting my own life in danger to save her, but maybe it was never heroism. Maybe it was simply stupidity. Because Bryce is right—I am being selfish. I am sacrificing this girl’s safety in order to protect my own. Official Release: April 26, 2016. Pre-Order Today! 6. Copper Reign by Angela Hartley After her parents passed, she had thought of little else, had yearned for the sweet oblivion only leaving this plane of existence would bring. But now she understood. Ending her life was the coward’s way out. Nina wanted to do more than die for Nate, she wanted to live. Suddenly, the girl plagued with insecurity and held captive by her eccentricity was gone. Standing taller, she accepted her legacy. Nina was Nephilim, a daughter to the angels, and there was no doubt in her mind that every living thing was precious. Photo by Angela Hartley Read the first two chapters! This novel is FREE with Amazon’s #KindleUnlimited! Start reading! 7. The Duchess Quest by C.K. Brooke Oh, but he shall fall, the man realized, softly brushing his thumb against her wast as he held her. He already had. Read the first four chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 8. Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti Abby was nervous, but refused to believe that she would fail. She wanted to fly through the stars… Read the first two chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 9. Their Rigid Rules by Christina Thompson Seeing red marks around her neck, Stuart’s mind raced with murderous scenarios. He was pretty sure Joe would be his accomplice. While they waited for an ambulance, he monitored her pulse and breathing. He gently whispered “I love you” in her ear. He was anything but serene. As he begged God to save her, he condemned those bastards to hell… Read the first two chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 10. On the Other Side by Nicole Aube Is this all there is to me? A shriveling, tiny girl, overwhelmed, captured in full by her fear? It can’t be. I won’t let it be. Photo by Nicole Aube Read the first two chapters! Available at: 48fourteen | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble
The Typical Day in My Writing Life
My day of writing starts at night just before I go to bed. During that time, I plan the next day’s writing schedule. Will it be new projects, edits, blogs, or research? It’s also the best time for my storylines to reveal themselves. In the morning, I must have my coffee with Cinnabon creamer while I tend to the social media aspect of writing. I’m still learning how to promote. Then, in between laundry, menu prep, and other chores, I tackle my agenda set from the night before. This process keeps me focused, so I don’t get caught up in Supernatural rerun. Most of the time, I’m a step behind on the learning curve, but I’m all right with that. There’s less stress and frustration. However, I continually have to remind myself that I’m not in competition with anyone. Instead, I strive to make my best better. I’m not sure how other authors do it, but it seems to work for me. I’m happy. Are you a writer? What’s your day look like?
Deleted Scene: The Duchess Quest
When my debut novel, The Duchess Quest, was first completed, it clocked in at approximately 175,000 words. (In non-writer speak, that’s almost the length of 3 books.) In order to be publishable, months of editing – longer than it took to write the initial manuscript, in fact! – were required to whittle it down to about 90K. Countless chapters, even entire characters, were eliminated, most of which I no longer have. But one deleted scene almost made the final cut, until I decided to remove it for pacing. It’s short and subtle, but a favorite interaction of mine between Bos and Dainy. Sometimes I search for it, forgetting it’s not in the actual book. Published or not, in my mind, the following conversation took place. Enjoy! BOS THEY MADE CAMP IN A field that could have very well passed for the same one from the night before. Game and firewood were scarce, so they were bound to retire with growling stomachs again. However, being rather eager for their impending entry into Häffstrom and the promise of horses to carry their weary, travel-worn selves back to Omar Village, the others had found it difficult to sleep, instead taking to a rather childlike game of capturing fireflies. Selu was across the way with Macmillan, while Cosmith lounged on the ground, his head resting upon his hat as he watched them in amusement. But where was Eludaine? Bos wondered with a start, turning his head to seek the girl. He was ashamed to admit, but in his fascination with their new lady companion, he had become rather neglectful in his supervision of the young royal. There came a noisy rustling in the grass behind him, and Bos’s breathing steadied with relief to see the Duchess’s small shadow approaching him under the waning moonlight. “Bos,” she greeted. “May I have a word?” He inclined his great head. “Of course.” She wasted no time. “Look, I know you like Selu. But I don’t trust her.” Bos stiffened. The girl might’ve been a duchess, but she was still only that: a girl. She didn’t know of what she spoke. “You are wrong,” he told her plainly. “Seluna is not what she seems.” “Not what she seems?” repeated Eludaine. “She’s a bandit. And yet, perhaps simply because she is slender and appealing, you have allowed your better judgment to be dimmed by the charms of a thief.” “Let us not forget whose judgment was first dimmed by the charms of a thief,” Bos told her significantly. Silence stretched between them until he spoke again. “Seluna has told me her story. She has seen many sorrows, been wronged by the New Republic, as have we. It’s not her fault she was driven to such a life.” Clearly recognizing her inability to sway him, Eludaine huffed and made to depart, but Bos called out to her. She halted, her back to him. “Her actions may have been misguided,” said Bos, softening at the thought of the violet-haired woman. “But beneath it all,” he insisted, “her heart is good.” Eludaine was still. “Well then,” she said at last. “Perhaps the same can be said of Jon Cosmith.” ~ * ~ The Duchess Quest: Jordinia, Book 1 is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and 48fourteen.com.
Feed Your Book Obsession For Less!
From now until March 15th, feed your reading obsession for less with these books. On sale for only $0.99, exclusively on Amazon. ✔ YA Paranormal Romance ✔ YA Dystopian ✔ Romance & Fantasy ✔ Chick Lit ✔ Suspense COPPER REIGN by Angela Hartley Native American folklore meets demon rock stars in “Copper Reign,” a fast-paced urban paranormal romance. Fans of “Supernatural’s” heart-stopping storylines and “Lucifer’s” dark wit will fall in love with “Copper Reign.” Temptation is known by many names, and he’s coming for her. (Free with Kindle Unlimited.) THE DUCHESS QUEST by C.K. Brooke A lost duchess of a fantasy land was believed by all to be dead. When word leaks that the young woman is still alive, her uncle organizes a quest of diverse and headstrong men to seek her and compete for her marriage hand. Like “Anastasia” meets “The Princess Bride” – for grown-ups! (Sale price is $1.99.) ON THE OTHER SIDE by Nicole Aube Hilaria lives in the futuristic, flooded city of Orleans. Thing is, the whole place isn’t under water–only the Quarter. The other half, called the Ward, is totally dry, but with the Name Acquisition Program (NAP) in control, the only way to earn a life on dry land is to pass their super-secret, super-violent trial system. But, back to feisty and stubborn Hilaria: all she wants is to be a Ward, and her smoking hot best friend, Anthony, is along for the ride. When Hilaria meets Job–this gorgeous blue-eyed Ward who happens to hold an important secret about the NAP operation–she must choose: will she follow the boy who’s always held her heart, or will she give it away to another who may not be as innocent as he looks? Either way, the fate of her entire city rests in the balance, and in NAP’s dangerous game, one wrong choice may end up drowning them all. CHECKED by Jennifer Jamelli Callie spends countless hours staring at appliances to make sure they are really unplugged. She wastes obscene amounts of time checking for murderers in various corners of her house and entire sleepless nights performing pointless checking rituals. Then every spare minute is filled with inspecting doorknobs, chairs, floors, etc. for minuscule traces of germs. Oh, and she does all of this as she counts to three over and over again in her head. She does this every day. Without fail. Dr. Blake just doesn’t fit into her schedule. Until he does. Until Callie begins to trust him. Until she starts to need him. And want him. And… ROSE’S WILL by Denise DeSio Got family drama? Absent father? Narcissistic mother? Sibling rivalry? Secrets? Lies? Nutty aunts? Nosy neighbors? And…oh no! A…a…LESBIAN family member? Not to mention a missing will. Rose’s Will, has it all – and more! Compare notes author Denise DeSio. Maybe you’ll find that your family isn’t that crazy after all. CHEMICAL ATTRACTION by Christina Thompson FBI Agent Joe Roberts dates—a lot. He’s never had a steady girlfriend. He’s actually searching for his one. He wants that instant chemistry like his sisters have with their husbands. With anger in his heart, he’s ready to give up on that romantic notion. Then, he meets Madeline. After an abusive relationship, Dr. Madeline Pierce hides behind her nano-research. When she discovers a criminal network within her facility, she’s partnered with Joe. As she becomes bolder, she wants to trust his sweet words, but she wonders if he’s playing her like the men from her past. Joe and Madeline explore sinister scientific research and the intense chemistry of love and lust. (Free with Kindle Unlimited.)
I’m doing a live reading tonight!
I live in a place full of fabulous people who love local authors. There’s a fabulous author event at Juice N Java in Pacific Grove, California that happens every last Thursday of the month called “Curated Words”. A hand-selected crew of authors is handed time slots and a live mic. Yours truly got invited to read a selection from “The Fourth Piece”. My first thoughts were: Really me? But won’t people expect poetry? My second thoughts were: These people are trusting ME with a mic? Are they nuts? (My inner diva comes out. I swear microphones are like enchanted objects… or laced with sugar and caffeine that can be absorbed through the skin :D). But no, the hosts of the event want to shake things up and get more authors on deck reading genre fiction to keep it from being your typical “Open Mic”. They are also giving the authors a chance to network and are printing up programs with all of our information inside. I’m really excited. I’ve been practicing my selection, and I’m going to rock it out. (Some people might leave thinking I’m slightly schizophrenic, but come on. I’m a teen librarian, my breed is recognized and labeled by others in the library world as being wired and quirky. Who else would work with teens, hah!) Some of my library teens are coming out to show some support. Love those guys! So, hey, if you live in the Monterey County area and are free tonight at 7:30 pm, I’d love to meet you at Juice N Java in Pacific Grove. Here’s the FB invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/472124749645604/472958972895515/ And here’s the flyer! Take care! 😀
9 Swoon-Worthy Quotes
9 quotes from 48fourteen novels sure to make you swoon… WATCH THE VIDEO ON THE OTHER SIDE, by Nicole Aube At that moment, I knew I was done for. Loving someone is one thing, but feeling it flow, reciprocated, a current alive and buzzing between us, was something new altogether. THE RED PEARL, by C.K. Brooke “I think I already found my treasure… It’s been with me the whole time. You,Antonia Korelli, are worth more than a boatful of red pearls.” – Robin COPPER REIGN, by Angela Hartley “Well, I’m sorry if shoving half of my body into a freaking freezing reservoir and dragging your skinny ass out wasn’t enough of a declaration for you…” – Nate FOREWARNED, by Holly M. Campbell He says it as I’m closing the door. It clicks shut and I stand there, not sure I heard correctly. I love you. He said it. He said the “L” word…and I shut the door in his face. WITHOUT CURTAINS, by Holly M. Campbell If I walk away from this—whatever this turns out to be—I’ll regret it the rest of my life. FIRE OF THE SEA, by Lyndsay Johnson “I couldn’t have stayed away if I had wanted to. But why would I? You saved me by binding your life to mine. I’m here because of you.” – Gunnar NEW YORK DOLLS, by Catherine L. Hensley “I wasn’t expecting to ever see you again.” “And now I’m here,” he said. “And now you’re here.” “And kissing you.” THE DUCHESS INHERITANCE, by C.K. Brooke “I wake up with you each morning…thinking it impossible to love you any more than I already do… And I go to bed with you every night, proving myself wrong…” – Jon CHEMICAL ATTRACTION by Christina Thompson For the first time in his life, he felt a real connection with a woman. A link around his heart snapped; the chain fell away…
Curing Writers Block or maybe just sharing some pictures: you decide.
People who have followed my work over the years know I am a slow writer. Since I do the convention circuit, teach, and travel, I can only do one major project a year and I flip between writing science fiction novels and comics so for some fans they have to wait even longer for my next book in the Other Systems Universe, or my next horror comic or whatever it is they like. More to the point, my first drafts suck. No one should read them. The Maiden of Deception Pass overlooking Rosario Bay. The statue represents a Samish myth of a girl who married a man of the sea so her people would be fed. The story is supposed to be romantic, but it gives me the creeps. The statue is pretty cool though. But whatever my project, this time of year I always seem to get overwhelmed. The non-creative work butts up against the creative side as I’m trying to gather up stuff for the winter/spring conventions, and do taxes and figure out sales from last year. This feeling of being overwhelmed starts as a tiny scratch so subtle that I don’t even realize how low I’m feeling until I am eating way too much chocolate cake because I’m staring at a manuscript that makes no sense, but a few fans have already asked me when its coming. (BTW, no one has pressed in any negative way, these feelings are on me.) And I leave for another convention in a week. So it happened that on a stretch of two days of unseasonable mostly-cloudless skies and 60 degree weather, my husband mentioned he needed to work until 8:30 one night, I decided to take a day and unwind. So after I dropped my husband off at work in the morning, I packed up the dogs and headed up to Whidby Island for a long day of hiking. Since I am the only one with a driver’s license, I drove. The dogs shared the back seat. With good timing, its a little less than a two hour drive from Seattle. (North via I-5 then west on WA-20.) Deception Pass was so named because Capt. Vancouver thought he’d find a protected bay on the eastern side of the pass. He did not. Also tidewater rushing through the channel makes navigation difficult even today. We visited several different beaches throughout the day and hiked approximately seven miles. With the warm weather and slow pace, Rosie didn’t need to be carried once. She even ran around on the sand. Rosie and Tycho exploring aphrodisiac (to dogs) smells. Our first beach, we were completely alone to wander through the driftwood and pebbles. We climbed to the top of the headland overlooking Rosario Bay to enjoy a snack of cheese. We raced along a sandy spit where we saw four sealions swimming in the surf and up another headland where three does grazed on some grass. On the way home, we stopped for gas and corndogs. They split the inside of one, I ate the other. The dogs thought it was the best dinner ever! For someone who spent the day eating cheese and corndogs , afterwards I felt more balanced, more centered, more able to focus on both the non-creative and creative parts of my job. I also wondered why I let it go so long before I went out on a solo adventure. The last time I did the North to West Beach trail at Deception Pass, my companion complained that “beach hiking means we don’t have a goal.” I realized I hadn’t gone hiking alone for nearly a year. I needed two hours to talk out my manuscript and marketing problem to myself during the drive, then I needed time to hike at my pace which means watch gulls follow a crab boat, bird watching and letting Rosie dig in the sand and letting Tycho roll in some very smelly kelp which ended up having a dead bird in it. Kind of gross, but that’s what after-adventure baths are for. Anyway I feel better and more like myself again. If anyone is curious, I am sixty pages into the third book in the Other Systems Series. Below are some pictures: I hope you enjoy them. Also if you want to comment, how you get rid of writer’s/creative blocks? Or how do you make sure your needs are met?
You asked for it, and here it is: an EXCLUSIVE Orleans Exodus bonus scene!
So, I am currently drawing to a close my massive revisions to the Orleans Exodus book two, titled On the Brink. In it, my characters–Hilaria, Anthony, and Job–face many exhausting challenges, all of which take an extreme toll on me as their writer…because I feel what they feel as I live it with them. That being said, I’m not a romantic…AT ALL, but Hill and Job and Anthony have this weird love triangle thing going on, and **SPOILER ALERT** it’s kinda off the hook in OTB. Of course, I’m totally emotionally taxed now writing and rewriting all this, and with Valentine’s Day being, well, today, I thought it would be good to go back to my roots…or my characters’ roots really and write a little something new between two of them to give us all a little break from **SPOILER ALERT** the tragedy that is On the Brink. I put this to a vote on my Facebook and Instagram pages, and though the totals were close… a new scene between our two favorite love birds won out over a retelling of a scene from Job’s POV and a new one from Anthony’s perspective. Without further ado, here are Anthony and Hill in a new scene just for you who asked for it! “Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way” An Orleans Exodus Bonus Hilaria I found a little note on my bed this morning, written in Anthony’s scrawling hand. It was there, atop my pillow, when I rolled over and the Quarter sunshine peaked through my window, the holes in our walls. I picked up the scrap of paper, waiting for my eyes to focus, and rather than fixating on the fact he had somehow snuck into my room again last night to leave it behind, I concentrated on deciphering his handwriting. Even working with him every day on reading and writing and everything else he never learned because of his upbringing, Anthony’s words were still broken and jumbled…but none of that took away from the sweetness of his message. Meet me at the old Two Sisters courtyard at dusk. Dress in something pretty…not that you aren’t always beautiful to me. Love you. –Anthony So, as I am standing now outside of the Court of Two Sisters—a restaurant on our list of places to explore but that we’ve never ventured into—on a gallery that once served as a balcony for a window on the second story, I wipe down the front of the dress I have on. Yes, a dress. It is the only article of clothing resembling anything feminine that I own, and it’s not me at all. A hand-me-down from my mama, Cleo, it’s a green, lacy thing, topped up with tiny sleeves that barely cover my arms and a hem line that touches well above my knees. I tug at the sleeves and the ruffles at the bottom, trying to cover my freckled shoulders and thighs, but it’s of no use. I’m showing more skin tonight that I have ever before in my life. I push a piece of hair behind my ear and take a deep breath. You’re doing this for Anthony, I think. You’ll do anything for him. Before I step through the window, I guarantee that my boat is tied to the wrought iron railing. Green water, made brighter by the sun setting, laps at the gallery posts, and my dinghy sways with the gentle waves. The motion calms me, and I push open the floor-to-ceiling window panes and step inside. “Anthony?” I call, but there’s no answer. I take a last look over my shoulder and wander through what must have been the attic of the old restaurant. Yellowed table cloths litter the space, and a turned-over table or two rest in each corner. My feet are bare, leaving naked footprints on the dusty floor, as I press onward to find Anthony. “Hello?” I whisper as I duck to move from the larger attic space into a smaller room just beyond. I cross the tiny room in just a few steps, and my head scrapes the ceiling above. I stoop when a final doorway comes into view, and past it, I see the distinct flickering of candlelight. When I pass over the last threshold, my breath is stolen from my chest by the sight before me. The room, with its worn planks on the walls and floor, is washed pink by the setting sun. The three windows are thrown open, their sheer curtains billowing inward on a soft breeze. Candles line the floor, the shelves built into the walls, and a table set with two chairs. In the middle of it all stands Anthony, dressed in clean black pants—as clean as he can get them—and a black shirt, gathered up at the elbows. He holds a bouquet of yellow and pink wildflowers out to me, a smile plastered on his face. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” he says with a little chuckle at the end as if the idea of saying such a thing is ridiculous to him. “I wish I knew what that is,” I say back with a light laugh of my own. “It’s a holiday,” Anthony says taking a step towards me, “that I read about once.” I take a step forward, too. “How often do you do that—read without me, I mean?” “Not often,” Anthony admits, “but when I do, I always learning something I want to share with you.” “So….” I say, waving a hand around the room, “what is this Valentine’s Day?” Anthony’s face grows serious in the candlelight. “Give me a kiss, and I’ll tell you all my secrets.” Without hesitation, I leap into his arms, and our lips meet. He’s gentle at first, his hands wrapped around my waist, drawing me close, but after a few seconds, I can’t breathe, so I pull away and press my forehead to his. He presses a light kiss to my nose and exhales into my mouth, and I know once kiss isn’t enough to sate his hunger. “Thank you for this,” I laugh, “whatever it is.” “You’re very welcome, my lovely,” he says, letting me go. “Come. Sit, and I’ll tell you all about it. But food first.” Anthony and I take our seats at the table, and he lays the bouquet in front of me. Without a word, he brings out a can-opener—a handy staple for any Quarter kid who eats his meals from a can like most of us—and a can of…pineapple. Its metallic surface is dented on one side, but the label is bright yellow and orange, obnoxious really, and I say the word aloud to feel it roll off my tongue. “Pine…apple?” “Yes, pineapple,” he says mocking my tone. With little fanfare, he opens the can of fruit and pulls two forks from his back pocket. He hands one to me and moves his chair around the table so he’s as close to me as he can come while occupying the same space. The hand not holding his fork slips into mine, and we lock eyes. “Have you had it before?” Anthony asks and purses his lips, teasing me. “What?” I stutter when I realize my eyes have dropped to his mouth. “That?” Anthony says swinging his fork to the open can, a smiling dancing in his words. “Pine. Apple. Had. It. Before?” “No,” I say, clearing my throat. “What do you think it tastes like?” “It’s sweet,” Anthony murmurs against my ear. “Like you.” “If you don’t stop that,” I whisper, “we’ll never eat.” “I’m okay with that,” Anthony concedes, and I feel his lips tickle my neck. “Okay, okay, stop it!” I laugh and shove him away, but he doesn’t drop my hand. “Seriously. I want to try this pineapple of yours.” Anthony straightens his back and eyes me. “Fine. Reject me. I’m wounded, but you’re gonna love that stuff.” I lean forward and stab a piece of the fruit floating in its yellow juice. I raise it to my tongue and let it drip there before I take it into my mouth. Anthony is right; it is sweet. More tart than my mama’s rarely crafted desserts, and exotic, too. Somehow the pineapple’s flavor doesn’t match anything that you’d ever find in the Quarter today. Chewing, I relish the texture—crunchy yet soft—then, I swallow, and I feel the weight of Anthony’s eyes on me. “You like it?” he asks, eyes glittering. “Oh my god, yes,” I say. I snatch the can from the table. “You aren’t getting any. Sorry. Find your own.” Anthony tsk-tsks at me. “Now, Hill, that’s not fair. I set up the fancy dinner for you, and you hog all the food. What kind of girlfriend does that make you?” I stop, my hand frozen in the air, at the word girlfriend. Yes, Anthony and I have exchanged I love you more times than I can count because I think, on some level, we’ve always loved each other—saying it was only natural, a final stone set in place, solidifying the foundation of our relationship. But he’s never called me his…girlfriend before. “What did you just say?” I ask, dropping my fork to the table, the pineapple forgotten. “What?” Anthony teases, green eyes on fire. “Did you like that, Hill? Did you like being called my girlfriend?” I flex the fingers of my free hand over my thigh, fiddling with the hem of the dress. All of a sudden, it feels far too short, and I feel far too exposed. Anthony must see the panic on my face because he backpedals with care. “No, no, no, Hill,” Anthony says, cupping my face in his hands. “I don’t want to scare you away. Forget I said anything. You’re my friend—my very best friend who I happen to love like a mad man. I take it back. I swear. You’re not my girlfriend. You’re so much more than that. You’re my Hill.” I press my face into his hands and smile, just a little, to let him know I’m okay. “Boyfriend isn’t strong enough a word for what you are to me,” I explain to him, feeling tears burn at the edges of my vision. “I want to be your girlfriend so badly, Anthony, but moreover, I want to be your everything…because you are mine.” A wide grin spreads over Anthony’s face, and he runs his nose down the length of mine. “Say that again, Hill, please. I need to hear it.” “You’re my everything,” I whisper. “And you’re mine,” he whispers back. “Always and forever.” “How long do you think this’ll last between us?” I ask for the thousandth time. “Surrender Day is less than two months from now… and I can’t help but feeling like something is slipping away—” “Don’t think about tomorrow or the next day or the next,” Anthony orders with gentle persuasion. “Let’s think about here and now. You and me. Hill and Ant. The way life is supposed to be.” Anthony winds his hands into the hair at the nape of my neck and brings my mouth back to his. We kiss, and we kiss. We only come up for air when the wind comes through the windows and blows out most of the candles set against the sills and drapes an early evening dew over everything within…a damp blanket, wrapping us up and hiding us away yet, all the while, reminding us time must go on—with or without us. Before I can contemplate, once more, what Surrender Day means for us, a low grumbling escapes Anthony’s abdomen, and our eyes drop to his stomach. “Hungry much?” I laugh and pat his belly which is firm beneath my hand. “Of course,” Anthony says, eyes still lingering on my lips. “I’m always hungry when you’re around.” “Could you be more inappropriate?” I ask and let my gaze wander out the window, where the sun has set at last, and the moon is making its slow traipse up the purple expanse of sky beyond. “Is that a test, Hill?” Anthony asks, wagging his eyebrows up and down as I turn my eyes back to his. “Hardly,” I say and give his cheek a light slap. “By the way, you never told me what Valentine’s Day is.” Anthony rolls his eyes and picks up his fork. “It’s a stupid holiday from before NAP and the Wall…one when people sent chocolates to each other in heart-shaped boxes and bought lots of vases filled with flowers. There were balloons involved, too. It sounds hideous.” He stops, thinking for a moment. “And there were poems involved. Not my style of poetry, but stupid rhymes that offer nothing more than cheese.” “Tell me one,” I say. He clears his throat and levels his eyes on me. “‘Roses are red. Violets are blue. If you didn’t know, you’re stupid, but your hair is red, too.” “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I sigh. “Not in the slightest,” Anthony says, grinning. “Like I said, it sounds lame.” “So…why did you plan this?” I ask, waving my hand around the room again. “It got me alone with you. Didn’t it?” “I—” I begin to say; then, I change my mind. “You’re a genius. You know that? Manipulating me to visit you in a dark room, luring me in with candles, and flowers, and food… and kisses. Speaking of those….” “You want more?” Anthony asks, his voice low and alluring, his green eyes dark in the shadowy room. “Always,” I say. I lean towards him and slip my hands up his arms and wrap them around my waist. But he’s still holding his fork. Anthony joins me, bending to greet my awaiting lips, but then, he stops. He smiles against my cheek. “Woman, if we’re gonna keep this up, I need energy for all the kissing. Pass me the damn pineapple.” I laugh out loud, holding myself together, as he releases me. He snatches the food from the table. Over the rim of the can, he smirks, pulls out a piece of fruit, and almost swallows it whole. “You are completely ridiculous, Anthony.” “You know it,” he says before popping another piece of pineapple into his mouth. “And you wouldn’t have it any other way.” I meet his grin with one of my own, and I know he’s right. I wouldn’t trade this moment for the world…even the one NAP has to offer. …………………and there ya go, y’all! Hope you loved it as much as I loved writing it. It’s feels so good being among my friends, my characters, when they are happy. 🙂 Maybe I’m weird, but that’s how I work. Happy Valentine’s from me, Hilaria, and Anthony to YOU! Make it magical, but please, DO NOT touch the pineapple. I’m calling dibs. I’m out! Write on, Nicole P.S. Wanna read more about Hill and Ant and their adventures in the flooded Orleans Quarter…and the infamous Name Acquisition Program that rules them all? Check out the first book of the Orleans Exodus trilogy, On the Other Side now! The Kindle version is on sale for $.99 until tomorrow, 2/15!
“Big hey!” from new author, E. Ardell
Hey! My name’s E. Ardell (friends call me Ebs), and I’m excited to be here! I wrote my first story in the first grade and never stopped. Writing is life. I’m a Teen Librarian when I’m not writing. I love coming up with programs and interacting with that age group. They’re so fun. So, of course, I love to write YA and get their input on what they are currently reading and why. I’m nervous for them to read my stuff, but I guess I’ve got to get over that! This native Texan is ready to see her name on the cover of a book. I’ll dance, I’ll sing (I’m the karaoke queen) and probably wipe away a few tears. Great to meet you all!
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