February Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (253 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Aloe

BoM LASR YA copy

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first installment of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was Published by Amanda Meuwissen – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda Meuwissen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Things I wished I knew before I was published

1. You can’t please everyone

This is something we all struggle to learn, not because we don’t already know, but because it affects us anyway and it is such a tough thing to slough off. You’re a published author, you’ve had the book professionally edited, typeset, with a cover you love, promoting it as best you can…and you still get negative reviews. It’s not that you don’t know to expect this, it’s that it feels like a blow every time and you have to remind yourself of this fact – you can’t please everyone. There’s a fine line between constructive criticism that you can internalize to improve for your next book, and people who just don’t like your work and never will. Separating those and moving on to the next positive review is so important. As an author, you have to grow a tougher skin, especially at the start.

2. You are your own marketer

I think people who have yet to be published have this idea in their heads that as long as they get accepted by a publisher, at that point their hard work has paid off and they can sit back and let the publisher do the work to make them successful. NOT TRUE. Some people might think that, well, maybe not for smaller publishers, but surely with the Big 5—NOPE. Still not true. Unless you magically become the next JK Rowling and are already famous, books do not sell themselves, and publishers do not market for you. You are your own marketer and you need to do the work to get your name and your titles out there. Have a website, have social media, engage, write things other than your books, look for where your audience hangs out, do signings and conventions, do everything, and don’t expect for one second that anyone else will do it for you.

3. You have to spend money to make money

This sort of ties into being your own marketer, but successful marketing costs money. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but you need to be aware that some budget should be spent on blog tours, conventions, purchasing books you might want on hand not provided by the publishers (as most don’t give you more than a single copy). You will spend money on a release and you need to plan for that, but if done right, you should make that money back on the first month of sales. There are exceptions, like buying the URL for your website adds additional cost, certain conventions you try won’t pan out, buying boxes of books might not always sell initially, but it’s a learning curve. You just need to be ready to spend a little no matter who you published with.

4. Be ready with your next book immediately.

Maybe most of you are like me, where as soon as you get one idea out of you, you likely already had the next one percolating, and the one after THAT. So moving from one book release to already being in the midst of writing your next one should be easy. If you want to be a successful writer, this is important because it keeps you top of mind with your readers. It means they’ll constantly be looking forward to your next book. If you’re forgotten, it’s easy for people to miss that next release, and you want to gain momentum over time, not lose it. If you just have one or two books in you and that’s all you plan to produce, fair enough, but if you want to write and write and write, DO IT, and always be ready with that next idea. One book a year is entirely doable.

5. Participate in NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month saved me as a writer. As someone who has regularly written stories for close to two decades, it may surprise you that I hadn’t heard of or participated in NaNo until very recently (I’ve done it twice now). If you don’t know, it’s the month of November each year where writers dedicate themselves to writing 50k words. It might be the entirety of a novel, or maybe just the start if you write lengthier pieces, but it is still a grand undertaking, because it translates to over 1600 words a day. That’s easy when you think of one day, but doing it every day for 30 days straight is a challenge. When I first participated in 2015, it rejuvenated my passion to write every day, because for that month I had to, and when it was over, I didn’t want to stop. You don’t have to write 1600 words every day forever, but write something, and NaNo is a great way to get started. It’s also how I’ve kickstarted my last two novels, this release I’m promoting today, and the one I’m currently editing. If you worry about being able to get a novel written a year, try NaNo next November. It is a lifesaver.

Emery Mavus just wants to survive his senior year of high school. Becoming a vampire complicates things. So does a bizarre mentor, a group of vampire hunters, and an unexpected, new attraction for his openly gay best friend, Connor. An occasional uncontrollable hunger for blood might be the least of his worries.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

It was a trick. Emery had made it all up, knowing that the details would lead Connor to vampires. These were just Halloween fangs. Connor wasn’t really hypnotized into submission; he was just stunned, believing his own crazy imagination. He’d longed for years to have Emery this close, after all, crowding him into a corner, lips descending. He’d just imagined them descending a little closer to his mouth, though his neck wouldn’t be so bad…

…if not for the sharp sting, the breaking of the skin and rush of blood sucked out of him so fast he felt dizzy, and then—wow.

It didn’t hurt at all. It felt like Emery was tucked into his shoulder intimately, fully aware of the pleasant buzzing he caused in Connor’s gut every time they touched. Connor had dreamed of this, imagined it just like this, and felt lulled by Emery’s body being so close, and the way he shivered feeling those lips on his skin. He almost thought he heard Emery’s soothing voice whispering affirmations he’d always wanted to hear.

“Em…” Connor breathed out, barely audible.

The room was dimming, but he felt cozy where he was. His arms were limp and heavy as he lifted them to pull Emery closer, feeling the soft fabric of the sweater against his somewhat numb right palm. He pulled tighter, twisting flesh and plastic fingers alike in the fabric, pulling…with the faint sense that he should be pushing instead.

“Em…” he choked out like a whimper, like he was crying. Why was he crying? This was everything he’d ever wanted…

About the Author:Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been posting content online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the digital marketing company Outsell. She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).

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January Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Just Another Quiet Little City by J.S. Frankel


Just Another Quiet Little City by J.S. Frankel
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (234 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Magic is in the air, and it makes the rules. Teenagers Gabe Common and his girlfriend, Millie Themmes, have settled in Angels Camp, California. As a high school dropout with little education and no future job prospects, Gabe is forced to work as a sideshow attraction with Millie at his side. They spend their days taking people on airborne excursions, and Gabe longs for some stability in his life.

However, all things have to change, and change they do when the magic returns with a vengeance. As with Chumsville, their former residence, most of the citizenry of Angels Camp disappear with no rhyme or reason, leaving only fifteen survivors behind. And the changes from human to something else happen once more, this time with frightening speed.

An old friend, Gil Perkins from the FBI arrives as a liaison, and then the army takes over. However, they have another plan in mind, and they imprison Gabe and the other survivors and use them as guinea pigs, trying to copy their powers.

Gabe needs answers, and the answers lie in Chumsville, a small community in South Dakota. He and his friends stage a breakout and make a perilous journey back to where it all started. Once there, Gabe and Millie learn the secret of why the magic happened and have to fight for their very survival.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Three Month Plan by Kimberley Patterson – Spotlight and Giveaway

The Three Month Plan
by Kimberley Patterson
Genre: YA, Teen Romance
Kelly Callahan had everything going for her. Everything that is, except for
a relationship. It wasn’t for the lack of trying, it just seemed
like she was a magnet for all the wrong ones. But all of that was
about to change the minute she laid eyes on Jake.
On a dare from her close friend, Michelle, Kelly accepts a challenge to
date and become Jake’s girlfriend within three months. The
consequence of losing is global humiliation, and she refuses to lose.
Enlisting the help of her childhood friend and confidant, Brian, Kelly manages
to catch Jakes attention. She also unknowingly hooks Brian who tries
to sabotage the plan. Kelly finds herself with a dilemma; take the
final step with Jake and win the plan or follow her heart and reveal
her feelings for Brian.
Horses were one of my first loves, and writing soon followed. As a child, I
spent hours writing poems, and short stories (about horses). My
parents realized that I was horse-obsessed and decided to buy me one
after taking riding lessons for two years. I think they hoped that
all of the hard work, and hours spent mucking stalls would help me
give up this expensive hobby. They were wrong. Writing is still a
passion of mine, although now I primarily write fiction. My first
novel, Red Rock, was published in 2010, and big surprise, there are
horses in it. My second novel, The Three Month Plan was released
August 2013.
Other Loves: My family, yoga, skincare and makeup, sushi, and raising money
for pediatric cancer. I have two rescue dogs and would have more if
there weren’t zoning restrictions. I’m always trying something
new, as I tend to get bored very easily. Thankfully, my love of
driving around with the gas light on fuels some excitement. I love
novels with happy endings, and am a hopeful romantic. My latest
obsession is browsing Netflix, and I can name all 50 states in
alphabetical order in under 30 seconds. Do I feel a wager coming on?

Light in My Dark by Jean Gilbert and William Dresden – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. William & Jean will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sixteen-year-old Harper Deveraux has longed for an adventure ever since her mother died of cancer four years ago. Much to her dismay, she is stuck in Glen Eden, a small mountain town in upstate New York that does little to fuel her hopes and dreams.

Another year of high school has begun, and with the Moon Dance only a few weeks away, Harper suddenly finds herself torn between the affections of two boys: her best friend Jack, and a new boy from the City named Knes who might not be from this world.

Strange things begin to happen in Glen Eden when Harper uncovers a mystery that involved her mother and a realm shrouded in darkness that lies beyond the wall… A realm that Knes intends to take her to. Only Jack stands in his way.

Light In My Dark, is an action-packed modern YA fantasy, filled with dark forces, love, and self-discovery.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The heat under Harper’s sweater disappeared the longer she stared at the house. Goose bumps tickled her flesh. She wrapped her arms around her body, but the chill remained. Even so, her eyes refused to look away from the house.

“Well,” she said,” in the real world it is said that she fell through the floor in a part of the house that was still under construction at the time. No mystery there. Just an accident.”

Jack raised an eyebrow at her. “In the middle of the night? Who goes walking around a construction site in the middle of the night? That’s just stupid. What gets me is that’s what all the tourists come to see, not the lake or the mountains or anything else that Glen Eden has to offer. Give the house a ghost, and they come running.”

“Maybe it deserves a ghost. At least then it would be lived in.”

Neither one said anything for a moment as they stared at the mansion.

Finally, Jack spoke again. “There must be over a hundred rooms in there. It’d take days to explore them all.”

“It’d be an adventure.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

About the Author: William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

Jean Gilbert is an award winning speculative fiction writer from New Zealand. She is a Core member of SpecFicNZ, and is also the coordinator for SpecFicNZ Central. Jean’s novels include the Vault Agency Series: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault. You can find her short stories Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror, and Pride in the Contact Light Anthology.

William Dresden Website | Jean Gilbert Website | William Dresden Twitter | Jean Gilber | William Dresden Facebook | Jean Gilbert Facebook | Publisher Website | Publisher Facebook | Publisher Twitter
Buy the book at iBooks, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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December Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita

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Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita
Gargoyle Redemption Trilogy – Book 1
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (163 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

18 year old, Shinka Fox moved to California to pursue her music career, her mother Bru Fox is a famous artist traveling the world. Infatuated with a boy named Abel Lapis at her new school Shinka is surprised when the young man always seems to be around when she’s in trouble. A group called the Hunters is out to kill Shinka. But Abel has a secret, he’s a gargoyle. Will Abel rescue Shinka in time or will the Hunters reach her first?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Winter Blogfest: Denise Jaden

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This post is part of Long and Short’s Review Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A CHRISTMAS KERRIL and a digital copy of AVALANCHE...

What Your Favorite Christmas Movie Tells Me About You!

I’m a big fan of Christmas books and movies. In fact, the whole season is a happy one for me, and believe it or not, our family leaves our Christmas tree up year round. So I enjoy Christmas, and I enjoy thinking about how the season shows up in works of fiction. I’ve put together a fun little list of what *I* think these movies may say about you if they are among your favorites:

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – If this is your favorite holiday movie, you are probably a deeply nostalgic person who wishes they were living fifty or a hundred years ago. You hold an appreciation for family, and making the holidays center on meaningful interactions, but in reality, you have trouble sticking to your guns in implementing these things.

ELF – You tend to live your whole life a little on the childish side, which can be a breath of fresh air for the people around you (or it can become a self-centered greed-fest if you’re not careful!)

HOME ALONE (1,2,3,or 4) – Well, first of all, if you rated the fourth one above any other Christmas movie, there’s something wrong with you. But if you chose one of the first three, you are a person with a strong independent streak and possibly a secret devious side. You are more capable than even you, yourself, realize. Of course independence and a devious side could lead to some fairly dangerous situations (ones your family and friends may need to worry about!)

THE GRINCH – Somehow you always seem to vacillate between the consumerism of the season, and guilt about those tendencies. You have hope for the future, though! One Christmas, your heart will surely grow three sizes and the beast of dissatisfaction that visits you each year will get squished out by the surge.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL / SCROOGED – First of all, if either of these is your favorite holiday movie, you should DEFINITELY pick up a copy of my new novel, A CHRISTMAS KERRIL! But sales-pitches aside, if you enjoyed these movies, you’re likely a person who enjoys control and making decisions. However, you crave reminders to do the right thing. Perhaps you doubt your ability to make the best decisions, and so you’re always on the lookout for good advisers who you can trust.

THE SANTA CLAUSE (1,2, or 3) – You have a deep-seated dream that if you suddenly became all-powerful, it would solve all of your emotional inadequacies. That, or you want to hold onto a childish belief in a North Pole designed by Disney.

Those are a few of my holiday favorites, so you can probably deduce a few things about me from my list. This holiday season, consider what fictitious stories you enjoy most, and what that might say about you!

In this modern take on a holiday classic, high school junior, Kerril, faces her past, present, and future to be reminded of the good in others, and in herself. Haunted by the memory of the worst of her divorced parents’ public Christmas blowouts, Kerril, will do almost anything to avoid the upcoming tinsel-filled season. Unfortunately, a teacher with a grudge casts Kerril as the lead in the school’s holiday production. To add to the misery, she will star alongside ultra-awkward Adam as her love interest. Wanting to ditch the play, Adam, her parents, and Christmas altogether, Kerril accepts an invitation to take off to a cabin with her ultimate dream crush, Perry – only Perry may not be the guy she hoped he was, and it’s not until she’s left Adam behind to fend for himself onstage that she realizes he might just be the guy of her dreams.

About the Author:Denise Jaden is the author of two holiday young adult novels: A CHRISTMAS KERRIL, and recently-released AVALANCHE. She’s also the author of popular fiction from Simon & Schuster, and nonfiction for writers.

Denise lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband, son, and the perfect cat.

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Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita

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Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita
Gargoyle Redemption Trilogy – Book 1
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (163 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

18 year old, Shinka Fox moved to California to pursue her music career, her mother Bru Fox is a famous artist traveling the world. Infatuated with a boy named Abel Lapis at her new school Shinka is surprised when the young man always seems to be around when she’s in trouble. A group called the Hunters is out to kill Shinka. But Abel has a secret, he’s a gargoyle. Will Abel rescue Shinka in time or will the Hunters reach her first?

Shinka Fox is about to launch her music career and also attend the private school called Fusion Academy. From day one things go wrong and she has to rely on fellow student Abel Lapis for support and protection. Her faith in him is shaken when she discovers he is half gargoyle and the statues on his balcony are his family. The Hunt is after the gargoyles and Shinka becomes involved in the conflict.

Both main characters are captivating although Abel seems to be a bit “on again” and “off again” with his interaction with Shinka. Danger comes in the form of the hunt whose members are the most unlikely people. A third paranormal element is also introduced which adds spice to the tale.

The only problem I had was with the continuity of the story. At times there seemed to be no depth to the characters. At one stage Shinka is captured by people who want an item which is in her possession. Despite the fact the object is with her, the captors don’t take it and return her with the item still in her possession. Very unsettling and made me question the reasoning behind the story.

A wonderful idea and fairly well executed. The book marries gargoyles with modern day teenage life and this makes it all seem believable.

November Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Curse of the Moon by Beth Trissel

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Curse of the Moon by Beth Trissel
Secret Warrior Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (182 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch–without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch’s bidding to save him.

Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Angel of Night by Julie Simons

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Angel of Night by Julie Simons
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Full (355 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Poinsettia

He could guard an ancient temple or preside over the gates of Hell….

After enduring years of terrifying nightmares, a mysterious figure has begun to appear in Leah’s dreams. He’s both grim and glorious–lit with the glory of the sunrise, yet his fierce countenance banishes the horrors that haunt her. She recognizes him as the imposing, enigmatic senior who has drawn her interest since first sight. He’s been frequenting her dreams for months but now seems to be watching her day and night, and Leah can’t resist fantasizing that the aloof boy everyone else is afraid of may actually be protectively watching over her. But her friends warn her that he’s dangerous. When Leah’s worst nightmares begin to materialize around her and her world begins to fray at the seams, her night angel is the only one Leah trusts to help her. Angel or demon, with danger closing in on her, she wants to believe that he can save her. But can anyone save her from herself? If she only knew what awaits her. There’s something Leah’s nightmares have been trying to tell her….

Leah’s crush isn’t what he seems, but then neither is Leah.

Poor Leah. She just wants to survive high school and make her parents proud, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to get anything right. To top it off, she’s experiencing some health issues that are severely affecting her life. Her delicate stomach, sensitivity to light, and nocturnal habits are grating on her parents’ last nerve. Their suspicious and borderline hostile attitude is heartbreaking. It was hard to watch Leah struggle to behave “normally,” but as I read, it became clear that Leah is anything but normal.

I really like Leah. Her love of animals is particularly endearing, especially her friendship with a young deer. The time she spends with animals seems to be the only time she can truly relax. Leah is having a tough time going through her “change” into whatever she’s becoming. Her parents don’t understand what’s happening, and her father is very harsh and seems to have written Leah off completely. I get the impression that she was once close to both of her parents. This makes their broken relationships that much harder to bear. While I have a lot of sympathy for Leah, I think she could treat those around her better, especially her friend Joe and her mother. They have no clue what is happening to Leah, but they are genuinely trying to understand because they love her and want to help her. Leah just pushes them away and shuts them down when they try to talk to her. That being said, I do think Leah’s relationship with her mother can be saved. Leah’s mother is extremely smart and persistent, and I really like that. It shows she cares and will never give up on her daughter.

Asher, the mysterious senior, is a unique hero struggling with the same problems Leah has. While others perceive him as a “bad boy,” he’s really just trying to survive the best he can. Asher has admired Leah from afar for a long time, but never told her. However, he is very protective of Leah and defends her when some other students say and do some particularly nasty things to her. Asher and Leah have an interesting relationship. He is protective and pushy at times, but I never doubt the sincerity of his affections for her.

I must say that Angel of Night, is very slow paced for the first half. In fact, this is the sole reason I didn’t rate this book a five. While the slower pace at the beginning gave me an in depth feel for Leah and Asher and the world they life in, it was drawn out too long. However, Leah and Asher are wonderfully developed characters and my interest in them kept me going. My patience was definitely rewarded. Once Leah and Asher actually connect, the pacing really picks up. I do wish they had more time to simply enjoy being together, but Asher waited too long to approach Leah and they just don’t have time because something dangerous is closing in on them. Consequently, most of their spare time is devoted to teaching Leah how to develop her blossoming abilities. Unfortunately, time is running out.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Angel of Night. I’ve never encountered beings like Leah and Asher in a paranormal book before, and my curiosity is piqued. I hope that Ms. Simons has plans for a sequel because I can’t wait to read the next chapter in Leah and Asher’s story. I highly recommend Angel of Night to anyone looking for a unique paranormal laced with romance.