Taking the Leap

We all get scared when it comes time to change things up a bit.  Questions like, “Is this the right thing to do?” and “What will I do if I fail?” run rampant through our minds.  For me, these questions have a tendency to paralyze me into doing nothing.  It may be safe back here in the background, out of the spotlight, but if I remain here, nothing will ever happen.    I’d rather take the leap and spread my wings to see if I can fly, than stay in a niche where nothing ever happens and I watch the world go by.

I’ve decided when I’m done with my manuscript (beta readers, beware, it’s coming soon), I’m submitting to my dream publisher.  Hell, if I’m going to dream, I’m going to dream big…and act on it.  What’s the worst they can say?  No???  Okay, so they say no.  Then again, they may say “Yes!”  It’s a 50/50 shot.  What have I got to lose except an opportunity? They aren’t the only fish in the sea, but what a hell of a fishing trip if I can snag them!  I have to try.  I have to go for it.

What about you?  Have you taken the leap of faith lately?  How did it turn out?

“ONE MORE DAY” – A Review

As one of the authors in J. Taylor Publishing’s new YA anthology, ONE MORE DAY, I had the pleasure of reading the ARC and I have to say, I am quite honored to be a part of this anthology.  There is a lot of talent to be found in this anthology set to release on December 2, 2013 in both e-book and paperback.  (yay! Paperback!!!)

My review of the anthology is below.  Why don’t you add it to your “TBR” list and find out what all the talk is about.  🙂

“Time Piece” by Anna Simpson

I thought when I first started reading this I would be lost and confused, but boy, was I wrong. This was a delightful, rhythmic, ‘groundhog day’ tale with a perfect ending. Truly delightful and a great start to the anthology.

“Dark Rose” by Marissa Halvorson

Ever wonder what would happen if two universes collided? Ms. Halvorson provides an answer in this out of the ordinary tale where time weaves and distorts. I thought the story needed more explanation as I felt confused in places, yet at the same time, that fuzzy, disjointed feel is what makes this story unique and gripping.

“Dragon Flight” by J. Keller Ford

This is my own story and I can’t comment other than saying I had a blast writing this. Thank you J. Taylor Publishing for believing in the story and including it in One More Day.

“The 13th Month” by L.S. Murphy 

Wow, this story is just too cool, and heartbreaking. What a fantastic read. There is a similar Harry Potter-ish prophecy going on but the outcome was not what I expected. My only complaint is that this story could have been longer as the finale seemed sort of rushed and not completely explained. I did, however, enjoy the ending and the MCs resolve. Great characterization of the MC.

“Sleepless Beauty” by Kimberly Kay

This was probably my favorite out of all the stories. I just really loved the whole retelling of this fairy tale story. The tale was fun, fast-paced and had me grinning a lot. Though the ending was predictable, I enjoyed it so much I read it twice.

“Stage Fright” by Erika Beebe

I really enjoyed the premise behind this story and I believe many of us can relate to the MCs fears and pressures of wanting to fit in in high school. Who hasn’t had to face the snobbish girl and more importantly, their own self doubt? This story blends past experiences with new ones and delves into how one event can change everything we believe about ourselves. Though difficult at times to follow, I love the way Ms. Beebe dives into the human psyche and gives our MC the option of being victim or victor. If you were ever in the drama club in school, you’ll like this story.

“A Morrow More” by Danielle E. Shipley

This is a fantastic fantasy story with great characters and world-building. I enjoyed the twist and turn, especially the dragon. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, but this could be attributed to only have so many words to tell the tale. This, unfortunately, is one of the pitfalls of writing short stories. Though I would have loved to have seen this tale go on for a bit more, I was quite pleased with this piece and will definitely check out other works by this author.


OneMoreDay-cover-pb-paper What if today never ends?

What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.

Unless …

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could,maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened … to you?


“Tied” author talks up quidditch and ice cream

Laney McMann has written this really cool book called Tied.  Naturally I had to interview her because the book ROCKS!!!!

First, check out the cover and the blurb.  Yeah, I know.  I’ve posted it before, but it’s just so pretty and intense.

 Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.


OOOOO, so intriguing, right?  Of course I had to find out more about the author behind this incredible story. Here is the result of that chit chat:

What was your drive behind “Tied”?  Where did the story originate?

Laney:  Irish mythology has always intrigued me, so I think the story has always been there, it just took a while for me to finally suck up the courage and write it. Once the process started, the story simply refused to shut up. I was being dragged along behind it rather than trying to pull it forward.

I completely understand.  Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Laney:   Max. Because as strong and protective as he is, he has an underlying vulnerability and gentleness that I love.

I love characters like that.  If you could be one of the characters from your novel, who would it be and why?

Laney:  That’s kind of a tough question, really. A lot of me is in Layla already, but there are twists and turns throughout the Fire Born series that make the answer to your question known. 😉 I’d be giving too much of the story away to say more. 😉

As a fantasy author, I often think of what sort of creatures I’d like to have around me if they were real.  I’d love to befriend the unicorns and the pegasus.  If you could befriend a mythological creature, what would it be? 

Laney: One of the Fae.

As an author, you must get your inspiration for writing from different places.  Do you have a favorite book or website on writing?  Would you please share.

Laney: I love Kristen Lamb. She’s funny, real, straight forward, and very inspiring.

I like Kristen Lamb, too.  I’ve learned a lot from her and she makes it all so fun.  Ok, so we’re going to shift the questions  a bit.  Tell me. If Narnia had a “backdoor”, where would it lead?

Laney:  Ah … I love the winter landscape of Narnia. I’d have to say that if a backdoor did exist, it would open back onto England. I like the full circle idea that makes us wonder if it was ever real at all.

You’ve just been selected to be on the quidditch team.  What position do you play?

Laney: Oh, good question for the complete HP geek. 😉 I’d play … seeker, I think. I’d like the challenge.

At the end of the game, do you go out for chocolate or vanilla ice cream?  with or without sprinkles? 

Laney: Neither. I don’t do much ice cream. Love sorbet though. Raspberry with sugared walnuts on top. Yum.

And when you get home and take a shower after a celebratory quidditch match, what are your favorite PJs you slip into?

Laney: I’m a comfy girl. Boxers and T-shirts for me. 😉

And last but not least…who is your favorite Hollywood crush?

Laney:  Easy. Leonardo DiCaprio. Man … there are no words. I’ve had a thing for him since way back. Romeo and Juliette,  way back. Beautiful and incredibly talented.


There you have it folks, just one of the many sides of the incredible Laney McMann.  Dont’ forget to pick up a copy of “Tied”.  You won’t regret it.  Want to read an excerpt?


My window opened easily. The same way it had so many times before. Climbing out on the ledge, I found the ground empty and dropped from the second floor—a jump I’d made a hundred times. In another life.

My feet sunk into the sand, and I followed the well-worn pathway through the dunes. Even the strong evening winds hadn’t misshaped the deep gully. The ocean’s breeze lashed at my hair as the moonlight glinted off the water’s surface. Seagulls flew up from their nesting grounds. They should have recognized me, since I’d been wandering at night for so long. Wrapping my arms around my knees to block the slight chill, I settled in the sand, and the birds quieted in a tight huddle, the wind blowing their feathers in awkward angles.

My gaze fell on a figure standing beyond the dunes edge, a shadow hidden within the darkness. My pulse quickened, but I didn’t move. Another trick—an illusion. Weary of the games my mind continued to play, I bit back tears and the catch in my throat. I should have been immune to them—the hallucinations—the way they haunted me and followed me, but I wasn’t.

Forcing myself to blink, I turned my head away. The visions had grown worse as I’d become older. I’d tried to convince myself they were nightmares—or weird dreams. Hoped for years they were, but only people who sleep dream.

Unable, or unwilling to stop myself, I glanced back over my shoulder, thoughts flooding my brain. Memories I knew couldn’t be memories but I cherished all the same. For years I’d tried to shake them away. To make myself forget.

I couldn’t.


A stone raps against my bedroom window. I creep over and peer through the blinds.

“You’re late.” I lean out over the sill, grinning at the boy staring up at me.

“Come on, let’s go before she comes,” he says.

I climb onto the window ledge. “Be nice. She’s my friend.”

“Okay. Jump.” He waves at me to go faster.

“Move, and I will.”

He takes one casual step to the side.

The jump isn’t too high; I make it all the time.

He grabs my hand when I land beside him in the soft sand. “Ready?”

I nod.

“One, two …”

“I’m going to tell!” Benny runs across my yard toward me, her blonde pigtails flapping in the wind. “You’re not allowed to talk to that boy, Layla! Your mom said!”

Max tightens his grip on my hand.

“Shut up, Benny! I’m old enough.”

“You’re only nine. Don’t go! ”

“Three!” Max and I leave the ground.

“You’re going to get in so much trouble.” Benny’s yell rings in the distance.

Our feet touch down in the wet grass of the Otherworld, icy sea air whipping at my face.

“Hopefully, she won’t follow us again.” Max lets go of my hand.

“She won’t. I told her not to.” I lead the way down the cliff face to the ocean.

“She never listens to you.”



With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. A vivid imagination helped set the stage for creating her own worlds and placed her onto the writing path.

By the time she reached her teens, she’d accumulated notebooks full of poems, which led to short stories and finally novels. Young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology are among her favorite genres.

A former classical dancer and chef, she grew up in sultry Florida where she still resides with her family.

You can find my occasional ramblings on Twitter.

Book updates on my author page at goodreads.

My Facebook Profile for inspiration and randomness.

Updates on The Fire Born Novels at my Facebook Author Page

My interests on Pinterest.

And I’m now on Tumblr ,too.

7 Elements for the perfect plot

You want to write a short story and/or a novel.  What’s the first thing you need?  You’re right…an idea, but what comes after that?

A plot.  Some people think a plot line is easy, but it’s a little bit more than boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy gets girl.  So boring.  What you need is meat, substance, and that comes in the form of the following, pretty much in this order:

  • Aspiration/goal – What does your MC want?
  • Game plan – how does your MC devise to get what (s)he wants?
  • Weakness – what are the flaws and/or obstacles that will keep the MC from getting what s(he) wants?
  • 1st, maybe 2nd and 3rd defeat – Choose how many times the MC must fall and get back up.  Torture him/her.
  • Final showdown – The battle of all battles where the MC shines and kicks some serious butt
  • Self-revelation – What does the MC learn about him/her self?
  • Resolution – Wrap it up.  Show the MC’s strength and resolve and most of all, how (s)he changed/grew from the beginning to the end of the story.  Does the MC get what (s)he wanted or did the goal change?

Plot it out in your head or on paper, then write your heart out.  Good luck to your MC, and may (s)he get what (s)he desires.

Happy writing.

Related articles

“Tied” a Fire Born novel

Laney McMann‘s debut novel released this week and I am in love with the cover!

Doesn’t it give you the chills?   I am very excited for Laney and her new book and can’t wait to get my copy in the mail.  Yes, I’m a “real book” reader, not an “electronic” reader.  I love the feel of a book in my hand and holding the actual product.  I am dying to see this cover ‘in person’.  Are the colors as vibrant?  Will my desire to read it be even stronger with it in my grubby little hands?  You betcha!  I mean, the blurb has got me so enthralled, my mind is itching to start reading:


Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.



I can’t remember reading anything quite like this so kudos to Laney for having such an original story to tell.  I’ll let you know the good, the bad and the ugly (if there is any) after I read the story.  Right now, I’m in the middle of an ARC for The Keeper of the Lost Cities:  Exile by Shannon Messenger so stay tuned.

If you’re interested in “Tied”, you can get at any one of these spots, and I urge you to do so, even if it’s just to stare at the cover.  🙂  And make sure you pop over and say “Hi’ to Laney:





The Lost Hero of Naidraug

An excerpt from a novella I’ve almost completed.  it’s the story of a world gone to war and a young girl’s attempt to save it from its self.


The dragon lifted its head and slowly unfurled one wing, his attempt to shift his weight hindered by the metal chains tethered to gnarled talons. He sighed at my presence, his breath raunchy with the foul odor of rotten eggs.

“My dear girl.  How little you understand. There was a moment when time stood still, When the sun beat upon my face and the world bowed to my might.  A time when I soared to great heights and no one questioned my strength, my fortitude, my resilience, my aim.  I was resolute, confident, bold and brave.

“Now, I am relinquished to this darkened cave.  What good am I to anyone?  I am an ancient relic, chilled to my core, my spirit gone with the bindings forced upon me.  My wings are weak, my youth is but a memory on a distant shore.  I have forgotten the feel of sunlight upon my face and the most that spits from my mouth is a small puff of smoke that humors the live-in mice.”

The great beast buried its head beneath his wing.  “Go, little one for I am not what you are looking for.  I do thank you for  your kindness.  It is promising to see altruism alive in such dark times as these.”

“But, Bordan—”

“Go child.  I need to sleep so that I may dream of warmer days when the world was young and mine for the taking.  I was happy then.  Let me stay in my dreams.”

Newly found Oyster has lots of pearls

Oyster & pearl by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/roym Used under Creative Commons license
Oyster & pearl by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/roym Used under Creative Commons license

There is an Oyster out there that offers up more than 100,000 thousand gems.  Think I’m kidding?

New York start-up company, Oyster is doing for readers what Netflix did for movie lovers.  According to their website, Oyster offers up unlimited books for $9.95 a month.  More than 100,000 titles are available, anytime, anywhere.  Think of it as having a library at your fingertips.  Anything from YA to Romance to History to Sci Fi. You want it, Oyster delivers.  You can keep up with what your friends are reading and recommend books to your friends all with a single click.  

At the moment, it appears Oyster is only available for I-phones and I-Pod touch, but I’m sure they’ll expand their reach once the company grows.

Another cool thing about Oyster, if you’re an author or publisher, there’s a special link to Oyster if you want to work with them.  This could be HUGE for small presses and indie authors.  What a fab idea!  What do you think?  

6 bits of “dragon advice” that might land you in prison

1.  Go on.  Set the night on fire.

2.  It’s okay to stroke and lick yourself in public.

3.  Nothing burns better than a wood house.  Keeps you warm, too.

4.  Break the rules.  Smoke!

5.  Confiscate all the gold, silver and gems you can find and bury them in a cave where no one will find them.

6.  Don’t let anyone call you a dinosaur.  If they do…eat them.

“Perry Road” – A Must Read Dystopian for All Americans

Perry Road is Now Available!

Release News! Perry Road, the first in the Revolution Series, by Emi Gayle released September 3, 2013

Perry Road
Revolution Series
by Emi Gayle
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Target Reader: New Adult/Young Adult
Keywords: Dystopian
Paperback, EPUB, Kindle


In 2132, “We the people …” means nothing, and it hasn’t for a hundred years.

Like all the citizens of the American Union, eighteen-year-old Erianna Keating is not to ask questions. She is not to believe anything except what the A.U. tells her. More importantly, she’s not supposed to know what she doesn’t know, nor that she’s a pawn.

Like everyone else, though, she is, and like everyone else, she is a hundred percent oblivious to what’s going on.

Or is she? Are they?

Erianna thinks going to Perry Road and joining the national registration program is her next step toward adulthood; the 2132 candidates for adult-classification, though, are in for a big surprise. Especially Erianna.

Thanks to Zane Warren, an awkward but hot guy who won’t shut up about a history that doesn’t—or shouldn’t—matter anymore, Erianna will know. Will learn. That includes finding out what actually happens after registration and doing something, anything, about it.

Fixing what went wrong, what caused the U.S.A. to split into two countries, though, is not on Erianna’s bucket list, but as she faces her future, she must decide whether to fall in line with the American Union’s plan for her, or to consider that Zane might not be wrong, and the time for revolution begins now.



What are people already saying about Perry Road?

“This one, by far, is Emi’s best. Of anything she’s written.”
— Julie Reece, author, Crux

“I really hope [this] stirs up controversy and changes some youngsters thinking. God knows we could use that today in this society!”
— Terri Rochenski, author, Eye of the Soul

“… this was a total pleasure to read.”
— Kelly Said, author, Tidal Whispers & Make Believe

“… [this] will inspire an extreme diversity of opinion. It kept me involved and interested throughout, and I love novels that make me question my current understanding/viewpoint on life.”
— Amaleen Ison, author, Remember Me

About the Author

I had a really great bio in my head around midnight one night …. right before I fell asleep and it disappeared into the nothingness of unconsciousness. Bummer. So here’s something less well thought out.

I want to be young again, so I’m kinda sorta living it again. At least on paper. You see, I write paranormal romance. Now, that stuff can get really hot, and really gritty and well … mine does. But! My characters are teenagers, 18 and under. Like I was once … and want to be again.

Why would I want to be a teenager again? Geez. Because! If you met the man of your dreams at 14 was engaged to him at 19 and married him at 20, wouldn’t YOU want to do all that over again? Especially if you were still in love with him? I mean, c’mon! It’s love! That’s why I write, too.

You see… just because you pass a certain age doesn’t mean you forget what it was like to be 14, 15, etc. Actually, because I kinda grew up with my husband, we both still feel like the 14 and 17 year old kids we once were. So that’s where I’m coming from. You might think it’s totally lame, but you know what? That’s ok! Maybe you’ll like my other me instead. 😉


Which I could be. Don’t want to be. Really, really, really don’t, and staring at Cam in her new clothes without holes, her clean hair cut by a professional and the fact that she’s my friend reminds me why: Flukes are poor. I should know. My mom is one.

The animation keeps going as if it’s really trying for me—not that it can. I drop my P-Comm to my leg just as dark words appear on screen. My heart picks up speed, and a tingly tension takes over.

“Well?” Cam asks.

For some reason, I don’t want her to know. I want to find out by myself if I’m going to get a real life, or if I’m destined to wear hand-me-downs from twenty years ago until I’m ninety. I want to prepare, to plan, to cry if we don’t get to go together, or if I’m not like her.

I’m not, of course—in any way like her. Who am I kidding?

After what seems like hours, but is only seconds, I say, “Nothing.”

“Damn.” She throws her arms up in the air. “Figures. And it’s almost five. So, you know, I gotta go. Mom’s sure I’m going to be chosen to pop out babies, like she is, so she wants to make sure I know how to cook before the fake chefs get ahold of me to ‘teach’ me.” Cam gives me a dramatic eye roll and places a hand to her forehead. “Like, oh, my Oz, Eri, you know? We have people to cook for us for a reason. Duh! If I learn to cook, what job am I going to give someone like your mom, you know? And why would I get picked to be fat and ugly when I look like this?” She bats at her blonde curls.

Wanting to change the subject—to anything but the woes of Cam’s perfect life—I walk to her, give her a hug and a quick pat on the back. “I’ll … call you when I get it, ‘kay?”

“You better. We only have two days to shop for the perfect outfit. Why couldn’t your birthday be October twenty-ninth instead of December?” She snatches up her coat—preparation for the winter blast that will tear into uncovered skin. “And … you’re not a fluke. You will get in the white house, and when January first comes, we’ll be official!” She boogies her way out, hips wiggling. For someone who’s not happy about the prospect of becoming a baby factory, she’s awfully chipper.

I know it’s because she’s waiting to hear my fate. To prove I’m not a fluke. To validate my relevance as her friend—the one girl Cam can give backhanded compliments, and, for that matter, insults all day long, and still walk back in with a smile as if nothing happened.

Cam walks through the hallway and says goodbye to my mom who’s probably still working at her makeshift office in our miniature kitchen—trying, I assume, to avoid the whole days’ events. As much as Cam wants me to not be a fluke, my mom wants me to be one. If I’m like her, nothing will change. Like Cam, I’ll be the same old Erianna, just one day older and as useless as all the other flukes in the world.

The front door opens and closes, and I move to the window. Once Cam disappears from view, and only then, I turn over my P-Comm and touch the one message that sits inside.

The one that says: “Invitation for Erianna Price Keating.”


Running from September 2 – October 10, with a plethora of prizes! Or, if you just can’t wait, below, you can buy it now for just $2.99!

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Buy It Now




You’ve written a story…now what?

So many of us have dreams of writing and hitting the big time.  We just know our book is going to be the next Great American Novel.  We’re going to appear on Oprah.  We’re going to be doing side by side interviews with J. K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer.  Everyone is going to flock to read our novel and it’s going to be on the NY Times Bestseller list.  This may very well happen…but not without a little help from those that matter most:  the little guy.

How do you get your book in the national spotlight to make people want it?  You have to start small, work smart, and be very, very patient.   What are the best steps to take?

  • Begin local and expand slowly.  Reach out to local libraries, local press.  You know that neighborhood newspaper you get once a week?  Pop over a Press Release to the editor, but before you do, ask yourself what newsworthy story you can offer them.  Remember, this isn’t about you.  Think like a journalist.  Think objectively.  It will open many more doors than you ever thought possible.
  • Make as many connections as you can and be kind, courteous and respectful.  You never know who knows whom in this business, so always be professional, even if you get a “No thank you.”
  • Make sure you tell everyone about your soon to be released story.  This is your moment to shine.  You have something to be very proud of.  Show it.  Tweet about it.  Facebook about it.  Tell the person in the line in front of you that you have a book coming out.  This is not a time to be shy and timid.  If you want people to know about your book, you have to tell them and you have to be proud of it.  Let your enthusiasm shine.   Remember…word of mouth remains the best marketing tool EVER.
  • Finally, try to find ways to be creative.  Have you written a YA novel and you have a child in middle school or high school?  Ask the teacher if you can come speak one day.  Written a fantasy novel?  Dress in garb and sell your wares at a booth at a local Renaissance Faire.   Have you written a heart-warming story of a boy and his dog?  Attend pet festivals, chat it up with folks at the local dog park.  Leave one page flyers in specialty shops that cater to your theme.  Think outside the box.  Look at your novel as if you’d never seen it before.  Fall in love with it as a stranger and imagine how you would spread the word…then do it.

With a little tenacity, hard work, and stifling the marketing fear, you may just reach that #1 spot on the NY Times bestseller list.  Final bit of advice…don’t forget all those little folks that helped you get there:  your friends, fellow bloggers.  They were your first true fans.  Treat them right, they’ll be your forever fans.