Darkside Sun – Happy Book Birthday!!

One of my fave authors has a new book out today – DARKSIDE SUN.  I have been waiting for so long to get this book in my hands.  Well, today I purchased it for .99 and so can you.  What are you waiting for?   This book is just one more fantastic story by Jocelyn Adams.  Get your copy.  I’m sure you’ll agree.

Back cover:  Addison Beckett tries hard to pretend she’s normal, but she’s far from it. Since she was six years old, she’s seen the world around her unraveling, as if someone is pulling a thread from a sweater and it’s all slowly coming undone. When she ignores it, it goes away, so that’s what she does.
Enter her arrogant-but-hot professor Asher Green. He knows all about her special brand of crazy. In fact, he might be just as nuts as she is. Asher insists that the dead from a parallel dimension are trying to possess the living in this one. And since Addison seems to be the only one who can see these “wraiths,” she just might be the key to saving the world.
Addison wants nothing to do with Asher or his secret society, The Mortal Machine. But as their animosity grows, she finds it harder and harder to ignore the chemistry between them. And when she discovers that Machine laws forbid her from touching him, she realizes that’s all she wants to do.
Stop the wraiths. Break the rules. Save the world. All in a day’s work.
Normal was overrated, anyway.

Find Darkside Sun Online:
Find Jocelyn Online:


Enter to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card plus a sun charm necklace and a signed Darkside Sun book mark.  Rafflecopter Giveaway Link
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EMERGENCE by K.L. Schwengel – Cover Reveal

emmergence cover revealCheck out this new lovely by K.L. Schwengel!  Can’t wait to read.

Release Date:  March 17, 2013

Back cover:  The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of who wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.


mequinnAbout the author:  K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed. She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Kathi’s work is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other on-line retailers in both paperback and e-book versions. Signed copies are available via her blog.

Other books by K.L. Schwengel:

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My Top 10 MG Speculative Fiction Picks for 2014, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first five books on my list of must read Middle Grade upcoming releases.  These books cater to the young fantasy/sci fi reader, and there is a lot to choose from.  Below is the last half of that list.  I hope you find them as enticing as I do.

Expected Publication date:  April 22, 2014 by Harper Collins

Back cover:  In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.

When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it’s the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he’s really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who’s been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.

And there’s a reason Evangeline’s hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

Stay tuned for The Inquisitor’s Mark, the spellbinding second novel in the Eighth Day series.

Expected Publication date:  April 22, 2014 by Waldon Pond Press

Back cover:  A young orphan searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales in this stunningly original coming-of-age middle-grade fantasy

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and his father in a fire when he was young, but beyond that, his life hasn’t been much of a fairy tale. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was remanded to a group home, where he spun fantastical stories, dreaming of the possibility that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. But it’s been a long time since the fire, a long time since Vince has told himself a story worth believing in.

That’s when a letter arrives, telling Vince his grandfather has passed away. Vince cannot explain it, but he’s convinced that if his father is somehow still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for his grandfather’s small hometown of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a story that could not possibly be true, a story of his grandfather’s young life involving witches, giants, magical books, and evil spirits. But as Vince reads on and gets closer to Dyerville, fact and fiction begin to intertwine, and Vince finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

M. P. Kozlowsky, the author of Juniper Berry, has crafted a powerfully imaginative novel of the spaces in life where fantasy and reality intersect, a touching story of the things we give up to recover the things we’ve lost.

Expected Publication date:  May 6, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books

Back cover:  Hand in hand, the witch’s children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

Expected Publication date: April 22, 2014 by Simon & Schuster for Young Readers

Back cover:  All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?

Expected Publication date:  April 29, 2014 by Harper Collins

Back cover:  The Luck Uglies is the first in a tween fantasy-adventure trilogy brimming with legends come to life, a charming wit, and a fantastic cast of characters-and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling.

Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O’Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned.
Now Rye’s only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can’t be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning’s maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she’ll discover the truth behind the village’s legends of outlaws and beasts…and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

The first in a series, The Luck Uglies is an altogether irresistible cross of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar, and Chris Healy’s The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.


There is also one more book that I want to mention here as the #1 book I have my eye on.  The reason I didn’t post it here is because the cover and the blurb have not yet been released.  What is this MG book?  It’s Shannon Messenger’s, EVERBLAZE, the third installment in her Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  I am hooked on this series and highly recommend the first two to anyone who loves reading MG/YA novels full of magic and adventure.  The first two in the series are:


Goodreads has an awesome list of Middle Grade Novels for 2014 that span many genres.  You can find that list by clicking here.  No matter what your 8-13 year old likes to read, he or she is bound to find something on this list to excite the mind.



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My Top 10 MG Speculative Fiction Picks for 2014, Part 1

2014 looks to be a great year for Middle Grade speculative fiction.  While I have my eye on quite a few, I have 10 on my radar that are making my hands sweat and my heart pitter-patter in anticipation.  As you’ll see there are there are dragons and ghosts and quests set in worlds of great wonder.  In other words, there is something to please any 8 – 13 year old who loves sci fi and fantasy.

And now, my first five picks:

Expected Publication date:
6/12/2014 by Putnam Juvenile

Back CoverLucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. But upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe.

Determined to find her father (and possibly save Saarthe), Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. As they encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents, and all manner of terrifying creatures, Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwood itself might be the greatest threat of all.

Expected Publication date:
May 20, 2014 by Amulet Books

Back Cover:  This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut,Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

Expected Publication date:
April 15, 2014 by Kathy Dawson Books

Back Cover:  The Forbidden Library kicks off a brand new classic fantasy series perfect for fans of CoralineInkheart, and The Books of Elsewhere

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Expected Publication date:
May 27, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books

Back Cover:  When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn’t this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle’s astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it’s the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.

With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell’s The Castle Behind Thorns tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Expected Publication date:
March 25, 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Back Cover:  Fans of The City of Ember will love The Mark of the Dragonfly, an adventure story set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.

The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.

Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

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Who said that? ~ Writing POV in Young Adult fiction

Yay! The March/April edition of BTS Book Reviews magazine is out and there is a really good article inside on writing Point of View in YA fiction.  You should check it out!!

From BTS Book Reviews:

BTS Book Reviews March/April issue is now out.  We have the wonderful Caris Roane on the cover with her new release. Trapped ~ Blood Rose Tales #1.  We also have some features by Lisa Kessler, Heather Graham, Felicity Heaton and Michelle Smart. Be sure to stop by and check out the latest.

Direct Link:
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What? No teen sex allowed?

A couple of weeks ago I sent off the first 5 pages of one of my YA manuscripts to a publisher to get some feedback.  The editor really liked it and fast-tracked it, but before I submit the full manuscript, I need to remove the sexual references because the heroine is seventeen.  This publisher doesn’t accept stories where teens have sex or where the act of sex is implied.  I understand it.  I get it and I applaud them.  I will submit my manuscript to this publisher once I clean it up, (not that there was any sex to begin with, only references).  But this requirement led me to wonder what the reasoning is behind some publishers adhering to this rule.  I personally don’t write sex scenes, but I have to ask, isn’t sex a part of teen life these days?  Is the reason for not going the sex route a moral issue or a legal one?

I read the Twilight series.  I think most people will agree it was soft porn for teens.  I read Graceling, Bitterblue and Fire by Kristin Cashore.  Her female leads have sex.  Though it wasn’t displayed vividly, you knew what they were doing.  Maggi Stiefvater has a sex scene in Shiver.  Tahereh Mafi turns up the heat in Unravel Me and John Green has a quite vivid oral sex scene in Looking for Alaska, although in his defense, it is rather ‘clinical’.  So, if New York Times best-selling YA novels explore teen sexuality, why do small, indie publishers shy away from sexuality when considering taking on new works and authors?

The answer is, I don’t know.  I’m hoping an editor of a small press will stop by and lend some reasoning, some explanation.

I know the YA audience falls within the 12 – 18 age group, and I understand where publishers wouldn’t want graphic sex scenes to fall into the hands of a 12 – 14 year olds. My take is, most teens already know about this sex stuff.  They’ve seen it on t.v., they see it in movies.  Unfortunately, many of them are having sex themselves, (I know, scary, right?)  Also, if you listen to teens and read their blogs, one of the big topics is sex, and mostly by girls.  Should they?  Shouldn’t they?  How do they know they’re in love?  What if the boy doesn’t love them?  Should the girl bring the condom?  Should the guy?  Is Prom night the “Big Night”? Taking this and the fact that the above-mentioned best-sellers hit the mark with teens and adults alike, does it make sense for indie publishers to stay away from books that explore teen sexuality?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one for gratuitous sex, especially among teens, but sex is a no brainer in teen life.  Teens have sex.  Not all of them, but a lot of them.  Even if you (if you’re a teen reading this) or your teen isn’t having sex, teens know teens who are.  If authors want to write realistic stories about teens, doesn’t it make sense that the issue of sex needs to be addressed at some point, in some fashion?

When I was a teen, I was reading adult books and most of what I read had sex scenes, especially historical romance.  I stumbled upon D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover when I was 14.  So not a novel for kids and let me tell you, I learned an awful lot about sex.  I immersed myself in these novels for the longest time.  There was something beautiful, enticing, about these love scenes to my young teen mind.  Sex was raw, powerful, loving, romantic.  The men were handsome and swoon-worthy.  The women young, beautiful.  There was a fascination, a power, a joy that came from reading these books as a teen.

I doubt much has changed since then.  Teens are still reading.  Teens are still looking for those stories that touch their curiosity, stories that ignite their imaginations. Stories that make them feel and swoon and speak to the parts of them that are considered ‘off limits’ or taboo.

So, why do many small publishers stray from publishing books that touch on teen sexuality?  Your thoughts would be appreciated.  Also, as a reader, do you stay away from YA novels that touch on teen sexuality?  Inquiring minds want to know.


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How to Create Your Own Book Trailer

I really liked this post because it gives two different ways to make a book trailer as well as providing links to royalty free pictures. I made mine with Animoto. My next one I might need to try wtih MovieMaker. Hope you guys found this post as helpful as I did. Thanks, Margo!!

Words, Words, Words

Hi, all! I have recently had several requests for this, so I thought I’d post it here again.

How to Create Your Own Book Trailer
Indie authors know that it’s often important to minimize costs surrounding advertising. And while it’s possible to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a book trailer, with a little time and effort, it’s possible for an author to produce his or her own book trailer.

1. Write your script. Knowing what words you are going to be using over the images can make a world of difference once you start looking for appropriate images. Think in terms of text that is about the same length and style as the back cover of a novel.

2. Break the script into small chunks. You won’t want to over-load your screen with text. But make sure that the chunks make enough sense by themselves to be…

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