Author Newsletter


Happy…Tuesday, dearies. (I had to double-check that it was, indeed, Tuesday before I typed that.)

This is just a quick post to announce my new author newsletter. It has been on my mind to start one for some time, but I guess it took a pandemic for me to actually do it…

I’ll be moving most of my book announcements to the newsletter and also plan to share exclusive excerpts and such from works-in-progress. Sign up below so you don’t miss anything! As always, we will only use your information to send you book-related updates and marketing via the newsletter, and we won’t share your information with others.

Stay safe and healthy out there. And happy reading. ❤

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Cover Reveal: The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana


Happy Saturday! Today I’m happy to be a part of the cover reveal for The Awakened, a YA science fiction novel by Sara Elizabeth Santana. I “met” Sara through her blog, What A Nerd Girl Says, and I’m super excited for Sara and her new book! The official release date is December 1, 2015, so make sure to mark your calendars. It will be available in Kindle and paperback formats, and preorder will be available for the Kindle edition! I think the cover looks pretty fab:

Official Awakened Cover

Synopsis:

Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.

That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They’re faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh.

The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with the awakened.

Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country.

Add The Awakened on Goodreads.

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Author Bio:

Sara Elizabeth Santana is a young adult and new adult fiction writer. She has worked as a smoothie artist, Disneyland cast member, restaurant supervisor, nanny, photographer, pizza delivery driver and barista but writing is what she loves most. Her first story was written at age nine. She runs her own nerd girl/book review blog, What A Nerd Girl Says. Her favorite books are a tie between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling and Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. She lives in Southern California with her dad, five siblings and two dogs. Her debut novel is The Awakened.

You can also visit Sara at her website.

Official Awakened Paperback Cover

Book Review: Clockwork Angel


Clockwork Angel is the first book in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. I love Ms. Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (City of Heavenly Fire is sitting on my bookcase, waiting patiently for me to read it…but it looks sort of daunting…), and it took me awhile to get around to starting The Infernal Devices…but I am oh so glad I did. For me, it was a five-star read. In my opinion, the back cover book summary does not do this book justice. It makes it sound like it’s only about a love triangle–which, for better or for worse, there is a love triangle in this book. That device has sort of exploded along with YA lit in recent years. But anyway, there is so much more going on in this book than that, and I fell in love with all of the characters.

Our heroine, Teresa (Tessa) Gray, comes over to London from the States when she gets a note from her brother, Nathaniel, who moved there for work. Unfortunately, in London she falls into the clutches of the Dark Sisters. They force her to practice her unique ability–with the touch of a personal item, Tessa can shape shift into the person it belongs to–a power she didn’t even know she had until now. If she doesn’t do as the Dark Sisters say, they threaten to hurt Nate. Things are looking pretty grim when they inform Tessa that she is ready to marry the mysterious, powerful Magister. Thankfully, a group of Shadowhunters break into the Dark House and rescue Tessa on what would probably have been her wedding day.

Tessa becomes a guest at the London Institute, run by Charlotte and Henry Branwell and home to three orphans: Jessamine Lovelace, James (Jem) Carstairs, and Will Herondale. She learns about the Nephilim, the world of the Shadowhunters, and the Downworld of vampires, werewolves, faeries and warlocks–the world she herself is a part of. Much of the book is Tessa learning to accept this knowledge, and to accept herself and her ability. There’s also a lot of great action, suspense, and yes, romantic tension, as well as an unexpected twist toward the end.

I loved all of the characters in this book. Cassandra Clare does a magnificent job of weaving together the world of the Shadowhunters with Victorian England. Charlotte, who is truly in charge at the Institute, struggles to make her voice and opinion heard at the Enclave meetings mostly dominated by men. Henry, on the other hand, is too busy tinkering with inventions to run much of anything. I loved Henry–he was the eccentric scientist/inventor whose inventions never quite worked the way they were supposed to. These two worlds also conflict in the character of Jessamine. She’s an aspiring proper Victorian lady who claims to reject her calling as a Shadowhunter, but she’s kind of a bad ass when duty calls. Her parasol turns into a weapon (that was a nice touch).

And then there’s Will and Jem–parabatai, like Jace and Alec are in TMI. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding each of them; both seem to harbor dark secrets, especially Will. Tessa finds herself drawn to each of them, of course. Jem is kind and brave, but unfortunately suffers from a mystery illness that makes it difficult for him to fight. And Will…..well, Will is the gorgeous, dark-haired, arrogant, sarcastic, broody one who lashes out at people because he’s compensating for his inner turmoil/vulnerability–so, naturally, he’s my favorite. Sorry not sorry. You get to find out Jem’s secret in Clockwork Angel, but Will’s past and why he’s so broody and angry is still shrouded in mystery at the end of the book, which was REALLY frustrating, and made  me want to read the next two immediately, except I don’t have them yet. I mean…Will’s not the only reason I want to keep reading, but I won’t pretend like he’s not one of the reasons. Oh, Cassandra Clare, why must you do this to me?

Clockwork Angel also had an awesome ending. Besides the twist, Tessa learns to at least partly accept her unique ability and uses it in a really incredible way. I much prefer when the main character outwits his or her opponent rather than killing them or something. I mean, if the villain was dead after the first book, it probably wouldn’t have been a trilogy, but I just think it makes for a more creative resolution. Tessa is a strong female lead, and I’m excited to see how she grows in the series.

Last but not least, I’m so glad Magnus Bane is immortal, so that he can be in ALL of Cassandra Clare’s books. He was only around a little bit in this book, but the ending hints that he might have a bigger presence in Clockwork Prince. I hope. He better.

 

 

Excerpt for Valentine’s Day: Eros and Psyche’s Wedding


I wanted to post a special romantic excerpt for Valentine’s Day, so here’s one from my current WIP Relapse. (Keep in mind this is from the first draft, and I don’t know if it will even end up in the final version.) It’s a flashback Siobhan has of Psyche’s/her wedding day. I hope to do some more research into actual Greek wedding customs, haha. But anyway it’s cute, and I hope you enjoy it! 

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I study myself in a full-length, gold framed mirror. I’ve grown used to the face staring back at me in these memories—Psyche’s face. The large, deep violet eyes are the same, but she has higher cheekbones and a slightly upturned nose. Hair falls like a white-blonde waterfall down her back. She smooths out pretend wrinkles in her one shoulder, white silk dress and adjusts the gold cord tied at the waist beneath her breasts. Her wings emerge through slits in the back of the dress. The bronze wings of a butterfly-shaped necklace spread across the delicate, pale skin of her chest.

imagerymajestic
Copyright imagerymajestic

In the mirror, I see an auburn head peek around the door behind me. Nike comes in, a white tunic draped over her tall, thin frame. Her hair is long and plaited into a thick braid down her back.

“You look beautiful,” she says, giving me a quick hug. “It is time to go down.”

Nodding, I follow her out into the corridor, our white slippers whispering over the marble floor.

The next thing I remember is standing on the pale sands of the beach, just out of reach from where the ocean waves slither up the coast. My fingers are curled around a bouquet of unfamiliar white flowers. Nike and, to my surprise, Aphrodite stand on either side of me. Aphrodite, like always, is willowy and golden, her beauty almost as painful to look at as the blinding sun above us.

People stand on either side of a strip of sand leading to my soon-to-be husband. I have a vague memory of what Psyche’s parents looked like, but I don’t see them among the onlookers. Two women with braided blonde hair and hooked noses lurk toward the back of the crowd, scowling at me: Psyche’s biological sisters. Sunlight glints off of Hephaestus’s smooth head somewhere closer to the front. I don’t see Ares.

Aphrodite and Nike walk with me up the aisle. I see a few more faces that look familiar, but I can’t think of their names. One is a tall woman with copper skin, an athletic build and a proud demeanor. Her almond-shaped eyes are as dark as the shiny black hair flowing freely to her waist. As I pass her, she smiles warmly. On the other side of the path is a short but sinewy man with curly dark hair. His pupils are black slits rimmed with reddish irises. Gold wings decorate the backs of his sandals. Beside him stands a girl with bouncing brown curls and watery blue eyes. Her small, pale hands clap excitedly as I walk by. When our eyes meet, her lips pull back into something between a smile and a grimace as she fights to hold back more tears. I return it with a hesitant smile of my own. I look away from the crowd and realize I’m almost at the end. Leaving Aphrodite and Nike behind me, I pick up the skirt of my dress and run the last few feet.

Almost immediately, Eros takes my free hand into his. A breeze ruffles his dark hair away from his golden face. His lips twitch upwards only slightly, but his body is tensed with barely contained excitement. He’s not wearing much except for what looks like a sheet wrapped around his waist, tied with a yellow cord. I resist the sudden urge to run my fingers up and down the rippling muscles of his chest and abdomen.

I hand the bouquet off to Nike and step closer into Eros’s arms, his wings enveloping us in a feathery white curtain. He slides a ring made of an iridescent white metal onto my finger.

“With this ring, I am bound to you, always and forever,” he recites, his breath fresh and sweet against my face.

I slide a similar ring onto his finger and repeat, “With this ring, I am bound to you, always and forever.”

Reborn Releases November 5!!!


Reborn FINALI announced this on the Facebook page and Twitter last week, so this is the official blog announcement: My debut novel Reborn releases Tuesday, November 5, 2013!!!!! (Speaking of the Facebook page…I’m two away from 40 likes…a nice round number. So scroll down a bit and give it a like if you haven’t!) I’m super excited to share my baby (my baby being the book, of course) with my family, friends, and strangers on the Internet!!! I started this blog a little over a year ago to get back into creative writing, and I’m proud of myself for actually sticking with it and following through with a project! This post has a lot of exclamation points!!!

The Amazon Kindle edition of Reborn will be FREE on release day. The Smashwords and print versions will be released on dates TBD. For now, I leave you with the “back cover” book synopsis, updated book trailer, and Heidi Sieverding’s beautiful cover art. Like what you see? You can read an excerpt from Chapter One here.

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Back in high school, Siobhan Elliot’s life was simple: Cheerleading, friends, and parties. But that all changed the night she and her friends investigated a mysterious light in the woods. There they found an injured man –an irresistible man with hypnotic blue eyes and magnificent black wings. A man Siobhan recognized.

He was the handsome dark angel from her dreams.

And with one touch of his hand, he left her with a special gift: A set of mythical wings that would change her life forever. Then he disappeared without a trace. Siobhan thought she would never see him again.

Now, six years later, her dark angel reappears –this time as a teaching assistant at her college. He calls himself Jasper. He challenges everything Siobhan thought she knew about herself and her world. And he’s come back for only one thing:

Her.

Or so he says. Siobhan is about to find out that nothing is what it seems in this strange, new world.

***

Reborn Cover Reveal


Reborn FINALHere is the official cover for Reborn, designed by Heidi Sieverding! You may remember my interview with Heidi. She’s a blogger over at Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer, a Secret Cravings author, a graphic designer and a fabulous human being. I am thrilled she designed the book cover for Reborn…every time I gaze upon it I get so many feels, haha! She also designs banners, book trailers, postcards and badges, and I highly recommend her! I’ll have some more announcements later in the week, so stay tuned…

And it wouldn’t be Monday without a little music: Lana del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. This is one of the few instances where I like the remix a little better than the original.  I want to use this version in one of my book trailers.

Character Profile: Jasper Hart


Who is the handsome, mysterious and elegant Jasper Hart?

Tonight, as another shameless plug for my romantic urban fantasy novel Reborn, I’m reposting this character profile for one of Siobhan’s love interest Jasper Hart. [To those of you who had the misfortune honor (sorry, I’m feelin’ silly tonight) of reading the earliest version of Reborn, Jasper has undergone a surname change. It’s still a clue as to his true identity, but I kinda, maybe changed the underlying mythology of the book…..]

ID-10012562Jasper Hart

From: Reborn (paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

Character Type: Antihero

Age: Really old, but he looks about late-twenties (of course)

Physical Description: Tall; shoulder-length, slightly wavy dark hair; midnight blue eyes; well-built with magnificent black wings

Species: Alien from a parallel universe

Occupation: PhD student in the history department; teaching assistant for World Myths and Legends

Relationship Status: Widower

Love interest: Siobhan

Goals: To win Siobhan’s trust and heart

Obstacles:

  • Farrah, Siobhan’s sorority’s nosey new house mother (who probably isn’t human, either)
  • Siobhan’s stubbornness and independence

Strengths: Physical strength and power; seductive; persuasive

Flaws: Arrogant; chauvinistic

Enjoys:

  • Learning about new cultures
  • Flying around the city at night
  • Enticing Siobhan
  • Brooding

Inspiration: Ville Valo, HIM frontman

“You belong to…”

You belong to me. I know that’s what he wants to say, but after a pause he corrects himself.

“We belong together. I love you. You believe me, don’t you?”

***

Book cover black

 

Book of the Week: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments Book 3)


I am so excited to talk about City of Glass. It has definitely been my favorite of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series so far. (And I’ve already read City of Fallen Angels…which I didn’t like as much as the first three books. But more about that next week.) I’m also SUPER excited for the City of Bones movie to come out this Wednesday, August 21. (I even have this marked down in my planner, lol. Like I would forget.)

This review is spoiler-free, but if you haven’t read City of Bones or City of Ashes yet, do NOT read this review. Instead, check out my reviews of Books 1 and 2 here.

You can find City of Glass on Amazon here.

The Amazon book description:

“To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

“As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

“Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.”

***

As you would expect, Glass picks up where Ashes left us hanging: Clary is supposed to travel to Idris (The Glass City) with an old friend of her mother’s who can find the man who gave Jocelyn (Fairchild) Fray the spell that has left her in a coma-like state throughout most of these first three books. Unbeknownst to Clary, Jace and the others are planning to leave for Idris without her, Jace believing it’s too risky for her to go. But what kind of book would Glass be if all of the main characters didn’t get to go to Idris? So, at the end of the day, everyone ends up there whether they were supposed to go or not -even Simon, our loveable nerd-turned-vampire who can walk around in sunlight. Unlike the first two books, which give us glimpses of the Shadowhunter’s world interspersed in present day New York City, most of Glass takes place in Idris, a fictional place I would definitely love to live in. In Bones and Ashes, Valentine procured two of the mortal instruments -the cup and the sword -all he needs in Glass is the mirror to summon the angel Raziel (whose blood created the Shadowhunter race) to do his bidding.

Now, instead of giving you a detailed scene-by-scene plot summary, I’m just going to tell you what I loved about Glass -and a few things I didn’t. In all of the books I’ve enjoyed Ms. Clare’s plot twists and turns -I love it when hints are sprinkled throughout the book leading up to a big reveal, something I try to do in my own writing. For instance, there’s a bit of a creative spin on the mirror, which I really liked. And of course, we’ve been getting a lot of hints about Clary and Jace, and we find out more about this in Glass. So, if you’re worried or simply wondering, this is the book where you will find out.

I’ve also enjoyed watching Simon grow throughout the books. Although I’ve become invested in all of Ms. Clare’s characters, Simon is definitely one of my favorites and one of the most interesting to follow. He started out as merely Clary’s nerdy best friend -the only human in her new group of supernatural friends, and someone who has never been very sure of himself. I was really upset at first when he turned, actually, because I liked that he was the “token” human. But, as not only a vampire but a Daylighter, Simon is starting to come into his own, and I really like that. He’s physically stronger and has that “vampire mojo,” but he’s also growing as a person as he’s had to struggle and come to terms with being a vampire. And yet throughout the whole ordeal he’s still a good friend to Clary, still loves her, and is still funny. He definitely has a lot to deal with in Glass and in City of Fallen Angels afterwards, but he’s becoming a stronger person.

I also like how Clary is a different kind of strong character. In contrast to Isabelle Lightwood, who knows she’s beautiful and is a powerful and skilled Shadowhunter, like Simon Clary is also growing into herself in these books. She’s not a trained Shadowhunter so she’s not physically strong, but her special gift is drawing runes -ancient runes, runes not found in the Gray Book -and this skill becomes vitally important in Glass. Clary might not be able to literally kick ass (yet), but she is able to unite Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the fight against Valentine.

Which brings me to something I wasn’t a big fan of in this book: The ending. If you’ve read it: Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I would have wanted…ugh, it’s so hard to talk about this without spoiling the book. So all I will say is…the ending for me was pretty much deus ex machina. You have to admit, it was kind of cheating. Throughout the entire book, she’s building up to this big battle -the characters are arming themselves and preparing for the battle -and then what happened, happens. And Clary makes a request at the end that is pretty much completely selfish. Not that I would have wanted it the other way, either -that would just have made for a horribly depressing book -but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a selfish choice. There were a lot of other things she could have asked for, even that could have helped out her other friends, like Simon. So, even though I loved the characters, and the action, and the other revelations in this book, I did not care for the ending.

Sebastian Verlac - mortal-instruments Fan Art
Source: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/mortal-instruments/images/8432078/title/sebastian-verlac-fanart

One other new character Ms. Clare introduces that I should probably mention is Sebastian. When they get to Idris, the Lightwoods stay with another Shadowhunter family whose last name I can’t really think of right now, and their cousin Sebastian is also visiting. With his longish dark hair and beautiful face, Sebastian resembles a dark prince Clary used to draw. You start to see that Sebastian is definitely that dark, bad boy type…but he’s not someone, at least for me, that ends up becoming appealing (because you know how I usually like my fictional bad boys). I think it’s because he’s too sinister and really has no redeeming qualities, which is the point, and I like that. A true antihero has at least some glimmer of goodness, or puts up walls so he doesn’t have to connect with people emotionally (when on the inside he’s vulnerable and all that mooshy stuff). Sebastian might sound hot, but he is pretty sadistic. So Jace and Alec can retain their status as the brooding “bad” boys of the Shadowhunter world.

Finally -as I will end all of my TMI reviews -Magnus Bane was in this book. And he was still awesome.

What did you think of City of Glass? What did you think of the ending? Please share in the comments below!

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Related Reads:

City of Glass – Book Shelf Dreaming

The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass: Cassandra Clare – Foundation and Exploration

The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass Review – Curious Case of the Confused

Character Profile: Siobhan Elliot


Siobhan (shi-VAWN) Elliot

Siobhan8

Age: Early 20s

Hometown: Laurel, Pennsylvania

“Occupation”: Student at fictional college Thurston University

Major: Biology

Physical Description: 5’2″, slim, blonde hair, violet eyes

Species: Demigod

Relationship Status: At the beginning of Reborn, she’s friends-with-benefits with Max.

Love interests:

  • College boyfriend: Max
  • Old flame: Childhood friend/Search and Destroy frontman Jimmy
  • Really old flame: Mysterious, charming World Myths and Legends teaching assistant Jasper

Goals: In Reborn, to find out who–and what–Jasper is and what her connection to him is

Obstacles: Jasper is intensely erotic and a little hard to resist.

Strengths: Smart, outgoing

Weaknesses: A little bit of a space case; doesn’t always say what she’s really feeling

Hobbies: Social chair for Gamma Lambda Phi sorority; running; sci-fi TV shows

“Spending this time with him has helped me realize there’s something else between us–something that could transcend each of our faults, our mistakes, our darkness. Something that would only become stronger and more real if I can show him what it means to truly love someone.”

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