#FeatureFriday- Airion: Return to Zire by J.S. Council

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Young Adult Epic Fantasy

Aside from his outward appearance, Kobi is a normal thirteen-year-old boy. Living with his mother, his father, and his identical twin brother, Raili, with whom he spends most days at the cove watching dolphins and whales feed, he is happy with his life just the way it is. But his fourteenth birthday is coming and Kobi has no idea how much his life is about to change.

When Raili is pulled through a puddle in the floor of their second floor bedroom by a monster armed with poisonous, spiked tentacles, Kobi goes in after him. What he finds isn’t Raili, but a new world all together, buried beneath the ocean. With a bounty on his head that has been there since he and Raili’s birth, Kobi will have to learn to fight or die before he can be reunited with Raili again. Everything he knew to be true was a lie.

People he loved and trusted are not who they seem. He isn’t the normal boy he thought himself to be. A transformation is coming. Raili is gone. Blood is shed. Traitors lurk, waiting for their chance. War is inevitable. The fate of the world of Airion rests in his hands. The Wiseone speaks. Failure is certain.

 Smashwords       CreateSpace       Barnes & Nobles       Amazon

Excerpt:

“If the Cellians just wanted us dead, why didn’t they just kill Raili instead of taking him?” asked Kobi.

“That is the question, isn’t it?” said Kaiyen slowly. “If they only wanted to use his power, wouldn’t they have taken them both?”

“Not necessarily,” said Rick, fist to his chin. “Having both would probably be too dangerous to risk. They may have been afraid of being destroyed from the inside if they worked together to free themselves. Even with one son of the prophecy, they could cause considerable damage, or so they may think.”

“But Raili would never do that though,” Kobi protested. “Dad…I…I mean, Black Master Rick. You know Raili; you know he wouldn’t do anything like that.”

“It may not be his choice,” said Kimi. “The Cellians can be very persuasive.”

Kobi’s heart sank. “What would they do to him?” he asked, not wanting to hear the answer.

“Whatever they had to,” said Kaiyen. “That is why we must focus on a plan of rescue, before Raili Saio acquires the powers they seek.”

“On our fourteenth birthday,” said Kobi.

“Yes,” said Kai Ventra. “Almost all Airians change on their fourteenth birthday. Along with the natural changes they undergo, such as growing gills, they also acquire unique individual skills, allowing them to thrive more than most others in that ability. These abilities can be anything from designing exceptional clothing to controlling the elements.”

“The stronger the ability, the harder it is to control,” said Kaiyen. “No doubt Cella is depending on this.”

“It won’t work,” said Rick.

“Agreed,” nodded Kaiyen. “But there is another matter that must be discussed, if I may.” Questioning eyes turned to Kaiyen. “Lady Sara,” Kaiyen continued after a swift nod from the King. He was addressing the old woman seated beside Kimi, “have you seen anything in your Kubec about a traitor in Zire.”

Whispers filled the room. “You go too far, Captain,” said Bran.

“What are you saying,” said the advisor to Bran’s left.

“Silence,” said Sai Thayne. The talking ceased instantly. The King’s questioning eyes fell on Kaiyen then turned to Lady Sara. “Wise One?”

“This man possesses a tainted heart,” said the old woman, her eyes gazing into the diamond block. “His treachery dives deep.”

“Do you know who this man is?” asked Kaiyen.

“I see not his face nor his rank,” said Lady Sara, her brow creased and her hands resting on the Kubec. “However, he knows all that we know and some we do not.”

“It is as I thought,” said Kaiyen, “Zire’s traitor has resurfaced.”

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author pic2About The Author:

 “Although I didn’t fully commit to making writing my life’s work until my sophomore year of college, I have always been a writer at heart. I was the only student in class to get excited about school papers, even asking to write a few for extra credit on occasion. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in Creative Writing – Fiction. After graduating, I moved to Japan where I wrote most of my debut novel, Airion: Return to Zire and all of my second novel Airion: Light and Dawn – the first two of a four book series. Japan was a peaceful place to just sit and write, but life in Japan was also filled with adventure. However much I loved it there, I had to return home to do what I love most. Write.”

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Guest Post: A Quick Trip into Chaos: My Writing Experience

 Aspiring Authors: at times you may feel down, unsure of what your supposed to do with your writing. Fear not! We’ve all been there! Today, author Catherine Stovall stops by to share her journey to publication! Thanks, Catherine! 

I am not one of those authors who have been writing novels ten or twenty years. In fact, I started just about two and a half years ago. About two weeks after my 30th birthday, I decided that I wanted to write a novel. Inspired by the onslaught of cuddly paranormal creatures, I wanted to supply teens and young adults, much like my own, with novels that embraced the darker side of things.

The writing went quickly and before I knew it, Stolen was born. I worked hard to proofread, edit, and perfect my manuscript. Before I knew it, I was down to the BIG question. I had to choose what to do with my book. I was unsure whether I wanted to self-publish, try for an agent, attempt the traditional route, or choose a small press.

Self-publishing wasn’t for me. I admire those brave souls who put on their entrepreneur hats and storm into the world of publishing and I have since published a short story on my own, but at the time, I knew I wasn’t ready for that. I needed more guidance, more direction, and the help of someone who positively knew how to do what I didn’t.

The guidelines for the well-known print publishers, terrified me. Most print publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts from writers, only those with agents. Agents do not generally accept authors who have not previously been professionally published. Not to mention, most publishers and agents accept very few projects a year. I found myself in a conundrum. To proceed or not to proceed, that was my question.

That’s when I tripped my way around the internet and discovered small presses. I knew this was the path for me as a new author. Everything I was looking for was there. Here were companies who welcomed unsolicited manuscripts without an agent, provided professional editing, and offered very competitive royalty rates. When I learned that I could have a bigger say in the entire process by using signing with a small publisher than I would with the larger publishers, I dove in.

Sixteen letters went out. In a matter of weeks, I received several polite no thank you letters, one letter that not so politely told me not to give up my day job, and two letters saying yes. Stolen: Requiem of Humanity Series: Book One was released just twelve days before my thirty-first birthday. In less than a year, I had become a real author.

Through 2012, I continued to work hard, prepping my next releases. I self-published a short story, Fearful Day, in June of 2012. In addition to Fearful Day, Reborn: Requiem of Humanity: Book Two released in December of 2012 through the same small publisher as Stolen. I also started working on many new novels and shorts, one of which is my brand new release, Faire Eve. I was very happy with how things were going, and though I wasn’t wildly successful, I received letters and post from fans who were cheering me on.

Here, we come to the part of the story that is the here and now. So far, 2013 has been a fabulous year. I have been blessed enough to meet, and be signed with, the fabulous Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. Faire Eve is my first release of the year but far from my last. I have also signed a short story to CHBB’s sister company, Vamptisy. You will be able to grab a copy of my short story, Bloody Freedom in the Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds anthology in August. In addition to these, I have a few full lengths and shorts that are currently in negotiations. Hopefully, 2013 will be the best year yet for me and my fans.

All in all, my experience has been amazing. There have been ups and downs. Rejections hurt, reviews are nerve wracking, and the hurrying up to wait part of the business is intolerable. Yet, I love what I do. I have had a gentle ride into the chaos that is an author’s world. The trip has been fun and I am looking forward to the rest of the journey.

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Faire Eve Cover

Under the watchful eye of her over protective mother, Eve grew up in a world without magic and fancy. She never cared about riding a unicorn, dancing at balls or being a princess. Now, all the things she never desired are hers and every other girl’s dream is her nightmare”

The Sidhe ruled over fairy magic from the twilight city, Trig Na nOg, until a beast cast a dark spell to send them into a death-like sleep. In an attempt to reap revenge on the fairy people, Tiritchiq hunts Eve and her entourage as they campaign to place the halfling princess on the throne.

In order to save the world of Evalon and a family she has never known, Eve travels through dimensions, crosses dangerous landscapes, and learns to accept the Sidhe blood within. With the moody and handsome Daione Warrior Eldon by her side, she must embrace the darkness inside of her and face down a powerful foe.

 Amazon     Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

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About the Author:

Catherine Stovall is the author of Faire Eve, The Requiem of Humanity Series, Fearful Day, Sweet Sally Slasher, and Bloody Freedom. Stovall is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the creator of International Bug Your Library Day, an operation to spread awareness for Indie and Small Press Authors.

Catherine is a fearless creature who surrounds herself with the joys of life both in and out of her fictional worlds. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets. When not writing, she spends her time riding motorcycles, wearing elaborate hats, and genuinely enjoying the oddities in life.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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#FeatureFriday- The Super Spies Series by Lisa Orchard

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750

Young Adult, Teen, Mystery & Thriller, Mystery & Detectives

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…

Amazon     Astaea Press     B&N

TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750

Young Adult, Teen, Mystery & Thriller, Mystery & Detectives

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Amazon     Astraea Press     B&N

Excerpt from The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer:

The house sat hunkered down as if it were tensed to spring like a cat stalking a mouse. Sarah shuddered at the thought of going up on the porch and she chewed on her thumbnail.

Looking behind her, Sarah studied the church facing the Cat Lady’s home. It was a strong structure built of huge stones. She could tell it was as old as the town itself and its presence made her feel safe. Motioning for Jackie and Lacey to follow her, she moved from the sidewalk to the huge oak tree growing on the church’s lawn. The girls hid behind it, peeking out at the witch’s home.

“Are you still going to do it?” Jackie teased.

“Yep.”

“Do you think she’s inside?” Lacey asked wide-eyed.

Sarah smirked at her. “Where else would she be? I hear she never leaves her house.”

“Be nice.” Jackie smacked Sarah’s arm.

“What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the witch?” Lacey asked as she stared at the house.

“She’s not a witch. She’s just a freak, that’s all.”

“Well, if she’s not …then what are you waiting for?” Jackie snickered.

“I just want to make sure the coast is clear.”

“Hey, you guys, look at all the cats,” Lacey whispered. She pointed at the clusters of felines lolling about on the porch and walking in the yard. “There has to be at least twenty of them.”

“Yeah, that’s why she’s called the Cat Lady.” Sarah rolled her eyes and then felt the sting from Jackie’s slap.

“Do you think she put a spell on those cats?” Lacey asked with a wide-eyed expression, twirling her hair with her finger.

“Could be,” Sarah snickered. “Or maybe she just…you know…gives them food.”

“Knock it off, Sarah,” Lacey glared at her sister.

Sarah stuck her tongue out at her. “Okay, I’m going for it. I’ll meet you back here.”

“Cool beans,” Jackie said.

“Cool beans? Is this town still in the nineties?” Sarah teased.

“Shut up.” Jackie smacked her arm again.

“This is physical abuse.” Sarah rubbed her arm, trying to appear injured.

Jackie laughed. “Be thankful I like hanging out with you.”

“All I have to do is ring her doorbell, right?” Sarah poked her head out from behind the tree. She noticed the tomato pulp still clinging to the siding and peered up and down the street for the notorious Wykowski boys.

“That’s right,” Jackie chuckled.

Sarah took a deep breath and sprinted across the street. She stopped at the porch stairs. A group of cats were sunning themselves on the steps—they meowed at her as if they were hungry. Jumping when one of them rubbed against her legs, she bent down and stroked its back, never taking her eyes off of the house.

Sarah petted the cat, while she worked up the courage to climb the stairs. She heard the loud purr of the contented feline and it eased her anxiety. All of a sudden, she felt a hand squeeze her arm. Her heart leapt in her chest and she let out a yelp.

Turning, she spied Jackie. “I almost peed my pants!”

Jackie giggled.

“What are you doing here?” Sarah muttered and gave Jackie the evil eye.

“I couldn’t stay behind the tree and miss all the action.”

Sarah glanced around her and pointed to some overgrown bushes in front of the porch. “You can hide over there.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah spied her sister running toward them and stifled a groan.

“I didn’t want to stand by myself,” Lacey whimpered, slightly out of breath. She tugged nervously on the hem of her T-shirt as she eyed the house.

Sarah groaned and her shoulders slumped as if she carried a heavy burden. She sighed and pointed at the bushes again. “You hide over there with Jackie and be quiet.”

Sarah waited until the other girls were out of sight, and then climbed the stairs. Stopping when she reached the porch, Sarah took some deep breaths before stepping onto the sagging stoop. Stepping gingerly, she hoped the porch would support her.  Her stomach clenched when it groaned. She took another step and then another, the porch complaining with every footfall. Halfway across the stoop, she heard the girls behind the bushes.

“She’s almost to the door.” Lacey said in a low voice.

Sarah bit her lip, stifling the disapproving remark dancing on the tip of her tongue. Instead, she turned and glared at the bushes, willing its occupants to shut up. She made eye contact with Jackie, who quickly ducked behind the shrubs, pulling Lacey with her.

What in the world is she doing?” Lacey asked.

“Shhh,” Jackie responded.

Sarah shook her head and continued her journey. She felt Jackie and Lacey watching her as she crept toward the door. Reaching the entryway, she was surprised to find the storm door wide open. The only barrier between the Cat Lady and the rest of the world was a flimsy screen door hanging askew on its hinges.

Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has got to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”

“So?”

“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs.  The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away.  Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my—,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.”

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About the Author20111210_ABS_1296[1]

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then.  “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” is the second book in the “Super Spies” series. Her first book was published in March of 2012 and it has received rave reviews.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side.  The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the third novel that stars the same quirky teens. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

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Keep an eye out for my interview with Lisa Orchard on June 5th!

MJ

Interview with Rebekah Roberts!

Today I welcome fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, Rebekah Roberts! The moment I read the blurb and sample chapter of this book, I fell in love with it and purchased it for my daughter. Not to mention the cover is amazing!

 Welcome, Rebekah!

What inspired you to write?  
 A lack of good books to read.  As a teen I had a hard time finding books that were “my style”  so I decided to write for myself.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
 I work as a full-time nanny.  So when the twins are busy, (or napping),  I try to squeeze in some writing time. 
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
 I always start out to write a short story and then it always becomes a novel.  I guess I have a big imagination, or I am just long winded.
MJ: LOL! I know what you mean! For me, writing a short story is more of a challenge than writing a 400 page novel! 
Are you a pantser or plotter?   
A little of both.
Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?   
I always throw in humor from real life.  The awkward prayer scene in Petals, where the heroine closes her eyes and waits for someone to say grace, then opens her eyes to see that they are all waiting on her to take their hands.  That actually happened to me.  My characters have seasoning from myself and people I know, it’s hard not to put yourself and people you love or even people you can’t stand into a novel. 
Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?  They always say, “Write what you know.”  But the best advice I was ever given was “Write what you dream.”  If you write what you are passionate about, then it will come out deeper and more meaningful.  Look at the Bronte sisters or Edger Rice Burroughs, they were recluses who wrote about fantastic romance and adventures.  If they only wrote what they knew, Tarzan would be set in an ordinary living room.    
MJ: Great advice!
Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed? 
Indie.  I felt like it was the right way to get started and I have been pretty happy with it.
What are your current projects?
I am working on a sequel to Petals, called, Sheltering Snow. It’s a modern take on the Snow White tale but in my mind that translates into a teen runaway with a secret.  I am also looking into a woman’s fiction project.  Not sure all the details yet but it will deal with some quirky roommates who are all VERY single. 
Blurb: 
“Beauty might just be the beast.”
Calla Williams is not like other girls.  Most girls spend their whole lives trying to be beautiful, Calla already is…and she hates it.
When she is shipped off one summer to live with family friends in their dilapidated Mississippi plantation, Calla is faced with the prospect of living with strangers and their teenage son.  This is annoying because, like any other boy, he is sure to fall in love with her on sight. However, Griffin Davenport is not your typical teenage guy. With his hot temper and half of his face severely scarred, “hate at first sight” is closer to what she finds.
Though the two teens try to stay out of each other’s way, an odd attraction to each other makes staying away anything but easy.
Now, Calla must deal with growing feelings, her own prejudices, and finding the secret to Griffin’s past. As hate turns to friendship and friendship becomes something more, Calla learns a startling truth: God uses even how we look in His plan for our lives.

Excerpt: 

When I made it to the kitchen, I found it dark with all the curtains pulled.  I flicked on the switch and, just
as the night before, the room flooded with light.
            A man was standing to the side, leaning against the stove. I let out a little shriek, startled to find someone
in the dark room.
             The first thing I noticed was his face. It was horribly scarred. Half of it was normal while the other half
looked mangled. He was tall and huge, completely dwarfing me. The room felt suddenly too small for comfort.
            “Need something?” he asked. He sounded angry but I didn’t know why.
            “Just…um, the cream.” I moved to the counter where I could see it sitting, but my eyes stayed on Griffin. I
knew it was Griffin, I mean, who else could it be?
             “What are you staring at?” he said, anger rising in his throat. He spat out he words in tone that sounded
automatic.
            “Um… sorry… I.”
            “Wanna see freaks? Go to a circus.”  He stepped forward and got right in my face. His breath was hot,
making goose bumps fill out all over my arms and back.  I could see every twisted, graphic line of his face; it
looked like something out of a horror movie. The closeness of his massive body felt almost like an attack.
            He stared into my eyes for a moment, then he moved past me, his nose almost grazed mine.  He stomped
through the door; it wobbled back and forth on its hinge  

About the Author: 

Rebekah Roberts’ obsession with fairytales, romance, and Jesus came at an early age. She knew as a young teen that she wanted to write books for girls that were both fun to read and good for them.
While working as a nanny and volunteering in her church’s youth group, Rebekah continues her mission to write wholesome romances and uses fiction as a platform for The Unfolding Rose Ministries; where she helps to promote true beauty and self confidence in girls.
Rebekah was homeschooled through high school.  She continued her education at Moore Norman Technology, where she studied creative writing. She uses her education to instill a love of the craft in the next generation through teaching writing classes.
Growing up in small town Oklahoma, she loves the old south and history, which finds its way into her writing and everyday conversation with dreams of plantation houses, WWII dances, and Victorian trivia. She has a passion for taking an old story and making it new.
When she is not writing or working with youth, she loves to watch sci-fi movies with family or enjoy a pot of tea with good friends.

Petals is her first novel. www.RebekahRoberts.net