Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guest Post by Author Connie Smith

Thanks for joining me today for a guest post from author Connie Smith!

Guest Post

One of the oddest portions of this author career is taking a pause out of editing, proofreading, writing, and other life responsibilities to come up with guest posts. I tend to think they have the potential to be more effective than simple spotlights because they allow readers a glimpse of you as an author rather than just being told that your book exists.

This particular guest post is written for the third book of my Division trilogy, and at this point, it’s possible that I’m running low on options. I’ve already done a series of character interviews along with other types of posts, but I’m still supposed to have a series of new posts to promote this new book.

I’m taking that as inspiration, guys. If I’m having trouble coming up with guest posts, then I’ll make a guest post about coming up with guest posts. Resourceful? Hopefully so, and productive.

Okay. So what are some options concerning guest post topics? Here are some that seem useful to my way of thinking.

Character Interviews: Like I said, I’ve done some of these already, and I’ve found that they’re incredibly useful in giving the person reading the blog post not only a peek at your writing style, but a glimpse at the characters involved in your stories. Some of my characters in this series are WEIRD, and those quirks can easily surface during an interview. It lets me unveil some of those interesting aspects without just saying ‘this character is like this…’

Top Ten Lists: I’m kind of a fan of lists, and this is a simple idea that can give the reader of the post a look into… Well, whatever you want to talk about. You want to give them a view of your characters? Maybe list your favorite characters from your books – or someone else’s. That’s a nice quality to this approach – that the post doesn’t have to be about your books or writing. It can be about your favorite television shows or hobbies. It leaves a lot of open territory while offering a chance to introduce a part of yourself to new readers.

Soundtrack: I grew up in a music-appreciating family. And when I say that, I don’t mean that every member of my family can play an instrument. I mean that listening to music, talking about music, and things related have been a pretty significant part of my life. It’s a common thing we share, and it’s been the focus of a lot of hours time-passing with family members. So is it really any shock that I’m a sucker for making a soundtrack list for my books? These aren’t play-lists for me, but songs that express different aspects of the story.

Letters to… I haven’t actually used this approach just yet on a guest post, but it has potential, I think. A letter to a possible reader. A letter to new writers. A letter to your favorite band. Like I’ve said before, this lets potential readers get a glimpse into your life and who you are as an author, because you’re writing things that are more personal than a simple advertisement of a new book. I’ve written one of these letters on my blog, but never for someone else’s. Maybe someday.

New Products, Hobbies, Experiences: This is another method of letting the reader know about you, and it’s wide open for opportunities. Have you traveled lately? Found a new restaurant that you adore? Gone to a concert? Planted a garden? Life can give you material if you just sit back and let it. Look at what’s going on, and find something that seems post-worthy.

Thanks for reading my post, and please consider entering my current giveaway through Goodreads ( and adding my upcoming NA Romance, Tail Lights, to your to-read list (!


McKenna watched him leave before refocusing on Johnny, confused at the expression her boyfriend wore. “What are you smirking at?”
            He shrugged. “I’m just not sure how this could be such a bad memory. My girl glued to my side.” Wiggling his eyebrows, he continued. “Playing nurse…”
            “Well, you are poisoned,” she deadpanned. “That puts a damper on these types of situations for most people.”
            “Oh, you’re serious again.” His smirk broadened. “Are you gonna yell at me like you did when my leg was broken? That was attractive…”
            Though she fought against it, her smile emerged, spreading over her lips as she shook her head. “You’re impossible. You know that?”
            “Nah. I just learned along the way how to make my girl smile.”
            Her grin lingered until her attention descended to his leg, the spot of the poison’s initial contact. Then she frowned, her eyes filling with tears and her hands beginning to tremble. Just ten days, she thought.
            “Hey.” Johnny cupped her face, gentling bringing her gaze to lock with his. “We’re not gonna think about that because that’s gonna get taken care of.” Tobias again entered the medical room, moving directly to the corner reserved for the cure’s research to recommence his work. “See?” Johnny nodded his head toward the angel. “Look how dedicated he is to finding this. Think of all the soldiers around us who are perfectly capable of getting whatever weird ingredients he comes up with. If you do, ten days will seem like a lifetime, because it’s plenty of time.”
            And then she was the one smirking. “That’s quite optimistic.”
            He laughed, shrugging. “I told you that you’re rubbing off on me.”
            “And you’re trusting others. Like you finally flipped a switch.”
            “It isn’t like flipping a switch.” He smiled, revisiting the lecture she’d given him while stranded on a cliff. “It’s like deciding not to be in the darkness anymore. You take steps, and the light comes a little at a time until the darkness is gone.”
            She quirked an eyebrow, chuckling. “That seems vaguely familiar.”

            “Someone really smart once told me that.” Pulling her closer, he tapped the tip of her nose with his finger. “She was really hot, too.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Slayed on the Slopes Cover Reveal

I'm excited to be part of the cover reveal for Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer-Seeley! Slayed on the Slopes is the second book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series and releases the end of March 2015. The first book, Scene of the Climb is available now. 

Slayed on the Slopes

After talking her way into a job writing for Portland's Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg Reed may now really be in over her head. Actually, about 8,000 feet over her head. . .

She's at Mount Hood's remote Silcox Hut, covering the seriously hardcore Ridge Rangers—Oregon's elite high-altitude rescue team--during their four-day winter training. Sure, Meg beefed up her outdoor skills over the summer . . . but she's still hoping to cover the event with some hot chocolate by the cheery fireplace. Then, during a sudden blizzard, she swears she hears gunshots. No one stranded in the hut believes her . . . until self-absorbed Ridge Ranger Ben Rogers is found outside in a pool of frozen blood. Meg's now got to find this killer quickly . . . before cabin fever does them all in!

Praise For Scene Of The Climb

"A splendid overview of the greater Portland and Columbia River Gorge region, perfect for travel buffs. Her protagonist shows promise with her determined attitude and moxie." --Library Journal

Includes Adventure Guides!

About the Author:

Kate Dyer-Seeley’s work has been featured in a variety of regional, national and international Scene of the Climb, was released June 3, 2014 and is now available at bookstores and online.

publications. She writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Books. The first book in the series,

Kate also wrote a memoir Underneath the Ash (published in 2011) that chronicles her experience becoming a mother for the first time while losing her mother to young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, Kate writes and co-produces a monthly online magazine Broadsheet360. The magazine has a steady readership from all around the globe.

She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her husband and son.

- See more at:

Paperback of Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley (US)

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The Stark Affair Cover Reveal!

Have you heard about this great new author, Skylar Cross?
She writes gritty erotic romance with raw feelings and unmanageable sexual encounters.
Skylar's next panty dropping adventure is all about sexy as hell Colton Stark.
The Stark Affair Book One: Heat
Colton Stark is filthy rich. A billionaire playboy who drives fast and plays hard, he enjoys
an endless stream of party girls... at his mansion, on his yacht, and in his private jet.
He's also top of Miami-Dade Police Department's list of suspected narcotics traffickers.
Tough girl cop Sofia grew up on the mean streets of Miami, unafraid to kick anyone's
ass. When asked to investigate Colton, she doesn't even consider it a challenge.
Until she comes face-to-face with Colton Stark's penetrating blue eyes.
After a steamy meeting at his South Beach club, Sofia finds herself playing a dangerous
but sexy game with her own principles. As evidence mounts of Colton Stark's dirty
dealings, together they spark a bonfire of passionate heat.
Mature content. 18+ only.
And now for the cover....
Add it to Goodreads now!
About Skylar Cross:
I love dark, mysterious, and deviant. Powerful dominant alpha males with troubled pasts who find strong but unfulfilled submissive women. Both need to escape the "rules" of society (just like me... haha.) Together they make hot steamy delight and fill in each other's damaged parts. This is me. This is what I write. Hope you like it.
Check out Skylar on the web
Did you also know she has a freebie available?
Annika is a reporter for, a struggling web magazine. Damien Cage is rock star frontman for the Platinum-selling band Eon Sphinx.
When her boss sends Annika to interview Damien at his Biscayne Bay estate, she can't believe it. Now 22 and trying to find her path in life, Annika is trying to let go of her strict religious upbringing. She yearns to be sexually free, enjoying all that life has to offer.

Just turned 30, Damien is surrounded by beautiful girls. He trains them in the "Deviant Arts of Pleasure." But none of them are on his level. Disillusioned and jaded with the music industry, he has quit his band in search of something more meaningful out of life.

When Annika and Damien meet, sparks fly. The steam between them is hotter than the Florida sunshine.

Damien makes an offer to Annika. Neither realizes it yet, but it's an offer that will fill their lives with both deep meaning AND sizzling passion... starting at one of Damien's infamous Friday night parties full of decadence and debauchery.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lady Firebird Teaser Tour

Today we have a teaser tour for Lady Firebird to celebrate the release that it's now available for sale! This is a young adult urban fantasy series and this is book two in the Sedumen Chronicles.

Let's see if this news report piques your interest...
News Report from Cambridge, Massachusetts
Carla: This
is Carla Hennington from WGBC in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the scene
what will no doubt have repercussions far outside the greater Boston
area; indeed, this may change everything we know, or think we know,
about the universe in which we live.
I'm standing here with Laura Meeks, a junior at John Adams High School. Laura, can you tell me what you saw?
Laura: It
was crazy. Some huge guy with, like, two bears or wolves or something
grabbed this blond girl—I think she was a sophomore—who was walking
home. She started screaming, my buddy Bruce and I were thinking we
should do something, when we heard that girl, Lady Firebird, start
Carla: Can you describe the girl, Laura?
Oh, yeah. She was off the charts! Her hair and eyes were on fire, her
skin was like leather or stone or something, I dunno, hard, you know?
And she ran right at the kidnapper and his wolves, swinging her huge
curved sword—it had blue flames.
Carla: The man responded?
Laura: Oh
man, he sicked his wolves on her. Then Lady Firebird, like, opened up a
rip in the air or something—it was crazy—and her wolves started coming
out. The wolves fought, she fought the guy, but he cut her open and he
and his wolves got away with the girl. It was intense—and really sad.
Carla: And that's when you and your friends aided—
Laura: Lady Firebird, yeah. I walked up, and she talked to us, that's how I know her name. Here, Bruce, why don't you...
Carla: Bruce Williams, ladies and gentleman, another eye witness. Bruce, why don't you tell us what happened from here.
Bruce: Thank
you, Ms. Hennington. Yeah, um, we approached Lady Firebird, me first.
She was hurt bad, but she could still talk. She told us what to do—we
took her blade, and, like, waved it in the air like she said. It made
like a slice in the air, and we couldn't see into it or through it, it
was all black. I'd never seen—or done—anything like that.
Some other guys on the scene from John Adams dragged her wolf over, and
they all were pulled through the hole in the air by these huge ape
hands or something.
Carla: Were you scared?
Laura: Oh my God you have no idea.
The whole thing was so intense! We were could this be real?
But there it was, in front of us. Some huge monster dude and his wolf
kidnapped a girl from my was crazy. But Lady Firebird tried
to save her, and said she was going to bring her home.
Laura: Yeah, I hope she's okay, and she can bring that poor girl home. I can't imagine...
We're all praying for the victim of this horrible crime, absolutely.
What a terrifying event. Were you two afraid, not just of the kidnapper,
but of the mysterious flaming swordswoman?
Bruce: Were we scared of Lady Firebird?
Laura: I mean, sure, she was scary and all, but I think she was after that kidnapper, you know? She was trying to help.
We all hope so, that's for sure. Bruce, Laura, thank you both. And I'm
Carla Hennington from WGHC, on the scene in Cambridge. For more on this
breaking story we return to our Boston studio.

 About Lady Firebird:
Alexandra Gold leads two lives. 
a universe filled with powerful spirit beings, she is the half human,
half-demon Lady Firebird of the House of Keroz. She stopped Dirk Raum
from murdering humans whose fresh souls he fed the House of Raum. This
won her the respect of some but the enmity of others.
Earth, she appears to be like every other eighteen-year old girl, but
she longs to step forward as Lady Firebird, and let people know that she
will protect them—but she worries that once people see her flaming
hair, eyes, and long fangs, she will terrify those she wants to help.
When Dirk returns and starts a kidnapping spree as part of his plan to
conquer both universes, Alex races to the rescue. 
She is ready to meet the challenge; but is the world ready to meet Lady Firebird?

About the Author:
Merton started writing fantasy and science fiction at an embarrassingly
young age, mostly for his own

amusement. In high school, he listened to
a lot of dark and moody rock, which inspired him to pick up guitar and
start playing up and down California in a few bands, culminating in his
Industrial rock group Ember After releasing their debut album, Grasping
At Straws, and subsequently The Misery EP.  During that time, magazines,
developers, and corporations began to pay him to write and edit music
software related articles, manuals, and  books. Since then he has
written the urban fantasy novel The Deviant and the science fiction
novel Skye Entity before working on his current series of YA novels. He
lives in Southern California with his family, pets, collection of
sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia, and curiously large stuffed animal


5 ebook copies of Lady Firebird by Orren Merton (INT)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly Teaser Tour

Today we have a teaser tour for Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly. This is a young adult thriller and is available for sale now.

Margo Kelly’s Debut Who R U Really? was Ripped from a Real Life Event

After her daughter narrowly survived a man she met in an online role-playing game, Kelly wrote a breathless young adult thriller with the hopes of helping others spot and unmask internet predators.

When a Nampa, Idaho, police detective said to Margo Kelly’s daughter, “It is your job to tell others—your real everyday friends that you go to school with—tell them what happened to you, so nothing like this can happen to them.” … she agreed.

“My daughter is my hero,” Kelly said, “for being willing to share her personal choices, conversations, and feelings in order to help others, regardless of the negative judgment she might receive as a result.” Additionally, Kelly realized if she wrote a novel about her daughter’s experience, they could help more people avoid the trappings of internet predators. Who R U Really? is primarily a work of fiction, but the essence of the plot is what happened when Kelly’s daughter was nearly abducted. The
fictional elements are based on what has happened to young women across the country on a too frequent basis.

“Inspired by her own daughter's terrifying story, Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online,” said the School Library Journal. “Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps—particularly as events heat up toward the end. … A good
choice for families to read together.”

According to the Fall Preview issue of Kirkus Reviews, “Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message.”

About the Book:

Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly
(ages 12-18)

When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

“Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. … Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps.” -- School Library Journal. (

“Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner.” -- Kirkus Reviews (

About the Author:

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Author Links:

Hardcover of Who R U Really?
US only
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Mortal Enchantment and The Shadow Prince

The prequel novella, THE SHADOW PRINCE is still FREE!!!
The Shadow PrinceSixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard

Welcome to my stop on the teaser tour for Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard. Phantom's Dance is a YA modern retelling of Phantom of the Opera and it's available for sale, right now!

About the Book:

Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.

Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.

Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows h

​​erself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.

Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads Smashwords iTunes

Guest Post

Here are several cover mock-ups, with a pen name (I chose a pen name because this book was much darker than the ones I write for younger audiences.) that we played around with before choosing the current one. Ultimately, I used my first name with Howard, my grandfather, for the last. Also, I considered calling the book DANCING BLIND, omitting the reference to the phantom. But my awesome critique group convinced me otherwise.

This one is absolutely beautiful, but it didn't convey the darkness we were going for.

 This photo looked nice until the designer placed it on the cover. With the title being what it was then, it made her look as though she were actually blind.

This one has the black tutu, but after a vote from the fabulous staff and Chambers County Library in Anahuac, TX (had to do the shout-out) I scrapped it, too, and went with the red. And of course, it's now called PHANTOM'S DANCE.

Phantom's Dance Excerpt:

“You scared the crap out of me—again!” I wailed, and a low chuckle rumbled from behind the heavy, velvet drapes.

With my hand pressed to my overexerted lungs, I breathed deeply. “I see you’re still behind the curtain. But I suppose that’s where a stagehand would be, wouldn’t he? Behind the curtain?”

“Ouch. And here I thought you were a nice girl—not like the Academy snobs looking down their noses at the hired help.”

“Ah-ha! So you are a stagehand.”

“I never said that. What I said was you’re a snob.”

“I am not!”

He half laughed half snorted.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him.

“I came to see the ballet. Isn’t that why you’re here?”

“Of course, but that’s not what I meant. The ballet has been over for an hour. Why are you still here?”

“I might ask you the same thing.”

The pink flower chose that moment to fall from my hair and float to the stage floor.

“You were playing the ballerina, weren’t you?” He teased.

His voice had moved from where it started at my right to the curtains behind me.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll keep your secret.”

My face heated and I bent to recover the flower then stood to face his voice.

“You won’t tell Mr. Darby or the theater manager?”

“I said I wouldn’t tell.”

Spinning the flower between my fingers, I asked, “Why do you stay behind the curtain?”

“I don’t like the stage.”

“But you said you’re a dancer. What kind of dancer doesn’t like to be on the stage?”

“This kind.”

He’d been yanking my chain long enough. Two could play this game.

“So, are you handicapped or what?”

An unpleasant silence stretched between us and I realized I’d stumbled onto something.

“Oh, God, you are.”

About the Author:

Lesa Howard lives in the greater Houston area where she works as a writer-in-residence for the nonprofit organization Writers in the Schools, but her students know her as Lesa Boutin. Lesa was passionate about writing for teens before it was even labeled Young Adult, and her latest YA novel is PHANTOM'S DANCE, which is a modern retelling of Gaston Leroux's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She has two books written under the name Lesa Boutin: AMANDA NOBLE, ZOOKEEPER EXTRAORDINAIRE, and AMANDA NOBLE, SPECIAL AGENT. Visit Lesa at or contact her at

$20 gift card to choice of book store

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