December 14, 2015

December #InkRipples #Giveaway - Celebration/Gifts


I must take care of some InkRipples business before I get to this month's post.  Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll and I have decided to continue the meme into 2016, and we'd love for you all to join us! We have a new streamlined name: #InkRipples (formerly Ripples in the Inkwell) and brand new images to go along with it. 

We also have a new set of monthly topics for discussion in 2016:
January - Travel
#InkRipplesFebruary - Chocolate
March - Feminism
April - Poetry
May - Memories
June - Movies
July - Inspiration
August - Guilty Pleasures
September - Banned Books
October - Masks
November - Heritage
December - Cookies

How can you participate? Glad you asked because there are lots of ways. The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, or image into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. We provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, we ask that you link back to our three blogs in your post. Or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag (#InkRipples). Or even just comment on one of our posts. Tag us and we're always happy to share your posts and thoughts to keep those ripples going and intersecting. 

There is no structured format to #InkRipples. It's about having a conversation, sharing ideas, and connecting. So if this sounds at all interesting, please do participate in whatever way you can. And feel free to use any of the meme's images (created by the wonderful Mary Waibel). 

Now for this month's InkRipple: Celebration/Gifts.

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know I like to celebrate with gifts. I love to give free books whenever I can - whether they are my own or other books I think you'll enjoy. Or I give gift cards so you can choose what you like. This month is no different. This month I'm going to celebrate having read at least 100 books (at time of post) this year by giving a lucky winner the Kindle version of one of the few I rated as 5 STARS. Are any of these books on your to-read list? Do any of them intrigue you? Maybe they all do! Enter to win - enter as many times as you like. Tweet each day. Repin to several boards. Rack up as many entries as you can. Do it before 11:59 on December 27th. Here are (some of) my 5 STAR reads from 2015.

Dangerous by Shannon Hale


How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit and see something new. She never intended to fall in love with a boy at space camp. And she certainly never intended to stumble into a frightening plot that just might destroy everything and everyone she cares about. But now there's no going back - Maisie's the only thing standing between danger and annihilation. She must become the hero the world needs, before she loses her heart . . . and her life.

Equal parts romance and action-adventure, this explosive story is sure to leave both longtime Shannon fans and avid sci-fi readers completely breathless.

The Whispering Skull by (one of my fave authors) Jonathan Stroud - this is a book 2, but book 1 was awesome too.


In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper. Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well—until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

Zombie Rapture by Stuart West - this is for a bit more mature of a reader. Maybe more NA than YA, imho.


Zombies, dark humor, suspense, and Stuart R. West also adds a love story to this 'end of the world' book: ZOMBIE RAPTURE... 

Life is good for Hunter Wright. He's just about to graduate from high school and he's found true love. Just in time to lose her. Because the Rapture's begun and those in his path, living and dead, stand in his way of finding her. And it's not the Rapture the faithful have been expecting either. Someone failed to tell the dead they’re not in Heaven.

The Boyfriend Project by Mary Waibel (first in her novella series)


Samantha Jones’ world revolves around her neighbor, Jordan Kingsley. In fact, her boyfriend broke up with her because of the time she spends with Jordan. Sam longs to move their relationship to boyfriend/girlfriend level but there’s a problem. She’s afraid to ask him out because he’s one of her closest friends. 

When her BFF, Emery, suggests using advice from her favorite romance novels, Sam reluctantly agrees. But will she find herself worse off than the heroines of her beloved stories?

Crimson Bound by Rosamond Hodge


An exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and the extravagant court of Versailles, from the author of Cruel Beauty. A doomed warrior and the king's most notorious bastard must join forces to defeat a dark evil in this gorgeously intricate fantasy—perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in a vain effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as the two become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic . . . and a love that may be their undoing. Within a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Super Bad by Kai Strand - I'm sorry! I couldn't resist. I love the conclusion of my series!!!


The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing. 

Sandra’s concern over finding her brother Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double-crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend. 

When Sandra is taken and held as bait by some kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?” 
***

Enter via the rafflecopter below! Open Internationally as long as you can accept an Amazon gifted copy of the book via email. End 2015 on a 5 STAR note!


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Good luck and be sure to visit Katie and Mary's blog to see their #InkRipples

December 11, 2015

The Orion Circle by Kimber Leigh Wheaton


Welcome to my stop on the Twisted Sisters blog tour!
Here's a link to the host list if you'd like to follow the tour Click Me!

Excerpt

I sense movement, and in the next moment Tracy throws herself at the barrier, a screaming, howling banshee. She fights against the magic barring her. Static electricity sparks through the room, zooming around, visible in the darkness. I push Kacie behind me as the manic ghost continues her relentless assault on the barrier. A deafening boom reverberates through the room, followed by a wave of energy. I push Kacie down, falling on top of her to shield her from the ghost’s wrath. Pain lances up my back like thousands of cat claws, making me cry out both in shock and pain. I glance back—Samson and Delilah hiss their displeasure at Tracy, their claws digging into my back.
The claws retract when I yell at them, and all the other pain surfaces. Ignoring the throbbing in my ribs, I roll to my side to free Kacie, sending the cats leaping away. Tracy lets out one last anguished wail before slumping and falling to the floor. My familiars circle her prone body, mouths open, scenting the air. The heaviness in the air lessens, but I continue to take in shallow breaths to keep from aggravating the pain. I watch Tracy, searching for… well not signs of life, but existence? Her form flickers like an old movie, and I wonder if she’ll just wink out of existence.
“Is she…” Blake trails off, pushing himself up on his elbows. “That was quite a blast. You both okay?”
“Yeah,” Kacie says, rubbing her head. “Where’s Mr. Kincaid?”
“Out here,” Mr. Kincaid says from the hall. “I got out just before the explosion.”
“Logan…” Kacie pulls on my arm while pointing at Tracy’s prone form. “I’ve never seen, I mean, she can’t…”
“Her spirit would’ve disappeared if she was destroyed.” I try to struggle to my feet but give up, sagging back down. Kacie leans against me, and I wrap my arms around her.
Blake eyes us. “You two are not okay.”
“When Tracy forced the barrier, she released a lot of psychic energy,” I say, resting my cheek on Kacie’s head.
“It drained all of us, not just her,” Kacie adds.
“I feel fine,” Blake says stretching his arms over his head.
“Yeah, why is that?” I ask, unable to hide the genuine surprise from my voice.
“Rebecca will be thrilled,” Kacie says.
Blake raises his brows. “Why, she like stamina?”
Kacie giggles. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Blake. She likes researching puzzles.”
“Oh, no. I ain’t no one’s guinea pig.”
Tracy’s spirit releases a soft sigh, like a light exhale of breath… if ghosts could breathe. She floats to her feet as though controlled by invisible strings. Still solid, her dark eyes scan the room. A smile crosses her face when she realizes that she made it through the psychic barrier. All I can do is stare at the ghost and wonder what that mysterious smile means. Maybe she’s as drained as we are. Kacie squeezes my hand, her aura flickering from exhaustion. I meet her gaze. Evade and stall for time to recover—I try to send the message to her in my expression.
“Now that you’re in here, love,” Blake says, gesturing at the room. “Care to share why you wanted in so bad?”
Tracy blushes at Blake’s obvious flirting. I had no idea a spirit could blush, even one who appears as human as she does. I mean, it takes blood to blush, right? More manipulation? She glides to one of the beds and reaches out to it. Her hand goes straight through. When she tries again, she lets out a frustrated growl as her hand once again passes through the mattress.
“I can’t touch anything?” she says, her words sounding more like a question than a statement.
One moment she’s by the bed and the next she appears inches from Blake’s face. He doesn’t flinch, which I have to admit is rather impressive. I’m pretty sure even I’d have reacted to her sudden appearance.
“Are you really a werewolf?” she asks, leaning so close they’d touch were she human.
“Yep.” Blake manages a blank face as the ghost circles him.
“Shift for me.”
“It ain’t a full moon, love,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. I’m well aware that Blake can shift whenever he wants. He’s a born alpha werewolf, not a bite victim. Blake’s features take on a look of complete innocence. Damn but he can rival Kacie and Daniel in the acting department. “Why’re you deflecting attention from that bed? What’s under that mattress?”
“Nothing,” she says, backing away, shaking her head furiously.
“Now we both know that ain’t the truth.” Blake saunters over to the bed and lifts the mattress.
“No!”
“Now what have we here?” Blake tosses a small book to me.
I open the book and flip through the pages. “It’s a journal.”
“It’s mine!” Tracy howls, making a grab for the book. But her hand passes through. She may have enough power left to look almost human, but not enough to manipulate physical objects.
Kacie takes the book, hugging it to her chest. “This is very private, but it could also be what’s keeping you from moving on.”
Tracy’s form flickers and sinks to the floor. She returns to an ethereal, misty spirit, and I can’t help but notice how much lighter she is now than before. Swirling white and light gray misty energy compose her figure, a sure sign that she’s close to acceptance of her fate.
“I’ll talk, but just to you,” she says, pointing at Kacie.
“No,” I say, unwilling to leave Kacie alone with this dangerous adversary.
“Of course,” Kacie says, directing a glare at me.


Twisted Sisters
The Orion Circle, Book 2

Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Sea Dragon Press
October 27, 2015


It’s a child’s toy—what could go wrong?

While playing with a spirit board, two sorority sisters summon the vindictive spirits of three women brutally murdered by a psychopath. Join Logan, Kacie, and the rest of the Orion Circle as they delve into the disturbing events of the past to find the key to freeing the spirits.

But this isn’t any ordinary haunting.  These ghosts were banished before, and now they have returned more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Anger breeds hatred and hatred leads to darkness—these phantoms are on the verge of losing their last spark of humanity and becoming completely lost to the shadows.

Can Logan and Kacie convince the tortured souls to embrace the light and move on, or will the spirits succumb to the hypnotic pull of evil, leading to an eternity of torment and suffering?


About the Author

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. In addition to writing, she works as an editor for two publishers, as well as select indie authors. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and lots of dragons. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, video games, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) Winner of the 2014 Rising Star Award at the BTS Red Carpet Awards in NOLA & a Silver Medal for YA Mystery/Horror in the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.




Author Links:
https://instagram.com/kimberleighwheaton/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/URgwH


Giveaway

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December 10, 2015

A Love Letter to my Readers

Five years ago today I became a published author with the publication of The Weaver.

I suppose technically I was published before that with several short story publications to my name, but my goal was to have a book published, and that goal was realized on December 10, 2010.

I still chuckle at how anti-climactic the moment was. I found The Weaver available on Amazon. I lifted my laptop and spun it in all directions to show off the Amazon page to my family. Then the oven timer beeped and I got up and finished cooking dinner. Yeah, being a published author is just that sexy.

But I’ve had many amazing moments too. The Weaver was a finalist in a couple award contests I entered it in. It received (still receives—bless all you reviewers out there) really positive reviews. And it opened the door for me to step into classrooms. One of my favorite things to do as an author is to be able to visit with readers. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you walk into a room and hear a child whisper reverently, “The author is here!”

Writing has helped me to step outside my mundane life. In order to write believable characters in believable situations, I’ve visited teen transitional housing, received valuable input on anxiety disorders and dealing with suicide, and planned an entire camping trip to research ghost towns.

Five years later I have a dozen published titles and I’ve got the next two in the works. However, I’ve had a rough writing year, battling something more than writer’s block, more like writer’s incentive. For me the act of writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the value of the time put into it. I love to write, but I also want my time to count. Especially for my family. And this year I struggled to define that value. As much as I love school visits, blog visits, Facebook, Twitter, etc, it is time taken from my family life and if in the end it holds little value beyond making me feel good (in other words, doesn't sell more books), then I need to fill that time with more constructive pursuits, like working at a job outside the home. It's important to me to feel I'm contributing, not just leaching from the family dynamic.

I believe I’ve finally found a better balance of the time I put into my writing career and the value I get out of it. Because of that, my mind is free to create again and I can move into the next five years of my writing career with a better idea of the pace I want to set for myself.

If you’re still reading this post, thank you. Really the reason I’m sharing this is for you to know that the authors behind the books you read are real people investing valuable time and self into creating entertainment. In the five years since my first publication my daughter has graduated from college, my son joined the Navy, I lost my mother, my sister started her battle with cancer. Life. Life has happened. All authors experience life while creating new ones for you to enjoy. So when you do enjoy the work they do, take a moment to tell them with a review, a note on their Facebook page, recommending or gifting their book to a friend. Your single message might truly be the value the author needs to invest more time into writing another book.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have given your attention to my work. I look forward to an ongoing relationship filled with fantasy or grit, raw emotion or joy, and all the stories I can make up for you. Thank you for letting me do this with you.

-Kai

December 4, 2015

Cover Reveal - Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here by Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Judith Natelli McLaughlin and revealing the cover for her middle grade novel Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here.

More about Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here


Dear Diary,
E. P. Thompson here.
Worst. Year. Ever. First semester in sixth grade, and my best friend Debbie has dropped me because my boobs aren’t big enough. Well, she didn’t say that exactly, but I just know that’s the reason. Then I got paired with Adam Berry, the biggest pencil-protecting geek of the decade, for the never-ending, semester-long math project. And as if that’s not bad enough, Thomas Maxwell, the cutest boy in my grade, only pays attention to me when I’m making a total fool of myself. Ugh.
Weirdest thing of all: it seems Lucas C. Tanner Middle School has a full-on, bona fide thief! Now all the teachers are going crazy and all the students are too, because Mrs. Peule has promised to make this year a living nightmare until the culprit is caught. We have to find out who is ruining sixth grade. Like, now!
Well, at least the criminal activity has taken the focus off my lack of bra ownership. Sigh.
I have to go. I’ll write again soon. Promise.


More about Judith Natelli McLaughlin



Judith Natelli McLaughlin grew up reading a solid diet of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Shel Silverstein. Her mom was famous for telling her, "You are never alone if you have a book," and her dad, a lover of words, was always reciting poetry to her.
She went on to write, illustrate, and publish her own poetry book,Poems on Fruits and Odes to Veggies—Where Healthy Eating Starts With a Poem. Her other works include a women’s fiction novel titled This Moment and a soon to be released children’s chapter book, Mackenzie Goode Makes A Mistake—A Big One.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband Brian; her three daughters Katie, Lindsay, and Maggie; and her faithful writing companion, a Westie named Duke.



And the the big reveal...