Monday, December 30, 2013

The End of a Series or Just the Beginning?

I'm sitting in my writing group - crying. No, they're not being mean to me - just the opposite actually. This group of woman I've been writing with for quite some time now has been extremely supportive. We bounce ideas of each other, celebrate good news, offer support when we I receive rejections, drink coffee, eat snacks, and of course, write.

So why am I sitting here teary eyed? Well, I just typed "The End" on my latest project - my last Nate Rocks book - Nate Rocks the City.

"Are you sure it's the last?" someone asked.


It's time for me to say goodbye to a good friend - one of my babies. When we first me he was only 10 years old and in fourth grade. Now four books later he's 11 and in fifth grade.

We've been through a lot together - a crazy family, rescuing the earth from impending darkness, dinosaur attacks, a crazed classmate, and most recently ninja pigeons and aliens. He's been a lot of fun to be around and at times he hasn't always behaved, but hey, what can you expect from a tween?

Even though I'm saying goodbye, a part of Nate will always be with me. He's taught me a lot about what it means to be a hero, keeping me laughing and entertained every step of the way.

Thank you Nate for everything. I hope you continue to show kids the one thing I truly intended when I started writing your books: READING ROCKS!

Rock on Nate!

The Final Installment - COMING FEB 2014:


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: A.B. Shepherd

It's been a few weeks since I've done an Author Spotlight, but I couldn't let my good friend A.B. Shepherd's new release pass without having her back on my blog! You may remember her from her 1st release, Lifeboat (which I loved by the way!) Well, now she's got a new book out, a novella, called "The Beacon." I had an opportunity to read it - here's my review:

The Beacon tells the tale of a woman shipwrecked on an island. She finds herself rescued in a home (a lighthouse really), taken care of by a woman who carries her own burdens. Yet, is she real? Are her burdens real? I read The Beacon in one evening - in one sitting actually, and not because of its novella length. I honestly couldn't put it down. Even after I finished, I found myself sitting for an extended period of time thinking "wow." The Beacon reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode - it was intense and awesome.

A.B. Shepherd tells a masterful tale that not only tackles tough topics, but had me questioning dreams from reality long after the story ended.

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This novella contains discussion questions making it ideal for book clubs.

A book that will leave you questioning what you believe.

Shipwrecked on an isolated island...

How far would you go to help a new friend? Would you kill someone?

How do you know what is and isn't real?

When The Beacon beckons safe harbour isn't guaranteed.

Buy link: Amazon

About the Author:
"Never stop dreaming or reading." - A.B. Shepherd
A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia in 2009. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world.
Lifeboat is her debut novel.

Her second book, is a novella titled The Beacon.

If you'd like to learn more about A.B. Shepherd please visit her website at

A.B. loves to hear from readers. Feel free to email her at with your thoughts regarding her books, or anything else that takes your fancy.

You can also connect with her on Twitter @ABHPShepherd and on Facebook at

Thanks for stopping by A.B!


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Sunday, December 1, 2013

So There's This Game Called Football...

photo credit: graphistolage via photopin cc
For the last I don't even know how many years, football season has meant two things -

One: I lose my spouse to football games, and
Two: football makes for great background napping "music" for me.

But something strange happened this year. Oh football season started out just like every other season. My hubby and I took our positions on the couch. He yelled at the television (because as you know - the players could hear him and would of course promptly run faster, catch the ball, throw the ball or do whatever other instruction he was screaming) and I comfortably dozed.

However, somewhere along the way, in between naps, I started becoming  - um - interested. Trust me - I was as surprised as anyone.

photo credit: GioPhotos via photopin cc
It started as little peeks over my laptop as I worked. A question here - a question there. But then I noticed I was only working on the commercials, that I was actually watching... with interest... that football no longer put me to sleep.  Dare I say I even enjoyed watching it?

Okay, okay let's not get ahead of ourselves here. But I will say this - I do find it entertaining, particularly college football (HOLY COW AUBURN!)

I'm still on the fence about the NFL, and I'm definitely NOT at the point of yelling at the TV yet, but looks like I'll have to find another time for my naps. Luckily, I still have basketball season.


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Author Spotlight: Stacey Rourke

Hey Everyone - so you know how there are those few series out there that I can't stop talking about and I practically BEG the authors to write faster? Well, The Gryphon Series, by Stacey Rourke is one of them and GUESS WHAT? Stacey released the fourth book! It's called ASCENSION and I cannot wait to read it! Of course, I will post my review here when I do, but in the meantime, here is a little sneak peak and a giveaway - just for you all (because you know I love you, and I love this series!)


There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.

Best selling award winning author of the Laugh-out Loud Gryphon Series and the nonfiction book I'm Not Crazy I'm on Lupron; a Journey Through Infertility. Learn more about Stacey's books at or If you are a blogger or reviewer interested in reviewing any of Mrs. Rourke's work please contact her publicist Sara O’Connor at info(AT) gliterarygirlmedia(DOT)com


From best selling and award winning author Stacey Rourke comes the heart-pounding continuation of the acclaimed Gryphon Series.

The turning point of the Gryphon saga is at hand …

Battle looms. Three unstoppable forces prepare to clash in a colossal explosion that could wipe Gainesboro off the map. Fate and sacred calling have landed nineteen year old Celeste Garrett in the middle with nowhere to run.

Her trust wavers as she uncovers dark secrets of the Council, powerful enough to test her loyalty and turn her against those she swore to protect. Playing to the longing of her heart, a malevolent enemy uses her weakness against her to form an alliance.

With the trumpets of war about to sound, which side will the Conduit choose, and who will be left standing?


With the release of Ascension comes the newest edition of the entire series, complete with amazing illustrations of these dynamic characters. Here’s a sample:

Illustrator Crystal Ord will be bringing some of your favorite Gryphon Series characters to life!
Crystal Smalls Ord is a freelance illustrator and writer who resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Her art and stories have appeared in the macabre children's lit magazine, Underneath the Juniper Tree. Last year she illustrated her first children's book, Ethan's Story; My Life with Autism which can be found on Her art has also appeared in's musical short, Madamoiselle Noir.
In her free time Crystal plays with her kids, cleans house, teaches music in Sunday School, and lingers in the geekery corner of Pinterest.
Contact her at:

The demonic and fantasy elements of the Conduit’s journey will jump off the page thanks to Robert Immings;

In 2000 Robert Immings graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with a BFA in graphic design. Since then he’s done work in package design, web development and designed training applications and software interfaces. These days he’s a mild-mannered operations technician with an electronic trading firm in Alpharetta Georgia. Earlier this.year he had a chance to enter Sony's "Treasures of Middle Earth" design contest which was a promotion for the hobbit movie. He came in as a runner-up. More recently he had the opportunity to do some sketches and collaborate on the cover for Emily Fogel's wonderful fantasy novel Dragon Wars and created the cover for her soon to be released book "Chasing Flames". Right now he’s excited to be working on a collection of illustrations for Stacey Rourke's Gryphon Series.
He’s always interested in illustration and graphic design projects and can be contacted at

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(Please note - all prizes are to be delivered by the author and not Karen Pokras Toz)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Author Spotlight: Alison DeLuca (COVER REVEAL)

The Author Spotlight has moved once again from it's normal Thursday slot, but with good reason!! I have been waiting (AND WAITING) for this book to come out. I can't even tell you for how long (well I can tell you, because this time last year, I was stuck in the dark thanks to Hurricane Sandy. My friend Alison DeLuca had given me a copy of her novel, Night Watchman Express, a YA Steampunk novel. I thought, Steampunk? What's that? With the wind howling outside, the setting seemed perfect, so I grabbed my flashlight and started reading, and I was HOOKED. When the power came back on, I purchased and devoured the next books in the Crown Phoenix series, only to discover, the series wasn't over - Ack! So I've been waiting a full year... aren't you glad you asked?) - Read my review of her books HERE.

And here it is!! Well sort of - the book isn't officially released just yet (but I'm told will be in just days) But the cover is ready for its GRAND REVEAL!!

Here are a few words from the lovely Alison DeLuca:

"For the last volume of the Crown Phoenix series, Lisa Daly was kind enough to design another cover for me. The book is The South Sea Bubble, and here is the blurb:

An Edwardian hospital hides many secrets:

A mysterious patient lurks in the cellar...
A secret passage leads to danger...
Coded messages reveal new riddles...
Visions of danger haunt the people of Grimstead Manor…

Lizzie and Miriam find horror, adventure, and romance surrounding the strange vessel known as The South Sea Bubble."


And now.... ARE YOU READY???

Here it is....

Cue the cheering!!!

Oh and just in case you didn't get a good look at Simon's eyes....



Monday, October 28, 2013

I Don't Want To Jinx Anything But ....

Do you remember where you were this time last year? What about two years ago? I do - both times - maybe not EXACTLY where I was, but I remember GENERALLY where I was, and it was very different from where I am right now. You know what they say ... don't say you'll jinx it. But I'm saying it. So if you're one of those superstitious types, close this blog post. Otherwise, keep reading.

photo credit: taivasalla via photopin cc
Two years ago, we were sadly saying goodbye to my grandmother who was in her mid-90's and had passed away. The crazy part of it all, was that it was in the middle of a BLIZZARD and a POWER OUTAGE. She was a remarkable woman. I'm pretty sure was in cahoots with Mother Nature so as to make her exit a memorable one, and it certainly was. Miss you and love you, Grandma! xoxoxo

But the strangeness of October weather doesn't end there. As if a BLIZZARD in October wasn't enough, last year at this time we had to deal with a HURRICANE! Hurricane Sandy to be exact. We got lucky with only a tiny bit of damage to a fence, but we did lose power for ten long days. I know many are still dealing with the aftermath and breathing a sigh of relief that hurricane season seems to have spared us this year (there I go jinxing us again - I'm sorry!!)

photo credit: The Uprooted Photographer via photopin cc

But seriously - I'm grateful for this calm, fall like-weather, and hoping that whatever we did to upset Mother Nature has been forgiven.

Dear Mother Nature -  Since you are being kind and all - - I'd appreciate a nice mild winter, also. Too much? Okay. I'm going now....

Friday, October 25, 2013

Author Spotlight - Halloween Edition: Lucian Barnes

Hey Everyone. Yes - I know I'm a day late on the Author Spotlight and yes, I know it's not Halloween yet, but my pal Lucian Barnes asked me to help him out with a cover reveal today and you know how much I LOVE cover reveals... you also know I'm a big WIMP (well maybe you don't know that part, but I am). I have to admit right up front that Lucian's books are SCARY and perfect for HALLOWEEN.  So ... I'm going to be brave and post his very cool cover here....

Pretty awesome (and creepy!)

Here's more about Destined for Darkness:

Frank Mancini had suffered with his abusive mother for many years, until the day that he snapped. After telling his friend, Johnny, about the incident, his friend encouraged him to leave Misty Hollows. Taking his advice, Frank journeyed across the country to California hoping for a fresh start.

Shortly after his arrival, he met a beautiful woman. He was determined to hide his dark past from her, especially after finding out that she was a psychic, able to see both the past and the future of anyone she came into contact with. He managed to hide his secrets from her until several years after they'd gotten married and started a family. Fearing that she would turn him in to the police, he killed her. Not realizing that his son, George, witnessed this act, Frank decided to take him back to Misty Hollows.

How would the memory of his mother's death effect young George? Would he follow in his father's footsteps? Journey through the years, from infancy to adulthood, with George to see if he can resist the inner darkness!

And an Excerpt: (Don't mind me, I'm going to keep my eyes shut for this part...)

"Where exactly is ..." Frank's question trailed off unfinished as he noticed the small stone structure. The man was standing by a sturdy-looking wooden door. As Frank approached, he could see an intricate carving—which almost seemed to be burned into the wood—depicting a strange symbol he'd never seen. It was a five-pointed star with the image of what appeared to be the head of a goat inside. Two circles surrounded this odd emblem, one touching the points of the star, the other was larger. There were more markings between the two circles, each one near a point of the star.
The man pulled the heavy door open and beckoned Frank to come inside. The interior of the building was dimly lit by two iron candelabras hanging from the vaulted ceiling by long chains, giving the chamber an ancient feel as if it belonged somewhere in the middle ages. When the man closed the door to the outside it added to this effect.
"This way, please," he said as he went to a nearly solid metal gate. It creaked open and revealed a stone staircase leading into the ground. Torches flickered at intervals along the way, casting their shadows in a way that made them look like they belonged to something inhuman.
Frank wondered where he was being led. This didn't seem like a place Candice was likely to hang out, and the further down the stairs he went the more he had the urge to turn around and run. Their footfalls continued to echo eerily in the passage until they finally reached a large chamber at the bottom.
Torches blazed all around the outer edge of the enormous room. Hanging on the far wall was another rendition of the symbol from the door leading outside, only this one was much bigger. So large, in fact, that it took up almost the entire wall. In front of the huge tapestry bearing this emblem was a bald man wearing a black robe, standing behind what appeared to be some sort of church-like altar draped with a blood red cloth.
As the two of them crossed the chamber, the bald man regarded them with furrowed brows. "Brother. Who is the outsider you have brought here?" he asked in a booming voice.
"I didn't catch his name, but I found him in the woods. He was asking about your daughter."

Connect with Lucian Online:

Thanks Lucian! Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Day Facebook Died

8:26 a.m. The last of my three kids were on the school bus. I opened my laptop, ready to start my day with a killer Facebook status and typed in the following:

"Dishes done (mostly), laundry folded (mostly), and kids on bus (definitely). Time to take off mom hat and put on writer hat."

I clicked "post" and got ...

  WHAT? I tried again ... and again ... Then I tried to post it from my phone because clearly my laptop was just acting up and guess what I got...

EXCUSE ME? But how would I let the world know what I was up to? Even more important - how would I know what the rest of the world was up to?? I immediately went to my news feed. As I suspected, my last bit of "news" was over an hour ago. The cold sweat began to take over, followed by the tremors. I began to google: "Can't post on Facebook" followed by "Facebook broken". Nothing recent came up.

Could it be? Was Facebook .... DEAD? How would I get through my day? HOW? Just then I did something unheard of. I clicked on the little "x" in the corner. Yes, folks, I shut down Facebook. Not only that - I finished folding the laundry (*GASP*) Then, I returned to my computer and cleaned up a chapter I had started writing over the weekend for my next Nate Rocks book involving aliens and the Statue of Liberty (yes - you read that correctly). I even caught up on some old emails.

What I'm trying to say is, I actually got some productive work done!!!

I did eventually log back on, and I'm happy to report, everything is back in working order in Facebook land. However, it seems that I was not the only one who noticed the little snafu this morning...

Here are some of the posts in my feed:

"The ever-fickle FB won't let me comment or like anyone's posts.... "

"Facebook checked out on all of us this morning and we are trying to hobble along as best as we can."

"I get an error every time I try to like a status. Thanks Facebook!"

...and the list (or status updates) goes on ...

I can only imagine what the world will be like if Facebook ever really does die! I mean - how will I tell the world what I'm eating for lunch?


Kindle:  Nook:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author Spotlight: J.R. Simmons - Teen Read Week Blog Hop

This week, I'm thrilled to bring you an Author Spotlight that is also part of the Global Teen Read Week - Inspiring Teens Blog Hop. Authors Vickie Johnstone & Greta Burroughs have set up an AMAZING week of authors and giveaways and writing challenges to get your teens reading!! You can get the full schedule of events here and today, I'm excited to introduce you to J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong, who not only has an interview for you, but also a GIVEAWAY down below.

Welcome J.R.! Why do you think Teen Read Week is important?

Encouraging kids to read and expand their minds prepares them for the future. It shows them that anything is possible and helps train their minds to think outside of the box.

How do you think we could encourage youngsters to read more?

Get them easier access to books. More effective advertising. A lot of our time is spent advertising in places where kids usually don't frequent. Most children I know spend their time online looking for toys, videogames, or other things that appeal to them, so though advertising in blogs and Goodreads might reach a few, it won't reach many. If we are able to show them cool books in schools or other places that they frequent, then we might spark their interest a little more.

When you were a teenager what books did you like to read and did you have an all-time favorite character?

I loved fantasy. I was especially partial to David Eddings. I also enjoyed reading John Grisham.

Were you writing as a teenager? If so, what were you writing and what inspired you? Did a person inspire you to write?

No, I didn't start taking writing seriously until I was an adult.

Do you think today’s teens are in a better position if they want to be a writer than you were all those years ago?

Yes, the internet and Youtube provide countless tutorials and guides to help with the writing process.

What advice would you give a youngster who enjoys writing?

Do not get overwhelmed by the process. Break each bigger step into smaller steps and work your way through to the end. Do not give up!

What is your latest book about?

It is book two in the Ragesong series. It continues Jake and Sam's adventures in Fermicia as they attempt to start an uprising to combat Brael's growing power.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I am about to take on a writing project with other local authors. We will be creating a series of novellas about some mythological Guardians of Atlantis. I will be writing the part of the antagonist.

What do you love about being an author?

Seeing how my mind continues to expand as I constantly come up with new ideas. Reading the positive feedback that comes from people who sincerely enjoy reading what I write.


When the peaceful kingdom of Fermicia is enslaved by a power-hungry renegade, its only hope lies in a band of unlikely heroes: two children whose musical abilities allow them to harness the power of Ragesong, and their shape-changing guides.

Jake starts his first day of junior high completely oblivious to the fact that he has been chosen for something incredible. That same afternoon, he learns that he has been marked as one with the power to save an entire kingdom. Through the course of his journey, Jake discovers that his advanced musical abilities are peculiarly connected to a mysterious power known as Ragesong. Joined by a shy, young girl with similar musical talents and two Changelings that hold a fierce loyalty to their homeland and king, Jake must learn to harness this ability in order to survive the dangers of a hostile new world.

Amazon US -

Amazon UK -

Barnes and Noble -

iTunes (through iBook App)

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(Delivery of all prizes is the sole responsibility of author JR Simmons and not Karen Pokras Toz)


JR Simmons lives in Northern Utah with his wife and 4 boys. He loves spending time with his family and coaching his kids in all their different sports. He is an avid gamer and is very excited that his boys are picking up on his hobby. JR was recently introduced to triathlons and has since found that he loves the sport. Most nights he can be found either sitting down with a good game or hunched over his iPad writing.

Goodreads -
Twitter - @jrsimmons_3
Facebook –
Website –



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Kirke

Hey Everyone - I think I have found a new addiction ... COVER REVEALS!!! Yup - I'm back for another one - third week in a row!! This one is kind of special because it's a cover RE-REVEAL. It's for my friend Elizabeth Kirke's book Semester Aboard from her best selling series More than Magic...

Here's some more info curtesy of Elizabeth and there's a giveaway at the end too! Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth!!

Semester Aboard, the first book in the YA urban fantasy series More than Magic series has a brand new cover! If you haven't read Semester Aboard yet, here's a quick summary and a little peek for you!
College student Jen Maddox is a few days into her summer study abroad program and has loved every moment. She just left Mexico and is back on her cruise ship campus, ready to sail to Panama. Everyone tells her that the experience will change her life, but none of them realize just how right they really are.
One night Jen goes out on deck and encounters five other students. She knows Charlie from one of her classes and he's a funny, friendly, regular guy. Picture-perfect Dani and his gorgeous wife Mariana live right down the hall from Jen. And she has seen TS, who's built like a truck, around the ship and recognizes the cute, but quiet Thomas as well.
Then Jen sees something that isn't humanly possible. Jen would have thought that it was all a dream, if not for the fact that Charlie, Dani, Mariana, TS, and Thomas are making every effort to cover it up. Suddenly, the five of them are everything but normal and Jen is determined to figure out what they're hiding.
When she does, her life really does change. Jen expected to spend her summer studying the cultures of Latin America, she never dreamed she'd learn about a magical culture instead.
But Jen's childhood fantasy come true is about to turn into a nightmare; there's something on the ship. Something dangerous. Suddenly, everyone on board is threatened by a creature that Jen never even believed existed. Jen and her new friends might be the only people who can stop it! Now Jen has to learn everything she can about her new world before it kills her. And her friends. And maybe everyone on the entire ship!

The More than Magic series is written by Elizabeth Kirke.

Sneak Peek:
  It started raining early in the afternoon and was a bad storm by the time I went to bed.  I woke up in the middle of the night and stumbled over to our bathroom, feeling awful.  A bit of quality time bent over the toilet didn’t help at all and I decided to try for some fresh air.  I pulled a sweater on over my pajamas, hung my ID card strap around my neck, and slipped out of the room.  I made my way down the corridor to the door that led outside.  For the first time since getting on the ship I had to keep one hand on the railing.  The halls were well lit, even though it was the middle of the night, and it was almost disconcerting to step outside into the darkness.  But the moment the cool, damp wind hit my face I felt better.  I hadn’t been seasick since our first night, but sometimes I felt nauseous if I stayed in our room too long.  Being out on the deck always helped.
    I had assumed that I’d be the only one crazy enough to go out in the rain in the middle of the night, but to my surprise I wasn’t.  There were people on the other side of the deck.  It was too dark to see them well, but the lights from the deck above us illuminated them a little.  One of them was Charlie.  He was standing under the overhang where Deck Five extended out above Deck Four.  He was just wearing a t-shirt and jeans and I shivered in sympathy.  A guy I recognized, not surprising since we all lived on a ship, was sitting on the bottom steps of the outdoor stairway that led to Deck Five.  He was probably a football player back home or something.  He had shaggy, dark brown hair and a fairly large nose.  I’d heard a few girls giggling about him, but I didn’t think he was that good looking.  I wasn’t sure what his name was.  Another guy was sitting in a chair, probably pilfered from Deck Five, with his back to me and his feet up on the rails.  Mariana was near him, wearing only a bikini top and a short skirt.  I couldn't believe she wasn't cold.
    "I didn’t scream!" she said.
    "You totally did!  You freaked out!" Dani laughed.
    It had been too dark to notice Dani until he spoke.  My jaw dropped in shock.  Dani was sitting on the railing of the ship.  Messing around on the rails was one of the first things they’d told us not to do when we got on board.  Even sitting on them in the middle of a calm day was suicidal at best.  But to sit there in the middle of a stormy night was nothing short of a death wish.
    "I was not!" Mariana cried.
    "You were all like, 'Oh, Danio, save me Danio!'"
    "Well, I...I-don’t be such a jerk!"
    As Mariana spoke she spun to face Dani and shoved him hard.  Dani’s laugh turned into a yell of surprise and he tumbled backward off of the railing!  I gasped in horror.  Every second now was critical.  If someone went overboard we were supposed to immediately throw them a life preserver and then run and tell a crew member.  But not a single one of them did anything!  The one in the chair uncrossed his legs and recrossed them with a different one on top.  The guy on the stairs threw back his head and laughed!  Charlie quickly stuck his head over the railing and then pulled back and shivered.  It was as if Dani hadn't gone overboard at all.
    "Oh my god!" I gasped.  They must have been in shock.  That was the only reason they weren't rushing to save Dani.  I ran across the deck, at the very least, I could throw the life preserver in and hope he was still alive to use it.
    They all jerked around to look at me.  They acted more surprised to see me than they were about Dani falling overboard.  Mariana gasped and backed against the rail.  Charlie stepped to the edge of the overhang and Football Guy jumped off of the stairs to his feet.  The guy in the chair was on his feet in an instant.  I hardly even saw him move; one second he was sitting and the next he was up.  He stepped in front of the others, almost protectively.
    "That's Jennifer."  Charlie spoke softly like he didn't want me to hear, but the wind carried his words right to me.  "She's in one of my classes."
    The guy in front smiled.  "You're up late."
    They were acting like nothing had happened!  This was insane!
    "What's the matter with you?" I cried.  "We have to do something!"
    "Do something?"  He almost looked genuinely confused.  "About what?"
    "She just..." I gestured to Mariana.  "She just pushed Dani overboard!"
    He had the audacity to laugh.  "It's raining, you know.  And dark.  You're mistaken."
Hungry for more? Find the first four chapters on Elizabeth's blog...
And now, what you came for, the new cover!
In addition to the new cover, courtesy of the amazing Strong Image Editing, a bonus chapter, from a different POV as been added to Semester Aboard, along with a glossary! It has also been edited one more time, just for good measure! It's available from Amazon and Smashwords!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Author Spotlight & Cover Reveal: Emily Fogle

Hey everyone - I had so much fun doing last week's cover reveal, I decided to do another one and a day early this week! This time it's for my good friend, Emily Fogle. She has a new YA book coming out called Chasing Flames. (By the way - if you haven't read her middle grade book DRAGON WARS, I highly recommend it - check out my review on AMAZON ) .... Now on to the cover reveal!

Title: Chasing Flames
Author : Emily Fogle
Genre: YA Paranormal
Audience: 13 and up
Paperback and E-book
Anchor Group
By: Robert Immings
Pages: 169 pages
Date of Publishing:      Oct 31, 2013

About Chasing Flames-
Aydah Bell was happy in her normalcy; she was never the class clown or the sports
hero, never the beauty queen or little Ms. Honor Student. One day, after a
pointless family mini-vacation, Aydah returns to school and finds that her
sheltered little world has turned upside-down. Besides the fact that she is
beginning to crave raw meat, people are also disappearing.

Suddenly, an alarming disappearance in the quiet and serene city she calls home puts the
whole town into high-alert. One of Aydah’s schoolmates vanishes during the
weekend and is conveniently replaced by a newcomer. To Aydah’s surprise, the
new boy is the completely beautiful and oh-so mysterious Liam Bailey.
Aydah finds herself drawn to Liam. He consumes her thoughts and she aches to be with
him. In the mix of passion, jealousy, and hatred that follows, Aydah is too distracted to see the horrible fate headed straight for her.

Book Links-

About the Author –
Emily Fogle was born and raised in Southern
California. Her dream and ultimate goal was to get her Masters degree in English and become a teacher with enough time to write, as well. However, she soon found out that the best dreams often come true when they aren’t planned.
Instead of fulfilling her teaching goal, real life took over and she married the man of her dreams. She now has an amazing 7 year old son and another beautiful baby boy on the way.

She dedicates the majority of her time taking
care of her family, volunteering at her son’s school, and being a Cub Scout Den leader. And though she loves every minute of it, the thought of being a writer still tugs at her heart. So, after the busy days are done and everyone is finally sleeping quietly, she squeezes in time for all the other loves in her life: the characters running wild inside her head.
     Now, incredibly, her writing dream is also coming true.  Emily feels sincerely blessed to have been given so much in life and can’t wait to start the next chapter.

Media Links –


Kindle:  Nook:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: Rachel Tsoumbakos

Hi everyone! Today in the Author Spotlight, we're doing something a little different! That's because my friend, Rachel Tsoumbakos, has a new book coming out this December, and she can't wait to show off the cover! I think cover reveals are so fun, don't you? Are you excited to see it? Well let me tell you a little about Rachel and her book first, because it sounds very cool.


Rachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two. Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and seven chickens in suburban Melbourne, Australia. While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for Suite 101 and True Blood Net. In between writing novels, Rachel also runs a successful copy-writing and formatting business.

Emeline and the Mutants is her first published novel and available on Amazon: A new novel, The Ring of Lost Souls, set in an abandoned mental institute on the outskirts of Melbourne, is also available on Amazon:

Her current work in progress, Unremembered Things, is an edgy paranormal trilogy about a woman who is in charge of saving the world even though she suffers from amnesia. Make sure you follow her blog at for more information.

Her newest endeavour is Zombie Apocalypse Now! This is a zombie apocalypse serial written entirely from a female perspective – and these gals know how to kick some butt!

Follow Rachel:







One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them.

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her very existence and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…

When Indiana wakes with no memory of her past life and a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell!

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from her past life? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up repressed magic.

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself.

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy and forbidden romance.

Are you ready to see the cover??


Add Unremembered Things to your GoodReads "To-Read" list now:

Purchase Rachel's Other Books:

Emeline and the Mutants

Angus & Robertson:

The Ring of Lost Souls

iTunes: https//
Angus & Robertson:

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Sanitarium Magazine (Parts 1-10):

Thanks Rachel!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Celebrating Womanhood: The Power of Friends

Every year has its ups and downs, and while this year isn't over yet, I can honestly say that this year in particular had some very extreme ups and some very extreme downs. My "downs" were something I would not wish upon anyone and never want to re-live.

The situation was something I really didn't think I would get through ... but I did, thanks to the amazing women in my life. That's not to say I didn't have supportive men in my life as well, because I did, but there's something about women. Something I really didn't understand about women until this year: Women get women. I don't know how else to describe it. We get the emotion and the passion and the day to day stuff that we all go through - and we seem to have our own "spidey sense" when someone we love needs us - and we do what we need to do to help that person.

Living, Learning, and Loving Life

Of course there is family, and I appreciate everything my family does for me - they go above and beyond. However, the woman I'm talking about today are not relatives. They have no blood or other familial obligation to help in a time of need. Their support is purely friendship driven.

I never felt like I had a lot of girlfriends before - this year showed me just how wrong I was, and I am very blessed by the amazing women friends both near and far who are a part of my life.

These women picked me up, took me out, checked on me incessantly, ignored their own families - texting, calling, visiting, emailing, and doing everything in their power to make sure I was okay and got through each day in my darkest moments. They held my hand, lent me their shoulder and ear, and supported my decisions. They never once judged or questioned me. They only gave me love.

To these amazing women that I am so lucky to call friends: You know who you are - I love you with all of my heart, and I am eternally grateful. I would do the same for you any day. I celebrate you!

Women Rock!

Visit Living, Learning, and Loving Life for more Celebrating Womanhood posts and thank you for being part of this great event!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Susan Berliner

Hey everyone! The Author Spotlight is back this week with an author who is not only new to you (maybe), but is also new to me - which I LOVE! New (to me) author = more BOOKS for me to read! YAY :)  So... today I would like to introduce us all to Susan Berliner. Susan is someone I met through a family member, and she was kind enough to let me interview her.

 Usually I start my interviews by asking the author to tell us about their newest release, but since Susan is a new author to me, I want to start by learning more about Susan, the author - so let's start there...


Susan Berliner has been a nonfiction writer for nearly her entire career. She had originally planned to be an elementary school teacher, but left after a year to become a newspaper reporter for Fairchild Publications. She covered men's retailing for Daily News Record, a men's wear/textile trade newspaper, which was the "brother" paper of Women's Wear Daily.

After Susan's children were born, she switched to freelance writing—mainly in education—publishing book series dealing with editing skills, language arts, and standardized testing. She also created teachers' guides, student activity sheets, and test passages. During this time, Susan was the project editor for a national science magazine for elementary school students and edited subject-related manuscripts for children in grades 7 and 8. In addition, she freelanced as a local reporter, covering board meetings for the North County News, a weekly newspaper in Yorktown Heights, New York.

When she returned to work full-time, Susan became the promotion manager for the Yorktown PennySaver, a job she held for 20 years. She created many original weekly contests including Phony Ad, Rhyme Time, and PennySaver Prophet.

After leaving the Pennysaver, Susan became a novelist. She is the author of three supernatural thrillers: DUST, Peachwood Lake, and The Disappearance.

Susan lives with her husband, Larry, in Yorktown Heights, where she is writing her fifth novel. Her website is

Welcome Susan! Tell us more about The Disappearance.

The Disappearance is a time travel thriller about a young woman, Jillian Keating, who is arrested for the murder of her missing boyfriend, Ryan Cornell. She discovers that Ryan has framed her and escaped into the past via a hidden time travel portal. Jillian first has to figure out why he hates her and then has to find Ryan and bring him back to the present. The solution involves an elaborate sting operation plus a trip through time.

Sounds exciting! What inspired you to write this book?

Since I've always loved reading time travel stories, I thought it would be fun to write my own. Time travel is a wonderful genre: Since it doesn't exist, you can be as creative as you want. People can travel through time in various ways—chairs, portals, dreams—and they can travel back to the past or forward to the future. And when they're in the "wrong" time, the rules can be whatever you want them to be.

I enjoy time travel stories as well. This one sounds great. What is the next story you'll be working on?

I'm writing my fifth novel, The Touchers, a doomsday story, also one of my favorite topics. It's told in the first person by Erin, a teenage girl. My version of the world's downfall doesn't involve a common form of annihilation—alien attack, meteor, nuclear explosion, or deadly disease. I won't give away my method of mass destruction, but I will say that it starts with bubbles. I thought I had finished the first draft, but my characters insisted they weren't done so now I'm writing Part Two. After I finish the first draft, I'll edit my fourth novel, Corsonia, which deals with mind control, another of my favorite fictional themes. In this book, two New York teen girls on a cross-country vacation stumble across a very strange town in the remote hills of northeastern Nevada.

You have a lot going on! When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I've been a writer for my entire adult life, working as a newspaper reporter, editor, educational writer, and promotion manager. But I became a novelist after I read a small article about a strange weather phenomenon called "dust devils," miniature tornados strong enough to toss dust and dirt into the air. In the news clip that inspired me, a dust devil lifted the roof off an auto body shop, collapsing most of the building, and killing the owner. Since the story was so weird—and it happened in Maine—I was sure Stephen King would write a book about some kind of supernatural dust. I put the article aside and forgot about it. When I found the story a few years later, I realized Stephen King had never written a novel about weird dust. But suddenly I had an idea, which turned out to be the basis for my first novel,

Stephen King missed out! Any advice to aspiring writers?

My advice is to treat writing as a job—something you have to do. Get into a writing routine and force yourself to work for a certain amount of time every day. That's what I do. Even if I don't feel like working, I close the door to my den, concentrate, and write. And it doesn't have to be for a long period of time. Set aside an hour, half an hour, or even fifteen minutes. There's always time to write. You just have to make up your mind to do it!

I couldn't agree more! Who is one of your favorite characters that you have written? 

I have two favorite characters: Monique in Peachwood Lake and Cheri in The Disappearance. They're both likeable young woman who support my protagonists.
Monique Atchison is a sassy African-American reporter for a trashy newspaper called Weird World Weekly. She provides female counseling for Kady, the lonely—and motherless—13-year-old main character. Monique is smart, hip, and fun—everything Kady wants to be.
Cheri Orchid (nee Anna Maria Buonoverduccio) is an exotic dancer, a "bad" girl with a kind heart who befriends Jillian, the naive heroine whose missing boyfriend has framed her for his murder and then disappeared. Cheri takes a genuine interest in Jillian's situation and is glad to help when she's needed.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love sports, especially baseball, football, and college basketball. I'm not athletic so I never played ball, just always enjoyed watching talented athletes. I'm even in a fantasy baseball league. Unfortunately, my favorite teams are the Mets, Jets, and St. John's. Enough said!

Met? Jets? That's it - we can no longer continue this interview... Kidding! On to the important stuff: Coffee or Tea?

I was born in London, England so it's not surprising that I've always loved tea. My parents used to brew Earl Grey on weekends. I never drink coffee, just tea.

Hmm... I don't think I've ever had an author here on the Author Spotlight who didn't drink coffee. I enjoy Earl Grey tea as well .. and coffee ; )  Next question. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I'd want the ability to time travel. On the TV series, "Heroes," the aptly named character, Hiro, was able to travel into the past or future, even stopping time so only he was able to move. I think that would be an awesome ability, with the potential to be a real hero—transport to the past to prevent atrocities (murders, wars, accidents) or step into the future to see what's ahead and then try to change any upcoming disasters.

After the answer to your first question, I sort of had a feeling that would be your super power. Do you have anything additional you want to share with the readers?

My three novels—DUST, Peachwood Lake, and The Disappearance—are all fast-paced thrillers with touches of the supernatural. They're fun reads for women, men, and teens.

My website,, which is updated frequently, contains descriptions and reviews of each books, videos of recent TV appearances, blogs (I post twice a week on writing-related topics), upcoming events and photos, and creative contests.

Where can people find you and your books online?

You can buy The Disappearance, Peachwood Lake, and DUST online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The novels are also available as e-books for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers. The direct online links are on my website's "Order" page:

I'm active on Facebook with a group page and individual pages for each novel. Here are the links:


When Jillian Keating is arrested for the murder of her missing boyfriend, Ryan Cornell, she has two immediate questions: Why did he frame her—and where is he hiding?

Using her own ingenuity, plus the help of a resourceful lady lawyer and a dashing young private investigator, Jillian discovers the surprising—and disturbing—answers. Her boyfriend is not what he appears to be. The real Ryan, consumed with hate, has devised an ingenious scheme to destroy her while he escapes into the past via a hidden time travel portal. But even knowing all this, Jillian is left with a more difficult question: How can she capture Ryan and bring him back?

Filled with memorable characters, bizarre twists, and riveting suspense, The Disappearance culminates with an elaborate sting operation as Jillian and her friends travel through time to lure Ryan into their clever trap. If they succeed, she will go free. But if they fail, Jillian will surely face murder charges for the death of Ryan Cornell.





Kindle ( & Nook (

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