Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Release: Strong as Death and Cover Reveal for Awaken from Death by M.S. Kaye

Dear Alison,

Guess what today is...Strong as Death, Born from Death book one, a dark young adult paranormal romance by M.S. Kaye with Inkspell Publishing releases today. Yep, another Inkspell-er and this book, Alison, this book, this series looks amazing--like edge of your seat, "holy shit this book is awesome" amazing. I can't wait to order my copy.  

Strong as Death

Born from Death book one by M.S. Kaye
 cover art StrongAsDeath.v6

Ilona discovers what it means to have a mother who is a modern woman and a father who is a 19th-century gentleman ghost.
 After being hit by a car and taken to the hospital, Ilona starts to realize she’s different from other people, and that her mother has hidden the truth from her. She sneaks out of the hospital in order to discover the truth. A mysterious boy named Archer guides her through Brooklyn and introduces her to Hendrick, the man who claims to be her father—though he died in 1890. Ilona must discover not only what she must do to rid the city of Soll, a sadistic and powerful spirit, but also what it means to be half ghost. She proves what her mother told her—love is stronger than death.
Amazon   |   Kobo 
Add to your to your to-read on Goodreads.
Release date 7/28/16 from Inkspell Publishing.

After you've read Strong as Death, you're going to want more, so much more. Well, you won't have to wait long. Awaken from Death, Born From Death book 2 releases October 15, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing. (Big day for me--October 15, is my birthday and And Then He's one year book birthday. I expect cake.) 

Here's the cover...


Awaken from Death, Born From Death book 2
Will be released 10/15/16 from Inkspell Publishing.

 The truth of an ancient connection threatens to destroy Ilona and Archer. As they struggle to understand, Lettie discovers, or rather remembers, their history, as well as the punishment Archer bore as a result. She comes to accept Archer will never leave Ilona, but will that cause his destruction?

Najla Qamber blows my mind with her coversAs for Strong as Death, here's the book blurb...

Excerpt from Strong as Death Book 1: Another twenty yards and she’d be out of the darkness of the trees and almost to the sidewalk, within reach of the light from the streetlamps. A figure stepped out from behind a large oak, directly into Ilona’s path. Ilona stopped and searched for a way around. “What are you doing?” a rough voice growled. Ilona recognized it immediately, even before she registered Archer’s face. “It’s none of your business what I’m doing,” she said. He moved closer. “You’re making it goddamned impossible to protect you.” “You can’t protect me.” His jaw tightened, and he glared. “What in the hell do you think I’ve been doing?” “I’m honestly not sure.” His voice rose. “You’d be lying frozen dead in a gutter right now if it wasn’t for me. You saw what happened in the shelter—you’d have been attacked by now if I hadn’t been around.” Her tone was quiet, calm. “I know how you scared them away.” “I told you I have a talent for creating fear. It comes in useful.” “But you don’t like it.” He said nothing. “And I know you’ve been around,” she said. He raised his eyebrows as if she was being slow. “Before you asked me if I was lost,” she said. “You were there—when the car hit me.” His expression sobered. She waited for a response. Finally, he said, “I’ve been around.” “Will you answer one question? And be honest?” “I give as much honesty as I can.” Her lips curved a little. That was perhaps the most honest response he had yet given. She moved closer, and he backed away. “No,” she said. He stopped. “When you turned the corner and asked if I was lost,” she said, “you leaned your shoulder on the wall. How did you do that?” His eyebrows pulled together. “You’re really good at it,” she said. “It took me awhile to realize you never actually touch anything, that you stay out of the light, that you don’t get cold, your breath doesn’t come out in puffs in the cold like everyone else’s, you never let anyone close, near enough to realize you have no scent, to feel the static when you get too close.” He took a step back, as if in self-defense. “Don’t try to lie anymore,” she said. “I know what you are.”


Author Bio: M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.
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Be sure to share the writer love about Strong as Death and Awaken from Death by M.S. Kaye. 


On September 5th, I get to reveal the cover for Starr Fall, Book One, from my Young Adult Romance series with Inkspell. I can't wait to share the cover with the WORLD, the world I tell you!

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Writing Recharge: Postcard from Ocean City

Dear Alison,

Summer fun.
Summer sun.
Summer ain't done.

(I know--it's really quite amazing I haven't pursued a career in poetry.)

Every year, my family of five joins my parents, my brother's family, and many, many cousins, aunts and uncles for a week in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Imagine five beach chairs on a patch of sand. Times it by five. Add beach carts, umbrellas, wading pools, buckets and shovels, sunblock, sunglasses, boogie boards, skim boards, and five coolers.

Our beach footprint rivals that of a small country.

We laugh. We swim. We board. We laugh some more. And when we're not at the beach, we eat donuts. Dots Donuts on 32 and Asbury Ave. has the best cream donuts in the entire world. We eat sticky buns. Mallons on 13th and Bay Ave produces the most delicious sticky buns in the entire world. We eat fudge. We eat chocolate covered macaroons (Yes, they are as good as they sound.) For the record, calories don't count when salt water's within a five block radius.

But even if the calories did count, we bike every morning, walk the boardwalk every night, miniature golf, plus get tackled by waves all day.

I almost forgot about the jaw muscle workout from eating all those baked goods--don't forget that workout.

One thing I didn't do this year was write. I don't normally allow myself so much time away from my WIP, but this year, I needed a true writing recharge--after seven months of solid writing time I needed a little break.

And my writing recharge worked. I woke up early this morning renewed and ready to finish Starr Gone, Book Three. I can't wait to get back to it, so I'll say goodbye for now, but not without leaving you with a postcard from Ocean City.

Can you sense the writing recharging?

Here I am with my oldest and dearest friend, Nif. Our dads became best friends when they were eight or nine. They are family to us and we spend a week every year with them at the shore. Many years ago in Ocean City, during one of our long walks I whispered to Nif that I wanted to be a writer. She didn't laugh. She didn't judge. She's been my biggest fan. I love her. Ocean City not only recharges my writing life but brings me closest to the ones I love the most.

So my friends, where do you recharge your writing batteries?

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Recommendation and #Giveaway: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Dear Kim,

This book.
This book.
This book.

If I Was Your Girl is an exceptional example of fiction for teens, really for anyone, at anytime, anywhere.

You need this book.
Buy the book here OR enter the giveaway below.
It took me two long months to eek out the right words to review If I Was Your Girl.
In that time I've...

Read the book,
Listened to the audio version (brilliant),
Lurked #GayYABookClub (it was the May pick),
Told everyone I speak to about it (*waves to Phil from Tractor Supply*) ,
And, oh yeah,

Let's start with that.

How did you handle meeting Meredith Russo, you might ask.

I was totally cool.
Like as a cucumber.
Like not at all a blubbering, um-um-um-um fool.

In my See You at ALA post last month I mentioned a number of sessions that I was hyped to check out. I started the conference at the PopTop Stage with It's Not Just a G Thing. The session featured e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Alex Gino, Robin Stevenson, E.M. Kokie, and moderator Ingrid Abrams. I got there early to snag a seat near the front. I had 5 pages left of my on-the-plane-book and settled in to finish Everything Leads to You.

One thing (and there are many) that I love about being around librarians is that no one faults you for being anti-social with your nose in a book. DreamLife! I swallowed the book in one gulp and let out a whimper on the last word. Of course I looked around to see if anyone had heard and I saw Meredith. Anti-social time was over.

Leaving my seat, I did some quick self talk.

You've got this.
Just go over and say, I loved your book.
Or maybe, hey?
Or hi.

Suddenly I was there, in front of her and before I could say any of the hopeless things I had practiced she said, "Hey."

Then I don't know what I said. I kind of blanked. But she said, "Why don't you come sit over here?"

I hesitated. "Really?" I said not wanting to intrude.
"Of course. I'm a real person," she said.

And we talked. I think I might have told her my favorite part of If I Was Your Girl was the scene with her dad playing baseball? Which isn't true. I like that scene, but it wasn't my favorite. Now I have the chance to tell you my favorite scene. Well, now I have the chance to tell you everything that I loved about this book, including my favorite scene.

From page one, Russo gave us a hero to love, and that is not an easy task. We are at the same time washed into the THEN of our character, the heartbreak we feel for her is real and with this knowledge we jump to the NOW. And boy do we jump cautiously. But it is cautiously optimistic, and that is what makes this great YA.

Amanda Hardy leaves behind her mother and the traumas of her old school in hopes to finish high school conflict-free. But two problems sit on the surface of her everyday. First, the father that she lost touch with is now the same person she will share a cramped apartment in her new life. And two, Amanda has a secret which she feels she must protect in order to make it out of Lambertville, Tennessee alive.

Russo created an easily relatable character based on just the information above.
Fitting into a new environment. Check.
Mending strained relationships Check.
Self preservation. Check.
While for many, Amanda's trans experience might not resonate, there are more than a million other ways to connect with this character (and others in the story.)

I believe Russo created Amanda with vast purpose. She is trans, yes. But the author, it seems, purposefully kept Amanda's experience narrow. In Russo's beautifully written author's note she explains,

"...I'm worried that you might take Amanda's story as gospel, especially since it came from a trans woman. This prospect terrifies me, actually! I am a storyteller, not an educator. I have taken liberties with what I know reality to be... I have, in some ways, cleaved to stereotypes and even bent rules to make Amanda's trans-ness as unchallenging to normative assumptions as possible."

Russo's debut YA screams with hope for our teens. Crafted so Amanda's story (or Layla's story, or Chloe's story, or Bee's story) will resonate with so many is the reason If I Was Your Girl works. Yes, the story centers on Amanda's secret. Though I would suggest, if we didn't care about Amanda, if Russo hadn't made her so damn substantial, then the story would hit just one note. Russo does more. She expertly manipulates Amanda's story to leave her readers with hope.

Hope for her character's self acceptance, family unity, and global awareness.
Hope for the trans community in and out of the book.
Hope for the YA community that this is just the beginning.
We all HOPE, so much, that Russo will come at us again (and soon) with a new character to love. Another nerdy girl who maybe loves another nerdy girl? Or is questioning whether to love the nerdy girl? (I bet Meredith Russo gets a story suggestion a minute because we all want more.)

Russo understands the needs of today's YA community and we are all ready for her next book. UNLESS OF COURSE... You haven't read her first book. In that case, scroll down to the comments section of today's post. Leave us your name and email address and one lucky winner will be selected to receive a copy of IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo.

Good luck!
Much Love,

P.S. My goodness, thanks for the reminder Kim!

It is with Layla and Amanda near the end of the book. Starts with...

"Amanda!" Layla said. I sniffled and scowled at her, but the look she gave me withered away my anger. "Don't you dare talk about my friend that way."

I can't write more without spoiling the ending for you. Just know that it is a true and AWESOME scene about female friendship!!!