Monday, December 22, 2014

My favorite Christmas things

My top 5 Christmas things

    Don’t hate me, but I’ve always been a bit “meh” when it comes to Christmas. Not Scrooge status by any means, but coming from a small family, Christmas just wasn’t that big of a thing. We decorated, and we opened presents, and that was about it. College changed it to “eh”. It was nice to get together with my parents after being away at school, but I was pretty broke (but became talented at homemade presents) and since they had just moved when I left for college, there wasn’t a sense of community festivities.

    Then came being a home-owner, and a mom, and now Christmas takes on a whole new meaning for me! I love putting up the yard lights, decorating the house, and cooking delicious food. It was especially fun this year when my 3-year-old daughter was able to help me decorate our tree, and we would go through the story of every ornament. It’s a totally different world, and I love it.

1) Lights! Oh yes, give me bright, sparkly lights when it’s dark outside. Colorful, white, yellow, green, it doesn’t matter to me. I love seeing houses lit up and every night during the month of December my daughter and I will drive around all of the various neighborhoods to see the displays.

    While most people would put me in the group of (somewhat) annoying people who put up lights far too early, this is my argument. When it is dark at 5pm, I need lights to be happy. It just so happened that this year it was dark at 5pm the week before Thanksgiving. I shall call them, Thanksgiving Lights, and they shall be my lights.

2) Cranberries! Call me blasphemous, but I’m not huge pumpkin fan. Cranberries, on the other hand, are my go-to food of the season. Cranberry muffins, cranberry scones, cranberry bread, cranberry sauce, nom. My favorite use of cranberries is something my family calls Cranberry Marshmallow Goodness. Basically cranberries, walnuts, marshmallows and pineapple chunks mixed into a big bowl of whipped cream. So good.

3) Wrapping paper. Alright, I’ll agree, this one makes me a little weird, but I love wrapping paper! I love all of the pretty designs, especially the glittery ones. I have been known to just cut wrapping paper in 4 by 6 squares and put it into frames because it’s “that” pretty. It’s a problem I’m okay with having.

4) Quality kid time. I work in the education system, so Christmas means winter break, which means I get to spend more time with my kid. It also means not having to wake up to an alarm for 2(ish) weeks or spending 2 hours on the road 5 days a week.

5) Hat making. I didn’t get a chance to do it this year (except for between now and Christmas, when I will make 4 hats), but I usually spend all of November and December crocheting hats. I love to crochet hats of all types and sizes, then donate them to local shelters and hospitals just before the holiday. I’m already gearing up for a big hat event next year where my plan is to donate 100 (or more) hats to our local foster care center for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Release - The Collectors' Society

Do you know about Heather Lyons? How about that she has a brand new book out (that came out in October!)? No? Oh good, then I'm not the only one running a little late these days! Have no fear, you can still pick up a copy and it will still be just as good, and she will still love you. It's like a getting a birthday card a week later, a nice little perk!

The Collectors' Society teaser 1

 THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY is an Adult Romantic Fairy Tale, full of adventure and fantasy. This is Alice as you have never seen her before...  

The Collectors' Society front cover



From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?
The Collectors' Society full wrap


Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.


Website ** Author Goodreads ** Twitter ** Facebook

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Year in Review - 2014

I can't lie, every year around this time I get pretty sappy and sentimental. After shifting my focus from "soon it will be a new year, what will I do?" to "it's been a year, what did I do?" some pretty big changes have happened in my life. (and yes, I realize it's only Dec 2nd, but if this year is any indication, this month is going to be over before I know it!)

While my first thought is that 2014 was a pretty non-exciting year, if I actually look back, it's been anything but boring. No wonder it seems like I was just celebrating the incoming of 2014 and then BAM, we're now walking down the sidewalk to head into 2015. 

Because I like to share, and because I'm nosy about what everyone else did last year, here are some of my highlights.

In March, I attended my second Cascades Library Local Author Fair. Once again it was a total blast, and I thoroughly look forward to this years. 

In April, I received the official notice that my debut novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, was going to be part of Loudoun County Public Schools Battle of the Books competition! This is an amazing competition where teams of high schoolers have to read 10 specific books, 1 of each genre (mine is fantasy), and then compete in a district wide tournament to see who knows the books the best. It is a very surreal feeling to have my book in libraries, and to walk down the hallways at work and suddenly here, "OMG that's her! That's the person who wrote the book!" from teens who have been reading it. 

They also asked me to be the guest speaker at the 2014 BOTB competition. While I am terrified of public speaking and get very anxious at new situations, once I started talking (and the kids laughed at one of my very bad jokes), I was able to relax and it was a blast. The team who attended the hosting school even stayed with me for an hour after the competition was over just to ask questions about self publishing, writing, and what it was like to have a published book.

I also took my first step on my pathway to change when I signed up for an online course through the AAPC to get my certification in medical coding. This is what caused me to go quiet for most of the year, because my nose was buried in very large books with very large words.

Cover by Elizabeth Sharp

July brought my newest book baby to the world, Finding Keepers! This was actually one of my hardest books to write, even though I set out thinking it would be the easiest. Then my main character because a foster child, and I spent a good 6 months researching foster care so that I would do her justice and get it right. While this book is YA, it is also a very emotional read, and I have to confess, it was just as emotional to write.

August brought a whole new set of challenges (and pure awesomness) in the form of Believe, Hope, Live. This event was put together by D. Love and brought authors from around the country to Augusta Georgia for 2 days. I had the luck of driving from VA to Maine with the wonderful Kristina Circelli, and it was possibly the best road trip ever (especially since I just did the exact same trip a month earlier with my husband and 3-year-old, much different road trip!). After only 12 hours (and five minutes of not being able to figure out how to get out of a parking lot, you had to be there) we made it. What followed were two days of fun and pushing my social boundaries by meeting a ton of new people (if you ever get a chance to hang out with AE Woodward or Cynthia St. Aubin at an event, I highly recommend it!, and many people I only knew online like Elizabeth Sharp and Laura Howard. I also got to spend 2 days hanging out with Dawn Pendleton (who I technically met for the first time on my first Maine trip that summer) who immediately made me feel right at home.

I was then neck deep in learning medical coding, and dropped even more off the radar as I struggled to juggle my author life with my full-time job, with being a mom, and having to learn all new things (again, really really big words!), but was able to squeeze in a few more local events.

September brought my first "only me" bookstore signing! Chapter 2 books in Winchester VA was so gracious to include me in their opening day celebrations, and it was truly an incredible event. There were so many people and they had a DJ and it was just a total blast. I can't wait to work with them again.

November brought my first ever on-camera interview! Loudoun County Public Schools asked to film a short interview with me about my book, The Lady of Steinbrekka. I was even interviewed by THE Wayde Byard. To most people, he is the Public Relations officer for LCPS, but for all of the workers, students, and parents,  his voice is celebrated every time we hear the words, "Loudoun County Public Schools are closed" on snow days.

I finished my course on Sunday (WOOHOO) and will be taking my national certification in two weeks, so I will totally make it up to everyone.

(and kudos for you if you read this whole thing! Phew, it got long!)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New Release - Damsel Not

Hi everyone! I have come back from the dead (aka, final 2 months of CPC certification and having no time to breathe) to let you know that Kristina Circelli's latest book is out! I've read this one and it is incredible. A romance the only way that Kristina Circelli could do romance, with a little bit of twists, some sword-fights, and a bit of "oh-my-I'm-blushing" steam.

In the days of old, one knight fought to save the maiden he loved – a battle that ended in a bloody promise for the future. 

In the days of the 21st Century, Izz doesn’t believe in prophecies. A recent widow, she struggles to find the passion that once fueled her life – a passion that is reignited the day a knight in disguise cuts into her life in a flash of swordplay and seductive grins.

Izz doesn’t want to love him. The guilt of moving on nearly crushes her, yet she finds herself unable to resist the touch, the feel, the scent of the man who leaves her breathless with just one look. But each day Izz finds herself drawn to Cade, the more danger she finds herself in, for someone believes Izz to be at the center of an ages-old prophecy – and will do anything to stop it.

When threatening messages turn even more dangerous, Izz must rediscover a part of herself she’s never known before and fight to save her knight in shining armor. With only a sword passed down throughout the generations to guide her, Izz must prove to her adversary that unlike maidens of old, she will never be a damsel in distress.



Eyes opening, Izz strode to the wall of weapons and ran a finger down a battle ax. With a gleam in her eye, she asked Cade, “You up for a duel?”

Brow furrowing, Cade uncrossed his arms and took a few steps closer. “Are you challenging me, m’lady?” Izz pulled a staff from the wall, figuring it was a safer bet than one of the huge swords she likely couldn’t lift, and dropped into a fighter’s stance. Cade only stared at her. “Why?”

“Because I won the bet and get whatever I want.”

“And you wish to fight me?”

Izz never dropped her stance as she replied, “Where is your sense of adventure, Knight Cadian?”

With a grin that matched the challenge in her eyes, Cade yanked an identical staff from the wall and began to circle her. She watched him carefully, so intently and so eagerly that he was nearly unnerved. He had a fleeting thought that perhaps she actually knew what she was doing, then brushed it off as a foolish notion.

“I’ll go easy on you, m’lady.”

Izz twirled the staff in one fluid motion. “As will I.”

Author Questions for Kristina Circelli

Your next book, DAMSEL NOT, comes out on Oct. 12th. What makes this one stand out from the other novels you’ve written?

For starters, it’s my first romance . The book is similar to my others in that its characters are deeply flawed in many ways, but I think it’s different because of the subject matter. Love isn’t typically the driving force in my books like it is in this one. Plus, it has a hot knight. That’s a first for me!

What was your favorite book to write? Why?

Definitely Fragile Creatures. Although the topic itself isn’t necessarily happy, as it focuses on a teen struggling to accept her father’s death, the concepts surrounding the book made the writing process enjoyable. I used to work at the zoo and for a shorebird rehab center, so obviously I love animals (more than most people...). Getting to put that knowledge and experience into a book was so much fun, especially when it came to writing about the animals, as the two main ones (a giraffe and goat) are based on animals I know and love. In fact, I’m going back to visit them on my birthday and I can’t wait!

What was the hardest book to write? Why?

That would be A Single Swim, which is an awareness book about a          brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. For starters, it’s my first non-fiction book, so it was hard putting aside my fiction-minded brain to write about real, hard science (which is extremely confusing to me). I not only had to understand the biology and ecology of the amoeba, but also be able to explain it to the average reader.

But more than that, it was hard because the book tells the stories of real victims of the amoeba, mostly children, and one of which was my cousin. I interviewed the families and worked with them on some awareness events. It was hard writing about these sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, sisters, who aren’t made-up characters, who were and are still so loved. My main
concern was telling their stories right and doing them justice. The book was about and for them, and the families’ approval meant everything to me. The whole process was more difficult than I imagined it would be, but so worth it in the end.

You teach creative writing for a living. Where do you find the time to write? Do you have a routine you follow?

Well, I don’t actually teach anymore. I used to, but decided to take a year off to start my editing business, Red Road Editing, and see where it went. That actually ended up taking off like wildfire, so I didn’t go back to teaching. I have a full-time job completely unrelated to writing, my editing business, and my books. To be honest, I think I’ve forgotten what “free time” feels like . I don’t really have a routine. I have my set hours at work, then come home and edit, and I write in between those jobs. The laptop is nearly attached to me at this point.

Is there something that you need in order to write? Like a cup of coffee, chocolate?

I have to have background noise, so the TV is almost always on at my house. Usually something I’ve seen a hundred times before (I love reruns!), both TV shows and movies. I am a movie junkie so I enjoy writing to them. Food wise, I don’t really need anything, but I won’t turn down a cold Mr. Pibb and bag of blue Doritos. I almost always write on the couch. And if I’m on the couch, I must have a couch blanket. But that’s a given whether I’m working or not. I think I have seven blankets at the moment. This may be symptomatic of a soft couch blanket-buying problem.

Happily Ever After? Or not?

Eh, I can take them or leave them. I think people (authors and readers alike) often get too hung up on the HEA, and that’s just not real life to me. Sometimes it surprises me how angry people get when there isn’t a HEA. I don’t believe in insta-love and I’m a cynic in most aspects of my life, so it’s safe to say most of my books have a bittersweet ending. Will the guy get the girl? Maybe, but something pretty depressing will likely happen along the way. Or, who knows, maybe one of them will die. It’s a given that at least one person gets killed off in every one of my books, whether a bad guy or the one everyone loves most.

If it feels natural, then I’m not against a HEA. But more often than not I just focus on the character’s journey, and I rarely know the end of the book when I start writing, so I have no ideaif it will end in a HEA until I actually get there.

How many drafts do you go through typically before you are ready to hand it over to an editor?

Hmm, hard to say! According to other authors, I have a weird process. I call my first draft my “skeleton draft” because it is just one long document of text with no chapter or section breaks, and usually scenes missing that I didn’t feel like writing at the time. After I finish the skeleton draft, I do my first read-through. During that time, I read for grammar and plot issues, and write those missing scenes. The second read-through, I add chapter and section breaks while fixing other issues I come across. Then I usually send it to my mom to read since she is great at pointing out areas that conflict or don’t make any sense (and she yells at me when I kill characters she likes). Sometimes I’ll send it to a couple others.

After I get their feedback, I make those changes while doing a third edit. I think that’s when it goes to my editor. But, I don’t send it to her unless I feel it’s as perfect as possible. So, I guess about four drafts? But that may change if I feel it still needs work.

After I get it back from the editor, I make her changes and then read through the whole thing again. Depending on the time, sometimes I put the manuscript away for a month and then go back to it to see if there’s anything I want to change.

What is one thing you wish readers knew about you or your work?

I take pride in being a storyteller, in weaving together words. Maybe it’s my Cherokee heritage peeking through my weirdly pasty skin (seriously, I should go outside more often). For me what matters most isn’t so much what happens in the story, but how you tell it. I absolutely love writing itself and will agonize for hours over something as simple as using “a” versus “the” or
whether a character should make a sentence a question or a statement.

Sometimes my tendency to obsess over what seems like minor details is annoying even to myself, but I like to think it’s worth it in the end. I want readers to love the journey of the story as much as they love the story itself. I want them to be there, in the scene, able to see and hear and feel everything the characters do.

Best fan memory?

I don’t honestly know that I have a favorite. I love when I can talk to young readers who want to be writers but never realized that their dreams are actually possible. When they hear how young I was when I started, or how they really can publish a book, it’s awesome to see how excited they get. So often kids are told that they dream to big or that their writing/publishing goals are just pipedreams, and I like getting to go in and tell those young aspiring writers to listen to me instead, because their dreams are 100% possible.

Working with everyone in A Single Swim was extremely rewarding as well. The families were so gracious, and they trusted me to tell their loved ones’ stories and share them with the world. I continue to work with them and I hope that in the future we can really make a difference.

What is the perfect day for you?

Christmas . An average day, though? On the beach with my husband, just hanging out, no electronics, lots of junk food, hardly any other people around.

Wait. Maybe an all-expense-paid day at Disney World. THAT would be pretty damn perfect.

Some authors use music and even create soundtracks for their books. Do you use music when writing?

Nope, not even a little bit. As much as I love TV and movies, I’m not really a music person. I haven’t listened to the radio in probably two years, except when Christmas music plays from Thanksgiving to Christmas. When I drive, I listen to soundtracks and film scores, but to be honest most of them are Disney related, with the occasional Pink and Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert thrown in.

What other projects can we expect to see from you in the future?

Lots! Next year I have two books planned. One is the sequel to Fragile Creatures, which originally wasn’t even planned but I caved under fan pressure . The other is a secret but will be contemp with the slightest of fantasy. I’m not sure how to classify it yet, as I’m terrible when it comes to categories.

BUT 2016 will be pretty awesome. I recently signed a 5-book contract with Permuted Press for a new horror series. This will be the Five Flames series centering around a home in Savannah, Georgia, that houses five evil spirits. Each book will focus on the unlucky person who encounters one of those spirits, and the havoc that ensues as a result. These will be my first
horror books, and since being possessed is pretty much my number 1 fear in life, I plan on being constantly terrified for the next two years.
Kristina Circelli is the author of several fiction novels, including The Helping Hands series, The Whisper Legacy series, "The Never," and "The SOur Orange Derby." A descendent of the Cherokee nation, Circelli holds both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from the University of North Florida. 

Her Whisper Legacy series is steeped in the spoken narratives of Native American lore, and is at once a gripping story of a father's love and his search for redemption as well as a written record of a Nation's belief system. Part adventure, part myth, and altogether riveting, this series from Kristina Circelli signifies the emergence of an important voice in Native American literature. 

From her extraordinary ability to vividly create heretofore-unknown worlds to her engaging prose, Circelli's novels position her as one of the freshest new voices in all of contemporary American fiction. She currently lives in Florida and works as an author, book editor, copywriter, and creative writing professor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cover Reveal - The Spiral Ascended

*Personal endorsement* I LOVE the first book in this series (and am getting around to reading the other two, I swear, there's just NO TIME) so I am super excited to share that book 4 in the Spiral Defender Series is going to be out soon! Check out her gorgeous cover and make sure to keep an eye on that release date!

Title: The Spiral Ascended (Spiral Defenders Series: Book Four)
Author: Erin Danzer
Genre: Young Adult Scifi/Romance
Publication Date: September 12, 2014
(look at that beautiful date, less than a month away!)


Everything seems perfect now that Ronnie is married. She can be crowned and finally defeat the evil that infests the Spiral.

Until Rick and the Irradians seize the castle.

Now, Ronnie and Gavin are in hiding. They must amass an army from those still loyal to them and protect their friends and family—all without leaving their refuge. When Ronnie ventures out, Gavin is captured. Their bond is severed. All Ronnie knows is that Gavin is still in her heart.

Until that breaks, too.

Ronnie must find the strength to ascend to her destiny and defeat Rick or risk losing everything forever.


It was Ronnie’s turn to blush bright red. “I haven’t really wanted to,” she admitted. “Plus, there’s the whole ‘no door’ thing that bugs me. It’s not like you guys can call first to make sure you won’t interrupt something.”

“I can help with that,” Gem exclaimed and jumped up from the bed as Katja laughed.

“You obviously haven’t looked too closely in that bag I packed you,” Katja teased Ronnie. Ronnie waved her off, her words barely registering as she watched Gem. The elf stood in front of the opening into the rest of the cave, studying the rock formations that created it.

Then, Gem raised her arms and said something in a language neither girl understood. Ronnie and Katja screamed a moment later when the ground shook beneath them. Ronnie’s eyes widened with fascination as the opening shrunk to the size of a wooden door, which also appeared. She looked in awe at Gem as the elf collapsed back onto the bed a moment later. Dust and small rocks rained down from the ceiling as everything settled into the new formation.

“Princess,” Gavin called, his voice frantic, before he and Will burst through the door into the newly created room.

“What was that?” he asked. Ronnie grinned up at him.

“Gem gave us a door,” she replied.

“A door?” He turned and looked at it, his dark eyes taking in the new structure of rocks and wood.

“Yes, a door.”


The blast came out of nowhere. Ronnie barely had time to brace herself before the blue energy hit. Her sword flew from her hand, leaving Ronnie defenseless. She called upon the elements, concentrating on the gremlins’ spears. The weapons cracked and broke all around the room. Gremlins screeched as they scrambled for new weapons. Ronnie tried to reach out to fling a fireball, but nothing happened. Panic flared within her. Instead of the energy that always tried to escape after a blast, cold numbness swiftly moved through her.

Gavin! She screamed in her mind. Instantly, he was there, hacking through the goblins that blasted her, thinking if they died the paralysis would fade. No such luck. He got through the last of them, and still, Ronnie couldn’t move. She saw him glance behind her even as he lifted his sword to deflect the spear of another gremlin. The wave seemed nonstop. Ronnie desperately tried to move, but her body wouldn’t listen.

You need to use my magic, she thought to Gavin.

Are you sure it will work?

We have no choice.

Ronnie pushed her powers at him through their bond. Andi and Shawn huddled against her back as Gavin let loose a gale-force wind in the room. Gremlins and goblins screamed and grunted as they flew off their feet. Before they could recover, Gavin threw fire at them. Screeches and growls filled the room as most of the creatures burned. The ones left created a portal and jumped through it before Gavin could get to them.

As soon as the last Irradian disappeared, the paralysis broke. Ronnie stumbled forward with a gasp. Andi and Shawn reached out to each grab an arm to keep her on her feet. Gavin immediately took her into his arms, crushing her against his chest. After a moment, she pushed back to an arm’s length and his hands ran down her body, looking for injuries. Ronnie pushed his hands away, ignoring the way they made her feel. She couldn’t think about that right now.

“I’m okay,” she declared when Gavin continued his perusal of her body. When his eyes wouldn’t stop searching, she reached up, cupped his face in both hands, and forced him to look at her.

“I’m okay,” she repeated with more force this time. Relief poured through her as Gavin gathered her into his arms once more. She only stayed there a moment before turning to her friends. Andi huddled in Shawn’s arms, her blonde curls bouncing as she shook. Ronnie reached out and put her hand on Andi’s shoulder.

“Are you guys hurt?” she asked. She had no idea what to say. How could this even happen? Anger filled her veins as she thought about Rick trying to take her two best friends from her. How dare he!

“No,” Andi said, her voice small. She turned wide blue eyes up to Ronnie. “How did they find us?”

Ronnie clenched her hands into fists as she struggled with the anger steadily building within her. If she didn’t calm down, she would teleport again, but she couldn’t let this go unanswered. Rick needed to pay. They needed to hurt him worse than he almost hurt her.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Finding Keepers is here!

It's time to celebrate! Finding Keepers is here!

Finding Keepers by Kristi Strong
Cover art by Donna, Sharp Designs

     Starting a new life is never easy, but Alyssa Doe has turned it into an art form. Abandoned by her parents at age ten, six years in foster care has taught Alyssa how to get through life the hard way. Now sixteen and growing desperate for a stable life, Alyssa finds herself puzzled by her newest keeper, twenty-five year old Jessica Sona. A feisty woman who won't accept no for an answer, Jessica’s insistence on safety, family, and unconditional love begin to break down Alyssa’s walls and bring her hope, a dangerous emotion.
     Can such a thing as family and love exist for a girl whose birth name is Doe, or will Alyssa be forever left finding keepers?

Buy links:

There is also a give-away going on until August 6th, so enter to win a signed copy of both Finding Keepers, and The Lady of Steinbrekka

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Fixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating new fantasy worlds are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and far too many houses to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, cat and chinchilla.

Kristi currently has three published books in the fantasy genre. These books can be read as stand-alone novels, but the experience is enhanced if you read them in order.

Monday, July 28, 2014

After Star Release!

After Star Release and Giveaway

YA Paranormal Romance
by Ashley Lavering

Will Tayla and James find their happily-ever-after?
Find out now!

Special Sale for blog tour,

Grab your copy today!

After Star Book Trailer

Don’t miss “Fallen Star” a Curse of the Beast Song!!

After Star is book three in the Curse of the Beast Series by Ashley Lavering:
A Choice was Made
The Curse was Broken
Yet the Wolf Remains

Tayla’s life changed forever the day she became a werewolf in James’ pack (aka Beast). Now they must flee their Wyoming home to escape the increasing wolf hunts caused by Kyle. With James, her alpha and intended mate, she finds refuge in the remote area of Crouch, Idaho.
Now that she's settled in to her new home with the man of her dreams by her side, Tayla wonders if she’s finally found some peace, but it doesn't take long for enemies to find her. They taunt her with secrets from James’ past, and revenge stalks the pack at every turn.

When James is severely wounded with an unknown poison, it is up to Tayla and her best friend, Chel, to solve the mystery of the poison’s origin and find a cure. Will they be strong enough to handle the truth they discover and defeat their enemies? Or will time run out and werewolves die?

(A clean Young Adult Paranormal Romance) 

Add After Star to your TBR list on Goodreads and check out the Pinterest Board!

After Star Except:

The house smelled like I’d just walked into a Tuscan Villa. Roasted tomatoes and pasta with… I inhaled again, sautéed portabella mushrooms, yum. My stomach rumbled. James bent over to get two plates heaped with yumminess out of the oven. The sight of him in his cream colored apron and those tight Wrangler jeans made it a toss-up as to what I was hungrier for, him or the pasta. He set the plates on the stove top, and I closed the distance between us. I threw my arms around his neck and kissed his throat. “I am so in love with you right now.”

His arms squeezed me closer. “Hmm, are you sure it isn’t the food talking?”

I laughed. “It might’ve added more to your charm tonight than usual.”

“That hungry, huh?” The silver streaks in his eyes conveyed his double meaning, leaving me at a loss for words as my stomach fluttered, and I blushed.

“Eww you guys. Get a room,” Erika said, pushing us playfully out of her way. “So does the teacher get any dinner? I worked hard, too, so stop ogling each other, and feed me.” She grinned.

We chuckled, and he handed her a plate. She sat at the table and dug in. My stomach twisted in hunger as I watched her. That blending-in-with-nature exercise was energy zapping work. I hadn’t been this hungry in a while.
James stroked my cheek. “You better eat, too. Sounds like progress was made, and it carved a hole in both of your stomachs.” The hopefulness in his voice made me glad I hadn’t failed today’s lesson.

“I did have a little success.” I teased him with my vagueness. Smiling sweetly at him, I grabbed my plate and joined Erika, who was smirking behind her glass of water.

“Out with it you two.” James sat next to us. “From the way you both are grinning, and the fact that you are hours late tells me something big happened.”

“Go ahead,” I said to Erika, who was bursting to share the news.

“Tayla, blended with a fir tree! She did such a great job, I had to coach her back to her human rhythm.” Erika plopped a forkful of pasta between her lips, her eyes glowing with pride.

James’ mouth fell open. “No?”

Erika’s smile grew, and she swallowed. “I am so glad you found her and brought her into the pack, James. I will finally have someone to teach all my secrets to.”

My lips stretched into a full blown smile. “James, did you hear that! We can train together. This is going to be fun!”

Erika threw James a sarcastic smile, and they both looked at me with amusement. “What? I am just excited.” Finally, I was good at something werewolf.

“We aren’t laughing at you, Tayla. I was just teasing James. You see he has talent, but nothing like the raw skill you possess to master it like I have,” Erika said.

“I have never fully melded my rhythm with anything. I am excellent at mimicking, but could never understand the depth Erika always spoke of. It is truly an amazing gift you have, Tayla.” He touched my knee and looked at me with such admiration that I blushed.

“Really, it was Erika. I couldn’t have done it without her guiding me. I’m not really even sure I can do it again.”

“Oh, she’ll do it again.” Erika winked at me. “She’s experienced the high and is now addicted. I don’t know, James, you might lose her to the forest.”

“Then I’ll just have to entertain her better.” He gave me a wicked grin.

“You’re in a mood,” I whispered, needing to fan my flushed cheeks and settle my fiery nerves.

About Ashley Lavering: 

In addition to being a mother and wife, I teach at a charter school and enjoy scuba diving. I love to be adventurous and try new and exciting things. Some of the things I have done are sky diving, glacier hiking, cave spelunking, and kayaking on the ocean. I want to experience the world, but will never be able to see it all, so I write. It is like the world is at my figure tips when I open a word document and delve into another story. Oh, the places you'll go as Dr. Seuss says.

Connect with me here:

Check out Ashley’s first two books in this compelling Young Adult paranormal romance series and retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a werewolf twist.

Book One

Curse of the Beast

Book Two

Star Cursed



a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoyed this post? Want to see the rest of the Blog Tour:

7/21: Hayley Reviews
7/22: Shannan's World of Books & Hope To Read & Deausha And Kittys YA Book Blog  & Fairiechick's Fantasy Book Reader
7/23: BookGroupies & CDyess Writes & Laura Howard
7/24: Lady Amber's Reviews & TB Recommendations
7/25: Beckstar Reviews
7/26: Sweet Treat Reading Reviews & Midnight Musings with Bertena
7/27: Angee's After Thoughts & I Feel The Need, The Need To Read
7/28: TB Recommendations & Tammy's tea time
7/29: Paperback Cowgirl & A Book Addict's Delight & That Bite's Book Talk Reviews
7/30: Bella Harte Books & Word to Dreams
7/31: Sizzling Hot YA Books & Author Sandra Love
8/1: Bookoholic Anom & Ashley's Bookshelf
8/2: Book Infatuation & Reading Bliss
8/3: Cathrine Garnell's Blog & Ever and Ever Sight

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finding Keepers Release!

It's time to celebrate! Finding Keepers is almost here!

Finding Keepers by Kristi Strong
Cover art by Donna, Sharp Designs

     Starting a new life is never easy, but Alyssa Doe has turned it into an art form. Abandoned by her parents at age twelve, four years in foster care has taught Alyssa how to get through life the hard way. Now sixteen and growing desperate for a stable life, Alyssa finds herself puzzled by her newest keeper, twenty-five year old Jessica Sona. A feisty woman who does not accept no for an answer, Jessica’s insistence on safety, family, and unconditional love begin to break down Alyssa’s walls and bring her hope, a dangerous emotion.
     Can such a thing as family and love exist for a girl whose birth name is Doe, or will Alyssa be forever left finding keepers?

I am so excited to be bringing you my first YA novel that I am throwing a bit of a party! Don't miss out on the Finding Keepers Release Party, 1pm to 8pm on Friday August 1st on Facebook! 

Want a sneak peak at the prizes? Here you go! 

AND for even more prize fun, check out the Rafflecopter below, and enter to win a signed copy of both Finding Keepers, and The Lady of Steinbrekka

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: Forget You by Jennifer Snyder



By Jennifer Snyder

Cold Creek Companion Series

New Adult Contemporary

Expected Release: September 2, 2014

Cover designed by Lindee Robinson Photography

Eva Bennett might be known for her candid approach and sharp tongue, but on the inside she’s still a vulnerable twenty-four year old who’s sick of kissing toads and being habitually single.

Full of comical one-liners and wielding a charming smile, Sawyer Keeton is more than meets the eye. After the news of his brother’s tragic death, however, Sawyer is pulled into a place filled with crippling emotions and pain—a place no one can seem to reach him…until the moment Eva steps into his life.

A twist of fate will bring them together and then tear them apart, forcing the two to learn there are people in life whom you cherish and pray will never forget you.



About the Author

Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.

SHATTERED SOUL was my debut novel and no, you haven’t seen the end of me yet…