Friday, March 30, 2012

YA Indie Carnival- Spring Break


So today on the carnival, we're supposed to talk about either spring break or a novel we've written that takes place in the spring.  Well, it just so happens that my current work in progress, FRAGILE, begins in the spring.  The main character, Hardy Bradford, lays eyes on Miracle St. James for the very first time in May and she rocks his world in an instant.  I've already posted it, but for those of you who are new to me, new to my blog and new to my writing, I'll post it again.  For those of you who have already read it, swoon with me one more time over Hardy.  *sigh*  He's so very yummy.  At least I think so.  What girl wouldn't want a Hardy of her own?  Um, none that I know of!!  Anyway, read on ladies and gents, and let me introduce you to Hardy and Miracle.



CHAPTER ONE

May

Hardy tried once more to block out the incessant giggling of the cheerleaders, but again, it proved impossible.  He wondered absently how he’d been wrangled into bringing his girlfriend to a photo shoot, but then he remembered the tool of persuasion she’d used and he answered his own questions.

Just then, Cheyenne tossed a coy smile over her shoulder, her sparkling blue eyes meeting his for the briefest of moments before she turned her attention back to her cohorts.  Hardy knew she’d done it partly to tease him and partly to make sure he was watching her.  She was incredibly vain like that, something he’d struggled to tolerate for three long years.  Although she was one of the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen, it never got any easier to endure Cheyenne and her abominable ego. 

Gritting his teeth, Hardy forced his lips to curve up into the fake smile he’d worn for going on six months, ever since he realized how ill-suited he and Cheyenne really were. Lately, he found that he was continually reminding himself that he could end things with her after his senior football season. Just a few more months. 
The thing was, Hardy didn’t want to change anything and risk throwing off his game.  His entire future was riding on his football scholarship to LSU, and never a day went by that his father didn’t remind him that there was nothing more important in life at this point.  With that in mind, Hardy reassured himself that he could put up with her unparalleled beauty, her insatiable sex drive and her iron-clad ambition for one more year.

“Is there any way you girls could perform one of your routines so I could get some good action shots?” the photographer asked, directing his question toward Cheyenne.

Hardy knew what her answer would be before she gave it.  Cheyenne loved performing even more than she loved having her picture taken, and that was a lot.

“Of course,” Cheyenne answered, waving her hand dismissively, the gesture belying the excitement she undoubtedly felt at having even a small audience of eyes trained on her.  Whether there were two people around or two hundred, nearly every eye within viewing distance of Cheyenne was always glued to her.  Not only was she the captain of the squad and the focal point of nearly every cheer and dance they performed, Cheyenne was also drop-dead gorgeous, someone who always found herself at the center of attention, and people inevitably gravitated toward her.  Unfortunately, they didn’t know what she was really like.

Hardy watched her hips sway inside her short skirt as Cheyenne made her way to the iPod docking station she’d brought.  Her nimble fingers worked the lighted screen of her phone for a few seconds before she bent over and dropped it into the designated slot.  She didn’t bother bending at the knees, happily displaying her “reddies” as she called them to Hardy where he sat in the grass behind her.  When she straightened, she winked quickly in his direction before scampering back to the pack of vicious she-wolves she called cheerleaders.

Although his body twitched in response to the display, Hardy still couldn’t bring himself to sit through another of the routines he’d seen dozens of times already.  Waiting for Cheyenne to glance once more in his direction, Hardy signaled to her that he’d be back and then moved quickly away.  He couldn’t wait to escape the area cordoned off for the squad and head for the peace and quiet of the main park area.

When he’d walked far enough that he could no longer hear the annoying thump of too-peppy music, Hardy slowed his pace and looked for a tree that he could lean against and enjoy some shade.  Florida could be very warm in the winter, but the summer?  Sometimes “sweltering” didn’t even touch it.

A huge oak near the outer edge of the park drew his eye and Hardy headed that way.  The fact that it was near a bench that was empty only added to the appeal.

Hardy’s above-average height necessitated that he duck beneath the low hanging branches of the tree, which he did, before turning to lean against the trunk.  To his pleasant surprise, Hardy found himself basically obscured from view of the casual observer. 

Taking a deep breath, he relaxed against the bark, drawing into his lungs air that was at least ten degrees cooler.  Hardy closed his eyes and let his head fall back, enjoying the distant sounds of dogs barking enthusiastically and children squealing excitedly.

“How about here?” Hardy heard a small, high voice ask, presumably referring to the bench directly in front of the tree.  He swallowed the growl of displeasure at the unwanted intrusion upon his oasis.  He could only hope that whoever it was would either move on to a more choice spot or keep quiet if they decided to light on his bench. 

Silence stretched on for so long, Hardy thought he was once more alone.  But then an answering voice dashed his hopes. 

And piqued his interest.

“It’s perfect,” the other voice—a softer, older voice—responded. 

Hardy’s eyes popped open at the sound, his only thought of what the face that went with that voice might look like.  Unfortunately, his view was partially obscured.  Moving his head this way and that, he could still only see bits and pieces of a feminine face that the shifting oak leaves revealed as they danced on the light breeze.

“I love the smell of sunshine,” the voice said.

Hardy thought that an odd thing to say, an odd observation to make, and he found himself even more curious to see what the owner of that voice looked like.

Carefully, quietly, Hardy straightened away from the tree and moved his head, hoping to be able to see through a gap in the branches.  The only sight his new position provided was the unobstructed view of a bright red balloon.

“Why is it you want to let it go again?” the smaller of the two voices asked.

After another short pause, the deeper voice answered.  “I’ve just always wanted to see a balloon drift off into a cloudless sky.”

“You’re so weird,” the child teased.

“I know,” the older voice agreed, chuckling. 

More intrigued by the older girl with every word that was spoken, Hardy dropped into a squat to look unabashedly at the bench in front of him.  What he saw confused him. 

And enthralled him.

Two tiny wisps of girls sat on the wrought iron seat.  It was obvious by looking that one was much younger, surely not more than twelve or thirteen years old.  The other one, though obviously older, was not much larger than the child.  Beyond those simple observations, about her size and her age, Hardy didn’t give the younger girl a second glance.  His gaze was riveted to the older one.

He spared only a cursory glance at the ill-fitting jeans and too-thick sweater she wore and the camera strap looped around her neck. He found her clothing odd considering the warm temperatures, but gave it no more thought than that once he saw her face.

Porcelain skin covered the most delicately feminine features he’d ever seen.  The sun had brought a flush of color to the pale expanse of her cheeks, painting them a shade lighter than the dark rose of her full lips.  She was turned slightly away from him, so he couldn’t see her eyes very clearly, only her pert nose and the gentle curve of her chin.  The shine of the smooth skin atop her head drew his eye momentarily, distracting him from the beauty of her face.  Her scalp glistened in the sun and she made no move to conceal it.

“I want one, Mommy!  I want one!”

The cry of the child came from somewhere to the left and Hardy’s eyes darted to a young boy and his mother for only an instant before returning to the girl.  Nothing seemed as interesting, as captivating, as important as the face of that girl.  She drew his eye like the shore draws the ocean. 

The girl had turned in the boy’s direction and, from his peripheral vision, Hardy could see the boy dragging his mother forward, toward the bench, his short arm raised to point at the bright red balloon.

“Where did you get that, sweetie?” the mother asked of the girl, her tone polite and gentle. 

“I brought it with me,” the girl answered, her voice like smooth, cool water.

“Did you bring more? I want one,” the boy whined.

“Gabe, shh!  Don’t be rude.”

“No, I didn’t,” the girl answered, her brow wrinkling in shared disappointment.  “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” the boy said, his voice clearly indicating that it was anything but okay.

“Come on, Gabe.  We can get you a balloon another day.  How about some ice cream?” the mother bribed.

“I’ve already had ice cream,” he moaned.  “And I’m the only one at the party that didn’t get a balloon.  Why can’t I get one today?”

The heartbreak in the boy’s voice was so evident, Hardy managed to drag his eyes away from the girl just long enough to glance once more at Gabe; his face was nothing short of crestfallen and his chin trembled with emotion.

“Did you go to a party today?” the girl asked.

The boy nodded.

“But you didn’t get a balloon to take home?”

He shook his head, one fat tear escaping to roll slowly down his rounded cheek.

“Everyone else got one, but not me.”

The girl slid off the end of the bench to kneel in front of the little boy.  Pulling off the ribbon that was tied around her wrist anchoring the balloon to her frail body, she held it out toward Gabe.  When he didn’t immediately step forward, the girl nodded encouragingly and smiled.  Hardy’s breath caught in his chest, completely mesmerized by the simple gesture.  In the back of his mind, he was certain he’d never seen anything more beautiful, more perfect than her smile.

“Here.  Take mine.  I can get another one,” she assured.

“You don’t have to do that,” the mother offered, grabbing Gabe’s hand when he reached to take the ribbon from her grasp, anxious to get hold of the coveted balloon.

“Please,” the girl said.  “I want to.  I want him to have it.”

“Are you sure?”

She nodded again, her smile never faltering.  “I’m sure.”

Thrilled, Gabe snatched the balloon from the girl’s hand, turning immediately to run excitedly toward an open expanse of grass to play with his new toy.

“I’m sorry.  He’s not usually that rude,” the mother explained, visibly embarrassed.  “But thank you.  Really,” she said sincerely then scurried off to catch up to her son.

Hardy’s gaze dropped once more to the girl.  She remained on her knees, her head turned toward the boy where he ran in wide circles, the red balloon bobbing in the air above his head.

“Why did you give it to him?” the younger girl asked.  “You’ve been talking about letting that balloon go for months.”

Hardy saw the girl’s chest rise and fall on a sigh.

“Because it made him smile, Mila.  Look at him.”

The younger girl, Mila, turned her head to watch Gabe as he frolicked.

“But still,” she argued.

“No, no buts.  He needed it more than I do.”

Just then, a shrill voice broke into the strangely poignant beauty of the moment, shaking Hardy from his absorption.  Reflexively, he looked to the left, in the same direction from whence Gabe and his mother had come, and he saw his girlfriend making her way across the grass to him.  There was no more hiding from her.  And he’d never wanted to hide more.

“There you are,” Cheyenne called, picking up her pace and jogging toward him.

Movement drew Hardy’s eye back to the girl who knelt but a few feet from him.  She had turned to look at him, obviously surprised by his presence.  He was immediately lost in the most incredible emerald green eyes he’d ever seen.

They stared at one another for what seemed an eternity before Cheyenne intruded once more on the perfection of the moment.

“We’re done.  Are you ready?”

The girl’s gaze swung toward Cheyenne before she rose to her feet and moved back to sit on the bench.  Cheyenne glanced briefly at the duo, instantly dismissing them as unimportant, and then focused once more on Hardy.

“Come on, babe. I’m hungry and we have to drop Elise off before we can go to The Depot.”

Before he could think to stop himself, Hardy’s eyes flickered quickly to the girl.  He found that she was watching him with the most curious expression.  If he hadn’t known better, he might’ve thought it was pity. 

But why would she pity him?

Cheyenne cleared her throat, drawing his attention back to her.  There was a fair amount of agitation etched on her face when he was finally able to actually concentrate on her.

“What?  Are you suddenly into bald chicks or something?”

Hardy could feel the blood rush up his neck and flood his cheeks.  They burned in embarrassment.  He looked guiltily back at the girl, feeling a sickness in the pit of his stomach that Cheyenne might’ve caused her some pain.  But what he found was an empty bench.  She and the younger girl had quietly moved off the seat and were walking slowly away. 

Hardy watched them as they retreated.  He saw the girl pause for just a moment before they rounded one of the decorative gazebos that dotted the park.  His heart leapt in his chest, thinking she was going to turn and look at him.  But she didn’t.  Instead, Hardy saw her tip her head back and let the sun pour down over her face, as if she were enjoying the feel of the heat on her skin.  The simple gesture stirred something inside Hardy, making him suddenly ashamed of the company he kept, ashamed of the way he lived his life, ashamed of the things he took for granted.  He had no idea how something so brief, so innocuous as that gesture could have such a profound effect on him, but it did.  She did.  It was undeniable. 

As she disappeared behind the gazebo, Hardy couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to her in her short life to make her so appreciative of such mundane things as the sun and the park and a balloon.  He was surprised at how desperately he wanted to know the answer to those questions, to know the answers to her—her life, her mind, her heart.  He knew there was nothing that he wanted more than to know her. 

Lost in thought, Hardy mused silently about the girl as Cheyenne led him back the way she’d come.  By the time he came to his senses, they were already back where they’d started and Cheyenne was slapping her car keys into his hand.

“You drive.  I need to change clothes,” she stated, her tone indicating she was still irritated.

Still deeply shaken by the girl with the red balloon, Hardy stared blankly at Cheyenne for several long seconds.  He knew his hesitation had cost him, cost him something wonderful he felt. 

In his mind, he threw caution to the wind and turned from Cheyenne to jog back to the tree, back to the bench.  Back to the girl.  He knew she wouldn’t be there, so in his head, he scoured the park for her, his eyes scanning every head and every face for hers, but she was nowhere to be found.  He knew that when he’d let Cheyenne lead him away, he’d lost his chance to find out the name of the girl who, without a single word spoken to him, had stolen his heart.

LOOK FOR IT APRIL 8, 2012

Dani Snell Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura Elliott Author of Winnemucca as well as 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
Amy Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T.R. Graves Author of Warriors of the Cross
PJ Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K.C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
Cidney Swanson Author of Ripple series
Heather Self Blogger, Reviewer and upcoming Indie Author
Heather M. White, Author of The Destiny Saga
Melissa Pearl, Author The Time Spirit Trilogy
T. G. Ayer
Bryna Butler, Author of Midnight Guardian series

Fragile- Blurb and Playlist

All right, so I know I don't have a cover yet and the book isn't done, but it's practically written in my head, which is very unusual for me.  Maybe it's because it's my first contemporary YA romance and this is how they'll go.  I don't know, but the story flows, the music flows and now the blurb is done.  The cover is on its way, too.  When I get it, I'll post it as well. 

Anyway, here's the blurb and the playlist is on the sidebar.  Let me know what you think.  I'm anxious to know what y'all think, if it speaks to you like it does to me.  I feel like I've lived Miracle and Hardy's life WITH them.  It's crazy!

FRAGILE, coming April 2012

Her heart, as delicate as glass.  His love, as strong as steel.  Can either survive life and death? 

Hardy Bradford is an eighteen year old football phenomenon who has the girl, the school, the town and the future in the palm of his hand.  His life is all mapped out for him, right down to who he’ll marry and how he’ll become a professional football player.  It doesn't seem to matter that Hardy would’ve chosen a much different life if it was up to him.  But it's not.  At least not until his Miracle comes along.

The first time Hardy laid eyes on Miracle St. James, he didn’t know who she was, but he knew she was something different and that he’d never get her out of his head.  And he didn’t.  Now, months later, Hardy’s world is turned upside down when Miracle shows up in his class, stealing his heart and forever changing the course of his life. 

Miracle’s sick.  Very sick.  And Hardy might be losing the only thing in his life that has ever mattered.  How much is too much to sacrifice for the one you love?  For just a little more time?  For just one more chance?  Can Hardy be the hero Miracle needs?  Or is it Hardy that needs saving?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The One- Heather Self

All right, y'all.  Today I have the deets for the debut novel of a wonderful lady by the name of Heather Self.  Her novel doesn't release until this summer, but she's been kind enough to give us all a lil sneak peek to keep us going until then.  Here ya go!

Stranded on Earth four thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they'll stop at nothing to find her. Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they've done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn't fully convinced that her parents' beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she's been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.

But that's not it, y'all.  Heather has also given us the first chapter.  Woohoo!

CHAPTER ONE

I took in the stone facade of my newest school and let out a sigh.  My sixth in less than four years.  I didn't expect Lake County High School to be any different than the previous five I’d attended.  I didn't expect to finish the year here, even though Dad said things would be different this time.  In the end, we'd be running.  Again.  As I looked at the students dashing into the building to get out of the cold, I continued to delay.  The cold didn’t bother me.  Pretending to be human didn’t bother me either.  But being the new kid?  I’d rather face down a legion of Nerada.  I sighed heavily as I continued to stare at the school and remembered the conversation with my parents from two weeks ago.
“Seriously?  We’re moving, again?!”  I was more than a little agitated sitting at the small kitchen table listening to the words that I’d heard so often in the last few years.  I had just finished the first semester of my senior year and had gotten my hopes up that I would get to finish it out at the same school.  I so should have known better given the pattern of the last few years.  We’d always moved around a lot, and I mean all over the world a lot.  Dad would crisscross back and forth between the States, Canada, and Europe.  Name a country and I probably lived there for at least a small portion of my life.  The last few years Dad dragged us back and forth between the two North American coasts, going as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mississippi.
            “Ev, “my dad said with a sigh, “We’ve been preparing you for this for years, sweetheart.  The cabin in Leadville is secluded and the climate is ideal for your transition. This should be the last time, and there will be other Kin there to help protect you. “
I snorted in response.  Mom’s lips quirked then quickly schooled back into a neutral expression.  Her sea foam colored eyes continued to sparkle, though.  My dad had been training me in martial arts from a very young age and Kin are significantly stronger than your average human.  I knew there wasn’t a guy on the planet who could take me.  The carrot on the stick was the presence of others like me. 
“So, there will be other Kin there?”  
Dad smiled and his blue eyes crinkled.  He knew he had me.  I’d only ever met one other member of the Kin race, my Dad’s best friend Gabriel, and so was curious to meet others closer to my own age, and I say my own age relatively speaking.   The Kin race had been stranded on Earth nearly 4000 years ago.  Gabriel and my dad were two of the original stranded members.  The Kin are what humans call dragons.  We’re actually where the myths of dragons come from except, ya’ know, we’re not a myth.  
“I know of several Kin individuals and a couple families who are in and around Leadville, “ my dad continued, “ As soon as we can we’ll get everyone together so you know who they are and who can be trusted.”
“Leadville?” I asked.  My mom took over, “Colorado, baby.  There’s a house near a lake, about 30 minutes from the town proper and will be nice and cold as it’s in the mountains and about two miles above sea level.  We’ve been moving towards Leadville for the last 4 years, Ev, and Dad has had Kin in the town for even longer than that.  There are hidden caves within the mountains that will serve as a good spot for your transition.”  
We tended to prefer a colder environment as our body temps ran a little higher than humans, and supposedly transition makes the want of a cold environment even greater. Transition is like dragon puberty.  It’s also when kin come into their elemental powers.  Depending on flight, or race, Kin could be fire, earth, or air users.  I’m a rarity as I am the first known Kin to have the blood of all four flights and according to some ancient Kin legend that makes me special.  Whatever.  It means my transition will probably suck because the more powerful you are the more difficult transition is.  With my mixed blood, I’m kind of a crap shoot, but because of the Legend my parents think I’m “the one” and will be the most powerful Kin on earth; I say that with much sarcasm and drama.
             I sighed and looked at both of them.  I knew I didn’t really have a choice and they were trying to help me feel like I had some sort of control in this.
 “You promise this is the last time?  I can actually have more than just acquaintances?”  I could see the sadness in their eyes before they even answered.  I clenched my jaw in frustration and stared at the table.  They each took one of my hands.  
“Eveline,” my dad said gently, but firmly to make me look up, “Until the Nerada stop trying to kill you, and until you transition, my first and foremost job is to make sure you are safe and can defend yourself.  If that means we have to move 100 times more, then that is what we will do.  There is nothing more important to me in this world than your mother and you,“ he paused and gave me a small smile, “however, there is a greater chance of staying put in Leadville as your mom and I will not be solely responsible for your safety.”  
Here I was, two weeks later, staring at the front doorof my new school, in layers of unnecessary clothing, and muttering words of encouragement under my breath, “I can do this.  Last time. Just get moving before your dad starts the--,”
“Are you lost?” A deep, slightly accented voice asked me.  I looked up, and up to the face of the person who was speaking to me.  He was tall, at least six inches taller than my own 5’10”, with what I could only assume were broad shoulders and chest; the heavy jacket he wore made it difficult to truly tell. There were straight, dirty blond bangs peeking out from under his beanie but it was his eyes that truly captured my attention. They were a deep, sapphire blue--similar to my dad’s-- that had me wondering if he was Adari.  However, it was the chocolate colored ring around the outside of the irises that caused me to cock my head thoughtfully. Adari and Luros? Fire and earth? I’d only ever seen mixed eye colors on my parents and on myself.   A dimple peeked out from his left cheek as his lips turned up while I rudely stared and he waited for my reply.  It was of course brilliant, and the only thing I could think to say being so close to an unknown Kin for the first time, “Uhhhh...”
His grin widened in response to expose straight, white teeth and the indention in his cheek grew even more pronounced.  The smile slowly left his face as he leaned down a bit to speak more quietly as other students passed quickly by us, making their way into the warmth of the school, trying to beat the first bell.
“It would be best, Eveline, if we made our way inside so as not to draw attention. You’ve been standing here for some time and we’re already late.” 
“Um, you know my name.”
He smiled again. “Yes,” then started walking towards the front door of the building. 
I glanced over my shoulder to see my dad already gone.  He wouldn’t leave if I wasn’t safe so I took a deep breath and chased after the stranger.
“And you said it correctly,” I accused, following after him.  
He had pronounced it EH-vuh-leen.  No one ever got it right the first time. No one.  It made me slightly crazy and is why I usually went by Evy, easier to explain--it’s pronounced like envy without the “n”.  But THIS guy, whom I had never met knew my full name AND the correct way to pronounce it.  He chuckled and paused enough for me to catch up to him, then glanced at me as we continued on.  
“So?” I asked getting a bit miffed.  
He paused in front of the doors with his hand on the pull.  His face was very serious as he stated more than asked, “He hasn’t told you who I am, has he?”  
I blew out a short breath and watched it smoke in between us. I assumed the “he” being referenced was my father but I didn’t get the chance to ask as he opened the door and ushered me inside.  Lockers were slamming shut and the halls were emptying as the first bell of the day rang, making us officially late.  He led me to the front office and smiled at the middle-aged woman sitting at the desk, the 100 mega-watt smile that showed the dimple and the woman of course smiled back.  “Good morning, Ms. Little, did you have a nice break?”  
“I did, dear, thank you so much for asking, “she glanced over to me, “Who’s this you have with you?”
“This is Eveline Fallon.  I believe you have a schedule for her.”  
“Of course I do!  Welcome to Leadville, dear.  We don’t often get mid-semester transfers in, “she paused to chuckle, “transfers out is another story.”  
She placed my schedule on the counter in front of me, “This is the classroom number, then class name, then teacher name.”  
She pointed to each column as she showed me the schedule. “Your locker number and combination is at the bottom of the page.  Now, “she glanced up to my sidekick, but he started speaking before she could finish.
“I can show Evy to her locker.  It’s right next to mine and her first class is there as well.”  “Thank you, dear, “she beamed, “I knew I could count on you.  He’s so thoughtful, “she directed the last line to me and I finally looked her in the eyes causing her to gasp.  
My eyes had a tendency to do that to people.  They weren’t just one color.  They were all four Kin colors, and it made for a strange kaleidoscope of brown, blue, grey, and sea foam green.  Dad thought they might change after my transition to whatever element was my dominant, but no one was really sure what kind of freakiness would happen.  One of a kind, that’s me.  My self-designated tour-guide grabbed the schedule and herded me down the hall towards the lockers and my first class.  
“Thanks, Ms. Little, “he called back over his shoulder.  She was still in her same spot, staring after us.  It made me sigh.  I guess I couldn’t expect a normal reaction when it came to the strange affectations that were a result of my mixed blood but it would be nice if just once I didn’t have people staring at me in shock or surprise.  I froze with realization just as we approached the locker that was apparently mine.  It was already open, thanks to my friendly welcomer, and he had turned to open his as well.  
“You should probably take your winter gear off.  We’re already late for class.” He’d already placed his hat and jacket in the full-length locker and the hair was just what I expected; dirty blond, straight, a little shaggy in length, but neatly trimmed ends and it suited him.  He eyed me questioningly, “Is something wrong?”  
I quickly began removing layers and stowing them trying to avoid giving him an answer.  When I didn’t respond right away he paused and turned to face me, leaning one shoulder against the frame of his open locker.  He crossed his arms over what I could now see was a very broad, well-muscled chest, and waited for me to answer.  
“Where’s my first class?” I asked closing the door.  Not like I had any books to take yet. He pointed to the classroom just at the end of our row of lockers and raised one eyebrow, silently asking the question again.  I sighed. He wasn’t going to give up until he got an answer.  
“Who are you? You didn’t freak out when you saw my eyes.  Or now seeing this, “I held up the long multi-colored streaks of red, white, blonde, and blackish-blue that stood out from the rest of my elbow-length, dark brown hair, “Why? WHO are you?”
He picked up the strand of multi-colored hair and ran it between his fingers from the crown of my head all the way to the ends before placing it gently behind my ear.  I watched in frozen fascination as he placed his still gloved hand on the side of my face and looked into my eyes.  
“Eveline.  I have known you,” he paused and sighed, smiling sadly, “And loved you your whole life.”  
I stood there in shock as he closed his locker and walked away from me in the opposite direction to his own class. Who the..?  What the..? He turned around walking backwards, shooing me with his hands towards my classroom.    “Damn it,” I thought, “I still don’t know his name.”
 
 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fragile- Chapter One

Want a teaser of Fragile?  How about the first chapter?

CHAPTER ONE

May

Hardy tried once more to block out the incessant giggling of the cheerleaders, but again, it proved impossible.  He wondered absently how he’d been wrangled into bringing his girlfriend to a photo shoot, but then he remembered the tool of persuasion she’d used and he answered his own questions.

Just then, Cheyenne tossed a coy smile over her shoulder, her sparkling blue eyes meeting his for the briefest of moments before she turned her attention back to her cohorts.  Hardy knew she’d done it partly to tease him and partly to make sure he was watching her.  She was incredibly vain like that, something he’d struggled to tolerate for three long years.  Although she was one of the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen, it never got any easier to endure Cheyenne and her abominable ego. 

Gritting his teeth, Hardy forced his lips to curve up into the fake smile he’d worn for going on six months, ever since he realized how ill-suited he and Cheyenne really were. Lately, he found that he was continually reminding himself that he could end things with her after his senior football season. Just a few more months. 
The thing was, Hardy didn’t want to change anything and risk throwing off his game.  His entire future was riding on his football scholarship to LSU, and never a day went by that his father didn’t remind him that there was nothing more important in life at this point.  With that in mind, Hardy reassured himself that he could put up with her unparalleled beauty, her insatiable sex drive and her iron-clad ambition for one more year.

“Is there any way you girls could perform one of your routines so I could get some good action shots?” the photographer asked, directing his question toward Cheyenne.

Hardy knew what her answer would be before she gave it.  Cheyenne loved performing even more than she loved having her picture taken, and that was a lot.

“Of course,” Cheyenne answered, waving her hand dismissively, the gesture belying the excitement she undoubtedly felt at having even a small audience of eyes trained on her.  Whether there were two people around or two hundred, nearly every eye within viewing distance of Cheyenne was always glued to her.  Not only was she the captain of the squad and the focal point of nearly every cheer and dance they performed, Cheyenne was also drop-dead gorgeous, someone who always found herself at the center of attention, and people inevitably gravitated toward her.  Unfortunately, they didn’t know what she was really like.

Hardy watched her hips sway inside her short skirt as Cheyenne made her way to the iPod docking station she’d brought.  Her nimble fingers worked the lighted screen of her phone for a few seconds before she bent over and dropped it into the designated slot.  She didn’t bother bending at the knees, happily displaying her “reddies” as she called them to Hardy where he sat in the grass behind her.  When she straightened, she winked quickly in his direction before scampering back to the pack of vicious she-wolves she called cheerleaders.

Although his body twitched in response to the display, Hardy still couldn’t bring himself to sit through another of the routines he’d seen dozens of times already.  Waiting for Cheyenne to glance once more in his direction, Hardy signaled to her that he’d be back and then moved quickly away.  He couldn’t wait to escape the area cordoned off for the squad and head for the peace and quiet of the main park area.

When he’d walked far enough that he could no longer hear the annoying thump of too-peppy music, Hardy slowed his pace and looked for a tree that he could lean against and enjoy some shade.  Florida could be very warm in the winter, but the summer?  Sometimes “sweltering” didn’t even touch it.

A huge oak near the outer edge of the park drew his eye and Hardy headed that way.  The fact that it was near a bench that was empty only added to the appeal.

Hardy’s above-average height necessitated that he duck beneath the low hanging branches of the tree, which he did, before turning to lean against the trunk.  To his pleasant surprise, Hardy found himself basically obscured from view of the casual observer. 

Taking a deep breath, he relaxed against the bark, drawing into his lungs air that was at least ten degrees cooler.  Hardy closed his eyes and let his head fall back, enjoying the distant sounds of dogs barking enthusiastically and children squealing excitedly.

“How about here?” Hardy heard a small, high voice ask, presumably referring to the bench directly in front of the tree.  He swallowed the growl of displeasure at the unwanted intrusion upon his oasis.  He could only hope that whoever it was would either move on to a more choice spot or keep quiet if they decided to light on his bench. 

Silence stretched on for so long, Hardy thought he was once more alone.  But then an answering voice dashed his hopes. 

And piqued his interest.

“It’s perfect,” the other voice—a softer, older voice—responded. 

Hardy’s eyes popped open at the sound, his only thought of what the face that went with that voice might look like.  Unfortunately, his view was partially obscured.  Moving his head this way and that, he could still only see bits and pieces of a feminine face that the shifting oak leaves revealed as they danced on the light breeze.

“I love the smell of sunshine,” the voice said.

Hardy thought that an odd thing to say, an odd observation to make, and he found himself even more curious to see what the owner of that voice looked like.

Carefully, quietly, Hardy straightened away from the tree and moved his head, hoping to be able to see through a gap in the branches.  The only sight his new position provided was the unobstructed view of a bright red balloon.

“Why is it you want to let it go again?” the smaller of the two voices asked.

After another short pause, the deeper voice answered.  “I’ve just always wanted to see a balloon drift off into a cloudless sky.”

“You’re so weird,” the child teased.

“I know,” the older voice agreed, chuckling. 

More intrigued by the older girl with every word that was spoken, Hardy dropped into a squat to look unabashedly at the bench in front of him.  What he saw confused him. 

And enthralled him.

Two tiny wisps of girls sat on the wrought iron seat.  It was obvious by looking that one was much younger, surely not more than twelve or thirteen years old.  The other one, though obviously older, was not much larger than the child.  Beyond those simple observations, about her size and her age, Hardy didn’t give the younger girl a second glance.  His gaze was riveted to the older one.

He spared only a cursory glance at the ill-fitting jeans and too-thick sweater she wore and the camera strap looped around her neck. He found her clothing odd considering the warm temperatures, but gave it no more thought than that once he saw her face.

Porcelain skin covered the most delicately feminine features he’d ever seen.  The sun had brought a flush of color to the pale expanse of her cheeks, painting them a shade lighter than the dark rose of her full lips.  She was turned slightly away from him, so he couldn’t see her eyes very clearly, only her pert nose and the gentle curve of her chin.  The shine of the smooth skin atop her head drew his eye momentarily, distracting him from the beauty of her face.  Her scalp glistened in the sun and she made no move to conceal it.

“I want one, Mommy!  I want one!”

The cry of the child came from somewhere to the left and Hardy’s eyes darted to a young boy and his mother for only an instant before returning to the girl.  Nothing seemed as interesting, as captivating, as important as the face of that girl.  She drew his eye like the shore draws the ocean. 

The girl had turned in the boy’s direction and, from his peripheral vision, Hardy could see the boy dragging his mother forward, toward the bench, his short arm raised to point at the bright red balloon.

“Where did you get that, sweetie?” the mother asked of the girl, her tone polite and gentle. 

“I brought it with me,” the girl answered, her voice like smooth, cool water.

“Did you bring more? I want one,” the boy whined.

“Gabe, shh!  Don’t be rude.”

“No, I didn’t,” the girl answered, her brow wrinkling in shared disappointment.  “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” the boy said, his voice clearly indicating that it was anything but okay.

“Come on, Gabe.  We can get you a balloon another day.  How about some ice cream?” the mother bribed.

“I’ve already had ice cream,” he moaned.  “And I’m the only one at the party that didn’t get a balloon.  Why can’t I get one today?”

The heartbreak in the boy’s voice was so evident, Hardy managed to drag his eyes away from the girl just long enough to glance once more at Gabe; his face was nothing short of crestfallen and his chin trembled with emotion.

“Did you go to a party today?” the girl asked.

The boy nodded.

“But you didn’t get a balloon to take home?”

He shook his head, one fat tear escaping to roll slowly down his rounded cheek.

“Everyone else got one, but not me.”

The girl slid off the end of the bench to kneel in front of the little boy.  Pulling off the ribbon that was tied around her wrist anchoring the balloon to her frail body, she held it out toward Gabe.  When he didn’t immediately step forward, the girl nodded encouragingly and smiled.  Hardy’s breath caught in his chest, completely mesmerized by the simple gesture.  In the back of his mind, he was certain he’d never seen anything more beautiful, more perfect than her smile.

“Here.  Take mine.  I can get another one,” she assured.

“You don’t have to do that,” the mother offered, grabbing Gabe’s hand when he reached to take the ribbon from her grasp, anxious to get hold of the coveted balloon.

“Please,” the girl said.  “I want to.  I want him to have it.”

“Are you sure?”

She nodded again, her smile never faltering.  “I’m sure.”

Thrilled, Gabe snatched the balloon from the girl’s hand, turning immediately to run excitedly toward an open expanse of grass to play with his new toy.

“I’m sorry.  He’s not usually that rude,” the mother explained, visibly embarrassed.  “But thank you.  Really,” she said sincerely then scurried off to catch up to her son.

Hardy’s gaze dropped once more to the girl.  She remained on her knees, her head turned toward the boy where he ran in wide circles, the red balloon bobbing in the air above his head.

“Why did you give it to him?” the younger girl asked.  “You’ve been talking about letting that balloon go for months.”

Hardy saw the girl’s chest rise and fall on a sigh.

“Because it made him smile, Mila.  Look at him.”

The younger girl, Mila, turned her head to watch Gabe as he frolicked.

“But still,” she argued.

“No, no buts.  He needed it more than I do.”

Just then, a shrill voice broke into the strangely poignant beauty of the moment, shaking Hardy from his absorption.  Reflexively, he looked to the left, in the same direction from whence Gabe and his mother had come, and he saw his girlfriend making her way across the grass to him.  There was no more hiding from her.  And he’d never wanted to hide more.

“There you are,” Cheyenne called, picking up her pace and jogging toward him.

Movement drew Hardy’s eye back to the girl who knelt but a few feet from him.  She had turned to look at him, obviously surprised by his presence.  He was immediately lost in the most incredible emerald green eyes he’d ever seen.

They stared at one another for what seemed an eternity before Cheyenne intruded once more on the perfection of the moment.

“We’re done.  Are you ready?”

The girl’s gaze swung toward Cheyenne before she rose to her feet and moved back to sit on the bench.  Cheyenne glanced briefly at the duo, instantly dismissing them as unimportant, and then focused once more on Hardy.

“Come on, babe. I’m hungry and we have to drop Elise off before we can go to The Depot.”

Before he could think to stop himself, Hardy’s eyes flickered quickly to the girl.  He found that she was watching him with the most curious expression.  If he hadn’t known better, he might’ve thought it was pity. 

But why would she pity him?

Cheyenne cleared her throat, drawing his attention back to her.  There was a fair amount of agitation etched on her face when he was finally able to actually concentrate on her.

“What?  Are you suddenly into bald chicks or something?”

Hardy could feel the blood rush up his neck and flood his cheeks.  They burned in embarrassment.  He looked guiltily back at the girl, feeling a sickness in the pit of his stomach that Cheyenne might’ve caused her some pain.  But what he found was an empty bench.  She and the younger girl had quietly moved off the seat and were walking slowly away. 

Hardy watched them as they retreated.  He saw the girl pause for just a moment before they rounded one of the decorative gazebos that dotted the park.  His heart leapt in his chest, thinking she was going to turn and look at him.  But she didn’t.  Instead, Hardy saw her tip her head back and let the sun pour down over her face, as if she were enjoying the feel of the heat on her skin.  The simple gesture stirred something inside Hardy, making him suddenly ashamed of the company he kept, ashamed of the way he lived his life, ashamed of the things he took for granted.  He had no idea how something so brief, so innocuous as that gesture could have such a profound effect on him, but it did.  She did.  It was undeniable. 

As she disappeared behind the gazebo, Hardy couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to her in her short life to make her so appreciative of such mundane things as the sun and the park and a balloon.  He was surprised at how desperately he wanted to know the answer to those questions, to know the answers to her—her life, her mind, her heart.  He knew there was nothing that he wanted more than to know her. 

Lost in thought, Hardy mused silently about the girl as Cheyenne led him back the way she’d come.  By the time he came to his senses, they were already back where they’d started and Cheyenne was slapping her car keys into his hand.

“You drive.  I need to change clothes,” she stated, her tone indicating she was still irritated.

Still deeply shaken by the girl with the red balloon, Hardy stared blankly at Cheyenne for several long seconds.  He knew his hesitation had cost him, cost him something wonderful he felt. 

In his mind, he threw caution to the wind and turned from Cheyenne to jog back to the tree, back to the bench.  Back to the girl.  He knew she wouldn’t be there, so in his head, he scoured the park for her, his eyes scanning every head and every face for hers, but she was nowhere to be found.  He knew that when he’d let Cheyenne lead him away, he’d lost his chance to find out the name of the girl who, without a single word spoken to him, had stolen his heart.

LOOK FOR IT APRIL 8, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fragile Cover Reveal

If you haven't read the blurb and checked out the playlist for Fragile, you should do that because I think the cover will make much more sense then.  Is it too late to close your eyes and go look at those first?  It is?  Well, in that case, I might as well go ahead and show you the cover...  ;)



COMING APRIL 8th, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wishing for Someday Soon by Tiffany King

Well, today I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to host the awesome author, Tiffany King, who is here with the much-anticipated release of her newest book, Wishing for Someday Soon.  Squeeeee!  Since I know y'all are as excited as I am, I won't dilly dally.  I'll cut right to the chase.  Hang on, 'cause here we go!

THE INCREDIBLE COVER:


THE AWESOME BLURB:


Seventeen year old Katelyn Richards is a stronger person than anyone will ever know, and that is just the way she wants it. Behind her normal fa├žade, lies the reality of a broken home life. Thanks to her abusive mother, a string of deadbeat stepfathers, and an unsympathetic system, Katelyn has learned that the only one she can count on is herself. Her life’s mission has become to shield her nine year old brother, Kevin, and to give him the future that they both wish for. A life with no more abuse, no worries about where their next meal will come from, and no more wondering if they will have a roof over their heads.
When her mother moves them again, this time to a small town in Montana, Katelyn’s resolve is shaken when she meets Max, a cute boy from her new school who gets a glimpse into her real world. Max slowly manages to break through Katelyn’s wall of distrust, stirring up feelings she never saw coming. Now with her world more complicated than she ever intended, Katelyn struggles with the decision to follow her heart into the arms of the first boy she has ever loved. A decision that could risk the promise she made to protect Kevin, and to give them the ‘someday soon’ that is so close within their grasp.

THE TANTALIZING EXCERPT:

“Huh?” I asked looking up. My face filled with color as I took in his boyishly handsome face. He had thick brown hair that threatened to fall in his eyes if not for the hand he used to push it back off his forehead. His eyeS were the typical brown you would expect, but seemed to sparkle as he smiled at me. Within our endless travels over the years, I had run across my share of cute boys, and even went out with a few, but it was the dimples that sat in both corners of his mouth that instantly captivated me and set him apart from any other boy I had ever met. He was more than boyishly cute, the word steamy jumped to mind. I knew without a shadow of doubt he was trouble.
And wait!  There's more!  Get this, Tiffany is doing a blog hop giveaway!  Woot! 
THE GIVEAWAY:

Collect the letters from each of the excerpts provided by all the blogs listed below and then head back to http://authortiffanyjking.blogspot.com/ to plug them into the secret phrase. You could win a Wishing For Someday Soon t-shirt, mouse pad or a signed copy of Wishing For Someday Soon!!! Take the time to leave a comment on each blog you visit and you could win a Kindle copy of Wishing For Someday Soon on the day it releases!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

YA Indie Carnival- Luck


Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Well, tomorrow. I'm a bit early, but better early than late, right?  Right!  I'm sure you can imagine what our post is about today.  If not, I'll spell it out for you.

L.U.C.K.

Some people blame all the good things that happen in their life on it.  Some people blame all the bad things that happen in their life on it.  Either way, it's apparently very fickle.  Me?  I don't believe in luck.  I believe in fate.  I believe in destiny.  I believe that everything happens for a reason, exactly when and where and how it's supposed to.  Good or bad.  I may not understand it.  I may not like it.  But I have to believe that it all adds up to something...right.  Something perfect.  Something that is precisely...me.  It's just what I need, for whatever reason, at that very moment.  Sometimes it's a kick in the pants.  Sometimes it's something so wonderful it takes my breath.  Sometimes it's utter silence that is filled with things that can only be perceived, not seen or heard.  Regardless, whether I understand it today, tomorrow or in ten years, it all comes together to form the tapestry of my life.  It's unique to me, like no other in the world.  Designed for me and around me.  That's not to say I don't believe in free will.  Because I do.  I believe that the choices I make have consequences--for better or worse.  Sometimes the things I do have no effect whatsoever.  Sometimes, the ripples can be seen for years into my future.  But I believe that there is a divine plan that takes all that into consideration and still makes it work out all right in the end.  That's what I believe.  But that's just me.  I can honestly say, however, that if there were such a thing as luck, I'd be happy to walk around all day with a leprechaun at my side and a four-leaf clover taped to my forehead.  I might even switch from Frosted Flakes to Lucky Charms. 

*pauses to consider*

Nah!  That's asking TOO MUCH!!  ;)

Let's see what the other carnis have to say about all this.


Dani Snell Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura Elliott Author of Winnemucca as well as 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
Amy Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T.R. Graves Author of Warriors of the Cross
PJ Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K.C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
Cidney Swanson Author of Ripple series
Heather Self Blogger, Reviewer and upcoming Indie Author
Heather M. White, Author of The Destiny Saga
Melissa Pearl, Author The Time Spirit Trilogy
T. G. Ayer
Bryna Butler, Author of Midnight Guardian series