Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cover Reveal, Pirate Jokes, & Flash Fiction

Arrrrr, mateys! I'm super excited to help the lovely Ashely Nixon reveal the cover of Cutlass, her YA fantasy. I always enjoy visiting Ashley's blog and hearing what's going on in her world(I love her blog header- artwork of two of her characters). So without further ado, here is the gorgeousness that is Cutlass:

Guys, there's sparkles on it!

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancĂ© seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

And to add some fun to the cover reveal, Ashely asked that we either share a pirate joke or a piece of flash fiction. But as I always have trouble deciding between things, I went with both. Here's my flash fiction of what I would imagine Cutlass is about just by looking at the cover:

It could go one of two ways. The pirates could board the ship and win, or they could be beaten back; forced to limp off into the Caribbean blue with more ballast in their hold than before. He tightened his grip on the cutlass. Braced his feet wide as multiple cannon was fired, the after-effects shuddering through the deck. Screams rent the air, joining in with the raucous cries of the seagulls wheeling above. They were well acquainted with battles at sea and knew what would follow- lifeless bodies gently riding the swells, offering up days of feasting. He glanced up at the skull and crossbones flag of his ship and grinned fiercely. It was time to fight. 

And here's two groan-worthy jokes I liked:

Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?
Because they can spend years at C!

Why did the pirate run aground?
His eye-patch was the wrong prescription!

And....*waits for groans to die down* if you'd like the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, then enter the Rafflecopter below(there's also another $25 Amazon gift card up for grabs if you like or share Cutlass on Facebook!).

Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to keep up w/Ashely and Cutlass? Here's a few places they can be found:

Cutlass will be available to eagerly devour read on April 23, 2014.
And last but not least- Congratulations, Ashley!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gone to the Dogs

I recently received some swag from Terry Lynn Johnson. It was beautiful and glossy and featured more of that gorgeous dog that makes me wanna murmur 'mush' every time I look at him. Well, I guess he could be a she, but I'm gonna go with he, because he just looks so...commanding. See?

In my goody bag of swag, there was a really neat fold-out card that featured an excerpt. I thought it was terrific! And if you'd like to read it as well, it can be found right here, over on Middle Grade Mania. And this is a short blurb of the book:

Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

I've always been fascinated with dogsledding, and might have tried hooking up the family dog to a few objects when I was a kid... But no worries, she escaped unscathed. =) If any of you are interested in learning more about Ice Dogs, here it 'tis on Goodreads.  And Terry can be found on her blog, which has some great pictures of gorgeous vistas and wildlife(like from ALASKA!). And speaking of pics, here's one of my dog, Licorice (aka Moo) back in the day when she was much better groomed than she is now. Also, I have never tried to hook her up to any objects. Besides a leash. ;)

And poor Moo, this is the only pic I could find of her since we brought the kidlet home almost two years ago. I think she's actually staring off into the middle distance in this pic, trying to comprehend how much her life had just changed, lol!
How 'bout you all? Do you have any dogs? Cats? Fish? Gerbils? Or have any of you ever been dog sledding before? I'd love to get to go one day- it's on my bucket list!

ALSO! As you've probably noticed, I've changed my blog...again. Sorry if I've given you all whiplash(this is the third time in less than a year), but I'm quite happy w/the results and shouldn't be changing it in the foreseeable future. Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my...ow. Never mind.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Contest Winners

Not gonna lie: It was hard. So hard, in fact, that I wish I'd decided to not be a judge at all, and handed all the responsibility over to Kimberly! I printed out my selections of favorite entries and read them over and over again(silently and out loud) and waffled back and forth- I wish I could send you all a prize! But as I can only pick one, my winner is....

The elf who wasn't an elf, snuck down the dark street, a bag of presents in her hand.
This line really stuck with me, and I could just imagine opening a MG novel and reading this as a first sentence. I want to know why this 'elf' is sneaking about; for good or bad reasons? What is going on? I would definitely be drawn to read on. Congrats, Jill, I hope you enjoy Bear Stays Up for Christmas! 
And Kimberly's winner is...
Lexa Cain!
It wasn't the way the dead body was splayed on the snowy street, hair draped across its face like tinsel, but the giant candy cane stabbed into the center of its chest that made Detective Peters shake his head and say, "The holidays are murder."
Kimberly said: I chose Lexa's entry because it's sounds like the beginning of an episode of CSI. Also, I'm crazy curious how a candy cane is used as a murder weapon. Those things are awfully fragile. This was a macabre, out-of-the-box entry that hooked me immediately. (Enjoy your children's picture book- Winter is for Snow!)
Also, Kimberly and I wanted to join in the fun as well, and share some first lines that we crafted from the list. Here's mine:
She caught sight of the reindeer, blood frozen in its fur, just as the first flake of snow fell.
And here's Kimberly's:
The first Hanukkah after we moved to New Jersey, my father drove us around snowy streets and counted the electric menorahs glowing on window sills because as a native New Yorker, he felt better seeing there were other Jews in the neighborhood.
So thank you to everyone who stopped by and joined in the fun. The entries were so good that you really did make it hard to pick a winner! To the winners, please email me at and let me know where to send your books to. And a big thank you to Kimberly(facebooktwitter, & blog) for helping me with this contest- you're a great friend! And last but not least, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic holiday season, eating good food and enjoying time with family and friends.
Image courtesy of


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Contest!!!

I've known for a few months now that I wanted to do a giveaway in December. And while I normally do my giveaways nice and simple by just asking for a comment to be left, this one is gonna be a bit different. And I'm excited!

Here's the deal: I looove first lines. I love reading them, I love crafting them, I love being envious of other's first lines, I love reading first lines out loud, I love to eat them for breakfast I just really love first lines! And so for this, my first Christmas giveaway, I'd like to read some first lines from you all. But....with a catch. In order to win one of these books*:

Winter is for Snow by Robert Neubecker
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

I would like you to craft a first line that includes two of the holiday/wintery words that I've compiled in the list below. And you can make any of the plural words singular, or vice versa, to fit your needs. Then in order to be entered into the contest, all you have to do is leave your first line in the comments. Here are the words:

hot chocolate
ice skates
wrapping paper
sleigh ride
candy canes

I will then pick the first line that I love the best and eat it for breakfast send you one of the above picture books. And to make it merrier, I've invited my critique partner, Kimberly G. Giarratano, to pick the second winner(her novel, Grunge Gods & Graveyards, will be published by Red Adept Publishing in 2014).

Hi, Kimberly! 

So what do you all say? Are you ready to feed my addiction of first lines? =) The contest will be open for six days-- from today, December the 1st, to December 6th, with the winners announced on December 7th. And if you've any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section. Craft away, craft away, craft away all!!! ;)

* Unfortunately, this contest will only be open to those residing in the U.S. due to postage costs. I'm sorry if this excludes anyone from the fun. *apology hugs*

Footnote: Forgot to mention that the first lines can be in any category: YA, MG, romance, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, etc. Whatever you feel like writing about, write! Though please keep it clean, of course. =)