Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: THE THRESHOLD CHILD by Callie Kanno


By Callie Kanno
Published September 2012


Adesina was trained from childhood to serve her land as a warrior and a spy. When she is selected to combat a group of seditious magic users, she must summon all of her talents--some of which have been buried in the deepest part of her.


First of all, the book’s blurb and cover do not do this story justice.

This is an epic YA fantasy, a coming of age story, and a classic tale of good versus evil where the lines are all blurred and the heroine must work hard to see where the right path leads. It’s a story of duty and honor, of love and betrayal, of swords and magic, set in a land somewhere distant and different than our own, and yet still familiar.

Adesina is an orphan, raised by the mysterious Shimat sect to be a warrior. She knows she is different than the other children she trains with, set apart not only by her striking and unusual features but also by her innate abilities. When she graduates her training program in record time, she is proud to be sent on a secret mission to the High City. She honors her duty to protect the lands from the influence of the magic users, the L’avan, a Northern tribe who are the mortal enemies of the Shimats.

She is initially aided in her mission by Kendan, her last Shar, or trainer. Over the course of their training and journey together she develops strong feelings for him and doesn’t question when he gives her an assignment to capture one of the L’avan. It is only after the mission is complete that she has regrets… the man she helped to kidnap looked too familiar. Are the Shimat really protecting the realm? Or trying to control it all for some deeper, more sinister purpose?

L’iam is a crown prince of the L’avan people. He journeys with a company of his people to the High City seeking information on his missing soldier. When Adesina meets up with the L’avan, she is startled to realize that not only are the magic users good and moral people, she is actually one of them – and the man she helped to kidnap was her own father.

The second half of the book is Adesina’s journey not only to redeem herself by trying to free her father from the Shimat, but also her journey to discover her L’avan roots and the magic, or vaya, that each of them has deep within. She is aided in both quests by L’iam and by a magical beast named Ravi. The L’avan have a prophesy about a “Threshold Child” who will lead their people into a new age. Could Adesina be that Threshold Child they seek?

While there are some flaws in the writing (and quite a bit of head hopping), the story arc is sweeping and magical. The characters and emotions are strong and believable, and the situations keep the reader on the edge of her seat. Even when it’s obvious that Adesina is making a poor choice, the reader keeps rooting for her to survive, to find a way through. To win, both in her battles and in love.

I’m told that this book is the first of a planned series. While the book and the ending stand on their own merits (and I actually loved the ending, despite what other reviewers have said), I look forward to reading the next installment. If you enjoyed Graceling, you will enjoy rooting for Adesina along her journey.

You can find this book on Amazon - currently on sale for $2.99

* I received an ebook copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. *

Author Bio:

Callie Kanno comes from a family of writers, and has loved telling stories from an early age. She dabbled a bit in poetry and other short works until she discovered her passion for novels. She is a wife and a mother, and currently lives in Utah with her family.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writing Wednesday: What's with the SPAM?

Is this happening to anyone else?

In the last few weeks, there's been a marked increase in the amount of spam comments I've been getting on the blogs that I work with. I mean, last night, I had a flurry of activity on an old post where the anonymous commenter was just Out. Of. Control.

I really hate it when blogs have security words that you have to type in, but I may have to resort to that soon.

The worst spammers also attach live links in their comments to take the readers to a different website. Maybe these are harmless, but maybe not. I would hate for any of my readers to end up with nasty viruses...

I've posted warnings on the other two blogs I work on that Anonymous comments will be deleted. I felt I needed to say that in advance, because some of the "real" commenters always post as "Anonymous" anyway, and then sign their names in the comment.

Any advice?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Debut author Rebecca Trogner and THE LAST KEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Today, I'm excited to introduce Rebecca Trogner and her new novel


To celebrate her first novel, Rebecca's running a few cool contests - a Rafflecopter giveaway with a $100 Amazon Gift Card as a prize! And a Goodreads giveaway of her book, too! You can find links to both contests - and a list of her scheduled blog tour stops - on her website Events page here:

 The Book Blurb:
Born into old money, Lily Ayres lives at Waverly, her family’s estate situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Paris, Virginia.  She is a strange, small, almost mute, young woman who has no idea that her father has given her to the Vampire King Krieger.  Walter Ayres is the King’s Keeper and part of a secret society of historians who unearth, preserve, and attempt to understand relics of long forgotten civilizations.

Lily has never felt comfortable in the human world, but after she suspiciously falls down a flight of stone steps, and is healed and claimed by Krieger, she realizes there is another world.  In this Other Realm she feels a sense of belonging, and begins to untwine the mysterious event which left her mentally and psychologically damaged.  When Walter disappears in England, Lily works with human and supernatural beings to uncover his whereabouts.  With each new discovery, she is pulled deeper into the vortex of magic, intrigue, and dark desires that permeates the supernatural world.  The revelations revealed unfold a story of deception and betrayal that threaten to tear the thin veil between the supernatural and human world asunder.

The book is available now at Amazon - I've already got it on my TBR list, and will post a review once I finish reading. And don't forget to visit her Goodreads contest to enter for a chance to win!

About the Author:

Rebecca Trogner lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and frequently crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains that were the inspiration for Krieger’s home. She always dreamed of being a writer, but got sidetracked by the day-to-day adventures of life. With the encouragement of her family, she has finished her first novel and is currently writing the next book in The Last Keeper’s Daughter series. Rebecca lives with her husband and son, and a rescue dog named Giblet. To find out more about the author visit

Twitter: @RTrogner 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: A STIFF KISS, by Avery Olive


By Avery Olive

Published by Crescent Moon Press, February 2012

Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything?

Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves.

But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia's hands, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up?

With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has new meaning. But what Xylia doesn't realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she's thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia's this time.


This book surprised me in so many ways! I admit, I put off reading it because the title and cover just didn’t grab me. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe a zombie relationship kind of thing? But it’s not – it’s more of a modern fairy tale. And I loved every minute of it.

The chapters are narrated in first person, and alternate between the two main characters. When we first meet Xylia Morana, she seems like your typical goth teen, dressed in black with an attitude to match. As the book gracefully unfolds, so do the layers of her complex character, helping us understand her strange fascination with death, and her strained relationship with her father. Ms. Olive does a masterful job of showing us bits and pieces of her story and her emotions, rather than outright telling.

Likewise, when we first hear Landon Phoenix’s voice, he sounds kind of like the stereotypical high school jock, arrogant and self-assured, who sees a college soccer scholarship as his only ticket out of his confining small-town life. But after being brought back to life by Xylia’s kiss, we hear him question his goals and desires as he tries to understand what happened and why. In the end, he finally realizes there are more important things in life than soccer. Again, the author lets us watch as the layers of his character peel back to reveal a character we can like and root for on his journey.

A STIFF KISS is a beautifully written story of teen angst and self-discovery that took my emotions by storm. It’s about love and second chances, but also about being honest and true to oneself. I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Olive!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today I'm excited to welcome guest author Raven Bower!

Her latest book, WEEPING DARK: BLEEDING EDGE, was just released last week by Crescent Moon Press.  Check out this awesome cover - talk about strong, kick-ass heroines!
Hi, Raven! Thanks for joining me today to celebrate your new book! Give us a brief bio and talk about what kind of books you like to read and write.

A: Hi! I'm Raven, part of the Raven & Lain (my hubby) Bower writing team. We live in northern Michigan with our kids - both the furless kind and those with fur and some with scales  :D

We write fantasy, urban fantasy and horror - but I read across the spectrum of genres. Okay, I don't read literary, historical or mystery fiction but everything else is fair game! Lain likes epics and fantasy.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

A: The adventure! Delving into the gritty world of Primal, exploring the fantasy world of Weeping Dark: Bleeding Edge - entering battle! All without leaving my desk, hehe

What’s your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

A: A hybrid mix of the two, actually. I spend a lot of time running my characters through what could be considered rehearsals - visualizing the story from start to finish in my head, much like a movie. This allows me to see where plot flaws are or what type of decisions and reactions the characters would have in advance. Then I tweak the plot accordingly, create the plot cards and off we go to the rough draft.

However, though my plots rarely ever change much from the original concept (because of the rehearsal time) they still change here and there. Since I don't believe in forcing characters or situations, this means going with the flow as well, even though the main skeleton of the plot remains mostly the same.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

A: Telepathy! Muahah. That would be so fun.

Tell us about your new release, WEEPING DARK: BLEEDING EDGE

A: Weeping Dark: Bleeding Edge is the first book in an epic fantasy series. So far, it looks to have about 6-9 books - depending on how persnickety the characters decide to be! It's a sweeping tale that adventures across the world of Farath and into the heart of a warrior - Shayla Dormyr, the heroine - as she battles for her people, her heart, and her soul.

Okay, if you’re casting the movie of your book, who would play the main characters?

A: Oooh let's see. I'd cast Karl Urban as the hero, Daibryn. For Shayla, she'd be difficult because Shayla is so strong in my head as 'Shayla' that it’s hard to see someone else in her shoes, if that makes sense. I often run across actresses that I think would be neat to play her, but my choices change with my mood on that, lol

(I love Karl Urban! Great choice!) So, Raven - Where can readers find your books and where can you be found on the web?

Or I keep an updated list with short blurbs on the side bar of my blog here:

We can be stalked at the blog (listed above) or on:

Twitter: @ravenbower

Thanks so much for chatting with me today! Can’t wait to read your new book!  (I’m rushing over to Goodreads to add it to my TBR list!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meet Toni DePalma and THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Toni DePalma, whose latest book THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE was just released on Friday, February 15 by Crescent Moon Press.
This book is already on my TBR list and I’ll be posting a review as soon as I finish… but right now, let’s meet the author!

Hi, Toni! Thanks for coming to visit. First, could you give a brief bio and tell us what kind of books you like to read and write.

The Devil’s Triangle is my third book, but my first paranormal Young Adult fiction. I live on the Jersey shore with my family. I read a wide range of books. I speak Italian and read some Italian authors. I love young adult, adult, anything really.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

My older brother and I are eleven years apart and in many ways I feel like I was raised an only child. As a kid, I lived in my imagination. Being a writer, I get to do that and not be called crazy!

What’s your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

I outlined one book in the last twenty years and I never ended up finishing it. I like to discover my story as I go along, but I do have an end point in my mind when it comes to how I want my character to grow or change.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To write faster! I don’t know how some of these authors can writer three or four books a year. Don’t they sleep or need to eat?

Tell us about your new release, THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE.

The Devil’s Triangle is about 17 year old Cooper who dies and then gets another chance at life from Lucy, Lucifer’s sister, who’s crossed party lines. Lucy makes Cooper a deal – go back to earth, meet up with a girl named Grace and earn a spot in heaven. What Cooper isn’t aware of is that he and Grace have a shared history.

Okay, if you’re casting the movie of your book, who would play the main characters?

I LOVE this question! Doesn’t every author dream of seeing their characters come to life? Logan Lerman from Percy Jackson and Perks of Being a Wallflower is adorable – he’d probably have to bulk up a little since Cooper is a football player. Elle Fanning would make a great Grace. As for Lucy, I love Kat Dennings’s sharp tongue.

Where can readers find your books and where can you be found on the web?

Here are my links:
Devil's Triangle Goodreads page:

 Toni, thanks for coming to visit today!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Puppy Tales: In Which Puppy Demonstrates Her Sheer Brilliance

We have a tiny kitchen in our house. As in, there's no room for two big dogs to sit around the kitchen just waiting for scraps. None. Especially not for Puppy.

So one of the first "tricks" or commands our dogs need to learn is "Out of the Kitchen." So, while you think this pair is just laying there looking cute, they are really testing me. If you look closely you can see that the dog on the left has half a paw over the line onto the linoleum, and Puppy has part of her snout over the line. Not enough for me to yell at them, but enough to let me know that they're waiting.

What are they waiting for?

At the time I took these photos, I was cutting up leftover steak to make sandwiches for the boys' lunchboxes. The dogs were counting on getting some scraps. But they had to wait.

Which leads us to the next trick in the repertoire...


As in, we put down the scraps of steak and make them literally wait until we say "Okay." I can't take credit for teaching them this trick, as my husband is the one with the more twisted sense of humor sometimes. But it makes for a very impressive trick.

While Puppy seemed to understand "Out of the Kitchen" pretty quickly, this "Wait" trick took longer to master. You can see the expression of disbelief on her face even now - "Are you kidding? You're doing this to me AGAIN?"

But the next trick is even more impressive. And even more cruel...

The dog has to sit with the piece of steak on her nose until we say "Okay." At the signal, she then tosses it into the air and catches it to eat. If it falls on the floor, she can't eat it and has to try again. This dog has gotten very good at catching food. Any food. Every time.

Puppy? Not so much. She can't catch. Or won't catch. She likes to sniff each piece of food before eating it, as if we were trying to trick her into eating medicine or something.

Someday maybe she'll learn to catch. For now I'm just glad she understands "Out" when I ask her to leave the room, or I'd never get anything done!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Kiss

Happy Valentine's Day to all! 

Several bloggers out there, including my friend Shawna Romkey, are posting about first kisses today - kind of a fun topic for Valentine's Day, especially if you write romantic fiction of any stripe.

As Drew Barrymore says repeatedly in FIFTY FIRST DATES, "there's nothing like a first kiss." My favorite first kiss is the one I shared with my husband. Well, pretty obvious choice in retrospect, since I did marry the guy. But really, at the time I knew it was magical, unlike any kiss I'd experienced before... I felt like I lost myself in the kiss, somersaulting through space and time and was thoroughly surprised when it was over and we were still sitting in the same spot we'd started in. One kiss changed everything I thought I knew and wanted.

That's the feeling writers are trying to convey when we put words on paper to show a reader a first kiss scene. We're trying to put that magic into words to let the reader share the emotions the characters are experiencing.

I'm pretty excited about my upcoming YA novel, SON OF A MERMAID. It's scheduled for release in May and I just CAN"T WAIT!!! Okay, more like REALLY REALLY excited.... and anyway, I'm going to share a short scene today, showing the two main characters sharing their first kiss, both with each other as well as first kiss ever...

“Are you still cold?” Shea asked as he put his arm around her and hugged. She felt warm against him, her body radiating heat like a bonfire. Her hair smelled of salt air and sunshine.
“I’m not cold,” she whispered as she shivered again. “Just scared.”
He cupped her cheek with his hand and tipped her face upward, looking down into her wide eyes. “Don’t be,” he whispered back, and kissed her lightly. Her lips were soft and tasted of salt and sweetness, like the taffy they sold in the center of town. He wound his fingers through her golden locks, her hair silky and fine to his touch like spun sunshine, as he locked his lips more firmly to hers. His heart hammered within his chest, the blood pounding in his ears drowning out the world around them, he felt as though he were tumbling through space…until a sharp bark brought him back to the present and he opened his eyes. Lucky was standing next to the bed, prodding Kae with his black muzzle.
Kae drew away suddenly, her cheeks flaming red once again. “Oh,” she said, jumping to her feet. “Oh, I’m so sorry!”
“Sorry?” Shea stood slowly, his brow knotting with confusion. “What is there to be sorry about?”
“I… I… Maybe we’d better get going. My father will know what to do to help your mother.” She turned abruptly and walked into the hallway. He felt like all the heat had left the room with her, his heart still beat with a rapid, steady sharpness. Sorry? Why would she say that?
Lucky still stood next to Shea. He looked down at the dog and frowned. “Way to go, dog,” he muttered. “Rule number one? Never interrupt a first kiss.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writer Wednesdays: Blizzards, School Closings and Deadlines

It's been quite the busy week here in the Northeast, what with the Big Blizzard Thing and all. I'm telling you, the Groundhog screwed up and annoyed Mother Nature with his prediction earlier this month. I feel like a disbelieving Bill Murray, insisting that the storm won't hit here. But it did.

This is not spring. And there is more snow coming tonight. And tomorrow.

Puppy loved the white-out conditions. All the people without power on Cape Cod (most of the Cape) didn't love it quite so much. My house was only out for a short period during the first night, when we were snuggled in bed anyway. It screwed up my computer, but not much else. Well, that's not true. Schools were closed. And some are still closed as the buildings suffered damage or are still being used as emergency shelters for those without power. So as a sidebar note, the storm wrecked the end of basketball seasons for two of my kids, missing games Friday, Monday, Tuesday and today that won't be made up - at least they each have one game remaining.

With the computer down and the kids home from school and sports.... I didn't get any writing done this week. Practically None. I'm on my third new paragraph on the WIP I wanted to have finished by the end of this month. Now I feel I'll be lucky to have the first draft finished by the end of the month.

I'm all about deadlines. Even though this is an "internal" deadline I set for myself, it's making me crazy to let it slip. I'm planning to spend today writing like a fiend to try and catch it all up and get those last 20-30,000 words onto the page. (Yeah right. No, it could happen...) I'm giving myself until Friday, and my son's last home game at 5 p.m. to get it done. Because next week is school vacation week...

What do you do when external forces mess up your writing schedule? Are you deadline oriented or go-with-the-flow? Any good tips for working around snowstorms and children?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: THE OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER, by Shannon Eckrich

Book Review: THE OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER by Shannon Eckrich

Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Pub Date: January 2012

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson's telekinetic powers are anything but useful--she can't bring her father back, can't stop her mother's downward spiral into alcohol, and can't keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals--because he isn't mortal himself.

When Allie and Ethan's love is discovered, there's someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can't learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.

Navigating high school is hard enough, even without having to hide your weird telekinetic powers or the fact that your dad’s m.i.a. and your mom’s an alcoholic who tends to take off and leave you alone…

Meet Allie Anderson. She’s got all these problems and more, including the school bully on her case and that creepy guy from gym class making passes at her, and the fact that her best friend moved away. She’s never told anyone about her unusual abilities to control the power around her (shattering lightbulbs, making things turn off or on) and she has no idea how to control it. As her life roller-coasters out of control, so do her powers.

Until she meets Ethan Bradley.

Ethan has the ability to calm her emotions and soothe her telekinesis in a way no one else has ever done before. Allie is drawn to him, but tries to deny the attraction – after all, her life has shown her that to care about something is to lose it. Ethan challenges this, and she reluctantly begins to open her heart… and then she finds out he’s not even really human.

The scenes of them falling in love are so sweet and well written. The conflict between the mortals and immortals is interesting and compelling – my only complaint would be that the stakes aren’t high enough. Ms. Eckrich does do an excellent job showing the emotional traumas that are high school and teen love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would love to read more about Allie and Ethan!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake Blog Hop and Giveaways!

It's here! *throws confetti* The Year of the Snake! Thanks, Wendy Russo, for putting this blog hop together! (There's a list of participant links at the end of this post - pour another cuppa and go blog hopping to read some cool excerpts!)

According to Chinese Zodiac, the Snake occupies the 6th position on the wheel, symbolizing such character traits as intelligence, gracefulness and materialism. When it comes to decision-making, Snakes are extremely analytical and as a result, they don’t jump into situations.

Sounds good, right? Okay, so truth be told, I was born in a Snake year. Intelligent and graceful, uh huh. But then... I find out that the Zodiac description goes on to say...

"Snakes are effective at getting the things they want, even if it means they have to scheme and plot along the way." 
Say what? Deceptive? Me? Maybe I'm taking this a little too personally...

Anyway, this blog hop is actually all about Deception. Participants are encouraged to search through their books or WIPs to find a passage that embodies the Spirit of the Snake.

I thought I'd choose a short passage from my upcoming YA novel, SON OF A MERMAID, being published this year by Crescent Moon Press. The book's due to make a splash in May, so I can't offer a copy of the novel as a prize, but I do have one of these uber-cute 3" tall mermaid ornaments that my Cape Cod Girl Scout troop made - check it out:
No, the Nantucket scrimshaw isn't part of the prize, nor is the sea glass. Just the mermaid. (You know you want it!) Here's how to win:

1. Read the following short passage from SON OF A MERMAID.
2. Leave a comment below, naming the character who best embodies the Snake.
3. Blog, Tweet or Facebook about this blogfest. Go ahead. I trust you to do the right thing.

The winner will be chosen by my ultra-scientific pulling-names-out-of-a-hat method.(*Disclaimer: Not going to ship overseas- U.S. and Canada only*) One of these days I'll figure out Rafflecopter. Maybe someone will help me. (Maybe I'll trick someone into helping me...)

Anyway, without further ado, my SNAKE excerpt from SON OF A MERMAID:

Kae spotted a large, dark-eyed merman seated at the King’s right, a thin gold crown upon his dark head. His skin was slightly olive, and she could see that his tail was dark green, with not a fleck of gold shining among his scales.

The Prince looked young next to the elderly King, but she knew a merman’s looks could be deceiving. He could be the same age as she, or he could be over one hundred years old. Still, he looked too young to have done all of the terrible things he was rumored to have done.

King Koios arose as the entourage entered the Great Hall. “Ah, here she is. Brynneliana, my darling daughter.” He gestured to the crowned merman at his table. “The Prince has arrived early, with word from your cousin, Theo.”

The Prince’s laughter rumbled through the water, causing shivers to run down the length of Kae’s tail. The Southern Prince rose, and swam to where Brynn had stopped short. “Prince Demyan, at your service, my lady. I must say, you are even more beautiful than was described to me, Brynneliana, like a delicate sea flower.”

His voice was low and scratchy, causing the back of Kae’s neck to prickle as she watched him take Brynn’s small hand with his larger one, bending to brush his thin lips against her skin. Kae imagined it took all of Brynn’s royal training to resist yanking her fingers from that grasp, for despite the circle of gold on his head the merman seemed more sinister than sincere.

Kae took in the prince’s dark eyes, his overly muscular forearms and his scales the color of dying seaweed. She swallowed the bile rising in her throat, as her princess said formally, “It’s good to finally meet you as well, my Prince. I have heard much about you.”

The Prince narrowed his eyes as if to decipher a hidden meaning in those simple words. His face relaxed just as quickly, giving nothing away as he replied, “You can’t believe every story swept northward on the current, the same way we in the Southern Court try to ignore those rumors that drift southward about you, my dearest Princess.”


Friday, February 8, 2013

Puppy Tales: In Which Puppy Eagerly Anticipates The Blizzard

Bring on the Blizzard!

Hope everyone on the East Coast is prepared and hunkered down with enough food and a fully charged Nook (or Kindle) to get through the coming storm.

Puppy is hoping it's a real storm this time. She wants to see LOTS of snow.

She's ready.

Are you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthday Bash! Giveways! Prizes! with author Avery Olive

When Avery Olive asked for people to help celebrate her book's first birthday, I said, "Pick Me!" And she did! And now I'm helping to bring the celebration to you, too. Read on and see how you can win a FREE COPY OF A STIFF KISS as well as some other cool stuff... Take it away, Avery!

The Super Awesome A Stiff Kiss 1st Anniversary Contest

Welcome... Welcome! Please stick around and read today’s post ‘cause it’s a Winner! Hehe. Okay, so I thought about trying something a little different for this next contest. 

My goal is to try and get everyone involved more, while spreading the word about A Stiff Kiss. I know many of you might prefer the simple enter your email Rafflecopter, or leave a comment on a post... but I think, if people get involved, this will be a huge hit!

As an A Stiff Kiss Anniversary Participant, your goal is to get as many points as possible so that you can win the massive prize package I’ll be giving away.

But wait, I’m all about a pat on the back for participation, so I will be giving two smaller prize packages away to two random entrants, and... And... for everyone else, you’ll get a little something something too. So, if this works, everyone has the potential to receive some kind of goodie!!

Grand Prize includes:
1 signed and personalized paper copy of A Stiff Kiss (with a special note to the winner)
1 ASK Canvas Tote Bag
1 ASK T-Shirt
1 ASK Coffee Mug and set of coasters
1 ASK Mousepad
Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

2 Participation Prizes include:
1 ASK Coffee Mug filled with Hersey’s Kisses
1 Set of ASK Coasters
1 ASK Mousepad
Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

To see a picture of the prizes being offered, click HERE

Alright, let’s get to the fun stuff. I’ve created a list of activities, given each of them a point value and tried to come up with simple, easy to do and like I said, most importantly, fun things for you to accomplish. You will need to copy and paste this form, and fill it out in order to entered. All forms must be sent to no later than February 28th!
      Tweet about A Stiff Kiss. I’ve created a few tweets that you can copy and paste, or create your own.

Tweet 1: Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? #AStiffKiss out now!

Tweet 2: Have you checked out @AveryOlive #AstiffKiss ?Happy one year book anniversary!

Remember to use @averyolive or the hashtag #AStiffKiss so that I can track your tweets! International readers may tweet in their own language, so don’t worry J

1 Point per Tweet and no more than 2 Tweets per day! Enter how many tweets you did here...
Number of Tweets:

2.      Post to your blog or other social media (Website, Tumblr and Facebook)
You’re goal is to share something about A Stiff Kiss. It can be posting a review, doing a simple cover and blurb spotlight, it can be asking me to do an interview (send an email to if you’d like my help) You can re-use an old review, post or interview, however it must be imbedded into a NEW POST. You’re imagination should be put at use here, being extra creative is awesome!) Can be posted in your language of choice.

5 Points per Post. You can post a maximum of 3 times, at least one week apart but each post must be different. One post review, one post cover and blurb, one post something random like sharing with me your personal favourite cemetery...

Please include links to your post!

3.       Spread the love by sharing your A Stiff Kiss Review. Most people forget that there are dozens of places to share reviews. Posting one in a new place can help spread the word. Find a new place (like Goodreads, Barnes & Nobel,, YaCentral) and post your review!

5 Points for each new location you post your review! Please include links to your reviews J
Enter Links Here:

4.      Candid Camera! Take a photo of you (and others if possible) holding a copy of A Stiff Kiss, your e-reader with the cover (or opening page). If you see A Stiff Kiss in your bookstore, library, or own a copy, get as many people as you can into a picture!

Don’t have a copy or ebook of A Stiff Kiss? That’s Okay! If you’ve been lucky enough to receive ASK Swag in the past, take a photo with that or print out this handy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and use that for your picture!

10 Points for each photo, plus 5 points for each additional person within the photo! Follow me on Instagram—tag me in your photo—post it on Facebook, post it to my wall, share it on twitter with @AveryOlive or #AStiffKiss or send me links.

5       Poster, poster, read all about! Print out this handy dandy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and post it all around your town. Tape it up anywhere you are allowed to—libraries, school bulletin boards, telephone poles, get creative!

10 Points for each poster you put up (with photo proof, see activity 5 guidelines on how to make sure your photo is seen if you are not sending me links)

6       Get your Library to get in on the fun! Many library websites have a “request a book form” so, fill it out and request to have them purchase a copy of A Stiff Kiss for their shelves or go directly into the library and fill out a form or talk to your librarian!

10 Points for each request (take a screen shot of your screen when making the request (screen shot how to info HERE)

7       Stage a spooky photo! Since A Stiff Kiss’ main character is all about cemeteries, I want you to go out and stage a photo next to a tombstone. I know, it’s a little morbid, but Xylia will love it. Use your book, ereader, poster or swag and capture it along with a tombstone, creepy statue—anything you can find at your local cemetery!

15 Points for each spooky photo (with photo proof)

8       Buy a Copy today! Don’t own A Stiff Kiss? Buy a copy (print or ebook) today for yourself, your friends, to donate to your library or giveaway as a gift. I recommend Take a screen shot of your order confirmation or a picture of your receipt.

25 Points for each book (or ebook) purchased—don’t forget that photo proof.

9       Write an article! This is a big one, it might be nearly impossible to accomplish, but I have faith in you! Write an article about A Stiff Kiss (or me, Avery Olive) and have it printed in your school or local newspaper. The article can be a review, an interview, whatever you can come up with!

30 Points for each article printed. Send me links or get photo proof!

The Wild Card! This is for you wild ones out there. Show me what you’ve got! This is activity is strictly for you to think outside the box! If you can come up with a fun, creative way to spread the word about A Stiff Kiss, show it to me!

50 Points I’ll need photo proof, links—anything you can throw me!

Just a little extra.
Can I personally use your pictures and post them on the internet?  Yes or No
Can I include your name when announcing prizes or thank you’s? Yes or No

Don’t forget to include your full name and mailing address because in my eyes, everyone is a winner!

Send completed form to 

That’s it, that’s all. I know, some are easier than others, but I think with a little planning and a little motivation, anyone out there can rack up the points!

Remember, for the ones that require proof, I need links provided or to be tagged on Facebook or Instagram, it posted on my wall or use @averyolive or #AStiffKiss so that I can see all your hard work!

For full contest details, rules and regulations, please visit HERE otherwise, get to work and spread the love of A Stiff Kiss!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Using Social Media Responsibly

So Everyone knows you Have to be active on Social Media to Market yourself and your work.


Not everyone out there is who they say they are. These days, kids are taught this in school. When I was in school, we didn't have computers or cell phones, let alone social media to contend with. (Trying to monitor my daughter's Facebook page is enough to make my head spin!)

Kristen Lamb has a wonderful blog post about staying safe while you navigate the world of social media. Huge thanks to my friend and fellow Crescent Moon author Christine Ashworth for posting this link today. It's a rather long blog post, but well worth the time it takes to read it.

Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Were any of your New Year's Resolutions about learning something new?
Well then... have I got the book for you!

INSTANT SONGWRITING is a book about the ins and outs of Musical Improv Comedy, so yeah, if you're a comedian or an improvisor of any kind you really need to buy a copy of this book. Especially if no one was thoughtful enough to gift you one for the holidays.

But what about the rest of us?

This book is good for you and me, too. Because it's fun. And who doesn't need a little more fun?

The book's online description reads:

Instant Songwriting is the ultimate how-to book for musical improvisers and an excellent resource for songwriters. With over two decades of musical improv experience, Nancy Howland Walker guides you with clear, logical and fun step-by-step exercises, from the very basics of putting a song together, to highly advanced song techniques.
Whether you are new to the art form or experienced, your songs are improvised or written, or you do this for fun or profit, Instant Songwriting helps you take your song skills to the next level. Musical tracks are included for each exercise – to accompany you as you practice and master each step along the way. Now go and become the Songwriting Diva you were meant to be!
See? And wasn't that really your New Year's Resolution anyway? To become the Diva you were meant to be? No? Not so much? Hmmm. Maybe I have you confused with someone else.

Anyway, I already have my copy. You can get yours at Amazon.

You can also find INSTANT SONGWRITING on Facebook and Twitter, and on the web at

Monday, February 4, 2013

THE BOOK, by Jessica Bell

My friend Jessica Bell has a new novella out and I thought I'd give her a shout out, as well as a chance to talk about here on my blog with all you nice readers!

Take it away, Jessica!
* * * * * * * * * *

Ever wondered how a five-year-old girl perceives the world? Then you definitely need to get your hands on THE BOOK, a novella by Jessica Bell.

Check out these awesome reviews:
"Jessica Bell’s surprising risks with language capture a child’s clear vision in a world of adult heartbreak. Indelible. Courageous." ~Thaisa Frank, author of Heidegger's Glasses and Enchantment

"THE BOOK is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It's going to rip your blood pump out of your chest, kick it around like a football, and then shove it back inside you, leaving you with a potently reinvigorated faith in humanity. A curiously captivating read that somehow manages to encapsulate the length and breadth of love and family in one slim volume." ~Josh Donellan, author of Zeb and the Great Ruckus

Here's the blurb:
This book is not The Book. The Book is in this book. And The Book in this book is both the goodie and the baddie.

Bonnie is five. She wants to bury The Book because it is a demon that should go to hell. Penny, Bonnie’s mother, does bury The Book, but every day she digs it up and writes in it. John, Bonnie’s father, doesn’t live with them anymore. But he still likes to write in it from time to time. Ted, Bonnie’s stepfather, would like to write in The Book, but Penny won’t allow it.

To Bonnie, The Book is sadness.
To Penny, The Book is liberation.
To John, The Book is forgiveness.
To Ted, The Book is envy.
But The Book in this book isn’t what it seems at all.

If there was one thing in this world you wished you could hold in your hand, what would it be? The world bets it would be The Book.


Available at all major retailers in e-book and paperback, including Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Puppy Tales: In Which Puppy Professes Her Love of Vegetables

I know that I go on and on about Puppy's sweet tooth - and yes, I did actually make her a stack of pancakes for her birthday last weekend and slather them with maple syrup. (The photos are on my Facebook page if you don't believe me! Check them out!)

She blew out her candles (with a little help) and proceeded to eat the entire pile one by one.

As in, she sucked them up into her mouth one at a time, giving each an obligatory chew before swallowing it practically whole and continuing on to the next pancake in the stack while Big Dog watched from the sidelines with jealous drool hanging from her mouth.

But - aside from maple syrup - one of Puppy's favorite treats is a carrot. Seriously. I mean, look at the smile.
That is the face of a dog who LOVES her veggies. Carrots are at the top of her list, and she comes running at the sound of the vegetable peeler (in much the same way my cats used to come running for the sound of the can opener, in the days before pull-top cans.) (Am I showing my age here?)
In the summertime, her favorite things are the cherry tomotoes my husband grows in the yard (her favs are the orange Sun Gold variety.) (Is there an orange thing going in her head?)

But in the winter, she enjoys her root veggies - she also likes baked potatoes and brussel sprouts. Not so much for the cauliflour or broccoli, but she'll eat them in a pinch.

Carrots are definitely the pick of the bunch.

How about you? Do your dogs eat their veggies?

Cover Reveal: SPEAK OF THE DEVIL by Shawna Romkey

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?
After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.
Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?
 * * *
Wow, Shawna! I mean, WHAT a gorgeous cover. I can't wait to read this book! But... the waiting won't be long, as the book releases in March!! Shawna promised to come back and visit on her blog tour in March - and hopefully there will be Prizes! *Yea* Until then, I'm adding this to my Goodreads list right now....

* * * 
If you came here looking for my Friday Puppy Tales,  I'll be posting that later this afternoon and it will be up all weekend... I needed to post this cover first and help my friend celebrate her BEAUTIFUL new book! *yea*