Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Fiction Feature with a little holiday flair from JB Michaels!

JB Michaels Spotlight

Ahoy wonderful readers!

I hope life is treating you kindly! To those of you who are on Thanksgiving break, enjoy! To everyone else working until Turkey Day, try to be thankful for the things in your life while you count down to your own holiday!

Speaking of holidays, I’ve a little early Christmas cheer for you all! This is a first for me featuring a Christmas tale, so I’m happy to give you JB Michaels The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball!

They are the Tannenbaum Tailors: elves charged with maintaining Christmas trees in homes around the world. Without the Tailors’ efforts, families might lose their Christmas spirit. And this year, one team of Tailors will be tested like never before.

With the North Pole itself under attack, newly promoted Captain Brendan is assigned a special mission: conceal the source of Santa’s power within a Christmas tree in Chicago. On Christmas Eve, Santa will pick it up.

The job would be simple, but the Tailors find themselves facing a serious threat—the thieving Spiritless elves, already responsible for sabotaging the North Pole Home Tree, will do anything to gain control of the very thing that makes Christmas possible.

Equally bad, Christmas spirit is at an all-time low in the Chicago home where Brendan’s assigned. The family’s mother even wants to take the tree down before Christmas Eve! To save Christmas, Captain Brendan and his Tailors will have to use every spirit-raising trick they know—and possibly even bend a few rules to pull it off.

Combining holiday cheer with action and thrills, The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowballreads like Raiders of the Lost Ark in a Christmas tree.

Sounds like a great read to pick up for the little ones during this special time of year, eh? The holidays can be a pretty hectic time, and this will be the perfect break in your busy schedule to remember the magic and special moments the end of the year can bring!

You can find JB Michael's debut novel here! 

Well, that’s it for now! Short and sweet, I know. Still cranking out my last few thousand words for NaNoWriMo, and most of it is about the final installment of Devon & Co’s journey. Things are picking up, and you only have a few more months to wait for Reverie!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’ and Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Throwback Monday? K.S. Jones takes us back with her historical fiction!

Ahoy, lovely readers, and welcome to another wonderful Fiction Feature! 

I’m happy to give you yet another read outside of my standard YA fantasy/sci-fi realm. Got any history buffs reading this blog? If so, then you’re in luck! This week’s Fiction Feature is about the infamous Great Depression Era. Have a look at K.S. Jones's award-winning novel, Shadow of the Hawk!

It is May 1932 and life in the timbered rise and fall of Western Arkansas has just gotten harder for sixteen-year-old Sooze Williams. With debt mounting and both friends and family fleeing, Sooze is determined to "do the right thing." She promises her heart to a well-to-do man believing true love is just another loss along the way. But when her uncle is murdered and family is accused of the crime, Sooze faces a different kind of battle. One too important to lose.

Debt, murder, and marriage during the Great Depression? And a teenager has to deal with them? I hope you’re all just as eager as I am to find out how Sooze overcomes her obstacles! Shadow of the Hawk has been on the e-shelves for some time, but I’m happy to say that it recently became available in print! You can check it out and order at the links below:







And if you’re still not convinced that its just as great as those Depression works of fiction you read in school, check out these glowing reviews by many authors and literary magazines! Many compare Jones’s work to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath!

"The realism of John Steinbeck meets the thrill of John Grisham in this tale of love, sacrifice and betrayal." ~ Reader's Entertainment Magazine

"This is one of those young adult novels that every adult will want to read. It's filled with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story set in the midst of America's darkest days, the Great Depression. Jones' voice is reminiscent of Steinbeck's at his best." ~ W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors of People of the Thunder

"With a clarity reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, K.S. Jones gently draws the reader into a masterful description of the grit and hard times of one farm family's struggles during the Great Depression." ~ Alethea Williams, author of orphan train novel Walls for the Wind

"The story is so realistic the reader may very well find themselves within pages emotionally, caught up in the drama. Hands down it is equal to, if not better than Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." ~ InD'Tale Magazine

“Author K.S. Jones exhibits great skill as a writer in her book Shadow of the Hawk. Jones vividly portrays the story of the tight-knit Williams clan with roots planted firmly in their faith, family, and the land which they hold so dear. This work of fiction, which maintains its historical accuracy throughout, is a compelling tale and offers a glorious glimpse into the tenacity of one family as they demonstrate the unconditionality of love beneath the shadow of adversity.” ~Literary Classics Book Reviews

And if you need even more of an incentive to buy Shadow of the Hawk, here’s a little excerpt:


The town of Coaldale wound through the timbered valley like a black snake in the dark hole of an outhouse. Folks knew it was there by the grim feeling it posed, but the need to stay overpowered the urge to run.

I had lived my whole life in the low-lying basin between the Arkansas Western Railroad and the Poteau River — the only river in the state which flowed north. Fitting, I suppose. It seemed everything had turned around backwards and was running the wrong way. I wasn't blaming God though. A lot of trouble we caused ourselves.

Take my older brother, Henry, for instance. Making good decisions was out of his reach. But with my best friend, Leona, bound for California, he'd moved up a notch on my short list of friends. After school, I went looking for him and found him pitching pennies behind Doc's office. When he saw the sorrowful look on my face, he'd gathered up his winnings and come without me having to ask.

As we stood beneath the lopsided shadow of the Chinquapin tree between the jailhouse and the store, I killed time talking about the school lesson he had missed.

"Miss Stewart says the Panhandle folks can't even eat a meal of beans without the grit and dust wearin' their teeth away. Beans and mud. I don't think I could live like that."

But some days a bad attitude just popped out of Henry. Mama said it's because he is itching to be a man. I think it's because he is tired of being nobody.

"Sooze, what makes you think we're any better off than those folks?" This being his last year of school, Henry talked like he knew something about everything. "We ain't got any dirt in our beans, and our lungs ain't filled with dust, but we ain't got much else neither."

Henry wore Daddy's hand-me-down overalls, and even though he'd rolled the hems twice, they still dragged the ground. He'd spent a lifetime telling me he was “only short for now,” but he'd never grown much taller than my 5' 5" height, and that was a far-shot shorter than Daddy. Using his fingers, he combed his reddish-brown hair back from his face, and with eyes as rich as pure honey, he stared at me.

"I'd suffer through a little dirt in my food if I could get me a T-bone and some potato pone, wouldn't you?" He pulled his “lucky piece” out of his hip pocket. It was nothing more than an old stag-handled knife handed down to him from our granddaddy, but he called it his good luck charm. Like an ear of corn, he held it up to his mouth, and with a chomp, chomp, chomp, he pretended to eat it. "Heck, Sooze, anything's better than poke salad and corn."

Henry always looked at the dark side of things, and I didn't want to encourage him, so I thought it best to ignore him altogether. I circled the tree, kicking up dust off the bone-dry ground. Keeping one hand on the pine, I pushed my other inside my dress pocket finding a new hole. It had worn clean through the pink, flowery patch I'd sewn onto my green dress trying to hide a stain. Even though I'd mended it many times over, Mama said the dress still looked pretty on me. She said it matched my green eyes and rosy cheeks and made my blond hair “look like an angel's.”

But it didn't matter to Henry whether I was paying attention to him or not, he just kept talking anyway.

"Shoot! At least those folks got automobiles, and here we are still with a horse and wagon! We're about as backward and poor as you get, Sooze."

"Life ain't all hard biscuits, Henry!" I said with a stomp of my foot. "We got other things."

Our family still owned two cows, six prize hogs, almost three dozen chickens, and a field planted full of corn. And every night at supper, Daddy still bowed his head to thank the good Lord that hard times hadn't stripped us clean. I always listened to the tone of Daddy's voice, too, because Mama said you could hear defeat in a man's voice long before it settled in his brain, and I knew I hadn't heard it yet.

Before you rush off to buy it, let me tell you where you can reach our award-winning author! Did I mention KS Jones recently won a GOLD medal at the 2015 Literary Classics Book Awards? Give her a pat on the back and learn more about her other works here:

And that’s it for now! I’m still hammering away at NaNoWriMo 2015. Got to 20k words yesterday, woot woot! Good luck to all my fellow writers taking on November, and of course stay tuned here for all things YA fiction and Lucid!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Fiction Feature gets freaky with Katy Naas's newest release!

Ahoy readers!

Here we are at another lovely Monday Fiction Feature! I know Halloween just passed, but I figured I’d keep the spooky spirit going by giving you a ghost tale to start off your week. Katy Naas is no stranger on my blog, and it’s with great pleasure that I feature her newest release, The Deep End!

When shy sophomore Kaci Lynn Richards moves to a small town, she is nervous about the change. That is, until she befriends the outgoing Jo and meets popular senior James Mitchell. Kaci quickly learns to love her new life…until she begins to see the ghost of a teen girl in her new home. The mystery girl haunts her, giving her visions that leave clues as to who she was and how she met her violent fate. But the more she learns about the girl, the more she finds that life in this sleepy town may not be what it seems.

Not your average new girl in town story, eh? I can only imagine the problems Kaci will face as she copes with being the newbie and speaking to a ghost! Of course, I know you are, too, so enjoy this excerpt to really get you into a ghost-like mood!


As soon as I close the cabinet door, my whole body is chilled. I shiver, turning toward the microwave to find myself face-to-face with her. Her dark eyes gaze into mine, her cold breath so close I can feel it on my cheeks. My heart racing, I jump back, colliding with the counter behind me.

What happens next is a blur. I feel a sharp pain in the back of my head and I am on the floor. She stands over me, her tangled hair hanging down, covering parts of her face while she stares down at me, her eyes wide and intense. I am unable to look away from her, unable to scream or move or even breathe.

Suddenly, she is gone and the room spins. I can finally blink, and I try to steady myself as the room finally settles. I am still on the floor, still in my kitchen, except it looks…different. Mom’s mixer that sits on the counter is gone. Instead, a wine rack sits in its place, and I count nine glass bottles resting inside of it. The walls are a dark brown color, and the lights seem dimmer. “Aven?” I call out weakly, but the voice I hear is not my own. I try to use my hands to push myself up off the floor, but I can’t; they are behind my back, stuck on something.

I twist my neck around, trying to look at them so that I can figure out how to get them loose. That’s when I feel the shooting pain go up through my arms, and I realize it’s because my wrists are bound together with rope and it’s cutting off the circulation from my hands to the rest of my body. Desperately I try to pull them apart, but the fibers of the rope dig deeper into my wrists and the pain is unbearable, so I let them go limp behind me, giving up that fight.

Calm down, I order myself. Breathe. Don’t panic. I ignore the throbbing pain in my arms as I squirm, inch by inch until I am in a sitting position. Looking down, I see that the red long-sleeve shirt and jeans I had on have been replaced by a white nightgown. The blood stains around the collar and down my sides make my heart race faster – even more so when I realize that they’re mine.

“Help!” I cry out, again surprised when the voice I hear is a little deeper than mine. “Somebody please help me!”

“You’re wasting your breath,” a deep, masculine voice says from somewhere behind me. There is a hint of laughter in his words when he says, “There’s no one here but you and me.”

The voice is vaguely familiar, but I don’t have time to analyze it as a cold, pressing fear weighs down my body. It is then that I realize that he’s right; there’s no one here to help me and I am going to die.


Chilling, no? You can find The Deep End on Amazon as an e-book today!

And just in case you forgot about our lovely author, let’s reintroduce ourselves to Katy Newton Naas!

From the time she was old enough to talk, Katy Newton Naas has been creating characters and telling stories. As a child, they sometimes got her into trouble. She knew she wanted to write books when she won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for her short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)

Katy devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though she continues to age, her true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.

Katy currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. She enjoys her life out in the country with her husband, her two sweet and rowdy young sons, and all her other “kids”: four dogs, three cats, and eight ducks.

She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about kids, tweens, and teens, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

You can reach out to Katy at her website and social media links:







And that’s it for now! If you need me, I’ll be writing away as the National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is upon us! For all my fellow writers, good luck! And for my fellow readers, this is the month where future great stories are born! They’re always worth the sleepless nights, copious amounts of caffeine, and relentless typing!

As always, stay tuned for more YA fiction features and all things Lucid!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Take a chance with Rachel Jones' latest romance read!

Ahoy, lovely readers!

As always, I’ve another Fiction Feature as a great way to start off your day! 

This feature, however, is in a genre I rarely get to host on my blog. While this is predominantly a YA blog, sometimes it’s good to branch out and introduce you to another kind of read. Never hurts to expand your palate, eh?

So, it’s my pleasure to bring you Rachel Jones’s latest work, Taking a Chance on Love

From childhood, Virginia Manning has planned for a career as a concert clarinetist. Blindsided by family circumstances, her plans are interrupted, taking her down a path she would never have chosen. As a music teacher, Virginia’s relationship with the football coach goes from problematic to romantic. After Blake’s brush with death, a scared Virginia runs away looking for the contentment music has always brought to her life.

Because Blake Oliver has experienced disappointment and pain, he opts for a fresh start in a small New England town. Accepting the position of football coach, he isn’t looking for love when it finds him. But when Virginia leaves to pursue a performance career, Blake realizes it’s not where you live but having someone to love that matters. His only problem is making her understand that as well.

Of course, as a teacher myself, I find this a really interesting take on the traditional “hate to love” romantic tale. There’s lots of drama in a classroom setting, with both the kids and the teachers! Naturally, I’ll let the book do the talking and give you even more of an incentive to dive on into this book! 

She pulled her arms across her chest in an attempt to calm her shivering. Bright lights reflected from her rearview mirror, the only headlights she had seen since she had stopped on the side of the ride. Releasing a sigh of relief, she waited for flashing blue lights to interrupt the blackness surrounding the car. No blue lights. Her heart began racing at hearing a car door slam. She was alone, on a deserted highway. Checking the locks on her doors, she thought about driving away, but how far could she go with a flat tire?

A tap on the passenger window made her jump. “Hey.”

The dark night made it impossible to see the face outside the passenger window. Fear made it impossible to move.

“Come on, Gin. It’s wet out here.”

No one else called her Gin. She hit the automatic button releasing the lock and Blake pulled the door open. Relief flooded her body and was replaced by anger.

“Blake — you nearly scared me to death.”

“Not the best time for a flat tire. You’re soaked.”

“You’re not so very dry yourself.”

“Where are you headed?”

“I was on my way home. I had an early dinner with my family before they left for the weekend. Staying to play my piano wasn’t a bad idea — I just got caught up in my music.” She loved how her music could take her away from everything, but the downside was eventually she had to come back to reality. “Anyway, I was going through my options when you drove up.”

“Your spare is lying in the mud.”

“I was going to try changing it, but when the lightning started, I chickened out.”

“Well, you can’t drive all the way to Boston soaked to the skin. And I really don’t want to change a tire in this downpour.”

“So what do you suggest I do?”

“Let me take you back to your sister’s house. You can stay the night and deal with the tire in the morning.”

Virginia didn’t respond, didn’t want this moment to end. He was here, beside her and the intensity of how much she had missed him came crashing down upon her like tumultuous waves hitting a jagged rock wall along the seashore.


She looked up. “That sounds good.”

As he leaned over and pulled the keys from the ignition, it took all Virginia’s willpower to keep from pulling him close.

You can get Taking a Chance on Love at these links below! 

It was thoughts of what she would do after retirement from a twenty-eight-year career in healthcare that spurred Rachel to begin writing her first manuscript in March of 2012. Needing guidance and support with her new endeavor, she joined local and national writing groups.

Rachel signed her first contract in 2013 and her debut novel, To Dance One More Day was released in June of 2014. She is eagerly awaiting retirement to write full time.

A music enthusiast for decades, Rachel resides in Kennesaw, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years and a spoiled Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, Georgia Romance Writers and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.

You can reach out to Rachel at the links below:


That’s it for now, y’all! As always, stay tuned for more updates on YA books and all things Lucid. NaNoWriMo is due to start soon, and I’m keeping a blog about the crazy process that is writing a novel in a month! Don’t miss out on that!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A publishing journey: How I failed my first novel.

A story of being up Crap's Creek. 

This isn’t an easy thing to write. Admitting your own shortcomings, much less putting them into words, is not something that comes easy to most. However, it needs to be said. As I submit the paperwork for my sequel, I have to take time to assess my first publishing adventure. What went right, what went wrong, and what can I do to make the next go-around any better?

There’s a simple answer for that: I have to start from scratch.

Aside from the small hype that Lucid generated, and this is very small indeed when I don’t include my supportive family and friends, I didn’t make any waves in the publishing/literary world with my debut novel. This is sadly typical for many first-time novels, especially small pub and indie ones, but I the thing that really eats at me are the mistakes I almost knowingly made before, during, and after my novel hit the e-shelves. I want to touch upon the main ones just as a reminder to myself for this second time around and for anyone with a finished manuscript looking for the next step.

I published too early:

Despite having this novel in the works for 6 years prior to its publication, this is the biggest problem I had. It wasn’t that it was sloppy or unfinished (in fact, I doubled its word count in the 6 months before signing my contract) it was that I felt rushed to do something. I had just graduated college with no job prospects and a bleak look on my young adult life.

Hey, I thought, I have this nearly finished novel, and everyone knows I write, so maybe this can be my J. K. Rowling moment!

Oh, how youthful naivety and too many feel-good stories ruined my expectations!

At first, I did it by the book. One of my author idols, Rick Riordan, has this amazing blog post for writers who are considering publishing. While his main audience is about a decade younger than myself, it provided some sage advice.

I skipped the stuff about second-guessing my preparedness to publish. I mean, I did the revisions countless times and thought about my story from many different angles. What more was there to do on that end?

Instead, I got to the part about buying the Writers Market for 2012 and made a list of potential agents and publishers who’d consider my work. Surely, one of the hundreds mentioned in this book, despite my lack of writing/publishing experience or even a degree in English, would take me on! And if not, well Uncle Rick said that maybe rejected manuscripts just weren’t ready. Pfft, like that applied to me!

And so, the 40+ rejection letters didn’t deter me. I knew the publishing world was much like the acting one. A lot of people weren’t gonna like you, but the one that took notice was worth all the time spent searching. I got a few initial bites, people who were interested in my thoughtfully constructed (see: cookie cutter fill-in-the-blank) query letter. And lo and behold, a small publisher liked my work!

Do I regret signing on with my small publisher? No. In fact, I’d sign with Clean Reads again and again if presented the same course of action for Lucid.

I’ll get to my fabulous publisher and all the lessons learned in the next bit. The plain fact of the matter was that if I’d have quit at rejection #42, then maybe I would have revisited the novel I wrote and made it a stronger presentation for the agents and publishers. Still, the excitement that landing one “yes” out of a sea of “no” prompted me to sign my first book contract, without any experience in the writing world or research about what I was getting myself into, and play the publishing process by ear. No matter how tone deaf I proved to be when it came to the publishing industry.

I should have done more prep prior to publication.

Let me start this bit with a disclaimer: I love Clean Reads Press. You’d be hard pressed to find a better publishing company where the family of authors, even owner herself, helps you every step of the way. Like I said, I’d publish with them again, and am doing so for my sequel, in a heartbeat. The lack of preparation before Lucid launched is all my ignorance, laziness, and shortcomings.

You can do a quick search for “how to market your first book” and hit a million results. Some of them will be better than others, but the fact is that they’re out there, and I did nothing to help myself prepare for my book’s release in the 6 months between signing my contract and the due date.

That’s not to say I didn’t have help along the way. Like I said, Clean Reads is an awesome publishing company, especially for a first-timer. Along with my contract, my publisher sent me a slew of helpful documents to start my blurbs, author bio, and little fill-in-the-blanks for setting up my social media sites. Fellow authors also provided advice, such as how to prep my media kit and suggested cheap e-books to read that would give me guides on how to prepare. However, the fact that I had to do more edits (after all that hard work I already did?! Ugh! …said my stupid, lazy former self.) deterred me from doing anything but the bare minimum.

Bare minimum I reaped, and bare minimum I sowed.

The only person I have to blame is myself, and the main thing suffering for it is my story. Like so many other writers, I don’t write for myself. I wanted my story to reach the masses of middle and high schoolers who thought reading was for losers. I wanted to give them a cool story with relatable characters that would do for them what Harry Potter did for me. The fact that I struggled to keep Lucid afloat from the very beginning is my fault and my fault alone.

I published at a bad time for me.

This is probably the biggest thing to blame. Two months after Lucid came out, I moved to Japan. To rural Japan.

What’s wrong with this? You ask. Surely it provided countless hours to promote Lucid and write any other stories that may come your way! Your author blog should have been poppin’!

Should have. But it did not.

For the first few months in Japan I was without Internet. That greatly put a damper on the things that I could do whilst borrowing my neighbors wifi for short periods of time. After Skyping parents and catching up with friends, I didn’t have much time set aside for adapting to living in another country on my own (for the first time) and easing into my new, full-time job. Top it off with an extreme case of home sickness and culture shock, and you have a pretty rough outlook on life.

The fact that I still tracked my book’s rankings did not help my situation. Despite encouraging words of wisdom from seasoned authors, I watched that ranking spiral into the millions and fell into a slump about my writing. I was ready to call Lucid a failed experiment and give up on writing anything for publishing purposes again.

But write I did. I’m still not sure how I managed to eke out Reverie during my creative slump of a time abroad, but in the dark depths of winter, I resorted to writing about my own fantasy world to stay sane. Before I knew it, I had a working draft for Reverie, and if I played my cards right, I could publish the sequel in a decent timeframe to keep those who had read and liked Lucid happy. And there were some of my former middle school students who really liked my story!

So, this time, I’m going into publishing for a small reader base. I’d say that’s a better reason than my original intentions with publishing. I’m going with the same publisher as well, which makes the paperwork and pre-edits bit a lot smoother of a process. I also have working social media pages, a decent –yet very humble—presence in the YA indie author world, and a shiny new website to flaunt my growing number of works.

But the most important thing I learned during my first go-around is to never stop believing that I can write something better. Uncle Rick was right: don’t submit a manuscript until it’s absolutely ready. Sometimes you know it, and sometimes you don’t, but your writing can always get better. Whether that be the 10th draft of a novel, a blurb, or even an outline to a brand new series, writers have untapped potential that can create something beautiful. The biggest obstacle to this plethora of storytelling is the writers themselves.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fiction Feature that's out of this world! Welcome Laura Bastian!

Ahoy lovely readers! 

I’ve another great Fiction Feature to start your weeks off on the right, book loving foot! The past few trends have been Teen Romance. This time, however, I’m happy to champion my own favorite genre, Science Fiction!

That’s not to say that I don’t adore other genres, but sci-fi is near and dear to my heart. As far back as I can remember, I had a thing about science-fiction, especially stories with galactic tendencies. Whether or not you believe we’re not alone, you gotta admit the thought of “What if?” is especially compelling when it concerns the universe. There’s something about combining earthly problems with the great possibilities of what lies in the stars above.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I bring you another sci-fi trilogy by Laura Bastian! These three great reads are not without their romance, so don’t you worry. There’s a little something for everyone in the Orion trilogy!

Here’s a little bit of a description of what each read has to offer. I promise there aren’t any spoilers!


Falling in love with your gorgeous new neighbor isn't a bad thing, but when he turns out to be the bodyguard of a princess from a planet nine billion light-years away, life gets complicated.

Seventeen-year-old stargazer Holly Adams never imagined she’d find herself trying to prevent the overthrow of an alien government. When Jai and his sister Amira move into the house down the street, Holly is immediately drawn to them. Jai acts suspicious of her from the start, making Holly more curious about their oddities. When Holly learns they are from a different planet, she does what she can to help protect Amira from Shander, a man who wants to marry her by force in order to take over the kingdom her father rules.

Mistaken identity, a botched kidnapping, and a first kiss that bonds Holly and Jai for life are hard enough, but when Shander believes Holly to be the princess, things get even more dangerous.


Amira traveled across the universe to avoid an arranged marriage only to find herself forced into another upon her return hours before her father’s death. As his only heir she should have ruled Rommader uncontested but discovers he's signed an unbreakable marriage contract and finds herself a new bride. While she might be forced to work with Marcus, she refuses to be his wife in any way other than name.

As they deal with assassination attempts, visiting dignitaries from other planets leveraging for political gain, and the discovery of unlimited teleportation, her feelings for her husband soften. Marcus proves himself a competent king and kind man, and her admiration for her husband grows stronger, but she refuses to allow herself to fall in love.

An unknown foe tries to steal the formula for unlimited travel, giving them the potential power to conquer the universe. Amira and Marcus must work together to stop the thief, but when King Marcus is abducted, Amira may be forced to choose between her husband and her crown.


Holly discovers she can teleport anywhere with only a thought. When Jai is injured, she is forced to take him back to Rommader for neither of them will survive the breaking of their soul bond. Upon arrival, they learn Queen Amira has been kidnapped.
On a ship traveling across the universe, Amira is forced to develop a formula for an amulet with unlimited traveling power--or her captors will murder her husband. Unwilling to let her enemies have that much power, Amira must devise a plan to escape while pretending to cooperate, but in order to do so, she realizes she must make an amulet.
Can Holly find a way to save her, or will Amira figure out the formula and make it home on her own without being lost in the cold, dark heart of the universe?

Out of this world action, star-rocking suspense, and a stellar romance? Yep, this trilogy has it all! I highly recommend this to any teenager who’s looking to read about love beyond the stars. I also recommend it to any teen –or adult, for that matter—who’s looking for a fast-paced page-turner of a book! What’s even better is that you can get started with the first one, Eye on Orion, for only 99 cents as an e-book! Can’t beat that! So, what are you waiting for? You can find all of the books here:

Eye on Orion:


Barnes and Noble

Beyond Orion:


Barnes and Noble

Heart of Orion:


Barnes and Noble

And, of course, let me introduce our lovely author!

Laura grew up in a small town in central Utah and now lives in another small town in northern Utah. She always loved stargazing and imagining life out-side her own little world. Though they grew up only thirty miles apart, she didn’t meet her husband until they went to college. A graduate of Utah State University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education, Laura has been using that training as she raises her children and writes make believe worlds. You can usually find her on her laptop either typing away, or on social media interacting with friends.

So there you have it! Another great way to add a healthy reading regimen to your work week!

Keep here for all things Lucid and until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Spooky time starts with Spell for Sophia!

Hello and ahoy, lovely readers!

I'm here again to bring you another wonderful fiction feature! October is my favorite month of the year, because it ends with my favorite holiday. 

Who doesn't love getting a little spooky for Halloween? With the bringing of cooler weather, the black and orange decorations, and planning my costume, October is a pretty amazing time! 

So, I'm happy to remind you of a book that combines the magic of my favorite holiday with my favorite place in the world, New Orleans, of course ;) 

But just in case you forgot about the book set in my hometown, let's read Ariella Moon's Spell for Sophia again!

Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou.

Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving.

As y'all may remember, I spent my last year an ocean away from my beloved hometown, so I'm very much honored to be featuring a story that takes place in it. As with all of Ariella Moon's books, SfS is fast-paced with action, suspense, and romance. I'm certain that it won't take you long to delve into the world of voodoo and magic on the bayou to get you into the mood for Halloween!

You can find Spell for Sophia at these links: 

Spell for Sophia is the 4th book in the Teen Wytche Saga, so please don't forget to check out the other books if you haven't done so already! I've read all of them, and I highly recommend you start from the beginning! While SfS can stand on its own, the other 3 books will definitely clarify some of the things going on.

You can check out all of Ariella Moon's wonderful tales here!

And that's it for now! Have a happy Halloween month, and keep checking here for all things YA and Lucid! 

Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'! 


Sunday, September 27, 2015


Ahoy lovely readers!

I hope all of you are enjoying this lovely, and hopefully lazy, Sunday! Here in New Orleans, most of the day was a wash-out, but it only inspired me more to stay inside and work on paperwork for Reverie.

Sometimes, with all of the Fiction Features, workweek blues, and studying Japanese, I forget that the next chapter in Dreamworld is due to come out in a few months. I'm sure most of you are eager to get started, so I figured why not?

So, without further ado, here's a little excerpt from the beginning of Reverie! 


Before mankind could speak or think, he could dream. The world was black then, dark shapes moving like monsters in even darker shadows. The earliest of humans were afraid of the world. Everything was a threat; each nightfall brought the unknown, which was scarier than the tangible terrors of the day.

Early humans only had one goal and that was to survive. There was no time for anything other than sleeping, eating, and taking care of the other humans so that they could all live to see another day. The dreaming was not necessary for physical survival, but it sparked the beginning of humans` ascent to higher thinking. These early dreams brought refuge from the troubles of the real world. They brought about wondrous places and magical scenes humans would never experience in their own reality.

Within that world, the humans met new beings, similar to themselves yet somehow more whole and more magical. Since the humans met, or created as some later humans tend to argue, these beings so like them in the dream world, the humans named them Dreamers. This word itself was not a part of human speech, but it later shaped the modern languages of today. The Dreamers were never wary of humans, accepting them as their equals from another world without question. Together, the Dreamers and humans expanded the dream world, making it as vast and far much more interesting than the waking world.

The humans were proud of their creations. Alongside the Dreamers, humans were able to create for pleasure instead of necessity. From those pleasures, dark thoughts began to emerge. The humans, oblivious to everything but building their own pleasures, did not realize the darkness from their own hearts began to rest within and change the hearts of the Dreamers. By the time the oblivious humans caught on, there were now two distinct races born from the dream world: the Dreamers, which were their friends, partners, and equals; and the Nightmares, which were their tormentors, enemies, and corrupters.

For some time, the Dreamers and humans continued working together, their creations resembling less like whimsical architecture and more like protective fortresses as they struggled to fend off thee encroaching Nightmares. The humans began to question why they retreated from their world, with its dangers, to a world that had even more threatening beings?

Some humans, those who still saw the dream world as their own personal playgrounds, decided that the Nightmares were not going to be the enemies of their dreams. Instead, these humans decided that the Nightmares were just like Dreamers, only more capable of creating the pleasures other humans and Dreamers deemed taboo. These humans, in the dead of the night in the Dream world, slipped from their fellow human and Dreamer allies and joined the league of darkness. Thus the Lucids, the humans who build to destroy, were born. From then on, Lucids and Nightmares have become the Dreamers enemies. Oftentimes, the Lucid humans infiltrate the Dreamers` strongholds by use of trickery and kind words, but it will always end in destruction and darkness. Lucid humans are just as dangerous as Nightmares and more deceptive, making them even deadlier. They will infiltrate the Dreamers` great city of Miragean, promising to help build up our lovely land, only to tear it down from the inside out. They are the true enemy of the Dreamers and must never be trusted.


Hopefully that'll satiate y'all. Or at least put a shine on your Sunday.

Til next time, keep readin' and dreamin'


Monday, September 21, 2015

Ready for your close-up? Krysten Lindsay Hager talks about living Next Door to a Star!

Ahoy and happy Monday, lovely readers!

It’s time again for another great Fiction Feature! This one includes a new release from a not-so-new author to my blog. I always love having repeat authors on my blog, especially those who write such great tales about teenage drama. 

Author Krysten Lindsay Hager has master this art by adding a bit of a famous flare into your teen friendship stories. I’m sure you remember her True Colors series about teen models. Well, this time she’s moved on up and wrote a story about teen actors! Read all about Next Door to a Star which is out as an e-book and in paperback now!

Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.
After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.
Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.
To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…
He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.
So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.
Love gone bad.
Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

Sounds like the perfect recipe for some drama, romance, and some hard lessons learned, right? As with Hager’s other works, Next Door does not disappoint as a page turner that reads like the screenplay to a great teen flick! If you’re looking for a good read for a teenager, or if you wanna escape into the simpler –yet emotional time—of adolescence, this is the one for you! You can get Next Door to a Star at these links below:

Amazon US:
Amazon Paperback:
B&N Paperback:
Books A Million:

As I said before, Krysten Lindsay Hager is no stranger to my fiction features, but just in case some of you are new to my blog, here’s a little bit about our master of teen drama: 

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

And that's it for now! Glad to bring you another great read to make your week that much more enjoyable! As always, stay tuned for all things Lucid and until next time, keep readin and dreamin!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Ahoy, lovely readers!

Hope the weekend was kind to all of you! Let’s start the workweek off properly with another fiction feature!

Lately, I’ve been doing some older teen fiction features, so I’m happy to take it down a notch –or a few grade levels—to celebrate the Middle Grade genre! As a middle school tutor and substitute teacher, this tricky age group and grade level are near and dear to my heart. Middle school was hard, y’all, and I’m always happy to read a story that addresses some of the troubles middle schoolers face.

One of the bigger issues is bullying, which is what brave Katy Naas tackles from a very interesting point of view in her new novel Operation: Bully Renovation

Jack Sullivan is Blackwell Middle School’s scariest bully. When students and teachers see him coming down the hallway, they run the other way. He has no friends; he doesn’t need them. School is a waste of his time.

But after a car accident with his father leaves him in need of surgery, Jack has to have a tissue donor. Strangely, he then begins having memories from events that never actually happened to him – memories of being bullied by bigger, meaner boys. Jack learns he is experiencing cellular memory, which makes him receive the memories of his tissue donor…who just so happened to be a weak, helpless victim of bullying.

Jack decides he has to make things right. To do that, he offers each of his former victims an apology, along with the chance to choose a way to get even with him. But Jack quickly learns that earning their forgiveness won’t be easy...

I especially love this book, because it doesn’t merely portray the bully as the bad guy. The bully, Jack, actually gets to learn from his past mistakes by –almost literally—jumping into a victim’s skin. While the theme of antagonist’s redemption is a popular one in adult fiction, I am really happy to see Naas use it for a Middle Grade story. Kids are smarter than we think, and this will be a great read for any child who has been bullied or who has bullied.

But enough of my musings, how about I tease you with an excerpt?


Jack shoved the head of the writhing boy further into the toilet, feeling a small glimmer of satisfaction as he listened to the muffled screams. He watched the water bubbles come up from the nameless boy’s mouth as he tried to make noise and fought a useless battle, trying to escape the grip of Jack’s large fingers on his neck. Jack continued to hold the boy’s head under the water, waiting patiently for the boy to stop moving. When he did, Jack quickly pulled his head back out of the water, watching the helpless boy gasp for breath and slap the water off his face while tears filled his eyes.

“If you tell anyone what just happened, I’ll kill you,” Jack growled at the boy, giving him his most convincing glare before he casually walked away, leaving the boy crumpled on the floor, drowning in his own sobs.

Jack walked out of the locker room and rejoined the rest of the members of his gym class just as the dismissal bell rang, signaling the end of his school day. He shoved past several students who were heading for the gym doors, ignoring their grunts and protests as he bumped into them from behind. He knew that as soon as the other students saw who was pushing past them they would quickly shut their mouths in fear. No one wanted to make Jack Sullivan mad. No one even wanted to be on his radar. He was crazy. Unpredictable. No one messed with him; no one even looked at him. The scrawny new boy in gym class had just learned that the hard way. A nice swirly would teach him to ask Jack to pass him the ball.

Jack smiled to himself as he walked down the middle of the hallway, thinking about his own reputation. Every boy and every girl that roamed the halls of Blackwell Middle School was terrified of him. It was obvious at all times, even as he made his way out of the building. The other kids intentionally averted their gazes and deliberately moved to the other side of the hallway to avoid any accidental contact. Even the teachers pretended to be engrossed in something else whenever he came into view. He smirked slightly as Mr. Andrews stared at the file in his hand while he passed, never smiling up at him or even glancing in his direction with so much as a nod, though he’d greeted the group of students a few feet in front of him only moments ago. There was no doubt that he brought terror to the hearts of others, both kids and adults.

That was just the way Jack preferred it. He didn’t need friends; he had no interest in any of the idiots that surrounded him in his classes. He hated school, hated the teachers, hated the classes, and hated the structure of it all. He hated the clubs and the sports and even the stupid cardinal mascot that covered the walls of the building. If everyone were scared of him, no one would try to talk to him. He felt invincible as he pushed through the double doors of the front of the building.

Trudging down the sidewalk toward his home, he never looked back at the building he had come to loathe so much. He couldn’t wait for the day when he’d never have to step foot in that hole of a school again. As an eighth grader, he didn’t have too much longer to wait.

He often considered quitting. He would call it an early retirement, he decided. But then he would remember the state’s dumb law that a person has to be sixteen to quit and be left alone. If he stopped showing up now, the feds would get involved and make his life complicated. Not that he was scared of a bunch of low-life feds; he wasn’t. But he knew they wouldn’t be as easy to avoid as his teachers and the students at school. If he could just hold out for a couple more years, he could quit and no one would bother him about any laws. So for now, he showed up most days, keeping the number of days he skipped strategically low so that they would go unnoticed.

As he approached two girls standing together near the end of the block, giggling incessantly, Jack wrinkled up his nose in disgust. He glared in their general direction, laughing on the inside when their annoying high-pitched laughs ceased at once. It was more than fear that the kids felt toward him, he decided. It was respect. And to Jack, respect was the most important thing in the world.


If the excerpt hooked you, I’m happy to say that Operation: Bully Renovation is out NOW! You can get it on Amazon here:

And, of course, I’m sure you’re eager to learn more about our wonderful author!

From the time she was old enough to talk, Katy Newton Naas has been creating characters and telling stories. As a child, they sometimes got her into trouble. She knew she wanted to write books when she won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for her short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)

Katy devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though she continues to age, her true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.

Katy currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. She enjoys her life out in the country with her husband, her two sweet and rowdy young sons, and all her other “kids”: four dogs, three cats, and eight ducks.

She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about kids, tweens, and teens, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

Connect with Katy Newton Naas:






And that’s it for today’s fiction feature! As always, stay tuned for more great reads and all things Lucid!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Excellent Update!

Ahoy lovely readers! 

What's this? Two posts in a row? I just can't help it because Reverie, the second installment of Devon & Co's story, is finished, edited, and has been submitted for publishing! Hopefully you will all get to follow Devon and his friends along for the second ride sooner than later! 

For now, I leave you with the synopsis: 

Hunt down a deadly Nightmare enemy spy, locate a hidden and potentially hostile village while convincing them to surrender their sacred talisman, save countless humans trapped in a fortress in another world, and prevent a major war that could destroy life as we all know it.

These are the things that are on teenagers Devon, Kyle, and Mitch’s to-do list as they continue their quest in the Dreamworld to save both Dreamers and humans from the evil Nightmare lord Phobio. With the help of some new and even unlikely friends, the heroes must face the fears of the Dreamworld to reach their goals. The biggest challenge of all will be to face their own fears. Can they do it? What perils await our heroes in the next installment of the Lucid series. 

And, if you need to brush up on your Lucid knowledge, don't forget you can find it at these sites: 


I will most definitely keep you all updated on all things Lucid for the next exciting features!

Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'! 


Monday, August 31, 2015

Fiction Feature Gets Fantastical with Emily Rodda!

Ahoy readers!

            I’m here today with a very special Fiction Feature that’s close to my heart. Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. Though I bloomed late (thought books were for nerds until 5th grade) my literary journey started with the Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda. Her series even inspired my first work of fiction, a short story that was 10 pages over the limit for my 6th grade English assignment. Arguably, my journey into the written word began with this series.

            This iconic book fair staple intrigued young readers with its colorful covers and hooked them with Rodda’s wild and wonderful world of Deltora. I could write an essay about how much I love this series, and how the underlying meanings change with each read, but I’m here to review a wonderful surprise I stumbled upon last week!

            The Deltora series continues with several book series, including The Shadowlands and Dragons of Deltora series, both continuing the stories of our heroes. At the end of these series, our heroes get the happy ending they’ve more than earned. I thought the story had finally come to an end and happily shelved the books on my shelves and in my heart. 

            However, I recently stumbled upon another great series that takes place in Rodda’s Deltora universe. Thanks to a lucky find at my local library, I was honored to read The Three Doors Trilogy!

            “The walled city of Weld is under attack from ferocious flying creatures that raid in the night, bringing death and destruction. The Warden calls for Volunteers to find and destroy the Enemy sending invaders, and the heroes of Weld answer the call one by one, never to return. Rye is officially too young to go, but his brothers are among the lost and he must find them. What terrors await him beyond the Wall?”

            There’s the blurb that shows this series for what it is at face value. You have your reluctant hero (Rye) who has to go find his lost brothers (the quest) and who faces unknown perils and grows up along the way (coming of age.) Just like Deltora, Rodda uses her favorite fantasy quest scenario. Yet, as per Rodda’s standard, the Three Doors Trilogy brings so much more to the table with her imagination and knack for creating a world larger and more diverse than the book implies. Throughout the trilogy, you not only learn about a cast of characters in a strange land, but you also grow attached to the heroes as they explore a vast world that leaves you guessing and wondering throughout the entire story. The ending, which I refuse to spoil, is a mind-blowing revelation.

            So, who should read these books? Only Deltora fans? Definitely not! In fact, you don’t need to read any of Deltora Quest to follow what goes on in this series. You’ll have a few “aha!” moments, and you really should read DQ if you get the chance, but this series lies separately, and across an ocean, from the one written decades ago. I highly recommend these books to fantasy readers at all ages, though some of the monsters may be scary for readers in 2nd grade or below. Aside from that, all readers looking for a good tale, look no further!

            You can find The Three Doors Trilogy at any book retailer, library, or book selling website. It’s also available as an e-book series if the digital route is more your speed.

           And, if you want to reach out to the amazing Emily Rodda and learn about her other fascinating reads, you can find her website here:
                                                         Emily Rodda

            Thank you, Ms. Rodda, for giving us another wonderful story in which to get lost. You have always been, and continue to be, an inspiring role model for me and other fantasy writers. May your words, worlds, and wonders continue inspiring future readers and writers for years to come.  

And stay in tune for more updates about all things Lucid! 

Until next time, keep readin and dreamin!