Monday, May 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne


Genre: YA Fantasy/Mermaids
Release Date: May 30th, 2017
Fathom Ink Press


A red tide is rising.

Jade, a seventeen-year-old mermaid in the underwater city of Thessalonike, finds her world upended when her fiancĂ© murders a naiad. As tensions surge between the mer and the naiads, Jade must navigate murky waters, negotiating her responsibilities as the daughter of one of the king's most trusted advisors and her budding friendship with a naiad. But as she tries to fight the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers that danger lurks in every canal. If she fails to mend the divisions between their worlds, the upwelling of hate will threaten to rip apart everything she loves.  

Author Links:


As we crossed the threshold, I noted with chagrin that we were indeed the first people at the party. “Told you so,” I whispered to Rhea.
“Jade, how delightful to see you,” my new mother-in-law, Yvonna, said with a graceful smile.
I smiled back at her, trying to hide my discomfort. I never quite knew what to say to Yvonna. While she seemed pleased enough about the engagement, I’d always suspected she personally disliked me.
“I’m so happy to be here,” I said. “You have such a lovely home.”
It was true. Their home was twice as large as ours and decorated in the same style as the king’s own reception hall. On the far wall, a trio of silver filigree dolphins—life-sized— chased a school of gold fish. Eight hundred and forty-five fish, to be precise. I’d counted them during a particularly insufferable party the month before.
We stared at each other in silence for a full ten seconds before I asked, “Is Tor around?”
“I believe he’s in the courtyard. Go in peace.”
“Thank you.” I bowed. “Peace be upon you.” I grabbed Rhea’s hand, and we drifted toward the back door.
“Oh!” Rhea whispered in my ear, looking behind us just as her fingers curled around the door handle. “Philip’s coming in! He’s perfect for making Theo jealous. See you later.”
She released the door handle and swooped down on poor, unsuspecting Philip.
I suppressed a smile.
Leave it to Rhea. With her beautiful face and all her machinations, it was a wonder she wasn’t engaged yet. Of course, she’s not as well-connected as I am. I can’t assume it’s as easy for her as it was for me.
With a final glance backward, I pushed my way into the well-appointed courtyard. Daring red anemone lined the walls just above three thin lines of bioluminaries that cast a romantic purple light on the scene.
I smiled and bit my lip. A battalion of tiny sea horses hovered around a feeder to my right.
Movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention, near Yvonna’s prized fire coral garden at the corner of the house on the far side of the courtyard. I swam toward it. “Tor?”
When I reached the fire coral, I stopped short and locked eyes with Tor. My whole body trembled. In one arm, he held the dead body of a red-haired naiad girl.

Buy links:

Blog Tour Organized by:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Saying I Do by Tracey Alvarez

Saying I Do banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Saying I Do by Tracey Alvarez. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 19 till 25 May. See the tour schedule here.

Saying I Do (Stewart Island #8)
by Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 19 May, 2017

Saying I Do


Marriage and happily-ever-after are for suckers…

Joe Whelan was fooled once on the way to the altar, and the Irish doctor isn’t about to be an eejit over a woman again. Especially not one who witnessed his broken-hearted humiliation years ago. He won’t be swayed by the sparks that fly whenever his eyes meet MacKenna’s or distracted by her sweet kisses. The only thing Joe cares about is preventing his sister from making the biggest marital mistake of her life.

MacKenna Jones loves a good wedding—so long as she’s sewing the bride’s gown, not walking down the aisle herself. Falling for Joe Whelan’s sexy bedside manner wasn’t on the cards, neither was a seven-day road trip with him to Las Vegas, the Marriage Capital of the World. When the stakes are so high, will these two gun-shy cynics ever say I Do?

You can find Saying I Do on Goodreads

Listen to the soundtrack for Saying on I Do on Youtube

You can buy Saying I Do here:
- Amazon US
- Amazon UK
- Amazon CA
- Amazon Australia
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- iBooks
- Smashwords

Saying I Do Teaser 1

Saying I Do Teaser 2

Saying I Do Teaser 3

About the Author:

Tracey Alvarez

Tracey Alvarez is a USA Today Bestselling Author living in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand). Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.

When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found with her nose in her e-reader, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.

Follow Tracey on Twitter as @TraceyAlvrezNZ or Facebook as

Her website is and don't forget to sign up to her newsletter here:

You can find and contact Tracey here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Pinterest
- Google+
- Amazon
- Instagram
- Newsletter


Mac continued to gaze lustfully into the all-marble bathroom and giant tub that could

easily hold a wedding party of six. As much as she wanted to soak in a tub filled with

bubbles, if she wasn’t to be a complete wreck meeting Joe’s family later, she needed to crawl

beneath those sheets and sleep for at least an hour.

“Shower and sleep,” she said. “I’m on an unstoppable trajectory to get clean and


“Party pooper.”

He grinned that sexy, promising a good time grin, and she nearly caved. Before Mac

changed her mind, she ducked into the bathroom and shut the door. Locked it. Keeping

temptation out of reach—for her, not him. Tapping her phone, she selected her favorite

playlist and cranked up the volume. Nothing like Freddy Mercury’s soaring vocal plea for

someone to love to set the mood for a refreshing, loooong shower.

Mac sang along—too bad if Joe didn’t like her voice—and took her time under the

steaming-hot jets while Freddy gave way to Madonna, Bryan Adams, and Simple Minds.

Once her fingers started to prune, she relented and got out, pouncing on the free bottle

of expensive body lotion. While Cyndi told the world about girls just wanting to have fun,

Mac finished slathering on the lotion. She’d been a little premature turning down the

opportunity to mess up the sheets with Joe because parts of her were very refreshed.

She flung open the bathroom door, shimmying everything she had, the chorus on her

lips—and met the startled gaze of Joe, beer bottle in hand…and two other men.

One sat on the sofa, the other reclined on their bed, beer balanced on his flat stomach.

Three pairs of eyes locked on her assets, jaws sagged, followed by wide, appreciative smiles

by the two strangers. Joe turned a murderous stare at the two men—who were obviously his

brothers, judging by their same coloring and bright blue eyes.

Mac froze momentarily, like a possum in a hunter’s spotlight, a flight or fight

response kicking in, even though in this case, embarrassment would kill her before the

adrenaline overdose. She bit down on the urge to shriek like a train whistle and slapped an

attitude-infused hand on her waist instead. What was the point of rushing away when men

had a photographic memory for boobs and bums? They’d be retelling this story for years.

“You must be Joe’s brothers,” she said. “Nice to meetcha.” As if she met her

boyfriend’s family bare-assed every day of the week.

“Pleasure is all ours,” said the brother from the bed, lifting his beer in a silent toast.

“I’m Kyle.”

“Luke,” the older of the two men said, from the sofa. “We brought beer.”

Both men, after their initial surprise, met her gaze squarely without their gazes

lowering to her…assets. Now if she could just figure out how to make a graceful exit…

Joe solved the issue by hauling the gold-and- purple bed runner off the comforter and

crossing the room in double time to wrap it around her, using the bulk of his body to block

his brothers’ view.

“Flippin’ hell, Mac,” he muttered, tucking the tail of fabric between her breasts.

His voice was gruff, but not with the chastisement she’d assumed. His face told her he

was caught between laughter, annoyance, and possessive arousal. Suddenly, she wanted the

Whelan brothers gone. Suddenly, she didn’t need a nap, she just needed Joe.


There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Saying I Do. This giveaway ends May 25th.

One winner will win a prize pack (over $65 value) which includes:
~ Playing For Fun signed paperback (Playing For Fun is Book 6 in the series, and features Mac's cousin Holly)
~ Fun NZ theme tote bag
~ New Zealand Wild Ferns Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey Rejuvenating Face Pack
~ New Zealand Wild Ferns Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey Conditioning Lip Balm
~ Alpine Silk Manuka Honey Hand Cream
~ Alpine Silk Manuka Honey with Propolis Triple Milled Luxury Soap
~ Handcrafted in New Zealand woven Hessian Kete with feathers
~ 4 New Zealand Paua Shell Wine Glass Charms
~ Author magnet (not pictured)
~ Author bookmark (not pictured)
Saying I Do giveaway graphic

Giveaway rules
* Prizes are not exchangeable for cash or anything else.
* All due care will be made in ensuring the prize arrives at the winner’s address, but the author is unable to refund prize value in any way should it not arrive due to postal disaster.
* Entries close on May 25th and winner will receive a direct e-mail from me shortly after – so please ensure Tracy Alvarez’s e-mail address is added to your safe/contacts list. If the author doesn’t receive a reply from the winner in 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below.

To qualify for the bonus 5 entries, you'll need to purchase Saying I Do and answer this question in the space provided in the rafflecopter. The question is: What is the last 4-word sentence at the end of Chapter 13?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Keeper of Souls by Casey L. Bond

Title: Keeper of Souls
Author: Casey Bond
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Horror
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design & Photography
Editor: Stacy Sanford, The Girl with the Red Pen
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


Carmen Kennedy finally feels normal. Enrolled in college, she’s making a few friends and taking life one day at a time. Her days are filled with classes, studying, and attempting to be more social, while her nights are filled with terrifying dreams. All of her nightmares have one thing in common: him. She can’t see his face, but a flash of dark feathers is all it takes to remind her of The Keeper of Crows. He isn’t supposed to be real.
There is a world that exists beneath the fabric of our own, a torturous place filled with despair. The Keeper is there; Carmen just has to find out why and if there is a way to help him leave that place. Her sanity and life will be threatened, but she can’t ignore his screams any longer.
When love exists, it doesn’t matter the distance. It finds a way to remind you.
Will love be enough to save Michael and Carmen when The Keeper of Souls stands in their way?

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links: 
Buy Link: Keeper of Crows: Keeper of Souls:

Monday, May 22, 2017

New Release and Review: The Nanny Arrangement by Rachel Harris

Title: The Nanny Arrangement
Series: Country Blues #2
Author: Rachel Harris
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Bliss
Released: May 22, 2017


Soft-spoken and shy Hannah Fisher is determined to make the man she’s loved her entire life finally see her as a woman. With the help of a makeover, a new mission—Operation Find My Happy—and the convenient forced proximity of a tour bus, she vows to win her best friend Deacon’s heart.

Former bad boy and current fiddle player Deacon Latrell has the world at his fingertips: a new gig with a famous band, plus his best friend on tour as his son’s nanny. Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Now if only he could stop imagining kissing the daylights out of his childhood BFF…

With one friend set on pushing the boundaries and the other afraid to rock the boat, one thing’s for certain—their story would make one heck of a country song.

About the Author: 

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!



Reader's Group, The Flirt Squad:


I loved this book from page one. The moment I opened it on my kindle I knew it would be fabulous, and Rachel Harris didn't disappoint. Hannah and Deacon were easy to love immediately and their chemistry jumped from nearly every page. This book had me squealing and laughing so loud that kids would come into the room to ask what was so funny. But, since it was about Deacon's reaction to Hannah holding up lingerie or some other version of naughtiness I couldn't exactly explain it to them. It's been a long time since I've read a book this good. The story had themes of self-worth and family that spoke to me deeply. I loved it that I could be so entertained and touched at the same time. When I finished the read, I just wanted to snuggle up to my husband and share some of the glow the book left with me.

Rachel's tone is warm and genuine. I always feel like I'm hanging out with my best friend when I read her books. This story has the perfect amount of spice without being too graphic, but enough naughtiness to keep me giggling throughout the read. Ahh what heaven this read was. Please, Rachel, please bring us more like this. 

**Five Stars**

Friday, May 19, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Keeper of Souls by Casey L. Bond

Title: Keeper of Souls
Author: Casey Bond
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Horror
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design & Photography
Editor: Stacy Sanford, The Girl with the Red Pen
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


Carmen Kennedy finally feels normal. Enrolled in college, she’s making a few friends and taking life one day at a time. Her days are filled with classes, studying, and attempting to be more social, while her nights are filled with terrifying dreams. All of her nightmares have one thing in common: him. She can’t see his face, but a flash of dark feathers is all it takes to remind her of The Keeper of Crows. He isn’t supposed to be real.
There is a world that exists beneath the fabric of our own, a torturous place filled with despair. The Keeper is there; Carmen just has to find out why and if there is a way to help him leave that place. Her sanity and life will be threatened, but she can’t ignore his screams any longer.
When love exists, it doesn’t matter the distance. It finds a way to remind you.
Will love be enough to save Michael and Carmen when The Keeper of Souls stands in their way?

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links: 
Buy Link: Keeper of Crows: Keeper of Souls:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blog Tour: The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker, Excerpt and Author Interview

The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker 
Published by Entangled Teen 
To Be Released on May 1st, 2017 
Genre: YA Fantasy 

Amazon CA:
Amazon AU: Amazon UK: B&N:


With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her defective heart. But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical mobster in the city wants the vase for himself. Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker. But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…

About the Author: 

J.C. WELKER is a YA Fantasy author who’s been, among other things, a fashion designer, a graphic designer, a filmmaker and a kickboxer (seriously).
She’s best known for writing and producing the documentary short films focusing on homeless Iraq vets and LGBTQ+ issues in the military, which was selected by the North Texas Film Festival and featured on CURRENT TV. Her recent novel placed first in the paranormal category of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards, and she continues to work towards giving a voice to stories that are needed while facing magic and monsters along the way.

Twitter: @jcwelker

Author Interview:

Q: What gave you the idea for your story?

A: The premise of the story came about quite clearly, of a girl looking for love and healing through stories and magic, and finds herself immersed in a world she never knew existed. In many ways it’s a metaphor of some of my own experiences growing up, at a time where I felt invisible, unloved, was hiding who I was, and like the character, I looked to stories to fill that hole.

Q: What inspired you to become an author?

A: Since I was a child I had always loved drawing characters and creating up stories for them. Not until much later in my life did I begin to see more positive LGBTQ+ stories come into the light, which would have made things more bearable for me growing up, and I wanted to perpetuate those stories for others, to give that hope to someone else.
Q: How long have you been writing officially?

A: A little over six years.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’ve been toying with a MG fantasy idea, and hopefully will begin putting words to it soon.
Q: What does a typical writing day look like for you?

A: Though I’m not a morning person, that’s usually when I get in the best writing time. After breakfast, walking the fur baby and checking emails, I sit down before my computer in my little cave and crank up the music. I focus on hitting the writing goal for that day.

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing?

A: Not letting all the doubt and self-judgment screw with you, because it will hurt your writing and it will show.

Q: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

A: Drafting. Getting to know the characters for the first time. Building the world and creating something you’ve only fabricated in your mind.

Q: Do you write full time or part time?

A: Part time.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: One of the best things I’ve read on writing was about Octavia E. Butler. She literally wrote her future into existence with positive thinking. She would write affirmations to herself that she was already a best selling author and that her books would be read by millions. She wrote: “I will find the way to do this. So be it! See to it!”

So even amongst rejection, persist to speak your victory.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Malinda Lo, Shea Godfrey, Leigh Bardugo, Kelly Barnhill, Laini Taylor

Q: What is your favorite genre to read? 

A: Fantasy in any form whether it’s Adult, YA or MG.


Whatever natural tendency toward hope Anjeline once possessed had manifested itself into something harder on her face. Her eyes were far away, like she had thoughts on bigger things than just freedom. “This isn’t like your books,” she said as though Rebel were naive. “They’re stories that know nothing about life. People are thornier than what those things tell you. Good doesn’t always win. Light doesn’t always burn away the darkness.” Rebel pressed her lips into a hard line. “Maybe it’s you who knows nothing about people. Darkness exists because light casts a shadow. That’s life...painful and beautiful all at the same time.” Books might have not told her everything about magic, but they taught her how to see it in all things. Anjeline’s lips twitched. “Painful but beautiful. Sounds more like human love.” “Now that, I wouldn’t know,” she said sarcastically, but she meant it. She took a cold breath, feeling for her pendant resting on her chest. There was a black void in her heart, where the love of a parent, the love of anyone, had never occupied. Golden eyes met hers, Anjeline contemplating her with that look. “You’ve always been without kin?” Rebel nodded, turning aside from the fascinated gaze roaming over her. “So, you’ve never been loved?” The question wasn’t just about family. Rebel shrunk from those words, unable to stop from gravitating toward the ones living in the back of her mind. Believing herself, maybe, to not be worthy of it, or anything good. That black void had yawned so wide she used to think gathering stolen treasures could fill it. She used to put rocks under her pillow, wishing for them to turn into diamonds. But she was a book no one wanted to open. A riddle no one dared to answer. A lost girl no one desired to find. Her heart was tired of not being useful to anyone— especially herself. She was tired of being a captive to her own flesh. With a shake of her head, she didn’t reply. But as Anjeline gazed at her with that look, as though something tied them together, her chest hummed with...what, exactly? She tried willing it away but it spread deeper. She rubbed at her bruises, as if calming the ones within. Her numb hands shook, and she rummaged in the satchel for her pills. Anjeline persisted to stare, unbothered by the cold. Lucky her. “Stop staring at me,” she said. Anjeline clicked her tongue. “You could just ask me.” “For what?” “For warmth.” Rebel glanced up in both sheepishness and stubbornness. Taking that for an invitation, Anjeline moved closer. “I’m fine...” “I can hear your teeth rattling.” “I’m...” Anjeline put a finger against Rebel’s lips. “Shh. If you’re frozen, neither of us will get our wish.” The light in her palm danced, and she placed a hand atop Rebel’s. The air throbbed between them. It crackled and purred, and Rebel startled as her blood hummed at the touch. Wisps of sultry light danced across her arms, snaking around her legs and torso in a shroud of warmth.


$25 Amazon Gift Card, Swag 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blog Tour: Shatter by Nikki Trionfo, Author Interview and Review

Title: Shatter
Author: Nikki Trionfo
Genre: YA Mystery
Publisher: Cedar Fort


“We never knew there could be people in the orchard. Dangerous people.”

When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem becomes convinced the death was no accident--it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far are theories and clues. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. If she can't she prove she’s right before it’s too late, the conspiracy might take another life—hers.

Author Q&A

Doesn't Shatter sound awesome? I'm here with author Nikki Trionfo, talking about her newly released YA murder mystery.

Q: Thank you for coming onto my blog today. What was your favorite part of writing Shatter?

A: To be honest, learning about my own prejudices was my favorite part. I won’t give away too much to avoid spoilers, but I will say one of the characters was originally supposed to be a villain. About a quarter of the way into the book, I ached for him the way I had ached for my trouble students as a teacher. I felt like I understood why he made so many bad choices. I realized that as author I had written a plot that didn’t allow him to ever make positive changes in his life. I believe in positive change. So I tweaked the premise of the book and rewrote a lot. A lot. But it was worth it. I hope real teens know they have a chance to change if they fight for it.

Q: What gave you the idea for the story?

A: Veronica Mars, the TV show. I love that show with the kind of passion that makes full-grown women look like dorks. After lots of daydreaming about Veronica Mars, I wanted to write a book where, instead of a private-investigator case going along with the main mystery like in VM, it was a mock trial case going along with the main mystery. I languished on plot, though. I couldn't think of a setting! It's a strange thing to get hung up on. I tried several--Chicago, D.C., etc.
A year later, I read a book called There is Power in a Union by Philip Dray. Fascinating history. It concluded with the stories of some of the failed farm strikes in my native California. My grandpa was an orchard owner and I grew up alongside the kids of migrant workers.
I wasn't sure I was brave enough to tackle a tense subject matter that hit close to home, but I couldn't stop researching and writing. Every minute of living inside Shatter's world felt very real to me.

Q: What inspired you to become a writer?

A: My husband and I weren’t able to have kids for the first four years of our marriage. I was so worried I'd never be a mom that I took a writing class to "find something to do." Proving its sense of humor, life sent me five children over the next eight years. I kept with writing because I’d landed on a writing group that made the best TV show recommendations ever (Veronica Mars, hello?). Plus, the other writers were hilarious and I wanted to be hilarious, so I basically tried to copy their lives.

Q: How long have you been writing officially?

A: Well, I attended that writing group I mentioned for two to three years without actually writing. I finally eked out a manuscript with the sketchiest of endings. The story didn’t even make sense. I finished that ten years ago. But I wanted it to be good. That’s when I got serious. I started going to writing conferences. I applied to and was accepted into a writing group with REAL! LIVE! AUTHORS! I got a big-name agent. I got broken up with by my big-name agent. I wrote three manuscripts. You know, the whole she-bang.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am NOT working on a sequel to Shatter because that would be dumb since the ability to release a sequel will depend on sales. Shhhhh.

Q: If you could cast your main character (s) as celebrities who would you choose?

A: Holy cow, that is so much pressure! I would die if I had that much pressure placed on me!

For Salem: If I could have a young Kristen Bell play Salem, I would die. (My life is pretty much hanging by a thread at this point.) In actual reality land, I’d pick Hunter King or Olivia Holt.

For Cordero: Okay, Maluma isn’t even an actor. He’s a Columbian singer. But, again, I’d die. Oh, oh! And I’d have to rewrite half the scenes so that he’s required to sing soulfully in the background with a brooding expression. His latest hit Sin Contrato is on my playlist for Shatter, during the chapter where Cordero really speaks to Salem for the first time. *Warning: I put the lyrics version of that song on the playlist for a reason. Not for sensitive eyes.*

Q: What does a typical writing day look like for you?

A: Drag self from bed at the instance of my eight-year-old. Get kids ready for school. Type. Pick up son from preschool. Lunch. Have a friend over for him. Type while they play. Ferry kids after school to practices. Make dinner, curse chores. Hang with my husband who goes to sleep early to coach CrossFit in the morning. Type until hopefully no later than midnight. These days a lot of my writing is spent creating marketing material. Blog posts, launch party invitations, newsletters, FB announcements, coordinating the LDStorymakers conference, etc. I’m on the committee.

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing?

A: Finding the time for it. I love writing.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Aside from write, write, write, I’d say to be kind in your thoughts to people who are establishing themselves in the art of writing and in the marketplace of being an author. Rather than seeing them as wannabes, support them. Give them a hand. Love them despite their gaffs. Realize they are humans who hopefully someday will be great at what they do. That way, when you’re lucky enough to start establishing your own name, you have firm practice in how to see yourself. As a human who hopefully someday will be great at what you do

Q. How did you learn so much about peach growers and strikes? Have you lived in California before?

A. Yup. I grew up in central California. My grandpa owned an orchard. We (he) hired migrant laborers. I sometimes hung out with the the kids of migrant laborers. My first date (to Winter Formal) was with a guy named Oscar. He was deported when we were twenty. It's a very sad story. Our orchard is actually an almond orchard, which is more common in central California, but peach orchards rely more on labor than almond orchards. A strike would be more catastrophic for a peach orchard, so for Shatter I choose peaches. Plus, it sort of harkens to Grapes of Wrath, which also helped inspired Shatter.

A lot of Shatter is rooted in my childhood fears. The group of people I feared the most as a kid were Hispanic gang guys. My parents owned a small rental house in town. When an 8-year-old was shot through the wall in a house, we thought it was the son from our rental. Turns out it was the neighbor, but my dad went over there and I was just terrified. I was around 11. I have a lot of memories about Hispanic gang members showing off their guns to impress us girls. But I also was friends with lots of other Hispanics, including my best friend. Humble classmates working from three a.m. to six a.m. under the table to help support their families while still making grades and joining sports teams. I lived for a summer in Puerto Rico and speak Spanish. I love the Hispanic culture. I still am not "part of it" though. I’ll always be an outsider. I think being an outsider is fun and encourages emotional growth, but can cause strong emotions like vulnerability and loneliness and the temptation to judge. I drew on all of that in creating the Shatter world. Shatter represents my hope that even a “gang guy” can make something of his life, especially if someone, even someone hurt by a gang member like Salem, reaches out to help.

Q: Before you go, can you give us an excerpt of Shatter?

A: But of course! And thanks for having me!


The class is dead silent. Mr. White’s lips tighten. He swallows. There’s something dangerous about the new guy. The teacher leans over AddyDay’s desk and spins her packet so he can read the list of partnerships. “Fine. We’ll break up the threesome. You’ll pair with . . . Salem Jefferson.” At the sound of my name, I turn to look at my new partner. The guy near the door is tall. He has the kind of incredible good looks that invite stares, but that’s not the only reason he’s getting them now. The cursive lettering of a tattoo rises from the opening of the guy’s worn flannel shirt. Two gold chains hang from his brown neck. A guy accessorized in gang paraphernalia, not caked with it. His only completely visible marking is an upside down V inked onto his right cheekbone, black and distinct. The tattoo calls my attention for some reason, even though I’m sure I’ve never seen a symbol like that before. An upside down V . . . it seems so familiar. His expressionless, dark eyes dart to meet my gaze from under a stiff, backward-facing ball cap. My classmates watch him stare at me. “Salem Jefferson,” he says slowly, putting a slight emphasis on my last name. He waits for my response. I realize he knows exactly who Salem Jefferson is. Exactly who I am. I’m Carrie’s sister. Terrified, I whirl back around to face forward. Gang members targeted Carrie, made her frightened. Was he one of them? The skin between my shoulder blades tightens. Why were gang guys after Carrie?


This book was intense and fast-paced. The writing was polished and professional but still felt YA. I loved Salem. I liked it that she doubted herself so much in the beginning. I loved watching her determination and her fear. The author created a terrifying blend of circumstances for Salem as she fought to discover the truth behind her sister's tragic death. The plot was expertly woven to keep my attention and the details of the story felt well-researched and all too real. The fight between the union workers and the peach growers felt authentic, and I liked it that both sides had weaknesses. Even some of Salem's high school friends were getting out of hand and crossing lines.

The character development in this book was spot on. Throughout the story, Salem grew from a girl constantly questioning herself to realizing that she really was much stronger than she first believed. It was a message that really spoke to me personally. 

I found it an interesting choice to make the love interest in this book a gang member, and I actually liked it that he didn't really become an obvious love interest until well into the story. That felt genuine to me. So many books have characters swooning over a guy's muscles right off the bat, but this story really allowed the relationship to build organically between the characters. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to others. But clear some time in your schedule, because once it sucks you in, you won't be doing much else for a while. 

**Five Stars**

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