Archive | May 2020

#SpecLitChat Tonight!

Come join Katya De Becerra and I once again for another #SpecLitChat tonight on Twitter at 7PM CST! Just drop the hashtag on Twitter to find us or go to our profiles! This is going to be a whole lot of fun!

Katya

Candace

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We can’t wait to hear what your writing and or reading!

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Are you coming to the chat?

As Much As I Ever Could: Release Day + Author Interview + Excerpt

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Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach.

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit.

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

Filles Vertes Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Nobles

IndieBound

Excerpt:

A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.

My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.

These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.

A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.

I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.

Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.

Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.

“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”

“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.

I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”

“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”

The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.

Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.

“But why are we here?”

“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”

“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.

He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.

“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.

Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.

I can’t blame him for that.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to write As Much As I Ever could?

It really started out as the inspiration in a theme that stirred around in my mind after listening to two songs in particular: Drive by Incubus and Drive by The Cars. I knew I wanted it to involve a tragic car accident (this is one of my worst fears!) and dealing with survivor’s guilt and finding beauty in the aftermath of tragedy. Of course I wanted the ideal hero who could pull my emotionally-wrought heroine out of her funk and that’s where the idea came into play…a girl afraid to drive? Who is her complete opposite? A race car driver, of course! That’s how the idea rooted and sort of grew from that point.

Who is your favorite character in As Much As I Ever Could and why?

I really should say one of the main characters right, but no…it’s Memaw! I mean, her character just sort of grew from a seed of an idea that I wanted her to be “smart, sassy, and a bit bad-assy” and wow…she became a unique blend of Blanche Devereaux (Golden Girls) and Ouiser Boudreaux (Steel Magnolias). She is the catalyst through which the summer happens for CJ and Jett, and can I just say that I hope I can one day be this sort of grandma?

What is it like releasing a sophomore book?

It’s a weird mix of not-as-stressful-as-debut and way-more-stressful-than-debut. I know, I’m a paradox in pants! LOL The debut novel is all excitement and nervousness in a whirlwind because you don’t know really what to expect and you’re just doing what you can and what you’re told to do. With the sophomore book, you know what works and what doesn’t. You have a better idea of how and where to spend your time promoting and working for the release. However, you also already have a goal to beat…I mean, who wants to release a second book that doesn’t outperform the first? There’s a reason people fear the dreaded “sophomore slump” and it does hang over your head sometimes like a dark shadow. However, I do my best just to focus on the positives and the fun side of it—people will be reading my book shortly and I LOVE CJ and Jett so I’m ecstatic to share them with everyone.

What do you like best about writing contemporary?

I am “that girl” who dropped her philosophy class in college because I couldn’t bring myself to comprehend what I felt was the professor’s insanity. (Do we really know what time it is? Or did everyone’s watch stop at 10 o’clock last night?) I’m thoroughly grounded in the here and now and prefer telling stories about the current issues going on with teens and our world in a “real Earth” setting. All you fantasy lovers don’t freak out on me…I do read grounded fantasy and magical realism, just not the high fantasy. Besides, I have teenagers in my house so writing from their daily experiences is also right up my alley!

What are your top three contemporary books ever?

Ack! How can I narrow them down?

  1. Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson
  2. The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m about at 50/50 blend of each. I start out with a theme, plot my biggest turning points and scenes and then fill in the rest as it comes. If the plot or characters ever feel as if they’re taking me in a different direction, I’m not opposed to following it. Sometimes they know better than me!

Who is your favorite author and why?

I’m not going to lie—I grew up a total VC Andrews junkie. Holy Southern drama and family dynamics! That’s also why I probably have always enjoyed Pat Conroy novels as well. If we’re going to kick it more contemporary, though, I’d have to say that I devour anything from Morgan Matson because she can tap into those delicious deep feels!

Did you already know a lot about race car driving before writing As Much As I Ever Could?

Growing up in the South, I can’t remember many Sundays when “the race” wasn’t on the den’s television. It was just the tradition. That being said, I was never one to really sit and watch it. I’m more of a football girl in real life. So when I started writing AMAIEC, I did have to do a bit of research on the ins and outs of racing and I watched hours of YouTube videos of NASCAR crashes to accurately write the crash scene.

What’s your favorite color?

I love so many colors, but I’d have to say blue and orange are my favorites. They both have a very different appeal, though both emotionally-set. Blues are calm, serene and oranges are happy and powerful. If I had to narrow down the exact hues, I’d say sapphire blue and Clemson orange.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I could fill up several blog pages with this! I’ll keep it short and simple: 1. Read in your genre 2. Google for resources and learn as much as you can 3. Find some trusted critique partners and get their feedback on your work 4. Never give up. This career isn’t easy, but it’s fun. And rewarding!

 

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Did you grab your copy of As Much As I Ever Could?

 

Review: The Nemesis

Title: The Nemesis

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Date of Publication: August 25th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

Three years ago, Tyrus Domitrian shocked the galaxy by killing the woman he swore to love forever. The woman for whom he upended the Empire. The woman with whom he wanted to build a new and brighter future.

Now, the once-idealistic heir apparent has become the cruel Emperor Tyrus, wielding his authority with an iron fist, capable of destroying planets with a single word, controlling all technology with a simple thought. He has bent the Grandiloquy to their knees, and none has the power to stand against him.

But there is a muttering among the Excess. They say that Nemesis is not truly gone. They whisper of her shadow spotted in distant star systems. They say that Nemesis lives. That she will rise, and rally the people to topple the man who was once her truest love—and is now her fiercest enemy.

My Review:

I’ve been waiting for this beautiful beast for almost three years and I’m so glad I got an ARC of it because I was slowly going mad. Sort of like Tyrus!

If you’ve read the last book, then you know there is the hugest of cliffhangers ever, and if you haven’t, well, just know that there is! Nemesis was just as awesome as she was in the last two books, and I love how fiercely she loves. The way she loved Donia as a friend, the way she loves Anguish like a brother, the way she loves Tyrus as her beloved! I want her as a best friend!

And Tyrus! My beautiful boy! Every time I envision you, I think of Eddie Redmayne and I’m going to say that’s how you look! You are oh so villainous and oh so mine! You were perfect in this one!

There were twists and there were so much wonderfully written words. The only thing I wish we’d had was alternating POV chapters with Tyrus, but I’ll let that slide. I don’t want to give away too much but the ending was perfect!
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What is a series that you love?

Avocado Bliss .99 sale + more!

Hey guys! Guess what! Avocado Bliss is on sale for .99 for a limited time! I hope you guys check out this fun and emotional story full of pitfalls and bliss!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo

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Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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Photo Credit

My good author friend, James J. Cudney, is also having some amazing .99 sales on these awesome books!

Father Figure * Flower Power Trip * Mistaken Identity Crisis

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Did you grab your copy of Avocado Bliss?

Review: Igniting the Ice

Title: Igniting the Ice

Author: Alexa Whitewolf

Date of Publication: June 20th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

The darkest of mind, for the purest of heart…who will succumb to temptation?

Declan
I thought I was smarter – I was wrong. My brother Tytus thwarted my last plan of escape, and now I’m faced with the imminent threat of death.
Until the Romanian immortal who imprisoned me comes to me with a proposition. Save an innocent maiden from the Underworld, return her to the land of the living, and I will be free with a realm all for myself.
Of course, she neglects to mention said maiden is her daughter, and that the journey will place me face to face with the lord of the Underworld himself.
And then none of that seems to matter when I meet Constanza. Because I’ve seen her, before. For the past months, she is all I’ve dreamt about. And I can’t wait to see if the reality matches the fantasy…especially if her pretty, innocent soul can be corrupted.
Unless she gets to mine first, that is.

Constanza
Having two immortal parents can get overbearing, fast. Which is why I love vacationing in the Underworld and hanging out with Hades and Persephone.
Only this time, the safe walls surrounding us are starting to crumble and, before I know it, we’re under attack. No amount of Greek heroes can help save us… until he shows.
And he just happens to be the sexy angel from my dreams. Only he looks like walking temptation, and Mom’s warnings suddenly don’t matter anymore. May the gods help me, because I’m not getting out of this unharmed, one way or another.

My Review:

I’ve been patiently waiting for Declan’s story for a while, and this one did not disappoint! This is my favorite from this spinoff! Constanza was a great MC too! I really liked her! Of course there was swoon, dragons, immortals, and awesome mythology!!!

I really liked seeing the flashbacks as well. You also get to see the brothers before and after, and I loved seeing the bond there. And besides the great romance, there were some action-packed sequences too! Of course more of Hades and Persephone! Can’t wait for the next spinoff!

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Do you prefer fire or ice?

Shadowed By Despair Release Day!

Today is Shadowed By Despair’s release day! I love this series so much and I hope you take the time and check it out! All three books in the series, Clouded By Envy, Veiled By Desire, and Shadowed By Despair are .99 each for today’s release!

Purchase on Amazon

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Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives in to temptation, there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire was always to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Alone, she fights through each day, forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite his unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the solution before Perin’s hunger overtakes him.

Clouded By Envy * Veiled By Desire * Shadowed By Despair

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Listen to the playlist!

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What’s your favorite supernatural creature?