Monday, March 30, 2015

Roanoke Author Invasion: Featured Authors and Giveaway (4)

Image Credit: Laura Howard

The Roanoke Author Invasion is coming to the Star City on April 11, 2015. Thirty authors of contemporary, romance, and paranormal fiction will be in attendance. I am thrilled to be attending this event held in Southwest Virginia. To get ready for the event, I am featuring the authors on my blog in the weeks leading up to the event through promotional posts and mini-interviews. I'm asking each author to share a little about themselves, books, and writing advice, and ending this month-long feature with a huge giveaway.

For more information about this FREE event, please visit Roanoke Author Invasion at or on Facebook at

Get your tickets now through EVENTBRITE.

Today I am featuring Bryna Butler, Alyssa Rose Ivy, Nancy Straight, Theresa Kay, and Adrianne James. 

Bryna Butler

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading?
I'm one of those late bloomers. I didn't fall in love with reading until I was an adult, and then it was a children's book about an orphan boy who found out he was a wizard. Yep, I fell under Harry's spell pretty quickly. ;)

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
A couple of years ago, I got a chance to meet one of my writer role models, Charlaine Harris. The advice she gave me was "read everything". She said that reading books in your genre helps you become better at the mechanics of writing. She said that reading books outside your genre helps you to think more creatively and bring something new to your work. She was right. Being an avid reader has helped me hone my craft in a well-rounded way.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don't forget to write. Seems obvious, but it is so easy to get caught up in the cover design, networking, marketing, and everything else.

Tell me 3 things about yourself.
1) I list splashing my hands in the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial among my greatest life achievements.

2) Back in the day, I used to watch episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD while I washed dishes or cleaned house, even though I'm a terrible housekeeper, to this day I can recite nearly every word of dialog without even trying.

3) On one of the shelves in my office, I kept a toy Dalek and a replica Hermione time turner. It bothered me so much to see a Dalek so close to the time turner that I finally had to move them apart. 

Find Bryna online at

Alyssa Rose Ivy

What are some of the books that make you fall in love with reading?
One of my first book loves was The Hobbit. I was also really into mysteries. I especially loved Agatha Christie. Later on I went through an obsessive Baby Sitters Club stage followed by reading every single Mary Higgins Clark I could get my hands on. When I found an author I enjoyed I read everything by them.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Write what you love. It's such great advice because in the end that’s the one reason to keep writing.

What is advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I’d share the same advice I received. Write what you love. Also, embrace constructive criticism when it comes from the right places. Ignore negativity if it’s not constructive.

Tell me 3 things about yourself.
1)      I love writing with music
2)      I’m addicted to coffee
3)      I’m both a cat and dog person 

Find Alyssa online at

Nancy Straight

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading?  
I keep toothpicks by my bed to prop my eyelids open at night, which is a problem because my days start promptly at 6am.  Inescapable by Amy Bartol was beyond amazing, I was so blown away I messaged Amy and asked if we could meet for dinner!  Beg for Mercy by Shannon Dermott had me rooting for an Angel and a Demon.  Damon from Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series made me hope aliens really would invade our planet. I could go on forever – there are never a shortage of fantastic books to read or a new hero for me to fall in love with.   

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?  
Grammar doesn’t have to be a nemesis, but after nine novels I still don’t know where commas go (thank God for editors!).

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?  
Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.  Instant success is rare.  Keep writing.   

 Tell me 3 things about yourself.  
I have a lead foot when I drive, so I set cruise control even in 25MPH zones.  
I have written 9 novels and still chat regularly with my first five fans I met on Goodreads.  
I have two fantastic sons, three rotten dogs and a husband that I adore.

Find Nancy online at

Theresa Kay

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading?
My love for reading started at a very young age, but a few of the books that really stick out for me would be: A Wrinkle In Time, Sign of the Beaver (my first school assigned book that I finished the very first evening and then had to fake my way through the 'what do you think will happen next' exercises in class), Eyes of the Dragon, The Stand, Jurassic Park, The Black Stallion, Anne of Green Gables, and pretty much anything by RL Stine.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Give yourself permission to write garbage. It sounds much easier than it actually is, but it basically means letting go of my expectations and letting myself write-- even if what I'm writing at the time is absolutely awful.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
This goes along with giving yourself permission to write garbage, but I think one of the things most writers need to keep in mind is that you can't edit what isn't written. Tell the story first and then worry about going back and fixing the holes. You'll be surprised at the things that will flow onto the page when you stop expecting perfection and just let yourself write.

Tell me 3 things about yourself.
1- I’m much more comfortable talking about books than almost anything else, especially if the conversation is about books other than ones I wrote. I read almost every genre and I’m great at book recommendations. I'm an introvert and pretty shy, but I can talk books with almost anyone.
2- I grew up on Stephen King books, so my stories typically have darker elements to them and, in my writing group, I’m known as the one who is meanest to her characters.
3- I’m awful with visual creativity. I can’t draw or sculpt or even pick out paint colors for my house. Unless we’re talking stick figures, I can only make pretty pictures with words.

Find Theresa online at

Adrianne James

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading? 
This is such a hard question as I have been a reader since a small child. I remember reading 50 babysitters club books the summer I turned 9. My mother was driving all over the state to find them at different libraries! I also read The Chronicles of Narnia. The Harry Potter books of course played a big role, the Alvin Maker series as well as the Ender series by Orson Scott Card.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received? 
The best piece of advice I ever received was to keep writing. Never stop writing, never stop learning, never stop growing. A writer can always improve.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The piece of advice I would give is to stop calling yourself an aspiring writer. You either write or you don't. If you spend time putting words to a page (or computer screen) you ARE a writer. Believe in yourself. Now, if your goal is to be a published author, take the time to learn the ins and outs of the industry. Research and planning. Being published is a business and it needs to be treated as such.

Tell me 3 things about yourself.
Three things about me.... 
I am a huge coffee addict. 
I love gardening and growing my own food. 
I can fold my tongue in half backwards but cannot make that u shaped straw like thing that so many others can.

Find Adrianne online at

Now for the Giveaway
One person will receive a selection of Books, E-books and Swag collected from RAI
(some items are donated by the authors and some items will be purchased at RAI and from Amazon for this giveaway)
Must be 18 years or older to enter
U.S. Addresses only

Enter via Rafflecopter

Thursday, March 26, 2015

RAISING THE STAKES by Karen Rock: Excerpt and Giveaway

Raising the Stakes
by Karen Rock
Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Published by Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 286

Hiding from the world… 

Tucking herself away in the Adirondack woods was supposed to keep Vivienne Harris safe. From dark memories of the Bronx, from danger, from entanglements. But when an orphaned bear cub raids her pantry and conservation officer Liam Walsh appears with news of poachers nearby, her private, peaceful world is turned upside down!

Suddenly two forces are drawing her out—Button, the cub who needs her help, and Liam, the man who's dead set against her rehabilitating the bear. If she can just win Liam's support, Vivie knows she can give Button a good life. And maybe find the courage to embrace a future with Liam…


“What about the cub?”
His gaze swerved to hers. “I’ll have to put it down if I can’t find the mother.”
Vivie clutched the back of a chair, lightheaded and nauseous. “What? No!” How could he say that so casually? 
“I’ve called around and our wildlife rehabilitators are overloaded. Since the cub is too young to fend for itself, the humane thing to do is—”
“Kill it?” she stormed, interrupting. “How is that humane?” The cub’s frightened eyes came to mind and she backed up against the pantry door. Officer or not, he wouldn’t take the bear. Stop her from helping. It’d come to her home. Had sought refuge here.
He pulled off his hat and rubbed his forehead. “Ma’am, I don’t expect you to understand. But you need to trust me and move aside so that I can do my job.”
“Not a chance,” she ground out, wishing her pepper spray wasn’t across the room.
“Please be reasonable.” He raised his eyebrows, looking harmless. His holstered weapon told a different story.
Maybe she could reason with him, though she’d failed before. There had to be a way to save the cub. “How do you become a wildlife rehabilitator?”
He drew in a long breath and crossed his arms over his chest. “Pass a certification test then work under the supervision of a rehabilitator for six months.”
Tests. She hated them. Had only ever done well on presentation-style exams in culinary school. Still, for the baby bear...anything. “And when is the next one?”
“In a week.” He made a vague motion in the air with his hand. “Look. I’d be happy to discuss that with you another time, but the cub might be suffering. Please step aside so that I can take it.”
She raised her voice over her drumming heartbeat. “I’ll pass the test. Get certified.”
He ran a hand through his hair, making the curl-tipped ends stand up. “You’d have to study hundreds of pages of online material. It’s not easy. Trust me. I took it and barely finished my apprenticeship before my academy training started.”
“So you’re a certified wildlife rehabilitator? You could care for it.”
His chin jerked. “I already have a job.”
Her mind shifted into overdrive, churning up possibilities. “Not next week. You said you’re on vacation. You could take her while I study for the test.”
He blew out a long breath. “I don’t have an enclosure—something you’ll need along with someone to supervise you.”
She tried to come across as commanding, though at five-foot-three inches that was always a challenge. “You could help with both.”
He shook his head, his earnest expression replaced with a wash of annoyance. “Out of the question. There are too many ifs in that idea.”
She tried keeping the heat out of her voice. The DEC. Always so difficult. Especially Walsh. “Why? I’m sure you could call in a favor. Ask one of the rehabilitators to find temporary space for the cub. Then I’ll pass the test and, with your help, be approved to care for it. Don’t you want to do the right thing?”
Wasn’t that his job?
“I do. Which is why I’m taking the bear. Now.”
“Not a chance. You’ll have to go through me first.” She hated to sound dramatic, use a cheesy line from bad TV, but there was no other way to say it.
A crease appeared between his brows, his eyes scanning hers. Finally, he released a long breath.
“How about this—I’ll take her to the vet where they’ll check her jaw, give her some food and a safe place to stay, temporarily, while I continue investigating.”
She considered, wishing she could trust him. But after her dealings with him before, her faith was on the short side.
“Let’s try this,” she countered. “I’ll go with you and stay with the bear until you come back. Then we’ll talk about what happens next.”
He settled his hat back on, pinching the indented top. “There’s no reason to get more involved, ma’am.”
She pulled out her cell and tapped in Maggie’s number. Someone could come by and pick up the pies. Another worker would be called in for an extra shift. The Homestead would manage without her today. She wasn’t leaving the cub’s side until she knew it’d be safe—from nature and the DEC.
“It’s much too late for that, Officer Walsh.”
She studied him for a long, heavy moment, then moved aside. If the cub’s mother was dead, then she’d take on the role.
And nothing was more ferocious than a mama bear…


Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer.  Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and has published five novels with them. Her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and was a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

Find Karen Rock Online

Quarterly Newsletter:
Amazon Author Page:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Backstage Pass Series

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Backstage Pass series

Aimee and the Heartthrob 
by Ophelia London 
Publication Date 4/14/15
Published by: Entangled Crush

He never noticed her before, but now she's all he can see…

Miles Carlisle is every teen girl’s fantasy. His rugged good looks and exotic British accent have helped catapult his boy band, Seconds to Juliet, to super-stardom. But after two disastrous and very public breakups, Miles isn’t interested in dating just any girl; he wants The One. And the only girl he’s interested in is not only his best friend’s little sister―and off-limits―but won’t even give him the time of day…

As a kid, Aimee Bingham ‫   had a huge thing for Miles…until he made fun of her for always tagging along. Now that she’s outgrown both him and her pigtails, the prospect of spending two weeks on tour with the childhood crush who broke her heart isn’t exactly enticing. Except now Miles seems interested. Very interested. And no matter how hard Aimee tries to resist him, her crush is definitely making a comeback.

 But everyone knows that falling for a heartthrob is a backstage pass to heartbreak…


Mia and the Bad Boy 
by Lisa Burstein 
Publication Date 5/19/15
Published by Entangled Crush

This good girl’s about to meet her match…
Ryder Brooks is living the dream—he’s famous, loved by millions of girls, and miserable. All he really wants is to write his own music, not Seconds to Juliet’s sugary sweet pop. In order to do that, though, the “bad boy” of the band will have to play by the rules. And that includes behaving with his new—and super cute—über-good-girl tutor.

Mia Reyes is in fangirl heaven. Tutoring her favorite member of her favorite band? It’s a dream come true…until it turns into a complete nightmare. Ryder is nothing like she thought. He’s crude, arrogant, and pretty much a total jerk. And the worst part? She’s roped into pretending to be his girlfriend so that no one finds out he’s being tutored. Fake kisses, plenty of PDA, and even sharing his hotel room…

But sometimes even the baddest of bad boys needs a little redemption.

Why I'm Waiting
  • I've been known to fangirl over a certain favorite band, so I can see the appeal of having a crush on the members of this fictional band
  • A favorite author, Lisa Burstein, has a book in the series
  • There are 3 more books in the series and I'll have the opportunity to discover some new-to-me authors
  • I enjoy reading companion novels
  • The books just seem like they will be a lot of fun to read: music, humor, kissing, cute boys - sounds like a good time to me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Reveal: SIGNS OF LIFE by Selene Castrovilla

I've waited and waited for this book! And even though it doesn't come out until November and will have to wait a while longer, I'm happy to share the cover of SIGNS OF LIFE (Rough Romance #2, sequel to MELT)! 

Check it out!! 

Signs of Life (Rough Romance #2) by Selene Castrovilla


(Rough Romance #2) 

by Selene Castrovilla 

Last Syllable Books Release 

Date: November 10, 2015

No good deed goes unpunished… The tables are turned with a vengeance in this tour de force sequel to MELT. Now it’s Dorothy who is fragmented and lost, while Joey keeps the promise he made her to better himself – even though she’s gone. Joey tells his story “now ”—nearly a year after the shocking conclusion of MELT. Dorothy tells what happened “then”— in the moments and hours after the Glock dropped. This time the stakes are even higher, as Joey forces himself to move forward while Dorothy is frozen in place. But when he learns of a devastating decision, Joey races to find her before it’s too late. Truth, consequence, repercussion and modern medicine collide as pieces converge in this psychological, thrilling story, which begs the question: Can love really conquer all?

 I love this cover! I like the arrows in the letters because it shows that life can take you in many directions - that there isn't just one way that is the right way. And the hues in the cover and it gives off the same feeling as the cover of Melt. I can't wait to have a copy for my shelf!

What do you think of the cover?

Haven't started this series, yet? 
Check out book one below and grab a copy today!

MELT by Selene Castrovilla

Based on true events, MELT is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. MELT will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul. MELT is a brutal love story set against the metaphorical backdrop of The Wizard of Oz (not a retelling). When sixteen year old Dorothy moves to the small town of Highland Park, she meets, and falls for Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? Told in dual first person, Joey’s words are scattered on the page – reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason – until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?

 MELT: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About Selene Castrovilla

Selene CastrovillaWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, has received numerous accolades. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!


Monday, March 23, 2015

CHOOSE ME by Heidi McLaughlin - Cover Reveal

Today is the huge cover reveal for CHOOSE ME, book 2 of Heidi McLaughlin's Archer Brothers series. I was lucky enough to get an early sneak peek and immediately got "all the feels." I just love it!

Take a look!! 

ChooseMe Amazon
Two brothers.
One woman.
One son.
One choice.
Lives ripped apart, shattered and rebuilt.
Evan and Nate Archer: Brothers, best friends, warriors and now enemies. Both in love with the same woman. Both determined to fight for what they want.
Nate Archer promised to protect Ryley Clarke in the event Evan didn’t make it back. It’s a promise between brothers since the early days of basic training. Nate never considered that his feelings, long buried since high school, would resurface and grow stronger.
Evan Archer wants answers. He wants someone to pay. After being gone for an unprecedented amount of time, nothing is making sense now that he’s home. Most of all, he can't understand how his brother ended up engaged to his fiancée. Evan is determined to uncover the mystery, and win back his family.
The Archers are about to fight dirty.


Cover Designed by Sarah at Okay Creations

Moody portrait of young tough guy in train station
Choose Me Teaser2

Heidi Bio PicAboutTheAuthor
Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, two Parakeets, Gonzo & Hedwig, and their newest addition of a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she's writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.

Find Heidi Online

Books by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl - The Beaumont Series #1

My Unexpected Forever - The Beaumont Series #2

Finding My Forever - The Beaumont Series #3

Finding My Way - The Beaumont Series #4

My Everything - A Beaumont Series Novella

12 Days of Forever - A Beaumont Series Novella

Lost in Us - A Lost in You Novella

The Archer Brothers
Here with Me

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Spotlight and Giveaway: Rockin' the Boat

Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries – from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X 
by Jeff Fleischer 
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Published by Zest Books; distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
224 pages
Ages 14+

Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries – from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X

We love to root for the underdog, and when it comes to underdogs, few are more impressive than the world’s great revolutionaries.

After all, it’s pretty hard to find a more powerful opponent than the world’s biggest empires and emperors. And that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Many of these men and women were born into virtual dystopias, and they fought throughout their lives, against all odds, to forge a path to a better future. And whether they succeeded, failed, or succeeded only to become a new kind of enemy, there’s something inherently fascinating about that effort to change the world.

Rockin’ the Boattells the stories of fifty such iconoclasts — including the gladiator Spartacus, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the inspired religious fighter Joan of Arc, the abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights icon Margaret Sanger, and Maori chief Hono Heke — from an incredibly diverse set of places and times. Each entry includes a mix of history, biography, and analysis, and is supplemented with photos, sidebars, and an incredible amount of trivia as well.

As a result, Rockin’ the Boat provides a unique and powerful view of history — a view from the bottom up, through the eyes of people who dared to imagine a different world from the one in which they lived.

Find Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries – from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X:


Jeff Fleischer is a Chicago-based journalist and author, who has written for Mother Jones, the Sydney Morning Herald, National Geographic Traveler, Mental Floss, and Chicago Magazine.


"A gallery of historical troublemakers starting with Hannibal and ending with Martin Luther King, Jr. …Snarky picture captions (‘Emma Goldman is not interested in your nonsense’) and sidebar references to pop culture further lighten the overall tone. … Salutary portraits in radicalism." – Kirkus Reviews

“A lively narrative, an accessible length (while the profiles are dense, they are kept to roughly four pages each), and deadpan humor—particularly in captions (George Washington is ‘tight in tights’ and Sitting Bull ‘sits bullishly’)—allow for irreverent, edifying reading." – Publishers Weekly

Thanks to Zest Books I am giving away a copy of Rockin' the Boat
  • To enter for a chance to win: Leave a comment about why you want to read Rockin' the Boat and a method to contact you (twitter handle, blog link, etc)
  • Must be 16 years or older to enter
  • Ends 3/31/15 11:59 est

Facebook profile: 
Zest Books website: and Blog Tour hub page:

ABOUT ZEST BOOKS: Zest Books is an award-winning publisher of smart and edgy nonfiction books and memoirs for young and new adults. Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, you can learn more about Zest Books at


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