THE BOOK YOU NEED TO BUY by Julie

Fire Dancer is finally here! Be sure to check out Kristen Strassel’s latest release. It’s a new spin on her vampire lore. I love when new books intertwine with an older series.

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SEXY Cover Reveal for Kristen Strassel’s FIRE DANCER!

Check out this amazing cover and excerpt for THE FIRE DANCER by Kristen Strassel! Don’t forget to add it to your TBR!

Fire-Dancer-FOR-WEB

THE FIRE DANCER (Cirque Macabre, #1) by Kristen Strassel

Adult Paranormal Romance

Designer: Hang Le Designs

Artwork illustrated by: Daoyi Liu

Goodreads

Amazon

Blurb:

At Le Cirque Macabre, Holly Octane bursts into flames five nights a week. The stage is where Holly feels most alive. When she’s there no one can touch her, and everyone adores her.

Brought to Las Vegas as vampire bait, Holly’s connection to the immortals is a mystery. She’s one of a kind– traveling through time and igniting when her emotions get too hot to handle. The only people who understand her are an aunt with a hidden agenda and her fortune teller girlfriend, Rainey, who doesn’t see a future with Holly in it.

Cash Logan needs Holly, but she’s not the reason he came to Vegas. The enigmatic magician seeks Blade Bennett, a vampire that has a power that he shouldn’t have–fire. A power that could determine the future of all of vampire kind. Holly’s the only one who can help Blade control his fire, but their feelings for each other are too fiery to ignore.

Immortals rule the Vegas night, and not one of them trusts Cash or Blade. If Holly lets them draw her in to this world designed to destroy her, she’ll lose everything—the only family she’s ever known, and everyone who adores her.

Las Vegas is her stage, and Holly is determined to set the city on fire.

*FIRE DANCER is a spinoff novel from The Night Songs Collection.

EXCERPT:

“How long have you been like this?” His gaze ran the length of my robe, and he didn’t have to clarify what he meant.

As far as everyone knew, I was twenty-four. “Decades. I think.” The concept of time simply made me dizzy.

Cash nodded; my answer didn’t surprise him. “You were born north of London in 1781, in a village called Moorfields.” My knees buckled, and if I didn’t clutch the table, I would have fallen. Even though I knew the answer wasn’t going to be something nice and neat like twenty-five years ago in Memphis, actually having the answer blew my mind.

“I remember things that happened before that.” I couldn’t face him. “And I think I remember you.”

“Do you?” Cash ran his fingers lightly along my hair, never touching my body. At first, I was terrified we’d burst into flames. We’d fireproofed my dressing room, but Cash wouldn’t survive. This information was just the tip of the iceberg. I needed him to stay alive. “What do you remember?”

Images jumbled in my brain as if someone spun a wheel. I saw Cash, bound, bloody, and burned, surrounded by laughing onlookers. His hair was shorter, and it was a different time, but I knew him. His eyes. No matter what humiliation was bestowed upon him, they remained proud. “Chaos.”

His silky laugh almost convinced me I’d been wrong. No one could actually survive the state I pictured Cash in, his skin purple from abuse, weak from starvation, and still have a sense of humor. But those eyes. “That’s about right.” He moved closer to me, my robe pressed against my skin.

I couldn’t let him distract me. “But why do I remember things that happened before that? Like I was there. Is that even possible?”

“If you experienced it, then you made it possible, Holly.” His words were soft, and like time, they made me dizzy. “You’re a Bleed.”

My eyes snapped open. “A what?”

“You’re a Bleed. You age much more slowly than mortals, and you’re immortality extends in all directions. Forward, backward, and sideways if it’s possible.”

I had to turn and face him. Rainey would knock on the door any time now, and I needed to wrap this up before she came. She’d warned me stay away from Cash. We’d been fighting too much lately already. I hated it. “How many of us are there?”

“You mean how many of you are there.” Someone knocked on the door softly. I forced my eyes away from Cash, and he stepped back. The knock repeated, more forceful this time. Rainey would be able to sense I wasn’t alone, even if she couldn’t see Cash. “You might be the only one.”

“Then how do you know so much about it?” I kept waiting for the heat to rise in my body, but it didn’t. All the triggers, fear and frustration, were there, but no flames. The knocking became frantic.

“Because I do.” Cash placed my hat back on my head before he headed to the door. His hand was on the doorknob when he turned back to me. “You’ve been patient this long, Holly. I want you to need me.”

 

About the Author:

KristenKristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Why Authors Should Stop Stressing About Book Pirates.

Book Pirate

I see the statuses and tweets often. An author has discovered their book on a pirating site and is FURIOUS about it. After all, why shouldn’t they be? Their work is being stolen, the hours of writing, revising, and editing has been reduced to a freebie download for any cheapskate to steal at will.

The first time I spotted one of my books on a pirating site I was livid, but as time went on, and I got used to hunting these files down and requesting their removal, my perspective on book pirating changed. Hear me out, and perhaps the next time you spot your book on a pirating site you won’t feel the wrath of Lucifer bubbling up inside you.

Pirating is NEVER Going Away. Get Used To It.

This is just common sense. Pirating has been around forever, and with the digital age, it’s only gotten worse. Hollywood and the music industry were the first to feel the effects of digital pirating, and they took up a fight to try and prevent it. Millions were spent suing websites, fighting for legislation, and trying to create a digital barrier between pirate sites and would-be downloaders. Much like the war on drugs, the war on pirating has proven difficult, and nearly impossible to win. Book pirates are the same. We can’t stop them, no matter what we do. If we find a new way to encrypt ebooks, they’ll find a new way to steal them.

It’s A Right Of Passage.

It might not be the most pleasant right of passage, but it does mark your transition from aspiring author to published author. Congratulations! Someone finds your book interesting enough to steal it!

When I was an aspiring author I would have done anything to get people to read my work. During the drafting process of my first published novel, I pushed it on anyone willing to give it a read. If you had told me back then that someone would want to STEAL my work, I probably would have wrapped it in a bow and sent it off with a thank you card. So if someone is pirating your book, you’re officially in the club. 🙂

Most Of The Sites Are Fake.

In my quest to track down and vanquish book pirates I’ve discovered that most of the sites claiming to offer my book for download are total bullshit. One site might say that 1200 people have already downloaded it, another says 26,000. That’s a lot of books! And if I calculate the royalties lost on those numbers I might faint. BUT if you go a step further and actually try to download your own book you’ll find that you can’t. You either get prompted to enter a credit card number or the links lead to nowhere. Oftentimes these are bait sites designed to lure in unsuspecting book-seekers, and when they try to download the link they get hit with a virus. So if you see your book has been downloaded 47,000,000 times, don’t freak out, chances are, it hasn’t.

But what if it has?

Worst Case Scenario: You’ve Found New Readers.

Chances are the illegal downloaders did not hinder the legitimate sales you’ve made. Let’s face it, those people illegally downloading your books were probably never going to buy your book anyway. I know, I know . . . you don’t want to give your books away for free, but in the unfortunate event that it HAS been downloaded a bunch of times, stay calm. The truth of the matter is, readers have found your work, maybe they even like your work, maybe they join your FB page, follow you on Twitter, maybe they go on to buy your other books, or tell all their friends about how much they loved your book.

If your book was in a library and you found out it was borrowed 6,000 times, are you upset that you weren’t paid royalties on 6,000 sales? If your book is in paperback, and someone buys it, reads it, and sells it to a used bookstore that then sells to another person, would you be angry you weren’t given a cut of each sale?

No.

You’d be happy that people were reading your book, and hopefully that reader is the word-of-mouth you’re going to need to be successful. As a new author you’re main goal should never be income. It should always be exposure. You want everyone and their mother to read your book, and if your book is being pirated, you have certainly been exposed. 😉

Book Pirates Suck! Book Downloaders Might Not.

We can all agree that the hosting sites for book pirating are a bunch of SUPER JERKS! If not for them being the book pusher, we might not have this problem. But they’re here to stay, so let’s take a look at the people downloading these pirated books. Do you have an image of who might be sitting behind that computer, snickering as they basically steal your work? I used to, but in my search of pirating sites, I came across something that made me reconsider my view of the downloaders.

My first book, The Darkness of Light, was available for download on a pirating site. I know it had actually been downloaded because people were discussing it in the forum. Then in the thread, someone posted the cover of the sequel, The Embers of Light, asking where it was available. The thread went on and on, and no one could find the link anywhere (it was fairly new at that point, so it’s definitely available now). A few of the posters made comments to the original poster about buying the book, that illegally downloading books was wrong.

The original poster, and some of the follow-up commenters defended themselves. One guy said he lives in the Philippines, doesn’t have a tablet, and can’t afford to buy the books he wants. Another poster said her parents wouldn’t let her buy books like that. A few others showed little concern for their actions.

It was a mixed bag of responses, and while I completely agree that book pirating sucks, I feel better about it knowing that people, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to my books, found a way to read them. This is why I no longer get angry when I spot my books on sites. If I can find one true reader, take the damn book if you can find it.

Taking Action.

Since the previously mentioned site appeared to be a legitimate downloading site I sent the DMCA Takedown Notice (you can find a sample notice to copy here) to the admin, and within 24 hours, my books were removed.

Now I have a monthly routine for hunting pirates. Somewhere around the first of the month I track my sales numbers, enter them into a spreadsheet, then move on to Google and type in my name, and the names of my books to find pirated copies.

I almost always find at least one website claiming to have one or all of my books available for download. If I can find a place to contact them, I send the DMCA notice and forget it. If I can’t find contact info, it’s usually a virus download so I don’t bother.

Then I go about my day, happily writing books and not spending an ounce of energy on book thieves. Sure, I could spend hours trying to track down the hosting sites, checking and rechecking to see if they’ve taken the books down, but what good does that do? I’m wasting my time being angry when I could be writing. And after all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing most of the time anyway. 🙂

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Now that I’ve been a published author for one full year, and I’ve spent these last twelve months marketing, blogging, and tweeting about why you should buy my books, I think it’s time to get real with you. I want to save you all the trouble. It’s time to tell you why you shouldn’t buy my books.

7 – I’m an indie author

Yes, it’s true—I’m an independent author. I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a publisher, and I pay for the production of my books up front. By now we’ve all seen, and maybe even read, at least one train wreck of a self-published book. It might have soured your opinion of indie books altogether, and I don’t blame you. But I can promise you that professional editors, cover designers, and formatters have worked on my books. While no books, not even traditionally published books, are entirely free of errors, I have taken every step possible to provide the best quality product for my readers.

But . . . if you think indie authors are just traditional publishing rejects, and have no talent to make it in the business, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

6 – I’m not famous

Only my dad and my friend’s six-year-old son think I’m famous. To everyone else I’m just another author trying to sell my wares. I’ve never made the NYT Bestsellers list, I’ve never been asked to speak at a writer’s convention, and I’m guessing the cease and desist letter I got from HBO means they’re not interested in adapting my novels. Okay, that last point wasn’t true, but you get my what I’m saying.

I might not have a long list of dedicated readers waiting in line at Barnes and Noble for my latest release, but one year into being a published author I do have a growing fan base. I’ve even received quite a few emails from readers all over the world, writing just to tell me how much they liked one of my books. So while I may not be famous in the conventional sense of the word, sometimes my readers make me feel famous.

If my “nobody” status bothers you, and you’d rather read a book from a well-known author with rave reviews, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

5 – I’m a shameless rule breaker. I break 6 of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Somebody should stop me right now!

I must confess, I’ve always been one to bend the rules, but when it comes to my writing, I happily take those rules and break them whenever I damn well please. It’s not that I don’t know what the rules are. I know them very well. But if I want to use an adverb, a variety of dialog tags, or describe a setting, then I’m going to do it! I’m mindful of how and when I use them, but I can assure you, you’ll find broken rules scattered throughout my books. It’s like a rule graveyard in there.

So if you’re a stern believer in the rules of writing, please, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

4 – They’re not free

With the digital publishing age, millions of books are at our fingertips, and many of these digital books are free. Why would anyone want to pay money for my books when they can get a similar book for free?

You see, the trouble is that I don’t want to give my books away. Yes, I love writing. Yes, I would continue to write books even if no one wanted to read them. And yes, occasionally I will offer a title free for a day or two. But if I’m going to have fancy covers, editors, and formatters, I have to justify the cost of production with at least a marginal return on my investment. The good news is that, so far, I’ve earned more money than I put out to produce my books, which tells me I must be doing something right.

But if you’re offended that I’m asking you to pay to read my work, or if you’re irritated that any of my books cost more than 99 cents, DO. NOT. BUY. MY BOOKS. Like, ever.

3 – I like cliffhangers.

I love them! And while I don’t always employ the hard-hitting, mid-scene-cutting cliffhanger, I like to leave the door open for the next book. In some of my books I wrap up the main story and leave a teaser for the next, in others I leave some unfinished business. It’s just the way I write and if you’re going to read my books, be prepared for a cliff here and there.

The good news is that if you’re not too enraged by my cliffhanger, you can always go on to read the next book in the series. I promise the answers you seek will be right there.

But if you can’t stand a cliffhanger, and you would prefer a series to be a two-thousand-page book, then I warn you, DO NOT BUY MY BOOKS.

2 – Some people don’t like them.

If you’re still reading this post, then you’re either a glutton for punishment, or I haven’t done a good enough job of convincing you not to buy my books. This should do it: there are people who HATE my books. It’s true. My books have gotten one and two star reviews; endings have been called trite, characters unconvincing, and it has been stated that certain plots make no sense at all. Some people hated my books so much they couldn’t even get through them. To some people, my books are just that awful.

I guess I should quit torturing the world with my vapid prose and one-dimensional characters, but like any visionary mind, I’m driven by my passion and positive feedback. For every negative review my books receive, there are double, and even triple the positive reviews. For example, The Darkness of Light has a 4.7 average star rating on Amazon, and a 56% 5 star rating on Goodreads. And despite the horror show that some claim this book to be, people still keep buying it. Weird. I wonder when the world will catch on to my failures and stop encouraging me. 😉

So be forewarned, if you don’t want a book that some people don’t like, DON’T BUY ANY OF MY BOOKS.

Are you still with me? If so, this should be the nail in the coffin for you . . .

1 – I didn’t write these books for you. I wrote them for me.

I’ve tried to write them for you. I really have. But it’s never worked out. Initially, my debut novel, The Darkness of Light, was merely the result of a crazed mission to claw my way out of writer’s block. As I wrote chapter after chapter, publication was never on my mind. I was just happy to be writing again and completely in love with the story. It wasn’t until after I’d finished writing it that I started to consider publication.

The same is true with all my other books, even if the genre is a popular one. I started writing The Embers of Light with reader expectations in mind, but when I kept hitting brick walls I decided to stop focusing on what my readers expected, and focused on the story I wanted to tell. That’s the only way I can write. I’m sorry. And I swear that if no one ever bought another one of my books again, I would still want to write them.

So if you want something tailored specifically to reader expectations, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS. I guarantee they won’t always follow the guidelines of the genre, they won’t all have happy endings, and they won’t be predictable. If you can’t put it down, that’s not my fault. I warned you.

Here are the covers of the books you shouldn’t buy, just in case you get lured in by the pretty covers and intriguing blurbs. It’s happened to quite a few people, and I wouldn’t want you to fall victim as well. You might end up loving them and hating me for it. 😉

AllBooksAnd if that’s not enough, you can add this Amazon page to your block list.

Excerpt from the NA Romantic Fantasy, Sachael Dreams

 

Available NOW on AMAZON

sachael-dreams-front-cover

Excerpt

Once back on the sand with my belongings, I turned to face the sea. The moon was closer to the earth than usual tonight—its size dominating the horizon.

I wrapped the shell in one of my clean art cloths and placed it in my bag before undressing. The wet denim fabric of my jeans clung to my legs, and I struggled to remove it. I groaned at my lack of foresight. Why hadn’t I rolled the ankles up before paddling in the water? As I undressed, baring my skin to the night, anticipation about entering the water charged through me. It was a good thing there wasn’t anyone around. They’d think I was performing a strip tease. I grinned at the ludicrous idea as I dropped my paint-splattered t-shirt on the sand.

It was time.

Turning to face the water again, I stood up straight.

My father’s voice filled my head. “Promise me, Estelle, promise me you’ll always do this.”

I nodded to his words, recognizing the seriousness of his tone, so clear, even after all these years. I hugged myself, ignoring the overpowering sensation to cry—I missed him so much, even more so on these nights. Screwing my eyes shut, I forced the tears away. I took several deep breaths and concentrated on calming myself. The sound of the waves sang to me, melodic tones drifting forward on each gentle roll. The fresh, salty smell of the ocean surrounded me. I breathed deeply before strolling toward the water’s edge. My feet seemed to move of their own accord, as if my body was impatient to transport me forward. But I didn’t rush. I wanted to take my time tonight.

When my toes met the swell of a receding wave, I smiled, relaxing at the familiar contact. A beckoning path was lit before me on the water, the brightness of the moon reflected clearly on the surface. The ocean was calm this evening. Many times, when I needed to complete the ritual, it was anything but. On those nights, I stayed in the shallows, completing the submergence ritual in an angry few feet of water. I never dared to venture far into the waves when the sea was violent and forceful. I had an affinity with the ocean, but I wasn’t foolish.

My father had told me never to fear the ocean; it was something magical, and it would never, ever, harm me.

I believed him . . . until the night it took his life.

I missed holding his hand as I walked into the sea, often questioning why I still kept doing this when he wasn’t here. The night he’d drowned was the last time we completed the ritual together. But whatever else happened in my life, I’d always kept my promise to him. Every time I followed his crazy ritual, I somehow felt calmer and closer to him. Had he known what would happen to him that evening? I refused to believe he wanted to end his own life; he’d had too much to live for. He loved my mother and me so much.

Pausing in the water as it rippled at my waist, I rested my hands, palm down, on the surface, speaking the mantra my father taught me:

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Bending my knees, I sank under the water, ensuring my head was submerged, and paused for a few seconds before straightening back up. Not bothering to wipe the hair from my face, I repeated the phrase.

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Once again, I dipped below the surface of the water.

I kept my eyes open as I completed the submergences. I never shut out the underwater world that greeted me. It was as if the ocean was a long-lost friend, welcoming me back with open arms every month. The waves were my family, protecting me, caressing my body with their underwater currents.

Repeating the whole routine seven times, I spoke my words to the moon before offering myself to the ocean. After the final submergence, I steadied myself before lifting my arms into the air.

It was done. My promise to my father was complete for this month. I would be back to repeat it at the next full moon.

As I always did on these nights, I executed a perfect dive into the waiting water. The gentle, swirling currents attempted to control me in their evening dance, but it didn’t affect me at all. I was too strong for them to sway me in any one direction. The ritual had renewed my strength and agility in the water. I loved this sensation. It was one of freedom, of complete relaxation, and a primitive force I’d never understood.

I swam further from the beach, not needing to surface as I traveled. Twisting to change directions, I headed deeper, wanting my feet to touch the sandy bottom of the seabed. I swam fast, and the sand was beneath me within seconds. I curled my legs under me, tumbling until I was upright in the water, poised to stop my fast descent. My feet stomped on the ocean floor, and a haze of cloudy sand rose upward, mimicking a dust storm in the desert. I’d performed the equivalent of an emergency stop. Trying to suppress a giggle, my father’s face appeared in my head. He’d never have approved of my risqué behavior.

Bubbles of air ballooned from my mouth as I pushed off from the seabed, gliding upward to the moonlight filtering through the surface.

For the second time this evening, I was distracted by the sight of something glistening. This time, though, it was in the waters below. I stopped my peaceful journey, suspended in the water as I stared at where I had come from. The sparkling, tiny ball of light moved rapidly in a circle. I frowned, unable to comprehend how something could travel so quickly, and how any form of light could move so precisely. I watched, transfixed with the light’s journey as it moved closer.

My heart raced when I became aware that the glow wasn’t in fact a light. It was the reflection of the moon on a necklace; a necklace that someone was wearing. As the person began to swim toward me at an impossible speed, I momentarily froze with shock. Panic crashed through me. I wasn’t safe—I was alone, swimming in the sea in the middle of the night. Tearing my gaze away from the glinting necklace, I propelled myself toward the surface. I needed to get to land. Determined to outswim whoever this person was, I swam the fastest I ever had. Yet, it wasn’t fast enough. Sneaking a look behind me, I could see the head of the person following. They were getting closer—too close.

With a racing heart and aching limbs, I pushed myself to go faster, but it was pointless.

A hand grabbed my ankle.

I screamed.

About Melody Winter

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Dreams is her debut novel, and the first in her New Adult Romantic Fantasy series—the ‘Mine Series’.

You can view more of Melody Winter on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

NEW RELEASE: Sachael Dreams by Melody Winter

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to one of my favorite writer friends, Melody Winter. This is her debut novel and I’m absolutely excited to read it! Get your copy on AMAZON.

sachael-dreams-front-coverTwenty-two-year-old Estelle Bailey has had enough of busy city-life and her hot-tempered ex. She escapes to the seclusion and peace of her family’s clifftop home in Ravenscar, where the soothing solitude whispers to her soul as strongly as the sea itself does. But her newfound contentment is interrupted when a mysterious man—a Sachael, master of seduction—joins her midnight swim unexpectedly.

Estelle struggles against his charm and the overpowering attraction she feels for him. He offers her a life she never could have imagined, a life beneath the waves . . . but at what cost? Before she can decide, she’s captured, ensnared by the Sect, a secret enemy of the Sachaels, becoming a pawn in a war she knew nothing about.

Now, she’s left with a new choice—escape the clutches of the Sect and flee into the ocean, or side with her alluring, intimidating captor and destroy the Sachaels forever. Can she turn her back on the man she might love, or will the secret of her heritage change everything?

Set against a picturesque backdrop, Sachael Dreams is the first in a new series, exploring themes of romance, love, and identity, and the struggle that happens when all three collide.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Dreams is her debut novel, and the first in her New Adult Romantic Fantasy series—the ‘Mine Series’.

You can view more of Melody Winter on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

New Release: Death By Social Suicide by Karen Anne

New Adult Romance from Karen Anne

Available on:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

DSScover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

The night Brittany Wakefield kissed her best friend, Jaime, she lost everything. Who knew one amazing moment could send him running— spinning a web of deceit and avoidance for two years. Stepping onto campus, she’s ready to win him back, even if it involves pledging a sorority she has no interest in.

Erik Draxton fell hard for Brit the moment she walked into the art room. With vibrant purple hair, music in her veins and a rebellious flair, she’s all he’s ever wanted.

While Jaime shrouds himself in secrets, Brit finds herself longing even more to be a part of his world. Unable to watch the girl of his dreams get tossed to the side, Erik decides to take matters into his own hands. But when Erik crosses a line, Brit feels backed into a corner, and discovering Jaime’s secret leaves her devastated.

With a shattered heart from Jaime, and the risk of losing Erik on the horizon, she knows one thing: navigating the social circles can be a suicide mission.

Excerpt:

Our model was beautiful, and if anyone was wondering if she was a natural red head, she soon put their curiosity to rest when she disrobed, revealing creamy skin, and a neat rug that matched the curtains. I glanced around the room, and watched the other guys who tried hard not to smile as she took her position in the middle of the floor, back arched, nipples to the ceiling. We usually had male models, or strictly older women. This was a rare treat for them.

I glanced at Erik, who didn’t seem phased by the goddess of seduction that twisted before him. He sketched her form, his head down, mouth in a stiff straight line. Usually, he did this thing where he stuck the tip of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth. That was the Erik I was accustomed to. This guy was an impostor. I put my head down and started sketching Aphrodite.

When the professor signaled for the model to take a break and everyone broke apart, I followed Erik into the hallway and watched him disappear into the men’s room. All right, Ill wait. When the door opened a minute later, I jumped in front of Erik—but it wasn’t Erik. It was my professor, who grabbed at his chest in alarm.

“Sorry, Professor Martin, I uh… thought you were someone else.”

“Not funny, Miss Wakefield,” he grumbled and continued down the hallway. I flattened against the wall and waited. The door opened again, and this time Erik walked out.

“You can’t ignore me forever, we still have like ten more weeks of the semester. That’s twenty classes. You’re really gonna ignore me for twenty classes? And besides, we’re both art majors, chances are we’ll have another class together in the future.” I folded my arms and stepped in front of him so he couldn’t walk past. That’s right, five-foot-five Brit was highly intimidating to six foot Erik.

The corner of his mouth lifted up into a slow smile. “Missed me that much huh?”

“What? No, I—”

“You couldn’t even handle one hour of me ignoring you. I thought you were tougher than that. Looks like playing hard to get is paying off.”

I worried he was serious, but then he cracked a real smile and laughed.

“You need to lighten up, Monster High. I’m over you.”

Huh. Over me. I’m not sure why, but his words stung. Maybe because no one had ever been into me before.

Erik kept talking, “In fact, I decided to join a religious order. Perhaps Hare Krishna. Think I’d look good in orange?”

I laughed and stepped to the side so we could walk back to class together.

“So we’re cool?” I asked, just to be sure.

“I’m cool. You’re cool now, I can’t say how cool you’ll look in those letters.” He flicked at my pledge pin.

“Yeah, but I think I can make them cool.”

“No, you’re not that cool.”

“You’re right, I’m not.” I sighed in relief, happy that we were talking again.

“What about her? Could she talk you out of a religious order” I gestured to our live playboy centerfold.

“Her?” he said, twisting his face. “Not my type.”

“So you’re not into perfect?” I eyed him with suspicion.

“Nah.” He pulled gently on the end of my hair. “I’m into purple.”

I felt my face burn pink in response. Professor Martin clapped his hands, calling for our attention. Everyone obediently returned to their easels, and the model took a new position, her arms draped over her head, her hair falling delicately over one of her perfect size C breasts. I stole a peek at Erik to see his expression at this striking pose, but he wasn’t looking at her. His eyes were fixed on me.

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About The Author

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KAREN ANNE is a New Adult Contemporary Romance author who lives in New York. She loves cats, coffee and deeply misses 90’s grunge.

Karen is also known as Kat Daemon, Paranormal Romance writer and lover of all things dark and twisty.

You can find out more about her at www.katdaemon.com

The Embers of Light Blog Tour Guest Posts

The Embers of Light Blog tour is happening now and I wanted to share the three guest posts I wrote for the tour.

Check out:

Villains Have Feelings Too

Writing Fact Into Your Fantasy

The Perfectly Imperfect Romance

ALSO ~ I have a newsletter now. So make sure to sign up HERE

One Year Later ~ I’m Still Here.

I’ve been quiet lately. I know, I’m sorry. I skipped writing the 2014 year in review post, and I didn’t write the “One Year As A Published Author” post. The truth is I’ve been SUPER busy. Book writing busy. So I hope that’s enough to earn your forgiveness for being quiet on the blog.

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January 28th marked the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Darkness of Light. It was also the release day for my sequel The Embers of Light. It’s been an incredible year, and if you look back through my blog posts from last year you’ll see that it’s been filled with highs and lows (but mostly highs). 🙂

Right now I’m hard at work on the third book in The Dia Chronicles, The Ruins of Light. I’m about 30,000 words into it and the entire novel is plotted from beginning to end. SO unlike me, but I love knowing where this story is going.

My absence from the blog is mainly due to the fact that I’ve got a second book series, The Highborn Chronicles that takes up every second of my free time. It’s a heavy workload, especially since my shifter readers love quick releases. It’s certainly a pace I’m not used to but one I’m growing to love. That’s why it’s so great being an indie author. I can work at whatever pace I set. And right now, it’s fast.

This month the third book in The Highborn Chronicles, The Lycan Lady, is set to release, and assuming the idea monsters in my head don’t start harassing me, I should be able to commit more time to Ruins, and give more attention to the blog.

In the meantime The Embers of Light blog tour is underway. A reader turned friend “TK” has written a lovely blog about my books, and she will have a very in-depth interview with me posted on Thursday. Be sure to check her out and enter the giveaway here: Why Bother Reading Independent Authors

For the blog tour for Embers I’ve also written some guest posts. Check out my take on The Perfectly Imperfect Romance, as well as enter to win signed copies of Embers and an Amazon Gift Card.

Now, if we’re all forgiven, I must  get back to writing. These books won’t write themselves, you know? 🙂

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Release Day for Kristen Strassel’s Too Many Reasons

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TOO MANY REASONS (A Spotlight Series Novel) by Kristen Strassel is here! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below! Kristen Strassel keeps her rock ‘n roll edge in this sexy contemporary NA. I’ve read this one and I love it.

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Title: TOO MANY REASONS (A Spotlight Series Novella)

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 9, 2015

Goodreads Page

Amazon

Blurb:

Abby Gauthier is close to getting everything she’s worked so hard for. The band she manages, Sinister Riot, has been offered a major record contract. But it comes with a catch: the band must add Eli Jamison, winner of the talent show The Spotlight, to the lineup.

 

“You’ve been my favorite part of this city.”


Devon Sinclair is the singer of Sinister Riot, and he’s Abby’s best friend. She’s in love with him, but fears she’ll lose him if she makes the first move. Devon knows adding Eli to the band is a mistake, and he’s right. Eli’s interested in more than just making an album. He wants to take control of the band, and he wants to get to know Abby better. A lot better. When tensions between Devon and Eli threaten to destroy Sinister Riot, Abby must act on her true feelings or lose everything she’s ever wanted.

 

“I may not have been your first, but I’m going to make damn sure I’m your last.”

 

EXCERPT
“What the hell are you doing here? You scared the shit out of me.” He had a key, so it wasn’t like he didn’t have a permanent invite. But tonight? Come on.

“I wanted to make sure you got home safe.” He laid on the futon, one leg thrown over the back cushion. It didn’t appear that he was actually doing anything, but waiting for me. The cat was curled up on his stomach. Thank God Mallory still hadn’t come back. Or maybe not. She would have sent his ass packing.

“You could have just texted.” I took off my jacket and tossed it at him. Ziggy took offense, disappearing into some dark corner. I refused to sit next to him, instead I sank into the bean bag chair to unlace my boots. After dancing for a good part of the night, my feet were begging me to take them off. I hadn’t noticed until now.

“You didn’t answer me earlier.” He watched my fingers free my legs from the ties. Once I was only in my socks, I curled my legs under my body, but sitting practically on the floor made me feel too small and Devon too big. He was acting like an irrational asshole and I didn’t want to give him any more power. I practically jumped to my feet.

“Because I was out. With someone. And I didn’t want to be rude like some people and spend the whole night on the phone texting someone else.” Like Devon did with Lexi when he went out with me. I filled a glass with water and drank it all in one long sip. “Did I need to be concerned? Was I out with a serial killer?”

Devon scoffed. “No.”

“So what you really wanted to do was make sure I didn’t bring him upstairs with me.” I crossed my arms and started pacing in front of him. I wanted to ask him about all the things Eli had told me he’d said, but it just seemed petty. “What would you have done if I had?”

“You can do whatever you want, Abby.” He sat up, raking his fingers through his hair. “Where’d you go?”

“Magdalena’s.”

“Shrimp and grits? Hurricanes?”

I nodded. “Then I took him to—“

“The Apple Barrel.” Devon finished my sentence as he sat up. “All the things we like to do.”

“All the things I like to do, with any good company.” I stopped, arms still crossed. “Would you even be here if I’d gone out with anyone else?” I wondered if Devon had known about my date before he’d texted me tonight.

“I don’t know.” Our eyes locked in fury and frustration. “He didn’t even kiss you.”

“That’s not true.” My whole body shook.

Devon’s lips turned upward, a half-smile. “Your lip gloss is still perfect.”

“Maybe I put more on.”

“To come upstairs?” He shook his head. “No, you didn’t.”

“Why do you even care? Do you want to kiss me?” I couldn’t believe I actually said it. Out loud. A couple of drinks and one date and I was feeling really cocky.

In slow motion, Devon pushed himself up off the futon so he stood just inches from me. I didn’t move, or even uncross my arms. He rested his hands on my elbows, and looked down at me in a way he never had before. Like he was seeing me for the first time. My heart slammed against my ribcage for the second time that night, and I was glad my arms were there to keep everything in place. He ran his teeth against his lip ring, drawing my eyes to the motion. He closed his eyes and leaned forward.

I’d pictured this moment a thousand times, so some of it seemed very familiar to me: the chunk of hair that fell in his eyes as he lowered his face to mine, the way his bottom lip moved against his teeth when he felt unsure of himself.

No. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I turned my head and his lips brushed against my cheek. “Don’t.” I could barely speak.

“Abby.” His fingers moved against the back of my arm and I shivered. His words were so soft, if we weren’t so close I might not have heard them. “You asked me what I wanted.”

Frozen in place, I stared at my shoes next to the bean bag. “I don’t want you to do this because you’re pissed off that I went out with Eli,” I whispered. Eight years I waited for him to finally make that move, and I think I had the right to lay some ground rules. If I was going to kiss him, it wasn’t going to be cheap and full of regret. “That’s not how I want this to be.”

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Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

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