Friday, October 20, 2017

MARKED BEAUTY Tour Stop by S.A. Larsen

Of course when your blogging buddy from years ago has a book release, you jump on board and you dig deep. You find out what got her from one book idea to the next. Especially for Sheri's newest novel - MARKED BEAUTY

1. Sheri, how did the concept for the story begin? Was it inspired by something?
It started out with the notion of a tumultuous romance between two young adult characters. I am a major sap for the push and pull of a good romance. But I didn't want it to be merely he-saw-her/she-saw-him and the chase. I wanted to show more resistance from both characters, internal ponderings that left room for each to grow. To accomplish that I needed a tumulus that would force the couple to snub each other, yet draw them together at the same time. That's how the story gave birth to ancient Rifters and the Lynceus people, and put Ana on the opposite because of her empath abilities. I guess you could say the star-crossed attraction between Ana and Viktor partially was inspired by the feelings I always get from reading Pride and Prejudice.

2. I really liked the opposition, the almost resilience to give into the attraction. You really root for them to fall in love. What did you find most difficult to write when creating Anastasia and Viktor?
Expanding on my answer to your first question, I'd say it was in establishing the balance of tension and conflict between Ana and Viktor without isolating one or the other, or irritating the reader too much. A character can only complain or resist for so long before they become annoying. But I had to push those boundaries to force both characters to take a risk they normally wouldn't.

3. I thought it was well-done! It always hard to please both the writer and reader. So, what was the easiest thing for you to write in this story?
Ooh, this is a give and take question. I have an equal affection for developing characters and for world building. With all the Celtic and druid research I did, creating the story world was a blast. But I think the easiest ingredient of the story to write was Viktor. He has a similar heart to Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. The deeper into the story I wrote him the more comfortable I became with him.

4. You wrote him with a natural affection. And I like the comparison to Mr. Darcy! For those who've never read MARKED BEAUTY, tell them some things to expect.
a. Mystery & danger
b. Dark romance
c. Friendship & family
d. Conflict from an eerie character or two
e. Amped up tension
f. Intriguing elements from Celtic mythology and astrology
g. Bits of humor

5. Yes! All of that! What comparison titles would you give MARKED BEAUTY?
It's been likened to Holly Black's Tithe series and Amy Plum's Die for Me trilogy. I also think fans of L.J. Smith's Dark Visions would enjoy Marked Beauty because it has a similar dark quality about it. And even though I'm playing more on Celtic mythology, astrology, and the history of the Druids, Meg Cabot's Abandon has a parallel feel with its mythological edge.

Thank you so much to Sheri AKA S.A Larsen for stopping by and sharing her newest YA release - MARKED BEAUTY - and letting us pick that beautiful brain of hers!! I read the book in less than a few days. It left you wanting to see what would happen between two unlikely love interests, and yet, take the world by storm. When they were together, I had a little Bella/Edward feeling - which I love! Five stars!
Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.
Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.
Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.
After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.
As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks                  

S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at

Blog Tour Giveaway:
One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Party Giveaway:
What better way to celebrate a book birthday then by a giveaway! There are many ways to enter, which you'll find below. You can win an iTunes, Amazon, or Starbucks gift card, an authentic Vera Bradley Little Crossbody in Cobalt Tile, an assortment of bookish swag, and even a KINDLE Fire HD 7"! The giveaway runs from release day, October 17, 2017 to December 5, 2017. Winners will be announced via social media December 7, 2017.
*No purchase necessary to win*
However, if you have read Marked Beauty or purchase it and read you can earn extra entries by posting a review on any major online retail bookstore and Goodreads! All the information you'll need is in the form below.
BUT there's more...FOR WRITERS! Writers who enter can WIN a first five pages critique!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 11, 2017

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds

Last month, I did a very public thing. I know a lot of people who would steer clear of public endeavors because, quite honestly, they're so...public. I did Pitch Wars. If you haven't heard of it, click here. It's an annual writing contest and a great way to meet new writer friends.

Anyways, so, I did this public twitter thing, and well, even though I had several requests from mentors I submitted to wanting my full manuscript, I sadly didn't make it in. There are some facts to this that make it less of a blow. The amount of submissions was crazy. I can't remember, nor find the tweet, but I think it was over 3k. The good thing is I don't have to wait 2 months while I edit with a mentor to submit to agents. There are some highs and lows. Pros and Cons.

After I found out I wasn't selected, I melted (while at work) internally but kept my brave face on (because I was working). When I got home, I was a water falling down into the sewer. However, by the next day, I made my agent wishlist, researching the crap out of them for a good match, and then the following day queried a small group of them.

I was hopeful. I had this "if the mentors liked me enough to see my work, maybe these agents will too!" attitude. But then, crickets. Ok, I will admit it has only been like a week, but still. Crickets. And ok, I admit some warned it can take up to 2 months to hear back from them, but still...crickets. Yet, I DID receive a request for a full the next day...that was NOT a cricket.

Surely I would get that phone call or email or something the next day, right? Surely! Who doesn't like surely?? I didn't. I still haven't. I'm waiting. Time is passing. I got one rejection (albeit from a very high end agent) with a personal email and not electronic which was nice.

Now, I sit and wonder many things to myself. Is my book worth the heartache? (yes) Is it worthy to be published? (yes) Was it divinely inspired? (yes)  Is this waiting reflecting on my self-worth? (yes) Am I looking at published authors with green envious eyes? (oh, yes) Am I internally kicking to do events like my published friends? (hell, yes) Did I arrogantly believe so much in my book I wanted to sing about it from the rooftops, but didn't get into Pitch Wars, and got only one agent request from Pitch Mad, and have not heard from agents queried other than 2, and now I feel like God mailed me some humble pie? (yes...)

Does time heal all wounds? (no)

In fact, as time goes on when you're querying, and you're not seeing your hardwork be fruitful like you believe it so can be, it's a little crushing. Ok, A LOT of crushing. It makes you wonder and ponder and doubt this whole writer stuff. But, like I've heard a million times over, the real writers are the ones that DON'T GIVE UP.

Will I give up? (no) Will I continue on? (yes) Am I writing another book? (yes) Have I even started plotting book2 of my Viking book? (yes) Am I praying every night to hear from the agent with my full manuscript? (hell to the yes!) Did the humble pie taste good? (no) But did I learn that forced humble pie isn't fun? (yes...)

Good luck out there everyone! No one said it would be easy - only worth it! What has the waiting room of querying looked like for you?

<-- If you look on my sidebar, you can see all the amazing books I have read. Some are just top notch stuff. Also, using audiobooks has been a hit for my long drives to work!

** A SPECIAL thank you to all our men and women serving our country, be it firemen, police officers to our military **

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Pitch Wars #PIMPMYBIO Bloghop Entry!

Yep! You read that correctly! I've walked into the "dark" side of writing and have entered an online writing contest.


I've *flashes back a few years* been here before...

We'll get to that later. Anyhoo! Welcome to my site any new comers seeing it for the first time off the link from the bloghop! Grab a seat on the plush cozy sofas laying around, a soda, and treats. Browse around if you must, but more importantly...relax and let me tell you a bit about myself as well as my Pitch Wars Entry!!

BUT first, let's start off with a little 4-1-1 on what I can offer YOU mentors out there:

NOW, let's get down to the nitty-gritty:

Since the age of 8, I've been writing. Poetry was my elixir. Then came song writing, short stories, a play, news articles, etc. I took a four year break to focus on my very young family and demanding full-time job. I missed writing so much! In 2013, I came back with a goal to be published one day. I entered an online writing contest, WriteClub, my first, and landed in 3rd place. I was beat in a duel against an amazing author, Sarah Ahiers, who ended up winning! I did the contest to test myself. See where my strengths and weaknesses were as the entries were judged/voted on in the comments by peers. A few novels later, honing my craft and finding my footing, I'm now entering another online writing contest! WOOT WOOT!

If this were a dating app, and I wasn't happily married with kids, I would tell you how much I love going to the beach, doing outdoorsy things, riding my Harley, singing randomly anytime/anywhere, cooking, Asian buffets, and sarcasm.

DAUGHTERS OF ASH AND DUST, is a YA Viking Fantasy coming in at 110k. It's about six daughters of a warrior king, sentenced to death for treason. They must fight to restore their fallen kingdom, stolen by a cynical tyrant, and avenge their murdered parents, before their country, and people, are nothing more than ash and dust. LITTLE WOMEN meets SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN told in 3POV'S of the eldest daughters.

So, you may be asking what to expect in my Viking tale. Here is a quick run down:

1. a wager between (real Norse) gods that sets the stakes and even creates the country
2. seven kingdoms
3. a mysterious Darkened Forest
4. lots of weapons - swords, axes, seax knives, daggers, spears, archery, etc
5. lots of using said weapons
6. bloody scenes - hey! it's Vikings!
7. Royalty, sorcery, trade running
8. death - imagine that!
9. a dark spirit with fiery chains keeping him between Helheim and Midgard
10. Valkyries, a white wolf, ravens, hawks, and falcons
11. a Royal Amulet - emerald because I like emeralds. :)
12. hate, love, family unity, loyalty, despair, treachery, and...kissing

ANOTHER question you might ask is, well, how is your prose? Here are a few lines to judge by:

1. Soon, she would see the fleet of longships gliding high across the water's glassy surface. The protruding dragon heads, carved majestically at each warships ends, would draw into the small kingdom's quiet, sleepy docks, and awaken the surrounding elements.
2. The fearful loss hung like smoke's haze as strong hands coiled around her ankles, dragging her out.
3. His skeletal fingers grazed her hair. Vileness swam around her, squeezing. "Ah, true. He is such a better king." He dropped his hand, fading into the throng of noisy villagers.
4. She banged the cross on the table, and loosened the ruby to pull out. It's size no bigger than a stitches' breadth.   
5. They continued to kiss, to taste, to entangle.

THANK YOU all for coming by!!! I've enjoyed showing you around, but the refreshments are gone, and the clock has chimed. Time to go! See ya at PITCH WARS!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crystal Liechty: A Comic Strip is Born

As a mom of four kids under the age of 13, I'm super excited to show off Crystal Liechty's newest endeavor - a comic strip called PLEASE DON'T CALL CHILD SERVICES. If you've seen her on Facebook posting all the funnies about her kiddos, you'll be ecstatic too see it in print!! Here's a little about Crystal, her family, and what started her new career!

Hey Crystal! Tell me a little about your family:

I imported my husband, Scott from Washington. We're going on 15 years of marriage. Then I've got three kids: Griffin, 10; AJ (short for Allison Jane), 7; and Hazel, 4.
Fun facts about each of us:
Scott almost went pro as a golfer. He played in college but ended up quitting because of a non-supportive girlfriend who didn't think it was a real career. Lucky for me, though, because I probably wouldn't have met him if he'd gone that route.
Griff is the youngest member of the Utah Parkour Intermediate team. The next youngest is 13 so it's quite a feat. In his words, "Parkour is life." He also
breakdances and plays the saxophone. I call AJ my "sunshine" and I mean it. The girl is a breath of fresh air - always giggling and smiling. She's been in dance for over a year and loves to choreograph her own dances and make up her own songs. And she can eat any of us under the table. Hazel is my wild child but deep down, she really is a sweetheart. She reminds me a lot of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She doesn't mean to cause as much trouble as she does; she's so fierce but her tiny body doesn't know how to handle it. Just today, she got in trouble for kicking Griffin and she said to me, so forlornly, "AJ and Griff are good at being nice but I'm not. I'm made different from them. I don't know how to be good." I cuddled her and told her a little secret -- that when AJ and Griff were her age, they hit and kicked, too. But then they learned that was not okay and stopped doing it and she would, too. She didn't look convinced.

Your kids and hubs sound like fun! Tell me who you think has the most laughable comments: 

You know what? I actually think my 7 year old daughter, AJ is the funniest. I mean, she nonstop cracks me up! But she’s in the comic the least so far because it’s not what she says as much as how she says it and I haven’t figured out how to translate that to writing yet. Hazel gets a lot of play because what she says is just so outlandish for a four year old. And she’s been like that since day one. She started talking early and she’s such an imp that I can pretty much pick any moment of the day and find some sort of fodder for the comic.

Too cute! Who do you think is the wisest?

Me. Just kidding. Of the kids, it’d have to be Griff, hands down. Part of that comes from him being so self-aware and so eager to make sense of the world around him. He's the kind of kid where you teach him one thing, and he figures out a hundred. Then you get situations where we’re arguing using logical fallacies like here:

A fast learner! So, tell me how the comic strip idea transpired and got rolling.

For awhile, I'd been getting great feedback from my Facebook posts about the kids. People loved the posts and would often share them and say things like I should have my own reality show or I should write a book, etc. So I'd been considering for awhile how I could translate these funny stories into an art form that's more solid than a simple Facebook post. Then I happened to be chatting with a longtime friend, Steven Heumann about creative endeavors and such. He'd worked for me when I was a managing editor for a newspaper. He did a monthly comic strip. That's when it hit me -- the kids could be a comic! I threw the idea at Steven, half-joking and he loved it. So I gathered up some my favorite past posts on the kids and sent them to him. I have to give him credit -- he's brilliant and totally gets my sense of humor so I don't have to do much other than give him the details. From there, he knows exactly how to execute it. It's been less than two months since I first suggested the idea. I can't believe how fast it's all come together!

It has been fast! Tell me how your kids feel about it.

They love it. They’re all a bunch of hams. Seriously, anyone who’s been to my house can tell you they spend the whole time competing with each other to see who can show off the most. Griffin got a few sample comics from Steven last week and he's been carrying them around with him everywhere, reading them over and over again. AJ's only complaint is that she's not in there more. Hazel already thinks she's famous.

I'm so glad! Where can the viewers see more of your hilarious comics?

We will update the comic every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon on Facebook ( or on my blog (

Please Don't Call Child Services is an autobiographical comic that details my true adventures homeschooling three precocious and slightly profane children. Every strip is based on real things they've said or done (because if I didn’t laugh about it, I’d have to cry).


Crystal Liechty is the mastermind behind the Please Don’t Call Child Services webtoon, which details the always funny and often inappropriate hijinx involved in homeschooling three mischievous children. If you’ve been to college lately, you might have seen one of her essays in the Elements of Arguments textbook (Macmillan Press). When not homeschooling or torturing college students with argumentative essays, Crystal can be found watching Korean dramas, teaching herself Kpop dances or in general working as an unofficial ambassador for South Korean culture.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kristin Smith Book Release: FORGOTTEN

Welcome back, Kristin!! Kristin's book FORGOTTEN released yesterday!! WOOT WOOT and major congrats!! It's definitely not easy to write a book, and to have it published is an even bigger feat in itself! Plus, it's currently marked down with the 1st book in the series, CATALYST! And, there's a giveaway at the bottom of the blog post. too! What a steal!

So, dare we ask what FORGOTTEN is all about?? Let's find out...

Kristin Smith
(The Deception Game #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.
 Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers.
The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.
 When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.

Grab book 1 for only 99¢!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Zane parks his Aria on the lake side of the dam, and we both climb out.

“Bring back memories?” Zane asks with a wry grin.

“How you thought I was trying to kill myself? Again?” I laugh. “I don’t know why you thought I was so suicidal.”

Zane shrugs. “Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to rescue you.”

My heart trips over itself. “Zane,” I say softly, “you can’t keep saying things like that.”

He moves around the side of the car. “Why not?” When he takes my hand in his, the warmth of his fingers heats up my whole body.

“This isn’t a good idea,” I mutter, but I make no move to extract my hand from his.

He looks down at me, then at our entwined fingers. “But what if it is? What if it’s the best idea in the whole damn world?”

“Because—because you’re engaged. To someone else.”

“But I don’t want to be,” he says, his voice low. He takes a step closer until he’s so close that I could wrap my arm around his back if I wanted to.

“Zane,” I warn, but the warning gets caught in my throat. He’s giving me that look. The same one he gave me before he kissed me that first time on the couch in his house.

“What?” he whispers.

“Please, don’t—” But he’s already leaning down, his eyes focused on my mouth. My breath comes out shaky as his fingers slip from mine and his hands touch my waist, gently bringing me closer. Before I can stop myself, our lips meet, and a thousand nerve endings converge to a single spot. His lips are fire and warmth and need. And that single spark ignites an already-smoldering flame.

Author Bio: 
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at