Hear Me!

Hey gang! Sorry if I'm a little 'absent' from the blogosphere this week. I'm traveling, and won't have much of an opportunity to get around and comment on all of your fine posts. But I'll be back next, and will be working to get caught up then.

Just in case you're lonely in my absence (ha!), I recently did an interview with a couple of awesome ladies over at the Pod People Podcast. If you aren't familiar, they chat about lit news, lots of YA stuff, and now some NA stuff, too. :-D

Here's a link to my interview (I'll apologize for anything I say in advance--my first 'live' interview!), but the discussion is lively and you'll finally get to hear my golden pipes. (Very much a joke, btw...)

Hope you have as much fun listening as I had participating, and chat with you all again soon. Happy Halloween!


Help A Publisher Choose A Cover!

Spencer Hill Press is having trouble deciding which cover they want, so they are giving YOU the power!!! 

(MWHAHAHAAAA!!!! Can you feel it going to your head yet?) 

So! Let's hear about the book first!

Blood Bound

Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.

Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.

But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

Title: Blood Bound

Author: Keshia Swaim

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.comPlease feel free to use any images, text, links, etc. from our website.

ISBN: 978-1-937053-45-1

Release Date: September 10, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book

Keshia is previously published, but this is her first full-length novel to be unleashed on the world.

Now, the covers:

So which do you prefer? Does the hand make you feel like the power could be in yours? Or are you intrigued by what secrets the pretty lady is keeping? 

Don't forget to vote!

(you don't even have to register or listen to politicians or anything!)

Bury the Hatchet Winners AND Hale Maree Cover Reveal

Hey gang! Lots of good news to share today, so I'll get right to it ...

Bury the Hatchet Giveaway Winners

First, everyone who participated in the blogfest, giveaway shenanigans, etc.: YOU ARE UNBELIEVABLY COOL! If we ever meet at a writing conference or something just say, "Hey, I took part in your Bury the Hatchet thingy" and the drink and/or coffee is on me. 

Seriously, it meant so much to have so many of you jump in and share Blood Fugue on your blogs, tweets, and the like. I know, there were prizes to be had, but many of you have helped me out in the past without even being asked (or poked with sharp things), so I know you would've done it regardless. 

So I'll end this with: I appreciate it, and I'll happily return the favor if you ever have a need. Now for the winners ...

Two $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Cards:

Hart Johnson
Shannon Lawrence

Four 4 GB, custom painted USB drives:

Michael Di Gesu
Siv Ottem
Brinda Berry
Julie Flanders

GRAND PRIZE - One Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight:

Melissa Maygrove

Congrats to all! I've been in touch with all of you, and heard back, so your prizes will be forthcoming.

Hale Maree Cover Reveal

Such a fantastic cover, right?

Couldn't be more excited to share the cover for author Misty Provencher's NA debut, Hale Maree. Misty is no stranger to this blog, and me being the New Adult cheerleader that I am, I was thrilled to hear she is venturing into NA (though she'll still write YA, I'm sure). Plus, the story just sounds dang-amazing (at least that's how I'd put it in Texas terms):

Hale Simmons dreams of climbing out of her impoverished life, going to college, and getting herself a titanium crash helmet, so she can eventually bust through the Plexiglas ceiling of her crappy life. But for now, she’s just a 17-year-old girl with a flimsy hope, barely getting by with her alcoholic father, Jerry.

But for Hale, ‘crappy’ suddenly takes a nosedive, when Jerry becomes the sole witness to a horrible accident. It is an event which means to effect everyone, especially Hale, who wasn’t even involved.

While the depth of the accident has just begun to unfold, Otto Maree, a prominent business man and old family friend, stands to lose everything because of it. Otto is desperate for Hale’s father to stay quiet about what occurred the night the two men met for a drink. Out of mutual moments of desperation, the two fathers forge a deal. Jerry is desperate to gain financial stability for both himself and Hale, and Otto Maree is more than willing to pay to keep his secret just that.

But deals like this need to be made of the strongest vows and bound with the most faithful of loyalties. Otto proposes a marriage between Hale and his playboy-son, Oscar, in order to assure that the secret remains ‘in the family’. The mystery surrounding the accident continues to grow and Hale struggles against her own mysterious feelings that begin to develop for Oscar, who turns out to less of a playboy, but just as fiercely loyal and dedicated as his father.

As the pressures around her continues to escalate, Hale realizes that she’s got to decide if this arranged marriage is really just a big mistake or an amazing twist of fate, that has been waiting around for this particular accident to happen.

You'll be able to read Hale Maree this Holiday season...

As I mentioned above, Misty is also the author of the YA para-rom Cornerstone series:

CORNERSTONE is the story of Nalena Maxwell,
a girl who receives the wrong dang sign of an ancient
community that is responsible for maintaining the intellectual
evolution of the human race. And if the choices coming aren't
tough enough, there's a boy...one with liquid blue eyes...that
understands exactly who and what Nalena is.
Cornerstone & Keystone, the second book in the Cornerstone Series, are now Available in paperback and ebook at: 

Anything You Can Do ... Guest Post

Hey gang! Today I've got a wonderful guest-post, with LOADS of awesome giveaway stuff. (Details at the bottom of the post.)
The guests are Gwen Gardner, author of Givin' Up The Ghost:

Running, writing and reading are my favorite things.

I am also a dreamer.

Have you ever told yourself that "someday" I'm going to travel or write or whatever it is that you are passionate about but can't do right now for whatever reason? You can go for years and years and keep telling yourself that "someday" you'll do it. Too often "someday" never comes. But mine did. I am a former Administrative Manager and Vice President of a successful swimming pool plastering company - until I woke up one day and realized that my "someday" had arrived. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and began to write. Crazy, I know. But even crazier? Is when you get to the end of your life and realize that your "someday" is too late. Life is much too short for that! So the adventure has begun.

And Angela Brown, author of Neverlove:

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I'm certain you've seen both ladies (and books) around the blog-world of late, so you know they're a class act (and just dang fun). The post is in the form of a character interview--very funny stuff, btw. So please welcome Gwen and Angela, as well as the ladies of Neverlove and Givin' Up The Ghost!

E.J.: Today at The Open Vein, I’m hosting the casts of both Neverlove and Givin’ Up The Ghost, so I thought we’d have a bit of fun. You know, a bit of friendly competition. Just to see what the women of these two novels can do, you understand.


Stage left, the cast of Givin’ Up The Ghost

Indigo Eady - Long black braid, blue eyes, wearing jeans and sweatshirt. Psychic, ghost whisperer, psychometry reader.

Franny - Black hair in an up-do, voluminous scarlet skirts, tiny waist, and overflowing bosom. Ghost, former 19th century madam, speaks to the living.

Stage right, the cast of Neverlove

Abby Bishop – Dark brown hair, hazel eyes in white chocolate mocha skin, full lips, wearing a red hooded cloak. Cleanser and agent of heaven, soul rescuer.

Pam - Blonde hair, blue eyes, skin tight black leather from head to toe. Harvestor and agent of hell, consumes soul energy.

*Theme song plays in the background*
Anything you can do, I can do better,
I can do anything better than you.”

*Audience applause*

E.J.: *Shuffles index cards* First up is Indigo versus Pam. Indigo, what can you do better than Pam?

*Indigo and Pam meet center stage*

Indigo:  Well EJ, I thought I’d show you a bit of psychometry. If Pam will just give me her hand...

Pam:  You’d better make this good, psycho-girl...

Indigo: Psychometry! I read energy. There’s no need to be mean, Pam.

Pam: Whatever.

*Pam reluctantly holds out her right hand, and Indigo takes it.*

Indigo: *A film rolls through her head and is projected onto a theater-sized overhead screen*

Pam’s lips are locked onto a man’s as a woman stands shocked nearby. Pam releases the man and he falls, soulless, to the ground.

*The audience boos and hisses*

*Indigo tries to pull her hand back to break the connection, but Pam holds tight and grins. Indigo’s face begins to distort*

Franny: *whooshes to enter stage*
Oh no you DON’T devil-girl!

*a power surge erupts from Franny’s fingertips, sending Pam sprawling backwards.*

You’ll not suck the soul out of my girl.

Pam: No? Well how about you, Miss Madam. Seems to me you sold your soul to the devil a long time ago.

Abby: *Runs to center stage. Extensions shoot from her arms, silver pistols protruding from each hand*

All right, Pam. That’s enough. This was supposed to be a demonstration, not an opportunity for you to suck souls.

Pam: *a sly glance* Well, I couldn’t let her show my secrets to the world, could I? And put those pistols away. Like you said, it’s just a demonstration. I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

E.J.: *laughs* Ladies, ladies. I’m sure the Pretty Pamela meant no harm...

Pam: No indeed, E.J. *sidles up next to him and brings her lips close to his*

E.J.: *turns pale* Well this has been a very interesting demonstration, yes indeed. Let’s call it a success and bring this show to a close. *dashes backstage muttering, Never Again.*

Now where do you suppose EJ ran off to?


Purchase Gwen Gardner’s Givin’ Up The Ghost at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

And there are two giveaways! Visit 
Partners in ParanormYA for the Big Swag Giveaway and for Week Three Giveaway.

Favorite Halloween Reads

Photo via cellar_door_films' WANA Commons
Hey gang! Hope everyone has had a good week to this point ...

Thanks to everyone who posted encouraging words for Jeffrey's book on Wednesday. Know he appreciates it so much, as did I. Love to see authors supporting authors.

Bury the Hatchet Blogfest Update

Today, the 'Bury the Hatchet' blogfest and giveaway officially end. I'll be drawing names from the electronic hat soon, and posting the winners next week. Good luck and THANK YOU to everyone who entered. You've helped to give Blood Fugue (and this author) a good start out in the world, and I'm so very grateful.

New Adult Lit Twitter Chat Update

I haven't done one of these in a bit, so mostly wanted to let everyone know that the chat is still going and growing. I host each week, and the wonderful folks over at NA Alley Blog moderate. Each week we have a topic relevant to New Adult lit with open discussion.

I say open, because everyone is welcome--even if you don't know a thing about New Adult. It's basically just authors and readers chatting about 'book stuff'. There's a NA Lit Chat blog HERE where you'll find a calendar with upcoming chat topics, as well as transcripts from each chat. (All the best tweets from the chat compiled for your reading leisure.)

It goes down every Thursday night, 9 PM EST US, so if you're around and curious jump into the conversation (use #NALitChat in your tweets). We're a very friendly group. :-D

Favorite Halloween Reads

Love Halloween. For the spooky, for the terrifying, for the fun, for the candy--well, for everything! Halloween is the zenith of my favorite season (Autumn), and it means I have less than one month to wait until my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving).  

We even have Halloween movie traditions in my house: We watch Monster House, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and one or two of the classic MGM monster movies. (Wolfman and Frankenstein ftw!)

So naturally, I was very excited to share my top 5 Halloween Reads over at the A Knife And A Quill website. I definitely like to 'set the mood' for Halloween with movies and stories, and the 5 I chose run the gamut from very scary to charming.

Here's the first on my list:

1) Cycle of the Werewolf – Stephen King: First horror story I ever read. (Think I was 14…) Lost a lot of sleep over that one, and thinking about it still takes me back to the nervous feeling I’d get around Halloween as a kid.

You can check out the rest of my list over at AKAQ, and if you're a fan of horror, paranormal, and/or speculative fiction, I think you'll enjoy their site.

So what's your favorite Halloween read or movie? Do you go for trick or treat? (You can probably tell by the movies I listed above that my wife doesn't go for REALLY freaky stuff--so I watch those when she goes to sleep. :-)

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and I'll see you on the other side.


Did I Notice Your Book?

Today I'm happily participating in the DINYB blogfest. Here's the skinny on what it's about:

Post about a book you’ve noticed. You can choose a book that you’ve read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON’T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book.

Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex’s BLOG or Ciara Knight’s BLOG when the author finds their book.

Only two rules:
1) You can’t post about your own book.
2) The book shouldn’t be on the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list.
This is your chance to shout out about a book that might not have been noticed by others.

Simple, right? Maybe, but there are so many amazing books out there! Anyway, I selected Jeffrey Beesler's, Spell of Entrapment (Mages of Trava) for my DINYB.

Why? First, the blurb smacks of all things I love:

(Via Amazon product page): When a knight, Sir Patrew of Trava, infiltrates sorceress Embekah Mare’s home, a magical backlash renders her unconscious. She awakens to discover a spell of entrapment binding them both inside the manor’s walls. Now forced to live with him after twenty years of solitude and exile, she must navigate her way through alternating feelings of distrust and attraction.

As the weeks pass with no end in sight of the hex, a shape-shifting spirit arrives inside the magical barrier’s walls to target Embekah specifically. When she seeks out Patrew’s help against this new threat, she uncovers a secret in his past that could very well destroy her future. With the help of her trusty toad Halscrad, Embekah must see through the deceit and find something long lost to her.

But not everything is as it seems. With lies all around her, Embekah finds the truth to be more elusive than the freedom right outside her manor. Can she survive long enough to figure out what’s real and what isn’t?

Sounds like an incredibly tense and fun read, full of magical shenanigans. Yes please! And the reviews really back up that impression: 

"This book is just amazing. Full of sorcery, witty quips, and turns at every corner. I don't normally finish a book so fast but I just couldn't stop turning the pages (or rather, tapping the screen) on this one. I don't want to post any quotes from the book for fear of giving something away. Every paragraph seems to have it's own unexpected twist." Nathan, Amazon.

"... twists and turns kept me guessing at every moment, so my loyalty to the other characters shifted back and forth as I read. But I always rooted for Embekah. Such a wonderful character; developed so well, she had real depth to her."Anastasia, Goodreads.

Basically, I was convinced enough to buy my copy. Just a little ways in, and I can already tell I'm not going to be disappointed.

You can find Jeffrey at:

If you know him, you can let him know someone has selected his book. (But let him try to figure out who. :-) If you don't know him, I highly recommend you get to. He's truly one of the bright spots in the blog-writing community, and you won't find a more approachable and friendly guy.

Are you doing KINYB? Who did you choose? Leave links in the comments, because I'd love to discover some new reads!


Oh $#@^!: Guest Posting, Family Musings, & Who Are You

Hey gang! Sorry to be so quiet this week, but I've been working my tail off trying to get a story out the door to the editor (just did this AM, in fact). Finally have a chance to come up for air ... you guys smell great!  

Today, I'm guest-posting at the lovely Patricia Stoltey's blog. The title of the post is: Oh $#@% My Mother is Going To Read This

Basically, I muse about having your mother read your more "colorful" stories for the first time, as well as talk about the importance of finding your voice as a writer. It was a ton of fun to write, and hope you'll jump over to check it out. (Also give Pat's blog a follow if you don't already... she always has a BUNCH of great stuff going on, and unlike some people--ME--actually does a good job keeping to a blog schedule.)

Reading more great 'Bury the Hatchet' posts this week. Things people want to chop and/or maim - traffic and poorly executed social programs. You learn so much about people with these things!

There's still plenty of time to join in the fun, and register for the giveaways. (Nook, gift cards, custom painted thumb drives.) It all ends a week from this Friday. The details are above this post. 

Here's a few more pics of the progress I'm making on the USB drives for the giveaway:

I've got some more detail work to do (the hatchet is the only one completely finished) on them, and they'll all have the feather carrying strap. But they're coming along nicely and should be ready to ship as soon as the winners are announced.


Okay, so here's a little something I need to get off my chest...

I'm not a person who needs to be liked by everyone. Not personally, not as an author, not as a blogger. I WANT to be liked by everyone, sure. But my world keeps spinning when I accidentally cut someone off on the freeway, just like it does if I accidentally offend someone online. Ultimately, I feel bad, I wish I hadn't, and I move on.

Why do I move on so quickly? Because these people don't know who I am. 

They can't know that I didn't mean to piss them off--or whatever it is I've done. They can't know that when I say nice things about them online, I sincerely mean them. They don't know that I share my feelings about nearly everything, with nearly everyone--on the street or on the computer makes no difference to me. Doesn't make me right--Lord KNOWS it doesn't make me right--but it does make me easier to understand, I feel. 

And understanding is a BIG key to healthy relationships. You don't have to agree, but you need to see/feel the other person's perspectives. Just be aware of it. Otherwise, you'll trample everyone.

I'm a counselor by training and education. I'm a highly empathetic person by nature. I'm also very cynical, which makes for interesting dinner conversation at times, but ultimately I just give a poop about people. Doesn't mean my day is ruined if someone gives me the cold shoulder (or the bird in the case of the drivers), but it also doesn't mean I don't care at all.

Now, in the case of blogging or Twitter, I've formed relationships. Very real ones, in some cases. We laugh at each other's inside jokes, we share our miseries, and our triumphs. There are lots of you I think very, very fondly of. You've helped me grow as a writer and a person in so many ways. So it isn't like they're just faces on a passing bus, you know?

So in those few instances, when I know I've crossed some of my web pals (by the way their interaction behavior changes--or stops altogether in some cases), but have no clue what I've done, it's very irksome to me. It gnaws at me a little more than the average, "Sorry, buddy, didn't see you there!"

I'd love to know what I've done, but I truly do think that's asking too much of people who don't know me personally. Busy people, who likely barely have time to talk to their own families about their grievances, probably aren't going to shoot me an eMail to say, "You're a bastard. Here's why..."

I get that.

But I guess I just think we should all be a little more cognizant about how well we really know people out in the web-world, and be willing to forgive--or discuss--grievances a touch more.

I could be out in left field with all of this, so what about you? If you've been doing the blog/social media thing very long, it's likely you've crossed someone (Or am I the only jerk out there?). Or had people you've got to know quit following, responding to tweets, or just be blatantly rude. How do you handle it? How does it make you feel?


Fraud Warning

Hey gang! Hope you all had great weekends. Mine was awesome, thanks in part to a heavy dose of cool and wet weather. (Don't get a lot of that here in South Texas...)

Thanks to everyone who made the author interviewees feel welcome last week! Had a lot of fun chatting with the two ladies, and hope some of that energy came through in the interviews. If you missed them, we had one rock & roller and one that was solid stone

Bury the Hatchet Blogfest & Giveaway UPDATE

Also, thanks to everyone participating in the Bury the Hatchet blogfest. I've read some really funny entries so far. (Who doesn't hate bathroom hand dryers?) The blogfest runs through the 19th of October, so there's still plenty of time to enter (and enter the giveaway). To make the blogfest easier to join, I've created a regular, link signup. (Think the Rafflecopter thing was a tad confusing for the actual blogfest.) You'll see the signup above, be sure to check the original post (link above this post, and the button to the right) for the details on participation.

New Adult Lit Twitter Chat Update (#NALitChat)

As many of you know, I host a weekly Twitter discussion on New Adult literature. We've been at it for a couple of months now, and I'm proud to say it is still going strong. If you've ever been curious about what comes after YA (for readers and writers), I think this chat is an entertaining 'must' for your week. It happens every Thursday night, 9 PM EST on the Twitters. Just search for, and use in your Tweets, #NALitChat --

This week will be a perfect jumping in point, as we're going to open it up to Q & A. There are lots of fabulous NA authors taking part every week (specifically, the chat is moderated by the ladies of the NA Alley Blog), and they're the perfect resource for getting your New Adult knowledge on. 

You can keep up with the chat goings-ons (as well as find transcripts of previous chats) over at the NA Lit Chat Blog

Weekly Good News!

Author Chantele Sedgwick is doing a massive blog tour to celebrate the release of her YA novel Not Your Average Fairy Tale. I believe she's giving away a Kindle--and myriad other awesome prizes--as part of the tour. Be sure to check her blog for the details and a list of stops.

Here's a little about NYAFT (via Amazon product description):

"Ash Summerland has it all–good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. 

When he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings. A.K.A. the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after".

But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, Kendall doesn't want anything to do with him. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings."

You can snag a copy HERE

Want me to share your good news? (I'd sincerely love to!) Shoot me an eMail with the details at jezzell19 AT gmail DOT com and I'll try to get it into an upcoming post.

Fraud Warning

Photo courtesy of Lynn Kelley WANA Commons
A few weeks ago, I was reading a blog post from an author I keep up with, and she wrote about feeling like a fraud. It's a common feeling, one I believe almost every writer goes through. But also one very few talk about. So I decided to give it a go ...

The author/blogger who inspired this post certainly isn't a fraud. She is a former editor, she has an agent, she's been through the revision spin-cycle--in short, she's a veteran in the 'aspiring author' war. In our circle, she has accomplished a lot.

But our circle is a little ... different.

Our circle is full of fidgety, computer-blind book nerds. Our circle builds entire careers on things that never actually happen. Our circle believes in nebulous terms like 'muse' and 'process'. Our circle sees the complexity in seemingly simple assertions. Example: 

"That story was cute, and read very quickly," says our non-writer friend of her most recent read. 

To which we reply, "It probably took the author three years, an ulcer, loss of friendship, and financial ruin for you to be able to read it one sitting. But being labeled 'cute' is all the encouragement they'll need to write another fifteen stories." 

Did I mention our circle is full of masochists?

Ultimately, it's pretty easy to understand why a writer might feel less than 'real'. We dither away hours, days, and weeks on things we'll likely chuck out at some point. We look for signs of success like gypsy fortunetellers mucking through tea leaves for answers, often dismissing rational conclusions for a glimpse out our potential. 

"The agent hand wrote 'keep trying' on the form rejection! I'm getting so close now!"

Everyone around us seems to be doing what we're doing, but they're all better at it. We scrap two years for 100 blog followers, but that other guy with the genius blogfest idea has 300 in his first 6 months. We tweet 50 times an hour to 10 followers, Mike Tyson tweets 10 times a year to 50 million followers.

And the funny thing is, it doesn't really end after you publish something. If anything, I feel even less adequate now, and even more fraudulent. Everyone is better at marketing. My friends who once encouraged me are now scrutinizing me. My granny said she read my story, but hasn't taken my phone calls in two weeks. Basically, it feels like I'm far better at pissing people off than drawing them in. Which isn't really the goal when you publish something...

At least I can offer a 'link' to something I've written now when people ask about what I write, but most days I'd rather talk about sports, music, movies, and other people's books. In the end, I still feel like I'm pretending to be a writer. Just making it up as I go.

Then I write. That's when I realize what's real and what isn't. Real is feeling in control of my words. Real is pushing myself to be better with each paragraph. Real is working at a story, often for months, until I think it'll entertain a stranger as much as it entertains me. Real is being willing to throw it all away if it doesn't. Real is the passion I feel in expression. Real is being brave enough to share what I write.

So, as I've said before on this blog, keep writing. For a writer, I truly believe it's the only way to combat the feelings of being less than what we appear, and the key to actually being more.