Tag Archives: YA Books

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The Frog Maiden: Cover Reveal and a Teaser

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Did you like The Mermaid?

What about The Beast?

Excited for the next installment of my Fairy Tale Academy Series?

Well, I am!

Here’s the cover for Book 3: The Frog Maiden

The Frog Prince (which this tale is loosely based off of) has never been one of my go-to fairy tales. However, I wanted to steer clear of the standard Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty...so I decided I would try my hand at this one.

Guys, when the ideas started coming for this story I laughed and laughed. My inspiration came from not only The Frog Prince, but also the 80’s movie Gotcha! and the anime Ouran High School Host Club. (Which, by the way, is one of my favorite anime shows. Also, I had to watch the first episode for “inspiration”)

I use a lot of the other races from the Academy in this book, and I searched the internet for inspirational pictures. These are a few that I came up with.

(Note: I do not own these. I found them through Google searches and don’t have the info to credit them. If you know who drew them, let me know and I’ll add it!)

Bric, the Satyr

One of the Tiny Triad of Pixies

Official Release for this book is Wednesday, February 20th!

Chapter 1

The fabric of Brisa Northcott’s bag groaned as she adjusted the strap on her shoulder. A trickle of sweat rolled down the back of her neck and she cursed under her breath as she darted out of the way of a wave of second-year students headed for the cafeteria. Brisa didn’t have time to eat. She needed a place to study. Her eyes darted to the library, and then at the stream of students entering.

All of the tables on the green were taken, although with the centaurs heading up some sort of game involving a ball, there wouldn’t be a lot of quiet happening outside. Brisa passed the fountain where a gaggle of third-year girls of all races had gathered.

“Did anyone ever find out who made Belle’s dress for Homecoming?”

Homecoming had been over two weeks before, and these girls were still talking about it?

“It was Taylor. He’s almost booked through the Peach Festival. You’d better get your name in his list today.”

“Taylor, as in Prince Adem’s roommate?”

“Prince Adem is dreamy.”

“I heard he almost turned into a troll and laid an egg.”

Brisa shook her head. Trolls didn’t lay eggs.

The din from the girls faded, replaced by the clopping sound of a centaur coming up behind Brisa. Her fingers tightened around the strap of her bag.

“Brisa! Wait up!”

The cadence hastened. The boys coming toward Brisa stared behind her and up two feet.

The faint smell of a barn accompanied the centaur as she caught up.

Adosa’s back drew even with the top of Brisa’s shoulder. Her sleek, dark brown hide shimmered in the sunlight, as did her black tail and long, straight hair. Ruby red lips pulled into a mocking smile that didn’t reach her doe-like brown eyes. As usual, she wore her white uniform shirt unbuttoned almost to the point of making Brisa uncomfortable with the scarf tied around her neck. “Where are you off to?” Adosa’s gait slowed as she walked next to Brisa.

“I need to study,” Brisa said in an even voice.

“You do have a lot to learn, especially if you’re going to keep your scores high enough to stay.”

The boys passed, craning their heads at the centaur. Not only was she beautiful, but she held a small place of power among her people. Power that went straight to her head.

“The library is always a good place to study.”

Brisa slowed, forcing Adosa to walk at a snail’s pace. “Everyone else is in the library.”

“I suppose that’s true. What about your room?” Adosa put a hand on her chest. “I forgot, your roommate is a vampire. I’m guessing she’s sleeping.” She smirked. “I suppose that’s what you get when your father is a charlatan and you have no heritage.”

Brisa ground her teeth but forced a smile. “I supposed so.”

Adosa tossed her black hair. “I’m on my way to the arts building. One of the sculptors wants to use me as a model.”

Of course they did.

“You could come!” Adosa sneered. “It’s always quiet.”

The thought of sitting in a room with Adosa and her adoring fans made Brisa’s skin crawl. She glanced around and said, “That’s a very nice offer, but I’m meeting someone in the history building.”

“I thought you said you were looking for a place to study.”

Brisa ignored the question, took the next cobblestone path and waved. “See you later.”

“My offer stands!”

Brisa took the stairs two at a time and retreated into the building. Students occupied the first two rooms she passed. When she got to her history room, the instructor—Bo’ab—sat at her desk.

Bo’ab glanced up as Brisa went by. The tall, slender First Fey waved. Brisa kept moving.

The study area near the far stairs—consisting of a table, two chairs and a dusty couch—was deserted. Brisa sighed as she set her books on the table. The carved, wooden chair screeched along the stone floor as she pulled it out.

Brisa opened her bag and stared at the contents. History, science, magic, diversity of species, sculpture…she had enough work here to keep her busy for a month. In the end Brisa decided to start with her goblin report. It wasn’t due until the end of the week, but she’d been working on it a little each day, and if she continued, the report would be finished ahead of schedule.

Brisa pulled out two textbooks and her notebook. Several slips of paper poked out the top of each book, and she opened both to the latest slip. She retrieved a pencil, flipped to her report in the notebook, and began reading.

Understanding the other races was one of Brisa’s primary concerns, and she’d had to beg Dean Banli to let her into the advanced diversity of species class. If she didn’t impress the instructor with this report, he would likely kick her back to the first-year races class.

Goblins had always fascinated Brisa. They kept much of their clanish culture secret, but enough was known that Brisa had plenty of material to put in her report.

According to her research, goblins were reputed to be shy creatures. Everything Brisa had seen here at the Academy proved otherwise. Acting student body president, Rakar, was a goblin, and he was anything but shy.

Another discrepancy seemed to be that the goblins liked to steal. Brisa hadn’t found anything in the library or the school records that indicated that they’d had any issues with thefts involving goblins.

Brisa had hoped to find out more about their clans, but so far she hadn’t had much luck. Perhaps she would ask Rakar for an interview.

Several minutes passed and Brisa was in the middle of writing a long note, when the clomping of hoofs echoed from down the hall.

Adosa. Again?

Brisa gathered all of her things in her arms, hooked her bag over her shoulder and ran up the spiral stairs as fast as she could. Her shoes slapped on the stones, and her legs burned. She reached the landing and ducked behind the half-wall.

The clomping came to a stop.

Brisa held her breath.

“Did anyone see you?” a gravelly voice asked.

“No way,” a deep, alluring voice answered.

“And you’re sure she had a blue tattoo?”

“That’s what the girls said.”

Brisa adjusted the bundle in her arms so she could breathe.

More clopping. This time just two hoofs.

“Did she take the bait?” the gravelly voice asked.

A new voice snorted. “Of course. No woman can resist knowing a tiny bit of their future.”

“I still can’t believe girls buy into that,” the deep voice said.

“All too easy.”

“Is the Tiny Triad tailing her?” the gravelly voice asked.

“They were the last time I saw them.”

Brisa leaned over the rail so she could see below. As she suspected, a centaur stood with a satyr. Both faced a goblin.

The centaur’s silver hide and cropped white hair almost gleamed in the light. A tattoo ran out from under his white shirt and up his neck. He’d rolled his sleeves up, and Brisa could see the tattoo peeking out at his elbow. She’d seen the satyr before—a second year with brown fur, short horns and a disarmingly handsome smile.

The goblin, like all of his kind, stood shorter than most human men. Large, pointed ears poked out from his head. Gold earrings dangled from both in varying quantities. His skin looked extra green next to the white shirt and tie and black pants.

 “Okay,” the goblin—owner of the gravelly voice—said, “we just got lucky. If we can pull this off, we’ll have the biggest advantage in the history of this competition.”

The centaur and satyr nodded.

Brisa frowned. What competition?

The goblin continued. “You know what to do.”

“Right.”

Before either of his companions could move away, a zip of light came down the hall and halted in front of the goblin, bouncing up and down. It let out a faint trill.

“Good,” the goblin said, rubbing his hands. “I’ll be upstairs, waiting.”

“You got it, boss,” the centaur said.

Whatever this was, Brisa wanted nothing to do with it. She turned to creep away from the stairs, but let out a scream and dropped her books when she came face-to-face with a glowing pixie. The little green-skinned female wore a tiny uniform, and somehow she’d managed to find the shortest plaid uniform skirt Brisa had ever seen. Flowing red hair cascaded past her hips. Her wings—segmented like a butterflies—looked like tiny stained glass windows in shades of brown, orange and green. Burning red eyes glared at Brisa, and the pixie let out a high-pitched wail.

Brisa jumped back. “S—sorry.”

“Well, well, what have we here?”

Brisa let out a yelp and spun back toward the stairs, stepping on her books in the process. She came face to face with the goblin. His orange eyes took her in from head to foot, then he looked over her shoulder. “Assassinate her, girls.”


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The Beast: Cover Reveal and a Teaser

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Did you like The Mermaid? Excited to go back to The Academy?

Well, I am!

Here’s the cover for Book 2: The Beast

 

Beauty and the Beast is maybe my favorite fairy tale. (Don’t tell the others.) It stems from seeing Disney’s version in the theater when I was a teenager and falling in love with it. Specifically the library. I read a few of the early versions of the tale before I started writing mine.

One tidbit I incorporated was that of Belle’s lineage. You’ll have to read the story to find out more, but Belle is more than she seems, and it is important.

As you’ll read below, Adem’s curse works a bit different in my story than other versions. I hope you like it!

Official release day is next Wednesday, Feb. 6th!

Chapter 1

The carriage swayed as it trundled through the dense forest. Each rut in the road made the carriage jolt, and each jolt made Adem grit his teeth.

“Are you even listening to me?”

Adem blinked and looked back at Gilles, his advisor and pseudo-father. “Uh, no?”

Gilles sat ramrod straight in the seat across from Adem. The dark jacket over his tunic fit his slim body to precision. The buttons caught the light filtering in through the window, and despite the bouncing, Gilles’ perfect posture didn’t waver. The man’s dark eyes bored into Adem’s.

“Sorry.” Adem fought back the urge to sigh. “Please continue.”

“I said that two more people have started to turn.”

Adem curled his hands into fists. “Who?”

Gilles, who had just opened his mouth to continue, closed his lips. “Who?”

“Yes, who?” Adem asked, his voice almost a growl.

“Two of the elderly maids.”

“Ellen?”

Gilles nodded. “And Anna.”

Adem rubbed his face.

“As much as we all appreciate your concern, you have a more important task.”

Adem held up a hand. “I know why I’m going to the Academy. You don’t have to tell me—again.”

This time Gilles’ eyes flashed. “Girls can be very distracting for sixteen-year-old boys.”

“It’s not like I’ve never seen a pretty girl before,” Adem grumbled.

“I’m worried about the beast inside you.”

“What?”

Gilles shrugged. “The few adults who have begun to change have experienced some unexpected side effects.”

“Like what?”

“Like being attracted to fertile members of the opposite gender.”

Adem shifted in his seat. “I’ve got more important matters to worry about.”

“For now,” Gilles said.

An unexpected wave of anger bubbled to life, and Adem spoke through clenched teeth. “You don’t trust me?”

Giles studied him. The man’s eyes seemed to breach to Adem’s core, pushing aside his temper and going straight to the heart of the matter. Instead of censuring Adem, Gilles cleared his throat. “You need to be careful.”

“I will be,” Adem said, keeping his anger in check.

“Be especially wary of the faeries.”

“You think I’m an idiot?”

“No.”

“If someone would tell me what my parents did to end up cursed, things would probably be easier.”

For the first time, Gilles shifted in his seat. “Your parents never shared their dealings with anyone.”

Adem sat forward and stared into Gilles’ dark eyes. “Not even you?”

“Not even me.” The older man didn’t blink.

He was lying.

Gilles cleared his throat. “You know what you have to do. Stay away from the faeries and find what you need, or we will all end up like those outside the walls.”

“I know the consequences of failure.” Adem swallowed as blurry images of the first year of the curse rose in his mind. The monsters who had once been his friends had thrown themselves at the barrier around the castle until their own bodies were broken, or they found someone else to prey upon.

His friends.

His parents.

Adem’s eyes flicked to Gilles again, and he narrowed them. The man was hiding something. Adem could practically smell it as Gilles looked out the window and pretended to ignore the fur that had sprouted on his face the moment they’d cleared the barrier around the courtyard.

The coach lurched to the side and hit a bump so big that Adem lost contact with the seat, then crashed down hard. Pain stabbed his backside, awakening the anger lurking just below the surface.

“What’s going on?” Adem bellowed as he opened the window. He stuck his head out and heard the horses scream in terror, then an invisible hook grabbed the carriage and hauled it forward. Adem hit the back wall hard.

Gilles flew across the space and landed in an undignified heap next to Adem.

Their gilded cage began to vibrate as the horses sped up.

Stars danced in Adem’s vision, and he shook his head. “Are you all right?” He helped Gilles to a sitting position.

Gilles nodded, but put a hand to his head where blood ran from a cut.

The scent of iron stung the inside of Adem’s nose. It drew him in like a child to a piece of candy. He licked his lips, wondering what the hot liquid would taste like.

“See what’s happening,” Gilles said in a weak voice.

The words shattered the moment, and Adem hauled himself to the window. The outside air brushed his face and hair, dispelling the iron and bringing with it the scent of pine trees, damp dirt, and…

Adem inhaled. Something didn’t smell right. Not blood, but a musk that made the hair on the back of his neck prickle. He stuck his head out and found the horses pulling against the reins.

“Marshel, what’s going on?” Adem yelled.

A growl answered him.

Adem’s stomach turned to lead. He looked back at Gilles and found the man still groggy. No help there. “Marshel? Can you hear me?”

Another growl. Almost words, but not quite.

“Great,” Adem muttered. He unclasped his cloak, dropped it on the seat, and opened the door.

“Master Adem, what are you doing?” Gilles asked in an alarmed voice.

Adem ignored the man and moved out onto the steps. Cool wind pulled at his tunic.

“Marshel!”

No answer.

Lather covered the horses’ hindquarters. The carriage hit another bump, and Adem’s fingers tightened around the door frame. With a grunt, he heaved himself toward the driver’s bench.

“You’re going to get killed!” Gilles cried.

“Not if I can help it.” Adem stretched his hand toward the rail of the driver’s bench. The tips of his fingers brushed the rough wood. He stood on his toes and took hold of the rail just as the carriage bucked again.

Adem let out a yell and used every ounce of strength he could muster to hold on. One glance down showed the broken road beneath, along with the mercilessly turning wheels.

His fingers slipped. Maybe Gilles was right—maybe he was going to die.

If he died, everyone in the castle died.

A shot of adrenaline—more than he’d ever felt before—coursed through his body, and Adem reached for the rail with his other hand. His fingers inched toward the target, but they went over another bump, and Adem almost slipped. His back hit the side of the carriage hard. He glared at the rail, held his breath, and reached. This time his grip found purchase, and he used the remaining adrenaline to pull himself up.

He opened his mouth to ask Marshel what had happened, but he found the man curled in on himself, the reins still in his—

Instead of fingers, claws protruded from the man’s gloves. Gray fur poked out the top.

The hair on Adem’s neck rose again, and he found himself bearing his teeth. He shook his head and reached for the reins.

A low snarl sounded, and Adem stopped with his fingers just inches from the man. “Marshel?”

The snarl turned into a groan, and Marshel shuddered. He looked up.

Adem froze. Instead of the man’s usual blue eyes, gold eyes stared back at him.

“Get…away.”

“Can’t do that. Sorry.” Adem wrenched the reins from Marshel. Marshel lunged, but Adem kicked him away. Marshel crashed to the other end of the bench, and Adem pulled on the reins.

The horses fought against the command. Now that he knew Marshel had started to change, Adem could assume that the animals had caught the scent. The carriage slowed.

Adem looked over his shoulder. “Come get Marshel off!”

The horses refused to stop completely, but Adem slowed enough so Gilles could hop out and pull Marshel off.

After another dozen yards, the horses lost his scent and came to a stop.

Adem tied them off, hopped down, and ran back.

Gilles crouched over Marshel, who contorted as if someone were poking him with a hot iron. Animal fur sprouted on his cheeks and jaw, and Marshel’s nose elongated.

“It seems that our progression quickens the longer we’re outside the castle,” Gilles said, glancing down at his own increasingly furry hands. Gilles looked at Adem. “You?”

“Besides a heightened sense of smell, I’ve got nothing.”

“Perhaps the protection spell is stronger for you. Or perhaps it is because you are young.”

“Does it matter?” Adem asked.

“It means you need to focus at the Academy.”

Marshel stopped thrashing. He lay on the ground, panting. Adem squatted next to him and took his hand—now a paw. “I’m sorry.”

Marshel’s eyes barely focused on Adem. “Save us.”

Faces of those still in the castle swam before his vision. Men and women who had been servants, nobles and peasants, forced to work together to survive. Most Adem counted as friend.

They were his responsibility.

Adem gave Marshel’s hand a squeeze and rose. He faced Gilles. “Take the carriage and get him back.”

“What about you?” Gilles asked.

“I’m only a day’s walk from the Academy. I’m sure I can find a ride.”

Gilles frowned. “You shouldn’t arrive like that.”

“Why? Because I’m a prince?” Adem stepped toward Gilles. “I don’t care about that. I’m not going there for validation or to find a wife or a mate or to die uselessly or anything else.” He pointed at Marshel. “I’m going to keep this from happening to everyone we love.”

Gilles studied him for a moment, then nodded. “Yes, m’lord.”


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Happy Birthday to Me!

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I’m turning 43 this month!

For my birthday I want 43 reviews of Fractured Memories by the end of July!

Reviews are super important to authors. The book is free on Amazon and several other places.

What’s in it for you?

If I get 43 reviews by the end of the month, I’m going to write the scene where Jeff sees and meets Wendy for the first time from HIS point of view. Was it love at first sight? You’ll never know unless I get 43 reviews. 🙂

So if you haven’t reviewed Fractured Memories yet, do it this week! And if you have, get another friend hooked on the series and have them leave a review.

I do have to say that I have the coolest friends ever!

Because they love me, and they know me so well, they made this for me.

Why yes, that is a Millennium Falcon bing-bag toss game. And yes, those are little Star Wars bing bags to toss.

Be jealous. It’s okay.

It’s awesome and super fun and the hubby and I have already played it. Sort of. What actually happened was that we tried to look cool and failed miserably.

 


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To Trope or Not To Trope

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I’m at the end of writing the third book in my New Sight trilogy, which gives me the opportunity to look toward my next series. It will by YA Space Opera, and I’m super excited about it!

In an attempt to see what readers want, I pulled up the worst YA tropes ever. I read through a few lists and agreed with most of them. Then I pulled up the best YA tropes ever. I read through a few lists and…well…just read on.

YA Tropes We Love

  • The Chosen One – Only this character can save the world!
  • Love Triangles – Because ever girl secretly wishes she had two hot guys after her..
  • Surprise, you have superpowers! – How else are they supposed to save the world?
  • The world is so broken – Hello Dystopian society. Why fight bad guys when you can fight an entire bad system of government?
  • The “Strong” female character – Because girls kick butt!
  • The Super Evil Bad Guy – Because…evil
  • The dysfunctional family – Don’t we all love to watch someone else’s train wreck?
  • The tall, dark, handsome love interest – who also has a tragic past!

YA Tropes We Hate

  • The plain and super boring main character – who is destined to save the world
  • Love Triangles – They’re both so wonderful, however can I choose?
  • Your super plain protagonist has super secret super powers – this sounds familiar
  • The Coming of Age story – Because some people hate adventure? So they set their story in a dystopian world and all is well.
  • #StrongFemaleCharacter – A dude in a girl’s body
  • Evil Villains – who are evil just because it’s hip
  • Parents who are actually children in big bodies
  • The tall, dark, handsome love interest – who is a jerk

Do you see what happened there? Apparently readers hate the same things they love. I can’t tell you how confusing that is.

Needless to say, this little exercise didn’t really help me much. Thanks a lot, internet.

 


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