Thursday, May 3, 2018

Teen Love on Tour

I'm super excited to participate in this anthology's blog tour. I think I've been in love with it since I first saw the book cover. I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but how can you not with this amazing artwork? It was an insta-buy for me and I definitely do not regret that choice!
Love at the Edge of Seventeen 
A YA Romance Anthology
from Stars and Stone Books
It's never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, 
but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity, and even death.
Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

M.T. DeSantis A.E. Hayes Serena Jayne  
Cara McKinnon Mary Rogers Kylie Weisenborn
For our blog tour, we asked our authors to talk about the creative process for their stories. How did they come up with the theme or idea for their story? The title? Did anything help the process (like a song or other story?)
M.T. DeSantis, “Be Null, My Heart”
I originally wrote this story for a call wanting the real lives of superheroes. The original version was not a romance. In fact, it didn’t even have a happy ending. I’d been thinking about revising that version for a while when this came up. I  had the whole prom angle in there already and thought “why not make it a romance involving prom?” Many edits and a lot of snarling later, “Unfixable” became “Be Null, My Heart,” and I vowed never to rework a story so drastically again…til next time.
I love titles with puns. There are nulls, people who null superpowers, in my story. Combine that with the whole “be still, my heart” fluttery heart going still idea present in romance, and ta-da—a pun title that’s sort of relevant to the genre.
Honestly, I needed absolute silence for this one. The amount of revising I did to turn this from a bad ending to a romance required all my concentration. I’d be in the middle of editing. My poor boyfriend would ask me a question, and all bets were off.
A.E. Hayes, “Her First Fever”
To be honest, it was something I had recently lived through, and I wanted to spread awareness of a rare disease. I wasn’t as young as my main characters when I was diagnosed and went through my treatments, but since the medical situation had just occurred, I felt compelled to share it, fictionally, with others.
If I talked about how I came up with the title, I’d give away part of the story that is actually important, so—you’ll have to read it to find out!
There wasn’t anything that helped me get into the writing, to be honest. This story came to me in a flash. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s nice when it does. I wrote it out in a day, and then, went back over the course of a week to really put the pieces together and edit it. If I felt like I needed more information or feeling, I thought back to my own experiences with the situation in my book—for instance, what ARE all those tubes in the ICU called? What features would this disease present? What, even, did the air feel like in the hospital? Memory is a powerful force, and even if you don’t have all of it to rely on, what you can use serves a wonderful and useful purpose.
Serena Jayne, “Dead Man’s Party”
The idea for the story came to me when a friend of mine explained how stepping into a hole his dog had dug caused him to seriously injure his foot. Somehow that small seed grew into Xander’s klutziness. Originally Xander’s injury took place off camera, but as I laid out the story in my head, having him get injured during the course of the story made more sense.
“Dead Man’s Party” seemed like the perfect title for a story about young love and zombies.
“Dead Man’s Party” is my first YA story. Reading a ton of excellent YA novels helped me get into the mood to explore the genre. My friends give me the best book recommendations.
Cara McKinnon, “Three Jagged Pieces”
My initial idea was to write a story about a fat girl who gets the hot guy. But as I started pulling elements from my high school experience to add to the story, I realized that my story was missing something. One of my best friends from high school is AFAM (assigned female at birth), nonbinary, generally presenting male. I have several other friends who are trans. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to include a trans character—not as a best friend, but as a romantic lead. Because everyone deserves a happy ending.
I didn’t have a title for ages. First it was just called “YA Story.” Then it was “It Takes Three,” although I knew that wasn’t a permanent title. Then, at the end of one of Noah’s chapters, he said that it felt like his heart was being ripped into three jagged pieces. Suddenly I had a title. (Although other 90s kids have told me it sounds a little bit like Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”).
To get into the writing headspace for this, I put on the playlist I made particularly for this story. I described some of the songs for the soundtrack part of our author interviews (click here for the anthology's soundtrack and here for the playlist on Spotify). Usually I write to movie scores or other “big emotion” orchestral pieces, like songs by the group Two Steps from Hell. But this time, I made a playlist of music no older than 2000 (when my characters would have been born). Most of it is pop music, some of it is from musicals, and then there are a few score pieces on there to break up the vocals. It really helped me to get out of my own head a little and into the world of a modern teenager, since most of the pop songs weren’t things I would listen to normally.
Mary Rogers, “The Crayon Thief”
How I got my theme is of great importance to me. One of my daughters is queer, and one of my sons is gay. I want. Check that. I need to be making sure that my characters represent good, decent, honest, and wonderful, fully formed characters who are of all kinds, and to give them agency, and depth, and never let them be stereotyped. I needed to be fair to everyone and show these people for what they are. People. Just… people.
I had help with my title! All I could do was read and re-read, and come up with the title of the book. That certainly wouldn’t do! I have to thank someone else for finding the other thread so well!
What helped me get in the mood for writing is my Alexa (“Alexa—play 80’s music.” Or “Alexa—play classical music.”) When I needed a break the weather, or the news, etc… All without leaving my keyboard. Also—good weather sent me out on the front porch, sometimes in bed, sometimes in my office, sometimes in my living room. I like to change it up. Of course, tea. There is no life without tea.
Kylie Weisenborn, “Now I Am”
I first came up with this story several years ago when I was in undergrad for creative writing. I thought there was something so romantic about a southern romance, yet I wanted a kind of quirky ghost character. The theme kind of wrote itself. My first draft was a bit morbid (Carter was a human and died in the story), but I felt like him being a ghost worked out better.
I think mine is pretty self-explanatory after reading the story, but Annalyn wasn’t ready to move on before Carter came into the picture, and now she is. Hence, “Now I Am.”
I love Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, so I would sometimes watch clips from True Blood to get into the dark Southern, supernatural mood for writing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pages of Fear Blog Hop

Welcome to the first ever Pages of Fear Blog Hop. It's a pre-Halloween event celebrating authors who like to fright and delight with their writing. As you progress through the twenty-eight blogs / websites, you'll learn about authors you may already know and be introduced to some new ones.

Everyone loves the opportunity to get something free so twenty-eight authors have gathered together to give ONE lucky winner signed copies of their books (one per author). You may even find other types of giveaways on their sites, so keep your eyes open. While you're looking, you'll want to locate the secret word on each site. Make a list of the words in the proper order. When you reach the final destination (, you'll find an email address. Send your list to it. The winner will be selected courtesy of


Get on your marks.

Get set.



This weekend is going to be a super busy one for me! Not only am I participating in this awesome Pages of Fear Blog Hop, but I'm also attending the Ozarks Indie Book Fest in Springfield, MO.

The event kicks off tonight with a keynote speech from Christina Benjamin followed by an awesome treasure hunt with some sweet prizes for the best hunters.

If you haven't already gotten your tickets yet, you can click on the image above and it will send you right to the ticket page, or you can buy your tickets at the door. I hope to see you there because it's going to be an amazing weekend, full of treasure (books, books and more books) plus lots of FUN!

Also, before you go, I have a couple more FANTASTIC giveaways to share with you.

First, another Spooktacular Authors Giveaway. Click the image for a chance to win some Halloween treasure.
And how about some Harry Potter treasure? Click the image and all the fun could be yours.

Good luck and I hope to see you in Springfield!


To continue the hop, please go to Stephany Wallace's site at

Did you get lost? Enter the hop at the middle? Retrace your steps here or begin the hop at Lily Luchesi's site at


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tyrabbisaurus Rex, Finalist for the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award

What an amazing day!

Tyrabbisaurus Rex was recognized as a Finalist for the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award at a luncheon earlier today.

I had two of my nieces with me, which made it even more special. My youngest niece, Josie, is T-Rab's biggest fan, so she was super excited to see him honored, while my older niece, Tobi, is one of MY biggest fans, always encouraging me and asking me how my writing's going.

When I accepted the award, I thanked them both, acknowledging the very real impact they've both had on my writing. As I said in the moment, "Between the two of them, I'm definitely kept on track when it comes to my writing goals."

The other person I thanked (she was actually the first person I mentioned) was Jeanine Henning, the artist who brought to life the Tyrabbisaurus Rex character, in a way I wasn't even sure was possible when I began my search for an illustrator. I've never been so happy to have been wrong. Jeanine literally breathed life into T-Rab's character, somehow managing to showcase his enormous attitude without ever losing his utterly adorable bunniness. As I said when accepting the award, "The book wouldn't be what it is without Jeanine's amazing cover and brilliant illustrations."

The award was sponsored by the Kansas City chapter of the American Association of University Women and the Kansas City Public Library. I'll leave you with a picture of the absolutely gorgeous award they presented me with.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Revenge of the Tiger: NOMINATION

I'm super excited to announce that my second Tyrabbisaurus Rex book, Revenge of the Tiger, was nominated for Best Children's Book by Ozarks Indie Book Fest.

What a fantastic honor!

Voting closes Sept. 15, so be sure to vote for your favorite indie books and authors before then. You can vote here.

Winners will be announced at the Ozarks Indie Book Fest on Saturday, Oct. 21. You can buy your tickets for the book festival here.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Trouble with Quilling (a.k.a. The Spines of Torture)

The Trouble with Quilling
(a.k.a. The Spines of Torture)
is finally here!

Meet Tessa Hedgehog.

She's one quill away from committing hedgicide. Okay, so maybe that's not a word, but it should be! If those hedgies, Alex and Brock, don't stop pestering her, she won't be responsible for her actions!

She may be little, but she's got 6,000 spines ready for action.

Now Available on Amazon

Monday, July 10, 2017

New Release: Revenge of the Tiger

Finally! A new book for T-Rab!

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Hey! Who let the tiger back in the classroom?

And why are the students
so happy to see him?
Don't they know he's up to no good,
plotting against their beloved Tyrabbisaurus Rex?

Well, it's a good thing T-Rab's got a plan 
to save the world 
from that dastardly spy of a tiger!

Warning: This book contains bunny poop, 
fierce Tyrabbisaurus Rexes 
and a rampaging Tiger-Spy. 
Read at your own risk.

Tyrabbisaurus Rex has his own Facebook page!
 Visit him at
Of course you can still find him on Twitter @tyrabbisaurus as well.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ozarks Indie BookFest: Anthology Cover Reveal (UnderDogs) and More!

I am so excited to be an attending author at Ozarks Indie BookFest. Not just because it's a fantastic event, benefiting two amazing charities (Loving Paws Rescue and Companions for Heroes), but also because we will be launching an anthology I participated in at the event. 

It's a charity anthology, again benefiting the two charities above, and has an amazing collection of authors. You can visit their Facebook pages by clicking on their names below:

Cover Designed by The Always Amazing Jo Michaels

I hope you will consider joining me 
in the Ozarks this October. 

The event is sure to be amazing!

Tickets are available for purchase here.

Hope to see you there!