Monday, May 26, 2014

Freedom Is Not Free

When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today

~Kohima Epitaph

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

~In Flanders Fields, Lt. Col. John McCrae

Arlington National Cemetery
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.

~President Harry S. Truman

U.S. Marine Corp Memorial
Iwo Jima

Friday, May 23, 2014


Today I welcome Kim Cresswell, author of Reflection. This is an amazing read with action, intrigue, clones, and romance. Kim is celebrating the re-release-with a new cover-all day. You can find more events HERE.

And now, here's Kim!

The Difference Between Mystery and Suspense

Although mystery is an element found in every genre…what if there weren’t any secrets to uncover or bad guys to catch? Would you want to turn the pages and continue reading? Romance, romantic suspense, thrillers, historical and other genres all have some sort of element of mystery.

Mystery novels involve a puzzle—a game of whodunit. A crime usually happens and it’s up to the protagonist to uncover the truth.

In a suspense novel–a threat and imminent danger must be resolved not a puzzle being resolved.

Something is coming. Thunder. Footsteps. Bad guys. Run! Run! Run!

It’s the ticking bomb concept.

A suspense novel builds then ebbs creating an emotional rollercoaster and the author ensures it crashes at the right moment with a big bang.

The protagonist in a suspense novel is usually tossed into the role of the hero, and in most cases without preparation or the necessary skills. He or she would rather be working or at home with their family etc., but someone has made that impossible by putting the hero’s home or loved ones in danger.

In suspense novels, the stakes are much higher with the threat reaching an impossible level.

In my debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION (A Whitney Steel Novel), my heroine Whitney Steel is an investigative reporter determined to nail the “story of a lifetime” because her colleagues have always made their opinions clear: Between her father’s luster as a war correspondent and her ex-husband’s political connections she’s had a free ride to get where she is in her career.

But her journey to get the “big story” is not going to be easy as she battles billionaire, Biotech company owner, Nathan Shaw–who will do ANYTHING to keep his illegal human cloning project concealed from outsiders.

And now for the new cover!!!!!

Reflection is a deeply emotional romantic suspense that starts bold and holds you captive to the very end.” —New York Times Bestseller, Dianna Love

“Action packed from page one…an impressively laid out passionate thrill ride!” —InD’Tale Magazine (

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.” —Quality Reads UK Book Club


Barnes & Noble:

About the Author

Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada. Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including; working in legal and adult education before returning to her first love, writing.

Her debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards: RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD'tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley's Romance Writers of America (RWA) "Gotcha!" Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary's Romance Writers of America (RWA) The Writer's Voice Contest (2006).

LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown and From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003).

Her action-packed suspense and thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, "Buckle up, Hang on tight!"

Kim recently entered the true crime writing arena. Real Life Evil - A True Crime Quickie (two short stories) was published in January 2014. You can read her latest true crime stories in Serial Killer Quarterly, a new quarterly e-magazine published by Grinning Man Press.

You can find Kim here:

Amazon Author Page:
Twitter: @kimcresswell

Isn't it awesome? And the story is just as amazing! Check it out if you haven't already!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Author Spotlight, Contest and More!

Today I'm over at Crystal Collier's blog, talking Cheese and Faery Marked. Stop by and see if you can pick my lie!

In case you aren't on my mailing list, here's the newsletter that went out at the end of last week.

I'm not sure how often I will re-post them here, so if you don't want to miss out on any contests, author spotlights, sneak peeks, or other news, be sure to sign up over on the right side bar.



I am so excited to share the wonderful cover CK Volnek created for my novella, The Mystery Prince. Releasing this summer, it will be my first self-published release. What's it about? I'm so glad you asked!

Tristan enjoys being in the shadows as Prince Rand's bodyguard. Similar in looks, the two often exchanged places in their youth, but he never expected the king to order him to impersonate the heir to the throne in order to win the hand of a princess.

Princess Zoe needs to find a husband. After a year of searching with no success, her father insists on hosting a masquerade ball for the eligible princes of the nine kingdoms. Not one prince piques her interest, until she meets the mysterious stranger who won't tell her his name.

When Tristan meets Zoe he finds the girl of his dreams. The only problem? She's a princess and he's impersonating a prince―a crime punishable by imprisonment and floggings.

Unable to tell Zoe his real name, he gives her a special navigation device. One that leads to the owner's true love. Will this magic device lead Zoe to Tristan, or will her true love forever remain a mystery prince?


Name a Character Contest!!!

I'm looking to name a leading man, er, Pixie. He will be counter part to Pixie Erin (who you'll meet soon in Faery Marked).

He's about four and a half feet tall, muscular,with  sandy blond hair, and green eyes. A bit on the serious side (to balance out Erin's mischievous nature) he likes a good joke or prank every now and then. He's strong willed, confident, and a man's man (or a pixie's pixie, I guess would be more accurate :-) )

The winning name will be used in Faery Cursed, book two of the series. The winner will be acknowledged in the credits of the book and will win a special swag package from me, to include a signed copy of at least ONE book (if not more!).

Please send your name suggestions to with a subject heading of NAMING CONTEST (so I don't lose them in my in-box). Contest will close at midnight EST 7/31/14.

Good luck! And may the best name win!!

Sneak Peek at The Mystery Prince

“Good evening, Princess Zoe,” her new partner said, bowing low.
A slight tremor of anticipation tickled down her spine, and her eyes widened in appreciation of the man standing before her. He stood a good head taller than she and appeared quite muscular. At least that's what his doublet and form fitting trousers revealed to her as she skimmed a discreet glance at his body.
Sandy-blond hair brushed his broad shoulders. He wore it loose, a custom in several neighboring kingdoms. Behind his black domino, blue-green eyes glittered in the candlelight.
“Good evening, Prince…”
She trailed off, hoping he would supply his name as none came to her mind. He remained silent, studying her with his sea-colored eyes. She lifted a brow at his silence.
“I'm sorry, but you have me at a disadvantage. I don't know your name.”
A grin crept across his face, sending unfamiliar tingles racing down her spine to settle as a warm glow in her stomach. Her lips curved in response—she couldn't help it. Something about him called out to her.
From the smile alone, she knew he wasn't like the others—stuffy, pompous. No, he would be witty and charming, someone she would enjoy being with for at least fifteen minutes, if not longer. For the first time tonight, she looked forward to her dance partner.
“Revealing my name defeats the purpose of a masquerade, does it not?”
His voice sounded low and gruff, not smooth and cultured like the princes she usually spoke with. Another piece to add to the mystery of who he was.
She tipped her head forward, silently acknowledging his point. “Touché. But what shall I call you, Your Highness?”
His grin widened. “I don't think names will be a problem, Princess.”



Meradeth Houston


I'm super thrilled to be introducing you to Meradeth Houston, author of the Sary Society series. If you haven't read these books yet, I highly recommend them!

A bit about Meradeth:
  • She’s a Northern California girl, but now lives and teaches anthropology in Montana.
  • When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
  • She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
  • If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

Remember the books I mentioned? Well, there's a sale going on for book 2 in the series. 

“They are everywhere, can be anyone, and are always the last person you’d expect.”

Get your copy today for $0.99
at Amazon

Don't forget to check out Book 1 in the series:

"Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident--sort of." 

Only $1.99 at Amazon

Or the recently released book 3:

"Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken."

Available at Amazon and other major retailers

Copyright © *2014* *Mary Waibel*, All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jewelry a la the Valendria series

I love jewelry, so there's not surprise that each story in my Valendria series has a necklace that plays a special role in the story and are prominently displayed on the covers.

In Quest of the Hart, the necklace is given to Princess Kaylee by Navon, the hart, to carry a drop of dragon's blood needed to end the spell on Prince Devlin.

In Charmed Memories, the necklace is a special amulet worn by royals and others to protect them at sea.

In Different Kind if Knight, Princess Rielle collects bits of the creatures she has killed and wears them wears them on a trophy necklace.

What you might not know it that the necklace on the cover of Charmed Memories is one I made several years ago while playing around with jewelry making. In fact, here's a picture I sent to Marion Sipe (the cover artist) to use:

For Christmas I needed a gift for my niece (who happens to be my biggest fan.) So, I decided I'd create at the necklaces from the first two books for her (I hadn't seen the necklace Ck Volnek created for book 3 at this time). And this is how they turned out:

After seeing them, my mother-in-law knew she had to have one, so for Mother's Day, I made a (similar) heart necklace for her and my own mother, as well as this:

As you can see, the stones and wire wrapping are all slightly different, but i think they each capture the heart of the necklace well. What do you think?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hanging out with Melissa Petreshock

Today I'm over at The Dragon Blog with Melissa Petreshock for Throwback Thursday. Stop by to see my thoughts on Grimm's Briar Rose and my Quest of the Hart.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Worth The Effort~ Ella's Story by Kai Strand

I have the privilege of being a critique partner for Kai Strand. She's amazing. I love sending work to her and getting her feedback, but not as much as I enjoy losing myself in her stories. And Worth the Effort~Ella's Story was certainly worth reading!

Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.

Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.

But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?

WORTH THE EFFORT: Ella’s Story a young adult contemporary romance novella at 19,000 words.

Interested in my thoughts? Here they are:

Kai Strand takes you an incredible journey in the page turning read. Follow Ella as she struggles against her upbringing and tries to befriend Ayden, a teen living on the streets. Ayden isn't all he appears, and when Ella learns his secret, she's shocked and slightly betrayed. It really will take all Ayden can do to prove he's Worth the Effort.

I can't wait to see part two of this series Worth The Effort~Ayden's Story to see where things go!

About the Author:

Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. She was born and raised in the mid-west, where she inherited a wholesome outlook on life. She lived in California long enough to find a husband and have four kids. Now they live in Central Oregon, which boasts the bluest sky you'll ever see and miles of hiking trails to enjoy it from.

Kai has a facebook page: Kai Strand, Author. But her favorite stall tactic from writing is answering email. If you have a question about her or her writing, email h
er at kaistrand (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blog Hop- Writing Process

Today, I'm taking part in a blog hop about my writing process. (I did a similar one in October and thought it would be fun to see what had changed since then.)

The lovely and talented Ally Malinenko tagged me on her blog last week.Thanks, Ally! You can find her answers HERE. I've had the privilege of working with Ally on her upcoming release THIS IS SARAH.

This is Ally's cover debut week- be sure to check out her blog (or my tweets) for behind the scenes looks at this incredible novel. Check out this AWESOME cover by Anita Carroll.

Now for the questions:

1) What am I working on?
I am currently in line edits for Faery Marked (releasing this summer from BookFish Books), working on edits for The Mystery Prince (a novella I am releasing this summer) and am halfway through a first draft of a romantic comedy I'm titling Catching the Boy Next Door. It's about a girl trying to win the heart of the boy next door- or at least to get him to see her as more than a friend. (for those wondering Faery Marked was the paranormal romance, The Mystery Prince was the novella, and the other work is sitting on the back burner at the moment.)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I never quite know how to answer these kinds of questions. It's different because my voice is different. It's in first person (yeah, I know many others are, too) and my MC has a lot of heart. Her BFF has a lot of snark, and together they will use tricks and traps from some Harlequin's to win the boy. Or, at least they hope they will!

3) Why do I write what I do? 
I write what I write because characters come to mind and beg me to tell their stories. I spend lots of time thinking about them and the situation they are in before I start writing, answering questions, asking questions, trying to put them in different situations to see what happens. In the end, they tell me what they want me to say and I put their story on the screen.

4) How does my writing process work?
(Ooops! Guess I should have read ahead a little more!) I do a lot of preplanning, then I write. I don't outline (usually). In the case of Catching the Boy Next Door, I titled my chapters (something I've never done before) and gave some bullet points of what I wanted to happen in these chapters. For the most part, they've stayed the same as I've been writing, although I have made little tweaks as needed based on where the current scenes take me. Once I have a draft down, I go back over it and flesh out description and emotions and build it up as much as I can. Then I send it to beta readers and critique partners for their input. Once I get that back, I make the necessary changes and repeat as needed.

Phew! That was tough!! Let's hope that TAMMY LOWE, the person I'm passing this on to, has an easier time than I did!

Tammy Lowe is the author of The Acadian Secret.
When she isn't writing, you will either find Tammy surrounded by little children and covered in glitter and glue, or on some grand adventure: inside an Egyptian pyramid, twirling on an Alp or climbing the Great Wall of China. She's part Mary Poppins, part Indiana Jones.

Tammy lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband and their teenage son.

Be sure to stop by Tammy's Site next week and see how she answers these questions.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cover Reveal: INDUCTION DAY by PK Hrezo

Today I'm thrilled to share with you the cover for PK Hrezo's second novel in the Butterman Travel series. (You can find her first book, BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL, INC. here and here)

PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.

And now...for the cover for INDUCTION DAY...

Doesn't that look amazing??? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Authors Write- Christopher Mannino

Today it's my pleasure to introduce fellow MuseItUp Author Chris Mannino as he shares his writing process and talks about his soon to be released novel SCHOOL OF DEATHS. Welcome, Chris!

So, what do you write?
School of Deaths is YA Fantasy. In the future I hope to branch out to other genres including adult SF/Fantasy novels, and historical fiction 

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs? 
School of Deaths is limited 3rd person, and is entirely told from one POV. The sequel (currently in progress) is told from 3 POVs 

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I start with an idea. In this case, the idea was a girl who is completely alienated and isolated in a world. I combined that with an idea of a school that trains Deaths (Grim Reapers). Once I have an idea, I start to plan characters, then build from there.

Do you draft quickly or are you more detailed in your drafting? 
The first novel I ever wrote (abandoned in the virtual "shelves" of a thumb drive) took ten years.[One of these days I'll share a picture of my shelved books :-) The good thing is, we all have them.] This novel took a year. I think it depends on how much "free time" I have to write. I work full-time, so time isn't always my friend as a writer. [Ah, I feel your pain here. Balancing work, family, and writing is a work in progress for me, too.]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I research as I go, and during the editing phase. In fantasy books, most of the research is minimal. [Oh, but it leads to really cool monster manuals and castle books and...]

How do you outline?
I sketch out where I want the book as a whole to go- I do this with pencil and paper. When I start writing I'll create a quick outline, usually about four pages in a word document, but I change the outline constantly while I draft. [Hmm. That's an interesting process. I rarely outline, although for a WIP I gave title chapters with a few notes as to what I want to happen in those chapters, and I must say, it is writing pretty quick.]

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on? 
I name what I can, but often prefer to keep writing. Some of my characters' names in my first drafts are INSERTNAME1 and INSERTNAME2. [Nice. I find I have to give character names before I move on, and spend a lot of time searching on baby name sites for just the right name.]

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I use beta readers who read and gave feedback. I only show the book to others once I've finished the third draft. Some of the suggestions from beta readers really helped, including one who suggested changing the setting because the initial setting reminded them too much of Hogwarts. I had started the book in Oxford (the real-life inspiration for Hogwarts) but hadn't meant to draw that parallel, so did change the setting, and was happier with the new one. [Beta readers can be a HUGE help. I know mine always are.]

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best? 
Stephen King's On Writing was a wonderful book that helped me grow as a writer. [I have to confess, I started this a couple years ago and haven't finished it yet. Not because I didn't like it, I just got sidetracked from it. Must get it done!] I also recommend Strunk and White's Elements of Style- which remains one of the foremost writing books [Great gift for any writer!], and Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Cameron's book is a self-help course designed to give artists more creativity, and for me it really worked. [I've not heard of this one. I'll have to take a look at it. Thanks for the recommendation.]

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing? 
It never ends. Just when you think it's done, and you've written the whole book and gone through all the work of finding a publisher, the editing phase starts- it is NOT easy. And then there's marketing... [Ah, yes. Marketing...] Yes, it's enough to be a full-time job, so for those like myself who work a different full-time job, writing can be very time-consuming. [But, we love it, so we can't stop!]

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share? 
School of Deaths releases online on May 2nd. There is also an in-person launch just north of Washington, DC on June 13th (Friday the 13th). [Oh how awesome! A Friday the 13th party for a book about death.]

Can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death? Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail. Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

You can find Chris here:

Thanks so much for taking the time to host me!

Any time Chris! Best of luck!!!