Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold’ anthology

Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold

by Brinda BerryKaren Y. Bynum, Laura Diamond,
Jayne A. KnollsTheresa DaLayneCate Dean

Release Date: 03/2014

A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart.

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid… but is it too late to save her?

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions.

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn’t believe in Native American magic–until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path.

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him.

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness.

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

Buy Links:

Excerpt from The Maker

Cassandra Francesca Levinsky had been mine, more or less, since the second semester of freshman year. Addiction was probably a better term for it than a romance—I couldn’t get enough of her—nor she of me. Everyone knew us as Brettandra—I know, like Brangelina—that’s how legendary we were—Brett and Cassandra, the best looking couple on campus.

In the end, I only drank so much to deal with the sight of her throwing herself at every other guy in the room—and to obliterate the green haze of jealous rage that overtook me when others wanted a piece of her. But if I were forced to admit it, I kind of got off on that, too. Like I said, we couldn’t get enough of each other.

I’m not sure exactly when those long weeks of getting the cold shoulder first started. My memory’s not what it used to be. And I don’t have much of a recollection of what happened after we left the party. Maybe I blacked out. The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed, my skull on fire. I learned later that Cassandra walked away from the wreck without a scratch on her. She left me for dead, my skull cracked open like an egg.

The guy we hit never walked again. Yeah, I felt kind of bad about that, but I’m not in such great shape either.

They found me in the driver’s seat, the engine’s firewall inches from the tree we plowed into. The wrecked BMW was registered to me—so as far as anyone knew at the scene, Cassandra was never even in it. The medical report stated that if she’d called for help right away, instead placing an anonymous call after she was long gone, the bleeding might not have been so extensive.

That I might have made a good recovery.

But, if that were the case, then this story would never have been written.

Author Bios:

Brinda Berry:

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good. Find Brinda at www.brindaberry.com

Karen Y. Bynum:

Dragons, unicorns, genies…oh my! NA/YA author, coffee-lover, olive-hater, tea-drinker, music-listener. Random becomes me. Easily distrac—  Blog

Laura Diamond:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and multi-published author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

Jayne A. Knolls:

Jayne A. Knolls lives and works in New York City.  The Maker is her first published work of New Adult Fiction. Jayne can reached at JAKnolls@optonline.net

Theresa DaLayne:

My name is Theresa DaLayne and I’m a new adult author with Bloomsbury Spark, an amazing digital imprint of Bloomsbury publishing. Website

Cate Dean:

Hi there – thanks for checking in. My name is Cate Dean, and I write romantic suspense and paranormal, with some action packed YA paranormal and fantasy thrown in. I love to write, and I have been doing it most of my life. I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, and I am thrilled to be able to write them down and share them with you. If you want to be the first to know when the next book is released, or be in on some fun, exclusive contests and giveaways, join my list here: http://catedeanwrites.com/join-my-list. You can learn more about me and my books at my website: http://catedeanwrites.com


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This Writer’s Space: Pippa Jay

This Writer's Space

Today on This Writer’s Space I have Pippa Jay, sci-fi romance queen!

Where I Write

Since our home computer died back in July last year, my desk in an alcove of the dining room has largely become redundant, except as a bit of a dumping ground for all my paperwork. With Wi-Fi finally installed, I’ve spent most of the winter curled up on my sofa with my laptop.


My writing space in its former glory

But hopefully, this summer my writing spot will be here, in our summerhouse, painted a glorious TARDIS blue for good measure. While it might not dematerialize and travel the universe, I guess I’ll just have to imagine it does and explore new worlds inside my head and on my computer.


My planned writing space now

 Where I’m Inspired

I’m lucky to live in the historical town of Colchester in the UK. Walk ten minutes one way and you’re out in the countryside.


Nearby Friday Woods

Half an hour the other way, and you’re in the town, with its medieval buildings and a Norman castle built on the burned remains of a Roman temple. The remaining Roman walls still carry the scars of a siege by Cromwell during the civil war.


Colchester Castle and the surrounding park

Half an hour drive, and you’re on the East Anglia coast, where you can choose between wide sandy beaches, mud flats rich in wildlife, or gravel beaches where dedicated hunters can find ancient sharks teeth and other fossils. Plenty of inspiration to be found!



When the surroundings fail, trawling for images on stock photo sites, copious amounts of coffee, and a constant stream of music on my mp3 keep the ideas going. Most stories have a playlist that has inspired the general feel, if not actual details throughout the tale.

 To Be Read

At the last count, my TBR pile on my Kindle alone totalled a rather scary 248 titles (I know it only says 70 in the picture, but that’s because the rest are archived from my old Kindle). And don’t get me started adding the paperbacks, Kobo books, and PDFs still sitting on my computer! Mostly scifi romance, but you’ll find all levels of scifi with a smattering of fantasy, paranormal, and the odd humorous title.


Part of the Kindle list. And yes, my Kindle is called Idris. Whovians should know that one.

About Pippa

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.

Blog | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Ex Factor’ by Elisa Dane

Ex Factor
by Elisa Dane

Release Date: 22 April 2014

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.
So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.  But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.


Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

Available from:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble


Clueless as to what had her so excited, I sat quietly and waited for her to calm down. It was apparent she wore her emotions on her sleeve, and I knew right away she was a straight shooter. This girl couldn’t lie to save her life. The truth would always show on her face.

She hooked a finger toward me and leaned in close again. “I cheer with Livvie on the Diamond team. She’s been talking you up, telling everyone what a great tumbler you are. Are you excited about your tryout tonight?”

My stomach fell as soon as the words “excited” and “tryout” fell out of her mouth. I was most certainly not excited. In fact, if I were being honest, I was dreading it. I’d lain awake most of the night, worrying the girls at the gym wouldn’t like, or accept me, and terrified I wouldn’t be able to meet the coach’s expectations. X Factor Cheer was looking for a ringer for their level five squad, an ace in the hole—someone with amazing acrobatic skill to “wow” the competition judges and audience.

Someone emphatically not me.

About the Author

I’m a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it’s my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you’ll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.


Author Links:



1 ebook of Ex-Factor & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Crushed On


I thought about going with “characters that broke my heart” for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, but as most of them did it by dying, I thought it’d be a bit spoileriffic. Instead, here are ten characters I’ve had a crush on over the years.

One: Masterharper Robinton from the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. I think Robinton was my first book crush — kind, charming and a musically gifted older man (at least to me as a teenager when I read it). I adored him.

Two: Aiken Drum from The Saga of the Exiles by Julian May. Aiken is the classic charming bad boy — society offers him the choice of jail, “docilisation” or euthanasia, but instead he chose to be exiled back in time. He comes good in the end…sort of…

Sam Merlotte

Sam Merlotte

Three: Louis de Pointe du Lac from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I fell in love with vampires when I read this book. I eventually fell more or less out of love with them again by the time I encountered Edward, but Louis was the classic reluctant vampire, full of self-loathing.

Four: Sam Merlotte from The Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris. I was torn between Sam and Eric, but at the end of the day Eric’s completely domineering personality tipped me over toward Sam. (Bill? Meh.)

Five: Herald Kris from the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. This was a tossup between him or Vanyel, but in Vanyel’s case it was always going to be unrequited. :S

Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis

Six: Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Strong, confident and funny, but also a total nerd. That’s my kind of boy!

Seven: Silk/Prince Kheldar from The Belgariad by David Eddings. Clever, confident, cynical, Silk is one of those characters who laughs at the world so that he doesn’t have to face his problems.

Eight: Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. At first I preferred Gale and Peeta seemed a bit wet. But Peeta grew on me. Like cookie dough in the oven. :) The way he and Katniss lok after each other is really sweet, even if there’s a heavy dose of self-preservation on her part.



Nine: Aragorn, son of Arathorn from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein. The first time I read this I was more fixated on the hobbits and not that interested in Aragorn. I think that was because of my age, because as I got older…wooh! (Also, Viggo Mortensen with black hair and a beard!)

Ten: Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurel K. Hamilton. Think of Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse books, only French and even sexier. That’s Jean-Claude. He is much better at restraining his inner beast than Eric, though.

Who would you add to the list?

If my manuscript were a song…

Yesterday I entered Lucid Dreaming in Pitch Slam. The theme is one of those musical talent shows, like Australian/American/Armenian Idol. You audition (send your pitch) and if Simon Cowell doesn’t hate you, you move on to the next round. The agents, if they make requests, do so as record executives.

I know, right? How cute is that? :)

Anyway, as well as providing details like genre and word count, I had to name a song that sums up my manuscript.

For Lucid Dreaming, that was easy. (For Isla, I’d have a lot more trouble.) It’s Enter Sandman by Metallica. But it has to be an orchestral version, because violins. VIOLINS!

Ahem. What song would you choose for your manuscript/s or WIP/s?

Review: ‘Cinder’ by Marissa Meyer


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

I know I’m coming a little late to the whole Cinder thing and many of you will have already read it, but IF YOU HAVEN’T THIS IS REALLY GOOD YA.

Take Cinderella, stick her in a future Earth and make her a second-class cyborg. Stir in some political intrigue, a terrible plague and a handsome prince, and I’m so there!

One of the things I really enjoyed about Cinder is the richness of the characters. The wicked stepmother is suitably loathsome (but also kind of tragic). The stepsisters are interesting; Pearl is as shallow and cruel as you’d expect — the fairytale required that someone do it, I suppose — but the younger girl, Peony, is lovely and cares for Cinder despite what the rest of the family think of her.

Likewise, Kai isn’t just a two dimensional Prince Charming looking to marry a hot girl with glass shoes. He’s charming, sure, but also funny, kind and terribly conflicted about some of the diplomatic and personal sacrifices he’s asked to make to save his people. I’m not usally one to crush on the typical main character (I was Team Simon, not Team Jace, for example) — but in this case, it’s all about Kai.

Of course, there aren’t really any other alternatives, unless you count the doctor researching the plague cure, and he’s more of a crazy grandfather type. ;)

Cinder‘s plot moves along at a good pace, the story (and Cinder herself) taking the reader from one event to the next without leaving you time to get bored. There is a plot twist but I saw it coming from the first hint in the first two or three chapters — I don’t really think Meyer intended it to be an OMGWTF moment at the end of the book, though, and I never grew frustrated with the characters not figuring it out like I do in some books.

The only thing that was a little unsatisfying is that the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. My advice would be to buy the second book and have it to hand so you don’t have to wait to dive into it when you finish this one.

Five stars! :)

Blog hop: ‘The Problem With Crazy’ – donating to charity

Crazy teaserNEW

As you guys will know, I am CRAZY about A Problem With Crazy. So I’m super-excited to tell you all that it’s on sale at Amazon and iTunes this weekend! The money you save can be used to buy a box of tissues — you’re going to need them. xo

A word from Lauren: donating to charity

I’d like to think I’m a good person. I try to do get with the whole ‘Do unto others’ program, I occasionally bake cakes for people I love and I even pick up my dogs’ business when I’m out taking them for a walk (and I have two—that’s potentially a lot of you-know-what).

That’s why, when I wrote The Problem With Crazy, it was important for me to work with a charity and donate a portion of sales to them. One of the main reasons I wrote the book was to raise awareness, but I think with an illness that affects so many people and just devastates lives, you kind of need to do more than that.

So, a few months before I hit publish, I contacted Huntington’s NSW, the state body in my, um, state, to ask if I could donate a portion of sales to them. The team there were lovely, but to my surprise it wasn’t as simple as ‘Wham, bam, we’ll take your money, ma’am.’ No, instead they wanted to read it first to make sure it was suitable.

Cue = Lauren having a panic attack.

Don’t get me wrong. Part of me was jump-up-and-down excited that I was getting an industry professional to fact-check me, but another part was freaking the hell out. What if they hated it? What if I offended them with some hideously incorrect fact that I totally made up? What if my manuscript turned into a zombie and tried to eat their brains? (I never said my freak out was rational.)

Thankfully, they ended up contacting me and saying they liked the book and that they would be happy to have me on board. Hell, one of the people who read it even said she thought it would have been a good book to read when she was a teenager going through the same thing.

And so I am now a proud sponsor of Huntington’s NSW. And I couldn’t be happier.

Huntingtons NSW


The problem with crazy is that crazy, by itself, has no context. It can be good crazy, bad crazy . . . or crazy crazy—like it was when my ex-boyfriend sung about me on the radio.

Eighteen-year-old Kate couldn’t be more excited about finishing high school and spending the summer on tour with her boyfriend’s band. Her dad showing up drunk at graduation, however, is not exactly kicking things off on the right foot—and that’s before she finds out about his mystery illness, certain to end in death.

A mystery illness she is likely to inherit.

When your whole life goes from adventure and ecstasy to sad and suicidal, what’s the point? Not knowing who to love, and who to trust . . . where does it end?

The Problem With Crazy is a story about love and life; about overcoming obstacles, choosing to trust, and learning how to make the choices that will change your life forever.

Blog hop clue

Want to win one of five eBook copies of The Problem With Crazy, a paperback edition, or one of three $5 Amazon gift cards? Collect the clues hidden in the other blogs on the hop and enter to win. To find all the other blogs and the Rafflecopter link, go here.

Blog hop clue E: YOU

About Lauren

Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013, and her second release, NA Contemporary Romance The Problem With Crazy, is self-published, and is available now.

As well as being a magazine editor for a national audited publication on pet care, Lauren works as a freelance editor for independent authors, and was a Runner Up Editor of the Year in the Publishers Australia awards in 2013.

Lauren is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is obsessed with words–she likes the way they work.

Lauren_McKellar Author Pic


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