Early Praise for The Morning Star!

So, since the slightly early release of The Morning Star for Kindle, a few reviews have come in. I thought I’d share some of my favorite lines with you!

Between an incredibly likable female protaganist and her oh-so-desirable fairy king boyfriend, you’ll be swept away into an entirely believable fantasy. As Lily begins college at Julliard, she struggles with normal problems, like bullies in her classroom and the fact that an evil fairy queen is after her. Well, maybe some of her problems aren’t so ordinary. But this definitely isn’t an ordinary book, either.  - Amazon reader

 

The long-awaited sequel to The Kingdom certainly doesn’t disappoint. – Goodreads reviewer

 

I loved how Jennifer pulls the Irish legends into America. It makes Ireland seem closer to home. I loved this story and could not put it down. I read it straight through. – Goodreads reviewer

 

Yay! Thanks so much to those who left lovely words about the book. I’m so glad to share these thoughts with all of you. If you’re waiting for the print version, no worries. The proof arrives this week, so it will be available soon!

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The Morning Star Is (Almost) Here!

Wow. Well, this post has been a long time coming. I finished my first draft of The Morning Star back in 2010. Words flowed like water, and I finished the manuscript in less than three months. During my first round of edits, my laptop was stolen, along with the manuscript. Guys, I hadn’t backed up my story. All I had were bits and pieces I’d shared with my critique circle, but that didn’t even equal 5,000 words. I pretty much had to start over.

The second time through was much harder. Not only did my heart break every time I sat down to write, but I also couldn’t remember some of the amazing plot points I’d introduced (or solved) during my first go-round. I struggled through the second draft over the course of a year and a half, writing and rewriting as I remembered some of the more important details. In the meantime, I managed to write two other books straight through (and back them up DAILY to avoid further heartbreak), but The Morning Star was always there, screaming silently that it just wasn’t complete. A good friend talked me through some of the ideas I’d shared with her and reminded me of one I was so, so, so excited about, and that was it. I had the rest of the book.

Now, it’s here, finally. The second writing was brutal, but I feel the story is so much stronger. With the additional time, I was able to really flesh out some of the story, eliminate things that don’t matter in the long run, and really do Lily and Rioghan justice. I have to thank some INCREDIBLE people for their help in this journey – people who may not even realize how much they helped. As always, Melissa Fox, for her open and honest editing and her amazing friendship. Tiff Nichols, for always knowing where the commas go (and don’t go). Eva, Niki, Steph, and Gen for keeping me excited. And Grant Gill for this amazing cover.

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The official release date is October 20, just in time for Halloween. That’s perfect, because this time, Lily and Rioghan investigate some American legends, like the Headless Horseman, and travel New England in the fall. I hope you’ll mark your calendars and pick up your copy when it becomes available. As always, it will be for sale on Amazon first, but you’ll eventually be able to get it from any of your favorite booksellers – both print and electronic.

Five Whole Books for .99!

The Oracles of St. Ambrose: Going Under is part of a five-book anthology, Bewitched Beginnings. The whole anthology is only .99 for a week. That’s five whole YA paranormal and fantasy books for less than one dollar. Click the cover below to buy!

bewitched beginnings

 

Bewitched Beginnings: Five full length YA Paranormal novels included in one bundle. Delve into the supernatural worlds created by Angel Lawson, Magan McMinimy, Jennifer M. Barry, Erin Danzer and Sharon Rose Mayes and follow the stories of strong young men and women as they hold their own against the forces of nature.

 

Wraith by Angel Lawson

 

Freak. Weird. Crazy. These are the names tossed around seventeen-year old Jane Watts by her fellow classmates. But things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes there’s a reason for talking to yourself in the hallway at school.

Jane struggles with adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move. She wants one thing in life—to be like everyone else at school, but that’s hard to do when you’re the new kid. But she does manage to make one friend, Evan—he’s sixteen, charming, and protective. Everything a girl could want in a best friend…with one minor caveat.

He’s dead.

Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one can see or hear him.

That is until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in Juvie. Connor can see Evan and he’s not convinced the ghost is being completely honest. From his own experience ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments isn’t any different.

Jane is resentful of Connor’s intrusion but realizes soon enough he’s right. Evan has secrets about his past and not only did his life end tragically but members of his family are still in danger. Jane must face her fears and battle Evan’s human demons to free both of them.

 

Going Under by Jennifer M. Barry

 

Chase Bradford, king of New York City’s high school elite, is dragged to Nashville for his senior year at St. Ambrose Academy. On his second day, the Queen Bee is found dead in the school swimming pool. Chase isn’t surprised, since he saw a vision on the water’s surface during swim practice just hours before Cheyenne died.

Before Chase can properly freak out, he discovers snarky writer Natalie and narcoleptic computer genius Bryan also possess unusual abilities. The three must work together to discover how Cheyenne died and why…before the killer can get away with it. But Natalie and Bryan are from different social circles and pose a threat to Chase’s elite status. High school politics are nothing new to Chase, but the psychic abilities are.

The list of suspects isn’t surprising, since few people actually liked the popular queen of the elite. Chase, Natalie, and Bryan follow every vision, every lead – even Cheyenne’s own father – right up to the shocking end.

 

Twins of Aurora by Magen McMinimy

 

Life seems relatively normal for eighteen-year-old Avalina, who spends most of her time hanging out with her outspoken best friend, Jess, her twin brother, Aiden, and his best friend, Nick. Avalina fights against the overwhelming crush she has on Nick, harassment from her cruel ex-boyfriend, and an over protective brother while trying to make it through her senior year of high school.

Their lives are forever changed when the mysterious Araios, who looks remarkably like Nick, appears at a party in their sleepy little town in Northern Idaho. Araios holds secrets Avalina has long forgotten, secrets of a past based in a world of magic, mythical creatures and a royal lineage.

Follow the group of friends as they travel through this thrilling new world while Avalina learns to control the magic she needs to save everyone from the darkness that threatens to destroy Aurora and all who live within it.

 

Into the Spiral by Erin Danzer

 

Being struck by lightning is just the beginning…

Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Lambert wants to get out from under her older brother’s shadow. When Ronnie gets a tattoo and then is struck by lightning, she suddenly finds herself able to see and hear things in shadows that don’t appear to others. Then Ronnie meets Gavin Clearwater, the hot new guy in all of her classes and finds out he can see and hear the same things she can.

Gavin tells her about the Spiral Defenders, a group of warriors that travels through space and time to defend the planets of the Spiral. After meeting the Commander of the Spiral Defenders and realizing his intentions might not be pure, Ronnie struggles between following her destiny to become a Spiral Defender and trying to regain the life she had before being struck by lightning.

 

Blood Pact by Sharon Rose Mayes

 

Riley Spencer has spent most of her life doing what is normal for her: attending school, spending time with her mother, and training to hunt vampires. It was how she grew up as part of the organization and when Nick comes to town and joins her team everything changes. Now Riley and the rest of her team begin to question everything they have learned about vampires and the organization that trained them to hunt the vampires that hide in the world.

 

Win a Kindle Fire!

You can win a Kindle Fire just by telling others about Bewitched Beginnings. The link for the Rafflecopter is below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Sweet Girl, Rosie

Today we said goodbye to a long-time companion, our sweet girl, Rosie. Rosie was a rescue kitten who almost didn’t get rescued. Liam went with the intention of taking one cat, but after seeing shy, quiet Rosie in the corner of the cage, he thought again. After a week of agonizing, he had to go back and get her. And that’s how her life with Liam began.

When I met Rosie, she was skittish but accepting. We quickly became friends and went on several adventures together. She and her sister, Luna, moved with us to New Jersey and braved life with a dog for the first time. Then we all packed up and moved back to Tennessee after a year. By the time we settled here in Nashville, Rosie and I were tight. She still preferred Liam, but I suppose I could never fault her for that. He was her savior, after all.

Rosie was like a prize to all who visited. Because she was so shy, she rarely came out to greet anyone, preferring instead to hide under a bed or in a cabinet somewhere. Those precious few who did get to meet her and even spend time with her commented on her beauty, her gentle nature, and her silky soft fur.

Don’t be fooled into believing Rosie was a pushover, though. She knew how to stand her ground, especially when facing down Luna or the newest member of our family, Hurley. She was a fierce warrior when her turf was challenged but always returned to peaceful acceptance when the battle was over.

Liam had fourteen beautiful, loving years with his darling girl. I was fortunate to have almost ten. I can say with certainty we will never stop missing our sweet, fierce, loyal, shy, loving little girl, Rosie.

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New Release Promo: Ash Rising by Melissa Fox

My dear friend, Melissa Fox, released her new novel today. I’m so proud to have been even a small part of this book. She’s taken the romance genre and added a little twist with her hero, Ash. It’s so hard not to love this guy, even when you want to smack him. Romantic suspense lovers should head on over to Ms. Romantic Reads to check out the excerpt. You can even win a gift card and a free copy for your Kindle. The link is below!

New Release Promo: Ash Rising by Melissa Fox (#Excerpt + #Giveaway).

Cover Reveal: Ash Rising

Originally posted on Fight For Your Write:

New Novel from Melissa Fox

Guys. Guys! M’s preparing for the release of her upcoming novel on May 19, so I thought I’d share the cover with you here on FFYW. You know I’m almost as excited and proud as I’d be if I’d written it myself. She’s done something so different, so fresh, and I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks. Until we all get our hot little hands on it, here’s a peek at the cover. Drool with me!

contemporary romance thriller

Here’s the summary, so you can start with the grabby hands:

Infiltrating an international drug cartel is the dangerous chance of a lifetime for Asher Beaulieu of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Falling in love while running the op isn’t part of the plan, but he never had much use for plans anyway. Shrouded in deception and surrounded by temptation, his charmed life explodes in betrayal and tragedy.

View original 626 more words

Get Your Own Tiramisu

small_4473583479So, it’s been a while, and the last blog I left you with was a cheering of sorts in the middle of a rough winter. But spring is finally here…kind of. The weird snow we’re supposed to get tonight that probably won’t actually happen anyway is just a little hiccup standing in the way of the flowers blooming this coming weekend. To get us through this little cold snap, I’m back with probably the funniest Liam story ever. Maybe. You be the judge.

Because of Liam’s work position, he often gets treated to lunches and dinners. Sometimes he has to listen to a sales pitch; sometimes it’s a presentation. I’ve been to a few with him, and the room is often filled with dozens of other IT professionals chowing down on free food. If he’s lucky, it’s a one-on-one meeting, but that wasn’t the case today. Today, a whole room watched this unfold.

When he arrived at Maggiano’s, Liam was escorted to a table set for eight. Only four turned up for lunch. The food set aside for all eight was instead distributed to the four, resulting in some pretty large portions. Liam said he did his best, but he really wanted to save room for the tiramisu.

They finally set the dessert dish down next to him. He picked up his fork and went to town, eyes never leaving the screen that showed the presentation.

After a few bites, he noticed the guy next to him reaching over with a fork to get a bite.

“What’s this guy think he’s doing? He needs to eat his own.” Liam dragged the bowl away and shot a glare in the thief’s general direction.

And that’s when he saw it: Everyone else in the room dishing the tiramisu from several large bowls onto individual plates. Sharing. Sharing the dessert. The dessert he’d just nearly growled at someone over.

Now, I’d have burst into flames of embarrassment and run from the restaurant without a glance back. Liam, however, has agreed to let me share this story with you because he’s awesome. And because I haven’t stopped laughing for about two hours.

Happy spring!

photo credit: VancityAllie via photopin cc

What Brings Me Joy

The Loves of My Life

The past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster, with more downs than ups if I’m honest. Still, through everything, I try to seek the things that bring me joy. Jesus is my ultimate joy, but earthly things make me happy, too.

Wanna know what they are? Some are simple; some are everything. Here’s a jumbled list in no particular order:

Brenya and Isaac

Brenya and Isaac

I’m scared to death to hold my new niece because I’m afraid I’ll break her. I was the same with Isaac and we’re super close anyway, so I don’t think she’ll hold my fear against me when she’s older. And Isaac… Never have I met a kid with such a strong moral compass and social conscience. This boy will change the world.

Mom and Dad

Liam’s citizenship ceremony

Sometimes I wonder if maybe parents as awesome as mine are actually the exception. No matter what I do, whom I love, or where I go, my parents support, help, love, smile, and encourage. Really, there can’t be better parents out there.

Ireland

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If you didn’t already know this one… But seriously. Who could NOT love it?

My Irish Family

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Liam’s family has always made me feel like I’m one of them, from the very first moment I met them. I’m so blessed to have them in my life and cherish the time we get to spend together.

Melissa Fox

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My co-author, editor, and dear friend holds the mirror up, even when she knows I won’t like what I see. I trust her with my work, my fears, and my dreams.

Swear and Shake

Unpretentious folk rock created and performed by some of the nicest people on the planet? One of the sweetest, sultriest, strongest female voices in music? It all adds up to joy, people.

Hurley

Hurley

Man, he’s cute.

Heyrocco

Just listen.

Luna and Rosie

Luna and Rosie

Our sweet girls have tried so hard to give the dog a chance. They had the house to themselves for years, so I don’t blame them that they haven’t yet figured out how to love him as much as we do.

Allie

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We have our differences even now, but no one makes me laugh like she does.

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Maybe the lights of Pigeon Forge are about as tacky as Vegas, but oh man, the surrounding mountains hold a treasure of memories. Even the thought of fall and winter in the Smokies makes me smile.

Hurling

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Who knew I’d enjoy a sport so much? Not only am I developing a connection with Liam’s home and heritage, but I’ve also made some amazing new friends.

Eva

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I can’t even put into words what this girl means to me. She’s on the other side of the world, so time zones are always weird. Luckily, I’m up early and she’s up late, so we still get plenty of time to talk every day.

Writing

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This one’s probably obvious.

Christmas

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Unapologetically put my tree up as early as I can get away with every year. I also start making Christmas music playlists sometime in November. Make fun if you like. I don’t care.

Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes

Who could listen to these guys and not dance? Also, they’re just super nice. (As a side note, their bass player, Marshall, took the photos that appear on the cover of my latest book.)

Niki

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Somehow, this girl makes even the most outrageous disasters something to laugh at. Anyone who can turn tears to laughter in a split second is someone I need in my life.

Coffee

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Personally, I like the flavored stuff, but Liam hates when I run those through is coffee maker, so we have two. Best I ever had? Red Velvet.

Flats

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After a leg injury, all my cute heels got thrown out and I adopted flats. I love them. I wear them everywhere. I even sometimes play hurling in them.

Sleeping with a box fan

I even lured Liam over to the dark side. I also move it around the house with me so I have that hum even when I’m working.

Driving

This is especially important to me. My dad raised me with a healthy respect for fun cars, but after my car accident, just sitting in one made me car sick. I’ve managed to find my joy again behind the wheel, even if I’m a lot more conscientious and careful now.

Tiff

Tiff

If I had a long lost twin but then found again, she’d be it.

Watching Will and Liam together

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When Tiff’s husband and Liam get together, it’s like watching The Hangover.

Craft beer

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Just keep your IPA, please.

Harry Potter

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I dare you to defy me on this one.

Irish chocolate

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It’s just better than American chocolate. If you don’t believe me, try it.

Hoodies

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They’re like wearing a warm, cozy, loving hug.

Steph

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Is there anyone sweeter in the world? We don’t talk much, but when we do, I’m smiling the whole damn time.

My work

I’m so lucky to say this. Believe it or not, I enjoy my work. Mostly, I write blogs about ecommerce and inbound marketing for HubSpot, but sometimes I get to ghostwrite a blog or two about Nashville real estate. The fact that I do all these things in my pajamas…well, who could be so lucky?

Fireplaces—with fires in them

We have three in our house and none of them work. I’ve made it my mission to make at least one of them a functioning fireplace, but until then, the fire pit outside holds some pretty big bonfires.

Pedicures

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Once a month, like clockwork, with my friend Kristie. Except for a random lunch, we really don’t see each other unless there’s a chair massage and a pedicure involved, so I’ve really grown to cherish the pampering and friendship.

Pumpkin or Cinnamon Crunch Scones

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Drooooooooool.

My family

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I’ve always been quite close to my extended family. When Allie and I were kids, we’d stay weekends and summers with Grandmother or aunts and uncles. My grandfather took us on road trips—most famously the cross-country trip to California for graduation. I even count some of my cousins as my closest friends. I’m fortunate to have such a tight-knit family, and just thinking about any one of them makes me smile.

Snow

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Sure, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s just so pretty. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m programmed to pray for it after only two years of teaching high school. Snow days made me happier when I was a teacher than they ever did when I was a student.

The ocean

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My attachment to the ocean probably stems from our whole-family vacations when I was a little girl. Still, even without that, could anything match the joy of warm sand between your toes?

Karaoke

I relish the chance to grab a mic and wail for a bit. Twin Kegs is my karaoke joint of choice. It’s where everybody knows my name. (I have no video of me singing karaoke, but this is me singing with the Corbin High School Jazz Band starting at 14:30.)

Katie Marcario

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This dollface makes me laugh even when the most annoying, irritating, and frustrating things have just pissed me off. When steam’s coming out my ears, I hit her up first because I know she’ll make me smile.

‘NSync

Don’t you judge me.

Liam

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Finally, but definitely not last, there’s Liam. Dear God, this man just makes everything better. Everything. When I’m sad, he holds me. When I’m angry, he soothes me. When I’m laughing, he’s making me do it. None of the things before could mean quite so much without my ability to share them with him.

What I’m Thankful For

227673_195511470594043_1596806289_nA kid always looks up to her older cousins. You, Jeff, Meredith, Todd… You were all worthy of that adoration, even if you liked to tease me every chance you got. I remember talking to you in Doug and Sandy’s front yard so many years ago—probably thirty, if I admit my age. You laughed at the way I said your name, with two syllables instead of one.

“Mahk,” you said.

“Mah-eek,” I replied.

So I liked diphthongs, even at the age of five. You never let me forget it.

We all used to go to the beach every summer. We’d load up the cars with everyone in tow: Grandmother, Kay, your mom and Bob, Jeff, Doug and Debbie, Darren, my sister, Matt and Brit, my parents. Vacation was a family affair, and the memories live on, even if the group trips didn’t.

I remember how you and Doug made me laugh until I shot my drink out my nose every time. I wasn’t afraid to be loud around you. I wasn’t afraid to be silly around you. With you, I could be myself and accept the teasing because you made me feel like I belonged.

You and Jeff introduced me to Star Wars. I hated it. Thought it was the most boring movie ever made. I love it now, but I never told you. I never told you that every time I watch it, I think of you and Jeff. I always will.

My first time fishing was with you and Shae. I don’t even know if Edgar and Wilma’s pond had fish in it. Probably not, or I never would have gone swimming there. Still, you baited my hook and showed me how to cast the line. I don’t remember how to do it anymore, but I do remember how patient you were.

Even as a kid, I knew what you and Shae had was special. I remember thinking you’d get married someday. I remember thinking you’d picked a really good one, because I could be myself around her, too. You must have been high school sweethearts, but I was too young to recognize the rarity of your relationship. All I knew was that your love was real, and she was beautiful, and you were lucky.

You left behind two beautiful girls—smart, clever, funny, just like their mom and dad. I don’t know them as well as I knew you, but I know they’re special. I know they’re strong.

I’m thankful for one thing above all others this year: that I knew you. That I was blessed enough to call you family. That I’ll remember your huge, infectious laugh. As long as we hold these things in our hearts, you’ll be with us forever.

Welcome to the World, Brena!

When life is crazy and sad things happen, we often get bogged down in the muck and forget how to smile. Beauty still happens all around – like last night, when my niece Brena was born. Of course, her Aunt Jen and Uncle Liam are prepared to spoil her rotten.

Welcome to the world, Little One.