Lessons My Pappaw Taught Me

Joe T. McBayWhen I was seventeen years old, my grandfather taught me my greatest life lesson. We were traveling across the country from East Tennessee to San Francisco as a part of my graduation present. The trip included a full-size conversion van and my sister. Perhaps not every seventeen-year-old’s dream, but to me, it was an adventure.

That summer, I was crazy about the Beatles and Doc Holliday—also probably not something most kids my age would have said. I jumped in that van with no real understanding of what I was about to experience. Allie and I packed a bunch of books to keep us occupied in between those funny roadside attractions. Dean Koontz and Stephen King were the authors of choice, because back then I was too young to know what real fear is.

We devoured those books between Knoxville and Somewhere-in-Oklahoma. A quick Google search tells me we were in Oklahoma City, because I know for sure we stopped at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Then, the next day, we stopped at Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas. Guys, this museum is located on Wyatt Earp Boulevard.


I spent the whole day reading all the little tidbits about Wyatt Earp and DOC HOLLIDAY. So enraptured was I that my grandfather had to hustle me along before the whole place shut down for the evening. Then, we went back to the hotel room where I watched A Hard Day’s Night, which just happened to be on TV. Three days into the trip, and I was already in Heaven.

Then we crossed into Colorado, and I found myself supremely unimpressed. Where were the majestic mountains? Where were the snow-capped peaks? Flat, boring, bleh. I didn’t think anything could get better until we actually reached California, so out came the books again. About halfway through Colorado, I learned my lesson.

“Would you get your faces out of those damn books and look around? You’re missing everything!”

Heads snapped up, eyes cut toward the windows, and oh… He was right. In the distance, across a field of wildflowers, stretched a lake so clear and peaceful. Reflected in that lake were the snow-capped peaks I’d so desperately hoped to see. The sight still stands as one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life. His harsh words snapped the shutter on the camera in my brain, and I’ll never, ever forget that photograph. Without him, I’d have missed it.

Without him, I’d have missed the Grand Canyon. I’d have missed the chance to stand in four states at one time. I’d have missed the Royal Gorge, the snowball fight in the last week of July, the beauty of Highway 1, shopping at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, wandering the streets of Silverton in Colorado, the record shop of Haight and Ashbury, looking over Hoover Dam, and shouting over the music to each other in the Hard Rock Café.

I’d have missed everything on that trip, and likely a lot of things since. Instead, he reminded me to keep my head up, to see the beauty in the mundane, to travel the world, to find joy each day, and to take every chance that comes my way.

I said goodbye to my Pappaw on Friday. Tomorrow, he’ll be laid to rest next to my Nana in Chattanooga. My world won’t be the same without him, but he left me with a lesson I’ve carried half my life. And now, without him, I won’t miss a thing.







If You Can’t Be Irish…

Be Irish for a Weekend

ireland immersion weekendIf you don’t know by now that my husband is Irish, well… Hi, and welcome to my blog. It’s nice to meet you. There, now that we’ve got that first meeting out of the way, the second order of business is that my wonderful—if not blog-fodder—husband is from the land of leprechauns (and Guinness and Blarney Stones and U2 and probably a bunch of other things you didn’t know were Irish). As an American resident for nearly ten years and citizen for three (his American birthday is coming up pretty soon), Liam’s certainly embraced all our country has to offer. Still, there are times when I can see he longs for home.

To combat the homesickness, we visit a few local places throughout the year to get some Irish grub. McNamara’s has always been our go-to for a full Irish breakfast—or a “fry” as the Irish might say it—and we can find Barry’s tea at World Market. Overpriced, sure, but Irish nonetheless. We’re the first to admit that, while we may have found a small community of friends interested in Irish culture, it’s tough to find true Irish experiences in Nashville. We play hurling (or camogie for the girls), we go all out for St. Patrick’s Day (and even St. Practice Day, which takes place at Kavanagh’s Pub this weekend), and we chase people down for a chat if we hear even the slightest bit of an Irish accent.

So, when we met Eilis Crean from Roscommon, we were over the moon. Real Irish! Right here in Nashville! (To be fair, Tom, the owner of Kavanagh’s, is also Irish, but Liam tries to tell people Dublin doesn’t count.) And Eilis is, as it turns out, a master of the East Galway style of music, which she plays on fiddle. Eilis also used her considerable moxie to begin an organization called The Irish Gift, which preserves not only the music for fiddle, but also for voice, flute, bodhran, and uilleann pipes. If that weren’t enough, she also organizes a large Ireland Immersion Weekend every year. Where we were last year when this was all going on, I’ll never know.

Anyway, the point of it is, The Irish Gift is gearing up for this year’s Ireland Immersion Weekend. There will be music, food, drink, and lots of Irish people about. Some legendary musicians will offer master classes in the East Galway style of music. Lessons on Gaelic Irish will also be available. Simply put, the whole weekend will be like a small trip to Ireland without leaving Nashville. Save money on a plane ticket!

If you’re excited (we really, really are), you can learn more about it on their website. At the moment, The Irish Gift is conducting a fundraiser over at Indiegogo, too. To be honest, they’ll need a lot of help raising enough money for those plane tickets.

What? Plane tickets? Yep. To keep your feet firmly in Nashville for this event, The Irish Gift must bring over actual Irish people for the festival. You can learn all about the musicians on the Indiegogo page, and let me tell you, the credentials are really impressive. I’m already set for a weekend filled with Irish breakfasts, brown bread, soda bread, Irish salmon, shepherd’s pie (the real stuff and not the lazy way I make it), and good drink. And speaking of drink, Liam will be brewing a batch or two of beer for the event.

If you’re in Nashville, this might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. If you’re not in Nashville, you won’t be the only people to travel thousands of miles to get here. There will be guests from all over the world here for the weekend. Go check it out. Let’s all be Irish for a weekend.

photo credit: eamoncurry123 via photopin cc

Going Under Already Ranking on Amazon!

You guys are the best! When I woke this morning, I saw Going Under (The Oracles of St. Ambrose) hit two bestseller lists on Amazon for Kindle. Thank you so much for all the support and for spreading the word.

#16 Children’s Mystery and Supernatural

Going Under Jennifer M. Barry bestseller

#18 Children’s Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

Going Under Jennifer M. Barry bestseller

*Trumpet Blast* It’s Here!

Going Under (The Oracles of St. Ambrose) Now Available!

The Kindle version of Going Under is now available on Amazon!

Not sure what else to say…

Go here to check it out and then come dance with me!

Oh, and a huge thanks to all those who read Going Under before it was available to buy. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’d be so kind as so leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or maybe tell your friends, I’d be so grateful.

I couldn’t do this without any of you.

teen paranormal mystery jennifer m. barry

Fun News of the “FINALLY” Sort!

Announcing The Oracles of St. Ambrose: Going Under

Hey, I’m fist-pumping, even if you’re not.

There’ve been so many setbacks, I can’t even name them all. You’re all still patiently waiting for The Morning Star (which will have its own FINALLY moment very soon), but in the meantime, you can sink your teeth into The Oracles of St. Ambrose: Going Under. This fun teen paranormal mystery is pretty much my pride and joy (for the moment.) I thought it would never arrive, especially after a mishap with champagne and the laptop had me convinced I’d never recover all my files. Guys, back up yo’ stuff. You’d think I’d learn my lesson after pushing back Morning Star due to laptop theft. I did not.

I digress. I ramble when I’m excited.

Before I share the trailer, I have some people I must thank. You’ll see the cover and some character shots, all of which are original. These are the work of Marshall Skinner – bass player for Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes, fantastic photographer, and all-around nice guy. Marshall took time out of his busy schedule last summer to do the shots (before the epic champagne disaster) and has probably been wondering what on earth happened to those photos ever since. Well, here they are!

I must also thank Nathan Merli of Heyrocco for agreeing to pose as the main character, even if a flat tire prevented him from doing so. His willingness to help should not go unnoticed. Susan Hisey features as Natalie, our snarky writer, and she saved the day by bringing along Greg Breal to fill in for Nathan. Greg was so perfect as the lead, I simply couldn’t stop staring. It was like he walked right out of my imagination! Finally, Bryan is portrayed by Christopher Gillespie, and I think you’ll agree he’s absolutely perfect for the job. His parents Tommy and Tracy were kind enough to allow him to sit in.

Then, there’s French Camp, whose song is so unbelievably perfect, I just can’t stand it. Owen, the lead singer and songwriter, has always been incredibly generous by allowing me to showcase his music in book trailers. I hope you’ll take a moment to seek out their other work.

And now, with a release date of August 24, I give you the trailer for Going Under, the first in The Oracles of St. Andrews series.

What the Heck is Hurling?

The Irish National Sport—No, Not That One

For the past few months, much of my free time has been spent with the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club. If you don’t know by now that Liam is from Ireland, here’s the announcement. He received an invitation in April to join the new hurling club here and was immediately overcome with excitement. I was aware of hurling and had a pretty good idea of how the game is played, but everyone I’ve met since then has asked one of two questions: “What the heck is hurling?” or “Is that the game on ice with the broom and stuff?”

So What Is It?

To answer your questions, it’s the Irish national sport, and there is no ice in sight. You might be thinking of “curling,” and our neighbors to the north enjoy that one. It also does not involve drinking until you throw up. It is, in fact, the most intense game I’ve ever seen. A mix between lacrosse and field hockey without pads and with a lot of Irish grit, the game requires some serious fortitude and an amazing set of lungs. The stick used is called a hurley (also now the name of our new puppy. We’re hardcore), and the ball is a sliotar (it’s Gaelic. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it. Try “schlither”).

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club

The team here in Nashville is small but growing. Last week, we all traveled to St. Louis for a tournament and had to borrow players from other teams to have a full squad. We see new people in and out each week, so I don’t think it will be long before we have our own full club…and then some. John Watson, a sculptor on the faculty at Belmont University, is our fearless leader, along with his wife, Anji, who is a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. The rest of the club is made up of other Nashville professionals: optometrists, web designers, teachers, and marketers. We’ve also been blessed with a couple from County Down in Northern Ireland for the summer.

I don’t actually play yet. I hit the ball around on Thursday nights for the informal practice, but the training on Sunday mornings is too intense for my leg. I hope to slowly build up some more strength in my knee again so I can join the girls’ team for camogie next year in St. Louis.

So, aside from working, this is what I’ve been up to. I thought I’d share our new obsession with you and show some photos of the club and the tournament. If you’re interested in learning more about hurling, do a quick search for your city. You might be surprised to find a club already in place. I know for sure you can join clubs here in Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, and New York City.

In addition to fun, fun, fun athletics, I’ve met some of the nicest, funniest, and most encouraging people here with the Nashville club. I can’t wait to see where this all goes!





Nashville Irish community




Blogger Book Fair: Welcome Allison Blanchard

Forget Me Not by Allison Blanchard


“Blanchard creates a cinematic experience for the readers with her descriptive words and precise details.”

— 5 out of 5 star Amazon Review

“I read the very first line and was hooked until the very last line! It’s a great story line filled with great and relatable characters! I found myself immersed in the world of Great Falls! I am anxiously waiting the 2nd book!”

—5 out of 5 star Amazon Review

“A beautiful tender love story that kept me wanting to read more. A gorgeous hero in Cole, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Adeline had a difficult life and is swept away by the unexpected interest from the beautiful new boy at school from the Little Shell Reservation, but Cole has a deep secret that stems back into his tribe, the Chippewa’s, history. Drawn to each other, Adeline tries to unravel the mystery while Cole tries to protect her from it….full marks for Allison Blanchard’s debut novel.”

- Marianne Curley, Author of the Guardians of Time Trilogy, Hidden, and Old Magic.

“The mythology Blanchard wove through Forget Me Not was definitely my favorite part. The Native American legends she constructed were beautifully written and tugged you deeper and deeper into the story…If you’re a fan of shape shifters and paranormal romance I highly suggest Forget Me Not. With its unique storyline it’s sure to drag you in and not let go until the very last page.”

 - Pretty In Fiction Blog

Full Review Here

Blogger Book Fair Allison Blanchard

“Forget Me Not: Book One in the Forget Me Not Trilogy”

“Cole Dyami is a mysterious boy with a dangerous secret. Adeline Jasely is a typical teenage girl. Living in the seemingly normal small town of Great Falls Montana, Adeline is confronted with everyday teenage problems by a not so normal beautiful boy. As Adeline and Cole’s worlds collide, the line between illusion and reality is blurred. According to a tribal legend, Adeline and Cole are no longer two friends, but two pieces in a complicated mystery. Suddenly, Adeline finds herself in a world she never knew existed. Along side Cole, she attempts to unravel the mysteries of the small Chippewa tribe in order to not only find out who Cole Dyami truly is, but who she is as well. As Cole and Adeline begin to uncover the secrets behind the legends of the Chippewa tribe, illusion slowly unravels into reality and friendship gradually melts into a mutual need of survival.”

Buy Yours Now:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Paperback (Createspace link)

Add it on Goodreads

Coming This Year:

“Morning Glory: Book Two in the Forget Me Not Trilogy”

This war is far from over. This war is only the beginning.

For Adeline Jasely, the threat of both her life and the lives of those she loves is only getting greater as she delves deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Chippewa tribe. As she falls more in love with Cole, she must make a choice: stand up and fight for what is right or wait for the next person she loves to be taken away.

Book Two in the Forget Me Not TrilogyMorning Glory continues the saga of Adeline and Cole, their newfound love, and the threat of those who wish to end it all.

Will Adeline grow stronger under the threat of more war and bloodshed or will she be unable to fight for those who need her?

Cover Reveal Coming Soon!

Blogger Book Fair Allison Blanchard

About Allison Blanchard

Allison Blanchard is currently a student at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia where she is pursuing her bachelor degrees in English Creative Writing and French. She is an active sister in Sigma Alpha Omega where she continues to grow as a woman in Christ. She writes everyday, drinks too much coffee, and is looking forward to the next adventure her characters will take her.

Connect with Allison Blanchard


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Blogger Book Fair: Welcome Cindy Young-Turner

A Few Moments with Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Cindy Young-Turner

blogger book fair cindy young-turnerAs my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”

Thief of Hope is a fantasy novel that features a pickpocket whose life becomes entangled with the commoners’ fight against an oppressive society, a would-be king’s bid for the throne, and the strange and dangerous magic of the faery folk.

Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?  Can you tell us about it?

Um, I think the first book I ever wrote was when I was about 10. It was a mash-up of Star Wars and GIJoe and my own ideas (now you’d call it fan fiction). It was hand printed on three ring notebook paper because that was back in the dark ages before computers. I don’t remember much about the story, only that there was a kid and his family and something about saving the country from the bad guys.

Do you prefer plaid or stripes?


Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?

My book was published by a small independent publisher (Crescent Moon Press). Of course I wanted to land one of the big ones, but things just didn’t work out that way and I’m quite happy with my publisher. There are downsides, like not being able to get my book in bookstores, but I think I have a lot more author support than I’d get at a larger publisher, plus we have a really supportive community of authors.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I’m working on Thief of Destiny, which is a sequel to Thief of Hope.

Do you have any rituals before writing?  Music or silence?  Coffee or tea?  Twizzlers or M&Ms?

I like writing with music. No snacks because they are too distracting and messy, but in fall and winter I do like a nice cup of tea. Right now it’s too horrendously hot to even think about tea.

Have you ever based a character on someone you know?

Not specifically, but a lot of my characters have an element or two of people I know. Or of myself.

What color is your umbrella?

Black with a white pattern.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I could never choose just one! I love J.R.R. Tolkien of course, who is really the master of fantasy, and another choice is Ray Bradbury because I love his writing style. His use of language was brilliant. 

What was the last book you read?

I just finished Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, which is book 5 of the Dark Tower series. I can’t believe I’ve never read the series before. I’m loving it and trying very hard not to read any spoilers.

Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research?  Or do you make up entire settings in your head?

Well, my book is fantasy so sadly I can’t visit any of the places I’ve written about. Wish I could! Some of them, at least. I did partly visualize some of the town of Last Hope based on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with its wonderful and sometimes creepy medieval streets.

After the last word is written, then what?  Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over?  Do you begin query letters immediately?

I have two great critique groups who help me get the book into shape, along the way and afterward.

What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?

“Not with haste” by Mumford and Sons. I love all of their songs but this one in particular makes me think of my book.

Where can people find your book?

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Can we read a little excerpt?


Excerpt from Thief of Hope

The shuffling footsteps faded, and the whispers trailed away, replaced by the chirping of crickets. Sydney scanned the tall trees. The captain had said wizards had been executed here. Somehow she knew an unknown and sinister presence remained in this accursed place.

She yanked on the ropes binding her until her wrists were raw and bleeding. Her heart pounded in her ears, and a bone-chilling stillness spread across the forest. She gazed up at the bare limbs above her.

I can’t die like this.

Her breath grew shallow, and tears blurred her vision. She turned her head, the tree bark rough against her cheek. The reek of decomposing leaves permeated the air. The stench of death.

Shadows lengthened in the fading sunlight. Orange and violet streaked the sky. The air grew colder. Her stomach ached, and her tongue felt thick in her mouth. Defeated, she slumped against the tree, unable to contemplate a slow and painful death by starvation or exposure.

Dusk arrived too quickly. An eerie howl echoed. Her head snapped up, all her senses alert. The beasts would be hungrier this time of year. Not for a girl all skin and bones. She hoped. Terror seized her. In desperation, she strained against the blood-slicked ropes.

Her aching muscles tensed at the soft rustle of leaves. In the deepening shadows, a four-legged shape moved back and forth inside the tree line. When the beast crouched, a pair of bright yellow eyes gleamed from the shadows.

At least Edgar had died for his beliefs. If only she could have done things differently. If only she’d been strong enough to follow his example. Edgar had taught her never to cry, and now his voice resonated in her mind: “You must be strong to survive in this world, Sydney. I have faith you’ll make the right choices.”

“You were wrong, Edgar,” she whispered. “I couldn’t be what you wanted.”

Warm tears slid over her cheeks. The rustling grew louder. She closed her eyes, hoping for a quick end.

“You’re in quite a predicament, aren’t you?”

Sydney’s eyes flew open. An elderly man stood at the edge of the tree line. A dark blue cloak, mud-splattered and frayed at the edges, draped his medium build. His shoulder-length white hair and unkempt beard were matted with sticks and leaves. Bright blue eyes and a thin nose lent grace to his craggy countenance.

“It’s hardly polite to stare with one’s mouth open,” he said. Though deep, his voice was crisp and clear. His smile broadened, and he winked at her. “It also invites flies.”

Her gaze darted to where the wolf had been. It was gone. She wiped the tears from her face on her shoulder. “Who the hell are you?” Her voice was as raw as her wrists.

The lines on his face furrowed. He moved closer. “Hmmm, I expected a more welcoming greeting from you, Sydney.”

“How’d you know my name?”

“I know many things. Knowing how to find you is among them, although I’d hoped we’d meet under different circumstances.”

Sydney studied him. The face, the eyes…. Something familiar, but she couldn’t figure out why. “How’d you get here?”

He chuckled and leaned on a long wooden staff. “We have much to discuss, my dear, but the forest is no place for conversation.” He crooked a finger in her direction. The ropes binding her dropped to the ground. She kicked at them with her feet. Magic. It had to be. The stranger moved, reaching for her.

“Don’t touch me.” She slid to the ground. Setting her teeth against the pain in her cramped leg muscles, she rubbed her calves through the thin fabric of her breeches.

She fingered the ropes at the base of the tree. Her muscles tensed. “What are you?”

“Why must I be anything? Perhaps I am merely an old man who has taken an interest in your welfare and saved you from certain death.”

A wizard.

About Cindy Young-Turner

Cindy Young-Turner has always been an avid reader and became fascinated by mythology and Arthurian legends at an early age. She quickly decided she enjoyed creating her own worlds and characters and set to work writing her own stories. She believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether our characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms.

Connect with Cindy


Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

About the Thief of Hope

blogger book fair thief of hopeSydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she’s sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.

After she’s rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic—long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor—still exists, and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.

But Sydney’s fear of the Guild, distrust of authority, and surprising connection to the Tuatha threaten Willem’s success. Can she untangle the strange threads that entwine her life not only to the fate of the kingdom, but also to Willem himself?

Amazon Ratings:

“Thief of Hope is NOT written like a typical debut novel. The world is written perfectly, the scenery is beautiful, the characters are vivid and fresh, and the battle scenes had me holding my breath with anticipation and worry!”—justagirlgeek, 5 stars

“A lot of fantasies sort of gloss over some of the more unpleasant truths, but “Thief of Hope” told it like it really could be, and provided a great adventure in the process.”—K. Sozaeva, 5 stars


Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add it on Goodreads

Blogger Book Fair: Welcome EM Tippetts


Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn’t go away.

After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave. Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can’t fight fate.

He is what he is.

Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.

Author Q&A

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

1. I’m half Chinese; my father’s family immigrated from Shanghai in the 1940′s2. My father’s a glider pilot, so when I was a kid I spent a lot of weekends hanging around the airport and flying planes.

3. I’ve got more names than you can shake a stick at. I was born Emily Mary Mah and my Chinese family gave me the name Shi Yue. Then when I married my husband I got the last name, Tippetts, so I can do a lot of different pen names and still have them be my real name.

What book are you currently reading, and in what format?

Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, as an ebook. I’m going to serialize it for him so I’m reading to find the best places to break each episode.

Do you have a book that you read over and over?

The Bible and the Book of Mormon, but I assume you mean a novel. When I was a kid it was King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. Nowadays I never find time to re-read a book, though!

Is there a book you know you’ll never read?

The rest of the Twilight series. It just isn’t my kind of thing.

You’re deserted on an island. A genie appears and gives you six wishes. You can’t wish for more wishes, and you can’t wish to be home. You can only wish for three specific items and three people to have with you. What are your wishes?

A computer with magical internet access so I can keep writing. A study home to live in that won’t require a whole lot of maintenance. A boat and fishing equipment.

The people are easy. My husband and two boys!

If you could time travel, where would you go first and why?

To the future, past when I can expect to live naturally, simply because there’d be no other way for me to find out about it.

What are you currently working on, and when can we expect to see it for sale? (title if you have it and a synopsis)

The title is Break It Up and it’s a new adult romance. Kyra Armijo (whom some readers will know from my Someone Else’s Fairytale series) gets the chance to work on a documentary about the chart topping boy band, Triple Cross. As part of the job, she goes on tour with them in Europe where she strikes up a romance with one of the band members. Since she assumes it’s all an act on his part, she doesn’t bother to tell him about her racy past, which would destroy him if the tabloids found out. Things get awkward when she realizes he’s being sincere, and even more awkward when one of the other band members tries to compete for her attention.

Excerpt from Love in Darkness

“We have to break up,” I hear myself tell her. I’m standing on the rocky beach, my back to the crashing surf. In front of me is Madison, gazing up at me with pure pain in those ice blue eyes. Behind her is the rugged rock wall of the cliff face.Her hair is pulled back in a simple ponytail and the breeze stirs the wisps that frame her face. The air is cool, but not cold. “I know myself, all right?” I explain. “The moment you move on, I won’t be able to take it. So I’ve got to let you go.”

“Don’t do this.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Take it back. Please. Alex, I don’t want to break up.” Her eyes are wide, like clear, crystal pools.

“And I need you not to write to me,” I say.

“Why?” Now she claps both her hands over her nose and mouth as if to hold back pain or tears, or whatever it is shining from her gaze.

It takes every ounce of my control not to back down. I have to stop kidding myself and finish this. “Because, I don’t want to know the moment you move on. I just… I need you to give me space.”

“You’re going to Japan. That’s not enough space for you?”

“I’m sorry, all right.” I back away, stepping carefully on the rocky beach. “But it’s not like we were ever going to last.”

“Why not?”

That, I should think, is obvious. Because the two of us together makes no sense. She’s beautiful and popular and has guys lining up around the block for a chance to be with her. I’m a high school dropout with a criminal record and no future. She should be embarrassed to be with me. Eventually we’ll both have to grow up. At least I’ll have the memories.

As I turn away, I hear her scrabble behind me, then the rapid beat of her boots against the stony ground. “Alex, wait.” Her tone is anguished.

I set my jaw against the pain, like I’ve stitched my own heart with a silk thread and am now yanking it hard enough to tear the organ. I keep walking.

She grabs my hand, her supple fingers wrapping around my palm. “Stop.”

I stop, but I don’t turn.

It doesn’t matter because she darts around in front of me and puts one arm around my waist. The other hand she slides up my back to grasp my shoulder. Her soft curves fit against my body. It’s how she always holds me, and I can’t endure it this time. I bow my head and just let the tears fall.

“Alex,” she whispers, touching her forehead to mine, that soft breath against my lips. “Don’t, okay? You promised you’d never hurt me.”

At that I let out a sob. Forget saving face. She knows me for who I am anyway and now she’s wiping away my tears. “Listen,” she says, “you need me not to distract you from your mission, fine. But I’ll always be here for you, and when you come back, I’ll be waiting.” She strokes my cheek with the backs of her fingers and leans up to press her lips against mine.

I don’t want to kiss back, but at the same time, I can’t resist. She runs her fingers through my hair and the kiss goes on and on until I’ve got both arms wrapped tight around her and I’m drinking in her essence, liquid fire that pools in my core. I have to stop this.

But when I do, she doesn’t let me pull back. She leans in and looks me straight in the eye. “I’ll wait for you. I don’t care if you don’t believe me. Let’s not end things with a fight, okay? Let’s end it on a good note for now.”

“Goodbye, Madison.”

“Bye, Alex. For now.”

“I love you.” I don’t mean to say it, but it slips out, my whisper barely loud enough for me to hear it myself.

Madison’s chin snaps up. “What?”

I shake my head, willing her not to press me.


I start to pull away but she reels me back in, not by force, but with her gaze. Her eyes beg me not to leave. She puts one arm around my waist again and slides her other hand up my back. “It’ll be all right. Everything will be all right,” she says.

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About E.M. Tippetts

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. She is a former attorney with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and business law from UCLA. These days she lives in New Mexico – the place where she grew up – with her family.

She also designs book covers and formats paperbacks and ebooks for her company E.M. Tippetts Book Designs.

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Blogger Book Fair Summer 2013!

Meet Your Next Favorite New Author!

Blogger Book Fair is upon us again. I love to host new authors here on the blog so you guys might discover stories and worlds you might not otherwise have found. This week, Life in Words will host three fantastic ladies. I’ll ask my usual questions, and the authors will share excerpts of their current works.


EM Tippetts

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.

Her most recent pro publications have been her science fiction and fantasy short stories in magazines like Black Gate, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and the anthology, Shanghai Steam.

Get to know her beforehand by visiting her website, following her on Twitter, and adding her on Goodreads.


Cindy Young-Turner

Cindy Young-Turner has always been an avid reader and became fascinated by mythology and Arthurian legends at an early age. She quickly decided she enjoyed creating her own worlds and characters and set to work writing her own stories. She won her first writing contest at age twelve, a local contest calling for stories written in the style of Edgar Allan Poe.

Cindy believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms.

Some of her favorite authors/books include (and this is hardly an exhaustive list): JRR Tolkien, Ursula K LeGuin, Octavia Butler, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury, Diana Gabaldon, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne Rice (primarily the first three books of the vampire series), Neil Gaiman (especially the Sandman series and Neverwhere), Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist, of course, helped inspire her fascination with pickpockets), and the Harry Potter series.

Get to know her beforehand by visiting her website, following her on Twitter, and adding her on Goodreads.


Allison Blanchard

Allison knew God called her to be a writer when she was only twelve years old. At the time, she had no idea how God was going to use her gifts and radically change her life in the process. Allison was also twelve when her father was diagnosed with cancer.

It was a long two and a half year battle with cancer before Allison’s father, Preston, went home to be with the Lord. Allison was only fifteen and, like the rest of her family, was completely devastated.

Grief is not a condition, but a long process that never truly ends. Little did Allison know that God had a purpose in the midst of the pain and sorrow. A large part of her heart died on January 21, 2008. But on April 4, 2008, God brought that part back to life. “Forget Me Not” was born.

Now, Allison is blessed to be able to share her words with the world. It took four long years and countless rejections from literary agents and publishers before Forget-Me-Not was given its wings to fly. On April 6, 2012, Allison signed a contract with Martin Sisters Publishing, LLC and once again, God drastically transformed her life and continues to bless her beyond her wildest dreams.

Get to know her beforehand by visiting her website, following her on Twitter, and adding her on Goodreads.