YA 2017 Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt!  This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes!  At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt.  Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt.  There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all!  I am a part of the PINK TEAM — but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the pink team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 8th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Today, I am hosting Jennifer Eaton on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her.

While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book here!


Seventeen-year-old Jess’s dream is to graduate High School and get away from her dull military-brat existence. But racing for her life across New Jersey with a boy she hardly knows is not quite what she had in mind.

David is alone, injured, and lost in the woods. When a young girl stumbles across him, he places his trust, and his life, in her hands. Will she lead him to safety, or right into the hands of the men he is hiding from?

Fire in the Woods Cover

Fire in the Woods is one of those books where all the attention falls on one character, even though the story is told from another’s point of view.

I’ve been asked a few times, “What was David thinking?” So I thought it would be fun to feature a scene rewritten from David’s point of view.

So here we go!

This is the scene where Jess and David meet for the first time.

Swish thin

Forest Summer small

The leaves crunched as I slipped to the forest floor.

A strange sensation I would have liked to ponder, if I hadn’t just crash-landed on a hostile, alien world.

planes onlyAn airship howled overhead, but they didn’t see me. I’d won a few more minutes to rest.

Leaning back, I ran my fingers along my sore arm. The blue markings on my lavender skin caught the light from the planet’s sun. I couldn’t see anything wrong, but I wasn’t a doctor. I wasn’t much of anything except lost, injured, and alone.

What was I thinking, flying a mission so close to the surface? Of course the natives would detect me. I was a scientist, not a soldier, yet here I was, stranded and at the mercy of a primitive culture. Maybe I was every bit the disappointment my father believed me to be.

David CropSomething shifted the leaves in the distance.

Footsteps, coming closer. A native. I jumped to my feet and ran two steps, but a searing pain in my shoulder slapped me back to the forest floor.

The footsteps—closer.

I had no choice. I had to protect myself. I closed my eyes and reached out to the approaching being. A girl. Young.

Apparently my luck wasn’t changing. I’d never done well with girls on my own planet, let alone a strange, aggressive race. Still, I touched the recesses of her mind.

Her language: simple, easy to reconstruct. I pulled the information from her thoughts.

Arghhh! PictureThe footsteps stopped only inches from me and a scream echoed through the trees. The girl dropped to her knees behind the bushes, holding her head.

Had I done that to her? No matter. I needed to hide.

I reached further into her psyche, sorting her cognizance until an image formed—one that would comfort her … someone she could trust. She howled as I stole the image from her mind, and bit down into the implant in my jaw to trigger my transformation.

I clenched my teeth as I’d been trained to do, awaiting the pain of the exteriation process, hoping it wasn’t as bad as we’d been …

My body seized as agony shot through every cell in my body: a burning, piercing assault beyond my worst nightmares. I grabbed my head, holding myself together as my mind threatened to explode.

I screamed, and the girl leaned over the branches.

Syllables formed on her lips, but I couldn’t decipher them yet. I repeated the words she used as she screamed, hoping they would be enough to hold her back before…

David HandsThe pain ceased, as if I’d washed it away with cool running water. My hands, no longer lavender, but a strange, pinkish tan. I was no longer Erescopian. At least on the outside.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

The words, so odd sounding, and still completely un-discernible.

Another aircraft flew overhead. But they wouldn’t see me. They weren’t looking for a native.

The girl reached for me. “Are you hurt?”

Jess Crop 1I backed away. Her form, so strange—with long, flowing strands cascading down the sides of her face. I reached for my ear and found similar, shorter strands. How odd I must have looked.

“What’s your name?” Her words scrawled through my mind as I translated.

“Your name?” I repeated, stalling as I tried to find an answer.

“Yeah, you know. Your name.” She pointed to her chest. “I’m Jess. And you are?”

David Crop 1I sorted through her thoughts, and grasped a name appropriate for her world. “David?”

“Are you asking me or telling me?”

I smiled, relishing in the genuine, friendly nature of this creature. Odd, since this race had been deemed incapable of socialization or growth.

There must have been a mistake. But if there had been, it was a terrible one.


Jess & David Double base BASE ONLY coverFIRE IN THE WOODS is a YA scifi romance, available wherever books are sold.

I hope you enjoyed this little look into David’s mind.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play



About the Author:

Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her.

While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)

During infrequent excursions to her home planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.

Who knows where we’ll end up next?

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Courtney Brandt and more!  To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the pink team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, McKelle George!

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Courtney Brandt and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the pink team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, McKelle George!











How, Why and Where I Write.

Borrowed from the Man Repeller article over here. With some bonus and much related quotes from the original post below.

Where do you do most of your writing?

At my desk — specifically at my desktop.  When we moved to our villa in 2016, I had envisioned a different set up, but now, I love my little nook at the top of the stairs.  My desk has plenty of cute debris, including, but not limited to: a framed photo of a tattoo design I wrote into one of my books (and also have), a Baymax desk lamp, a USB powered fan, a tiny pot of Rosy Lips Vaseline, my quarter edited manuscript, no less than three notebooks, among other things.

What do you love to wear most when writing?

This is a super weird question (that seems weirdly specific to female authors), but fine — anything that’s comfortable.  In the Middle East, it’s always warm, so I’m probably wearing shots and a t-shirt most of the time (no socks).

What are you most specific about when doing creative work?

This is the original answer, but it so resonated with me, I thought I would publish it in its entirety.

The most important thing is that I feel alone, undisturbed. I used to say yes to lunches because they seem so quick and easy — an hour lunch and then back to work!  But I can’t do them anymore. No matter how early I wake, I wake with the knowledge than in three hours, four hours, five hours I’ll have to get ready and leave the house. Then the day is bisected.  I’m very indulgent and protective of my headspace; sometimes even a late dinner has to be canceled because I need the ability to leave my writing headspace exactly when I want to.  Sometimes that happens at 8:16 p.m. but an 8 o’ clock dinner means getting ready at 7:00 p.m.  It must sound so neurotic, but that’s how I am. I need a lot of time to be alone with my thoughts, as it often takes a long time for them to become interesting.

Regarding above, this situation plays into my absolutely requiring one day a week where I will not leave the house (even for groceries).  These are the days of the week where I get the most accomplished.  Something about the lack of interruption allows my brain to go through projects without pressure or anxiety.  Of course, in the past, I’ve been able to write almost anywhere, but now, to truly focus, I need my SPACE.  For example, this week, I am hyper guarding Tuesday, because the rest of the week will be busy (and mess with my work flow).  It’s not that I won’t get work done in these days, but my best work will definitely be Monday or Tuesday, which I am fiercely protective of.

What’s something that used to challenge you, but doesn’t anymore? What challenges you now?

Ironically, I think I’ve gone in reverse order.  I used to not have any trouble with motivation to finish projects and now I seem to struggle.  My motivation is never with the actual practice of writing (I have ideas for days…some that I might not get to for some years yet), but more with the finalization of a project. *coughs politely*  I have five novels and a novella that are waiting to be published.  Yes, two of them will get published (The Queen 2 & 3), but the other three?  I genuinely feel bad for them.  Will I ever find the inclination to dust these projects off and release them?  I have no idea.  What will it take for me to simply move on and get to a final draft?  I wish I knew.  Is it something I’m going to have to figure out for myself?  You bet.

Are you of the write-every-day or write-when-it-strikes ilk?

Write every day, as I have done almost every day for at least the past ten years.  Or, to be more honest, do something with writing every day.  Whether a blog post, a rough draft, or editing a manuscript, I’m pretty much involved with writing six days a week.

Best piece of writing advice you ever heard?

Put it away for awhile.  I love On Writing by Stephen King.  Although I had never formally thought of the process, when I read the book and the advice to ‘stick it in a drawer’ I thought ‘yes, exactly.’  As an author, I need space — room for the book to grow and for me to find distance.  It’s only then I can write myself notes like, ‘Is this where we want to start?’ and ‘Why does this not come as a shock to everyone?’ or ‘Not enough dialogue or action. Start over.’

Carry Me Home Release Day Party!

Carry Me Home Release Day Party!

To celebrate the release of her latest novel, Carry Me Home, author Jessica Therrien is hosting a HUUUGE BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK GIVEAWAY! The giveaway includes nearly 50 books, all from different authors. Keep scrolling for prize info and how to enter the giveaway.


PRIZE #1 (5 winners)
WINNERS of this prize will take home one of FIVE 10 Book Bundles.
*Each 10 book bundle is guaranteed to have at least 1 paperback book.

A signed hardcover of
by Jessica Therrien
A signed hardcover of
OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1)
by Jessica Therrien


Support an author by subscribing to their newsletter, liking them on Facebook or following their Twitter account. You can literally follow each author and EARN UP TO 45 CHANCES TO WIN!

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Real Talk: Is it time to go back to the real world?

I’ve been struggling with this thought for the past few weeks (yes, before I published The Queen).  And let’s go ahead and say, I’m WELL aware of the privilege in this post.  We are a household that can comfortably exist on one income — I understand this is not the case for everyone and that I am super fortunate to have even had the chance to my little experiment.

In case you weren’t aware, intentionally, I’ve been out of the traditional job force for the past year and a half.  In that time I’ve managed some successes — published a book, finished a trilogy, traveled, volunteered with K9 Friends, kept the house mainly in order, and did fairly well with food writing stuff.  Honestly, that’s about the sum total of my efforts.  For the above, as you might well imagine, I’ve been paid roughly less than a pittance.  Sure, a few bucks for some articles and not having to pay for meals while in Dubai has been great, but those things don’t actually contribute to the overall earnings of a household.  This is magnified by knowing others who I deeply respect and are in similar positions to mine and have managed to, you know, actually get paid.  And just so we’re clear, this is entirely my opinion — I have felt zero pressure from my wonderful husband for any of this, throughout the past 18 months.  He’s never once asked, “So, when are you going to start making money?”

As much as I dislike being around people (thank you, misophonia), I do enjoy making money (and, of course, spending it, especially in this political climate).  Essentially, I think the practical and rational side of myself is telling me, “You had a good try, but when can you admit that you’re not going to earn a living from writing?”  Man, that was a tough sentence to write.  The flip side of this coin is that I am actually good at work.  I leave organizations better than I found them.  I have a better than average work ethic, work longer hours than I’m ever paid for, and have put up with my fair share of shit over the years.  Spoiler alert, that’s everyone, I know.  Still, I have stellar recommendations.

So, I decided that the end of this year was my cut off before I started looking for work (although, knowing me, it will be sooner).

I am never going to give up writing, however, even as I get compliments on my work, these kind thoughts aren’t going to pay the bills.  I am part of numerous author groups and see the successes — goals that seem forever out of reach for me.  Maybe if the Amazon clusterfuck hadn’t happened, I might be in a different situation.  Maybe if I had planned a better release calendar for The Queen, or kept after Joe, I might have a bigger audience.  Maybe if I published more novels in a year (and yes, I have those books to publish).  Maybe if I hustled more.  Or maybe, my audience is never going to be large enough to support me.  Maybe I don’t write books for the masses.  Maybe I’ll just have this little side vanity project for my whole life and that will have to be enough.

It’s tough because anyone who knows me understands how much I hate to waste time.  Thus, what has this time ‘off’ been?  I was always going to write the books, so, it’s not as if they only came into existence because I wasn’t tied to a desk.  I suppose learning that you’re not meant to do the thing you thought your whole life was intended to be isn’t a waste of time, but it certainly doesn’t feel all that great.  Or maybe 18 months isn’t long enough to determine that fact.

Let’s see what the universe holds next for me.  As always, maybe ‘author’ is just one of the things that define me.  While I wanted it to be one of the main things, perhaps there is something else.

Research for the Queen of England: Coronation, A Reading List

Although this list is fairly documented on Goodreads (I’d love to have you follow me!), I thought a selection was worth sharing here.  And let’s just forget that there are still a TON of books in this category I have on my ‘to be read’ list (and will be referenced for the second and third installments in my series).  The below books were chosen for a number of reasons — the time period, the world building, a strong female protagonist, or straight up history.  Perhaps I liked how the pacing or supporting characters, or maybe I studied how my story might be different.  Anyway, if you like my Queen, I would definitely encourage you to read any of the following.

Parasol Protectorate (series by Gail Carriger)

Finishing School (series by Gail Carriger)

Rebel Mechanics (series by Shanna Swendon)

Stoker & Holmes (series by Colleen Gleason)

The Infernal Devices (series by Cassandra Clare)

Steel and Fire (series by Jordan Rivet)

Queen of the Tearling (series by Erika Johansen)

Steampunk Chronicles (series by Kady Cross)

Almost everything by Sarah Maas

My Lady Jane

Karen Memory

Six of Crows (both books)

The Iron Duke (and other works by Meljen)

A lot of Victoria biographies

My research was not only in books, I also included graphic novels, movies, and television:

The Crown


Lady Mechanika

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The Young Victoria