Friday, September 26, 2014

The Way They Speak!?!?!

I grew up in a bi-lingual household and lived in South America from the age of six months to two-and-a-half years old—english, varieties of spanish (castilian, latin american), spanglish, and broken english are all part of my ear, my life, and my experience on this planet. They all feel like home, and they've all contributed to how I perceive the world, and how I voice how I perceive the world.

In high school, I studied Latin, root of the Romance languages. I’ve dabbled in the study of Italian and French. My maternal grandmother was fluent in German, and I would often randomly ask her: Say something in German, grandma. I didn’t care what she said, I just wanted to hear that other language so different sounding from my native tongue(s). I’ve always loved music, and wrote songs for over a decade.

Language and words are my playground.

This is a mural sold by

The sound, the rhythm. How it stops. Starts… and flows. My ears are always alert for another way of using words.

In my twenties, I immersed myself in the works produced by academic and radical feminists: Betty Friedan, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin. They espoused a different way of viewing the world, life, experience, the father god. Hip Hop, Rap, Texting, Twitter, we’re constantly tearing down the walls of formal expression.

Destruction for destruction’s sake? No, the purpose of all this breakdown is to cut closer to the bone, to excise that which is superfluous to expression, and thus increase the bonding and connectedness of shared human experience. Tear down those walls, I say:D

What about the novel? What about the novel as art?

Dare we mangle formal/accepted/traditional usage/rules on behalf of our characters?

My latest release, The Tree Hugger, employs a dialect. The kids in the Free Territories have grown up without the benefit of any formal education. Most days, survival is at the forefront of their minds. Where would they learn proper English? Why would they care?

I know, I know, phonetic dialect is UGH! No. Oh, please, no! And yet, I’ve had readers who have loved the dialect as much as the story.

I’m currently collaborating on a paranormal romance with an author whose first language isn’t English, it’s Filipino. It’s such an honor and opportunity to work with someone who lives on the other side of the globe and experience her way of seeing the world. Our main character is a nineteen-year-old witch with a best friend whose parents are of Hispanic descent. If you’ve ever been around someone with Latin blood you know: They’re often emphatic, passionate, and emotive, never flat. After working with Billie Limpin, I've discovered the same can be said about Filipinas!?!?! (What can I say? It's infectious:D) And it seems to us, when the two young women in Cupcakes & Kisses get together, one exclamation point just won’t do!?! It just doesn’t capture the volubility of their exchanges!?!?!

I know the pleasure I experience with playing with language and dialogue—including punctuation!?!—comes from my own verbal history and the verbal gymnastics I appreciate. It feels appropriate to bring this reality to my novels.

What about you? As an author, would you ever mangle the English language on behalf of a character? As a reader, would you be offended if an author did? Are rules made to be broken? Or when it comes to proper English in novels... are the rules inviolate?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cupcakes & Kisses Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Thank you to these awesome blogs for spreading the word about Cupcakes & Kisses!!

Please visit them to answer this question:
Who is your favorite witch in a book or TV series?
for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or ecopy of Cupcakes & Kisses
and to read a different excerpt about Glynna (and Ashton)!

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 18, 2014

ABOUT Cupcakes & Kisses:

One bite of her luscious cupcakes and you just might fall in love…

Nineteen-year-old Glynna Balcora’s super power is baking. A young witch, she’s lived her entire life tucked away in the quaint city of Spokane, WA with her domineering aunt and sweetheart of a grandmother. It’s not an ideal situation. Although Glynna loves her grandmother dearly, and treasures the special times they spend in their magical greenhouse, Glynna’s aunt keeps her niece on a tight leash using threats of vague enemies.

Since Glynna graduated from high school a few a months ago, her aunt’s be-home-before-dark curfew seems more ridiculous every day. It isn’t doing much for the young witch’s social life, either. With encouragement from her best friend, Glynna sneaks out one night to go to a bonfire party at the lake. There she has an unexpected encounter with Spokane’s most eligible bachelor, Ashton Bass. Glynna’s been crushing on Ashton since she was five years old. But when they share their first kiss, thunderstorms and lightning follow… and Glynna’s aunt realizes it’s time to tell the young witch the truth about who she really is.

Cupcakes & Kisses is the first book in a playful New Adult Romance trilogy…


My heart races as I’m drawn across the bakery. The mere sight of this guy makes me lose all my senses. I stumble a little and accidentally knock a few of my favorite pink pens off the display counter.

Really?! How can I stumble in flats?!

This is bad. Just bad.

Ashton to the rescue. He dives—dives!—to catch the silly pink projectiles flying through the air! Yes, silly and devious! They’ve sprung to life with a mind of their own and are determined to make me look like a klutz in front of the guy of my dreams!

Evil felt tips!

I can’t let them win.

I lunge forward to grab them myself, and an overwhelmingly awkward moment becomes even more awkward when my hand collides with his, I lose my balance, tilt forward, and Ashton has to grab my forearms to keep me from doing a face plant in his crotch.

Heat creeps up my face. Naughty pens!?! “Uhhh… s-sorry about that,” I say as I shift back onto my heels and… I forgot—I’m wearing a dress—not my skinny jeans. My knees are about a foot apart. I’m sure he can see my panties. I push myself forward, and my knees smack against the hardwood floor with a bang.

Ashton’s perfect features skew with concern. He still looks amazing. “Are you all right?” I pretend that I’m not going to have black and blue knees for the rest of the year. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” I wave my hand.

~ About the Authors ~ 
Heidi Garrett is the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. She's also the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

Heidi is collaborating with Billie Limpin to write The Magic Cupcake series, a special blend of magic, romance, and humor.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle. Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow.

Billie Limpin lives in the Philippines where the sun always shines and people always smile!

A  hopeless romantic inside and out, when Billie’s not swooning over a book boyfriend (which she often does!), you’ll probably catch her daydreaming (over a fictional character!). A reader by heart, and now a writer for the first time, she’s thrilled to put her daydreams into written words.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CBB Blog Tour: Avery by Charlotte McConaghy

In the mood for a romantic fantasy novel?

Avery_cover FINALAvery (The Chronicles of Kaya #1) by Charlotte McConaghy
The people of Kaya die in pairs. When one lover dies, the other does too. So it has been for thousands of years – until Ava.

For although her bondmate, Avery, has been murdered and Ava’s soul has been torn in two, she is the only one who has ever been strong enough to cling to life. Vowing revenge upon the barbarian queen of Pirenti, Ava's plan is interrupted when she is instead captured by the deadly prince of her enemies.

Prince Ambrose has been brought up to kill and hate. But when he takes charge of a strangely captivating Kayan prisoner and is forced to survive with her on a dangerous island, he must reconsider all he holds true . . .

In a violent country like Pirenti, where emotion is scorned as a weakness, can he find the strength to fight for the person he loves . . . even when she’s his vengeful enemy?

Avery is a sweeping, romantic fantasy novel about loss and identity, and finding the courage to love against all odds.

Now Available: THORNE (The Chronicles of Kaya #2)

About the Author:
Charlotte started writing her children’s fantasy series ‘The Strangers of Paragor’ as a teenager and has since gone on to publish five novels. After a Masters degree in Screenwriting she wrote ‘Avery’, the first in her adult fantasy series ‘The Chronicles of Kaya’, published by Random House. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, and has just released a new dystopian sci-fi novel called ‘Fury – Book One of The Cure’, published by Momentum.

IFB Book Blitz: Life Lived Twice by Sherrie Wouters

Life Lived Twice
Release date: June 6th 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Some promises are made to last forever ... What if you fell in love with a stranger ... but that stranger had come from your past, a past you never knew existed until the moment your eyes met? 

When Tess Winters locks eyes with a stranger at an airport bookstore, it ignites a feeling of passion somewhere deep inside her that she can't explain. Although the encounter is innocent and brief, the intensity of it lingers, leaving her overwhelmed by a yearning for the mystery man now consuming her every thought. 

Struggling to break the powerful hold he has over her heart, Tess starts to experience strange but familiar dreams...dreams from the turn of the twentieth century of the charming Mr Addison Taylor. 

As her dreams start to materialize into reality, and past and present begin to blur, Tess is forced to put the pieces of a forgotten time together, and soon discovers that love isn't the only thing that can find you after an eternity. Captivating, mysterious, and romantic, Life Lived Twice will leave you wondering whether love is so powerful it could last more than a lifetime.


By the time I’d examined his tanned calves, the masculinity of his skin was lingering in the air between us. He smelt sensational, and I found myself uncontrollably breathing in as I rose.
Now curious to see more, I kept going. But as I began to move, an odd sensation of warmth radiating from him came over me; it was almost like an invisible hand caressing my skin. My heart fluttered at the idea of it, and suddenly blood was rushing to all the wrong places as I felt an unexpected thrill of anticipation.

After tracing his body all the way up to his chest, my wandering eyes didn’t seem to want to stop, and they were soon up to his neck and following the stubble along his jaw, right up to his light brown hair. And then he spoke. The sound of his voice jolted me from my daydream and pulled my gaze to his.

“Addison!” I gasped as our eyes collided. From the moment the name left my lips, my eyes widened ... stared ... and became lost in his. As a rush of airy weightlessness floated me from the floor, suddenly everything felt more enhanced, more real, like something inside me had suddenly woken up. It was an intoxicating feeling and the longer I stood entranced, the further his beautiful blue eyes reached into mine. Somehow they were knocking on the door to my heart, stirring something so powerful it made me want to cry and laugh at the same time and, for a brief second, there was something in his eyes that made me feel complete.

Suddenly his brows squeezed then softened. “Ah ... um ... sorry about the electric shock.” He smiled. “But who’s Addison?”

My throat tightened as warmth flushed my cheeks. Who the hell was Addison?

Embarrassment pulled my eyes from his. “Oh,” I said, choking on my words, “Um ... ah ... no ... I don’t know anyone called Addison ... I mean, um ... ”

“Oh!” He smiled cheekily as he leaned towards me and whispered. “You sounded so convinced I was him ... I thought for a second I could be. I mean, if you wanted me to be.”

My face shot back to his, words jamming in my throat as I stared. Who was this guy, this stranger? In just a few seconds he’d turned my soul inside out, and now he was charming me with his words as well.

As his lips rose into a smile, I couldn’t help but smile back. But panic quickly returned to my constricted throat as that name re-entered my head. 

Suddenly aware of the warmth still creeping across my face, I managed to pull my eyes from his again and divert my gaze. Addison, Addison, who the hell was Addison? I couldn’t budge the name from my thoughts.

As I stood fidgeting, I could feel him staring, waiting for me to say something, anything. After taking a breath, I shifted my gaze and we locked eyes again as I spoke. “Um,” I said, swallowing hard, “I must be mistaken ... sorry.”

Sherrie WoutersAbout the Author
Sherrie Wouters is a thirty something flame haired chick who accidentally wrote a book and is now an author. A qualified Homeoeopath and Kinesiologist, Sherrie lives in country Victoria, Australia with her husband, and two daughters. She is currently working on the sequel to Life Lived Twice.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Enchanted Conversation

Enchanted Conversation is an amazing fairy tale blog/online magazine created and maintained by Kate Wolford, author of Beyond the Glass Slipper. I'm so excited that The Tree Hugger has been featured there! In the guest post I share how Magnolia' and Graham's relationship evolves from friendship, and how Magnolia's grandmother fills the roles of a different kind of fairy godmother!

CBB Cover Reveal: Henge (Le Fay Series) by Realm Lovejoy

I'm excited to share the cover reveal of Henge by Realm Lovejoy. Henge is a YA Fantasy that is a modern spin-off of the Arthurian legends featuring Morgan le Fay as the protagonist. It is due to release this fall. The cover art is by the author, Realm Lovejoy.


About the book:
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.

Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze.

About the Author:

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CBB Book Promotions Review Tour: Eleanor by Jason Gurley



Eleanor by Jason Gurley 
450 pages
Time is a river
1985. The death of Eleanor's twin sister tears her family apart. Her father blames her mother for the accident. When Eleanor's mother looks at her, she sees only the daughter she lost. Their wounded family crumbles under the weight of their shared grief.
1993. Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time... when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it's only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives... and something rips her out of time itself.
And on the other side, someone is waiting for her.

My Comments:

Not only is Eleanor a fantastic read, but it grapples successfully with several challenging themes:

1. How the breakdown of a family affects children.
2. The complexities inherent in a woman's decision to have or not have children.
3. And suicide. With Robin Williams recent passing, suicide has received more attention these days. One person commits suicide every 40 seconds.

Kudos to Jason Gurley for tackling these very human issues with such grace.

My Short & Sweet 5-star review:

Told largely through the eyes of a young girl, Eleanor provides a searing gaze into the the tragedies that have struck a family and darkened three generations of mother/daughter relationships. With added elements of time travel and dream worlds, the novel becomes something quite unique. There are so many beautifully written scenes, it was hard to put down. My absolute favorite parts were the Keeper and her shadow and the mystery that surrounds their world. Highly recommend.
About the Author:

Gurley_Jason_3 Jason Gurley is the author of the bestselling novel Greatfall as well as The Man Who Ended the World, the Movement trilogy and Eleanor, a novel thirteen years in the making. His short stories, including The Dark Age, The Caretaker, The Last Rail-Rider and others, appear in his collection Deep Breath Hold Tight: Stories About the End of Everything. He is work has appeared in a number of anthologies, among them David Gatewood's From the Indie Side and Synchronic and John Joseph Adams's Help Fund My Robot Army!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects. Jason is a designer by trade, and has designed book covers for Amazon Publishing, Subterranean Press, Prime Books and many independent authors, among them bestsellers Hugh Howey, Matthew Mather, Russell Blake, Michael Bunker, Ernie Lindsey and others. Jason lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

IFB Blog Tour: Garden of Ashes by Kate Cowan

Series: The Legend of Eden #2
Release date: September 1st 2014
Publisher: Anchor Group

Synopsis via Goodreads:
After four years as a prisoner in her parents' attic, hidden away from the Catchers, Eden never dreamt the very people she was hiding from would be the beginning of such impossible things. She's found freedom on the island like she never imagined.

Eden is a sorcerer, with the power of the world in her fingertips. She is determined to never be helpless like she once was, and spends every minute of her spare time training to fight back. As she discovers more of her own power, she and her friends continue to uncover the secrets of the Council. Deadly secrets, hinting at something far larger than the island and the Catchers. Before they can find out exactly what the Council is hiding, Eden's magic begins to spiral out of control, and she loses it for just a second. Just half of a second, and it's enough to change everything.

Suddenly, lives are put at stake, and Eden and her friends must do something no one else has ever dared. They have to escape the island, or they have to die trying.

Kate Cowan is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn't discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different. Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn't writing, she's drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.