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Monday, June 24, 2013

New Summer Release, Freebies, and a Party

It's finally here! Happy summer to all of my Blogger followers. This will likely be my last post here at my BlogSpot site. It's been a great place to hang out, but in an effort to streamline my efforts, I've moved my main blog to my new website here. If you'd like to follow along and get monthly updates on where I am and what's happening with my writing life, stop by and subscribe to my page. In the meantime, I just had to tell you about some great news.

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, a YA dystopian trilogy, is now available. Join me in celebrating at my launch party on Tuesday, June 25th at the Secretsof7scribes blog where I'll be serving virtual drinks and hors d'oeuvres (recipes at least), and giving away prizes like a NOOK Simple Touch, signed copies of a few of my books, and a cool swag bag. I hope you'll stop in and say hi and enter to win! Contest ends midnight, June 30, 2013.

Here's a little more about my latest book.

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated U.S. in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.

Amazon

BN

Smashwords

Create Space (for print books)

If you haven't read WANING MOON, Book One in the trilogy, you can get it FREE this week on your Kindle from June 24-28th.

Here's the short blurb for WANING MOON. To read Chapter one, check it out on Wattpad.


In the year 2057, in a post-apocalyptic world where three quarters of the population has been wiped out by a global pandemic, and a polar shift threatens the remainder of earth’s inhabitants, sixteen-year-old genetically altered teen, Lily Carmichael, faces bigger challenges—escape capture by a rogue government agency, save her family, and avoid falling in love.





SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel is available for FREE on Smashwords, or you can read it on Wattpad. This story is about 50 pages (15,000 words) and gives you a look behind the scenes of who Zeph (Lily's younger brother) really is, and what it's like to be a thirteen-year-old with the ability to take life with just a touch. I hope you'll enjoy Lily and Zeph's journey. And here's to Will and Lily's blossoming romance!

Thanks for being such avid followers. I hope you'll stay with me at my new website and blog home, and keep tabs on my journey. If you want less frequent updates, but want to know about new releases and special promotions, consider subscribing to my Newsletter.

 Peace and Blessings to you all! PJ

Friday, May 24, 2013

A-MAY-ZING!

What a wild and crazy month it's been! I'm one month out from the release of WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael. June 24th is the big day.

Aside from all the last minute details of producing the best book for you, my readers, I'm planning my release promotions, blog tour, and all the infinity of details required to get this next show on the road. There are more moving parts in this publishing process than sending a space ship to the moon...at least it feels like it. But in the midst of chaos come some bright spots of encouragement. SAVAGE CINDERELLA has had a very good month! It won first place in the NERFA (National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards), and is a finalist in the Colorado Excellence in Romance Fiction contest. I'm awaiting final results. Incidentally, WANING MOON placed second in the NERFA contest!

SAVAGE CINDERELLA has also been nominated for a RONE Award from InD'tale magazine. I would so appreciate your vote if you've read and enjoyed the story. You do have to register to vote, but it's very simple and means no obligation for you. The site assures you won't be spammed. If you have a moment, I hope you'll stop by and vote between May 24-June 1st. My friend, Katy Lee, author of the inspirational romantic suspense, REAL VIRTUE has also been nominated and could use your vote, too. Thanks so much, everyone!

I'm also very happy to announce that HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is available on audio book through Amazon.com, audible.com, and I-Tunes.com. If you love audio books and would like to receive deals on your favorites, sign up for audible.com and get discounted prices on the audio books you love.


I think that's it for now. My website will likely be down for the next several days as my DH and I do some upgrading. I hope you'll stop in and visit me soon. I'll let you know when I'm back up and running! Have a great rest of your spring!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Brings a Bouquet of Books!

The Book Lover's Buffet Bouquet of Books Sale and contest is over, but in response to reader interest, I'd like to extend the .99 cent price deal on Heaven is for Heroes and Waning Moon through Mother's Day, May 12th. Sale ends at midnight! The winner of the $25 gift card is Tracey! Congrats, and thanks for participating. Other winners will be announced on the Book Lovers Buffet site at http://bookloversbuffetdotcom.wordpress.net.

My SALE continues!

WANING MOON
and HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES will be available for .99 cents for one more week through Mother's Day.

For the rest of the month, I'll be busy putting the finishing touches on Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, WESTERN DESERT

I'd love for you to JOIN my site by clicking the "join" button to the right so I can keep you updated on contests and upcoming book releases.

Thanks so much for stopping by and participating in this incredible sale! Have a wonderful Spring...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prize winners and more contests

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!

The winner of the audio book copy of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is Shadow Kohler. Congratulations! I'll send out the audio book as soon as I have them.



And speaking of cool prizes, check out my friend Jordan K. Rose’s contest badge on the upper right hand side of this page. She’s asking for help naming her first book in the Eva Prim series. The winner will receive an ARC (advanced reader copy) and acknowledgement in the book! The contest runs from April 1-30th, winner to be announced May 1st on her site. Just click on the badge and it will take you to Jordan's contest page. Good luck everyone!

I would also love some help with the title for my third book in the Dystopian trilogy, The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael. These are my current top three picks.
1) Turning Tides
2) Storm Surge
3) Winter's Sun

I'd love to hear which one you like best, or if you have an idea for something better. I'm all ears! Since so many of my contest winners are loving SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel to WANING MOON, if you leave a comment with a suggestion for a title for Book Three, and a valid e-mail address, I'll send you an e-copy.

WANING MOON is available for 2.99 through Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords


Look for WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the trilogy, June 24th!


PJ

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Mayhem


I’m so happy to be welcoming Spring this year. I missed my annual sojourn to the beach for my birthday since February didn’t offer much respite from the cold and cloudy days of winter. The good news is that I have a feeling we are in for a warm-up soon. I’m already hearing the birds chirping out their springtime song. March is going to be another busy month for me, but one that offers lots of exciting and fun projects.

Here’s what’s on the agenda:

I completed the first draft of WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, so I’m in revisions! Yayyyy!!! I’ll send it off to the editor right before I leave to go to Epi-CON in Vancouver, Washington, from the 13-18th. Epi-CON is a writer’s convention that promises to be educational as well as lots of fun. I’ll be joining Jennifer Fusco, Katy Lee, and Melanie Meadors from my CTRWA group and I’m betting it’s going to be a blast. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, so I’m very excited about the opportunity to visit there and be at a book-signing event as part of the reader’s luncheon. It will be nice to meet some locals and get to know some new readers.

I’ve also completed my run with KDP Select, a program where I had Heaven is for Heroes and On Thin Ice available only through Amazon for the past three months. It wasn’t as successful a venture in terms of direct sales, as it was when I did it last spring with Savage Cinderella, but it did allow me to get my books into the hands of about 20,000 new readers who got to read them for FREE! How cool is that?

Now that the books are off of Select, I’ll be able to upload all of them to some new distribution channels for me, going directly to Apple (i-Tunes) and Kobo to allow for the widest distribution possible. I’m excited about this as I’ve seen an uptick in sales through Smashwords to these vendors. Publishing it directly to these distributors will allow me more freedom to play with pricing and make changes faster, as well as hopefully gaining a little more exposure on their sites so I can reach readers who have i-Pads and Kobo e-readers. Amazon isn’t the only game in town, and although B&N is struggling to compete, Apple and Kobo are bringing their A-game to the table. I’ll let you all know when the books are available on these venues.

Another March project I have going is cover designs for both WESTERN DESERT, and my short story prequel to the Lily Carmichael trilogy, SOUL REDEMPTION. I’ll be offering Zeph’s story for FREE on all channels, hoping to reach readers who might like to jump into the trilogy now that Book Two is on the near horizon (slated to release in June). I think you’ll enjoy reading this 14,000 word (about 40 pages) short story that is told from the POV of Lily’s thirteen-year-old brother Zephron. With the ability to take life with a touch, he struggles with his darker nature and trying to find his place in the world. You don’t have to read the short story to understand the trilogy, but it definitely gives you a deeper perspective of the conflict that runs throughout.

Read here for an excerpt. The FREE download should be ready by the end of March so you can find out what happens next.

So I think that’s it for March. BUT...

COMING SOON:

Stay tuned for a blog hop in April with tons of cool prizes, and the Book Lovers Buffet coming in May where you can load up for summer reading with a boatload of $.99 books!

As if that's not enough, check back in April for news of a new heaven is for Heroes audiobook!!! I can't wait to pick out a narrator for Jordie.


Have a happy Spring!


What does your month of March look like? Any fun trips planned? Are you as anxious for daylight savings time as I am?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fabulous February


I hope you’re all doing well and that this fabulous February finds you healthy, safe, and warm. February is always a month of celebrations for me. With Valentine’s Day at the forefront, February is the month of LOVE and romance—every romance writer's favorite topic. In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I’ll be offering one of my favorite romantic stories for FREE from Sunday, Feb.17-Tuesday, Feb. 19th on AMAZON. Bookmark this page and stop back to download your copy. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App to your I-pad or computer and still get it for FREE. How cool is that?



HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is a contemporary YA/New Adult romance that deals with the tragedies of war, overcoming loss, and the determination of one seventeen year old girl to find the truth. Filled with moments of poignant reality, hard lessons, and the angst and sexual tension of first love, the book combines family drama and the relationship between childhood sweethearts, Jordie Dunn and Alex Cooper. Because the focus of the story is the tenuous romance with the underlying plot of a family’s search for peace in time of war, HIFH will appeal to adult readers as well as older young adults. With entertaining secondary characters and a challenging mother-daughter relationship, the story deals with real life issues with both unwavering comprehension and uplifting humor.

Kristan Higgins, NYT and USA Today bestselling author says,

“Filled with the complex emotions of grief, confusion and first love, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is a rich, uplifting story that will touch a reader’s heart.”

Set in a fictitious Connecticut lake-town, the story has the feel of hometown USA and is relatable to anyone questioning the value of war and the cost to the families of lost and wounded soldiers. Heaven Is For Heroes takes you through one family’s loss and the recovery of a soldier dealing with both the emotional and physical ravages of war.

Although Jordie is only seventeen, she has spent most of her teenage life studying martial arts and yoga, her Grandfather’s solution to keeping her from following in her brother’s destructive footsteps. When Alex Cooper, her brother’s best friend and the guy she’s been crushing on since the ninth grade, returns home wounded and determined to blame himself for her brother’s death, Jordie uses her experience and pushes the boundaries of convention in her attempt to help him recover. Jordie and Alex’s story is one of my favorites!

Here’s a short excerpt from the book:

The sun sat low in the sky, an orange ball that promised another hot, steamy day ahead. I threw my towel onto a rock and kicked off my boots, the warm sand inviting under my toes. I shimmied out of my shorts and waded into the pond up to my thighs. A cold chill trickled up my spine. I thought of Alex for the millionth time in the last week, my heart taking another plunge into the depths of despair. I let out a frustrated groan. I hated being this out of control of my emotions. Maybe he had found closure in telling me to take a hike, but I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say…should have said…needed to say. Instead I had pleaded like a pathetic, love sick little girl.

Angry with myself as much as I was Alex, I gave voice to my rage. “You stubborn, pig-headed, pain-in-the-ass…jerk!” I yelled to the leaves on the maple tree nearby. I felt stupid, but it was good to vent. A smidgeon of tension dropped from my shoulders. I did it again. “How could you be so selfish?” I shouted. “How could you walk away from the one person who knows you best…and still LOVES you…even though you are maddeningly stubborn and…and emotionally…immature!” I screamed. A flock of geese took flight off the surface of the still water.

I had to laugh at myself. Not because I was wrong, really, but because it was a terribly one-sided argument and I was acting a bit like an irrational shrew. It felt good not to have to hold back—constantly trying to be what Mom and Brig and…Alex…needed me to be. I sank under the water up to my chin and felt the chill all the way to my bones, all of the heat I’d built up cooling instantly. I couldn’t be mad at him. He was an honorable guy who thought he was doing the right thing by taking responsibility for a mistake. A part of me still couldn’t believe it was Alex’s fault. Where Levi was concerned, anything could have happened. But the other part of me—the part that had worried about my brother and lied to protect him--knew that if Levi walked willingly to his death, my silence was the lie that made it possible. Maybe that was the truth I was trying to get to. I dunked under and came up slowly, dipping my head back and letting the water pour over me as if seeking some kind of baptism or forgiveness.


This month is also the month of my birth, the month that brought me the wonderful gift of my youngest son (soon to be facing the quarter century mark-Yikes!), and the month that no matter how cold or snowy it gets, seems to deliver the promise of spring. With longer days and bright sunshine that beckon me to the beach, I’ll make my annual sojourn to the sea in an effort to tide me over until spring and summer truly arrive.


On the writing front, I’m nearing the end of the first draft of WESTERN DESERT and looking forward to the revision stage when I can begin to layer depth into my characters and their conflict. I used to hate revisions until I learned a bit about how to revise and what to look for to beef up the tension and make the characters come to life. This is where I deepen plot, clarify the underlying themes, and clean up dialogue to hopefully make it pop—always keeping in mind that it all has to move the story forward. I address pacing problems, catch inconsistencies, and try to do justice to the personal growth of the characters. With my first attempt at a trilogy, I also have to decide what to leave for the next book and what loose ends need to be wrapped up to ensure a satisfying end to book two. Lots to think about!

February is a time of reflection for me (I know I do a lot of reflecting), but in terms of checking in on our own personal growth, I think birthdays force us to examine our lives and where they are going. We look back at the past year and wonder what the future has in store for the next chapter. This past year hasn’t been my healthiest—at least in terms of my self-care. I let the demands of publishing get in the way of keeping a balanced lifestyle and that is something that I am determined to correct (five pounds down, ten more to go).

My first year in publishing was a whirlwind of activity, deadlines, and self-induced pressures that were a necessary part of the learning curve. There is so much to know and do in this business. If I showed you my to-do list on a daily basis you’d think I was running a major corporation or that I was a little OCD. Well…both of those might be a true, but neither has to keep me from staying focused on my highest good…which is to stay healthy and have the best quality of life I can manage to create for myself. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned in life it's that we are all masters of our own destiny, a principle that my character Jordie understands intuitively, making her a strong heroine and great role model.

The choices we make every day, both small and large, affect the outcome of our lives and the lives of the people we touch. Taking personal responsibility for making healthy choices is one of the few things we CAN control. Perhaps that is one thing writers have in common. In telling our stories, we control the Universe of our characters, forcing them to face their demons and make choices that will ultimately lead to their happily ever after. My wish for you, dear readers is that you will do the same. Take control of your destiny one positive choice at a time. Don’t be afraid to face your demons. Meet them head on and conquer them with tenacity and love, and remember, you are the master of your destiny!

Have a Fabulous February!

Comments and honest reviews are always welcome. Feel free to spread the word about the FREE promotion to any of your family and friends who might enjoy a sweet romance this month.

Blessings!

PJ

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Happenings

Happy New Year, everyone. It's hard to believe it's January again. I hope you all had a happy holiday and are ready to jump into another year. I know I'm excited about all that's coming up. Here's a run down of this month.

In honor of National Skating Month and the US Figure Skating Championships, I'll be offering ON THIN ICE FREE on Amazon from January 26-28th. If you haven't read it already, I hope you'll download it or let friends know it's up for FREE for three days. This will be the last FREE promotion for this book, so don't miss out.

Available for FREE at Amazon from Saturday, January 26 through Monday, January 28th.



I'm also working hard to finish Book Two of The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, WESTERN DESERT, due out this summer. I'm shooting for June, but I'll keep you posted. I'm happy to report that RT Book Reviews had this to say about Book One, WANING MOON.

>"An action-packed read with a strong female lead."i>


Available for $2.99 on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords

For grins and giggles, and to celebrate National Skating month, I'll share some of my skating pics from a few years back.




I hope you'll stop back by next week and pick up a copy of ON THIN ICE. Here's a short excerpt:

Chapter 1

Journal Entry,
May 15th

I’m a liar. I know it, I hate it, and I can’t seem to help myself. I feel the lies piling up as if I’m being buried, each one a stone that keeps me pinned in a shallow grave.

God knows I have my reasons for hiding from the truth. Truth is hard and ugly. The lies are easier. As Mom gets sicker, my world grows smaller and the lies grow bigger. The uneven ground beneath my feet leaves me unsteady, and I’m waiting for the earthquake that will disrupt my life and change it forever.

At school, I’m expected to get all A’s. On the ice, I’m expected to pass tests, compete, and win. At home…well, I’m expected to be strong, help out, take charge, and be an inspiration—like one of Mom’s Celine Dion slit-my-wrists songs. If I am “Perfect Penny,” maybe everything will be okay, but I know that I’m lying, even to myself.

Because no matter how hard I try, I will never be good enough to change the truth.



I hit the ice at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Summer camp was one more step on the path to Olympic Gold. At least that’s what Mom has been telling me since I was eight. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that we would never have the money it would take to get me to the Olympics no matter how talented I was. I started keeping track of our costs in little journals when I was about ten. After calculating the thousands of dollars my parents had spent over those first few years, it was clear to me that unless we found a wealthy sponsor who saw my potential, the best I could hope for was the ice show circuit or teaching.

That idea didn’t bother me the way it did Mom. I hated competing, but telling her that would have broken her heart. She had such high hopes for me, and with her cancer, I couldn’t let her down. So I worked hard and stuck to the plan.

But plans have a way of changing. I could spin with the best of them, but after my second concussion when I was fourteen, I developed a phobia of axels. I had no trouble with all of the other double jumps, but every time I tried to kick through to come off of that forward outside edge, my body balked. Without a double axel in my program, pursuing a competitive freestyle career was futile. Despite trying every trick in the book, including the use of a jump harness and off-ice training, I was unable to overcome my fear. “Instinctual avoidance” my coach called it.

So, Mom got me started ice dancing, hoping I’d have a better chance at landing a partner—a possibility as slim as me escaping the horrors of daily life in the trenches at number four Barrett Street, also known as home sweet home. At least that’s what the sign above the kitchen door said.

To read all of chapter one, check out WATTPAD. You can also read the first chapter of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, WANING MOON, and the short story prequel to WANING MOON called SOUL REDEMPTION. You can follow along for weekly installments of SAVAGE CINDERELLA. Here's the new cover!



Well, I guess that's it. As always, I appreciate your comments and support with spreading the word about my books. I hope wherever you are, you're enjoying life, falling in love, and reading some great books!

Blessings!

PJ