The Crown Phoenix Series by author Alison DeLuca

The-Night-Watchman-Express-cover1Devils-Kitchen-cover-193x300The-Lamplighters-Special-cover-193x300Southsea

I’ve read the first in this series and really enjoyed it. I do hope to get to the others to find out more of what happens in this steampunk world that Alison has created. Here Alison tells us about torturing us readers.

 

An underground factory, a terrifying laboratory, and an Edwardian hospital…

Miriam has only her guardians’ son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express.

Torturing Readers

Kissing in books is great, magical, clean fun. A first kiss between characters is a beautiful thing, a moment of romance. It’s the point where the interaction between two people takes a completely different turn, and if it is done right, the reader should feel that jolt of electricity, an investment in the couple’s desire as their lips meet.

Creating that spark is a delicate process. To my mind, the force that really drives it is tension. The “will they or won’t they” tightwire is a delicious torture for readers, to keep them up far beyond their bedtimes as they turn the page just to read one more scene.

Keeping that tension building for one book is a huge sleigh of hand trick. Yeah – how about four? I’ve separated my leads for three books, and as I come close to finishing the fourth, I might have to finally satisfy the readers who have stuck this long with me.

Building the long relationship between Miriam and Simon required a lot of adventures, side forays into other lives, a setting at the turn of the last century, and a few moments that allow readers to glimpse the electricity that has been building between the two of them. And, of course, the most important part has been their own personalities. Simon was handsome, had an eye for the girls, and thought he had fallen for someone else. Miriam was impatient, and very angry at the hand life had dealt her.

So when they first met, there were indeed fireworks, but of a different variety. The two of them fought and argued at the start. That’s when I allowed different sides of each to emerge – Miriam’s loyalty, and Simon’s courage.

As well, they both had to have a sense of humor. I wanted to think of their being able to sit down and have a long conversation, as friends, before I allowed any kissing to happen. If I didn’t do that, then the kiss would have been pure, simple, physical attraction and nothing more. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but for me, at least, that just doesn’t create enough tension and excitement.

So, here is an example of the tension-building:

“And how about you?” Miriam asked.
“What about me?”
“Won’t you miss that Cantwell woman?” Miriam blurted out the question, and she dropped her gaze onto her hands in her lap. How ridiculous of her to blush!
“Well, Miriam,” Simon said, “as a matter of fact, no, I won’t. I won’t miss that dreadful woman one bit. In fact, when she had me in prison up there, in that dreadful room, and I felt like I had lost my mind, it was you that I saw. I saw you in a dream, and that’s what saved me from losing my mind.”
“Oh,” Miriam said. Suddenly the house got very still and very quiet. Simon’s gaze was intent upon hers, and for some strange reason, she couldn’t look away. And she found she couldn’t breathe, either. Her heart began to hammer in her chest, and her mouth opened in a slight gasp.
Simon’s grin disappeared. He opened his mouth to say something, closed it again, and edged a bit closer to her on the step.
At that moment, Neil appeared at the top of the stairs and trailed down, dragging his feet on the worn treads of the stair carpet. “What are you two talking about?” he asked.

 

About author Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

Links

Facebook / Twitter / Google + / Author Central / Trailer

AD Starrling Greene’s Calling #booktour

Greens-Calling-TOUR

Welcome to my stop on the A.D. Starrling book tour for her book Greene’s Calling. I’ve got an interview to share and there is a tour wide giveaway for everyone. Enjoy.

SEVENTEEN-SERIES-AD-STARRLING-lg

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS for JESS RESIDES HERE

Please tell me about yourself

I am a thirty-something islander, writer, and part-time baby doctor. Oh, and a closet geek, nerd, and manga/manhwa/anime lover. And I like sports cars. Don’t ask me what’s under the hood, I’m just a curve lover.

I was born and bred in Mauritius and came to the UK in 1994 to go to university. My love of reading and writing came from my father and I’ve been a storyteller in some shape or form since I was a young child; my fondest memory from primary school is sitting under a banyan tree, telling tales of princesses, heroes with swords, and dragons with halitosis to my classmates.

Although I wanted to pursue further studies in literature, I was persuaded to select the sciences as my main subjects in secondary school; I come from a family of scientists and teachers after all. By the time I entered medical school, I had already penned several short stories and two novels. I’d even typed my first novel on my father’s ancient Olivetti typewriter, a process akin to juggling with knifes, blindfolded; I skinned my fingers innumerable times between those damn keys.

typewriter

I told myself I would write again after retiring from medicine. However, one thing medicine teaches you very quickly is how preciously short life is. There is nothing like staring in the face of death every week to make you appreciate your own mortality. I decided I wasn’t going to wait until my sixties to chase my writing dream.

After a few months researching the traditional publishing industry, I put finger to keyboard in January 2006. I gave myself six years to see where I could get. By 2012, I had written three books. One of my short stories had made the finals of a large international competition. I had almost landed two agents and a publisher. I had received good feedback on my writing.

But I still didn’t have a traditional contract. From what I was reading at the time, it would only get harder to land one.

I then came across an article that opened my eyes to where the writing and publishing world was heading. It was featured in the UK Writing Magazine and was about a US author and blogger called J.A. Konrath. Having been traditionally published for many years, Konrath had successfully embraced self-publishing; the reasons he gave for doing so were compelling to say the least. I researched self-publishing, released my first book six months later, and haven’t looked back since.

What is something about you that no one knows?

I have a fridge magnet fetish. The quirkier, the better. My current favorites are below.

catalloh

What are you reading now?

I am re:reading Gerald Durrell’s “My family and other animals”. I reread a lot of books. My Terry Pratchett collection is particularly dog-eared.

Some favourite books and authors?

It/Dolores Clairborne/The Stand by Stephen King

Imagica/The Greatest & Secret Show by Clive Barker

Fear Nothing/Dark Rivers of the Heart/From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz

Guards! Guards! and too many others by Terry Pratchett

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

The Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books Collection

I am forgetting many, I’m sure.

Is there a genre you’ve yet to write but would like to do so?

Funny you should ask that. When I started writing in 2006, it was in the lighthearted fantasy genre and in a style of storytelling that was compared to Douglas Adams. I would like to start publishing this series in the next few years. I have written a sci-fi horror short story that one of my editors believes I should expand into a novella or novel. I’ve planned a YA sci-fi novel (could be 2-3 books) and an epic dark fantasy trilogy for the years ahead.

Do you think you’ll ever write where you incorporate your medical knowledge into the story such as a Robin Cook type thriller, or is fantasy and completely staying away from that preferred?

Despite being a doctor, I’m not into reading medical thrillers that much. The only exception that has some link to the world of medicine is Kathy Reichs’ books, where they’re all kind of, well, dead.

I suspect I would find it too “close” to home and it would feel more like work than entertainment for me. I may also have been put off by some of the gross I-want-to-scream-this-is-so-wrong medical inaccuracies I’ve picked up in popular TV series. Seriously, they make us medics want to throw scalpels at the TV screen.

 How many books do you have planned in your series?

The storyline of Seventeen will officially be completed in six books. The world I’ve created does leave the door open for me to return to it at some stage if I wish to do so. After all, there’s so much I could write about past historical events.

Something new and different that a few of my fellow author friends have started doing are short stories and novelettes linked to a completed series. I’m uncertain whether I will try my hand at this.

What do readers have to look forward to next?

Ashstorm (Seventeen Book 4) is currently underway and is proving to be an exciting project. I have started rewriting the first novel in the lighthearted fantasy series I mentioned above. I may publish my sci-fi horror short story later this year and give it exclusively to my newsletter subscribers for a period of time, before I release it as a novel or novella.

On top of hiring Kriss and Amy for the blog tour, I also hired a UK publicist for Greene’s Calling book launch in the UK. Esther Harris landed me an interview on The Annie Othen Show on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on July 3.

I am in talks with an NYC audiobook company about creating a Soul Meaning audiobook. We will be crowdfunding via Pubslush, so watch this space!

Bonus question for you! :D

 If you had the choice to go on a date with one of your characters, who would it be?

The answer to this question used to be Reid Hasley, from Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1). He’s the only human protagonist in that novel and he can keep up with the immortals, so kudos to him. Lucas Soul I would find too intimidating; I might end up staring and drooling like a fan girl.

Zachary Jackson from King’s Crusade (Seventeen Book #2) would be a fun date. Oh so much fun. Sizzling hot fun. Sigh.

Conrad Greene from Greene’s Calling (Seventeen Book #3) would be a perfect gentleman. I can imagine him being an old-fashioned kind of guy who’d bring you flowers, open doors, wine and dine you, kiss you, and not invite himself in for a coffee. A steady guy. That doesn’t mean he’s boring. If you were his soulmate, he’d have you out of your clothes before you could finish saying, “Hello, my name is —” The love scene between Conrad and Laura was one of the more charged ones I’ve written so far.

The character I would date features in Ashstorm (Seventeen Book #4). Not only would I date him, I would happily have his babies. His name is Asgard. He is HOT. Even though he’s not the main protagonist of Ashstorm, he is one of the most important immortals, if not THE most important, in the entire series. I’m a bit jealous of Madeleine, the woman who gets to “have” him…

AD-STARRLING-author-image
AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.

Her debut novel Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1) has won and been nominated for several awards, as has her second novel King’s Crusade.

She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.

To find out more, please visit her at the following social media sites:

To find out more, please visit her at:

Goodreads Twitter Facebook Website

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Domestics by Mohana Rajakumar #excerpt #booktrailer @Moha_doha

I’m pleased to share the latest from author Mohana Rajakumar. Her latest release is one that sounds like another must for readers.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

goodreads-badge-add-plus-

Necessity is the mother of all friendships. The Dohmestics explores the ups and downs of six women thrown together by fate in the quintessential Middle Eastern compound; a neighborhood enclosed by a boundary wall with a security gate. Emma, Nouf, Rosa, and Maya are part of the sophomoric fish bowl no one can escape, where rumors can ruin marriages or jobs. Daily life is an array of coffee mornings, book clubs, and single parenting for Emma whose pilot husband is away more than at home. She can barely remember the workaholic professional she was before becoming a trailing spouse. Noof, a female Arab lawyer, struggles between her traditional values and Western education. She’s a mother, wife, and friend, like society expects of her, but she wants to establish an identity of her own. Rosa was the regional winner of a beauty pageant in the Philippines. Now, she is a full time maid and nanny for a family who treats her well. But will sacrificing her future for her sisters’ be worth it? Country girl Lillie is fired a few months into her first job as a housemaid. She can’t go back home; too many people need her income. Without a reference, no one will employ her. Maya, a seamstress in Sri Lanka, lost everything in the Asian tsunami. She bears her tyrannical boss’ demands, in hopes of rebuilding a life back home. Amira, the compound’s unofficial head cheerleader, appears to have it all. Yet, as everyone knows, because each is desperately trying to hide her own: we all have secrets.


The Dohmestics Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Chapter One

Dust laid a film of grit on the boxes in the entryway of the sand-colored duplex. Emma pulled straying pieces of elbow-length hair back into the bun, held together by a pencil spiked through the center. Dust, heat, desert. Their new life, waiting for Adam to become full captain. Four years. Maybe longer. The wilted plants in ceramic pots on doorsteps up and down the street were evidence the desert sun was winning. Emma tasted particulate on her tongue; the sandstorms would play havoc with Adam’s sinuses. Everywhere she looked, there were buildings similar to hers; whether villas, apartments, or duplexes, the exteriors were the same beige cinderblock front. Wider entryways for duplexes and three steps for the approach to villas distinguished the bigger units from the smaller ones. No driveways for the neighborhood existed inside the compound boundary wall. Four years was fast tracking in the airline industry, but Emma felt each of these early days pass like a month. At noon the parking spaces were empty; the beige canvas awnings melded into the adobe-colored walls of the buildings. Across the street were the wider front entrances of the villas; there was a bit more variety in these that more resembled houses back home. These were two story affairs, with wide fronts to the street, beige again with beveled glass, three actual steps for an entrance, rather than the flat approach to the rest of the buildings, like the one Emma lived in. She swiped at the sweat on the back of her neck. Her footsteps echoed on the tile, determined to unpack the next set of boxes. Adam was away. Alice was at school. The silence was deafening. “Why not get a job?” Adam had asked. “We could save that money too, for the house?” “I can’t tell them I have to leave halfway through the day to go pick up our daughter, now, can I?” “Hire a maid,” Adam replied with a shrug, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. “But that would cost money,” she protested. “We’re trying to save money.” Their love of entertaining had built up quite a pile of bills. “No one pays them that much,” he said. “A few hundred riyals.” “To have someone in the house with us, when we’re tight on space as it is.” She shook her head. “Plus, is that legal, a few hundred riyals?” She didn’t get a reply before he left for the gym, a workout an essential for the days he was home to balance so much time in the air. Gone was the routine schedule as co-pilot of a cargo plane, as regular as the post, bringing Adam home every night for dinner. The company had folded in the financial crisis. Commercial airlines were hiring—foreign companies anyway. Now they were in the Middle East with Adam flying anywhere from Hong Kong to New York, while she stayed at home. Her thumbnail broke as she ripped the tape off the next lid. She chewed off the rest of the nail, glad Alice wasn’t there to see the forbidden act. Emma’s eyes drifted to the pile of adverts left in the door overnight; a glossy one featured women with blow-dried hair sipping tea. Yes, maybe that’s exactly what she needed. She snatched up the house keys and made her way down the street towards the clubhouse. The weekly neighborhood coffee morning was one of those all-female, expat gatherings Emma had read about on forums before making the move to the Arabian Peninsula. She hadn’t planned on attending one, but the stifling silence drove her out of the house, looking for adult conversation that didn’t involve flight schedules or school pick-up routes. “Where are you from?” asked a woman with wire-framed glasses that made her brown eyes owlish. “England,” Emma said. She answered a string of familiar questions in every group she came to, the most common being, “How long have you been here?” Those who answered in the longest number of years to this question seemed to be mostly Indian, clustered together away from the other women. Everyone white wanted to know whether or not she worked. When Emma said she didn’t and confessed her school pick-up dilemma, the women had the solution: a full-time housemaid. “You’ll have so much more time to spend together, with your husband,” said a petite brunette with a waist the size of a teenager’s. “And you won’t spend it doing those tasks that you have to do again and again, like cooking or laundry. You can spend it with your child,” a blonde with perky breasts chimed in. “Do they steal things?” The blonde and brunette shook their heads as one, sharing a glance. “If they do, they’ll be jailed,” the brunette said, the dimples disappearing from her heart shaped face. “Or worse,” the blonde intoned. “Worse?” “Deported.” “But another person,” Emma fretted, another worry with the new concern about flight attendants. There had been none for airfreight. “Do I have to be with her all the time?” “She’s your employee,” the blonde emphasized. “She works for you. She isn’t your friend.” “But you have to watch the younger ones,” the brunette insisted. “Especially Filipinas.” “Watch them? They steal?” The women tittered. “That’s not the worst.” “Your husband is a pilot?” Emma nodded the affirmation. “Stop scaring her, ladies.” A statuesque woman interrupted the onslaught, waving her immaculate nails hello. “Amira.” Her manicured hand reached out for hers. “Emma,” she said stuttering at the sound of her own name. “I meant, would she need entertaining? Would the two of us watch television together?” Amira laughed, as if Emma had told her a funny joke. “You’re new. You’ll see. They make it so you can entertain yourself.” “Myself?” The word sounded lonelier than she had intended. Amira led her away from the group, motioning over to the tray of cookies. “Your maid is the least glamorous and last person to worry about. My husband is a pilot as well. They’re around gorgeous, young girls all the time. You know the airline. Men, women, everyone is impeccable.” She wiggled her eyebrows with a wink. “I had noticed,” Emma said with a laugh. “But is there someone else I should worry about?” She looked around the room of immaculately groomed women. “Should I lock up my husband?” Amira laughed.

 

2013authorphotoMohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.  She has since published eight eBooks, including a momoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life as well as the secrets kept between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at www.mohadoha.com or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha. Mohana is currently working on her first historical novel, set in the East Asian country of Laos.

The Domestics can be purchased from Amazon 

 

Winter Angel by Mia Hoddell free on #amazon

 

Winter Angel

by Mia Hoddell

Genre: YA Romance

Release date: 25th June 2014

Length: Novella

Blurb:

She was on holiday. He was tricked into returning.
Neither of them wanted to be there, but neither could avoid it.

Amy wants to be back under the sun in Portugal. However, when her suggestion is overruled in favour of a skiing holiday, even she can’t turn it down. What she couldn’t have predicted is that the holiday could make her break the one, and only, rule she has: not to get into a serious relationship again.

When Amy first sees Luke, she knows something is wrong. He’s struggling to cope with everything and her need to help people makes him the perfect distraction from the cold. He hasn’t been to the Alps in five years and he swore to never ski again. But as his defences are broken by Amy’s persistence, the winter paradise begins to reawaken his desires.

However, with constant flashbacks triggering his anxiety, he’s torn, battling conflicting emotions as he becomes increasingly captivated by Amy. She has a rule though. She didn’t go on holiday to fall for someone and the last thing she needs is to ignore her own advice. Whether or not she can move past her insecurities will depend on whether Luke can face his biggest fear.

 
Winter Angel is a standalone, young adult romance novella, but is the second book in the Seasons of Change series.

Download in now for FREE!
Only free 19th & 20th of July

Add to Goodreads

You can also download Summer Demons: the
first, bestselling, standalone novella in the Seasons of Change series for
99c / 77p.
Excerpt
White. Gazing out of the small, circular window, it
was the only colour he could see surrounding him. The bursts of light—which had
broken through the heavy, grey clouds—were reflected back as the ground grew
closer with each passing second. Not too long ago he had been blissfully
unaware of the location his sister was dragging him to for a holiday. A bubble
of excitement had surrounded him throughout the early morning as he got up, and
stayed with him through travelling to the airport and catching the flight. However,
it had burst as soon as the icy tips of the mountains appeared and the plane
began its descent. Until that moment, he had hoped his guesses had been wrong.
His sister had carefully planned
the trip, making sure to hide all clues as to where they were heading, and as
she glanced across at him, it seemed as if she had been successful. Luke’s
knuckles were white on the arm rests. He had claimed both of them, gripping
them so hard they looked like they would snap under the force, or at least be
moulded to the shape of his hands when he removed them.
Ellie watched as he took in a
shaky breath, but she heard no exhale.
“Luke?”
The silence that filled the space
around them was icier than the Alps they had just flown over. Her brother’s
gaze remained fixed on the window, watching as the ground, and his fate, drew
ever closer. Deep, ragged breaths steamed up the window, which was almost
touching his nose. Desperately, he tried to control the tremors shaking his
body, and his pounding heart, from the fear that washed over him in waves.
“Luke, please, say something.”
Worry had crept into Ellie’s tone. She had thought her idea would do him good,
that forcing him to face everything would turn him back into his old self.
Ellie missed the brother she had grown up with and wanted him back. However,
seeing his eyes wide with fear, his jaw clenched in anger, and his arms tense
with both, suddenly she wasn’t so sure about her plan.
“You promised, Ellie. You swore
you wouldn’t pressure me, and I trusted you with that. You know how I feel
about this.” His voice was sharp and curt as he spoke through clenched teeth,
trying to keep a hold on his emotions.
The urge to flee surged within
him. He wanted to go home, to get off the plane and board the next flight
straight back to England, but he couldn’t. Not only was the plane still minutes
from landing—trapping him in the confines of economy class, which felt even
smaller as realisation forced him to understand Ellie’s plans—but he also
refused to waste more money on the pointless trip Ellie had conned him into
taking. If he was going to use the money he had earned from before everything
changed, it would be on his own terms.
“You’ll enjoy it when you’re
there,” Ellie stated, brushing off his comments like they meant nothing to her.
“That’s easy for you to say. You
don’t have to live with, or through, what I have.” Luke was trying hard to
control his voice. Had they been in private, he would have already been
shouting. The cramped environment meant that Ellie was getting off lightly, but
he swore that when they reached their chalet, he would not hold back. She had
no right to interfere with his life.
“Never tell me I didn’t live
through it, Luke. I was there when it happened, in the hospital, and when you
got home. I was there through it all. It may not have been me, but it wasn’t
like it had no effect on my life,” Ellie hissed. It was the only way she could
convey her anger without disturbing other passengers.
“Why though, Ellie? Why is this
such a big deal to you?” Luke’s eyes were full of sorrow as he turned to face
his sister for the first time, begging to understand her reasoning for putting
him through something she knew would hurt him.
 
About the Author
 
Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two
cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal
and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of
the morning.
 
With three poems published before the age of
sixteen, Mia moved on to short stories but finding she had too much to tell
with too little space, Mia progressed to novels. She started her first series (The Wanderer Trilogy) at the age of
fourteen and since then hasn’t stopped writing. Elemental Killers is her second series and with an ever growing
list of ideas, Mia is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination
generates them.
Connect with Mia:
 
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon Author Pageor subscribe to Mia’s Newsletter for information on:

 ARCs, giveaways and new releases

 

 

 

Ava’s Wishes by author Karen Pokras

Ava's Wishes.v4-Pokras

About Ava’s Wishes

Ava Haines had big plans for her life. Her short-term goals included passing Statistics (on the third try), graduating college on time, and securing a job in the art gallery on Main Street. Her long-term goal was to one day own an art gallery of her very own. Oh sure, she would some day like to fall in love and get married, but all of that was secondary to making sure her other goals were in line. Fellow student Max Wallis and esteemed photographer Thomas Malloy were just minor distractions she was more than capable of handling. She was entitled to a little fun once in a while, right? However, as reality takes a tumble, Ava begins to wonder if she really can manage it all. Will all her wishes come true?

Excerpt

Ava took a step back and admired her sketch. If you’d seen one naked body, you’d seen them all. In the three and a half months since she’d been enrolled in the Figure Drawing class at Wolfenson College, she really had seen them all—tall, short, thin, fat, male, female. She was getting tired of drawing the human form and was ready to move on to something else … anything else. The models were mainly other students looking to make some extra money. She couldn’t blame them. She was tired of being broke herself, although you couldn’t pay her enough to pose nude. It’s not that she was ashamed of her body. She just thought that some things were meant to stay private.

Drawing live nudes had been awkward at first, especially when it was someone she knew, but after a while, they were just bodies—no different really than a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Still, she preferred to remain on her side of the easel and counted the days until the class was over.

The men were the worst. Ava hated to be judgmental, but most of the guys were full of themselves. They were okay in the looks department, however she’d seen better. She’d have liked to tell them so, but figured that would get her kicked out of a class she needed in order to graduate. Luckily, this was the final model of the semester. His name was Mark, or maybe it was Matt. She couldn’t really remember, nor did she care. The important thing was finishing this course—one of the many required for her dual art and business degrees. Her big dream was to open up an art gallery one day.

“Ava!” Ms. Senaca snapped, pulling her out of her thoughts. “A little less gawking, and a little more sketching, please.”

Feeling the heat rising to her cheeks, she returned to her drawing. The snickering from the other students didn’t help.

“As if,” she mumbled to herself.

About Karen Pokras

Karen Pokras writes adult contemporary and middle grade fiction under the names Karen Pokras and Karen Pokras Toz. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing Invisible, and her newly released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her family.

Connect with Karen Online:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon / Smashwords / B&N.com / Kobo / Itunes