Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 Star Review: Faking Normal (Courtney C Stevens)

Faking NormalHardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2014 by HarperCollins Children's Books
ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.
Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens. 
Purchase Links

Courtney C. Stevens

Courtney C. Stevens
Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Faking Normal is her first novel.

I am not sure where to start...I am just absolutely in awe at this book. There are so many words to describe how utterly amazing this book are just a few that come to mind: 
phenomenal, incredible, touching, emotional, real, stunning....perfect. 

I read the synopsis of this book after seeing lots of reviewers raving about it on goodreads and it immediately grabbed my attention. I just had this "feeling" that it was going to be great. Well great was an understatement. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you read the last page. 

"Faking normal is a skill I learned seventy-seven days ago. but tonight it's going to require everything I have."

The cover of the book portrays the main character, Alexi, perfectly. The cover model looks sullen, sad, and yet poignant. Alexi has a secret. A secret that no one knows. A secret that she has kept hidden away for a while and it is slowly eating away at her. She wakes up each day with one keep her ugly secret hidden and "fake normal." Alexi's character is so easy to love and admire. I felt so much for her with each turn of the page. She is so strong and yet so weak. Something terrible happens to her one summer night and she has told no one about it. She suffers so much each and every day because of what happened on that tragic night. She doesn't sleep, she hurts herself, and yet she gets up every morning and pretends like everything is ok. No one in her family even notices how much she is suffering and hiding deep inside. 

Ah...Bodee Lennox, the young boy whose father murdered his mother as he watched is invited into Alexi's home by her parents. They want to take him in and try to help him cope with the horrible tragedy that is his life. Bodee is an incredible character. He immediately sees in Alexi what no one else does. He knows she is hurting and they slowly develop an deep friendship that will eventually change their lives. I love how they "see" each other when no one else does. Their friendship is so beautiful and I found myself rooting for them during the entire book. 

"I've lived all but two weeks of my life without Bodee. But now, sitting with him in my fort, I know these two weeks have been God walking right into mu life like he has flesh and Kool-Aid-colored hair. The gospel according to Bodee Lennox. His safety. His protection. And love."

This is such an emotionally riveting book about truth and consequences. It touched me in so many ways. The characters and the plot were so beautifully written and I wish I could just read it all over again. was that good. Courtney Stevens has entered into the YA industry with a bang. She will have a permanent spot on my "Authors To Watch" list. 

If you love a book about truth, love, friendships, heartache, and surviving tragedy then this book is for you. this book. I promise you will not regret it. 

** Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CBB Promotions Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: The Warrior & The Flower (Camille Picott)

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott.  This is an adult high fantasy.

To celebrate Chinese New Year the tour is running Jan. 27th-31st with mostly reviews and only a few interviews and spotlight posts.  Be sure to check out the tour page with additional info and list of tour stops.

The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott
Yi, a retired soldier, has lost everything he loves—his wife, his daughter, and his home. He seeks refuge from his heartache by plunging into a secret mission for the World Emperor. The assignment takes him to the doorstep of a brothel, where he witnesses the madam beating a young girl. Drawn by the child’s striking resemblance to his lost daughter, Yi rushes to her defense and negotiates for her purchase—after all, how hard can it be to care for one little girl? But between the child’s inquisitive nature and the dangerous secret she carries, he gets more than he bargained for.

Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings. To visit Camille, go to

  1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Several years ago, I had an ambition to write a paranormal historical fantasy set in ancient China. I read thousands of pages in my research. I had books on clothing, architecture, religion, culture, and history. Many of the books came back with me from China on a few trips I took. I once even bought a thesis project off the internet for research on the Taiping Rebellion. I even had a chunk of manuscript and the outline for 4 book completed.
But the more I researched, the more daunting the task of writing a historical fiction became. In the end I scrapped my historical fiction. I took much of what I learned in my research and rolled it into The Warrior & The Flower.
  1. Who is your favorite character in the book?
This is a toss up. I love Yi because he’s passionate about being a parent, like me. But I also love Tulip. She represents so much of what I love about kids. What I love most about this book is the parent-child relationship.
  1. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. This book had a lot of working titles before I finally settled on The Warrior & The Flower. I can’t remember all the different titles I played with, but Liquid Steel was a contender for quite a while.
  1. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I love the scenes when Tulip embarrasses Yi with questions about sex. Childhood innocence is often as funny as it is endearing, which I tried to capture in these scenes.
  1. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I’ve learned that it’s important to write an entire novel, from beginning to end, without getting too caught up in edits and re-writes. I think it’s too easy to get stuck in the first third of the novel, trying to perfect it. It’s more important to just get the entire novel on the page, then go back and work through the kinks and plot holes.
  1. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
This was a challenging cover to develop. In the beginning, it was a red cover with only The Warrior & The Flower graphics. Though I love the artwork that went into the title, it looked too much like a romance novel when left by itself on the cover. I spent a lot of time looking at epic fantasy novels. In the end, I decided that I needed an illustration that captured the main characters.
All that being said, my favorite part about the cover is the Firefoot, the kylin. The kylin (qilin) is one of my favorite creatures from Chinese mythology. On a trip to China, I was told by my guide that the kylin are the Chinese unicorns.
  1. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?
I’m looking forward the releasing the next novel in my Sulan series, a YA dystopia/cyberpunk story.
  1. What was your favorite book in 2013?
Oh wow, I read so many books in 2013. I’m going to narrow this down to authors. Two authors I discovered in 2013 were Molly Harper and Jacqueline Carey. I loooove both of their writings! Molly Harper writes sexy, funny, paranormal romance books, and Jacqueline Carey writes gorgeous epic fantasy.
  1. What’s up next for you?
I’ve got lots of plans for 2014 I’m working on a non-fiction series called Writer’s Toolbox. This is a collection of articles dedicated to helping science fiction and fantasy writers. The first two articles are already out, and I hope to add another two to the collection. I also hope to produce a new audio book in the Sulan series, and publish the next Sulan novel. Hopefully I will get to the next Yi and Tulip story in 2015!
  1. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Thanks for being a part of this tour!

This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Am A Reader Blog Tour, Interview, and Giveaway: The Colony (Cami Checketts)

Colony Tour

The Colony
  The Colony by Cami Checketts To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property. Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion. While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.  

Colony 299
Praise "Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards." ~Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy
Grab your copy for just $2.99!

Author Cami Checketts Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.  

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The heroine, Brinlee, is the sister of the hero from my book Poison Me. I loved her and wanted to write her story. When my good friend and high school English teacher told me about a commune that used to be up Smithfield Canyon I thought, Ooh, that commune is being resurrected and they’re going to put Brinlee through trials she’s never imagined.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Lance. He’s attractive, but oh so caring. I just sigh when I think about him.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. I hate titles. I always write dozens down then ask anybody and everybody which one they like the best. I think all my friends, family, and critique partners hate me searching for titles also!

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Whoa, that’s a question. I’m most proud of Brinlee in the scene where she stands up to the father of her first child. I’m most proud of the writing (mostly kudos to my critique partners) in the final fight scene as it just sucks me in and makes me bite off all my fingernails.

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Do you stay up at night thinking up tough questions? I love it.
I think the most important thing is not to take myself too seriously. I’m extremely goal-oriented and I want to save the world through my books, or at least donate generously to my favorite charities, and I run the risk of trying to work until I make myself sick and tick off my family and friends. I’ve learned to chill, to not worry if a promotion flops, I get a bad review, or I don’t make a deadline. Writing is a wonderful part of my life, but my family, church, and friends are my life.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
That baby boy. My nephew. Is he stinking adorable or what? I drive to my sister’s house almost daily to squish and kiss.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to?
Almost Super by Marion Jensen. He’s an amazing writer and friend. My boys were able to read the book in its preliminary stages and we’re all waiting to read and laugh together.

8. What was your favorite book you've read this year?
Really? Not top twenty? You’re killing me here.
I love so many books. Okay. I’m going to go with Esther, the Queen by H.B. Moore. Suspense, romance, history. It’s all there and extremely well-written.

9. What’s up next for you?
A terrifying story of an actress being stalked by a man who has already murdered once to get close to her and the firefighter sworn to protect her. One small problem: she thinks the firefighter is the stalker.

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Thank you for having me on your blog! Many hugs, Cami

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/6/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Nerd Tours Blog Tour, Spotlight, & Giveaway: Song and Signal (M.E. Patterson)

Inline image 1

Song and Signal

* From the award-winning, bestselling author of Devil's Hand and Burning Cards comes a universe-spanning science fiction adventure. *

Seventeen year-old genius Zakari Sharp has never stood on the surface of a planet, never seen a sun-streaked sky. He lives on a corporate-owned mining facility at the edge of the solar system, with a mute alien for a guardian and brainwashed, muscle-bound ex-convicts for company. The day his father vanished was so long ago that Zak thought he would never hear from him again.

Zak was wrong.

Now, chased off-station by a cabal of mythical assassins, Zak and his best friend Liz embark on a harrowing journey across the galaxy, to find his father's hiding place and learn the universe-shaking discovery that hides with him. But their enemies will stop at nothing to steal the secret themselves.

Can a teenage boy change the fate of the universe? Or will a nanotech-wielding killer reach him first?



“The kind of storytelling that makes a statement: M. E. Patterson is here to stay.” — Austin Post
“[Song and Signal is] WELL worth the read. Enjoyable and immersive.” — Michal

“Patterson’s work will blow you away… a page turning, roller coaster ride.” — ReviewsByMolly

M.E. Patterson
M. E. Patterson is a bestselling author of highly-rated horror and science fiction novels for both teens and adult readers. His first novel, Devil’s Hand, was a Kindle bestseller in Horror, and was the winner of Kindle Book Review’s 2012 “Best Indie Horror Novel” award.
In addition to writing fiction, Mr. Patterson is also an accomplished web software engineer and software consultant, currently working with the video game industry. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family.

My Author Site —

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guest Review: The Boleyn Bride (Brandy Purdy)

The Boleyn BridePaperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2014 by Kensington
ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history's most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own. . .At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne—while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne. . .When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances—and catches the lusty king's eye. But those who enjoy Henry's fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband's machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one—and the Boleyn family's fortune may be turning. . 


This was an interesting read to say the least! If you are intrigued by history and what could have been going on in England back in the day of King Henry VIII then this is definitely the book for you! I have always been enthralled by the Royals of England. Being very close in age to Prince William I always thought I should have moved to England to try to become the Princess...LOL! The is exactly what Anne Boleyn did! 

This book tells the story of how Anne Boleyn became King Henry VIII's second wife. The story is told from the perspective of Anne's mother, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a selfish person and a terrible mother...or at least that is how she portrayed herself. Anne was never expected to amount to anything and her family often told her she would become a nun. Anne sure showed them! I would highly recommend this book! 

I give it 4 stars!!

** Thank you to Edelweiss  & Kensington Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!!**

I Am A Reader Book Blast & Giveaway: Indie Authors Naked (Loren Kleinman & Amy Edelman)

Indie authors
Indie Authors Naked Indie Authors Naked explores and defines the world of independent publishing. Comprised of a series of essays and interviews by indie authors, booksellers and publishers, readers will get a look at the many aspects of the indie community, where publishing professionals of all types come together with the simple goal of creating something unique; something that speaks directly to the reader, no middleman necessary. Contributors include: James Franco, Hugh Howey, McNally Jackson Books, Sarah Gerard, OHWOW Books, Raine Miller, David Vinjamuri, Toby Neal, Rachel Thompson, Eden Baylee, Christoph Paul, Jessica Redmerski, Dan Holloway, Orna Ross and more. 


  About the Authors Loren Kleinman is a writer and poet with roots in New Jersey. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex. Kleinman is a columnist for (IR) where she interviews New York Times and USA Today bestselling indie authors. Some of those interviews in IR reappeared in USA Today and The Huffington Post. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Writer’s Bloc, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She was the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize (2003), was a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2004 Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize finalist. In 2003, Spire Press published her first collection of poetry Flamenco Sketches, which explored the relationship between love and jazz. Her second collection of poetry, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, is due to release with Winter Goose Publishing in March 2014. She is currently working on a New Adult romance, This Way to Forever.

Amy Holman Edelman launched IndieReader, the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them, way back in 2007. Since then, indie authors have stormed the bestseller lists, been courted by trad publishers and (after all that), finally gained a modicum of respect. Amy self-published her first book, The Fashion Resource Directory, back in the 80s, long before POD and Amazon and e-readers roamed the land. Her second and third books (The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair), were traditionally published (by Simon & Schuster and Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of Crown). As an author and a publicist with over 20 years’ experience, Amy’s goal for IndieReader is no less than to make indie a respected and desirable category within the publishing world. This book is just one step in that direction.

  Excerpt From the Introduction of Indie Authors Naked by Amy Edelman: IndieReader was launched in ‘07, otherwise known as the dark days of self-publishing. Back then, every book was considered a vanity publication, every author a failed writer. Denial ran so high that when the self-pubbed book, Her Last Letter by Nancy C. Johnson hit The New York Times bestseller list, the good folks at the NYT were still saying that they’d never include one! And then there was The Shack, another indie that snuck through the gauntlet to appear on the NYTimes list for an astounding 172 weeks between June 2008 to early 2010 (52 of those weeks at #1). Flash forward to 2012-2013. With the advent of ebooks, the publishing landscape has completely and irrevocably changed. Bowker, the ISBN people, recently reported that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% over 2011, growing to over 391,000 titles in 2012. That’s a lot of indie. But it’s not just availability that has changed the notion of what a self-pubbed book can be. Either the whole “vanity” thing was propaganda on the part of trad publishing—after all, Virginia Woolf famously did it with Hogarth Press—or publishing ebooks makes it easier for talented writers to get their work seen. Either way, over the last couple of years—beginning with the high-profile snagging of Amanda Hocking—at least 50 indie authors (many of them interviewed in this very book) have been courted and won by traditional publishers. Did these authors’ books change from when they were self-pubbed to when they became trads? Or did their appearance on the bonafide bestseller lists (The New York Times, USA Today) just make it easier for the Big 5 to spot them? Not that getting picked up by a traditional publisher is always an indie author’s end-game. In fact, a recent survey conducted by The Bookseller noted that only about one-third of the self-published authors surveyed stated that they would consider a traditional book deal. That’s a lot of authors who aren’t willing to trade the freedom of creation for the chance to have their works packaged by committee. So whether an author decides to sell their work to a trad publisher or not—it is clear that indies are here to stay. Their books resonate with readers who really couldn’t give a damn if they came through the hallowed halls of a traditional publisher or just via their ereaders. The indie writing community is strong and getting stronger, as are the options for placing their books (been to your local bookstore lately? You may be surprised at the titles you find on the shelves). Yes, dear readers, this time—thanks to technology and changing perceptions—self-publishing is clearly here to stay. And via interviews and essays, Indie Authors Naked aims to highlight the best of the best.    
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

CBB Promotions Book Blast & Giveaway: Starcrossed (Brenda Hiatt)

Starcrossed, a Starstruck novel by Brenda Hiatt, is out now!  To celebrate the release we are happy to share an interview with Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart as well as an excerpt from the book.  Be sure to stay tuned to the end where there's a giveaway as well!

 The Starstruck adventure continues…

 Marsha spent the first fifteen years of her life as a nerdy nobody before discovering her true identity as the long lost princess of a secret civilization. Now M is dodging extraterrestrial paparazzi while trying to keep the truth from her adoptive aunt and uncle and everyone at school. At least she can be herself with her boyfriend and literal soulmate, Rigel. Whenever they’re together, it’s easy to forget the responsibilities that will eventually come with her new status. But when a new boy arrives at Jewel High, everything M thought she knew about herself and her future is turned upside down. Now the very destiny that lifted her from obscurity threatens to tear her away from Rigel and their happy ever after. But when two planets conspire against you, where is there to run?

Recently Discovered Princess Grants Exclusive Interview
with Gwendolyn Gannett, Echtran Enquirer

I’m sitting here in a charming little ice cream shop in Jewel, Indiana, to chat with our newfound Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart, the boy who recently saved her life when she was attacked by the dictator Faxon’s minions here on Earth.

Tell me, Princess, how did it feel to discover your true identity after being raises as a Duchas?

With great presence of mind, the Princess immediately shushes me. “Not so loud! And please, stick to English. I don’t want everyone in Dream Cream to freak out the way I did when Rigel first told me there are . . . people like us…living on Earth!”

Given the pains our Nuathan Ministry of Terran Obfuscation has taken to keep that secret, I suppose she has a point. I lower my voice as I continue.

Is that true, Rigel? Did the Princess ‘freak out?’

“Only for a day or so,” he replies. “Really, she handled the news like a champ—way better than I did when my parents first told me.”

So you were raised Duch I catch myself. Like a regular Earthling, too?

“Until I was ten, yeah.”

Back to my original question, Princess—

Please don’t call me that!” she interrupts me. “Not here. Just Marsha is fine, or M—that’s what my friends call me.”

Though it seems terribly disrespectful, far be it from me to disobey. M, then. How has your life changed since learning the truth?

“If you don’t count people trying to kill me, mostly for the better. I mean, back in August I was a complete nobody on the very bottom rung of the social ladder. Now I hardly get picked on at all—well, except by Trina, but that’ll never change. I even get invited to parties and stuff. Not that my aunt ever lets me go, but it’s still cool to be invited. But that’s not because of being, you know, who I am. Nobody at school knows about that.”

Unfortunately, this coincides with the rumors of her being mistreated by her adoptive Duchas family and the surrounding townsfolk.

Then why the change?

“Mostly because of Rigel. He’s pretty popular, what with being quarterback of our football team and just generally awesome. I’m just kind of along for the ride.”
“Not true!” Rigel interjects. “You’re the awesome one. It just took people a while to figure it out.”
The Princess laughs at this and claims, “Nobody would ever have called me awesome before—” She breaks off when Rigel raises his eyebrows at her.

Not wishing to pry, I move on. You must be dying to tell everyone the truth about yourself. Is it hard living with such a huge secret?

“Sometimes,” she confesses, “but when I think about what could happen if people found out, I’m a lot less tempted to say anything.”

And what was your life like, growing up as a—you used the word ‘nobody’ in a non-Echtran household? Was it difficult living in such primitive conditions?

She laughs again. “Since I never knew anything else, I never thought of my conditions as primitive. And it’s not like my aunt was ever actually cruel or anything, even if she isn’t always easy to get along with.”

All right, then, next question. Once a certain dictator falls, how do you see your future unfolding? Are you excited at the prospect of someday returning to the place you were born?

The Princess shrugs. “I guess so, though I have an awful lot to learn before I’ll be ready for that! All the stuff people will expect of me, I mean. Besides, I’m pretty happy right here in Jewel for now. For instance, I went to my very first Homecoming dance last week and it was amazing.”

Oh? With Rigel here as your date?

“Well, yes. He and I—”
“Went with a bunch of our friends,” Rigel butts in, cutting her off for the second time, something he’d never dare to do in Nuath, I’m sure.

This makes me very curious. You two have shared a few harrowing experiences since meeting and I’m sure that’s created a bond of sorts. (I notice they exchange a glance when I say that.) Tell me, just how close have you two become?

At this point, Rigel stands up, then the Princess stands, too. “We said we’d give you five minutes,” Rigel says, “and we’ve been here longer than that. You have your story. And please tell your readers she’s tired of being stalked, okay?”
The Princess is much more polite, but it’s clear she’s ready to leave, too, so I don’t detain them.

Overall, I’d say our Princess seems surprisingly content with her new identity and especially with her knight in shining armor, Rigel Stuart. It will be interesting to see how things progress there once she’s called upon to take up the position she was born to—but I’ll leave that story to my colleagues in Nuath, who will be on the spot to witness it firsthand. 


 “Hey, did you hear there’s a new transfer?” Debbi Andrews asked the moment I sat next to her in Geometry class.
Petite and blond, Deb was my second-best friend after Brianna Morrison, though lately it seemed like the two of them were closer to each other than to me. Not that I could blame them, between the time I spent with Rigel and all the secrets I couldn’t tell them.
“Really? Two in one semester must be a record.” I grinned over at Rigel, who’d been the new kid at the start of the school year. “Boy or girl?”
“Boy. I haven’t seen him yet. I think he’s a junior or senior. Natalie said—”
The teacher cleared his throat then and Deb had to shut up. I was sure I’d hear more later, from Bri if not from Deb. New students were a huge deal at our little rural school.
Sure enough, the new guy was the first thing Bri talked about when we met up with her in the lunchroom a couple hours later.
“Hey, Rigel, looks like you’re off the hook for the basketball team.” Bri had been pestering Rigel for days to try out, egged on by her father, who was on the coaching staff. “This new guy, Sean, is just what our sucky team needs, according to my dad.”
“Sean?” Deb asked eagerly. “So that’s his name?”
I glanced at Rigel, who looked more relieved than curious. I, meanwhile, was having a mild deja vu moment, remembering when Bri had been all excited about the wonderful new quarterback we were getting—Rigel.
“Yeah, Sean O’Gara,” Bri told Deb.
“So, is it true he’s from Ireland? That’s what Natalie told me this morning.”
Bri nodded, her long, dark curls bouncing. “That’s what Dad said, too. I didn’t even know they played basketball in Ireland! But apparently it’s huge there.”
“Ireland? Really?” I glanced at Rigel again, remembering something he’d told me a while back, and saw he looked a little more interested. 
“Yeah, he and his family just moved here last— Ooh, that must be him!” Bri broke off to point.
Of course, we all looked. The new guy was definitely tall enough to play basketball, maybe three or four inches taller than Rigel. He was fair bordering on pale, with bright, copper-colored hair. Very good looking, though of course he couldn’t compete with Rigel in that department. Who could?
“Let’s go say hi,” Bri suggested, already heading his way. “You know, welcome him to Jewel.”
It looked to me like plenty of people—mainly girls—were already doing just that. Again I was reminded of Rigel’s first day, especially when I saw Trina Squires—cheerleader, flirt and bitch extraordinaire—saunter up to to the newcomer. Rigel and I followed Bri and Deb, since it seemed the nice thing to do. We were maybe halfway across the lunchroom when both of us stopped cold to stare at each other.
“Do you—?” Rigel asked.
I nodded. “I feel it, too.” It was the brath—the weird, almost electric vibe Martians sense when other Martians are nearby. Like what I’d felt from those two tourist women yesterday.
Sean O’Gara was one of us.

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Brenda Hiatt is the author of nearly twenty novels (so far), including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance, and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her new STARSTRUCK series as she's ever been about any of her books. In addition to writing, Brenda is passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving (she has over 60 dives to her credit), Taekwondo (where she recently achieved her 2nd degree black belt), hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and skills. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and Novelists, Inc, an international organization of multipublished novelists, where she served as President in 2006. For the past dozen years, Brenda has also collected data on writers' earnings, which she shares at her website, You can also find Brenda on Facebook, Twitter (@Brenda_Hiatt), Tumblr, Goodreads and Wattpad.


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