12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

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Blog Hop:  12 Days of Christmas

Event Date:  December 1st  – 12th 2013

Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

Hello once again, readers!! Today my blog is apart of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop put together by As You Wish Tours. We are supposed to spotlight one of our own books, so I’m going with Born in Flames, book one in the Born in Flames Trilogy.

But before we get to that, I want to share a giveaway with you since it is the season of giving! I will make it easy for you, because I am good like that. And because you rock.

No seriously, you do.

All you have to do is like & comment on this post for an entry. You can gain an extra entry by sharing the post. The more the merrier.

You want me to do what? What do I get?

One lucky winner will win not one, not two, but THREE ebooks! All three ebooks in the Born in Flames Trilogy to be exact! The contest will run through December 16th and a winner will be announced that Monday. Good luck to all who participate.

Any who, now I have to share my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. To be honest, I don’t bake (unless you consider buying pre-made cookie dough and throwing it in the oven baking). That’s about as far as I get into it lol. I know, shameful. But if I did bake, I would totally make these. They look scrumptious!

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Favorite Christmas cookie recipe: Cran-Pistachio Cookies

 Recipe and photo found from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 lb  1.5 ounce) pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
  • 1 box  (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 1/4 cup  flour
  • 1/2 cup  butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup  dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  dried cranberries, chopped
  • optional – green food coloring (I didn’t add any but if  you wanted them extra green you could)

Instructions

  1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In  a large bowl stir cookie mix, pudding, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs and  stir until incorporated.
  3. Add  pistachios and cranberries and mix well.
  4. Drop  by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and slightly flatten  with fingertips.
  5. Bake  for 8-10 minutes. The only way you can ruin these cookies is to overbake them!  If you bake them too long you will lose the soft texture and they won’t be as  green. They will not look done but take them out and let them sit on the pan for  about 2 minutes. Trust me.
  6. Cool  on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen  cookies.

Read more here.

Now for the fun stuff-the Born in Flames spotlight:

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(donated book to hop)

Red mirrored scales race up my arms as the haze of pain blurs my vision. My bones crack, breaking to realign. I scream. It is then that the realization of my unavoidable fate sinks in; I am of a dying race. I am dragon.

Aurora Megalos, orphaned and teetering on the edge of adulthood, thought finding her past would curb the sting of being an outcast. Having no memories of the time before she awoke on her foster mother’s doorstep, she yearns for the emptiness inside her to be filled. With her fellow orphaned best friend, Fenn, by her side, she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. But something powerful stirred within her that she couldn’t explain. Something wanted out.

In the dark of night, a crazed Seer erases everything she’s ever known with an impending prophecy. She now faces two paths. Return to her true home to protect a dying race against a growing evil, or stay hidden in the safety of our realm with a shot at a true love. With a vengeful Arch Enemy stopping at nothing to see her dead, she’s running out of time; a decision must be made. What would you choose?

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in ebook or paperback.

Here is a small excerpt:

Preface

THE CALL OF THE ORB was strong now that it rested in my hands. A song thrummed in my chest as I felt the veins in my neck beating wildly. Looking at it now, the change wasn’t as scary as I had thought it would be. Even with knowing that I could be staring my possible death in the face. The question was—would I be strong enough to sustain these powers given to me? Maybe I was just scared of The Fates choosing my destiny, or maybe I was scared that what was about to happen would forever change my life. Either way, growing up I had always hoped that my life would mean something more than just being a foster child, but this, this was much bigger than anyone could imagine. And what lies ahead? Well if it’s anything compared to what I am going through now, then I expect my life to fall into a whole new level of crazy. And I think it may be just what I was looking for.

And scene!

This was the first novel I ever wrote, and I wrote it back in 2009. It is my baby and the one that started it all. The book that launched a thousand books-har har. I don’t think I could ever write a thousand books, but it was the beginning to a path I was always destined for. I love writing. It has been my saving grace. Just when I thought I had reached my potential, that my life would be nothing more than working for a company hoping for a raise and waiting for the endless five o’clock to arrive, writing came along and swept me off my feet.

I haven’t looked back since.

It’s magical, finding your dreams. It’s something I can never get enough of, even when I am dead a$$ tired. I eat, sleep, and dream about my characters and their stories, and I have all of my fans to thank for continuing to support and follow me on this amazing journey.

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Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author

ENTER  RAFFLECOPTER HERE

SHARE LINK TO RETRIEVE CODE

For more Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes & Giveaways – Hop along the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

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Merry Christmas!!

Echelon out ♥

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser TuesdayHello once again, readers!!!

How is your holiday week so far? Good? Busy? Anyone preparing for Black Friday?

I am entertaining my two year-old and six year-old. And by entertaining I mean being tied up and put in their closet jail. But it’s okay, they left me alongside of plush Buzz and Woody so at least I am in good company. And I am let out when they grow hungry on good behavior from time to time. Help me! Who could ask for more?

Sounds fun right? o_O

Any who, today is teaser Tuesday and since I am now working on approving the copy edits for From the Embers, I figured I would share a teaser from chapter 1.

She was staring at me. “The end of days has begun, or as your old realm is calling it, the war. There is much to catch up on and very little time to do so.”

“Catch up on? What month are we in?” I asked, shivering.

Her gaze fell flat.

Astral shifted and took a gentle step in between us. “Forgive her, Alexis. Being in the Hall of Knowledge for such a long time does make one dizzy-minded.”

“But I wasn’t there for that long. Hours if anything,” I stated. I was confused and felt on the verge of snapping. The dragon in me felt suppressed.

His smile was patient when he tilted his head at me. “Oh, but it was much longer, Little Flame. You’ve been gone for almost a year in the time of the living. We are in November…again.”

And scene. A lot of mixed emotions bombard Aurora when she wakes in the realm. A lot of time has passed and a lot of hope was lost. She must reunite the people in the realm in hopes that they will fight back against Zordon and his steadily growing army.

Are you as excited as I am?

On another note:

Best Friends

 

 

 

 

 

Yes that is me and my bestie author Sonya Loveday. You should check her out. ;)

That being said, Echelon out ♥

From the Embers Second Round Edits

EditsHello once again, readers!!!

I just received my second round edits from my publisher this morning for From the Embers, the final installment in the Born in Flames Trilogy! I am excited to get started and at the same time, I can’t believe the end is approaching. It’s been a very long and enlightening road. I will miss these characters. There is one in particular though that won’t let up on me. He wants his own story and has been plotting himself a new journey in the back of my mind. We shall see what happens.

Any who, as a celebration of nearing the end of this epic journey, I want to share the prologue with you,

Prologue

 

“This just in,” a woman’s steely voice said. She paused, her eyes skimming over the monitor, taking in the words that were displayed on the screen before she had to deliver them to the thousands that tuned in.

Her eyes came to a hasty halt, and she stiffened in her seat. She looked off to the left, stealing a breath. “I can’t believe it,” she mumbled to herself, her lips quivering. Her heart began to beat like a panicked prisoner’s, locked inside a dark room.

She looked back up at the camera with a strained smile, her face paling as she tried her best to resume her composure. But the sound of the paper rattling in her hands was a dead giveaway.

Something was wrong.

She stared at the light in front of her that read “on air” and swallowed, regretting for the first time the duty that came with being a news anchor. Another weak smile pressed on her lips, her mind running blank.

Someone from behind the camera ushered her on with a small hand wave. She was fully aware of all the curious stares in the studio. Something she had never paid any mind to before.

Her co-anchor cleared his throat.

She shook her head, coming out of her momentary panic attack. “I don’t quite know how to put this.” Her voice was almost inaudible. “It seems there has been a phenomenon. One that cannot be explained.” She stopped, knowing that so many lives out there were blindly unaware of what was to come next. Knowing that she was about to forever change their lives.

“We have all been advised by the Department of Homeland Security to evacuate immediately to your nearest advised shelter. Our world is under attack. We have now declared war.”

The camera zoomed into her face for the deliverance of that last sentence that hung at the bottom of the screen like a noose. The room quieted. She paused once again, regretting the next words that were to leave her mouth, but knowing it was of great importance. The world depended on it.

“Our world is no longer ours as we know it.”

The screen went fuzzy, and the earth began to rumble.

And scene. Have you added it on Goodreads yet? If not, click here.

*Spoiler Alert*

So yeah, all hell has broken loose. If you’ve read the first two, then you know by now that Zordon is a Fate. He has the control in his hands and this is how he chooses to use it-by ripping apart both realms. Aurora has been sent back by Iliana, the sister fate, and will begin her journey to figuring out how the prophecy, and both her and Fenn’s purpose will come full circle to take Zordon down.

If she doesn’t run out of time first.

I am excited for my readers to read this one. There are quite a few shockers and an ending that will leave you in tears (I won’t say if they will be happy or sad tears). I’m getting all emotional now just thinking about my characters and being in their world again. It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about them since I have been nose deep in Everlasting. I think they will be pleased though.

Also, the cover is complete, we are just waiting on the reveal. Because I suck at waiting and keeping surprises, here is a small hint at what you can expect:Teaser

It’s just a little peek at the lettering. Basically, I can’t wait. If you’re in the mood to start the trilogy in preparation for the release of book three, book one and two are on sale for $2.99 right now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Oh snap!

Holiday SALECheck it out and leave a review. :)

Echelon out ♥

How to Brainstorm Your Next Novel in 8 Easy Steps.

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From my notebook-brainstorming and outlining Everlasting

Hello once again, readers!

So … on Wednesday I will be making my first appearance at a high school as an author. Branford High School to be exact. I am going with a few other authors (including my bestie Sonya Loveday) to discuss the different phases of writing. My topic is the brainstorming phase. I figured I would write here what I plan on saying, that way I get my practice in and have a general idea of what to say.

I’m OCD like that.

Any who, so here are the key points I will be discussing on brainstorming:

  1. Who is your Main Character? The first step is figuring out who you are writing about-the main character. You can’t have a story without one. To start this, I work off a character sheet with standard questions (physical appearance, personality traits, etc.). It’s very important that you figure out who they are and what their back story/driving force is before you enter in to the rough draft phase, because you need to understand their actions and know how they will respond to the tough situations they will be placed in.
  2. Who is the Supporting Character/s? In my line of writing, I lean towards romance, so once I have the main character in mind, I need to figure out who their counterpart will be. I go through the same steps-using the character sheet with questions, and figuring out what their back story.
  3. Who is the Antagonist? You can’t have a hero/heroine without an antagonist (be it a person or a goal they must overcome). So who are they? What do they want? How will they affect the main character’s growth? About this time, I also have a faint plot in mind. At least, what the main goal is, be it a machine they are both after, one needing to stop the other from destroying something, etc.. It’s all vague and I try not to set too many limitations for myself so I have freedom when working through my rough draft.
  4. Family Trees. After I have the most important characters, I try to write out family trees. You could do this step in the character drafting stage, but I like to have all my players out before I get deep into their family web and how they will all twist into one another. This also helps me in developing who my characters are, and sometimes gives me new ideas on how to deepen their back stories. Basically, I want to get as much figured out about the characters as possible before I write.
  5. World Building. When the characters are solid, I move on to world building. I focus on the setting (where the story takes place) and then research that area. It’s good to know everything about the places you are writing in so your descriptions feel real. Google maps is awesome for seeing and walking the streets without actually having to go there.
  6. Research. Because I write in paranormal and fantasy, I also research different types of magic/casting/spells/armor/weapons/supernatural beings. I like to get as many ideas as possible so I can build on what is there and make it my own. Some things though are better left unchanged. Those are things you want to have facts on. You want to have some familiarity for your reader to grasp onto the idea of what you’re writing about, while trying to maintain a fresh POV. Fantasy gives you that freedom.
  7. Plot Structuring. Once I have that all figured out, I start my plot structuring. I am very brief. I don’t even use a plot line. It’s been suggested to me that I should, and it might help, but I believe everyone has their own way of doing things, and even if I make it harder on myself, the discovery of the world you are building is half of the fun when writing. There’s no way to walk into a project knowing every angle/every scene that will transpire, unless you plan chapter by chapter.
  8. Rough Draft. When I have a good understanding of my characters, the world they are in, and the goals and sub-goals they are trying to reach, that is when my brainstorming ends and my writing begins. That’s not to say it ends completely, because I am always tossing ideas in my head. I could be in the middle of a conversation and be thinking about how the next scene I will write should go.

Hopefully these tips help you. They aren’t necessarily right, they are just my way of doing things. Like I said, the important thing is not to limit yourself. If you’re feeling stuck, take a step back and walk through the scene. Think about how you can make it more difficult for your character. What can you throw at them? How can you get them one step closer to personal growth and reaching their goal?

Hopefully I can get this all out in my five-minute timeframe and sound like I have a brain in my head lol. Actually, I’m not worried about meeting the timeframe, I’m worried about getting all nervous-silly and stumbling over my words. I used to be so good with speaking in public, but I seem to be moving backward in that aspect of my abilities.

That being said, I will let you know how it goes and hopefully have some pictures to show for. Wish me luck!

Echelon out ♥

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Born in Flames Now Available in Print!

MeWPHello once again, readers!!!

You read right! Born in Flames is now available in print!!!! As you can see, I have the first copy in my hands. It was everything I imagined and then some to finally touch it, smell it, and store it next to my favorite books on my bookshelf! Everything turned out just how we wanted it. It even smells like a book!BIF Print3

To celebrate, I am holding a paperback giveaway over on Goodreads. I figured I would share it with you lovely people. Click here and it will take you directly to the giveaway where you can enter. Feel free to share the news!

On another note, Born in Flames and Embracing the Flames are on sale this weekend for only $2.99 along with all the other novels published by my publisher. Now is the best time to snag both copies! Or any of the other novels because they are all good reads.1044256_472860039469369_1415974927_n

In other news, I am going for my scuba certification on the 20th of this month. I am SO excited! I have been studying like a crazy person and just got my wetsuit and flippers today. My friend has the other stuff I need to use for the pool test up until I get the rest of my gear. Eeeeee!

Now to leave you with a question: How do you feel about the ocean?

Echelon out ♥

 

Cassandra Giovanni’s Just One Cup Cover Reveal

Hello once again, Readers!!! Today I stray away from a normal post to bestow you with a lovely gift. Okay, so maybe this doesn’t come as a surprise considering the title pretty much gives it away, but hey, what can a girl do!? I’m trying to drum up some excitement here.

Hey you! Yeah, you! Get excited!!!

I digress.

So yes, onwards and upwards…or sidewards if you want to be silly.

Huh?

Today I have the lovely Cassandra Giovanni featured on my blog. As you may have guessed, today is the BIG reveal of her debut New Adult novel, Just One Cup. She has also written, In Between Seasons and Walking in the Shadows. So without further adieu, I give you the beautimous cover (designed by Cassandra) of Just One Cup:cover with tattoos

RELEASE DATE: JUNE 20, 2013

Emma Walker was a writer who’d lost herself to someone else’s anger–who had given up on ever feeling like herself again. Evan Levesque was a rock-god–the one all the woman wanted, but he’d never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life. With just one cup of coffee they’ll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan’s fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma’s checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words…they’ll destroy my soul–Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she’s become because of it? GENRE: New Adult>Contemporary Romance

Time to meet the brains behind the words:

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Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children’s novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Just One Cup, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company’s photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

Now how about an excerpt from Just One Cup!?

When he came off the plane he was wearing aviators, a black button-up, dark wash jeans and those Converse shoes that I hated on anyone but him. He lifted his sunglasses and broke into a smile as I ran into his arms. He dropped his bag and spun me around as soon as I was in his arms.

“How did you know?” he asked as he set me on the ground, his hands tangled in my hair.

“You told me what flight you were on.”

He shook his head and held my chin in his hand. “I’ve always wanted to have someone to wait for me—to spin them around and then do this.”

He pulled my chin up and tilted it until our lips touched—soft at first and then the reminder that we hadn’t kissed in two months came over us. The only thing that could pull us apart was the whistle that echoed through the terminal and then the incessant flash of cameras.

“Crap,” Evan hissed, his forehead pressed to mine with his hands on either side of my face so they couldn’t get a good picture of me. “You don’t want them to know who you are yet, do you?”

I shook my head but said with my voice shaking, “I knew the risk.”

He swallowed and then smiled. “Tilt your head down so that your hair covers your face from

I did what he said and then felt his hands slip the glasses over my eyes. As I looked up his cocky half-smile made me laugh.

“They look a hell of a lot hotter on you,” he teased, throwing his duffel bag over his shoulder and wrapping his arm around my waist so that his fingers were in the front pocket of my jeans.

“I don’t think that’s possible,” I replied, breathless from the feel of his touch as my t-shirt rose, exposing the flesh of my hip to his warmth.

“It’s very possible with you,” he whispered into my ear as we made our way past the flashing cameras. “I can’t wait to see the tabloids on this one.”

“It would be much better if we did something dangerous, like locked ourselves in a public restroom.”

He looked down at me through his eyebrows. “Really? That’s not all that clean.”

“I haven’t seen you in two months,” I said, turning and stopping in front of him. “I’ve thought about you every single day. Do you know what that does to a girl? Especially when pictures of you half- naked are strewn across the internet.”

“I see you found those.” His voice was edged with amusement, but his face was red in embarrassment.

I pulled on the collar of his shirt before leaning up on my toes and whispering into his ear, “I need some real ones.”

“What do you need pictures of when I’m here?” he answered, his breath hot on my chin, voice seductive.

“I need you to burn the images into my mind then,” I said before gently biting his ear.

His free hand drifted down the small of my back to my rear pocket. “I thought I already had.”

“Mhmm…I need more.”

“I have to admit I kind of enjoy this.” He smirked down at me. “But teasing me like this is just

cruel.”

“Does the rental car have blacked out windows?” I asked over my shoulder as I turned.

I watched his Evan’s Adam’s apple rise and fall. “I sure hope so.”

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17457178-just-one-cup“><img alt=”Goodreads-badge-add-plus” src=”http://s.gr-assets.com/assets/badge/goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47.png” /></a>

Echelon out ♥