New Cover!

Publishing a book, especially independently, requires flexibility and trust.  Flexibility, because what you think is going to work doesn’t always, and trust, because you sometimes have to bow to someone else’s expertise.

The process of publishing FEARLESS offered a steep learning curve.  Editing and formatting was one thing, but designing a cover was quite another.  Even with the most creative minds in my household, we didn’t really have a good grasp on what kind of cover sells books–particularly young adult e-books.

And so I am unveiling here the new and improved cover for FEARLESS. It was designed by Elizabeth Sharp, book cover artist extraordinaire.  (You can contact her here. ) Look for it as part of the website soon.


Marica’s Secret

One of the most mysterious characters in FEARLESS is the chemistry teacher, Marica Lacusta. So what’s her deal?

Tasmyn meets her new chem teacher on her first day in King.  Ms. Lacusta is a relative newcomer, too; she arrived in town the spring before the Vaughns moved. Right away, Tas finds Ms. Lacusta a little odd.  She emanates an intensity that just feels a little off.

It doesn’t take long, though, for Tas to realize that there is a very strong relationship between the teacher and Nell Massler. The nature of that relationship is a little harder to ascertain.  Nell seems possessive and jealous of Ms. Lacusta.  How Marica feels about Nell is still murky.

Tas learns a little bit about Marica over the course of FEARLESS, but we’ll definitely get to know her better in the next two books in the King series.  What’s going on with Marica and Nell?  Why did the chem teacher put together a special girls-only club? Why does she seem to have a special interest in Tasmyn?  And why can’t Tas hear her thoughts?

All these answers. . and more. . .will be revealed.



Reading Lark Interview

I am so excited about my very first author interview–where *I* am the author, that is!!–now available on Reading Lark.

Read the interview here.

It was so much fun to answer the questions that Andrea posed; they definitely made me think a little more deeply about some elements of my book.

I recommend Reading Lark for all of your book review needs–their recommendations are right on target.

With A Little Help From My Friends

The subject of friends is very much on my mind these days, because my wonderful group of bosom buddies is doing such an awesome job of helping me with (or leading me through!) promoting my books.  Every Facebook post, every re-Tweet. . .every positive review and recommendation. . .is another step along the road for me, and I am tremendously grateful for each one!

Close friends like mine are a new experience for Tasmyn when she moves to King.  She makes her very first pals through Michael, when his buddies from childhood take her under their collective wing.  Like most of us, while Tas likes all of Michael’s crowd, she clicks with a couple of them more than the others.

Anne Lewis and Michael have been friends since kindergarten (although apparently there was unfortunate temporary rift after the Mr. Whiskers hamster care award incident in first grade).  She was the only girl in their crowd until Brea moved to King in fourth grade. And although Anne and Brea will always be close, Anne was thrilled when Michael brought Tasmyn to their lunch table.  They found so much in common that pretty soon, Michael was teasing Anne about stealing his girl.

Since having a best girlfriend is so new to Tas, she is even more excited when she realizes that there is something she can do to help out Anne.  After a few weeks of sitting at the lunch table, it becomes clear that Jim, another one of their group, has deep feelings for Anne.  There’s history between them, and misunderstanding. . but with a little encouragement and advice from Tasmyn, those two crazy kids just might work it out.

If Tas is excited to have a whole group of friends through association with Michael, she’s even prouder when she makes a connection all by herself.  Cara Pryce comes to Tasmyn’s rescue one day, and the two discover that they have a few things in common.  Cara is fairly new to King, too.  She’s struggled to make friends.  As it turns out, they may end up having more in common than Tas likes.

But then that’s a story for another day.

Evolution of A Story

“What gave you the idea for this book?”

Seems like a simple question.  Most authors have a nice pat answer to that query.  Stephenie Meyer cites a dream as her primary inspiration for Twilight.  Anne Rice has said that the death of her young daughter prompted her to write her first vampire novel, Interview With A Vampire.  Stephen King says that his horror novel Pet Semetary came to him after a near miss involving his little boy and a busy highway.

But I think that if most writers were completely honest, they would admit that while a single incident might provide the initial idea, plot lines usually come from many different sources, some of them external–things that happens to us–and some of them from the deepest recesses of our minds.

One of the chief elements of Fearless came to me years ago when my children were small.  I experienced something most moms can probably understand:  I would wake up in the middle of the night and sleepily think of my baby, hoping she would stay asleep. . .and moments later, said baby would begin fussing.  I told my sister that it was as if the baby could hear me thinking about her.

And that make me consider how complicated it would be to have a child who really could hear thoughts.  How would a parent deal with that?  How would you figure it out?  How many scenarios might cross your mind before you discovered the truth?

The first chapter I wrote for Fearless was the one in which Tasmyn tells Michael about her history.  The germ of the idea that had been marinating in my mind for over ten years took form in Tasmyn’s memories of her early childhood.

But there was so much more than that. Tasmyn’s years of moving from new school to new school was certainly something I could understand. I pulled some of her experiences–some of which was more detailed in earlier forms of the book–directly from my own experiences.  And while I don’t think any of them were actually witches, I could certainly relate to mean and hostile girls.

So most of the basic outline of Tasmyn’s story had been with me for a while.  But moving to central Florida gave me a setting that I hadn’t expected.  In our early years here, I spent a lot of time in a nearby small town.  There is no connection with the metaphysical or supernatural in that particular town, but there is another place not too far away that is well-known for its psychics and mediums.  Combining those two locales–juxtaposing the bizarre with the normal–gave me the town of King.

Michael and his friends very kindly presented themselves to me.  I didn’t have to reach very far for them; they just basically wrote their own stories.  Does that sound odd?  Maybe, but it’s true.  If much of Tasmyn’s background and character comes from my own history, Michael is an absolute original.  His love of the oldies and ’65 Mustangs came from my dad, who passed on both of those passions to me.  His time working in the family business reminds me of my husband, who used to work in his father’s hardware store.  But there is so much more to him that just seemed to evolve. I love that he is confident without being cocky; I adore his steady loyalty, his quirky humor and his unashamed love of family.

So that’s some of the background of Fearless. I hope that when you read it, you’ll recognize some of these elements and enjoy it all the more.