Red Dawn: Halloween Masquerade Alternative POV Scene

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (no surprise there since I’m admittedly the worst blogger ever), but I received a note from a reader the other day with a really awesome suggestion for some alternate POV scenes. Because who wouldn’t want to read some of the hottest Crossroads scenes from Nik’s perspective? Fortunately, I had a really fun one tucked away that I’m more than happy to share! So without any further babbling, below is a scene from the Halloween Masquerade in Red Dawn, which was one of my favorite scenes to write in the Crossroads Academy series. Happy Reading!

Halloween Masquerade: Alternative POV Scene – Nikolai Petrov

All around me costumed bodies writhe and twist to the unending assault of techno music, but I’m only interested in one vamp tonight. I spot her as soon as she enters the crowded hall. When my eyes lock on Katia, everything else fades away. Gone are the too short skirts, the excessive glitter, and the shallow girls who throw themselves at me without reserve. I slip through the crowd, watching Katia’s every move as I maneuver to intercept her. She’s got fire in her eyes as she cuts through the sea of bodies, and I can’t help but smile as I realize we’ll meet at the center of the dance floor. As Katia approaches, I step directly into her path, cutting off any chance of escape, and offer her my glass.

“Thirsty?” I ask, not bothering to shout over the music. Without a word she takes the goblet and drains the contents. When she finishes, a thin trail of blood runs down her chin. Katia makes no move to wipe it away and my pulse flares. The desire to rub the blood from her smooth skin is nearly impossible to ignore. Better still, I could lick it from her chin and devour those pouty red lips. Of course, she’d probably tear me to pieces if I tried.

“Nice costume.” I find my eyes trailing down her athletic body. I have no idea what she’s supposed to be, but I’m guessing this is Shaye’s handiwork. Unlike the other girls at Crossroads, Katia’s not usually one to flaunt short skirts and platform shoes. Too bad. Her legs are killer. I find my gaze sliding over her bare flesh, thankful she can’t read my thoughts. Some things are better left unsaid. I drag my gaze back to her face and as our eyes meet again, I can’t help but smirk when I realize she’s blushing.

“Don’t ask,” Katia threatens, glaring at me. “And why aren’t you dressed up? It hardly seems fair!”

“But I am dressed up,” I respond, hooking my thumbs in the pockets of my low slung jeans. “Isn’t it obvious?”

“Not so much,” she shouts, narrowing her eyes.

“I’m a Crossroads Academy student, sans uniform.” I smile, pleased with my own clever avoidance of the dreaded costume and grab her hand. We are at the center of the dance floor, after all. Might as well take advantage. And I know that if I ask, she’ll just shoot me down.

“Pre section 8B? Clever. Why didn’t I think of that?” she grumbles, too distracted to protest as I pull her close.

We lose ourselves in the crowd, our bodies pressed together, moving slowly to the rhythm of the music. I’m not surprised to discover that we fit together well, as though cut from the same cloth. I tighten my arms around her waist, locking our bodies together and staking my claim.

There’s something about her strength, the way she carries herself almost regally, that’s sexy as hell. Too bad that quality is the same one that makes it damn near impossible to get close to her. Months of training together and I’m no closer to breaking through her walls than I was last year when we faced Luka.

Still, for tonight, I’m content just to hold her and take what little she offers. With Katia in my arms, it’s easy to forget the sea of sweaty vamps that bump and grind all around us. I slide my hand up the gentle curve of her back as she rakes her fingers through my hair, pushing a stray curl back from my forehead. Katia snuggles closer, curling her body around mine and I’m unable to suppress the growl that passes my lips. I could get used to this.

It’s then that I notice Jade and Trey dancing across the room. No great surprise, Jade’s grinding all over the guy. Not that I care, exactly. If it were anyone else, I’d be worried about him. Jade may be one of my best friends, but she’s one part vamp, one part praying mantis. As it is, I have to admit that seeing them together makes my blood run cold. I don’t trust the guy. He’s trouble, which is the last thing Jade- or any of us- needs right now.

“See something you like?” Katia asks, eyeing Jade icily.

Oh, sh–.

Cover Reveal: Bloodline (Crossroads Academy #3)


Guys… I am so excited to share the cover for Bloodline with you today! *Squee!*

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can I just tell you how much I love the cover for Bloodline? As the third and final book in the Crossroads Academy series, I knew it had to be something special. Something that would just jump off the screen and grab you, because, you know, that’s totally Katia’s style.

And you know what? Rachel, the creative genius at Parajunkee Design, nailed it! I am in LOVE with this cover.

In fact, I liked it so much I asked her to give Crossroads a new look too! It’s fresh, bold and so Katia. I hope you guys love it as much as I do!

ORIGINAL                                                                     NEW      



Release Date: Bloodline (Crossroads Academy #3)

Official Cover Coming Soon!I know what you’re thinking… It’s about freaking time! Fair enough. This book has been a long time coming and it’s hard for me to say which is greater, my guilt over the long wait (my family has taken to calling me Jen R.R. Martin – If you’re a GOT fan, you’ll get it) or my excitement to finally share Bloodline with the world!

Oh, get to the point already?

Bloodline will be released January 27th, 2015 and I hope it’s everything you’ve come to expect from Crossroads Academy!

Bloodline (Crossroads Academy #3)

I had so much fun writing this book, but I have to be honest, I’m sorry to see Katia’s story end. She’s a character who dropped into my world and took over with late nights, lots of caffeine, and a whole lot of kick ass attitude. Simply put, she changed my life.

But she’s not the only one.

I’ve been blessed with amazing friends, amazing family, and amazing fans! Your kind words and support over the last couple of years have made all of the difference in my journey, and in Katia’s. The last two years have been busy and my family has faced some significant changes, welcoming new life into the world (Love you Baby Todd!) and celebrating the lives of those who can no longer be here with us (We miss you Dad & Pap Pap!). This book would not be possible without the love and support of my family and friends who put up with my endless plot questions and revisions and who never stopped believing (Journey, anyone?) in me or my dreams! Nor would it be possible without fans like you who’ve kept me on my toes, driving me to finish Katia’s story, and providing words of encouragement along the way. Your endless patience has always been top of mind and appreciated more than you can possibly know!

So to honor the fans and say THANK YOU the best way I know how, I’m giving away ARC ebooks of Bloodline to the first 50 readers who email, message, Tweet, or Facebook me!

Wanted: Crystal Ball

Being an indie author is pretty darn cool most days. But then there are those days where you question everything. And by everything, I mean E-V-E-R-Y thing. Apparently I’m having one of those days today and I can’t help but think that life would be so much easier with a crystal ball. Heck, I’d take a Magic 8 ball at this point, but only if it’s the really girly pink one.

When I have to make tough decisions, there’s always that whisper of self-doubt saying what if? And as much as I’d like to squash it, I’m only human. I worry, and obsess and probably drive my husband bat-shizz crazy throughout the decision-making process. Then I make the decision and worry some more. It’s just what I do.

I had to act on a really tough decision today, one I’ve been obsessing (yes, obsessing) over for months to give up something I love. (How’s that for vague?)  It was hard. Really. Hard. Hell, I’m still sweating it now. But I have to believe it’s for the best in the long run. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be no matter how bad you want them and tough choices have to be made. It’s a fact of life– indie or otherwise.

My only comfort? I’ve got a great support network to see me through! And that is what being indie is all about. So, now it’s vacation time for me and when I return, I’m fully committed to a renewed focus on my family and my writing.



Indie Life: To Critique or Not To Critique?

There are a lot of great things about being an indie author (namely creative control), but there are challenges as well. Let’s be honest; sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. So we hire designers, editors, and sometimes even marketeers. (Yes, marketeers is a real word. I promise.) My point? Being an indie doesn’t mean going it alone. Sure, there’s plenty of trial and error, but there are also a lot of great resources out there for writers. I recently stumbled across CP Seek, a website dedicated to helping writers find critique partners. How awesome is that?

I have a kickass team of beta readers, but I can’t help but think that what’s missing is a critique partner, someone who not only understands plot structure and tropes and character archetypes, but who shares the ups and downs of writing. (Writer’s block, anyone?) In the past I’ve been nervous about dipping my toe in the crit partner pool. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time or the perspective to be a great partner, so I held back.

I’m starting to rethink my position. After all, I’ve been reading and writing my whole life (more or less) so how hard can it be? (Kidding!) Seriously though, I’m working on my third manuscript and I’m more comfortable with my writing and editing than ever before, so this feels like the next step. And if I can help a fellow writer along the way? Bonus!

I’m definitely going to check out CP Seek, but if there are any writers out there with helpful hints for finding the right crit partner, I welcome the feedback! I’m just getting started, but I have a feeling this is  going to be a lot like dating or, you know, finding a great pair of shoes….

Indie Life: Inspiration

Today I read an amazing story that inspired me. I actually cried– tears of sadness and tears of joy– because this story touched my heart. (If you know me, then you know this is a pretty big deal because I am not a crier.

We all have dreams in life. Some big, some small. All important. Bridget Zinn was a writer who dreamed of sharing her love of literature. She dreamt of creating stories that would resonate with young readers and wrote heroines of strength and substance. (Mrs. Zinn was clearly a woman after my own heart.)

Bridget Zinn’s dream of being published was realized yesterday when her debut novel, POISON, a YA fantasy tale, was released by Hyperion Books. Unfortunately, Bridget Zinn passed away from cancer in 2011 at the age of 33 and could not be here to share her story personally. Her family and friends have banded together to spread the word about POISON, sharing her story with readers and helping make her dream a reality.

Release days are always emotional, for writers and the people who support us in our crazy, pre-launch jitters. It’s a busy time filled with emotional highs and lows. I was wracked with nerves before the launch of my debut novel, Crossroads. It was TERRIFYING. Would people like it? Would they hate it? Or worse, would they be totally indifferent?

Creating and publishing a book is never a one woman (or man) job, not even in the indie world. In addition to the editors, designers and other countless peers who help make our work shine, there are the behind the scenes folks propping us up and encouraging us along the way. These people deserve a standing ovation, because I can assure you it’s not always an easy job.

Weeks after Crossroads released, my own father lost his battle with cancer. It was devastating for our family, but I was proud that he was able to see me achieve my dream of publication. My father was one of my biggest supporters and an inspiration himself.

*HUGS* to Bridget Zinn’s friends and family for sharing her story and honoring hew dreams by getting POISON into the hands of readers. I just ordered a copy, which I’ll be donating to my local library (after I’ve read it, of course).

If you would like to help spread the word about POISON and Bridget Zinn’s truly inspirational story, please visit the official website.

A Recipe for Poison

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

*** Indie Life is a new monthly meme that I’ll be *trying* to post every month. (Seriously. I even set a reminder on my phone.) ***

Bye, bye 2012! It’s been real…

Life changing, eventful, and eye-opening.

As I sit here writing this post, I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted on my blog! *slaps hand with ruler* Time seems to fly when you’re having fun… and the holiday season drops in with friends and family! I’ve been busy reading, writing, working, and just generally hanging on by the tips of my fingers. It’s been a busy year and now it’s time to sit back and take stock. I won’t be making any resolutions for 2013, but that doesn’t mean I’ve arrived. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m also a realist. After 32 years on this planet, I’ve figured out that resolutions don’t exactly stick.

So 2012 in a nutshell? For me, it was a year of firsts… I completed my first blog tour in the Crossroads Academy series, said goodbye to one of my greatest inspirations, had a beautiful baby girl, bought a new house, and joined Entangled Publishing as a Publicist. I also managed to write and publish my second novel, Red Dawn, in my *spare* time.

Yeah, 2012 was a doozie alright. Filled with amazing highs and challenging lows, 2012 was a year I’ll never forget, for both personal and professional reasons. I’m so appreciative to everyone who stood by me, supporting and encouraging even during the most difficult times. I couldn’t have done it on my own and for that I say thank you! Two little words which seem inadequate in light of how I feel– I’d give you all *hugs* if I could!

I look forward to 2013 and can’t wait to see what the year has in store! I expect lots of heartache and action… in my writing. For myself? Let’s just say I’d settle for a little R&R and a happy, healthy family.

I wish each of you the very best in 2013! Have a safe and happy new year!


Review: Integration

Title: Integration (Bonfire Academy #2)
Author: Imogen Rose
Genre: YA Paranormal
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012
Rating: 4 Stars

Second haiku warning:

A boyfriend missing
A lover must pay in blood
A princess must die

Welcome back to Bonfire Academy.


You know that warm fuzzy sensation you get when returning to a series you love? That’s the feeling I got when I picked up Integration. I read Initiation quite a while ago and absolutely L-O-V-E-D it. I loved the school, the ‘trust no one’ philosophy, the unique paranormal world that Imogen Rose creates, and most of all, Cordelia. So naturally I progressed into reading Faustine, and while it was a great book, I just didn’t connect to it in the same way. Probably because I simply liked Cordelia better than Faustine. Hey, a girl can have favorites, right?

Integration picks up where Initiation left off, with Cordelia returning to Bonfire Academy to complete her internship and sort out her feelings for Quinn (her childhood friend and longtime boyfriend) and Jagger (the Fae hybrid with whom she’s synched). Like all of Imogen Rose’s books, the action starts quickly and doesn’t let up until the end. Once again Cordelia is tasked with watching Faustine who is in being threatened by an anonymous and hostile paranormal, while also juggling her professional responsibilities and trying to locate her missing boyfriend.

Integration is shrouded in far more mystery than Initiation which I enjoyed, although having read Faustine first, I was always trying to put the facts together and figure out where the story was heading. (Given the opportunity, I would have read Integration first).

What I liked…. Cordelia is fearless and confident (despite nearly being torn to pieces the prior year). She’s got a strong sense of responsibility and loyalty (despite her inability to do the right thing by Quinn). And although we are constantly reminded that paranormals do not experience human emotions per se, Cordelia exhibits strong feelings for both Faustine and Jagger. Despite being a ‘new adult’ we still get to see her struggle with jealousy, love and friendship. She’s also got a great deal of spunk, which I love in a female heroine.

What I couldn’t quite wrap my head around (spoiler alert!)…. It seemed to me that Cordelia should have recognized that the Smelt was possessed and acted sooner, just as I felt she should have made some of the other mysterious connections more easily. I really wanted to jump in and give her a good shake when  I felt the clues were so obvious! Fortunately, I can’t dive into my Kindle though, because quite honestly, I’d probably never come back out.

Overall, another winner for Imogen Rose. With lots of action, intensity, and a highly original paranormal world, I look forward to the next chapter in Cordelia’s story and am excited to see how it plays into The Bonfire Chronicles (Faustine’s story).

* Note: This book is recommended for mature/upper YA readers as it does contain references to adult situations.


Review: Last Bastion of the Living

Title: Last Bastion of the Living
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Dystopian
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: June 12th, 2012
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.


Last weekend I tucked in with Last Bastion of the Living for Fraterfest and all I could think the entire time I was reading it was ‘How did I wait so long to read this book?’ Last Bastion was obscenely good. Now, I’m a big fan of Rhiannon Frater, and I loved the As the World Dies series, but Last Bastion of the Living was so much better. I freaking loved this book!  And while I respect the stand alone novel, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing for more!

What’s so great about it? Nearly everything–the word building, the zombies, the heroine, Maria, who was smart, tough, and completely kick-ass. Last Bastion is fast paced and action packed with just the right amount of romance to add to the storyline. I’m not usually a fan of anything too close to science fiction, but I was enamored with the world Frater built. As she described life in the Bastion, I could easily imagine the crowded streets, defunct transport systems, and the oppressive despair. Heck, I think I could even imagine the smell of the highly seasoned protein lumps meant to sustain the sparse population.

I also happen to be an action junkie so the rapid pace and continuously evolving story had me hooked. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the storyline shifted revealing more lies and deceit. This story- and the zombies- bore virtually no resemblance to the zombies of the As the World Dies trilogy, for which I commend Frater. I love that she took an entirely different route here and created another fantastic story! Throughout, I found myself pulling for Maria and her squad despite the impossible odds. I desperately wanted to see them succeed and couldn’t put Last Bastion down.

The only reason I didn’t give this book the full five stars?  The back story on the creation of the zombies. Now, it’s just a blip on the radar and only gets a passing mention, but I just couldn’t buy it- at all. Personally, I would have preferred the mysterious Inferi Scourge virus went unexplained in lieu of the truth, but that’s just me.

Overall, exactly what you expect from Rhiannon Frater: action, suspense and Texans! An amazing and original read, highly recommended for zombie fans! Treat yourself this Halloween… You won’t regret it!

Street Team Winner!

THANK YOU so much to everyone who joined the Crossroads Academy Coven and helped spread the word about the CA street team! You guys seriously rocked my face off with your amazing support of Red Dawn! I had to smile when I saw blog comments like ‘I’ve been seeing this book everywhere’ and I know I couldn’t have done it without you!

A lot of eBooks & swag were given away during the Red Dawn tour, but now it’s time to give away a Crossroads Academy prize pack, complete with signed paperback copies of both Crossroads and Red Dawn. And the winner is….

***drum roll***

 Nova Reylin of My Seryniti!

Congratulations, Nova!

The street team giveaway may be over, but it was a great time and I enjoyed getting to meet so many new book bloggers and readers. In fact, I had so much fun, I’m already starting to think about the next event I can sponsor for you guys– my loyal fans!  Stay tuned and happy reading!