Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bookishly Ever After First Chapter Excerpt and CHIBIS!!!!

Let's be honest, I totally did this just to be able to commission chibis from Draskia ( And I've been dying, DYING to share this one she drew of the booksigning scene because it's all levels of adorable.

BUT, since the booksigning scene was already shared during my cover reveal (and I have it up here: Booksigning Excerpt), I guess I should share another excerpt with you instead, right?

So, here's some of Chapter 1, where you get to meet Phoebe, Em, Grace, Alec, and, of course, Dev:

Chapter 1
I rocked forward, balancing my book on my knees and tried to ignore the yelling and chatter around me. The edge of the cafeteria bench dug into my legs, practically cutting off my circulation, but I barely noticed.
Em elbowed me, leaning over to hiss in my ear, “Seriously, Feebs, put that down. You look like a freak.”
“Uh-huh. Just one more page…it’s getting good.” I flipped the page. Maeve was about to be transported to the Otherland and the court.
“God, you are a freak.” Em heaved a dramatic sigh and turned to talk to the rest of our tablemates.
Yes. This was it. It was like magic jumped off of the page and into my fingers, travelling straight to the pit of my stomach. Aedan.
The words rolled over me and the cafeteria faded away.
Aedan held out his hand, waiting, his gold-flecked eyes meeting hers, making it impossible to look away. Even though Maeve was dying to reach out and wrap her fingers around his, she hesitated. The whole situation was insane.
“Trust me…”I whispered along with him and my heart skipped a beat.
“What the hell?” Em broke into my thoughts and I jolted back to the cafeteria and caught sight of a guy a few tables over trying to stuff an entire hoagie into his mouth. God, reality sucked.
It took a second to focus and I closed Golden slowly, holding it so tight that the corners of the cover dug into my palms. Even on a reread, it was perfect. “Em, I think I’m in love.”
            “Just a tip, Phoebe,” Em said as she none-too-gently pried the book from my hands and slipped it into my messenger bag, “Normal people don’t read books during lunch, unless they have a test the next period.”
            My fingers itched to pull Golden back out of the bag. My brain was still on a book high, stuck on the Hill of Tara in Ireland with an incredibly swoon-worthy guardian. The contrast between that and a South Jersey high school cafeteria was jarring. “Normalcy is overrated.”
            “Normalcy is what keeps us afloat in this sea of teenage drama,” Em said in her best authoritative voice with a dramatic toss of her short, dark curls. Without missing a beat, she managed to seamlessly pop back into her conversation with Grace and Alec.
We were like four legs on a wonky table. Em and me, the band geeks…I was the bookish one to balance her drama nerdery; Alec, the sciencelete; and Grace, our resident cheerleader. Most of us, like me, kinda flew somewhere below popular and above total nerddom. Grace, with her blown-out strawberry blonde hair and designer wardrobe, was a part of the glitterati but still deigned to sit with us nobodies. If she hadn’t been a sciencelete with Alec before making the squad, she probably wouldn’t even know our names. Instead, she was the voice of reason to balance Em’s theatrics, Alec’s geekiness, and my tendency to quote fictional characters. And Em and Alec, who had grown up next to each other, were the glue that held us all together.
I unpacked my sandwich and resigned myself to the fact that I’d gone from living in a world of ancient magic to lunchtime mundane.
 “Can someone explain to me why we even need pep bands?” Em said, breaking into Alec and Grace’s debate about football. “I’d do anything to get out of another Friday night of freezing our butts off in the stands and playing the stupid victory march over and over again.”
Grace was still wearing her red and orange uniform from the pep rally that morning, and even her color coordinated, beribboned ponytail screamed school spirit. “That’s assuming our team even manages a touchdown against Millbrook. Their offense has a spread-passing attack that dominates the field and their defense has given them five shutouts this season. I doubt you’ll be playing any victory marches tonight.” The words that came out of her mouth sounded like they made sentences, but I wasn’t really sure what they meant.
Em elbowed me. “Did you understand anything she just said?” Grace sometimes forgot that Em and I routinely failed the football module in gym every year, which was kind of impressive considering we were forced to sit through all the home games for credit in band.
 I took a bite of my sandwich, swallowed without chewing, and twisted my nose at Grace. “Total lack of athletic knowledge here, remember?”
Grace threw a carrot stick at me. “Says Miss Wannabe Olympian.”
“Because archery is so much like football. If someone starts running at me, I don’t try to jump on them. I shoot them.” I anchored my hand alongside my chin and shot her with an imaginary arrow.
“Like that girl from that new movie.” Alec said, “Perfect Zombieism. That was so awesome how she made a bow out of that tree branch and her shoelaces.”
Not that scene again. The shoelace thing I could forgive even though it was a string made out of braided fishing line in the book, but the branch part was annoying. “That’s so not possible. She’d never get enough force and distance out of the size stave they used in the movie. I read the books and they weren’t that ridiculous. Hollywood messes up everything.”
“But the movie is still really cool,” Grace said with a shrug. “Even with its total lack of respect for the laws of physics.”
“And biology,” Alec added, which earned him another shrug from Grace. “What? All good zombie movies at least pretend there’s some kind of biological reason for their zombies.”
I pressed my hands flat to the table and sat forward. “Okay, this is something that’s been bugging me for a really long time. Did you notice that the people in Zombieism all have perfect vision? Totally not realistic.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Em mouth, “Here we go again,” to Grace.
I continued. “Will someone please tell me why no one in dystopian or apocalyptic novels has bad vision? I’m so blind without my contacts that, if we ever have a nuclear or zombie apocalypse, I’m screwed. I won’t even be able to get contact solution, and, if my glasses break, that will totally suck. If the world was ending and people were scrambling for their lives, you know there would be some people going ‘Guys? Guys? I can’t see where you are.’”
“Well, if the world is ending, we’ll just leave you behind to fend for your half-blind self.”
“Thanks, Em. Thanks so much.”
“I’ll blindly fight off the zombies with you.” Came a voice from behind me... Continue Reading

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bookishly Ever After Launch Info!!

I'm so excited to announce that I finally have a time and place for my first "launch" signing!

(Psst: the link on the image is wrong-- the signing info is here: )

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meet Phoebe Martins

We're a little over two months out from BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER's launch, and I'd like to start sharing some fun character intros, quotes, and excerpts with all of you!

Plus, I commissioned some character chibis from the incredibly talented Draskia ( and I've been DYING to share them with you.

So, without further ado, Phoebe:

Learn more about BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER here:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Remembering How to Write

This summer has been... a summer. And the hardest part of it has been my inability to write--some for emotional reasons, some because of logistics (travel and cat sitting and basically being the responsible big sister stuff,) and some because of exhaustion because of the logistics stuff.

And then, I was SO AFRAID I forgot how to write. It reminds me a little bit of how scared I get every time I step on the ice, before my body realizes it knows what it's doing and I remember how much I LOVE skating. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps me going back to the rink is that I have standing lessons, or that I need to practice, or just remembering that I need exercise. Thinking of writing after a long period of not feels just like that, like I'm so afraid I'm going to fall and break something.

But, then, I wrote a little yesterday morning, and it reminded me so much of the relief I felt when I wrote this post, quoting from Emily's Quest:

It Feels So Good To Write...

... after a few days where I couldn't:

"MAY 15, 19--

"This has been a lyric spring day--and a miracle has happened. It happened at dawn--when I was leaning out of my window, listening to a little, whispering, tricksy wind o' morning blowing out of Lofty John's bush. Suddenly--the flash came--again--after these long months of absence--my old, inexpressible glimpse of eternity. And all at once I knew I could write. I rushed to my desk and seized my pen. All the hours of early morning I wrote; and when I heard Cousin Jimmy going downstairs I flung down my pen and bowed my head over my desk in utter thankfulness that I could work again.

(click through to see the rest of the quote)

"But the work for which we are fitted--which we feel we are sent into the world to do--what a blessing it is and what fullness of joy it holds. I felt this to-day as the old fever burned in my finger-tips and my pen once more seemed a friend." L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

It's nice to have my old friend back. So, so nice.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

In Case You Missed It...

... BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER has a cover. And preorder links. And stuff.


It has a COVER!!!!!!! I ESPECIALLY love the font and the mehndi!!!
Annnnd, if you want to read an excerpt, I even shared an entire chapter (lovingly called the "Booksigning Chapter") during the cover reveal here on Mundie Moms' blog back in July.

This would have been up in July, but between family things (a sick fur-baby who ended up passing away *cries*) and work things and travelling to Portugal things, you're getting a blog update now :)


Monday, June 15, 2015

Ready, Set, Write (Week 2)

Ready, Set, Write! is a summer writing intensive hosted by Jamie MorrowAlison Miller,Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. Every week, we post about our goals and how we did and cheer each other on. Head over to any of their blogs to get the details on RSW and check out the other participants' blogs.


Not so well! Right after posting my post, I unexpectedly got a round of edits from my editors, so PEA went out the window and most of the week was spent figuring out my next steps up to my deadline. Sorry for not hopping around to the other blogs--I got a little distracted!


I have at least one more new scene to write and I plan on working on the first third of the book (so, about 100 pages) over the week. I'm not sure how that will go, but I'm aiming high :)

3. A FAVOURITE LINE FROM MY STORY OR ONE WORD/PHRASE THAT SUMS UP WHAT I WROTE/REVISED  (yes, I kept Jamie's spelling of favourite. Because I <3 the Canadian/British spelling of so many words)



Skipping this one. Don't want to talk about it. Seriously. See *facepalm* above.


No matter how many times I touch it, I love this book. And thank goodness I have writer amnesia because I amuse myself every time I re-read it!

I'm jumping back into the writing cave, but I'll check in again next week! <3

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ready, Set, WRITE (week 1) and Summertime

After all of the upheaval from late 2013 until I moved into my new home back in October, settling into the new routine at my new day job office (same company, different group, also undergoing a lot of change), and random life challenges along the way, I finally feel like I'm settling in. I found time to write again (oh, writing! How wonderful you are!) and even read.

I'm also much, much closer to my hometown, which sometimes means sacrificing writing time for family dinners and blowing bubbles for my niece and nephew in the yard when we play after dinner. I've taken up archery--more on that later!--thanks to BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER, and still skate. I'm surrounded by the most awesome historical homes at new day job location outside of Philly. And I live near a ton of farms, so I can't wait for all the summer fruit and veggie goodness.

I'm happy. Still settling, but happy.

And, now summer is coming! Swimming! Summer Story writing! Camp NaNoWriMo! And Ready, Set, WRITE! hosted by Jamie MorrowAlison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. Head over to any of their blogs to get the details on RSW.

This week is goal-setting only, but next week, I get to be accountable (eep). Note: I'm going to be using initials for some of my projects because, well, not putting any titles out there for the Ever After series books until they're final :)

Goals for this week:

  • Finish at least two PEA scenes, lay out the timing and word count goals for the rest of July to try to finish PEA
  • Write at least 1000 words on PEA Tuesday-Thursday. Double that on Saturday and Sunday
Goals for the Summer:
  • Finish PEA!
  • Finish Summer Story (cue maniacal "there's no way that's ever happening" laughter. But it wouldn't be summer without that ridiculous goal)
  • Revise my MG.

Posting more will also be one of my goals. Not too much, because life and writing come first, but a little bit more! Especially with all the fun things coming as we get closer to BOOKISHLY's launch!

Friday, January 2, 2015

No-kiss/Almost Kiss 2015!

Happy New Year! 2015, you definitely won't be an ordinary year (Oh, HAI, BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER! My book babies will hit the world this year! *tries not to freak out*)

But I'm kicking the year off with one of my favorite traditions--taking part in the annual no-kiss/almost-kiss blogfest, hosted this year by the wonderful Amanda Byrne (click on her name to head over to her blog and the blogfest linky posty thing where you can read even more no-kiss goodness!) This year's excerpt started as something only for the blogfest, but was so much fun to write that it has turned into what I've been calling my procrastination book. In fact, the original piece I wrote for the blogfest clocked in at a nice 2.5K words (oops,) so I've cut out the beginning to make it a more respectable 1.6K!

Warning: I'm also mid-revisions on Bookishly, so this only had minor revisions and edits. Still, I hope you like it!

No Kiss Blogfest 2015:

            “Remember, Sabina, play to the crowd. Make sure they can see all the sparkly. Show off your accessories. Call out Hoshiko's transformation phrase or something. Anything to show you’re really into character.” Ariel fixed my hair so it fell in perfect teal curls over my left shoulder.

            “Got it.” I looked nervously at the AnimeMidlanticCon costume contest organizers who were trying to, well, organize us backstage and shoo out anyone who wasn’t a part of the contest. “They’re going to call security if you don’t get out of here.”

            “Fine," she said, straightening my rhinestone-d ribbon bow before stepping back and nodding her approval. "Fight for the heart of the stars!” She yelled on her way out, getting a snicker from some of the cosplayers. She stopped in the doorway, shaking her head at them. “You guys know Elsa making out with Jack Frost is definitely not canon, right?”

“Good one.” One of the girls dressed like a Sailor Soldier from Sailor Moon giggled, hi-five-ing Ariel.

            As soon as she was gone, I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, trying to forget that almost every costume backstage with me was amazing.

            “Princess, you look so distant right now, truly like the stars you defend.” A deep voice came from right in front of me and I opened my eyes to a pair of the darkest blue eyes I’d ever seen. They scrunched a little bit as their owner broke into a smile. “Princess?”

            My world spun for a second, reality, manga, and anime smushing together. I blinked and the rest of him came into focus. Black hair, a little bit on the longish side. An Imperial Star Defender formal uniform, the armored chest plate bright silver with a sun instead of a star to signify the head of Princess Star Soldier’s warriors. And the boy dressed in them was right around my age with a body that fit the uniform perfectly. I swallowed back my double-time heartbeat and decided to answer in character. “I am simply contemplating the universe, Takeshi. Will we ever truly be able to enjoy peace?”

            He took my free hand in his. “I will fight until my last breath to fulfill that wish, my Princess.” He broke out of character and let go of my hand, stepping back to take in my costume. “That costume is epic.”

            “Ditto.” Even his boots were perfect, like he’d just stepped off the screen. The hilt of his sword caught my eye, especially what looked like an LED behind the blue crystal. “Wait, does your star sabre actually work?”

            “Why wouldn’t it?” He drew the sword and the jewels all along the hilt lit up, tinting our section of the dark backstage blue.

            “It’s just funny because,” I flicked the switch hidden under my ribbon so that all the tiny LEDs I’d set into my bodice and skirt lit up like a starfield and squeezed the hidden button on my star-staff so the crystal at the top glowed the same shade blue as his sword, “I wired my dress to imitate her transformation look. I guess we had the same idea.” After twirling to show off the whole effect, I snapped off the lights to save battery. I needed my “glow” to last the whole masquerade ball tonight.

            “Takeshi” stepped back a little more and studied me, nodding, lips twisted like he was thinking . “I have an idea, Princess. What if we change our entries from individual to group? We can split the prize when we win.” He slid the star-sabre back into his belt and the hilt went dark again.

            “You’re pretty confident about us winning.” I tried to sound cool instead of jumping at him. Being one of two people on stage would be a million times less nerve-wracking. Being one of two people when one looked perfect? Even better.

            “Nah, I’m confident about you winning. I’m just tagging along to ride on your wave.”

            “You’re as much of a flatterer as the real Takeshi.” He had to be messing with me —the chestpiece on his armor, alone, would get him right to the top on its workmanship, alone. My sewing and rhinestone skills had nothing on actual metalworking. 

            “And you’re as bad as the real Hoshiko when it comes to not really answering a question. What do you say? They’re gonna start calling us up on stage soon. I’m number three in line.”

He held out his hand and, after a second’s thought, I took it, curling my fingers around his gloved palm. “Okay.”

“Takeshi” pulled me through the people lining up and straight to the front, where a girl with a clipboard was talking into a headset. “Hi, I’m number three, and I just found my princess backstage. It’s not too late to combine our entries, is it?”

The girl smiled and shook her head, her bunny ears bouncing. “Nope, you’re still good.” She pulled a pen out of the clipboard clip and held it poised over the clipboard. “I don’t blame you, you look awesome together. Name and number, Princess Star Soldier?”

“Uhm, nineteen. Sabina Aino.”

“Got it. You two are on right after Akira.” She pointed with the back of her pen at a guy working on his martial arts poses. “Good luck. Fight for the heart of the stars,” she added with a wink. She moved to the front of the line, talking into her headset.

He let go of my hand and I bounced nervously on my heels as we waited. The first person to go was an Eternal Sailor Moon that got an “oooooh” from the crowd when her wings unfurled to full size. Nothing like having the first entry be absolutely amazing. We were so going to lose to something like that.

Akira bounded onstage, and “Takeshi” took my hand again, moving it so it rested in the crook of his arm. “Follow my lead, okay?”

I bit my lip nervously and nodded.

“Okay, entry three, you’re on.” They announced our names, but I couldn’t hear anything over the claps, Ariel’s whooping, and the anxious buzz in my ears as we made our way out to center stage and the fashion-week-like runway that brought us out into the middle of the crowd.

“Light up now,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth as he let go of my arm and drew his star sabre, turning it back on. “For the heart of our planet!” He yelled out, swinging his sword into Takeshi’s battle pose.

I followed suit, turning on my dress and swinging my lit staff into Hoshiko’s battle pose, saying, “For the heart of the stars!”

He gently grabbed my arm and pulled me in close—I thought we were about to go into a standing pose like the cover of act forty-one, but he dipped me, instead, his sabre and my staff crossing in front of us like the classic Takeshi-Hoshiko art for act thirty, when they declared their love for each other. “And for the heart of my princess,” he said, loud enough for the crowd to hear but not so loud that he was yelling into my face. He bent closer and my heartbeat sped up as if I’d really just gotten out of battle. Tingles, like star energy, ran along my skin where his arm circled around my back and burned my shoulder, where his hand held me securely. The logical part of me yelled that I knew nothing about this guy, but that voice faded along with the noise of the crowd. It was me and Takeshi glowing under the spotlight, like stars. His lips came within a breath of mine and I closed my eyes, tilting my face up to his. We were so close, I could feel the energy jumping between us. Just a tiny bit closer…

And just as suddenly, he swung me back up to standing. “Sorry about not warning you,” he said under his breath as he swung his sabre one last time at the crowd and turned us to head back up the runway. His cheeks looked a little red and he looked out of breath, too. The lights and crowds were probably affecting him as much as his dip affected me. He lifted my hand and planted a kiss on the back of it as we reached the wing of the stage.

I managed an “It’s okay,” as oxygen came back into my brain, right before he led us down the stairs, into the audience, and right at a jumping and screaming Ariel.

Ariel yanked me away from him and grabbed me by the shoulders. “That was so, so perfect. Who was the Takeshi guy? Is he single? What’s his real name? The announcer’s microphone sucks.”

“I—” I turned to see him disappearing into a swirl of people slapping him on the back and taking his picture. “No idea.”

“The two of you in that last pose was the hottest thing I've ever seen. You so need to get his number.”

“Ariel, I don’t even know his name.” I resisted the urge to touch the back of my hand. I knew it was all an act for the audience and votes, but my burning skin refused to believe it. At least it was dark enough in the audience that no one could see the blush that was probably turning me coral.

“Don’t worry about that. You’ll definitely win and you can get it from him then. And then you’ll date, marry at a future Animemidlatic Con in Princess Star Soldier and Takeshi wedding outfits like that one couple yesterday did, and you’ll have adorable cosplaying babies.”

“Oh, shut up, Ariel.” I dropped into the closest chair and switched off my lights. From the starry look in her eyes, she wasn’t even teasing me. I needed a slap of reality, not someone else feeding this stupid attachment to a random guy.

“Shh. Look at that Madoka cosplay. So perfect!”

For the rest of the hour, I tried to pay attention to the rest of my competitors, but all I could do was scan the audience behind me for a silver and gold uniform and a blue light.
Happy New Year! I wish you all a year filled with joy, growth, and wonder. And many almost-kisses that turn into real ones ;)

Monday, December 29, 2014

No Kiss Blogfest is coming!!!

It's that time of year again! If you regularly follow this blog, you know that every year on January 2nd, I jump on the no-kiss bandwagon and post a short or WIP excerpt or SOMETHING that involves an almost but not kiss :)

I consider it a fun writing exercise, but you can also post pictures, video, excerpts from your favorite no-kiss scenes (with proper attribution)... you get the idea. Hop on over here to sign up and join in the fun.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Light (a re-post)

(reposting from last year, because it's still true)

I love Yule. I love light festivals. I love how we celebrate light in the midst of darkness. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Yule and Christmas, I love how we're so different yet so alike at the same time. I love how pretty the world becomes these times of the year. (And for my southern hemisphere friends, have a wonderful Midsummer!)

Another year and a repeat quote from my paper journal December 21st, 2001 entry: 

"Tonight is Yule-- the longest night of the year.

Tonight reminds us that even the darkest of nights are followed by light, and that even in the worst of times, we have hope. No night is so dark that day will never follow. long as we have hope, it will never truly be dark."

You might not know it, but many of you have been my light in the past, either through your posts, books, comments, texts, or just by being you. 

You are all incredible. 

On this solstice, I wish you all lives full of light and hope, as bright as the brightest stars in the sky.

Details from my snowflake skating dress :) I thought the sparkle is rather applicable!