Author Spotlight -Emmanuella Hristova, with a look at her new Poetry book called: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder

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Welcome beautiful people to this weeks author spotlight! Today we will take a look at Emmanuella Hristova’s new Poetry book, The Day my Kisses Tasted Like Disorder, ask her a few questions on being a writer and get a inside look at a couple of her poems!! 

Emmanuella Hristova is an amazing woman who has a refreshing view on feminism and the part women play. As I am writing this post, I find myself internally screaming YES!! and agreeing with so much of what she says. In the world we live in today, we need more stories, perspectives like this!! 

To quote Ms. Hristova, 

I hope that my poetry allows women—or anyone—the right to grieve, to feel deeply. Women don’t need to smile all the time, or to be pleasant. If they want to cry, they can cry and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Emmanuella also has amazing advice for new writers and is a lover of Sylvia Plath. I truly feel like this is a woman after my own heart!! Please check her out and take a look at her poetry. She will be someone worth noting and someone I expect to hear more from!


When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why poetry?
I decided to become a writer one year ago, but the catch was: I already was a writer. I just wasn’t sharing my work with anyone. I had written two Moleskin notebooks full of poems and novel material, but nobody knew about it.

Last January, I read some poems out of said notebook, that would later become my first poetry collection, to one of my best friends. “Babe, you need to publish this,” she told me. So, I began doing research on poetry publications and the self-publishing industry and I decided I would do it for myself. I planned to have it done a few months later, by my 27th birthday. I roped in one of my studious coworkers, Maria Ciccone, to help me edit my work for content and order of the poems, and “The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder” was born.

As for why I write poetry, I never planned on it. I wrote to express my feelings and sentiments. I fell in love, and I didn’t plan that. My sister was dying, and I didn’t plan that either. So, pent up emotions swelled up inside of me and they had no other place to spill other than onto a blank page. And I became a poet.

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, a young woman I used to mentor gave me a green Moleskin notebook. She told me to document all of my adventures. My undergraduate graduation characterized many changes in my life, and at the time I was working out my own definition of feminism. But what began as short musings about sexism jotted down on the BART train, eventually became woeful poems about oppression, harassment, and assault. And then, two months later, I fell in love for the first time.

I never decided to write my poetry collection; it came out of me, rather. I documented the relationship from beginning to end, birth to death. I wrote to express everything I was going through on the inside—which was heavy and hectic. Eventually, that green Moleskin became a chronological account of one of the darkest periods of my life. And when I read it again, years later, I realized I had written some amazing poetry. Poetry I needed to share with others.

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book or poems?
I hope the lasting thought readers have from my work is that they are not alone. If they too have gone through heart-wrenching ordeals, they are not alone. If they too need healing, are healing, they are not alone. The final chapter is dedicated to such women:

The aftermath.

For crying girls everywhere,
hiding in the bathroom stall.
May you find your healing.

I hope that my poetry allows women—or anyone—the right to grieve, to feel deeply. Women don’t need to smile all the time, or to be pleasant. If they want to cry, they can cry and there’s nothing wrong with that.


What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
The greatest impact is quite a lofty description. It would have to be the Bible; I was raised quite religiously, and I’ve read it many times. Following the death of my sister, I’ve struggled with my faith a lot and it’s something I’m still struggling with, so it’s had less of an impact on my life. But that’s what my novel is about—struggling with faith in God after a loss. So I would say, yeah it’s still had the greatest impact on my life. However, Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities and George Orwell’s 1984 are my all time favorite books. They have shaped my writing, ethics and taste in books and film.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
The best advice I can give you, is the advice my editor gave me when I wasn’t being “recognized” and when I was having doubts about self-publishing: just do it and keep writing! No one will notice you at first, and you may be talented as hell. But just keep writing, keep posting, keep promoting yourself, and eventually people will start to notice and read your work. It’s a hard effort, but it’s worth it in the end when readers make connections with you. That’s priceless.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this winter?
The best books I read last year were: Homegoing, Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (that’s my favorite in the series), anything by Sylvia Plath, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Do you have any strange antics you do while you write?
I just drink a lot of black coffee and occasionally smoke a Cuban cigar. Sometimes I get this idea in my head that I’m a female Ernest Hemingway or something. I do enjoy it though; it’s not just to fulfill a writer cliché.

What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m finishing up the second draft of my first novel: all these things i never said. It’s a story about a prophetic young woman born to immigrant parents. Even though she can see the future, and the fact that her family members will die, she can’t prevent it from happening. Meanwhile, in another realm, a golden statue of a young girl wakes up. Once the statue realizes who she is and why she’s there, she embarks on this perilous mission to get the main character, Emmy, out of the labyrinth-like castle.

Meanwhile in the real world, Emmy’s left to deal with the psychological trauma of losing loved ones too soon, with her inability to make the American Dream materialize, and with her wavering faith in God. She turns inward to deal with the pain–to the fantastical world she’s built for herself to hide from her grief. However, she’s stuck inside her mind and can’t seem to get out. She’s guided by some fantastical sidekicks inside this dream-world that she hasn’t shared with anyone. The world in her dreams, and in between dreams. It is, as I’m sure you can gather, a novel based on my life.


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Published: June 11, 2018
Pages: 50

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble
itunes
Kobo
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Synopsis:
I hesitate when you kiss me because I
am afraid you will taste the disaster
brewing underneath my skin.

Hristova’s debut poetry collection documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of her sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of the author’s feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: love, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.


Book Excerpt:
This is the first chapter of my book, as well as a few poems from the second chapter. The first chapter is a prologue, with a dedication to my sister, who passed away while I was writing the book. The epigraph references the fact that I wrote “June 23rd” at the end of the year, after I had written all the other poems and after having gone through everything that I went through. But, my editor told me to move it to the front. “It’s the preface!” she said, because I originally wanted it to be the epilogue. She told me I already knew the meaning of my suffering, and that the book should end with here’s to the woman, which is an empowering feminist poem written in honor of International Women’s Day. That way, the conclusion would look forward to the future, to my current voice, which had changed since I wrote The Day My Kisses.

The preface.

When the end was the beginning, and
the beginning was the end.

For Dora; I wish you were here.

June 23rd
In the depth of
winter, the flowers do not
bloom, no fruits
appear, the leaves
fall off, and the tree looks
dead, but deep in the
darkness underneath,
the roots grow
and grow
and
grow.


The beginning.

I guess I should thank you,
because you turned me into a poet.

upon identifying the day
I knew I loved you
the moment I saw you
the second time I came to
visit you in The City and you
were wearing a cerulean button-down
that matched your eyes and you
had just shaved your beard and
I wanted to kiss you, but
not like a nervous first kiss or
a slobbery wet one; but rather,
the kind of peck lovers give to one another
after being together for years and
what they’re passing between their lips
is time.

September 21st
upon telling you
The air is cold on the rooftop,
running across my bare shoulders
as I tell you how I feel about you.
My arm presses against yours;
yours doesn’t move. I use it
for support. Our bodies pressed
against the cool, gritty concrete
of the wall that keeps us from falling to
our deaths down below.
Your eyes wax, deep and
limpid like
pools of ocean water
that I see into, staring back at me,
as if you’re
seeing me for the first time.
I see the fear in your face,
breath clutched
between your lips like a
piece of ice
stuck in your throat.
You’re afraid to exhale. Oh shit, oh shit,
oh shit, say your eyes.
No shit.

upon telling me
I am sitting in a middle school
classroom at lunchtime when you
tell me you want to kiss me. My
breath stops in my throat. Instantly,
my heart beats faster and faster
like an unhinged train racing down
its tracks. I was hungry before,
I’m not hungry anymore. A heat
rises from the depths of my soul,
steaming the surface of my cheeks,
pouring out over the tops of my breasts,
and spilling out in between my thighs.
I flush. My flesh heats up, unable
to contain the fireworks exploding on
the inside of my heart.
He wants to kiss me.
And these explosions
going off inside me I imagine will be
bolder, brighter, and more beautiful
when you finally do.


authorbio2

Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four, and studied the fine arts for five years in high school. There, she received many art accolades including a Congressional award for her piece Boy in Red in 2009. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master’s in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Currently, she is writing her first novel. She speaks English, Bulgarian, Spanish and is now learning French. You can find her on Instagram: @emmy_speaks

Author Page      Instagram     Amazon Author Page      GoodReads Author Page


I hope you get a chance to check out Emmanuella and her new book! As always, I love hearing from you. Comment below with your thoughts and until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom, #2) by Devon Monk – Book Review

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I couldn’t stop thinking about book one, Magic to the Bone, and decided to jump into the next book in the series. This book was a fun one to read and packed full of emotions. With close to 7,000 ratings and over 300 reviews, Magic in the Blood is holding solid at 4 stars. If you haven’t already, check out my review of book one. This just might be the series for you 🙂


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: May 5th, 2009
Pages: 368

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Other books in the series:
Magic in the Bones (Allie Beckstrom, #1)

Where to buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
In the second book in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, when the police’s magical enforcement division asks Allie to consult on a missing persons case, she finds herself drawn into an underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Working as a Hound—tracing illegal spells back to their casters—has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Review:
I feel for Allie! Losing important memories and walking around fearful of losing more would be terrible. I am also saddened by the loss of what could have been and what was between her and Zayvion. Ugh, starting over would suck, especially when you can’t remember anything but the other person can. But in all honesty, it was kind of fun watching Allie fall in love with Zayvion again. I am a sap for a good romance.

I really do like Zayvion’s character. But he is just as mysterious as ever. I was really hoping the author would give us more information about him. Don’t get me wrong, there is something sexy and fun about a mysterious guy. But by book two, there should be some known aspects about him. I mean, he doesn’t have to be an open book but he shouldn’t be a complete mystery either. And what is with the constant flip-flopping of moods?!?! One moment, he’s acting all cute and is determined to date Allie.. then the next moment, he’s dangerous, cold, and holds too many secrets. I feel like this is getting old and it why the book lost one star.

Allie is really outside her element and in way over her head in this book. She has all this Magic but constantly struggles to control it. She has this huge gap in her memory, conflicting feels for Zayvion, and so many people are after her. She just can’t catch a break! And not to mention her ‘Daddy’ issues continue to haunt her. Even in death Allie can’t seem to catch a break from her Dad.

Allie isn’t one to have a lot of friends. Add in her trust issues and you can see how this might complicate things in the friends department.  Which makes it all the more worse when one of the few people she has in her life that she calls a friend is hounded and found to be using blood Magic. But of course not everything is as it seems…

And in case you were wondering, this book has some good twists that keep the pages flying by. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Devon Monk 🙂

I really like this series. Allie is strong, stubborn, and has a beautiful heart. If only she valued her life more. The risks she takes are too high and are always life threatening. Does that make her brave or stupid.. I don’t know.

And the ending, holly hell, the ending is awesome. I promise not to give anything away, but let me say it’s not so much a cliff hanger but your reaction to it is all the same. I don’t think I’ll be able to pick up book three fast enough.

3 Year Anniversary!?!? How the time flies

                    

I couldn’t decide which one I liked better 🙂

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years. I can remember the day I decided to start blogging – I was a stay at home Mom and I was losing it!! I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks being a stay at home mom is easy has lost their marbles. It’s one of the most challenging jobs I have had and yet I really miss it.

Fast forward three years, lots of posts, and here we are today. And really, I am still here today because of you! So Thank You!!

Thank you for hanging with me!! Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight, Melanie Nowak, Almost Human Series

New 1st Trilogy promo

This trilogy appears to be a hit with most, with an average review of 4 out of 5 stars. This series is available 2 ways: either as 6 novels or as 22 novellas (novellas are in the kindle unlimited program). Melanie Nowak gives some great advice and tips on being a writer. Check it out!! 


Author Interview:

When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Honestly, I never dreamed that I would become an author! I have my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, with a Bachelor’s in education, and had planned a career as a school librarian, sharing my love of reading with students. Through a series of unfortunate health events I found myself injured, ill, and unable to follow the path I had chosen. Luckily another path had already chosen me!

In 2003 I had begun writing a vampire story because I had an idea and characters in my head that needed to be immortalized rather than forgotten. I wrote my story, enjoyed it, and shared it with a few friends just for fun. When they suggested I try to publish, I did…diligently. For almost 2 years I used all of my resources to research the industry and submit my books to agents and publishers, but got nowhere – no one even wanted to read a sample! Among my 200 rejection postcards, was one that said: “No one wants to read vampires anymore – Anne Rice has done them to death!” This was shortly before Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight came out…

So I decided to just keep writing for my own cathartic enjoyment. I’d never planned to be an author anyway. While at university, a professor mentioned Amazon’s anticipated unveiling of the Kindle. I decided to submit my books…and they were accepted! I was among the first Indie Authors to have their books on Kindle when it was released! It was nice to have closure, feeling like I’d done something with the story and could move on to writing more. I knew nothing about marketing or promotion at the time. I just released my books on Kindle and left them there waiting to be discovered. It was a hobby and I didn’t really expect much to come of it.

A few copies sold that summer and I got wonderful reviews, which was exciting – people from across the country that I’d never met actually loved my books! Then disaster struck…I became very ill with rheumatic fever, (which is bad enough!) but to make matters worse, the illness swelled all my joints and aggravated bad injuries I’d had from a car accident years before and erased all the progress I had made with physical therapy. I was forced to long-term bed rest and had to forfeit the Librarian position I had lined up to begin in a few weeks.

My husband and I were devastated, and unsure what we would do, but they say when one door closes, another opens. Suddenly my books started selling like wildfire! I wasn’t exactly on the Bestseller’s List, but I sold 30+ copies a day for weeks straight! It helped support my family in a time of need and show me a new opportunity. Writing is now my saving passion. Although still plagued by some chronic health issues, I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with my kids and write the stories I love!  


Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
A few things came together to bring the ALMOST HUMAN series to life. I’ve always been interested in bats. Vampire bats have a anticoagulant in their saliva called “draculin” (named after Count Dracula!) that keeps blood from clotting. I had the idea that such a thing would be useful for vampires as well. It would also be useful if they had something to keep the victim calm, like a drug.

I always wondered about a vampire’s ability to put victims in thrall. In old movies, vampires are always able to hypnotize people, and it’s never really explained. People are just ‘under their power’. I always wondered – why? How does it work? I put those questions together with the anticoagulant/drug idea, and took it further. What if vampires could inject their victims with venom – like a snake? Only the venom would not be deadly poison, but a combination of drugs that kept blood from clotting, kept the victim calm and even willing, and also could mark territory for the vampire – leaving a psychic mark that other vampires could see. The vampire could then use the existence of this ‘drug’ in their victim’s system, to put them in thrall as well. 

The idea of venomous vampires seemed so logical to me, that I assumed for sure that someone else had done it already. I began searching my library for a book like that, so I could read it! This was probably in the early 90’s and there weren’t very many vampire books around at that time. I never found what I was looking for, and I filed the idea away. It never occurred to me to write it myself, LOL.

In the late 80’s, I had discovered Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles and absolutely loved them. That was the first time I read something from the vampire’s point of view. The way that she captured emotions and described surroundings was mesmerizing to me, and I really connected with her story. I’m also a huge fan of the T.V. series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Joss Whedon is a genius! That said – towards the end of the show, I started disliking some decisions the writers made. I understood their vision, but I also saw missed opportunities. I would have done things differently.

That started me thinking of my own storylines and my own characters, incorporating my venomous vampire idea. None of this was written down, just daydreamed during housework. Then one day I realized that a lot of the ideas I had were really good, and it depressed me to think that it would all just be forgotten. So, I sat down one night at the computer, to write out a few things so I wouldn’t forget, and could look back at them one day. The scenes just came pouring out and before I knew it, I’d been up writing almost the whole night! That’s when I realized that I had a real story to tell, and wanted to write it all out from beginning to end. That is how my ALMOST HUMAN vampires were born.


You mentioned that Fatal Infatuation is the first book in a series. Can you tell us more about the series?
I currently have 2 series in my venomous vampire saga. While both follow the same characters chronologically, you can begin the Second series without having read the First.

ALMOST HUMAN – The First Series, set around a small upstate college town, is a paranormal romantic fantasy of drama, angst and action. An elder vampire struggles with his faith, his crusade to mentor others, and his attraction to a young college woman, who is trying to navigate the hurdles of dealing with her peers, her job, vampires, zombies, and…college.

ALMOST HUMAN – The Second Series has more of a paranormal urban fantasy feel, still filled with drama, action and romance, the viewpoints broaden to include more of an ensemble cast of vampires and humans who have traveled beyond college to navigate adulthood, and discover paranormal abilities previously unknown. They must learn to master the difficult nuances of balancing thirst, power and…marriage. Oh, and they may just have to save the world.

There are two different ways to read my venomous vampire series ALMOST HUMAN. There are 6 full novels (2 trilogies), which are quite long, and they were later broken up to also be published as 21 novellas. You can read the story in a feast of novels or as bite-sized novellas – pick your poison! The first trilogy of novels is available in an Omnibus Edition as well.

I have recently released another novella UNITING VAMPIRES – part 1 of my next upcoming novel, VAMPIRESS REIGNING. There will be two more novellas coming out this year. Then all three of those novellas will be combined for the release of the full novel, due in late October.

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
ALMOST HUMAN is a story of love, hope, and faith, in which we recognize that no one is perfect. We all have choices to make and are doing the best we can – we are only human…or almost human, as the case may be. My story means different things to different people.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published
Decide why you are writing. Is your ultimate goal financial success, or to tell an amazing story? If you just want to write but aren’t as emotionally connected to it, that is an entirely different path from someone who wants to truly express & share feelings and ideas; the difference between writing articles or informative observation pieces, and writing a novel. While writing a novel can bring financial success, in my opinion that should never be the focus – a good story needs passion behind it. If you are passionate about your writing and want to share your story with readers, here’s my advice: 

 1st – If you have a story inside of you yearning to be told, then be unafraid to really give in to it and write your true thoughts and feelings. You cannot write while worrying about who might read it or what they will think. First, be true to that inner voice and write the story that you want to write. 

 2nd – Edit – a lot. You’ve poured your heart out onto the page, now you need to look at it with a critical eye for grammar, story structure, and continuity. Understand the story structure of different genres and where your story will fit. It’s alright to blend genres, but labels such as YA and Adult fiction need to be discerned more carefully. Sex and language are not the only determining factors between YA and Adult. Also consider the complexity of plot, reading level of the vocabulary used and the intellectual focus of the story as it relates to age. Do not write “down” to your readers – it is important to be sure they can follow the plot and understand the story, but don’t be afraid to write something that will make people stop and think. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation is so important that I have to say it again. If you’re unsure about something – look it up! EDIT!

 3rd – If you want to share your story, you will find a way. Independent publishing isn’t for everyone – neither is Traditional publishing. You have to figure out what is right for you. Large publishing companies will be hard to reach without connections. It’s not impossible (but close). Be aware – larger publishers often want you to edit your work to fit their image. Getting traditionally published is HARD. Even if you have the best book ever, getting the right people to read it will be even harder than writing it – you have been warned. I was rejected over 200 times without anyone even being willing to read my manuscript! There are many small presses that are more open to accepting new work without many changes, you just have to find the right one for you. I did some research and found that the small presses that were open to publishing my work, did not feel like a good fit for me, so I opted for Independent Publishing. Whatever publishing path you feel is right for you, do not give up!

 Independent publishing is also a good option to keep your story true to your own vision – but be prepared to put in the effort. If you do not work hard to help your target audience find your book, and if your book is not of professional quality when it is read, your sales and reputation as an author will suffer. Make sure your book is the best it can be, and then find a way to help others find it!

 4th – Believe in yourself and be strong. Publishing Independently can be frustrating and difficult at times. You need to have patience, a very thick skin and an incorrigible spirit. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to gain an audience who appreciates your work. Your audience deserves a professional quality book, and when you are working independently it is often more difficult to see your work with a discerning and unbiased eye. Almost all books get a negative review at some time or another. It is important to truly analyze the review to see if there is criticism in there that can help you improve. Decide whether your story came across as you intended. If it seems that it did, and the reader just didn’t enjoy or agree with it, then that is their prerogative. If the reader seemed to miss your intent, then perhaps it wasn’t clearly expressed in the writing and you should consider toning it a bit.

 5th – Decide how you will define your success. If to you, success = money, quit now, LOL. To me success is the feeling of accomplishment and the swell of excitement I feel when someone tells me my book really resonated with them. In my experience, take care of the emotional success and the physical success will follow. I concerned myself with telling a good story, putting in tons of work to research certain elements, refine and edit it to the best of my ability, and learned what was needed to publish and promote it. I make myself accessible to readers and view it all as a labor of love. Through that sincere effort, I have earned more loyal readers to my series than I’d ever expected. Now writing is my full time job and I can actually pay my bills with it!


Do you have any strange antics you do while you write?
Most of my writing begins as scribbles in a notebook. I play out the scenes in my head and write down all of the dialogue on paper. I always  speak dialogue aloud. That is one reason I usually try to write when no one else is home, but at this point, when I am sitting in my room or out on my deck talking to myself, my family just shrugs – mom’s writing again. Then as I transfer the dialogue to the computer I add details of scene blocking and inner diatribe while typing. Then I go over it yet again to fill in more description of setting and surroundings.

As far as strange antics go… I do truly enjoy “living” out my scenes as best I can and I especially enjoy acting out fight scenes! I can often be seen on my deck, or in the field behind my house, swinging a samurai sword, using a chain whip, or just tumbling and practicing how certain actions would play out with my husband and teenage sons.

If you could have dinner with a novelist, dead or alive, who would it be?
That is a tough question for me! The answer is probably not who most would think – my first inclination (and I think what readers might expect) would be to choose Anne Rice. Her books were a great inspiration to me! BUT…I have spoken with Anne Rice online a few times, and I got to meet her a few years back!

At this point, I think I would enjoy dinner with fantasy author Piers Anthony. I grew up on his books! He was the first author I ever read who wrote detailed Author’s Notes at the end of his books that made me (and all readers, I suspect) feel as though I knew him. Some of his books skew a bit young for re-reading now, but many of his adult books are still very enjoyable to me. I loved the interesting ideas and characters he created. He has a knack for placing relatable people in fantastic situations.

I could say all of those same things about fantasy author Jack L. Chalker, and he would be my next choice!


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Pages: 343
Published: July 3, 2008

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Series: Almost Human, The First Trilogy

Where to Buy:
Amazon

Synopses:
Felicity views going away to college as an opportunity to mature into a confident young woman, but her new beginning turns out to be more of an adventure than she bargains for when she finds that her school is plagued by vampires!

Cain is an elder vampire who displays quiet confidence even as he struggles to overcome sins of his past. Surprisingly, he found that in losing his life he gained his faith and a purpose.

His mission: find the hostile vampires that inhabit this small college town, and educate them to live in peace with humans. Their leader, Sindy, is a wicked temptress who has set her sights on Felicity’s new friend Ben. She will be difficult to control, but after meeting Felicity, Cain’s most difficult task lies in controlling himself.

Together they join an ensemble cast of characters to navigate the difficulties of addiction and desire; the perils of zombies and vampires; and struggles with abuse, morality and… college.


Excerpt:

She studied the vampire for a moment as he read the inside jacket cover of the book. He looked like an ordinary guy. Okay well, maybe not ordinary. He looked like an extremely attractive guy. Early twenties probably, broad shoulders, very nice build. How could she be expected to fear someone so achingly gorgeous? His hair fell down into his eyes as he looked at the book and he absently swiped it aside, although it fell back again almost immediately. He was a little pale, but he certainly didn’t look supernatural. He looked up from the book to find her staring at him. She quickly searched for something to say. “I suppose you’ll be taking it over to the café?”

“Mr. predictable, that’s me.”

“Right.” She had an odd thought as she swept the change from the counter into her pocket. “Do you actually drink coffee, or is that just for show?”

He seemed to find her inquiry amusing. She supposed such a direct question might be considered rude, but she couldn’t help wondering. “I can drink what I like.”

She came out from behind the register and began walking him over to the café. She noticed Ben staring, but ignored him. The presence of the man beside her commanded her full attention. “So what do you do besides drink coffee and read?”

He looked a little sobered by the question. “Fight.”

“Other vampires?” she asked quietly.

His gaze travelled over her seductively. “Temptation mostly.”

She wasn’t sure whether to melt or shudder.


Melanie NowakAuthor bio
Melanie Nowak is author of the venomous vampire series ALMOST HUMAN, and a happily married mom of two boys. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. Originally a Long Islander, she now lives with her family on a peaceful mountaintop in the forest of upstate New York. She has always had a vivid imagination and a fascination for the paranormal. Acting and singing are loves of hers as well. However, upon conceiving the idea for her ALMOST HUMAN series in 2003, she discovered a previously unknown passion for writing! Now she puts her over-active imagination to good use, creating characters she loves, and she gets to play all of the parts!

Author Page     Amazon Author Page    Facebook Author Page     Twitter: @MelanieNowak

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Let me know if you check out this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

February Challenge – Peeling the layers back

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I am honest to God lost and struggling to accept who I am. This post is a little long, I know. But I am writing this for me. This is going to be a personalized challenge but feel free to jump in because honest truth, it gets old being alone sometimes.

I know I talk a lot about my car accident. In a way, it is part of my mourning. I mourn the woman I was prior to the accident because that woman is long gone. She’s not coming back, no matter how much I wish she was.

I saw one of my concussion doctors this week. And she gave me some tough love, that I didn’t realize I needed to hear.

It’s been two years. You have made what significant progress you are going to make. Sure, you can continue getting better in small ways. But the person sitting in front of me is who you are. I didn’t know the person you were before the accident and no one else going forward will either. They will only know the person in front of them. Let go of who you were and accept who you are now.

After the visit, I sat down in my car and cried one last time, mourning the person I once was but will never again be. Then I got MAD. And mad is a much better feeling than one of self pity and feeling sorry for myself.

In a previous post, I mentioned how things are different now. And as someone who particularly doesn’t enjoy change, this has been terribly difficult on me. Some of the changes are small and more of a nuance than anything. And some are big and ugly and in my face.

Like reading.. I could read close to four or five books a month. Now I am lucky if I get one in. It takes me so long to get through the book, I hate it. Not many know this but I have a learning disability. I have worked really hard to increase fluency, comprehension, and all the other wonderful skills you use while reading. And I feel like I have lost them all. I don’t feel like I am starting over but I am no longer in the advanced reading course. With time, this is one of those skills I hope to gain back. But who knows.

The running.. I was a runner. I was training for my first marathon, ran my first half, and LOVED it! I worked out easily 5 days a week and it felt great. Now, there is this emptiness there. I have zero desire to run, to work out, to do any of it. My body is the weakest it has ever been. I hate it!! And I have no idea how to get back.

I have tried pushing myself to run when I don’t want to. (See adorable picture above ) That felt good for about 5 minutes and then I was thinking “What the hell am I dong?!?!” In other words, that was a one time run deal. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I bought a new workout watch – Garmin Viveoactive 3. Amazing watch!! I love everything about it, but it still doesn’t help motivate me.

Then there’s the job. I have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars into my career. I have two masters, a bachelors degree, and I fucking loved my job – prior to the accident. After the accident, I still have all my fancy degrees but I am not in love with my job and honestly, I don’t even know if I can keep up with the demand. This is heartbreaking!! All I have ever wanted to be is a teacher. My passion was endless, I was awesome, gifted, yada, yada. You get the point. This felt like my calling. Until it wasn’t. Until that stupid accident..

So, 2 years have past, I have lost my father-in-law, step-mom, and my niece, and I find myself asking – What the fuck am I doing?

I am completely lost and I have no idea who I am. I feel like a stranger in my own body. What I know is that I am not the same- post and pre accident don’t line up. I don’t think the same. I don’t feel the same. I can’t process at my old speed. I don’t multi-task or tune out distractions nearly as well. Indoor florescent lights will always feel too bright. I feel like my personality has switched from a type A to some other one that’s out there. I can’t do as much as I used to. I am drinking way more than I ever have. I am eating like shit. I am self medicating. None of this is pretty, it is all really scary, and it doesn’t end! This is my reality and I don’t know how to accept it.

Deep breath, I think it is safe to say I am still mad. Which brings me to my challenge.

This challenge is for 30 days and it is all about inner peace, positivity, getting healthy, and feeling in control. Over the span of 30 days, I (we?) must:


Quit the bad habits! Walk away from the drinking, self medicating, and eat at least 2 meals a day. You are not going anywhere with a foggy mind and a sluggish body.

 

Find your Smile! Find something to smile about and identify one positive thing that happened each day. Write it down and read it aloud every night. It might be difficult in the beginning and some days might be harder than others, but do it! Do it because you deserve it!

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Find some Mental Clarity
! Try at least 5 minutes every night but 20 minutes would be great. I am going to try meditation and reading. My goal is to meditate every morning and to read 1 chapter (give or take) every night.

 

Count your Steps! True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body. Let’s face it, the two are intertwined. You can walk 20 minutes, a mile every day. Or maybe try to walk as many, if not more steps as you did the day before. Just get up and move a little.

 

Know your Self Worth! I am giving myself one month to figure this shit out. I am going to be looking into Skills/personality tests, making pros/cons list for staying in my job or going, and so on. I am going to figure out either what a former teacher can do after teaching or how to get back to being happy as a teacher.

 

This may not look like it, but there is a lot here and the next 30 days will be difficult. But I am up for the challenge, you all know I need a change. Comment below if you want to join me on this journey or with any thoughts. And Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

 

Truly it’s a love, hate, looking forward to kind of BOOK thing.. Or is it just me? (Feb)

 

I felt like January was a successful month and I don’t have much to complain about, book wise at least. I’m slowly getting back into my blog and feel fortunate I get to talk with wonderful authors about all the amazing work they are doing. Keep an eye out for my February Challenge. It’s more of a personal challenge to myself, a way to help me get adjust and figure out the new me. I’m still working out the details but it’s a starting point.

As far as the books I read, well, that is a slowly unfolding. Here is a recap of the books I LOVE, HATE, and the ones I am looking forward to reading next month:


HATED It:
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Dying Bites (The Bloodhound Files, #1) – This book has come highly recommended but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s the timing or maybe the book is just as horrible as I think.. who knows. I gave the book 1 star.

 


LOVED It:

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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – This book was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, it was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late – kind of book. Don’t you love a good series that you just don’t want to put down!?!? I gave the book 4.5 stars

 


 

New and Upcoming Authors:

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Author Spotlight – Kelly D. Smith: Rock Stars are Trouble: Not much is out about this book and since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t add much to the internal debate of should you read this book or pass. The book, Rock Stars are Trouble, was first published in January 2016 and has five reviews. Let’s see if we can beef this up 🙂


Looking forward to Reading Next:

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I know I’ll read more than one book. I’m just not so sure what it will be yet. Any suggestions 🙂


What are you reading this month? Read anything last month that’s worthy of adding to my To-Read list? Comment below, I would love to hear from you! Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂