Paranormal Week Day 8: Spotlight on Amber Lynn Natusch and the Caged series

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Paranormal Week In Review:

Day 8 of the 2013 Paranormal Week spotlights a series that I just started reading recently and so far it’s incredibly addictive. Caged, book 1, starts with a girl waking up able to see for the very first time in her life. She’s alone, in the forest and covered in blood. I mean, if that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will! The story that ensues is one of action, drama, twists and turns that leaves you desperately wanting more.

About The Caged Series

This is the synopsis of book 1, Caged.

I stood in the middle of the room, unmoving – I barely breathed. My life had just become surreal, impossible, and one enormous lie. I needed to go, to run somewhere, anywhere to beat back the reality that was rapidly closing in around me. The image of him was burned into my retina, flashing over and over again like a warning. He was trapped somewhere between human and decidedly not, and I realized that was my new reality.

I was too.

After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.

As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.

When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life.

She chooses poorly.

Now abandoned, Ruby must learn to call on the darkness within to survive, or spend a hellish eternity imprisoned because of it.

Why I Love These Books

I love the mystery that surrounds the story. It’s so evident that there’s so much more to uncover, so much action yet to come. I really love Sean – he’s mysterious and possessive and clearly powerful and I really want to know more about him. Ruby is a feisty heroine who I hope will continue to develop and grow… she’s so new to the supernatural world she’s now a part of and you just know she’s not going to take all the drama sitting down. She’s fierce and outspoken and I love that about her. I am really looking forward to consuming the rest of this series!

Reading Order

CAGED SERIES

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Interview with Amber Lynn Natusch

Contemporary Romances have been quite popular for
a while now and have been very successful for many authors.
It’s also been said that perhaps the time for paranormal has passed. What are your thoughts on this and why do you enjoy
writing about the supernatural?

I think there’s never a bad time for a great book. If you write it, they will come 😉 I write paranormal because that’s how I think, which doesn’t say much for my mental status, does it? Perhaps therapy is in order…

Tell us about the Caged Series!

CAGED is my baby. It’s where this wild ride started for me, and regardless of where the writing journey takes me, it will always be my favorite.

It embodies urban fantasy as a genre and is packed with action, mystery, sarcasm, very real characters (who grow tremendously throughout the series), and romance. I guess if you enjoy even some of those things, you’ll likely enjoy the books.

This past summer, you released Tarnished and Strayed is next in the series. What can you tell us about Strayed? Any idea on release timing yet?

STRAYED is where everything regarding the series’ arc starts to come to light. It is riddled with answers that readers have been dying for but is still peppered with more probing questions, potential villains, and more twists than you could imagine.

…I   do love a good twist 😉

As for a release date, I have nothing concrete. I have to turn a rough draft of another novel into my publisher by December 31st, so that is my top priority at the moment.

How many total books are planned?

There are 7 full novels and 2 novellas (which are not adjuncts or additional reading; they’re part of the main story).

When writing a paranormal story, you have to develop the foundational elements for that supernatural world and keep them consistent with each book. How difficult is this process for you? How do you approach that part of the writing process?

Keeping that consistent is difficult, but not terribly so if you know your story well and always keep your characters behaviors consistent with who they are. They will drive the story and take you where you need to go if you trust them. If the author tries to MAKE something happen, that’s when things tend to fall apart and contradict earlier story plots and details.

I approach that aspect of writing by rereading the books and seeking counsel from team members. I always have someone to bounce ideas off of. It’s amazing how they remember details of my books even better than I do sometimes!

I think release timing can be especially important (and tricky) in paranormal reads as these types of books typically have pretty involved plot lines with clues and specifics a reader must recall when reading the next book in the series. What is your philosophy on release timing? Do you recommend people re-read the previous books before jumping into the next book in the series?

Plot timing is tough. I released my first three in the series close together because I had them all written before I ever published the first. I think that when it’s all said and done, readers would love for the novels to come out quickly, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice the quality of the work to have that. So I take the time I need to craft the story that both they and the characters deserve. If I don’t think my book is a 5/5, then I don’t publish it. If it takes me a year to make that happen, then so be it.

I ALWAYS recommend readers do a reread of at least the previously released novel. Most series do have those minute details that build and craft the overall arc. If you miss them, the unveiling of truth will be a bit lacking at the end, which will be disappointing.

You just released a new contemporary romance book called Undertow, which is one of my favorite books of the year.
I loved it!!! For those that haven’t had a chance to read it,
can you tell us about it?

It’s a story that has plagued my dreams for years. I finally broke away from my paranormal roots to get it down on paper. It’s a story about love, redemption, loss, and forgiveness. I think it’s quite different than a lot of the current romance novels out there, so it provides a little change of pace for readers. The leading female is strong yet flawed. The leading male has a past, yet isn’t damaged. And the story has a realness to it that a lot of people are going to easily relate to.

What are some of your favorite paranormal books?

I’m a HUGE Fever series fan. If I ever meet Karen Marie Moning, I can’t be held accountable for my actions. I’m also in love with Amy Bartol’s books, Susan Ee’s, the early Mercy Thompson series novels by Patricia Briggs and Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, and countless others. Paranormal is by FAR my favorite genre to read. I rarely pick up anything else 😉

Thank you Amber! And good luck with Undertow!!!

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About Amber Lynn Natusch

5399219If you’re dying to know more about me, allow me to put you at ease. I’m a sharp-tongued, sarcastic cancer, who loves vegetable smoothies, winter storms, and the word ‘portfolio’. I should NEVER be caffeinated, and require at least eight hours of sleep to even resemble a human being. At thirty-four, I just now feel like I can keep a straight face while saying the word “rectum” (which is actually a huge lie because I just laughed out loud while reading this to my husband). I live with my iPod firmly affixed to my body, drive too fast, and laugh/cry at inappropriate times.

I’m obsessed with urban fantasy… When I discovered that genre, I knew I had found my tribe. Now I write in that world because that’s what the voices in my head tell me to do. And they are very, very loud 🙂

Connect with Amber
Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Paranormal Week Day 4: Spotlight on Heather Lyons and the Fate Series

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Paranormal Week In Review:

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Day 4 of Paranormal Week spotlights the Fate series by Heather Lyons. Some of my friends kept insisting I give these a try and one day, I decided to ignore my reading schedule and I squeezed in book 1, A Matter of Fate.  I fell in love! I was so pulled in my the story, the heartbreak and dare I say it… the love triangle! This series technically is a paranormal/fantasy book, but the supernatural element is almost secondary to the story, which at its heart is about finding love and the strength within.

My Reviews: A Matter of Fate | A Matter of Heart | Beyond Fate

About The Series

This is the synopsis of book 1, A Matter of Fate.

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn’t a normal teenage girl. She’s a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she’s a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she’s to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That’s nothing compared to the boy trouble she’s gotten herself into. Because a guy she’s literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe’s once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Why I Love These Books

One of the reasons I love these books so much is that they are so heartfelt. The story is sort of inherently heartbreaking and you really feel the impact of those emotions as the characters move through the story. Chloe’s journey is one of heartbreak and sadness–of being emotionally torn. Throughout the series, she also does a lot of growing up, learning who she really is and finding her own inner strength. The cast of supporting characters is also comprised of really interesting people and together, along with the Whitecomb twins and the gripping nature of the story, you can’t help but fall in love with this story and its characters. This is an emotional, imaginative, well-written series that will hook you from the very beginning with its beautiful, complex characters and their heartrending story. Absolutely love this series!

Reading Order

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  1. A Matter of Fate (#1)
  2. A Matter of Heart (#2)
  3. Beyond Fate (#1.5 – Jonah’s novella)
  4. A Matter of Truth (#3) – November 5th
  5. Unnamed (#2.5 – Kellan’s novella) – TBD 2014
  6. Unnamed (#4) – TBD 2014
  7. Unnamed (#5) – TBD 2014

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Interview with Heather Lyons

Contemporary Romances have been quite popular for
a while now and have been very successful for many authors.
It’s also been said that perhaps the time for paranormal has passed. What are your thoughts on this and why do you enjoy
writing about the supernatural?

First off, I want to admit I really love Contemporary Romances and read a lot of them. But the thing is—when it comes to fiction (at least for me), I value variety. So for anyone to claim that paranormal books are passé is really surprising to me, as I’d be bored to tears reading only one genre over and over again.

Personally, I love writing Paranormal/Fantasy stories. I love the whole idea of the fantastical, and of how it stretches my imagination to places I never dared to conceptualize before. One of the reasons I, along with others, immerse ourselves in these kinds of stories is because it allows us experiences we can only ever dream of as they lie outside our realities. Recognizing yourself in a contemporary story is great—visualizing yourself in the fantastical is magical and a gift.

Tell us about the Fate series!

Remember all those Greek and Roman legends you learned as a kid, where there were gods and goddesses who controlled most aspects of life, from the weather to food production to knowledge? Now, imagine they were real—and not with gods and goddesses, but a secret race of beings who influence the course of events on seven different planes of existences. In my series, these entities are called Magicals; one of the most powerful ones of these god-like people, a Creator, happens to be a confused seventeen-year-old girl named Chloe Lilywhite. To add to the chaos and responsibilities in her life, she becomes entangled in a pretty complex and messy love triangle with twin brothers—one of whom she’s dreamed about since early childhood.

A Matter of Truth, the next book in the series,
will be released on November 5th! What can you tell us about it? Anything you can share???

I think the title of this book is a really good indicator of what this installment in the series is—it’s all about Chloe discovering her truths. Who is she? Who does she want to be? What does she want out of life? What does she need? What is she willing to sacrifice to achieve these things? It’s all about her deciding whether or not she goes along with the plans that Fate and Magical-kind have in store for her or finding her own way in the worlds. Honestly, I have to admit I love the journey Chloe goes on to get to where she is. Plus, it introduces readers to one of my very favorite characters in the series!

What’s next for you after A Matter of Truth?

I’m currently working on a romantic comedy that has nothing to do with the Fate universe—one whose characters just won’t leave me alone. Hopefully I can share some details on it soon, because I’m really excited about this one. After that, I’ll be working on both the fourth book in the Fate series (due out in March) and Kellan’s POV of A Matter of Heart.

When writing a paranormal story, you have to develop the foundational elements for that supernatural world and keep them consistent with each book. How difficult is this process for you? How do you approach that part of the writing process?

I think it requires a lot of thought ahead of time—and an agreement you make with yourself, as the author, to stay true to your world building and not go nuts and change things just to suit yourself and try to get out of corners you may have found yourself in. I try to remain consistent and will fact check the previous books often to make sure I’m keeping events in line with others that have occurred before. It’s pretty frustrating for me, as a reader, when I read books that are constantly shifting—so I want readers to feel like they know the Fate universe and trust that it’s going to be a familiar place for them when they enter each book.

I think release timing can be especially important (and tricky) in paranormal reads as these types of books typically have pretty involved plot lines with clues and specifics a reader must recall when reading the next book in the series. What is your philosophy on release timing? Do you recommend people re-read the previous books before jumping into the next book in the series?

My release schedule is based a lot on my writing schedule—I’m a stay-at-home mom with three kids 7 and under, so while I’m in utter awe of other authors who are able to crank out their series books so quickly, I’ve usually got a good five months in between my releases simply because I don’t have the time to write them any faster. I keep telling myself that those five months are still a heck of a lot faster than the typical year in the traditional publishing world. As for readers needing to reread . . . hmm. I’m the sort of book lover who does that sort of thing myself, because when I immerse myself into a series, I like to make sure there’s a smooth transition from one installment to the other. That said, I’ve tried to make the books easy to pick up and jump right back into Chloe’s journey.

What are some of your favorite paranormal books?

A paranormal series that I just adore to pieces is The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan. These books, utterly witty, gritty, and heartbreaking all at the same time, have gorgeous, lyrical prose that sends me into writer-envy fits. I also really enjoyed Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater, because I’m such a sucker for faeries, and these are dark and unapologetic about how they portray such beings. Rachel Hawkins Hex Hall trilogy was hilarious, and Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series beautiful. As for my very favorite . . . although they are heavily fantasy-based (much like my series), I am in utter love and awe with Kristin Cashore’s Graceling Realm books. In my opinion, the second book in the series, Fire, is a thing of exquisite beauty. Cashore’s writing always inspires me to step up my game tenfold. I adore her consummate world building, but also beautiful sentences and characters that make me want to hold them inside and never let go.

Thank you so much for stopping by on my blog, Heather! Awesome as always 🙂

Thanks for having me, Vilma! I love your blog so very much!

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About Heather Lyons

HeatherBW2Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words. She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher.

Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Connect with Heather
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Paranormal Week Day 3: Spotlight on Karen Marie Moning and The Fever Series

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Paranormal Week In Review:

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OH EM GEEEEE. THIS SERIES. When I became a card-carrying member of the paranormal junkies club, why was this not a required assignment?! I mourn for all the time I lost not knowing Jericho Barrons, but thank my lucky spirits, I found this story and devoured each book. And yes, my name is Vilma and I’m what they call a Moning Maniac!

About The Series

Read the synopses for all books here.

This is the synopsis of book 1, Darkfever.

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

Why I Love These Books

I rated each of these books 6 stars for a reason. I’ve said this before, but to me, a book’s impact and success is based on an author’s ability to master three elements: storytelling, writing and creating unforgettable characters. Karen Marie Moning has been able to blow all three out of the water. Her writing is bold, succinct and emotionally charged. She wields syntax to maximize the power of each sentence and she doesn’t shy away from her aggressive approach to storytelling. The story she tells is incredibly detailed, layered and riveting with plot twists you don’t see coming and cliffhangers that are shocking and paralyzing. Then top that all off with some unbelievable, absolutely irrevocably unforgettable characters, and well, you have the Fever series. MacKayla Lane, our heroine, is a refined southern girl whose favorite color is pink and finds joy in assembling and accessorizing the perfect outfit. When Mac arrives in Ireland determined to discover what happened to her sister, her transformation begins to fully take root as she unknowingly stands on the precipice of a life-changing journey. She takes the plunge as she begins to exploit the darker sides of herself, gaining insight and power, shedding layers of naiveté as she becomes a major player in Dublin’s dark and insidious underworld and learns who she truly is. Jerricho Barrons, our unlikely hero, is unequivocally unique. He’s power, brutal, brilliant, strength, warrior, animal, sex and desire all rolled into one. Barrons only cares about what he wants and insists on full control of any situation, any person, at all times. When he meets Mac, she’s been the only one that can briefly soften his impenetrable shell and together their desire sets the pages ablaze like no other story I’ve read. Danger, horror, violence and mystery all make this series one of the best I’ve ever read and utterly unputdownable!

Reading Order

 

See the VBB complete reading order page here.

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When you are done with Shadowfever, make sure to click here, to read super-hot, super-steamy THE ALPHA ALTERNATIVE!!! This is a plot twist scene from Darkfever that will leave you fanning yourself and once again, missing this story something fierce.

There are two spin-off books featuring Dani O’Malley (Mac and Barrons do make appear). Iced is available now. Burned will be out July 22, 2014. After Burned, two additional Barrons and Mac books are expected, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

iced cover burned cover

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Favorite KMM Extras

About Karen Marie Moning

SONY DSCKaren Marie Moning (rhymes with ‘awning’) is the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of 12 novels, including the Rita-award winning Highlander novels and the internationally bestselling urban fantasy Feverseries. Her books have been published in twenty-four languages, and her events draw fans from all over the world.

Moning began her career writing paranormal romance set in Scotland but as she became increasingly fascinated with Celtic mythology, she switched genres to Urban Fantasy and location to Dublin, Ireland, so she could focus on the Tuatha de Danann, or Fae–an ancient race of immortal beings who have lived secretly among humans for millennia.

Moning is currently completing a graphic novel for Del Rey, featuring an original story about MacKayla Lane and Jericho Barrons, and has contracted with Random House Publishing Group for three more books set in the Fever universe. She divides her time between the mountains of Georgia and the beaches of Florida.

Connect with Karen
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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If you LOVE the Fever Series as much as I do, there’s a facebook group you can join where we talk Fever all the time! Click here to join!1382025_10202399093078613_2104557258_n

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Paranormal Week Day 2: Spotlight on Wendy Higgins and the Sweet Trilogy

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Paranormal Week In Review:

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Day 2 spotlight of 2013 Paranormal Week shines on the Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins. I discovered book 1, Sweet Evil, through a blog post by Jennifer L. Armentrout and I loved the cover! (YES! COVERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!) After reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read it and I loved it! I had to wait awhile for book 2, Sweet Peril, but it was worth the wait!

Here’s my review of Sweet Peril (#2, Sweet).

About The Series

This is the synopsis of book 1, Sweet Evil.

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Why I Love These Books

I loved that the plot revolved around the children of fallen angels… it was an original take. I loved the main characters. Both Kai and Anna are strong characters and the story features a high level of angst, which I love.  You also have a good balance of heartfelt moments, sexiness (not steam – it’s YA) and gripping action that keeps you entertained from beginning to end. I can hardly wait for the final book in the series, Sweet Reckoning.

Reading Order

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Interview with Wendy Higgins

Contemporary Romances have been quite popular for
a while now and have been very successful for many authors.
It’s also been said that perhaps the time for paranormal has passed. What are your thoughts on this and why do you enjoy
writing about the supernatural?

I’ve always believed that no matter what the current trends are, there’s always going to be an audience out there for every genre.  I personally gravitate to paranormal, despite the popularity of contemporary, so I can only assume there are many others out there like myself.  I tend to lose myself deeper in paranormal fantasies because it’s so far from reality. The stakes feel higher to me. The dangers feel more severe. Paranormal is escapism at its best.

Tell us about the Sweet Trilogy!

It’s a story about the children of demons, who are meant to help their fathers bring humans to their ruin, whether the Nephilim want to or not. Love is not an option for Nephilim. We’ve got a main character, Anna Whitt, who’s torn between good and evil, and a love interest, Kaidan Rowe, who’s the son of the demon of Lust.

Are you done writing Sweet Reckoning, the final book
in the series (release date: April 29, 2014)?
What can we expect? What can you tell us? 

Sweet Reckoning is finished, and in the final rounds of copy edits – yay!!!  Readers can expect much more steamy romance, and a more fast paced plot than the first two books. There will be some heartache along the way.  We might all need to have a group hug afterward.

Tell us about Kaidan Row, our sexy protagonist!
(See ideal casting of Kai here! And here <3)

Well, when I knew the son of the demon of Lust would be in my book I had to ask myself what qualities could possibly make a 17 year old guy “Lusty.”  I proceeded to give him nearly every trait I’d ever thought was sexy.  He’s a talented and passionate musician/drummer (I’ve had a thing for drummers since the middle school talent show). He’s from London, so he’s got a sexy English accent and dry British wit. He’s confident to a fault and goes after what he wants (think Alpha male).  He’s got blue eyes (as a brown eyed girl I’ve always loved blue). His hair is wild. And he’s taken the time to learn what girls want, especially in the physical sense.  He’s a very bad boy, but he’s got depth and secret longings.

Basically, he’s the kind of guy I’d tell my daughter to stay away from in real life.  But in books all bets are off. 

I think release timing can be especially important (and tricky) in paranormal reads as these types of books typically have pretty involved plot lines with clues and specifics a reader must recall when reading the next book in the series. What is your philosophy on release timing? Do you recommend people re-read the previous books before jumping into the next book in the series?

The long release gap between books published with traditional, bigger publishing houses is one of my pet peeves.  I understand why it’s that way…kind of.  I understand there are a lot of books that have to be fit into the rotations, but a whole year is SO long for readers to wait.  I think six months would be ideal, but alas.  I don’t make the rules.  I definitely recommend doing a re-read when the next in a series is coming out.  We authors try to weave in recap from the previous book, but it can still get confusing.

What’s in your future after Sweet Reckoning?

To be honest, I don’t have anything going on yet.  I’m writing, but I’m thinking of it as “just for fun” right now.  Not sure what’s on the horizon next for me…

What are some of your favorite paranormal books?

The Lux Series (starting with Obsidian) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (and also her upcoming series White Hot Kiss!), Poison Princess by Kresley Cole, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Thank you Wendy! Anxiously looking forward to seeing what happens in Sweet Reckoning!

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About Wendy Higgins

WendyAfter earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, I taught high school English until becoming a mommy. I’ve always had a heart for teens, and writing YA stories gives me the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal years before adulthood.
I live in the D.C. area with my husband, daughter, son and puppy Rue.

Connect with Wendy
Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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