SACRED by Elana K. Arnold


Geoff Herbach


Sandy King Carpenter


Colleen Houck


Jennifer Morrison


Chandler Baker


Marshall Ryan Maresca


Sheryl Scarborough


Leslye Walton


Tessa Gratton


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fathom Events: Walking Dead Finale and Fear Premiere to Theaters





DENVER & NEW YORK – March 15, 2018 – Fans of “The Walking Dead” universe can now experience their favorite post-apocalyptic world on the big screen as Fathom Events and AMC announced today “Survival Sunday: The Walking Dead & Fear the Walking Dead,” a one-night fan event on April 15. Celebrating the highly-anticipated series crossover, “The Walking Dead” Season 8 finale and the “Fear the Walking Dead” Season 4 premiere will be screened commercial-free in more than 750 select movie theaters nationwide. The cinema event will also feature exclusive bonus content to be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for “Survival Sunday: The Walking Dead & Fear the Walking Dead” can be purchased beginning Friday, March 16 at or participating theater box offices.

Survival Sunday – two great shows, one epic night. Don’t miss The Walking Dead Season Finale and Fear the Walking Dead Season Premiere commercial free on the big screen. Worlds collide as Morgan Jones crosses over from The Walking Dead and into the new world of Fear. Watch as All Out War ends and new adventures begin.

Fear the Walking Dead (Credit: AMC Networks)

Fans will also be treated to bonus content and a commemorative item!

Walking Dead Fans - We want you to have fun at these cinema events – but safety is paramount. Please note that attending in costume is fine, however masks, face-concealing make-up, fake weapons as well as any costumes that conceal what you are carrying, your natural body shape or face are strictly prohibited.

The screening event begins live at 8:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. CT / 6:30 p.m. MT / 5:30 p.m. PT (and tape-delayed to 7:30 p.m. AK and 6:30 p.m. HI) through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

“Sunday, April 15 marks an epic and highly-anticipated moment for these series, as worlds collide when Morgan crosses over from ‘The Walking Dead’ and into the new world of ‘Fear,’” said Theresa Beyer, SVP of Brand Activation for AMC. “We are thrilled to be working with our terrific partners at Fathom to provide fans from across the country the opportunity to experience this crossover moment in such a special way and among other members of one of television’s most passionate fan communities.”

“‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ have captivated audiences and kept them on the edge of their seats for many years,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said. “Self-proclaimed ‘Dead-heads’ will have the unique opportunity to come together to experience these two compelling dramas larger-than-life and commercial-free on the big screen for just one night this April.”

Produced by AMC Studios, “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” are the #1 and #4 dramas on cable, respectively, among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 in Nielson live+3 ratings.

PURCHASE your Tickets for “Survival Sunday: The Walking Dead & Fear the Walking Dead” can be purchased beginning Friday, March 16 at or participating theater box offices.
Content Source: AMC Networks and Fathom Events

Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with participating theaters in all 100 of the top Designated Market Areas®, and ranks as one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) (known collectively as AC JV, LLC), Fathom Events offers a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events in theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top stage productions including Newsies! The Broadway Musical and George Takei’s Allegiance, major sporting events such as Mayweather vs. McGregor, epic concerts with artists like Lady Antebellum and Sammy Hagar, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events such as Is Genesis History? and IN OUR HANDS: The Battle for Jerusalem, and beloved anime titles like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 912 locations and 1,427 screens in 181 DMAs. For more information, visit

AMC is home to some of the most popular and acclaimed programs on television. AMC was the first basic cable network to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series with “Mad Men” in 2008, which then went on to win the coveted award four years in a row, before “Breaking Bad” won it in 2013 and 2014. The network’s series “The Walking Dead” is the highest-rated series in cable history and the number one show on television among adults 18-49 for the last five years. AMC’s other current original drama series include “Better Call Saul,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Into the Badlands,” “Humans,” “Preacher,” “The Son” and the forthcoming “Dietland,” “The Terror,” “Lodge 49,” and “McMafia.” AMC also explores authentic worlds and discussion with original shows like “Talking Dead,” “Talking With Chris Hardwick,” “Comic Book Men” and “Ride with Norman Reedus.” AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, SundanceTV, BBC America and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Book Nerd Spotlight

In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she's after revenge...

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life...and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea's dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can't kill someone who can never die...

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.


“A dark, engaging fantasy series.” School Library Journal

“In this spectacular follow-up to the rich The Bone Witch, Tea’s quest draws the reader further in, setting them on a more dangerous yet intriguing adventure.” —Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

“Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade of revenge...Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.” Booklist, STARRED review


He does not look so formidable, I lied to myself, staring at the warped, decaying body before me. I can defeat his will. I will break him. It is a wonder what Mykkie had ever seen in him.

It was not the first time I had deceived myself in this manner. Neither was this the first time I had raised King Vanor from the grave. But if I repeated that mantra enough times, I thought I could finally believe my words.

The dead king refused to look at me, his eyes distant. The royal crypts were built to strike both fear and awe in those who visited, but I had grown accustomed to the stone faces looking down at me with quiet scrutiny from their high precipices. But King Vanor’s continued silence unnerved me every time—more than I cared to admit.

“A wise philosopher once said,” Fox drawled from the shadows, “that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the mark of a fool.”

“Why do I bring you along?”

“Well, a wise philosopher once said—”

“Shut up.” My brother had no need to tell me my quest was hopeless. Numerous Dark asha, all more experienced than me, had made the attempt. But I had to do something.

“You’re in a worse mood than usual. Did Kalen chew you out at practice again?”

“If you don’t like it here, why not find some women in the city to flirt with instead?”

“Not in Oda—” He caught himself. “None of your business. Can we get this over with?”

I turned back to the corpse. “Where are you keeping Mykaela’s heartsglass?”

No answer. The colossi statues guarding the catacombs were likelier to respond than this infernal sod of a king.

“Answer me! What have you done to her heartsglass? Where did you keep it? Why do you hate her so much?” My headache worsened. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was aware of a shadow thrashing about, sensing my anger. I saw a vision of water, green and murky, before it faded out of view.

I took a deep breath and let it out carefully. The ache lightened and the shadow retreated as I recovered my calm.

“This is a waste of time.” Fox folded his arms across his chest. My brother looked to be in peak physical health, though he was no more alive than the royal noble standing before us.

Their similarities ended there; there was barely enough skin and sinew clinging to Vanor to pass for human. That was my doing. The first few times I resurrected him, I had been respectful, taking great pains to restore his body to how it appeared when he was alive.

Now I allowed him only enough muscle and flesh to move his jaw.

“He’s not going to talk, Tea. You know that, I know that, and he definitely knows that.”

“I will make him talk.” Many years ago, my sister-asha had fallen in love with this wretched excuse of a ruler. In exchange for her unwavering devotion, he had taken her heartsglass and hidden it so well that no one had been able to find it.

And now, more than a decade later, Mykaela was dying. She could no longer return to Kion. Her health had deteriorated to the point where she had to remain near her heartsglass, still hidden somewhere within Odalia, here in the city of Kneave. It was hard enough to be a bone witch; that she’d survived for this long was a miracle in itself.

I grabbed what was left of the king’s shoulders, pulling him toward me. He reeked of death and obstinacy. “Answer me!” My voice echoed off the columns. “Didn’t you love her even a little? Or are you so petty that you’d allow her to suffer for the rest of her years? She’s dying. What grudge do you harbor to hate her this much?”


I froze. So did Fox.

I had told no one else about my weekly excursions to the royal crypts. Not my friend Polaire, who would have boxed my ears if she’d known, nor Mistress Parmina, who would doom me to a life cleaning outhouses. Only Fox was privy to my secret, which he had agreed to keep despite his own misgivings. And Mykaela was the last person I wanted to find out.

She had aged more rapidly during the last few years since she had taken me under her wing. There was more gray in her golden hair, more lines on her face. Her back stooped slightly, like she struggled under a heavy burden. She had taken to using a cane everywhere she went, unsure of her own feet.

“Mykaela,” I stammered, “you’re not supposed to be here.”

“I could say the same for you,” she answered, but her eyes were fixed on King Vanor, her pain obvious. He watched her gravely, without shame or guilt, and my anger rose again. How many raisings had my sister-asha endured, forced to watch while this king refused to speak?

I raised my finger to sketch out the rune that would send Vanor back to the world of the dead, but Mykaela lifted a hand. “Vanor,” she said quietly, “it’s been a while.”

The decaying figure said nothing. His eyes studied her, savage and hungry and ill suited for such an impassive face.

“I apologize for my wayward apprentice. She has been willful and intractable since her admission to my asha-ka and has shown little improvement since. Please return to your rest. Tea, let him go.”

Mykaela’s words were a steel knife through my heart. Stuttering apologies, I completed the spell and watched as King Vanor’s body crumbled back into dust in his open coffin. Even as his features dissolved, King Vanor never once looked away from Mykaela’s face.

“Close the lid and move the stone back in place,” she said. I could detect the anger behind her calm. “I would tell King Telemaine to seal his coffin, but even that might not stop you. Whatever possessed you to let her do this, Fox?”

Fox shrugged, grinning like an abashed schoolboy. “I’m her familiar. It comes with the territory.”

“Being her familiar is no excuse for being an imbecile! And you! What possessed you to summon dead royalty in the middle of the night?”

“I wanted to help.” The excuse sounded weaker when made to Mykaela than to Fox. “I thought that I could control daeva now! You said no Dark asha’s ever done that before! That’s why…why I…”

Mykaela sighed. “And so by that logic, you think you are different from Dark asha of the past? What you have in ability, Tea, you lack in wisdom. You cannot compel the dead if they are not willing. Wasn’t that the first lesson I taught you after you raised Fox from his grave? Arrogance is not a virtue, sister.”

I looked down, blinking back tears. Was I arrogant to want to save her? Unlike Fox, Dark asha and all those with a silver heartsglass cannot be raised from the dead, and that permanence frightened me. “I’m sorry. I want to help. But I feel so powerless.”

I heard her move closer, felt her hand on my head, stroking my hair.

“It’s not such a bad thing, to feel powerless sometimes. It teaches us that some situations are inevitable and that we should spend what little time we have in the company of the people that matter most. Do you understand me, Tea?”

“Yes.” I wept.

“Tea, I’m not dead yet.” A finger nudged at my chin. “I would appreciate it if you stopped acting like I was. I do not give up so easily, but we must adopt other means.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It is only an apology if you mean it. This is the last time you will be summoning anyone in the royal crypts, no matter how noble you think your actions are. Promise me.”

“I promise,” I mumbled.

“The same is true for you too, Fox.”

“I promise, milady.”

“Good. Now help me up the stairs. My legs aren’t what they used to be.”

Fox reached down and scooped Mykaela into his arms. “It’s the fastest way,” he explained. “You’ve expended enough energy yelling at us.”

The older asha chuckled. “Yes, that’s always been rather tiresome now that I think about it. Perhaps you should direct your energies toward more productive tasks so I can tire less.”

“How did you know we were here?” I asked.

“I’ve taken to wandering at night. I looked in on Tea, but her room was empty. I detected a shifting of runes nearby and merely followed it to its source.”

“I didn’t mean to make you worry.” The staircase led back to the Odalian palace gardens. For the past two months, Fox and I had been King Telemaine’s guests, traveling the kingdom and tending to the sickly. Most of the people here fear and dislike bone witches, though with lesser fervor than before. It is not easy to hold a grudge against someone who has nursed you back to health.

At the king’s invitation, Mykaela had taken up residence in the castle indefinitely. But every day finds her weaker, and I feared the palace would serve as her hospice.

“There are many other concerns, Tea. Likh has a new case pending, hasn’t he?”

The asha association had rejected Likh’s appeal to join, but Polaire had dredged up an obscure law that permitted Deathseekers to train in the Willows until they turned fifteen, which was Likh’s current age.

Mykaela glanced over Fox’s shoulder, back at the catacombs, then turned away.

She still loves him, I thought, and fury burned through me like a fever. “I’m really sorry, Mykkie.”

She smiled. “As I said, only if you mean it, Tea. Get some rest. We’ve got a busy day ahead.”

You can purchase The Heart Forger at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight
Photo Content from Rin Chupeco

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She's been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. Connect with Rin at


Monday, March 19, 2018

Kimberly Derting Author Interview

Photo Content from Kimberly Derting

Kimberly Derting is the author of the award-winning THE BODY FINDER seriesTHE PLEDGE trilogyTHE TAKING trilogy, and UNDRESSED (her first book in The Men Of West Beach series). Her books have been translated into 15 languages, and both THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selections. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. Her three beautiful (and often mouthy) children serve as an endless source of inspiration and frequently find the things they say buried in the pages of their mother's books, or on Twitter for the world to see.


Series: The Men of West Beach Book
Paperback: 396 pages
Publisher: Kingsley Books (February 10, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0999253638
ISBN-13: 978-0999253632

Praise for UNDRESSED

"Falling in love has never felt so good. With the warmth of the sun, and the sand between your toes, Derting takes you on the summer you always imagined with Undressed." Heidi McLaughlin, NY Times bestselling author of Forever My Girl (soon to be a major motion picture)


"A strong debut from a promising author." 
Publishers Weekly (The Body Finder)

"If you're in the mood for some psychological thrillers, evil masterminds, strong heroines and hot heroes, then I'd definitely pick up the Body Finder series." USA Today (The Body Finder)

" and engrossing." VOYA (The Pledge)

"As always, this author writes a gripping tale...With another sequel set up, this intriguing series continues to provide great entertainment for suspense fans." ―Kirkus Reviews (The Last Echo)

"...a refreshing take on paranormal romance..." Romantic Times (The Body Finder)

"More great suspense from a prolific new writer with a vibrant imagination." Kirkus Reviews (The Pledge)

Tell us your latest news. 
Aside from releasing UNBOUND, I have a brand new picture book series coming this June from HarperCollins called CECE LOVES SCIENCE.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 

There’s no one author who’s influences me—I read in almost every genre. But I have to thank the amazing, funny, and brilliant Sophie Jordan for convincing me to write the romance book I’ve been talking about writing FOREVER. Without her, I might still only be talking about it!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 

Emerson and Lucas were a blast to write, and I hope that comes across on the pages. I just want readers to be able to forget the real world for a little while and have some fun!

Did you learn anything from writing UNBOUND and what was it? 

The message in UNBOUND is that sometimes we make judgments about people, and their situations, when we don’t have all the facts. It was a good reminder that a lot happens behind closed doors.

For those who are unfamiliar with Emerson, how would you introduce her? 

We first met Emerson in UNDRESSED, when she was the best friend who never seemed to take herself, or any of the men she dated, too seriously. In UNBOUND, we discover there’s a whole lot more to the outspoken Texas blonde. She’s competitive, complicated, smart, and every once in a while, even sweet.

What part of Lucas did you enjoy writing the most? 

I really enjoyed getting to know more about Lucas’s past—his difficult relationship with his mother, the loss of his brother, and his (is-she-or-isn’t-she?) ex fiancĂ©.

How many books do you read each year? 

I would love to read at least a book a week, but…life. So in reality, I usually get around to reading about two books a month.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 

I’m currently working on a new project that I thought was going to be romantic suspense, but it’s gone off the rails into psychological thriller territory. I can’t wait to tell everyone more about it!

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 

This isn’t just for readers, but my favorite advice for everyone (my kids included) is to laugh more. Life is serious so you have to find the ridiculousness in it. Otherwise, it can get overwhelming!

Who was your first boyfriend? 

In the first grade I made this poor little boy named Scotty hold my hand all the time, and I told everyone he was my “boyfriend” even though I don’t think he wanted to be.

Tell me about your first kiss.

I was 12 and his name was Tim. We stood on my front porch and he kissed me with his tongue. 12-year-old me thought it was disgusting!

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood. 

We spent a lot of weekends skiing in the mountains. My brother and I would leave early in the morning, before anyone was even out of bed yet, and we would ski all day until well past dark. I think we only stopped for hot cocoa breaks in the lodge.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say? 

For today? It would be suuuuuper boring!

Dear Diary: Got dressed (yay me!), went to Target (because they freaking own me), then came back home and put my pajamas back on (yay again!).

Can you define love in your own way? 

For me, love is finding that someone who you know will always have your back. Not in a break-a-beer-bottle-and-throw-down way, but who you can count on when things go sideways. It doesn’t hurt if the kissing is good too ;)

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager? 

I loved growing up in the 80s, but I was always jealous of the older kids in our neighborhood, so maybe I would’ve liked being a 70s kid. They had that sweet feathered hair, wore those awesome bellbottoms, and drove badass muscle cars.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 

This is so corny, but my family. And that I hope no spiders crawl in my mouth…because I read somewhere that can happen.


Inspiration comes from a lot of places, and sometimes it needs a little nudge. Here are some ways I jumpstart my creative juices.

Driving. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes if I need a little inspiration, I’ll just hop in my car and drive. Something about it clears my mind.

Music. It’s kind of the same thing as driving. If I need to just zone out and think, music can be the best way to do that, and sometimes that will inspire me to start writing.

Bribery. I know…I’m like a child, but if that’s what it takes to make “inspiration” strike, I’m not above offering myself treats (candy, new shoes, a day off) to keep myself in my chair.

A cozy sweater and some fuzzy socks. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than trying to write when you’re not comfortable. So put your comfiest sweatpants on and get ready for business!

Netflix. It sounds like I’m joking, but if you write you know what I mean. How many times have you been watching a show and an idea strikes? Pretty soon your mind is somewhere else and you’re writing in your head.

Podcasts. These are especially good if you can take people’s real life stories and twist them into a story/character/situation you can use. Podcasts are proof that truth is definitely stranger than fiction!

A view. There’s nothing more inspiring than a gorgeous view.

Peace and quiet. Remember how I said there’s nothing more inspiring than a view? I lied. For me, an empty house is the best. Better yet, an empty clean house stocked with an unlimited supply of M&Ms.

The Internet. Just kidding, you guys. The Internet is the worst. Back away from the Internet!

Just sit down and start writing. Sometimes you can’t wait for inspiration to strike. This is where you use the butt-in-chair method. You’d be surprised how effective this is. You might not be “feeling” it, but once you get warmed up, your creativity finds you.

Do opposites really attract?

Emerson Monroe McLean is a true Texan through and through. But she's never wanted to be like the other girls she grew up with, the ones who view debutante balls and sororities as stepping-stones to landing the perfect husband.

Yet everyone underestimates Em. When they look at the leggy blonde, all they see is a serial-dater who leaves a string of broken hearts in her wake. What people don’t realize is that keeping guys at arms length is more than just about having a good time; it’s a deep-rooted defense mechanism.

Lucas Harper is California born and bred. The product of his wealthy upbringing and an overbearing mother, Lucas has always been told where to be and when to be there. But after his older brother’s death, Lucas is tired of being a puppet.

Taking a break to figure out what he wants out of life, he moves to West Beach to spend the summer surfing. It’s there that he meets Emerson McLean, the free-spirited beauty who lures him into her bed. Refusing to be tied down, she’s unlike any girl he’s every known.

Can they find common ground...or will their differences tear them apart?

Their chemistry is undeniable. There’s only one hitch: Lucas already has a fiancĂ©e. And when she lands on his doorstep, Emerson realizes that for the first time in her life, she has genuine feelings for a guy.

With her heart on the line, Emerson discovers that, win or lose, she isn’t the kind of girl to play by the rules.

You can purchase UNBOUND at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KIMBERLY DERTING for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of UNBOUND by Kimberly Derting.. 
Winner will receive a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card..

MARCH 20th TUESDAY A Dream Within a Dream EXCERPT
MARCH 21st WEDNESDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT
MARCH 22nd THURSDAY Movies, Shows, & Books TENS LIST
MARCH 23rd FRIDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW

MARCH 26th MONDAY Book Lovers Life EXCERPT
MARCH 26th MONDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW

MARCH 27th TUESDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
MARCH 27th TUESDAY Literary Meanderings EXCERPT
MARCH 28th WEDNESDAY Lisa Loves Literature REVIEW
MARCH 29th THURSDAY Insane About Books EXCERPT
MARCH 30th FRIDAY TMBA Corbett Tries to Write INTERVIEW 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Guest Post with X. Culletto

Photo Content from X. Culletto

Xela Culletto loves all genres, but especially loves to geek out to sci-fi and fantasy. She currently lives in Utah with her husband and three children.

Print Length: 205 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1973108321
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: November 4, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B0776FPK25


Without a doubt, the protagonist, Rhyan. As I was writing, it didn’t feel like I was creating her, but rather that she was telling me her story. I was surprised at how much spunk she had--right from the start.

There is a scene near the opening of the story where she comes across another post-apocalyptic survivor who grudgingly helps her. One of my beta readers insisted that Rhyan needed to be grateful for the help, rather than sarcastic and hostile, but I ended up keeping the scene as it was, because that is who Rhyan is. She has an edge that may put some readers off, but that edge is what allows her to survive for so long in such a dangerous world.

Another thing I like about Rhyan is that she doesn’t get distracted by the opposite sex. Though there are interested parties, she doesn’t let the idea of romance cloud her head. She’s a lot like Katniss in that way.

In many ways, Rhyan embodies a lot of what I lack, which is the great thing about writing--I get to create characters who have strengths where I am weak, and live vicariously through them. Maybe my next series will be about a space-travelling billionaire….


Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 5. I hope you find it intriguing.

It was dark, but there was noise.

Was someone banging pots and pans around?

Zach shifted restlessly in the cramped space, hands clenched around a baseball bat. An especially loud bang made him jump. It had to be pots and pans. But who would be in the kitchen?

His breath came quick and heavy; his muscles were taut.

Suddenly, a loud shout.

Zach burst from the bedroom closet to find Dad—he needed help!

But he never made it out of his room.

I woke with a lurch, heart pounding. Darkness surrounded me. I gasped for breaths and tried to orient myself.

I was in a bear den. I was alone. I wasn’t in the cave because.… They killed Meg!

After that nightmare, I wouldn’t have thought there would be room for any more anguish, but somehow another morsel wormed its way in. I didn’t even try to fight it. Misery was my life.

My throat felt like it had been scraped down with sandpaper. Aliens or no, I needed water.

I got up, noting that my muscles weren’t even stiff. I must’ve only been asleep for a moment. Edging out of the den, I underestimated the height of the entrance and dirt clods fell into my hair.

Once free, I filled my lungs deeply, enjoying the clean air, then tried to shake the dirt off. Knife at the ready, I prowled through the night.

The creek was closer than I’d remembered. The sound of rushing water deepened my thirst, and unconsciously I began jogging. When it came into view I threw myself onto the bank and slurped without even an attempt at civility.

It took a good while, but finally my body was satisfied. I sat back, covered from shirt to boots in mud, and looked around. Nothing was out of the ordinary. The stars were sparkling and the forest was keeping its secrets hidden.

I didn’t want to go back to the den. There was no way I would be able to sleep now and even if I could have, the nightmares would be back.

And then I would be reliving it all. Again.

Remembering how I had come home, carrying in stolen milk.

Seeing Dad on the kitchen floor.

Finding Zach in the bedroom.

Imagining how it must have happened.

I couldn’t bear it.

Our city had been one of the first invaded. We’d had no warning. Most people had no warning. Finding Dad and Zach had put me on my guard pretty quick. That’s when I began keeping knives—the first, our kitchen butcher knife. It had saved me more than once.

Of course, there’d been the uninterrupted news coverage when the scientists had first discovered the approaching ships. The constant attempts at communication. The echo of silence.

Then, the world had gone mad.

Religions declared the end of the world; atheists began praying; people walked around openly armed—as young as gradeschool kids; then came the looting, the pillaging, the eye-for-an-eye ideology; world leaders pleaded for order, then disappeared; the police lasted longer, but not by much; schools closed; stores closed; gas stations closed; the only thing open was the churches, which became flooded with people; some went into hiding, many committed suicide; most hunkered down with their families.

Which was what we’d done. There were still times—lots of times, truthfully—that I wished I hadn’t left for milk that day. That I’d shared in their fate.

But when I’d seen that first alien—face to face, only hours later that same day—reflex kicked in and I’d attacked without even considering otherwise. The butcher knife proved itself.

I outlasted so many.

Outlasted only to end up here, sitting on a mudbank, too afraid to sleep.


● 75% of the plot for Girl Vs was developed in one night as I was falling asleep.

● The cover was developed before the novel was finished. The artist put Rhyan on a motorcycle, so I had to add in a scene including it.

● I toyed with the idea of using real cities, but in the end decided to keep to keep the places fictional.

● My beta readers urged me to change the coyote attack scene to a wolf attack scene because they thought coyotes was too unrealistic, but coyotes have actually been known to attack in groups. I thought wolves was too cliche. Plus, wolves generally live in wooded areas, not plains.

● When introducing new characters, I never spend much time deciding on their names. Generally I go with the first one that pops into my head.

● The character of Claire was created after the first couple of drafts to give Rhyan someone other than herself to care for and fight for.

● The only reason I know what a kama knife is is because my son recently started TaeKwonDo. They’re wicked-looking knives that I thought would go perfectly in this world.

● Liam, the nosy nurse, is a lot more like me than I care to admit.

● The design for the aliens came to me when I visited the local zoo that was putting on a display of giant animated bugs. They had a huge, 8-foot-tall praying mantis that looked so alien-like I had to use it.

● This is a planned duology, and the plot for the sequel is so thrilling I can’t wait to release it! So many good ideas have been coming that I think it’s going to be my best book yet.

Before the Vela invasion, Rhyan's biggest concern was getting through a day of school. But when she is thrust into the madness of a kill-or-be-killed world, her true strength emerges and a deadly warrior is unleashed. Stumbling through the new morals of a post-apocalyptic world, she learns to depend only on herself. As she gets closer to discovering what the aliens actually want, her lethality becomes unmatched, and she soon learns the extent she'll go to in order to survive.
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