Thursday, June 19, 2014

Box set: Oceans Deep! 12 Full-length YA Novels!


★✩★ Sunday, June 8, was #WorldOceansDay! ★✩★

To celebrate, ten bestselling young adult authors have created a collection of romantic "sea reads" called #OceansDeep. This boxed set has 12 full-length young adult novels (2,500 pages!) that celebrate the sun and sea! They're full of mermaids and surfers, lifeguards and dolphins, sand and waves. These books span a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, contemporary and mythology, but they all have one thing in common: they leave readers more in love with the ocean than they were before. 

OceansDeep_box

 
Lani Wendt Young - Telesa
Elle Strauss - Seaweed
Kristen Day - Forsaken
Karen Amanda Hooper - Tangled Tides
Amber Garr - Promises & Betrayal
Cheri Lasota - Artemis Rising
Heather Allen - Just Breathe
Nikki Godwin - Chasing Forever Down
Leigh Talbert Moore - Dragonfly & Undertow
Amy Evans - Clicks

Cover by Starla Huchton
Formatting by Emily Mah Tippett

It's an entire summer's worth of beach reads for $3.99 and all profits will go to TheOceanProject to further the mission of environmental education and ocean conservation. The theme of this years event is together we have the power to protect the ocean. The Oceans Deep collection does that one word, one page, one story at a time. Because while facts may change people's minds, fiction can change their hearts.  

Buy Links: Amazon / bn.com / iBooks / Kobo

Enter the rafflecopter to win more books and other prizes too, and please help spread the word about Oceans Deep.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Meet Sarah Dalton's MARY HADES!!!





Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

                                                           

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…



Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.



Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?



The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single My Daylight Monsters. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure. 

 Note from me: This sounds like it's going to be a FANTASTIC series! Can't wait to get my hands on this one!  

Pick up a copy of Mary Hades (LOVE the name) today at any of these wonderful retailers:













Connect with Sarah: 





Facebook

Blog 
                                                 




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cover Reveal: RIFTED, Wave 3 in The Merworld Water Wars series!



It's finally here! The cover reveal for Wave 3!!! I've been SO anxious to share it with you!!! Okay, here we go! I hope you like it as much as I do! <3 Notice Marina has her glowing gel shield power activated and ready to throw!




Someone wicked walks among them.



Heartbreak usually requires time to heal. For Marina Valentine, however, time has other plans: like sticking her with a shiny, stubborn accessory, sending her on a surprising date with someone other than Troy Tombolo, and introducing her lips to kisses that could save or destroy everything and everyone.



Marina and the rest of the Mer-Nor gang must find a way to push through the grief caused by The Dealer, for their next mission will take them on a dangerous, scandal-filled journey that may very well be the most significant to date: hunt down the evidence they need to prove once and for all that the tyrannical King Zale breached the water pact.



But with the shocking identity of The Dealer and overwhelming guilt weighing heavily on her, Marina struggles with frightening emotional urges and begins to question whether she is truly strong enough to succeed as the all-important Siren Savior.



Marina is in more danger than ever before—even inside the familiar study with her trusted friends—because unbeknownst to her, someone has been lurking about, waiting for the chance to undo everything the Mer-Nor gang has achieved…and with the Siren Savior’s doubt growing, that person’s chance has finally arrived.


Coming May 27th, 2014.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Author Spotlight: Amber Garr's Cover Reveal for WATERFALL!


I'm SO happy to reveal the cover of author Amber Garr's new book WATERFALL (which, btw, I'm literally drooling to read). Isn't the cover GORGEOUS?! Amber is such a sweetheart--I just adore her! <3

So, let's honor World Water Day with Amber Garr! 

*****************************************************


Happy World Water Day! And happy cover reveal day for The Water Crisis Chronicles Book 0.5. As a part of today's celebration for raising awareness about water and energy consumption, I thought I'd celebrate with a cover and website reveal!
First, here's the cover and blurb for WATERFALL...


Waterfall (Book 0.5)

The water is gone. The wars have begun.
Clean water is a luxury most can no longer afford. Climate change, industrial sabotage, and greed have turned country against country as each one tries to provide for its citizens. Terrorist groups target desalinization plants and frustrated governments hunt those who work against them. Rationing, sequestering, and patrolling have become routine at a time when there are too many people and not enough resources.
While the world around them disintegrates into chaos, Zach and Vivienne hope that their life in a government-run complex will retain some semblance of normalcy. But when attacks on their water supplies bring war to their sheltered community, they must accept their new fate. Stay and fight or flee and endure—it’s a difficult decision with lasting consequences.
Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?

***Coming April 22, 2014***

And now you can learn more about Zach and Vee's world, the government, the timeline, and what you can do help bring clean drinking water to the millions who don't have it (more about that coming later).


 You can also read about how the series began with WATERPROOF sporting its new cover makeover as well!


Waterproof (Book 1)
Dying of thirst is the new reality.

Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.

Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart.

A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?

In this life, it pays to be waterproof.

Cover by Creative Book Designs and Amber Garr

Find Amber at:


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book 3 updates, Satanic Sinuses, & an Epic Migraine







First off--and I know this is waaaaay late--I hope EVERYONE had a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and/or Happy Kwanza! I miss the holidays.

Big hugs and many thanks to all who entered the 12 Authors of Christmas Giveaway! The winner was drawn, notified, and was super excited. I hope y’all had fun with all of our author spotlights and discovered new books to devour on our bookshelf posts.

So, it’s been a while, huh? Where the heck have I been?! Well, I’ll tell you…

Some of you may remember I was down and out in November with sinusitis. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Uh, a sinus infection? Dude, that’s lame. I would totally think the same thing…if I hadn’t gone through one myself.

This sinus infection was of the evil variety. We’re talking stuffy nose (lame), scratchy throat (lame), sinus pressure so terrible that it radiated nearly unbearable, shake-until-you-feel-faint PAIN straight down into my jaw and teeth (definitely not lame), and facial swelling to the point that I couldn’t move my mouth into a smile on one side of my face (now we’re talking Halloween-scary, folks). This thing was no freaking joke.

After going to the doc and getting some meds, it finally started responding…and so did my system when it decided to sprout hives in allergic reaction fashion. Yeah. So much cuteness, let me tell you. *Note the sarcasm*

Fast forward past New Year’s Eve and it’s hello sinuses. They’re ba-ack, though, thankfully, not to the extreme evil they achieved in November. This time they simply knocked me sideways with sinus pressure and a migraine I couldn’t kick. Lovely. My eyes haven’t been able to tolerate a computer screen for quite some time now…

…until…

…my mom came to the rescue. God, I love her! She found a little personal humidifier for me, which was something the doc recommended, but, um, I’m really bad about changing filters and all that nonsense. Well, this personal one is filter-free! Just fill with water, plug it in, and you’re done! Genius. Isn’t it cute?! 



After about a couple months with this little workhorse and I’m already noticing significantly less pressure in my face and no nagging headache, which means I can look at a computer screen again!!! Hurray! 

Annnnnnnnnnnd then my sinusitis came back. Yeah. BUT it wasn't as bad, and I swear it's because of the little humidifier. Well, after taking the new meds, I seem to be back on track...for now...until the next round of acute sinusitis attacks. And let me tell y'all: there is nothing 'cute' about acute sinusitis. 

What about Book 3?!

Here’s what we have:

*The most gorgeous cover on the planet which is currently getting all dolled up with typography.
*Hook
*Blurb

Um, you didn’t mention the actual book.

That’s because I can officially say…IT’S DONE! Dude, it has taken me forever because I haven’t been able to be on the computer much. So, I turned to handwriting. Of course, the migraine kinda destroyed any sort of eyeball-usage. So, I employed a recorder—I used one before Christmas when things were too chaotic to sit at a computer for any length of time and found it really helpful.

The problem? I’ve learned a few things while transcribing from said recorder: I hate my voice. I sound stoned, even though I’m not; my attempt at an Australian accent is completely hideous; and I’m an even bigger idiot than I thought I was, so…yeah...good times.

Bottom line: I’m working my rear off on this book. I feel AWFUL for the delay. Stupid evil sinuses. Seriously. They’re evil monsters from the depths of the devil’s toilet.

A cover reveal and release date is just around the corner! I promise! <3

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour!







First and foremost, I’d like to send big hugs to author Katie Hayoz for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. 

When you get a chance, please drop by and say hello to the wonderfully kind Katie.

* Drop by her Blog  
* Like her Facebook page  
* Follow her on Twitter 
* Become a fan on Goodreads
* And check out her Amazon Page to pick up Untethered



Next up, I’m going to try and answer the following questions concerning my writing process—fair warning, this could get weird.

What am I working on?

Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches on the third book in my urban fantasy, fairy tale series, The Merworld Water Wars. I always hate coming to the end of one of these books because I adore these characters. They really are my pen-to-paper children.

At the same time, my pathetic heart has been delivering a plethora of slightly twisted love stories to my brain. So, I’m outlining a series of romance novels I hope will bring smiles…and possibly help me to once again believe that true love really is out there…maybe even for me.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Oh, Lordy, I've never given it much thought, apart from just generally believing that every author's work represents their unique voice. 

I guess my work is kinda crazy—there’s wacky dialogue, bizarre personality traits, etc. Of course this may reflect upon the way my brain is wired…but we’ll just leave that sure-to-be humiliating chat for another day.

I also love to infuse humor wherever possible, even in potentially life-threatening situations. That may sound a bit twisted, but there it is... Basically, I just write how I hear my characters and embrace the brand of humor I inherited from my mom and dad, however goofy it may be. 

Why do I write what I do?

I reject reality. No, really, I do.

And…at the end of the day, it’s all about the characters. The characters are everything to me; without them, the story would mean absolutely nothing. THEY are the story, in essence. Though I write because I absolutely love it, the stories/genres come from the characters living within my imagination, willing me to tell their tale. That was sappy. I tend to bring the sap sometimes.

How does your writing process work?

Well, I rarely plan anything to start. When the characters start coming to life inside my head, I begin writing. From there, I will ‘see’ where the story is meant to go, so I’ll hurry and write everything down before it escapes out my ears. This has happened at 4 a.m. It’s why I keep a notebook in my bed…and possibly why I’m still rocking the single tag.

Sometimes, I find listening to music, cleaning, and pacing helps with roadblocks or awaken previously unknown characters/stories inside my noggin. Just recently, I found myself whimpering until I broke through a difficult chapter. It wasn’t one of my best moments, but it worked. 

I have three wonderful authors I'd love for you all to meet

Amber Garr is one of the friendliest people I've had the pleasure of meeting. <3 I'm really looking forward to reading about her writing process! Look for it next Monday, February 24th.



Connect with Amber:  

* Follow her on Twitter
* Like her Facebook page
* Become a fan on Goodreads
* Check out her blog 

 


Bio: Amber spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of Waterproof, The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. 


Meet up & coming author, Krysta Haney! She's a total sweetheart and, let me tell you, she's going to bring some epic reads for us to devour. Remember her name & bookmark her page, y'all! Get ready to read all about her writing process next Monday, February 24th



Connect with Krysta:  

* Follow her on Twitter
* Like her Facebook page
* Check out her blog



BioI am a mother of two (sometimes) wonderful children. My son is 5 and my daughter is 3 so they keep me pretty busy. I am married to a wonderful man who supports me in any and everything I do or want to do. He IS my best friend, I tell him everything. My life is focused around my family and friends but when I get the occasional time to myself, I have a range of things to bide my time. I like drawing, but I haven't had the time for it in some time. I have designed two of my three tattoos (only because the third one is just letters, but I did write those out) and I plan on designing at least one more of the small handful I want. I'm not really a girly girl although I do have moments. I like doing my nails and getting them done (especially since my mom decided to be a nail tech, lol) so I buy nail polish all the time. The last couple years I have been getting involved with photography and would eventually love to have my own studio, but for now my busy times are late Spring until end of fall (Octoberish). When I'm not dealing with photography I have been trying to get back into writing. It was something that I used to do since about first grade but some college choices led me to pull it back some. It was something that I thought I would be doing for the rest of my life. Publications of books in my mid 20's of the works I had in mind and the ones I had yet to come up with. But that didn't happen. I'm finally finding my inspiration and way back to it. And I am loving every minute when I do have the time.



Though my last author couldn't participate, I thought it only right for you to meet her--she's another sweetie (and, yeah, she admires Viggo as much as I do). ;) Please meet Dina Keratsis


Connect with Dina


* Follow her on Twitter
* Like her Facebook page
* Become a fan on Goodreads
* Check out her blog 



Bio: Dina Keratsis is an award-winning author of fantasy and romance fiction in which all roads lead to illumination and magic is found in the mundane. A New England girl, she has a penchant for punk rock, Scottish tea rooms and a mad crush on Sirius Black. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two children.

 



 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Author Spotlight: Susan Fodor Presents A Silver Tides Christmas!




And now, on this beautiful Christmas Eve, I am elated to present a special piece written exclusively for Christmas by my fellow giveaway elf co-worker (Santa would be proud of us. I expect candy in our stockings come Christmas morning), Susan Fodor. For the record, I adore her. <3 And I have absolutely no doubt y'all will love this very special Silver Tides Christmas piece as much as I did (I read it, like, three times--loved it that much). 

***The following contains possible spoilers for those who have not read Silver Tides***

A Silver Tides Christmas



Cordulla had us lined up like the Von Trapp children inspecting our outfits with a grim expression. Beside me, Miranda was wearing a red dress straight out of White Christmas, minus the white fur. She had the fitted bodice and the full red skirt that stopped just below her knees. Her outfit was completed with ruby red heels that glistened in the studio light. Her black hair flowed down her back, and her amethyst eyes were more pronounced from the makeup artist’s ministration.

My blonde hair had been set in curls to cascade down my back, and my makeup was understated but beautiful. Even though our colourings differed, the makeup and hair had levelled us in attractiveness---well mostly.

My dress was exactly the same design as Miranda’s but in the deep emerald colour reserved for Christmas elves. My shoes were adorable emerald coloured Mary-Janes with elastic strap so they slipped on and off easily. They were half a size too small, Cordulla’s usual passive aggressive gift, but I was optimistic the material would give enough so I could wear them again. Cordulla shook her head at me with her usual disdain and moved on to inspect Daniel.

Charlie and Daniel were wearing blinding white suits. It didn’t flatter Daniel’s sensible golden-blonde haircut and crystal blue eyes or Charlie’s dark eccentric locks, cream skin and caramel eyes. For once they were dressed worse than the girls. Charlie was wearing a green shirt and Daniel a red one. There was no mistaking that Cordulla was again trying to pair Daniel to Miranda. I bite my lip ignoring the slight.

Cordulla had chosen all our outfits for the first annual Christmas address from the royal family. A small stage had been set up with four Santa chairs and opulent gold decorations in the background. It looked like the backdrop for a pirate’s treasure trove rather than a Christmas interview, but that was Cordulla and it was still her kingdom.

“I’ve organized all the questions,” Cordulla said, glaring at each of us in turn. “There is nothing too hard for you to answer. Be honest. Be winning and try not to embarrass me.”

An impish grin spread over Charlie’s lips. I worked to keep the nervous giggles at bay, my stomach felt like a shaken soda can.

“Mother,” Daniel said valiantly, “we won’t let you down.”

“I know you won’t,’ she said to Daniel maternally, “and Miranda is always perfect.”

“It will be fine,” I assured her, but she dismissed my words with a flick of her wrist.

“I’m going to our stage,” she said, all business. “The selkie king and queen will do their message. Then the cameras will switch to your interview and well wishes. Finally Harold and I will wish the people our best. Do. Not. Mess. This. Up.” She popped the p in ‘up’ as her eyes fell on me. I shifted uncomfortably.

She spun on her gaudy gold heels and marched out of the makeshift studio.

“That was intense,” Miranda exhaled.

“I feel like my sphincter is frozen shut,” Charlie added with a goofy grin.

“Charming,” I replied, suppressing a giggle.

“That’s medical humour,” Charlie defended, playfully. “A sphincter is a circular band of muscle that surrounds an opening or passage in the body and narrows or closes the opening by contracting.”

“You totally memorised that out of a veterinary studies book,” Miranda said, deadpan.

“It’s a turn-on isn’t it?” Charlie teased.

“Ok,” Daniel said, trying to get us to focus. “This is what Mother doesn’t want us to do. Let’s get set up for this interview.”

“First,” Charlie said to Daniel suggestively. “I need you to take off your shirt.” He raised his eyebrow provocatively.

“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, the stress of the interview dulling his sense of humour.

“Mya’s wearing green, seems only right that you and your Other be wearing the same colours.”

Daniel surveyed our outfits for the first time. “Any excuse to get me topless,” Daniel smirked.

“It’s not my fault you’re so hot,” Charlie replied with a goofy grin.

Miranda and I took their jackets as they swapped shirts. I averted my eyes while Miranda openly appreciated the boy’s muscular chests. 

“The shirt’s a bit tight,” Daniel teased, as he put his jacket back on.

 “We can’t all be built like Thor,” Charlie responded, unfazed.

The lights flicked on without warning. The whole room was bathed in blinding light.

“Take your seats. Take your seats,” called a shrill voice with a strange accent. It almost sounded like outback Aussie which would be weird in an underwater city.

“It’s too early,” Daniel argued.

“Everything is going faster than we predicted,” the voice assured, clapping his hands. “I’m Ivan. I’ll be interviewing you today. Now get in your seats.”

We moved to the chairs, still dazed by the sudden onslaught of the interview. My heart was bouncing from my stomach to my throat, up-and-down like a yo-yo. I squinted at the dark figure in the director’s chair unable to make out who it was from the blinding light. Something didn’t feel right, but I wrote it off as nerves.

“Lights. Camera. Action,” Ivan announced, like a ringmaster. “I’m Ivan Sparks and I’m interviewing the royal rat pack. I’m not going to waste time with introductions, you all know who they are, let’s get right into it.”

Waves of nausea washed over my body, as I realized Cordulla was setting us up for failure with the world’s most annoying interviewer. I took a calming breath. Miranda glanced at me with a raised eyebrow, as if to say, “Who is this guy?”

“Daniel,” Ivan said, leaning forward, his identity still obscured. “You’re sitting between two saucy minxes, how will you ever choose?”

Daniel’s jaw clenched with displeasure, but the cameras were rolling and we had to be on our best behaviour. “I think everyone is aware who my Other is, and that is who I will be pledging my devotion to and no-one else.”

“That’s vague,” Ivan teased. “Charlie, you’ve been living with Mya, do you want to share any of her secrets.”

Charlie’s eyes lit with mischief, I gave him pleading eyes to behave. “‘Living together’ is a loaded term,” Charlie said, subdued. “I’ve been guarding her while the kingdom has been transitioning into a new Atlantis, and Ivan, a gentlemen never discloses a lady’s secrets.”

I gave Charlie a grateful smile.

“Boring,” Ivan drawled. “Miranda, are these guys as squeaky clean as they’re trying to convince us? I read Silver Tides, I know you’ll be honest with me.”

“Well for starters, I should sue Ms Fodor for defamation, my character was totally maligned in that book. You’ll see in Submerge and Drift that I’m not at all what everyone thinks I am.”

“So there are two sequels in the works?” Ivan asked, excited.

“Opps, I’ve said too much.” Miranda smiled without remorse.

“We’re not supposed to talk about that,” Daniel said, jumping in to change the subject. “In answer to your question, we’re so squeaky clean detergent won’t stick to us.” He flashed a charming smile, making my heart beat faster. He was an exceptional guy.

“Point taken,” Ivan said backing off. “Mya, you've almost died so many times this year, your story could be called ‘The Girl Who Would Not Die.' How do you think you'll fair in the New Year?”

I blushed all the way up to my hairline. That was definitely a Cordulla question.

"Harsh," Miranda whispered under her breath, giving me an encouraging look.

"It's been a challenging year," I agreed. “My life has been threatened, but I've survived. I’ve gotten through princess training and the kingdom is improving daily because of all our efforts.”

“Yes, but you’ve got to admit you’re a pretty wimpy heroine,” Ivan baited.

I exhaled, letting my nerves settle in my toes so they couldn’t affect my thinking. “There are some people that view kindness, optimism and compassion as weakness. Those people would say that showing respect to people who disrespect you is pathetic. I don’t believe that. I believe that true strength is displayed by being kind in the face of petty meanness. I believe that remaining true to myself in the face of the shifting views of the world around me is heroic. If people don’t like it, that’s ok. I still respect them and treat them with common courtesy. I want courtesy to become common again.”

“I agree.” Daniel smiled, squeezing my hand. “A true lady exercises her influence by quiet example, not force.”

“Oh please.” Miranda rolled her eyes. “Quiet example? Have we stepped into Pride and Prejudice…”

“Have you ever read Pride and Prejudice?” Ivan interjected.

“I saw the movie,” Miranda snapped. “All these archaic views of women being quiet are ridiculous. Mya may not run around kicking people’s butts, but she’s done a lot for Atlantis. She’s done a lot for me. She’s my hero.”

My eyes misted. “You’re amazing,” I told her.

“This is horrendous,” Ivan complained, “false reunions and not the usual cat fights and tantrums that are common palace occurrences.”

“There are no catfights or tantrums,” Daniel disagreed, firmly.

“Except when Daniel borrows my clothes without asking, and then returns them unwashed,” Charlie whined playfully. Daniel looked at him as though he’d cracked.

“It’s true,” Miranda joined in. “Daniel borrows my dresses all the time, and they come back all stained.”

Daniel looked between the two of them bewildered.

“You are a bit of a fashion hog.” I said, shrugging.

Everyone burst out laughing.

“This is what the kingdom wants to see,” Ivan said excited.

“Well, for the record,” Daniel said, “Charlie is always borrowing my clothes.”

“And Daniel doesn’t wear my clothes,” Miranda added. “Although he’s welcome to.”

Daniel smiled at Miranda. “Thanks.” My stomach flip-flopped. They were having a moment.

“Charlie,” Ivan moved on. “What are you getting Mya for Christmas?”

“None of your business,” Charlie replied with a goofy grin and dimpled cheeks. “Although I did get a lovely diamond tiara for Daniel.”

“You shouldn’t have,” Daniel said with mock giddiness, putting his hand over his heart.

“Anything for my brother from another mother,” Charlie responded, gallantly.

“I got them both leather jackets,” I said, “because they need to man up.”

“Plus, nothing compliments a tiara like a Harley Davidson jacket,” Miranda added.

“Can I let you in on a secret,” Daniel said, leaning toward Ivan. “The biggest problem we have in the palace is that the women are always upstaging us.”

“So true!” Charlie exclaimed, dramatically.

Looking around at my friends smiling and joking filled me with warmth. Cordulla was going to kill us, but Christmas was bringing us together.

“It’s not hard to do.” I teased. “You boys are so understated.”

Miranda giggled. “They really are wall flowers, can’t you tell?”

“You all seem very close,” Ivan asked suggestively, “how close?”

I bristled at the question. Charlie gave me a weak smile, and guilt tied a knot in my stomach.

“We’re close enough to cover for each other,” Miranda responded, death glaring the directors chair.

“We are close enough to be there for each other,” I added.

“We are friends,” Daniel said, reproachfully.

“And we’re family,” Charlie finished.

“So be careful how you talk about my family,” Daniel warned.

“What’s going on here?” boomed a harried voice. “The selkie interview is about to finish, where is all the camera crew?”

The four of us exchanged confused looks. Ivan began to laugh heartily, the familiar roguish laughter of our Cornish friend.

“Blaine?” Miranda asked, rising to her feet.

“Christmas fools!” Blaine announced, dropping the weird voice and accent and moving in front of the light.

“That’s not a thing, dude,” Daniel replied, shaking his head.

Charlie chuckled. “You totally got us.”

“Get this,” Miranda howled, taking off her ruby shoe and throwing it at him. It bounced off his body. “That was totally uncool,” Miranda raged.

“There’s no need to overact,” Blaine laughed, remorseless.

Inciting another shoe to glance off his foot. “Come on, you all loved it. You were so boring and in the end, it was actually heart warming,” Blaine teased. “Tear.” He ran his finger down his cheek.

“Mya, shoe,” Miranda demanded, holding out her hand.

“Come on.” Blaine laughed. “What kind of a person throws a shoe?”

“You’re not going to Austen Powers your way out of this,” Miranda shouted.

A bald fat merman was wiping sweat from his brow as he ran into the fray. “There’s no time for this,” he puffed, handing Miranda her shoes, “please princess, put on your shoes. I don’t want to be executed.”

Miranda begrudgingly put them back on, while Blaine continued to laugh and taunt us.

“Young man you must leave,” the bald man insisted, pushing Blaine from the room.

“Are you ok?” I asked, Miranda.

“He’s just annoying,” she said upset. “He’s pranked me three times now and I’m feeling a bit behind.”

“We’ll do the interview again, and this time it won’t be so weird,” I encouraged.

“I know,” Miranda agreed, “but it felt like I belonged for a moment there.”

I nodded understanding what she meant. “You do belong.” I smiled.

“There’s no time for this,” the man pleaded, “please sit.”

The second interview was boring; with questions about how much we appreciated Cordulla and the celebratory balls she’d organized. We all wished that Blaine’s interview had aired instead, but it wasn’t even taped. Our group loitered in the greeting hall wanting to preserve some of the Christmas joy from our first interview. I should find Mum to go home, but it was fun to have nothing to do for a change.

***

“I just wanted to steal a moment before you go back to Geelong and the middle of summer and not being able to sleep,” Daniel said, tucking a stray curl behind my ear.

“Absolutely,” I agreed, excited for any time with Daniel.

He took my hand and led me through the white crystal halls of the palace. My emerald shoes tapped on the resplendent white tiles. I wasn’t surprised by the fact that we were heading to the Octopus’s Garden, but I was surprised by the cold air that stung my arms as we stepped into a snow-covered garden.

Daniel took of his white jacket and slipped it over my bare arms, as I stared slack-jawed at the winter wonderland. “How do you like your first Christmas Eve in Atlantis?” Daniel asked.

“It’s snowing,” I said in disbelief. “We’re in Australia, at Christmas and it’s snowing?” The smile on my face was so wide it was hurting my cheeks, but I didn’t care.

“It’s been a hard year,” he said, wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing my nose. “We probably have a few more hard years ahead of us, but I wanted to give you something amazing for Christmas.”

“You already gave me something amazing,” I replied, feeling sappy. “You gave me yourself, and that’s enough.”

He smiled. “I’m pretty great,” he joked, “but I still think you deserve more. So I’m giving you tonight, with all of us.”

He turned me around, and there was my Mum, King Leo, Dad, Charlie, Miranda and Daniel’s parents George and Sophia.

“How did you do this?” I asked gob-smacked. “I mean Dad, Sophia and George are human and Atlantis has tropical conditions under the sea? How?”

Daniel smiled. “You’re not going to be content with ‘Christmas miracle’ are you?” he asked.

“Not at all,” I responded, genuinely intrigued.

“I asked the Finfolk if they could work on the thermostat. For two hours, we can have snow without freezing up the weather controls. As for the humans, Finfolk submarines are superior to anything they have on land.”

“Thank you so much,” I squealed kissing Daniel.

I ran to Mum and hugged her. “Merry Christmas,” she said squeezing me.

“All this trouble for nothing,” Dad complained with his thick Russian accent. “We have snow in Russia always, better in Australia.”

“Welcome to Atlantis Dad.” I laughed, hugging him. He patted my back awkwardly; showing any emotion other than grumpiness was not his forte.

“This is amazing…” I began, when something solid and cold hit me in the back, knocking off Daniel’s jacket.

“That’s for not mentioning me in the interview,” Blaine teased with his hot Cornish accent. “I expect the others to forget about how important I am, but you, you cut me deep.”

Miranda threw the next snowball at Blaine before I even had a chance to form a complete ball. The snow was crumbly and easy enough to form into a ball but I wanted to keep it loose so when it hit it would explode on its target.

We scattered, every person fending for their own survival. Daniel wasn’t kind either, it was game on as he ducked and weaved hitting everyone mercilessly. He even hit Sophia in the face, before hiding from his father’s wrath.

The movies don’t show how hard snowballs hit or the challenge of running while being pelted with snow. I ducked behind a rock shelf for cover and fell over Daniel.

“I won’t hit you if you don’t hit me,” I said super fast.

“Fine,” he agreed.

I huddled beside him. My fingers were red from the cold. None of us were dressed for snow, but at the sea depths we swam the cold couldn’t hurt us: but I still felt the chill to my core.

“Are you having fun?” he asked, hopefully.

“It’s the best,” I replied, honestly.

He pulled me into his lap. “I’m sorry about how I’ve been this year,” he said hugging me. “It’s been so intense leading Atlantis, and I’ve had some really unsavory moments.”

“I’ve had some less than appealing moments too,” I replied.

“Not as bad as me,” he said.

“You have been a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins,” I joked.

“You are the worst insult giver,” he joked.

“I try.” I laughed, unworried. I looked outside, as the people I loved pelted each other with ice, and felt happy. Everyone was laughing and smiling, it was what Christmas should be.

“I really want to build a snow-man,” I said, “but everyone is having so much fun out there.”

“We will all have fun as long as we’re together,” Daniel responded, sentimentally.

“I like Christmas-Daniel, this is a good version of you,” I said stealing a kiss.

Taking Daniel’s hand we stood together. Two snowballs hit in rapid succession.

“I’m making a snow-man,” I called out, holding my hands up in surrender.

The others quickly joined us, as we rolled the snow into huge balls. Dad and George gave directions, and the rest of us worked in building a snow-family, complete with pets.

The lights buzzed and Daniel approached me. “It’s heating back up now,” he said, regretfully.

“This was perfect.” I smiled; warm inside despite my freezing extremities.

“I have two more gifts for you,” Daniel said. “I made you a snow cake.”

“Ahhh,” I cooed, before Daniel shoved it into my face. “Thanks.” I laughed, clearing the snow from around my nose and eyes.

Charlie slipped a snow cake into my hand behind my back. “I made one for you too,” I told Daniel surprising him with snow in the face.

“Well played.” He threw his head back and laughed. It had been so long since I’d seen him happy. I drank in his mirth letting it fill me with hope for a happier New Year.

“So what’s my other gift?” I asked.

“Greedy,” he teased, taping my nose with his finger. “I’ll give it to you tomorrow.”

The temperature was rising quickly. Water droplets were sliding down every member of the snow family.

“I’m going to go,” I told Daniel.

“Don’t you want to stay and watch it all disappear?” he asked, surprised.

I shook my head, nostalgic. “I want to keep it like this in my memory, I want it to be perfect and never see it fall apart.”

Daniel hugged me close. “Your wish is my command.”

***

Dad and the Essos were hilarious in the submarine ride to shore. They kept recounting the events of the night, clinging to life as the tiny sub carried us to Queenscliffe Pier. Returning to the warm summer night and dry land comforted them. We bid each other farewell, knowing we’d see each other soon enough, since we were having Christmas lunch together.

Charlie rode in the back with me. I saw Mum and Dad hold hands in the front. It was a weird relationship, but it worked. I hoped Daniel and I would always be as happy as we had been, but the past months since Miranda’s arrival had been tumultuous at best.

***

Mum and Dad went straight to bed allowing the balmy summer night to thaw their bodies. Charlie jumped in the shower, while I sat on the back step enjoying the heat radiating from the ground. Summer was so hot; sometimes it felt like the heat from the sun and the heat from the earth’s core were combining to pressure cook us. Even with the moon high in the sky, the night was too hot for sleep.

Charlie popped his head out the back door. “Shower’s free.”

“I’m just taking a moment to warm up,” I said, languid.

He stepped out onto the veranda and sat down beside me, his familiar scent filling my nostrils. “It was a great night.” He gave me a lopsided grin.

“The best,” I agreed.

“I wanted to give you something,” Charlie said, bashful.

His nervousness intrigued me. “Can I eat it?” I asked.

“No you can’t eat it,” he gave me his goofy smile, “or if you do, you need to have lots of fiber to make it pass through.”

“You always take it one step too far,” I laughed. Noticing the long box in his pocket, I pointed and asked, “Is that a box or are you just happy to see me?”

“Really? And I take it too far?” He pulled the unwrapped gift from his pocket. “I wanted to give you this before the Christmas-crazy hits tomorrow.”

“You didn’t have to get me anything,” I said, flustered.

“I didn’t,” he said. “I mean. I did. I bought it for you ages ago. I was going to give it to you for your 13th birthday, but well, whatever, I didn’t.”

“I really do wish that I remembered knowing you,” I sighed, accepting the box.

“I don’t,” Charlie responded, playfully. “I’m much better looking now.”

“And so humble,” I teased.

It was too dark to read the brand on the box. I opened it, inside was a Pandora style charm bracelet.

"You bought me a Pandora bracelet?" I exclaimed, "but they're so expensive.” Even though we'd come into money, my thriftiness had not decreased.

"It's an Amore and Baci bracelet," Charlie corrected. “All the other girls wanted Pandora bracelets, but you wanted one that was actually made in Europe, because of the sweat shops in Asia and all that.”

"I wanted one of these so bad in year 7," I said picking up the bracelet. In the moonlight the shapes we discernible but not the detail. 

"I know," Charlie responded, lifting it out of my palm and wrapping it around my right wrist. "That's why I bought it for you. I knew your Mum never would. You know the whole, 'one bracelet will feed a child in Africa for 90 days---that's three months.'"

I giggled at his impersonation, remembering the conversation well.

"Anyway," he said, his warm fingers working the catch and attaching it to me. "There are three charms. An Eiffel Tower, because you always wanted to travel the world. There's a book, to document all your adventures and there's a star, to guide you home. I was tempted to fill the bracelet with everything that mattered to you, but leaving it unfinished gives you the opportunity to add things that you think are significant."

I ran fingers over the charms, clunking them against each other. "That's really thoughtful," I said, swallowing the lump in my throat and blinking back the tears. "How old were you when you bought it?"

"Fifteen," he responded, coyly. "I was an earlier bloomer."

I laughed and pushed him playfully. "Thanks, I love it."

"You're welcome," he replied. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," I responded.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope you join Mya, Daniel, Charlie and Miranda in their misadventures in Submerge. Sadly my release date has been pushed back to early February, due to unforeseen challenges. Thanks for all the love and support you've shown.

Susan Fodor


Silver Tides (Silver Tides Series)





Blurb for Silver Tides:

Mya Belan was invisible. A social misfit tolerated at the popular table only because of her best friend Jaimie… but ignored by everyone at school.

On the night of the big beach party before senior year everything changes. Mya rescues a drowning stranger from the sea and as the amnesiac boy “John” struggles with the after affects of his accident, Mya finds herself drawn to him - first as she nurses him and then as they form an unexpected friendship.

As Mya’s social star rises, so do the mysteries surrounding John. The more time Mya spends with him the more their attraction grows. But John is harbouring secrets that threaten to tear them apart. His flawless features and enchanting charisma hide an unbelievable truth.

Could John’s secrets put Mya and her family in danger?

Hook Silver Tides on Amazon & add to your Goodreads shelf



Follow her on Twitter
Like her Facebook page
Drop by her Blog
Become a fan on Goodreads 

Don't forget to enter The 12 Authors of Christmas Giveaway for a chance to win 17 books & extra goodies! For a complete prize breakdown and terms & conditions (also listed in the Rafflecopter terms & conditions section), please click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway