Archive | January 2015

The Teen Wytche Saga Continues

Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.


Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou.

Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving.


Ariella Moon is the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a sweet Young Adult paranormal series. Ariella writes about magic, friendship, high school, secrets, and love in Spell Check, Spell Struck, Spell Fire, and Spell For Sophia from Astraea Press.

Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Ariella is a Reiki Master, author, and shaman. She lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and an enormous dragon.

Connect with Ariella Moon


Um…Sophia?” Worry tinged Breaux’s voice as he rose to his feet.

I lifted my chin. The pain over my right eye resumed stabbing. I blinked several times to clear the wobbly vision in my left eye, and a fresh wave of nausea crashed over me. An elongated white light shimmered in my peripheral vision. Seizing the other oar, I stood and faced it. The white light glittered and assembled into a shaky form. “Mam’zelle?”


We lowered the oars to our waists. Though Mam’zelle’s features were no longer distinguishable, I recognized her essence. In my mind’s eye she shook her head and wagged her finger at me. Child, didn’t I teach you anyt’ing? What did you forget?

Panic seized me. “We forgot something. Something important.”

Breaux’s eyes rolled upward, then back to center. “We purposely skipped some steps because we didn’t have time—”

Mam’zelle vanished. My arms tingled. A luminous red mist gathered along the bayou’s edge. Corpses — men, women, and children — rose from the blood-colored vapors.

Breaux hefted the oar. “Do you see them?”

“The zombie army?” The boat rocked as we assumed a back-to-back stance and raised the oars to chest level. “Why are they here?”

Breaux shifted his stance. The boat groaned and creaked. “Maybe a portal opened—”

A gasp convulsed my throat. “I forgot to ask Papa Legba to close the gate!”


I dropped my oar and dove for my backpack. The zipper slipped from my sweaty grasp. I found it again and pinched the tab between my thumb and forefinger. Nylon teeth unthreaded with a ripping sound. I shoved my hand into the pack and dug through its contents. “Where’s the pencil?”

Breaux fingered the top of his ear and his oar clattered to the floor of the boat. Along the bayou banks, a contingent of undead rocked from side to side. Breaux reached into his front jeans pocket, withdrew the pencil stub, and thrust it into my hand. “Hurry.”

The lantern illuminated the edge of the seat bench. Between the migraine and the magic, I had difficulty focusing. Working half-blind in the meager light, I sketched a crossroad onto the wood.

“Will it work?” Breaux asked. “Using a different crossroad?”

“We’ll find out.”

Breaux swore under his breath and cast a nervous glance at the shore. His eyes widened and he retrieved his oar — sure signs the undead had grown in number or were on the move. Something tumbled down the slight incline and plopped into the shallow water.

“Any time now.” Breaux’s fingers twitched against the oar.

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2015. 1 Comment

Meet Tara Mayoros


Today my author spotlight is shining on Astraea Press author Tara Mayoros.

As a child, Tara Mayoros moved to Asia with her family where her love of different cultures and travel began. In college she satisfied her wanderlust by moving to China, filling her head with countless stories, and occasionally writing them down.

Years, marriage, children and many adventures later, she picked up her dusty pen and paper (or laptop) and realized that writing took her to different worlds and gave her the experiences that she yearned for. As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – she sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.


Tara, when did you first realize you were an author?

I first realized I was an author when this book was pretty much done and I would take it to critique groups and enter it in competitions. When it started getting good reviews and input, then I realized that maybe, just maybe I had something.

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

The thing I struggle most with writing, is avoiding purple prose. This is when the writing is so flowery that it brings excessive attention to itself. Personally I love Tolkien and his extreme details. People don’t care for that much anymore. I have been told to tone down on my description many times. I cut 30,000 words from Broken Smiles! I defeat it my coming back to my work in progress after a long break and look at it with critical eyes. Good editors also help.

What inspired your book?

My book was inspired first by lyrics to a song I wrote. It came to me in a dream. My entire book and characters evolved from those song lyrics. Then of course, the time I spent in China was fuel for my story.



In the novel BROKEN SMILES, Laidan Swanson rises from ashes of sorrow to the top of the music billboard charts, only to find that her desire for fame is overshadowed by her desire to serve. She escapes her identity and flees to find the humanitarian doctor and the Chinese children depicted in a brochure that she came across in a hospital lobby.

While performing at the Grammys, the pressure from the music industry becomes too much for Laidan. She is quickly carried off the stage, leaving the world audience stunned and amazed by her emotional performance. Accompanying her are a trusted bodyguard and a close childhood friend. Together they make for the jungles of China where she meets Doctor Rafe Watkins, a humanitarian doctor who has reasons of his own for why he has chosen to live deep within the bamboo forests. The handsome doctor is building an orphanage and runs a clinic that fixes children’s broken smiles or cleft palets. Watching him perform his many acts of kind service, Laidan’s “broken smile” is also healing and she begins to fall deeply in love with him. She has finally found a place where she belongs. One problem – because of Rafe’s intentional seclusion from society for the past seven years, he does not know Laidan’s true identity. What will he do when he finds out? Can love conquer all, or is Laidan’s rock star fame too big for his quiet life?
This entry was posted on January 20, 2015. 1 Comment

My Baby Is Seven Months Old

To Dance One More Day- cover

Seven months ago my baby was born. Not literally, I’m sixty years old. On June 17, 2014 my debut novel, To Dance One More Day, was released by Astraea Press.

Being a new author, I was unschooled in the art of promotion. I’m sure I made only a minute blip on readers’ radar. The excitement of my accomplishment has dwindled away, but my determination to succeed has grown. I worked extremely hard to ‘birth’ my baby and have decided to press onward as I learn new ways to promote my book in the reader’s world, where new books are released every week.

I’ve set up a blog tour for my book which will probably occur in February. Seven months ago I didn’t have a clue about blog tours or other avenues of promotion. With the help and support of my fellow Astraea Press authors and my Georgia Romance Writers friends, I have learned a ton about promoting my work.

Yesterday I established my channel on youtube. I invite you to take a minute out of your day and view the book trailer that has been uploaded. If you’d share it with the social media of your choice, I’d be thrilled as I attempt to garner the attention of readers I missed the first time around.



Meet Astraea Press Author, Shirley Raye Redmond


Author Shirley Raye Redmond talks about her book, Prudence Pursued:

Despite Prudence Pentyre’s best efforts, her cousin Margaret proves
reluctant to accept Sir James Brownell’s marriage proposal, and fears
being “bovinised” if she undergoes the controversial cowpox vaccination he
recommends. And the dashing baronet seems more concerned about the plight
of headhunters in Borneo than Margaret’s refusal. Then Prudence suddenly
finds herself smitten with the man. What can she do?
Here are a few startling facts that will help readers of PRUDENCE PURSUED
and other Regency romance novels appreciate Edward Jenner’s contributions
to the era so popular with fiction readers:
(1) In its day, smallpox was referred to as “the speckled monster.
(2) It killed hundreds of millions of people—more than the Black Death and
the wars of the 20th century put together!
(3) President Thomas Jefferson, who used the Jennerian method to vaccinate
his own family, friends, and slaves, once wrote to Jenner: “Yours is the
comfortable reflection that mankind can never forget that you have lived.”
(4) A woman who was considered a “great beauty” during this time period
was usually one who had not been seriously disfigured by smallpox. It was
understood by portrait artists of the day that they were not to paint in
the disfigurements and pockmarks of their subjects.
(5) Jane Austen’s dearest friend Martha Lloyd was scarred by smallpox for
the remainder of her life. Several members of the Lloyd household died
from the disease. A character in Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey is
disfigured and crippled by the dreaded disease.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

“You   should   not   wear   that   to   the   pox   party,” Prudence
Pentyre   said, indicating   her   younger   cousin’s   dress   of
light   green   Italian   silk.   “I   recommend   something   with
short   sleeves   which   allows you to  expose your  forearm  to  the
Margaret   shuddered.   Her   plain   face, pale  and  lightly freckled,
appeared  downcast.  “Oh, Pru, I wish  I  didn’t  have  to  go.”   She
stood, slender   shoulders   drooping, in front   of   her   open
“Truly,   Meg,   there’s   nothing   to   worry   about,”   Prudence
assured   her,   slipping   a   comforting   arm   around   her
cousin’s   slim   waist.   “Papa   had   all   of   us   vaccinated
with   the   cowpox   when   we   were   still   in   the
schoolroom—and   the   servants   too.   I’m   quite surprised  my  Uncle
Giles  didn’t  do  the  same.”
A   glint   of   disapproval   flashed   in   her   soft   brown   eyes.
Silently,   she   fumed.   Uncle   Giles   had   held   too   many
outmoded   notions.   Such   an   old   stick!   He   was   dead   now,
having   suffered   an   apoplexy   two   years   ago.   Her   mother,
if   she   knew   of   Prudence’s   unspoken  condemnation,  would  have
reminded  her  not  to  speak  ill   of   the   dead.   This   dictate
had   never   made   sense   to   Prudence.   Why   were   some   of
life’s   most   unsavory   characters   deemed   to   be   saints   after
their   deaths?   Not   that   Uncle   Giles   was   unsavory,   but
he   had   been  shamefully  old-­‐‑fashioned.
“Look,   Meg,   there’s   not   even   a   scar.”   Prudence   held   out
a   white   arm   for   her   cousin’s   perusal.   “Mr.   Jenner’s
procedure   is   almost   painless   and   quite   safe,   much   safer
than   buying   the   smallpox  and  enduring  the  dreaded  disease.”
“Papa   didn’t   believe   in   it.   He   said   it   was   God’s   will
some   people   should   die   of   the   smallpox,”   Margaret   said,
turning   away   from  her  to  examine  an  array  of  dresses  hanging
in  the  wardrobe.
“God  is  not  so  cruel,”  Prudence  insisted. “Some   say   the
vaccination   will   cause   one’s   facial   features   to   resemble
those  of  a  cow,”  Margaret  ventured,  her  forehead  creasing   with
anxious  wrinkles.
Prudence   laughed.   “Neither   John   nor   Patience   have   any
cow-­‐‑like   features,   and   you   can   see   for   yourself   I   do
not.”   Slightly   unsettled  by  her  cousin’s  close  examination,
Prudence  shrugged.
“Yes,   look   at   me,   Meg!   Do   I   resemble   a   cow?   I   can
assure   you   I   don’t   have   a   cow   tail   hidden   beneath   my
skirts   either.   None   of   us   have   bovinized,   as   you   fear.
I   believe   Mr.   Jenner’s   procedure   to   have   been
God-­‐‑inspired.   Truly.   Papa   has   preached   this   same   opinion
from  the  pulpit.  Mr.  Jenner  took  notice  how  milkmaids  and   dairy
farmers   did   not   succumb   to   the   deadly   smallpox   plague
when  there  was  an  outbreak  in  their  village.  It  was  because  of
their   exposure   to   the   harmless   cowpox.   It   was   an   amazing
observation   which  will  benefit  us  all.”
Like   her   parents,   Prudence   was   an   ardent   admirer   of
Edward   Jenner.   In   fact,   her   father,   the   Reverend   Henry
Pentyre,   was   a   member   of   the   Royal   Jennerian   Society   and
helped   to   raise   money   to   give   free   vaccinations
throughout   England.   Prudence   enjoyed   accompanying   her   father
when   he   rode   out   to   the   rural   areas   to   administer   the
vaccine   himself   to   those   members   of   his   parish  willing  to
undergo  the  procedure.
“But   what   if   you   should   marry   and   have   children?”
Margaret  hinted,  unconvinced.  She  clutched  her  hands  at  her
waist.   Prudence,   noting   the   slight   tremor,   realized   her
cousin   was   trying   not  to  reveal  her  agitation.
“Both   John   and   Patience   are   married   with   children,   and
none   of   my   nieces   and   nephews   look   like   heifers,   I
assure   you!”   Prudence   insisted.   She   gave   Margaret   a
reassuring   pat   on   the   shoulder.  “You’re  making  a  great  fuss
for  nothing.”

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Meet Michelle Foxworthy

Today’s author spotlight is shining on Michelle Foxworthy and her debut novel:

Before writing The Village Green I had never written more than a letter, contenting myself with drawing and painting. But my main character, Kelsey, came to me in what I can only call a vision and I had to tell her tale. After many hours in coffee shops and libraries writing and rewriting, the book was finally finished, that is until the edits began.

When I’m not writing you can find reading, teaching my four children, or visiting some new place. My family and I are traveling across the country full-time and learning to get along with six people in a 35ft trailer.



Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people waiting to receive her meager rations for the week.

Kelsey Cooper, a girl of fourteen, lives with her father in the village of Green, a ran-down community of small cob dwellings and outdoor toilets. It offers its inhabitants few comforts but many restrictions.

Kelsey and her beloved father live alone since the death of her mother, a teacher who became a threat to the authoritarian powers that be. She and her friends, Rosy and Derek, are now at the age of full-citizenship, meaning that they will be given their life-long positions in the society.

Everything in Kelsey’s life is well regulated and uneventful until the day that she and Derek decide to visit the ruined city outside the limits of their village. There Kelsey finds the journal of Henry Martin and her eyes are opened to life as she knows or thought she knew.

This one seemingly accidental event is the spark that sets her world on fire. Finding out that Derek and his family are part of an underground resistance, that her best friend Rosy has been brain-washed, and that her mother is still alive is astonishing enough, but nothing compares to finding out that she is the prophesied liberator of her people.

Does Kelsey have the courage to leave everything she knows and everyone she loves to fulfill her destiny?


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Happy New Year

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? In my long ago past I made fleeting attempts to declare a resolution at the beginning of the year. Usually before we were out of the winter months, my resolve was gone, my goal was unmet. And then two years ago I decided if I was to have any success at all as a writer, I needed to set some baby step goals to that end. It was wonderful to enjoy my success as I attained these objectives. As I delve deeper into the world of writing, I can see the advantage of declaring goals as the New Year begins, to be vocal about my aspirations.

Here are some guidelines I’m using this year as I set my goals:

  • I will write down my goals, rather than keep them in my head. I will put my list in a visible spot where I can read it often.
  • Making my resolution known to someone else will make me accountable and will give me motivation to succeed.
  • It is not enough to state my decision, but how I declare it is essential to the realization of that goal. I will word my resolution in goal setting form, rather than make a vague statement (for example – I will lose five pounds each month, instead of I will lose weight).

So now, I give you my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Strive to write daily
  • Take the comments from contest judges and conquer at least one problem area of my writing
  • Read more books (fiction and craft books)
  • Read at least one book in a genre I don’t know
  • Attend one major conference, my RWA chapter conference, and at least one author/reader luncheon this year

What are your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions?