New Adult Scavenger Hunt– K. Bird Lincoln

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K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate– without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest. Her speculative short stories are published in various online & paper publications such as Strange Horizons. Her first novel, Tiger Lily, a medieval Japanese fantasy, is available from Amazon. Her debut Urban Fantasy, Dream Eater, was published in April 2017 by World Weaver Press. She also writes tasty speculative and YA fiction reviews on Goodreads, ponders breast cancer, chocolate, and fantasy on her What I Should Have Said blog and hangs out on Facebook.

Find K. Bird Lincoln on Social Media:

Website Facebook | Goodreads

***Dream Eater***

“With a keen sense of place and a richly textured plot based in Japanese folklore, the first book in the Portland Hafu series shows enormous potential.” –RT Book Reviews “DREAM EATER brings much-needed freshness to the urban fantasy genre with its inspired use of Japanese culture and mythology and its fully-realized setting of Portland, Oregon. I’m eager to follow Koi on more adventures!” —Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger and Breath of Earth Koi Pierce dreams other peoples’ dreams. Her whole life she’s avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact—a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee—transfers flashes of that person’s most intense dreams. It’s enough to make anyone a hermit. But Koi’s getting her act together. No matter what, this time she’s going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Alzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor’s hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi’s father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself


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Dream Eater sneak peek from chapter one

“Take Dad for two weeks.”

            “What? No, I mean, I can’t. What about school?” I sucked in air, floundering. First the memory care monster, and now this? I’d been sucker punched.

            My sister Marlin waved a hand at the mess of tissues and the box of Sudafed. “Koi, I’ve been managing Dad all winter. My clients are booked solid through April and May.”

“You managed before.”

“Ha,” she said, “Managed.” The word turned into a dripping sarcasm ball. “Just two weeks, Koi, that’s all I’m asking.”

“I can’t do it.”

Marlin looked down at her manicured thumbnail, picking at an appliquéd flower. Loose hair fell forward, covering her face in a glossy curtain. “He doesn’t need me,” she said quietly.

A bigger monster entered the room. Mom’s reasons for leaving Dad, tangled up with the very careful way our family never, ever talked about the biggest thing I had inherited from him.

This was the closest we’d come to naming it since Mom died. A thin wisp of connection hovering in the air between us. I could reach out right now and take Marlin’s bare hand, let all those unspoken things spill out of me. A yearning to share this burden, to explain somehow, flickered for an instant. But talking about it with Marlin would ignite her caretaker instincts, and I couldn’t let her fix things for me anymore. I had to figure out my life on my own.

The moment dissipated. Marlin snuck a sideways peek at me through her hair. I reached out and stroked soft strands, careful not to brush the edge of her ear.

“And we’ll try to work out some more permanent solution in the meantime,” said Marlin, back to bossy little sister voice.

            Permanent solution? “I was supposed to have spring off for my classes,” I said. She just stared back at me, waiting, sick, concerned, and stubborn as Mom.

            I flexed my fingers, trying to calm the little bursts of unease running up and down my arms. I couldn’t fight this Marlin. She was deadly serious. “Okay. You can bring him by tonight.”

“Can you just pick him up at Salvation Army at the end of his day program?”

“I’ve got classes.” Even Marlin could push me only so far.

“Fine. I’ll bring him. Now, I’ve got some serious binging to do with Leverage on my DVR. If you want to stay and play ‘spot the downtown landmarks’, that’s fine. If not, you’re dismissed.” She fiddled with the remote. “And thanks for the Sudafed.”

            She kept her eyes on the TV, but I blew an air kiss to her as I left anyway. She drove me crazy, but she was one of the only people in the world since Mom died that I could call mine.

My smothering, meddling bridge to humanity.

            I let myself out the door, ran down her rickety staircase and whipped around the overgrown pink-budded rhododendrons back towards the sidewalk.

And barreled headlong into somebody.

            Somebody with a hard midsection covered by an OHSU sweatshirt.

            I looked up, flushing for a third time that morning. “Sorry,” I mumbled.

It was the guy from Rite-Aid. I hadn’t had a good look at him before, but now there was no convenient escape-path. He had very dark brown eyes, almost black. Under the lack of a pronounced eyelid, his eyes tilted up at the corners. Asian, or possibly, part-Asian. Medium-length dark hair, moussed up into tousled spikes at the top of his head.

He wore the sweatshirt like someone who didn’t care what they put on because they had the body to pull off any look.

            I glanced at his hands. The box of condoms was no longer in sight.

            “This is becoming a habit,” he said.

            I bristled, but his mouth was curved into a relaxed grin, and he held one eyebrow arched up high in a way I’d wished I could emulate ever since I’d watched Spock on old Star Trek reruns.

            “Sorry,” I repeated with great emphasis. I stepped off the path to go around him, but he held out a hand to stop me.

            “I was hoping to talk to you,” he said.

            “What?” I backed away, checking quickly to see if anyone else was nearby. The parking lot mothers had all gone inside. Not a soul was around. Unease prickled.

            I’d touched him. Usually I only got fragments that lasted long enough to turn into dreams from people feeling strong emotion—like the clerk’s sadness. This guy didn’t have a drama aura, and I’d felt nothing at Rite-Aid but all of a sudden I wasn’t so sure he hadn’t given me a fragment. Were crazy stalker dreams going to haunt me tonight?

            “I’m new to town,” he said, with a curious emphasis.

            “I’m sorry,” I repeated. Was that all I could say today? Just placate him, and then slip away. I was good at slipping away. “Do you need directions somewhere?”

            “Directions?” he looked puzzled. “Nihongo wakarimasu ka?”

            I shook my head, screwing up my face into a puzzled look. Crazy stalker who spoke Japanese? Why the hell did he ask me if I spoke Japanese, anyway?

It wasn’t like Dad’s heritage was stamped all over my face. There was only a slight lift around the corner of my eyes. Even my nose was the sharp monstrosity inherited from the Pierce side.

            “Ah, dame ka,” he muttered. Those perfectly formed eyebrows fell, and his face changed. Not just the expression, but I swear his eyelashes got thicker and his mouth got wider, the lips more generous and the cheeks rounder. I blinked and looked again.

            It was the same guy, but his expression now fairly screamed “attractive and amiable.” As if he were the ultimate life insurance salesman.

            “Ah, I have to go…ah meet someone for coffee.” I gestured vaguely at the apartment complex. “I’m pretty sure all the apartments are labeled with names. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything.”

            “Actually, I was going to ask you for directions to the nearest café,” he said, his smile was genuine, but a hint of a smirk crinkled beneath his eyes.

Seriously? I rubbed my hands on the sides of my sweats. This guy was weird, but he hadn’t given off scary vibes when I bumped into him those two times. If only Marlin were here to give me a clue about how to handle this. Was it more normal to blow my rape whistle or walk with him to Stumptown?

He was patiently waiting, smiling in that way that made me feel included in a secret joke.

Okay, Stumptown it was. Once we got there I’d order first and then slip out while he was waiting for his.

            “Follow me,” I said, moving forward so he had to fall into step beside me. My head barely reached the bottom of his chin. Walking side by side meant I didn’t have to meet his gaze.

            “Do you live in one of these condos?” he said.

I stumbled a bit over a non-existent sidewalk crack

He coughed. “Ah, that’s not a comfortable question, is it? Let me try again. Okay, how about, do you know a cheap but nice apartment complex around here?”

            I considered my scant knowledge of the neighborhood where I’d been living for most of my post-high school life. Nope. Not a clue.

            Best cold buckwheat noodles in Portland? Grocery stores that delivered? Back stairwells on PCC’s campus? Navigating databases and academic search engines? I was your girl. Knowledge of the real world? Not so much.

            “Can’t help you. But there’s some great apartment-finder websites for Portland. There might even be some of those real estate booklets at Stumptown.”

            We stopped at the intersection and I waited, looking at him expectantly. He grinned back, but made no move to push the crosswalk button even though he was closer. Sighing, I reached past him to hit the button with an open palm. Instead of backing away when I invaded his personal space, the guy leaned in, flaring his nostrils like he was…smelling.

            I pulled back abruptly.

His brows knit together in puzzlement. “You…you aren’t only human. Why don’t you-“

The light turned red, and I strode away from him across the intersection.

Okay. Line officially crossed into whacko-ness. Only human? What? Even Marlin wouldn’t tell me I needed to be polite to Mr. Sniffer-Stalker now.

Stumptown and relative safety was at the end of the street, the bright yellow rooster-bedecked sign visible from here. He could find his own damn way.

            My back prickled again, but I refused to turn around and look. No acknowledgement, no encouragement was the best policy. I reached Stumptown and stepped around a bicycle trailer, banging my knee against the protruding handle of a kiddie scooter. Stupid inanimate objects, always getting in my way in a social crisis.

Inside the calm, blonde wood interior, I stood sideways in line to make other customers less likely to crowd up behind me. And to keep one eye out for Mr. Sniffer-Stalker.

            “You’re next,” said the lady in line behind me. I looked up to see the puzzled faces of Greg-ever-chipper and Sai-can’t-be-bothered peering at me from behind the glass case of pastries.

            “What can I get started for you?” said Greg, in a forced version of his chipper voice that indicated he was repeating something for an embarrassing-teenth time.

            “Large latte,” I said. I whipped out my debit card to hand to Sai.

            Ever since I passed her in a PCC hallway three weeks ago, I’d been working my way up to chit chat with Sai. I needed to say something normal. Something interesting and witty.

“How are classes?”

“You know, pretty easy so far,” said Sai. Her smile seemed genuine. I glanced around the displays, looking for something to ask about.

My eyes came to rest on a man at one of the little tables. He was familiar in a way I couldn’t place. A professor, for sure, decked out in a plaid jacket with suede elbows and an armful of coffee-stained papers in loose folders. Probably I knew him from walking the halls at PCC. A little shiver ran down my spine.

Why did the sight of him make me uneasy? Nothing in the way his gray-speckled hair curled over his collar told me anything.

I walked to the corner to wait for Greg to finish my latte.

“Ah yeah, I guess your classes must be okay, too then,” Sai called after me. A thin undercurrent of sarcasm laced her voice. Oops, preoccupied with studying the back of the professor’s head, I must have missed Sai’s continuance of our chit chat .

Not even a quick flash of the patented chipper grin as Greg put my latte on the bar. Maybe they’d chalk up my spaciness to caffeine deficiency. I could always hope.

            When my hand touched the warm cardboard of the latte, the aroma of cinnamon suddenly intensified. The strange, horrible fragment that had been giving me nightmares bubbled up from the depths of my mind. I froze.

The bright red of the espresso machine bled into the brown walls and counters, streaks of watery smudge blurring everything.

            Oat bran and molasses on my tongue. A hint of exotic spice…cardamom? Brown and red seeped into the brown-on-black shadows of a darkened hallway. My hand gripped the cold metal handle of a giant jagged-edged knife, like the kind in old Rambo movies. Blood dripped from the blade onto the pale, motionless body of a woman with long, black hair and a prominent, hooked nose.

            Scalding milk spilled down my arm and I yelped. The lid of my latte had popped off. Someone pressed a towel to my arm. I murmured apologies and closed my eyes hard until the dead woman’s glassy eyes faded into black ink.

Ki, yama, tsuki; the firm strokes of my old Saturday school teacher’s ink-tipped calligraphy brush painted kanji on the fuzzy light leaking behind my eyelids. That horrible fragment was haunting my waking moments now? How had I gotten such a strong one without realizing? This had never happened before. A whole week’s dreaming hadn’t lessened any of the visceral details.

Breathe. Paint a black line. Defining spaces of white contained within black helped banish the hallway, the scent, the terrible pale skin.

After a moment, I opened my eyes. Greg stared at me, dripping towel in one hand.

“Should we call Ben?” he whispered sideways to Sai.

Any progress I’d made in the past month at Stumptown was just completely obliterated. Time to beat a strategic retreat. Give people time to forget the weirdness.

I spun around clutching my half-full, soggy latte.

The professor guy was also staring at me, and I suddenly knew where I’d seen him before.

            He did teach at PCC. I’d bumped into him outside my Japanese lit professor’s office last week. He’d just barreled through the door, flustered and flushed. Before I could dodge, he’d patted my bare arm in apology. For once, the mishap hadn’t been my fault.

            I’d first tasted that disturbing fragment in my dream that week, the molasses-oat, and the jarring figure of the dead woman.

It was his fragment, this professor with the suede elbows. But it had to be a nightmare, right? Not a memory-flavored dream like Marlin and Taizo Kovach on prom night. I mean, PCC professors didn’t actually murder people.

            The professor stood up, gathering his things. He was handsome in an older-guy, tousled curls kind of way. I imagined rows of blonde undergrads staring up at him, drinking in his every word. The image was replaced by those same undergrads sprawled across a blood-streaked floor.

            Morbidness issues much lately?

To cover my confusion, I brought the latte to my lips.

Yuck. It was tepid, and the cup’s rim was so saturated with milk it threatened to break off in pieces on my tongue.

If there was any kind of fairness in the world, I could retreat back to the safe haven of my apartment, but I had a class. Time to find some of that strength Mom talked about when she gave me this sweatshirt, now streaked with latte.

            I navigated the towers of burlap-sacked beans without brushing against any waiting customers. Almost home free, I thought, just as I noticed the front glass windows reflecting a shadow right behind me. A strange tingly sensation, like I’d had with Mr. Sniffer-Stalker, swept me from shoulder blades to scalp. The professor, following me?

I stepped out the door. There had been ample time for the professor to leave already. Why would he be waiting around?

Not only was I morbid, but paranoid too. There should be a new entry on Wikipedia for me. “Morbanoid.”

            I turned a corner. The strange tinglies get stronger. Was someone actually behind me? I slowed down, slipping my sopping drink sleeve off so I could fumble it into the garbage can and allow whoever it was behind me to pass.

The person halted in front of the garbage can.

            “Don’t I know you from campus?” the professor said. I recoiled and stepped back, my messenger bag thumping me in the thigh. He turned up the wattage on his smile, extending his hand. “You were in Kaneko-sensei’s office, right?”

            He meant to be friendly, but the idea that this man remembered me, noticed me in a chance encounter gave me the willies. I left his hand hanging in midair. No way was I touching him.

            “Ah, yes, um…” I said, searching for some way to “I…uh…”

            “Ah, there you are!” said a voice behind me. I turned around to see Mr. Sniffer-Stalker giving me a dazzling grin. “Time to go.”

            He gave a little wave to the professor. “Sorry to interrupt, but I’ve come to whisk her away.” He cupped my clothed elbow with his palm and warmth spread from his touch up my arm to my rapidly beating heart.

            The professor frowned slightly. A whiff of cardamom. That pale, too-still body. Mr. Sniffer-Stalker was whacko, but he felt infinitely safer than the professor.

            “Yes, I have to go,” I mumbled. The professor tensed, as if to protest. Instead, he flashed me a polite smile, and gave Mr. Sniffer-Stalker a curiously formal nod before turning back to the parking lot.

            Panic receded. An escape…but from what? From an awkward conversation with Kaneko-sensei’s colleague? When fragments impacted the waking world this much, that’s when I knew I had to force myself into some kind of interaction other than Marlin or emailing Todd, my Java freelance job headhunter.

            Stick with reality. Ignore the fuzzy-edged stuff.

I shook my head, wishing I could cast all this off of me like Mom’s black lab, Sukey, shaking water after a dip in the Willamette. This wasn’t my normal morbanoid self. Other people’s fragments didn’t do this to me—it was something particular to the professor.

A hand squeezed my shoulder and pulled me back onto the sidewalk. I went with Mr. Sniffer-Stalker, trying not to slosh more latte foam.

His hand was on me. Bare skin touching bare skin where my sweatshirt gaped open.

Where was the panic? The instinctual recoil? Only Dad could touch me like this and not force feed me fragments. But Mr. Sniffer’s hand didn’t feel awkward. It felt heavy. Warm. No tingles. No scents. No fuzzy static swimming across my vision.

“Why did you do that?” I blurted.

He blinked at me. “You didn’t want to talk to that man.”

“How could you possibly know that?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes!” I jerked my arm away.

This guy was just so…coolly rumpled looking. Like Marlin’s lacrosse-playing boyfriends. Those dark-on-dark eyes pulling me in, making me feel guilty for being so abrupt.

Why should I feel guilty? He was the weird stalker, not me. But the truth was, I wasn’t afraid.


Thanks for the sneak peek, K.!  Don’t forget to write down the lucky number 13  for your chance to win ALL of Team Blue’s awesome New Adult books!

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Blue and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



Thanks for reading everything so far! I hope you liked reading about Koi meeting the trickster Ken above. I just came back from our yearly trip to Tokyo to visit hubby’s parents and brought back these super-cute sushi tabi socks and excellent Mintia Mints. I would love to give them away to one of our New Adult Scavenger Hunt participants. Check out the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, and it might be you!


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To continue on the hunt, check out Sarah Fischer’s site HERE! If you’re lost in the hunt and need to find a way out, click on the New Adult Scavenger Hunt banner at the top of the page, it will take you to the NewASH site.

New Adult Scavenger Hunt!!!

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Team Purple S2016




Website-author-Julie-B-Campbell-and-Amanda-Giasson-photoThe Perspective book series was written by two authors: Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell.

After having met by chance in the lineup at their university bookstore on their first day of classes, Amanda and Julie became fast friends. They credit their survival of many of their 3-hour long lectures to their ability to escape to the world of Qarradune.

The truth is that Megan and Irys were born of note-passing in the form of creative writing. While neither author condones this behavior in-class, as it likely does nothing for a student’s grades, it did happen to work out, in their case. It also helped to define the unique writing style shared by the authors in the creation of the story.

The two authors have been steadily working on the Perspective book series, ever since.

Find Amanda, Julie, and Perspective Books on Social Media:

Website Facebook Twitter  | Goodreads | YouTube



There is more than one perspective to every story. On Qarradune, it takes two points of view to make sense of the world. What you know depends on whose story you are following.

Megan: My life went from ordinary to extraordinary in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I didn’t know if I would ever see my home or the people that I loved, again. All I did know was that I had to save her.

Irys: Beaten, unwashed, and starving, I was alone, imprisoned, and enslaved. I didn’t want to die, but I was ready. At least, I thought I was. A new friend entered my life and tipped the world over. My beautiful bubble had burst, but the reality that came next was astounding.


Love at First Plight is the debut novel of Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell, and is also the first volume in the Perspective book series.

 Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks


Amanda and Julie are sharing an exclusive video for LOVE AT FIRST PLIGHT!



Thanks for sharing that awesome video, ladies!  Don’t forget to write down the lucky number 7 for your chance to win ALL of Team Purple’s awesome New Adult books!

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Purple and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


To continue on the hunt, check out Stacey Kade’s site HERE!

If you’re lost in the hunt and need to find a way out, click on the New Adult Scavenger Hunt banner at the top of the page, it will take you to the NewASH site.

Marie’s Monday Minute

Marie's Monday Minute

It’s Another Manic Monday.

Take a bookish pause and unwind for a minute.

Hey, friends! Sit back, put your feet up, and take a few deep breaths. Mondays are rough. Thanks for spending a minute with me today!

My Favorite Quote of the Week:

“I wasted six years of my life with the wrong person. I’ll be damned if I spend the rest of my life without the right one.” ~Lucas, The Turning Point

The Turning Point Cropped

My Jam of the Week:

“Superman” by Rachel Platten

My Read of the Week:

Man of Honor by Diana Gardin*

*I’m lucky enough to get to ready this fab book well before it’s pub day, so there’s no cover…yet! But you can add it to your Goodreads TBR!

In the Works:

A sexy, brooding musician. Need I say more. 😉

My minute is up. Thanks for taking a break with me! See you back here next Monday!


LAST TRUE HERO by Diana Gardin


We’re celebrating the
upcoming release of Last True Hero by Diana Gardin, on November 10, with a

Click here for the LAST TRUE HERO Release Day Post & Giveaway Link! 


Last True Hero (Battle Scars #1) by Diana Gardin
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance (Military)
Published by Forever Romance
Releasing November 10, 2015

Pre-order your copy of Last True Hero

Amazon US | Amazon CA | iBooks | Google Play


For seven years he’s
fought for his country. Now he’ll fight for her.
    Army Ranger Dare Conners
has been through hell. He’s left combat behind, yet the memories that refuse to
fade are proving just as dangerous. Ordered to take R&R, he joins his buddy
for beaches, beers, and babes—if that can’t cure him, nothing will. But when he
meets Berkeley, a woman who affects him like no one else, a new kind of battle
begins . . .
    An Admiral’s daughter, Berkeley knows her
life has been planned since birth. The right school, the right boyfriend—and
now that she’s graduated—the right marriage. But after years of being right,
Berkley is ready to be a little wrong. And Dare Conners has wrong written
all over him. The sexy soldier has a body built for sin and secrets he won’t
share. What starts as a fling quickly grows into something more. But summer
can’t last forever, and when the truth comes out, both Berkeley and Dare could
be in for quite a fall.

About Diana Gardin

Diana Gardin was born and raised combing the coasts of Southeastern Virginia. She is now a happy resident of South Carolina as she married into an enormous Carolina-rooted family. She loves the beach, and even more than that she loves to read while sitting on the beach.

While writing was always a passion of Diana’s, she enrolled in college to become an elementary-school teacher. After eight years of teaching in both Virginia and South Carolina, she decided to stay at home with her first child. This decision is what opened her eyes to the fact that she still very much loved to write, and her first novel was written.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads




CAN’T GO BACK in One Week!


In Across the Distance we heard from Jillian, now its time to hear Griffin’s side of the story…

I can’t believe Griffin’s story comes out in a week!!! It seems like yesterday I introduced you to Jillian! Now it’s Griffin’s turn! I loved telling Griffin’s story. Where Jillian’s passion was fashion and design, Griffin’s love is music–just like me. I related to Griffin on a personal level, he and I share so many of the same musical interests. I am so happy to introduce you to him. He may be a badass rocker, but he as a big heart! ❤

Aaaaannndddd…here’s something yummy to feast your eyes upon for Teaser Tuesday!



Giveaway? Did someone say giveaway?

In honor of Griffin’s Book Birthday, I’m hosting a CAN’T GO BACK Book Birthday Giveaway!! Click on the Rafflecopter link below for you chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a CAN’T GO BACK Swag Tote full of goodies! What’s a birthday without presents, right?!

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Connect with me on social media—I love hearing from you!

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Want to pre-order CAN’T GO BACK? 

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The girl who holds Griffin’s heart–Read Jillian’s story in ACROSS THE DISTANCE

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Countdown to CAN’T GO BACK!

Are you ready for Griffin’s story?

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I can’t believe Griffin’s story comes out in six weeks! It seems like yesterday I got to introduce you to Jillian in ACROSS THE DISTANCE. Sharing Jillian’s story has been a dream come true, and I’m super excited to share Griffin’s story in CAN’T GO BACK! 

CAN’T GO BACK will be available on August 4, 2015 from Grand Central/Forever Yours. 

To celebrate Griffin’s upcoming book birthday, I’m hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for ACROSS THE DISTANCE! Click on the link below to enter to win 1 of 2 autographed copies of ACROSS THE DISTANCE!

Add ACROSS THE DISTANCE & CAN’T GO BACK to your Goodreads TBR list! 


CAN’T GO BACK on Goodreads

Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Across the Distance by Marie  Meyer

Across the Distance

by Marie Meyer

Giveaway ends July 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Pre-order CAN’T GO BACK


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Across the Distance

ACROSS THE DISTANCE is available now!


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 I’m pleased to be a stop on THE REARRANGED LIFE Blog Tour! I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Annika Sharma’s beautiful debut and now I’m thrilled to post a my review for THE REARRANGED LIFE for Annika’s blog tour! 



Barnes and Noble

My review: 

THE REARRANGED LIFE is a poignant tale of a young Indian-American woman, proud of her Indian heritage and traditions, yet ready to embrace the American side of herself too. When the two cultures clash, Nithya is forced to make a decision that could potentially ruin the close relationship she has with her parents.

Nithya, an intelligent, decisive college senior is ready to take the next step in her college career: med school. But, she encounters some road bumps along the way. Specifically, when she meets the handsome James, an American.

Nithya isn’t supposed to fall for James. Her whole life, she’s never done anything against her parents wishes, and they wish for her to be with the nice Indian boy, Nishanth…and he is nice. Ms. Sharma does a fabulous job of showing both of Nithya’s choices, which are equally wonderful. Nithya is drawn to both guys and each of them have endearing qualities.

As I read, my heart hurt for Nithya and her suitors, because I knew she could be happy with either of them. I liked both boys and didn’t want to see either one get hurt. But, like real life, choices aren’t easy and someone will be the inevitable looser. Ms. Sharma portray’s Nithya’s struggle beautifully. If she chooses James, Nishanth will be hurt, and she runs the risk of disgracing her conservative Indian family. If she chooses Nishanth, James gets hurt. And ultimately, Nithya, our lovely protagonist, will experience a degree of loss and hurt in making her decision as well.

THE REARRANGED LIFE is a quiet story that gets under your skin. It has characters you’ll connect with on a deeper level. You’ll experience their joy and feel their pain as if it were your own. This is a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ms. Sharma has in store next!


Annika  About Annika: 

Annika Sharma was born in New Delhi and brought up in the United States, where she moved with her parents as a baby. A proud alum, she graduated from Penn State University with dual degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology, and minors in Biology and Human Development and Family Studies. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education before pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer, landing her agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group while daylighting as a preschool teacher. The Rearranged Life, her first novel, was written in the month before graduate school.

Annika, a Gryffindor and Scorpio, spends much of her time dreaming of adventure, working on her next book, going on Starbucks runs with family and friends, shopping online and watching superhero movies.

The Rearranged Life will hit shelves on May 15th, 2015, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Connect with Annika on Social Media:


Twitter: @AnnikaSharma



An Interview with Author Ara Grigorian (GAME OF LOVE)

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That’s right, I got to interview the rock star debut author, Ara Grigorian! If you haven’t read his new book, GAME OF LOVE, you are missing out! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of GAME OF LOVE and was honored to review Ara’s outstanding novel. If you missed my review, I’m serving it up here: MARIE’S REVIEW OF GoL



Okay, now for Ara’s deep, dark GAME OF LOVE secrets…


1. Gemma and Andre are your main characters, who happen to have fabulous names, by the way! How do you choose names for your characters? 
For Andre, I knew I wanted him to be of Spanish decent. When I lived in Barcelona, one of my closest friends there was Andres. He was always kind and went out of his way to help me because I couldn’t speak the language, We were eight, but I never forgot his generosity. Also, my favorite tennis player is Andre Agassi — a misunderstood tennis great. So I linked those two together and now I had my hero’s name.
When it came to Gemma, it started with her eyes. I wanted a name that would reflect her eyes which I thought of as gems. I was at work, preparing a cup of coffee, thinking abut her name when I noticed the movie poster for Prince of Persia. The actress’s eyes caught my attention. Beautiful and powerful. I found her name, Gemma Aterton. Gem. Gemma. Beautiful eyes. I looked up the name Gemma. It means gem in Italian. Serendipity at work. I was done.
2. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Letting the story come to me. Sometimes I force the story. I start before the story has really developed in my head. I get excited about the idea and jump in when the water isn’t quite ready yet. I figure if I start the rest will come together and those usually end badly. You see, I don’t really choose the story I write — the story finds me. It is an organic process. I could be in the middle of anything, listening to a random song, overhearing a conversation, and boom! A phrase, an expression catches my eye and the machine takes over. That’s how it was for Game of Love. I had been forcing a mystery novel when I met a tennis pro at a hotel in Paris during the French Open. When I saw a young man staring at her, I started wondering if he’ll approach her and if he did, what would she do? Can a celebrity trust just anyone? The idea grabbed my hair, threw me down on the floor and said, “Write me!” So I did!
3. Do you have a writing ritual? Things that must be done before your muse will come out and play?

Yes! A heaping tablespoon of Nutella, followed by a double shot of espresso. Noise canceling headphones and the playlist for the novel seeping into my brain. No open apps in the background — only Scrivener. But in order for me to hit the ground running, I have done a re-read of the previous night’s work during lunch (not to edit but to put me back into the story world). This way, by the time I’m ready, I have dozens of ideas ready to jump out. My daily goal is 2,500 words but average closer to 4,000 when I’m writing a new story. I have had a handful of 10,000+ days.

4. Are you more of a pantser or plotter?
I’m a plotting pantser 🙂 I have developed a story beats sheet based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! methodology and James Scott Bell’s Super Structure framework (and some others). I write high level ideas for the key story beats. Most of the time I have a good idea through the midpoint. I never know for sure how the story will end although I have an idea. I definitely nail now the characters before I start writing the story. Because once the characters are real to me, then all the situations become natural — they are consistent with the characters I have grown to love.
5. Now that GAME OF LOVE has gone through several drafts and is finally published, you’ve really gotten to know the story and its characters, do you have a favorite line, passage, or chapter from GAME OF LOVE? 
Although I have a lot of favorites, one of my favorite parts has to be when Andre and Gemma spend time on the flight to Los Angeles. I loved writing their banter and how she discovers his gifts. This is where they realize the attraction they’re feeling is more than physical – they both have similar stories and challenges. They are kindred spirits and for the first time reader sees that they need each other to survive their crazy lives
6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who hope to see their book published one day? 

It’s not easy. It’s hard. Real hard. At times you’ll wander why even bother? You’ll blame the agents. The publishers. Your sixth grade English teacher. But none of that should stop you. Because the desire to be a writer is a hunger. It is an insatiable need to tell stories. You should write because you can’t stop the need. Feed the beast and put aside all the negativity (self imposed and external). Plant your ass in the seat, close the door, and WRITE! Write and rewrite then rewrite that and then edit it again. Make every scene you write the best you can possibly write. Do the work. Put in the hours. It is the most gratifying thing when what you’ve written is loved and appreciated by complete strangers from the other side of the globe. Just write. There is no substitute for hard work, persistence, perseverance, and passion!

7. I know of your love of Nutella, out of curiosity, what is your favorite Nutella dessert creation? 

I wonder why I have built this reputation 😉 Just because it’s my primary food and I even received permission by Ferro USA to use the Nutella brand in my book and any promotional activity for the book, does not make me a fanatic. Okay, it actually does 😉 My favorite recipe is nice and simple — fresh raspberries, you inject a bit of Nutella in the opening (use the tip of your knife to squeeze some in) then pop it in your mouth. Sweet and perfect and good for you! (Note: This statement has not been verified by the FDA or anyone else as far as I know).

Thanks for having me!

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Well, there you have it, folks! Ara Grigorian, serving up stupendous stories and writing wisdom with a side of Nutella infused raspberries. I don’t know the FDA’s opinion on Nutella and raspberries (although, I will be trying this recipe, regardless), but I do know that GAME OF LOVE is good for you and you need to read it!

Thank you for stopping by, Ara! It was an honor to host you on my blog!



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