New Adult

Double Birthday: Night Moves + Kristen Strassel

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in New Adult, Paranormal / Supernatural, Reading, Romance, Writing | 1 comment

Double Birthday: Night Moves + Kristen Strassel

Today’s a very special day here at Pen and Muse. Why? It’s a double birthday. You heard us. A double birthday. Not only is it the birthday of our lovely Publicity Muse Kristen Strassel, but it’s also the birthday of NIGHT MOVES, the follow up to her sex, blood and rock n’roll debut.     Happy Birthday Night Moves! About Night Moves (if you know, vampire rock gods aren’t enough info for you):   We bonded in darkness, over darkness. Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable. When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clan leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame. Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder. The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in uncharted territory. Find it at: Amazon and Goodreads. Happy Birthday K-Strass! We think the world of you. Your dedication to your craft, your positive energy, and your mischief makes us love the crap out of you. When you take over the world, can we be your respective in-house Bacon Chef (Kristen) and Puppy Expert (Jolene)? We can discuss those details later, but one thing is certain. It. Is. Your. Day. May there be cake. May there be champagne. May there be dancing. May be there be leopard print. And may there be rockstars. It’s up to you whether they’re vampires or not....

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The Muses Read: Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Mystery, New Adult, Romance | 1 comment

The Muses Read: Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase

There comes a time in your life where a book is going to surprise you. Maybe it’s entirely different than you expected. Maybe it’s entirely better than you expected. Maybe you’re swooning, vying for the sequel immediately, and have way too many feelings. This is one of those books.     Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase Series: Seaswept #1 Release date: January 14th 2014 Purchase: Amazon Blurb: Seven days aboard a luxury cruise. The perfect getaway from it all. At least, that’s what Georgia Cantwell was hoping for. Georgia wishes she could run away from the nightmare that has consumed her life, but she can’t. With her inbox filling with menacing emails, all she can do is try to get through her sorority’s winter break cruise without anyone realizing how wrecked she is. So she really doesn’t need Jace McLaren seeing through her tacked-on smile when no one else seems to notice. Growing up with a father in jail, Jace knows from experience that if you’re going through hell, there’s no way out but through. He has always steered away from girls like Georgia with her ice-queen attitude, but she’s in real trouble, and despite himself he pushes past her walls. As much as Georgia tries to ignore it, Jace won’t let her pretend with him. But she can’t risk telling him the truth. Her past would ruin his trust, her family, her future—everything. But out on the open ocean, there’s nowhere to hide. And when Georgia’s secrets come tumbling out, it might take more than Jace to save her. Muse KJ’s Thoughts Want to stumble into a breath of literary fresh air? Want swoons in your life? Then you should read this book. There comes a moment in a book when you know you’re going to love a character. Mine came fairly early in – with the following line. I’d rather curl up in my stateroom with the zombie ebook I downloaded before the trip, but… Georgia Cantwell is perfect. Or at least that’s what she wants you think. She has to uphold the Cantwell name, which means doing everything just right. Georgia’s a girl with a secret, and she’s hoping that a week on the seas will help her forget her troubles, but they just keep following her everywhere. And unfortunately, so does the very swoon-worthy casanova Jase she’s being forced to room with.  He just wants to know what’s she’s hiding under her cold exterior. And she just wants to be left alone, by everyone. Including the mystery person at the root of all her troubles. Everyone else might be okay with partying and drinking, but she has real problems. Problems that she can’t share with her sorority sisters, and that she definitely doesn’t want that nosy Jase to know. The story is told in dual POV – in both Georgia and Jase’s perspective. This is a story that really benefits from the look into both character’s brains, as both are entirely more complex than the initial look we get of them.  Jase? Oh, boy, did I not give him enough credit. Who would have known he’d become my newest literary lust muffin? Also. He says things like this. Holy God in Texas heaven. Y’all know how I feel about Southern phrases. And Southern men. And the South in general. (Clearly, I need to go visit the fam, yes? Or move to Texas. Does Texas have palm trees?)  If I wasn’t already smitten, I was then. But enough about me. Georgia is a really relatable character. She’s going through a lot – the recent breakup with the man she’d...

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Golden Dunes of Renhala: Interview with Kailey

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in New Adult, Reading, Romance, Science Fiction / Fantasy | 2 comments

Golden Dunes of Renhala: Interview with Kailey

There’s something you might not know about me (Muse KJ). If I read a book and fall absolutely in love with it, I want to become friends with the author. Maybe even BFFs. The Renhala series is one of those series that I fell in love with, was pleased I knew the author, and immediately contact her to beg-request she write another in the series.  Did I succeed with that? Not sure. But I DID get you an exclusive interview with Kailey, the protagonist of Renhala.   The Golden Dunes of Renhala (Renhala, #2) by Amy Joy Lutchen Blurb: How do you live with a secret so dark and so deeply woven into your being that it threatens to smother your very existence, with no known way out? Use it to your advantage. Kailey Rooke, karmelean, and now a possibly unethical karma-for-hire, has spent the past year jumping from project to project without any real hope for salvation. With repercussions from her actions at every turn, she discovers that as time goes on, she loses a bit more of herself to that which feeds on her anguish–that which is thriving inside her own body. When a new contract to find a missing girl arises, Kailey attempts to put her past and its associated problems on the back burner, but she soon finds out that treachery and deceit lie shortly ahead in Golden Dunes, only giving face to new problems, with one leading right back to her childhood past. She struggles to complete her contract as her own life teeters on a fulcrum, constantly tipping according to karma’s whim. How long will she keep her balance? Which way will she fall?   You can find Golden Dunes of Renhala here: Amazon B&N Kobo   Interview with Kailey Kristen, thank you so much for having me today. I’m a bit nervous, but I know this is going to be fun. *takes a deep breath, then slowly releases* Okay, ask away… I’m ready! I think… *sips a bit of tea* Can we start with a heavy hitter? What lessons have the past year brought you? It is a new year, and all. Don’t put a cake out to cool in front of a hungry greble or woodsprite? Just kidding. Believe in yourself. You have to have faith in your abilities to cope, manage, and even overcome, if need be. We are all strong no matter what we think of ourselves. We may have to dig deep, but deep in that well is a treasure ready to be discovered and shared with the thirsty. How has karma changed you? You know, I really wish I could say that knowing karma is the real deal makes me a better person—perhaps even the perfect person, but I can admit I am far from it. I can say, however, that I make a more conscience effort to do what’s “right.” I’m human though, and humanity as a whole, blessed with free will, is allowed to stumble every now and then. As long as you aren’t falling down a perpetual staircase, you’ll manage through life—as long as you remember to make the occasional deposit in the karma bank! You seem to be surrounded by hunky men. What makes a man swoonworthy? A swoonworthy man is one that grabs your breath as well as your heart with one simple act. Now depending on the day, time, weather, positioning of the planets *smiles*, that one act could be a shared smile, or a flexing of a well-muscled body, or the intoxicating touch of a giver. *shudders* Kristen, I think you...

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The Muses Read: Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in New Adult, Reading | 6 comments

The Muses Read: Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer

  I know it’s only mid January, but I might have found the first book to put on my 2014-favorites list. Only nineteen books made the cut last year. Which isn’t that many, when you consider I read over 110 books. So, it’s kinda a big deal. And Lingering Echoes is definitely making the 2014 list.   Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer Release date: November 16th 2013 Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing Purchase: Amazon | B&N Blurb: She’s broken with guilt. He harbors a chilling past. It’s safer if they keep their distance… But, the echoes that linger connect them. Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in, now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year. While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He’s dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn’t been able to with anyone? As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves. Muse Kristen’s Thoughts Something horrible happened in Allie’s past. And now she’s being dragged back to the place where it all happened.  Allie is just trying to heal. Can’t a girl do that in peace? Apparently not. The saving grace to this summer is the mystery man that seems to always appear in the nick of time. Just who is he? Can he be trusted? Does it even matter? After all, their own broken pasts seem to draw them together, even if they don’t know each other’s stories. You know it’s a good sign when I can’t put a book down. Sleep, who needs that? Food? You must be kidding. Just give me all the words, all the feels, and let me sit here in peace. When I say all the feels, I mean: gasps, swoons, giggles, fist clenching, nearly falling off stools, and even more laughs. There is such a broad range of emotions brought across in this book, and they’re impressively realistic. “This reminds me, you need to help me figure out what to make with clams, quinoa, and olives.” “With, what? What are you trying to make, vomit?” You may have noticed the publisher’s name – yes, this is an entirely clean read. I’d toss it at any YA reader without even a second thought. (Allie has just graduated high school, so this technically falls into NA, when paired with the issues Allie is dealing with.) While this is a clean read, it’s a heck of a swoony tale. As proven by the scribbled notes I left on one scene “Damn this is hot.” Damien fan girl over here. “There’s something about you…” My voice softened with bewilderment. “I don’t hurt as much when I’m with you. And I don’t know why.” I avoided his eyes, afraid to read his expression, but I’d said all I wanted to say. This is a story of heartbreak. Of hope. Of finding your way after everything has shattered, and maybe even letting go of the echoes of the past. I also just discovered there’s  a (free) prequel to the story  – Rumors....

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Cover Re-Reveal: Anywhere by J. Meyers

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Jen Meyers, Map to Self Publishing, New Adult, Reading, Romance, Writing | 4 comments

Cover Re-Reveal: Anywhere by J. Meyers

My new adult debut Anywhere is getting a new cover today! Even though the original cover is all kinds of beautiful, I’ve been feeling like it’s not quite right for the genre. Hence the change. :-) What wasn’t right about it? In looking at the best seller lists, most NA books have a hot, swoony cover. My original cover, pictured below right, is sweet, but not the least bit hot or swoony. My designer did a beautiful job on it and I love it so very much. It captures the feel of the story perfectly and is an absolute gorgeous cover (you should see the wrap-around of the paperback–SO pretty), but it’s not catching the eye of the regular NA reader. It’s looks different than other NA books. Sometimes being different ISN’T a good thing. Different is not likely to capture the attention of readers looking for a certain kind of book. NA readers are looking for books that look NA, and are likely to pass by a book whose cover is different simply because it doesn’t *look* like what they’re wanting. So I’m switching things up, trying out a new, hotter look to see if it will help Anywhere‘s sales. For those of you not familiar with Anywhere, here’s the blurb: Skye Whitcomb is running from her troubles, and where better to run than Europe? Fresh out of college, she makes quick plans with her best friend Paige and hops on a plane. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned–at least not for her. First, Paige has to bail, and Skye’s left to travel alone. Then she meets sweet and sexy Asher Benedict in Paris, and sparks fly after a night together on the train to Rome. He’s all kinds of perfect for her, but the timing couldn’t be worse since she was running from the altar when she left–so the last thing she wants right now is a relationship. But Skye’s about to discover that no matter how far you run, love can find you anywhere. Want to add it to Goodreads? (There’s even reviews with gifs. You know, if you like that kind of thing.)   And the sparkling new cover… If you haven’t had a chance to read it, Anywhere is only $2.99 on Amazon right now! Happy Monday, Muses! About J MeyersJ. Meyers started in publishing about 19 years ago when she lucked into a job at an educational texts publisher. She spent the next decade and change freelancing as a writer, copy editor, and proofreader, and then co-authored two parenting books before taking the plunge into fiction—a move that she can’t quite see ever abandoning because she’s totally in love with making things up for a living. She is the author of ANYWHERE, a new adult contemporary romance, and the INTANGIBLE series, young adult contemporary fantasy. Originally from Vermont, she lives in central New York with her very favorite people on Earth—her husband and four kids.Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts...

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Angst and Conflict in New Adult by Chanel Cleeton

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Guest Post, New Adult, Writing | 2 comments

Angst and Conflict in New Adult by Chanel Cleeton

Angst and Conflict in New Adult By Chanel Cleeton   New Adult (NA) is frequently criticized for being full of angst. But why is this the case? External and internal conflicts create angst in NA, however they serve distinct purposes. External conflict moves the plot forward and provides opportunities for characters to change and grow. Internal conflict allows readers to connect with characters in a more intimate manner. Subsequently, internal conflict often represents the heart of NA. The heightened importance of internal conflict and character development and their augmented role in the story, separates NA from other categories. On a basic level, external conflict may be defined as man versus man, man versus nature, or man versus society. Internal conflict may be defined as man versus self. External conflict can create angst in the form of obstacles the characters must address and overcome. Internal conflict arises from characters struggling to overcome their own personal flaws, fears, and challenges. External conflict in NA typically centers on a character making their way in the world. These conflicts are often obstacles the protagonist must face and conquer in their personal development. Moreover, external conflict engages readers and shapes the plot. Often a novel’s genre will dictate the type of external conflict characters face. For example, the current NA market is heavily influenced by romance and many titles include external conflicts between the hero and the heroine. Past baggage, love triangles, and romantic misunderstandings can all serve as external conflict driving NA romance.External conflict is important to the characters’ development, but the level of angst created can vary based on the genre’s tone and the overarching plot. In contrast, the role of internal conflict is what separates NA from other categories. Internal conflict is key in NA because it speaks to the heart of what NA is. It adds depth and nuance to your story, but more importantly, internal conflict allows you to focus on character development and identity issues. NA is internally focused because it is defined by the transitional nature of this time period in your characters’ lives. In some ways, the importance of internal conflict and development is a similarity between YA and NA. But, with NA, internal development has higher stakes. In YA, characters typically have greater safety nets and less responsibility— they live at home and have adult parental figures responsible for their well being and guiding much of their decision-making. In NA, there are fewer safety nets and characters are faced with a greater set of responsibilities. This dynamic creates heightened levels of angst because characters are often pushed outside of their comfort zone. NA may be dramatic and intense, but the changes in characters’ lives are often dramatic and intense. The depth of their reaction is both natural and realistic. NA is about connecting with the challenges and insecurities associated with growing up and making your way in the world. Ultimately, angst in NA can take many forms. Many of the external conflicts faced by NA protagonists are enmeshed with internal conflicts. Ideally, internal and external conflict should either overlap or operate at odds with each other. Doing so creates heightened tension and increases the story’s impact. External angst can arise from dramatic conflicts characters face. Internal angst may develop from characters’ struggling to find their way in the world. While the level of external angst in NA may vary by genre and personal taste, the level of internal angst should compliment character development and create opportunities for introspection. Angst doesn’t have to be dark, but it should allow readers to connect with characters on an...

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