Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest Post with Jessa Russo! Writing Loveable Supporting Characters

Today, Jessa's giving us a glimpse into her process for creating characters and excerpts of some of her loveable supporting cast members!

“Writing Loveable Supporting Characters” (With excerpts!)

I’ve been beyond pleased with the feedback I’ve received regarding my side characters, in both DIVIDE and The Ever Trilogy, and I have to say that my characters are blessed in friendship, because I am blessed in friendship.

For over twenty years now, I’ve had the same core group of girls in my life, and though we’ve had the occasional hiccup (okay, some of them were more than hiccups), we’ve always managed to come back to each other.

There’s Charissa, who constantly inspires me and can make me laugh on even the darkest of days; Candice, my ride-or-die (though I despise that phrase—the Thelma to my Louise, the one who can call me out on my BS and I’ll actually listen; and Kristin, the one who would hit the road with me in a heartbeat if a getaway was needed, and someone I could count on to get my feet moving even if the last thing on my mind was dancing—she’s music, inside and out; Marisa would stop the world to help a friend, hell, she’d stop the world to help a stranger; and there’s Stevie, a woman who is beautiful not just on the outside, but truly has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing—she inspires me to be a better woman, a better friend, and a better mother; Michelle and Nicole were a blessing placed in my life by the awesome luck of our daughters sharing a Kindergarten classroom, and they entered my life right when they were supposed to—I don’t see them ever leaving; and Taryn, my most fearless friend, well, she helped inspire Jessie (The Ever Trilogy), with her relentless ability to overcome any obstacle in her path with a smile and just the right pair of heels, her loyalty to her friends is unmatched, and I see so much of her in Jessie . . . .

All of these girls, and the many more I don’t have room to mention, all of these girls and all of their many, many qualities are what makes my supporting characters so damn loveable. But most of all, their love and acceptance of me is what transfers onto the page. I think people love the characters, and each unique trait they bring to the story, but what readers really see, what really shines, is the supporting cast’s love for my leading ladies.

My main characters tend to be a bit more on the moody, emotional side of things, often quick to play the victim, and sometimes even relentless in their drive to make the wrong choices—much like me. Their friends, however, are level-headed and wise, even when that wisdom is masked in overly pink fashion, or fairy wings, or too many quirks to count.

My friends may not mimic Jessie and Rosemarie exactly, as I do not mirror Holland and Ever, but their traits have definitely played a major role in creating these amazing supporting characters—much like my flaws and characteristics mold my MCs.

My girls always know how to cheer me up, annoyingly know what’s best for me, and when I need a good talking to, they don’t hold back.

Their love is unwavering, even when, no, especially when I don’t deserve it, and through thick and thin, their loyalty has proven to be something I can count on like the rise and fall of the sun each day.

I included two of my favorite scenes with Rosemarie and Jessie.

So, who inspires your cast of characters? Do you best friends ever make a subtle appearance in your stories? Do their unique abilities and characteristics contribute to what make your supporting cast so special?


Excerpt from DIVIDE, featuring Rosemarie Stevenson:

Sana shook her head, inhaling deeply and looking about ready to explode. Her eyes widened, and her jaw clenched, a muscle twitching in her cheek. Her two friends stood behind her with matching expressions on their faces.

I snorted, causing Sana and her drones to turn their attention to me.

“What? You have something to say to me, you little fire-starting psycho?”

Rosemarie stepped forward before I could retort, pushing Sana back so hard she almost fell on her ass.

“Oh my God!” Sana whined as she caught herself on the rearview mirror of a nearby car.

“I think that’s just about enough out of you,” Rosemarie said with a smile. “Now, run along before I show you what kind of psycho I can be.”

In a flash, Sana was in Rosemarie’s face, close enough to kiss her.

“You will regret touching me, freak.”

“Yeah. I bet. Run along now. You too, sheep. Baaaa.”


Excerpt from EVADE (Book Two of The Ever Trilogy), featuring Jessie Smith:

“Sorry, Ev. I wasn’t thinking. But seriously, get up! We’re on vacation! Viva la Meh-hee-co!”

I laughed as she did a weird salsa-samba-sashay dance move thing over to the bed and tried to drag me off it.

“Fine! I’m coming, I’m coming! Just promise me you’ll never do that move again.”

“What, this?”

She shook her boobs in my face then spun around, making her little pink sundress expose the bottom half of her butt cheeks. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Jess, seriously, is that even a dress?”

“It’s a tunic.” She responded matter-of-factly, as if that was a logical answer.

“A tunic, huh? Well, I’m pretty sure that means it’s a shirt. You know, the kind you wear with pants? Or shorts? Or even a skirt?”

“I have pants on.”

“I don’t think underpants count, Jess.”
Don't forget to check out DIVIDE!
Remember, you can find Jessa Russo and her works here:
Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Release Day! Jessa Russo's DIVIDE


Today we're celebrating the release of DIVIDE--Jessa Russo's upper young adult fantasy fairytale redux of Beauty and the Beast (what a mouthful!)! 

Please join us all day (4/17) on Facebook for the Release Day CELEBRATION!!!
Author visits, surprises, and giveaways you don't want to miss!
Click HERE to RSVP

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson. 

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I've Got News, and It's Pretty Sweet

If I was a GIF-savvy person, this post would explode with them. I’m not, however, so I’m just going to squeal in plain ol’ type.

Last week, I got to share some exciting news, and now I’m going to post it here.



I’ve signed with Spencer Hill Press to publish my debut YA paranormal, LEAD ME BACK HOME.

Here’s the short version of how it came to pass.

I queried during Spencer Hill Press’s open submissions window in December. They requested the full manuscript shortly after.

Then waiting.

A nudge, a reply, and more waiting, until I received an email from Kate Kaynak that contained the following words:


There was lots of flailing. Deep breaths. A yes. And here we are.

I’ll post updates—and maybe a cooler version of this story—as we go along. For now, I’m still letting it sink in that next year I’ll be holding my book in my hands.

Cover Reveal! Stacey O'Neale's MORTAL ENCHANTMENT

Today, Stacey O'Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for
MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!
Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!!
On to the reveal!
Mortal Enchantment
“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.” Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.
Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.
To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.
As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...
If you haven't read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download if NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!!
The Shadow Prince
Every sacrifice has consequences.
Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:
Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.
Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?
Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Also available in PRINT from Amazon | Barnes & Noble
About the Author:

Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal! Megan Erickson's MAKE IT COUNT

Hi, all! Check out the shiny new cover for Megan Erickson's MAKE IT COUNT!

So, are you ready for a little taste of MAKE IT COUNT?

Kat gathered her books and stuffed them into her plaid Burberry messenger bag, then headed toward the front doors, smoothie from the library snack shop in hand. Head bent, fiddling with the clasp of her bag, she stumbled into a wall of human on the pavement outside.

“Oh, I’m sorry—” Her voice dropped out when she realized the solid flesh belonged to Alec, Max’s best friend.

She’d only met him once or twice before he’d moved in with Max this semester and every time, he cocked his eyebrow with a half frown like he knew something she didn’t. Which he actually did, since he had brainy superpowers. Smarter than a speeding Einstein. Able to leap over C-minus students like her in a single bound.

She didn’t trust people that smart. And she didn’t trust a guy who didn’t ogle her ass or leer at her boobs like every other member of the straight male species on the planet.

Right now, that raised-eyebrow frown pinned her where she stood. His pale green eyes behind thick black frames roamed over her shoulder to the library and then back to her. With his pin-stripe button-down, dark jeans with Converse shoes and hair styled in a short, messy pompadour, he looked like a nerdy Elvis.

His frown morphed into a smile when he spotted the smoothie in her hand, and she definitely didn’t notice his full lips. “You know, you don’t have to venture into the forbidden zone just to get a smoothie.”

Oooh. The jerk. She glanced around surreptitiously, then leaned in and spoke in a low voice. “Just play it cool. Don’t let it slip someone like me snuck in the library.” She gripped his forearm and whispered. “Password today is rosebud.”

His face blanked and he looked at her like he’d never seen her before. Kat debated whether or not that was an improvement over his other look.

But then those intelligent eyes narrowed and a smirk curled his lips. “I know. We nerds get an e-mail every morning.”

See? He always needed the last word. She propped a hand on her hip and leaned in. “Well, sounds like you have a mole. Might want to look into that.”

He opened his mouth but she cut him off. “Just looking out for you guys. Anyway, see ya around!”

Before he could shoot back a snarky comeback, Kat skirted around him and bounded down the stairs. She chalked that up as Kat 1, Alec 0.



MEGAN ERICKSON grew up in a family that averages 5’3” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Find out more about Megan and her work at these fine locations:

Author website: