Monday, March 28, 2011

Guest - Lydia Dare

Good morning everyone! Lydia Dare has become one of my favorite paranormal authors because 'she' blends the historical romance with paranormal romance so well. I have a review of her latest posted here. And for our readers, Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway so read on to find out how to enter the drawing.

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When people find out that there are two of us who make up the team of Lydia Dare, they’re always a bit surprised. Over the last few years we’ve been asked quite a bit about team writing. We were even asked to present a workshop at our local chapter on writing as a team.

The truth is –we don’t know if it would work for everyone. You have to be in the right frame of mind to share a direction, characters, and royalty checks. But the upside is, you’ve got two creative minds, two people splitting the work, and you’re doing it all with someone who can share both the highs and the lows like no one else can.  Not to mention that you can produce content twice as fast, if not faster.  Having someone always waiting for your work tends to make you more productive. Writer’s block or the lack of a muse becomes a thing of the past when you know someone is waiting for your content. And when you get pages when it’s “your turn” you’re excited to see where the story went when it was “gone.” Sparks tend to fly when we see what happened when it wasn’t “our turn” and then we’re anxious to get started. Team writing might not be for everyone, but it works for us.

With that said, we often have a different take on all sorts of different topics (and we rarely agree), but we do respect each other’s opinion and will hear the other out. We feel that when we do agree, we’re headed in the right direction. We also have our areas of expertise. Tammy is very plot driven and Jodie is very character driven. Tammy brings in the paranormal elements and Jodie brings the historical ones. Tammy manages the website and all things technical, while Jodie manages the social networking. And we trust each other to take care of our respective assignments.

When we first decided to try writing together, I don’t think either of us had high expectations. We can both be a little stubborn and we’ve both been referred to as “control freaks” before, although neither of us feels that is an apt description, aside from not being very nice. But in all honesty, we come from different backgrounds and have different outlooks on life. However we are and have been friends for several years, and that friendship and mutual respect is the foundation of our partnership.  We can count on one hand the number of times we have really disagreed during the writing of these books.  And that, all by itself, is a miracle since we’re both a bit hard-headed.
We are currently finishing up our 8th book together, and celebrating our 5th release with It Happened One Bite (in stores this month). So whatever we’re doing is still working and we hope it will continue to do so for years to come!

IT HAPPENED ONE BITE BY LYDIA DARE – IN STORES MARCH 2011


He’s Lost, Trapped, Doomed for All Eternity… 

Rich, titled and undead, gentleman vampire James Maitland, Lord Kettering, fears himself doomed to a cold and lonely existence—trapped for decades in an abandoned castle. Then, beautiful Scottish witch Blaire Lindsay arrives, and things begin to heat up considerably… 

Unless He can Persuade Her to Set Him Free…

Feisty Blaire Lindsay laughs off the local gossip surrounding her mother’s ancestral home—stories of haunting cannot scare off this battle-born witch. But when she discovers the handsome prisoner in the bowels of the castle, Blaire has no idea that she has unleashed anything more than a man who sets her heart on fire… 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lydia Dare is the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson. Both Tammy and Jodie are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Their next two books will also feature gentleman vampires: In the Heat of the Bite (July 2011) and Never Been Bit (September 2011)! For more information, please visit http://www.lydiadare.com/.   
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-- Lynda Again,
As I mentioned earlier, Sourcebooks has offered a giveaway of It Happened One Bite. I've discussed it with my alien kitten, Wookie, and she says that to be eligible to enter the drawing you have to:

1) Send an email to Lynda@LyndaKScott.com
2) Put Bite in the Subject line
3) Answer this question - How many books has the Lydia Dare writing team completed?
4) Include your name and mailing address
5) Send the email to Lynda by noon on Friday April 1
Wookie will select two winners and I'll notify you asap ;-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review - It Happened One Bite


It Happened One Bite
By Lydia Dare
Sourcebooks, Casablanca


When Blair Lindsay accompanies her brothers to their newly inherited castle, she doesn’t expect much more than a pile of stones. But while the castle needs some work, it isn’t a total wreck. But, like many old structures, it does seem to have a ghost…if the subterranean rumblings and groans are any indication. That doesn’t bother Blair, the warrior witch of the Coig. She’s ready to battle any villain, ghost, or demon if it comes to that. When she discovers James Maitland, Lord Kettering, locked in one of the cellar rooms, she’s puzzled. More than puzzled really since the man is wearing clothes years out of date and can’t, or won’t, tell her how he came to be there. Or for how long he’d been imprisoned though he does let slip the fact that his jailers had been a group of five witches.

Blair is determined to understand the man’s secrets and, truth be known, she finds him handsome and compelling. As the warrior witch of the Coig, she knows she’s not likely to ever find love and she’ll settle for nothing less if she marries. But the attraction she feels for James Maitland, Lord Kettering, is something she hasn’t felt before. She plans to pursue it as well.

James Maitland is a gentleman. And a vampire. But he isn’t a demon. He doesn’t kill and he always makes sure his victims are left satisfied and content. With his blessed ring, given to him by his mentor, the vampyre who turned him, he can even walk in daylight. But his ring is missing and he knows who took it. The Coig, a band of witches, who unjustly trapped him in the bowels of the castle for over twenty years. Once he finds his ring, he plans to locate the Coig and extract a little revenge.

First he needs to feed and Blair Lindsay would be a delightful morsel…if he could enrapture her. He can’t. Whether that’s due to his lost ring or some other nefarious effect of the Coig, he doesn’t know. He does know she intrigues him beyond compare. And in her presence, he begins to feel things he hasn’t felt in all the long years of being a vampyre.

As the two come closer together, Blair learns his secret – that he’s a vampyre. But he’s no demon, that’s she sure of. He’s a good man and she’s falling in love with him. As a vampyre, James has no heart, ergo, he can’t fall in love. But he cares for Blair very much and wishes he could love her. However, they’re unaware of an approaching danger. A danger that could end Blair and her brothers’ lives and send James into an eternity of suffering.

It Happened One Bite is a suck-you-in from the first page book. The author duo known as Lydia Dare creates some of the finest heroes anywhere. James is a gentleman…except in the throes of passion, then he’s as hot and sexy as any vampyre. As a hero, he’s intent on protecting Blair and her brothers even though he’s fettered by the loss of his ring. And Blair is a feisty heroine who doesn’t back down from a battle even when the odds are against her but she’s not a Too-Stupid-To-Live heroine. She actually has battle skills though she, too, is hampered without her full Coig and their witchy powers. As for the ending…there’s a twist there that really sets this story apart.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading It Happened One Bite. I highly recommend it.

And make sure to catch Lydia Dare on Monday March 28 as she visits us here on Star-Crossed Romance.

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Moira Rogers



Who is Moira Rogers? A fabulous writing duo made up of a former forensic science/nursing student obsessed with paranormals and a computer programmer who's passionate for gritty urban fantasy. Along with their writing talents, they toss in a smidge of whimsy, and good amount of caffeine, and enjoy chocolates by the full moon light. So it's no wonder they refer to themselves as "the worlds dorkiest romantic comedy series, only with fewer Big Misunderstandings."

By day, Bree (the techie writer) and Donna (the writer of doctors) are mild-mannered ladies residing in the Deep South. At night, while their families are asleep, they combine forces to unleash the product of their fevered imaginations on the page. However they're quick to add any crime fighting abilities appear only in those creative imaginings and finally in their novels.






What spawned the idea for your Southern Arcana series, and using New Orleans as a setting for the supernatural society ?

Donna: Honestly, the mystique and energy of the city is undeniable. So much seems possible in NOLA! We wanted to set our series there, but we also wanted to veer away from the general perception that it’s going to be all brooding vampires, all the time. So we said, “What else can we do?”





Out of all the paranormal characters available, why did you choose to mix shapeshifters and psychics/empaths together? Is there a reason why many of your characters are loners or people running from their past?

Bree: Though I could probably come up with a fancy reason, the truth is...those were the ones we were most fascinated by! There’s a nice contrast between physical and mental strength, and it can cause interesting problems the characters have to get out of!









When did you get your "break" in publishing? What's been the best moment you've experienced as a writer? Have there been any negatives?

Bree: I think our big break was actually when our Samhain editor, Anne Scott, rejected a story we submitted to her. Yes, it was a rejection, but she took the time to tell us what about the story hadn’t worked for her, and it ended up making so much sense that we knew we wanted to work with her. Since she invited us to submit to her again, we sent a second book to her a few months later--and signed our first contract with her. Last week, we signed our sixteenth!

Donna: That was, by the way, the best rejection ever. I still appreciate it a lot.







Writing as a duo, what helps keep the balance, and how do you work together to produce your fabulous books?

Donna: We spend a lot of time talking about characters and plotlines and series and what’s next for us. It’s all about compromise, and making sure we’re as close to 100% on the same page as possible. Other than that, we divvy up administrative tasks and try to support one another as much as we can.




Do you have any news or upcoming releases fans need to know about?

Bree: Oh, we’ve always got a few projects in the works! This summer, we have two short stories, SABINE and KISRI due out. They’re both shapeshifter romance stories set in a fantasy world. And this fall is the release of our fourth Southern Arcana book, CIPHER.






To find out more about Moira Rogers, check out http://moirarogers.com/. As promised, one post-er will win a digital copy of one of the Southern Arcana novels if you include your e-mail address with your post!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Review - Taste Me

Taste Me
By Tamara Hogan
Sourcebooks Casablanca
March 2011

Scarlett Fontaine has come home mentally and physically exhausted from her road tour. She’s a siren and very few can sing as well as she can. And no one can put more into the music than she does. Now Scarlett has one more performance to do then she’ll be able to take her much deserved rest away from the paparazzi, the roadies, the audiences who crave her ability to bring, and share, emotions into her song.

It also brings into the club one person who craves those emotions like a man desperate for a drink of water. But Scarlett’s song isn’t enough and a young woman ends up nearly dead.

That’s when incubus Lukas Sebastiani is called into action. As a security consultant, he has to find out who attacked the young woman, the daughter of the werewolf leader on the council. As an incubus, he would normally absorb emotional energy and be able to interpret the emotions but Lukas has a defect that not only intensifies his gift and causes him to taste or smell the emotions but occasionally allows him to identify where those emotions came from. That stands him in good stead as he’s called to help law enforcement solve crimes.

With this attack, he’s forced to become a bodyguard for Scarlett, a role most men would die to get. But Lukas once had a hot affair with Scarlett when both were younger. And to be in close proximity with her again is pure torture. She’s the only woman he’ll ever love but a permanent relationship is not to be.

As danger draws close, Scarlett and Lukas must overcome their distrust and hurt to find out if the love they once shared can save them.

Taste Me is urban fantasy at its finest and made even better by the addition of a powerful and passionate love story. Ms Hogan’s talent at characterization is obvious from the instant Scarlett, exhausted almost to death, walks on the stage. The reader is lost, falling into the spell woven by Hogan and her characters. The readers will love Lukas, with his driving need to protect the woman he loves and to protect his own vulnerable heart. And when the murderer draws close to his next victim, we want to yell a warning because we don’t want to see them die – and that’s for a secondary character! Any author who can make a reader care about each and every book character is a very skilled author indeed.

Taste Me will draw the reader in and hold her from the first page to the very last page. It’s the kind of book you won’t want to put down. If you love urban fantasy, you’ll love this book. I look forward to more books in this universe and more books by Tamara Hogan period. 

Ms Hogan is guesting with us on Monday, March 21. Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Taste Me.
http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2011/03/guest-tamara-hogan.html

Guest - Tamara Hogan

Good morning everyone!  Today's guest, Tamara Hogan, is a new to me author who has written a very compelling urban fantasy. I posted a review for Taste Me yesterday. You can read it here. Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway so read further to see how you can enter the drawing.

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Star-Crossed Romance’s question: What interested you in writing urban fantasy?

When I first read Lynda’s question (thank you for having me on, Lynda!), I giggled up a storm. If you only knew how many discussions I had with RWA chapter mates and other writer friends about how to categorize Taste Me after I finished writing it! The manuscript was a mutt, a mash-up, influenced by and drawing from so many romance sub-genres that I didn’t quite know what it was. And in the end, it really didn’t matter—but more on that in a moment.

An English major and a longtime, feral reader of romance novels and other genre fiction, I got the idea for Taste Me in a club one night, and…just started writing, fortunately discovering the Minneapolis-based branch of RWA, Midwest Fiction Writers,at about the same time. My people! They understood exactly why I was willing to sacrifice a couple of hours of sleep every night to write down a story that set my imagination on fire. When I had a finished manuscript in hand, I entered it in a couple of contests, including Kiss of Death’s Daphne du Maurier and RWA’s Golden Heart. For these contests, the paranormal romance category was the obvious fit, but ‘paranormal romance’ felt like way too vague a sub-genre description to use when querying agents and editors, who’d decide whether to request even a partial manuscript based upon how I described the story in a query letter. Sheesh, where to begin?

What did I know about my story?

-         it was a supernatural bodyguard story, a woman-in-jeopardy story—with a twist
-         it was the first book in a proposed series
-         it featured some complex world-building
-         it proposed an alternate history
-         supernatural characters lived alongside humanity, hiding in plain sight
-         it had psychological thriller, fantasy, and futuristic/science fiction components
-         it was dark, edgy and erotic—but not erotica
-         the story was built around a hero/heroine/villain triad
-         the story had a happily ever after ending

Alrighty, then.

The romance sub-genre categorization I ultimately used to pitch the story was “a paranormal romantic suspense with a sci-fi twist.” Sourcebooks managing editor Deb Werksman wanted to read more, and she ultimately acquired the first trilogy of the series I came to call “The Underbelly Chronicles.” The manuscript won a paranormal Daphne and was named a 2009 Golden Heart Paranormal finalist under the title Underbelly,but Deb was concerned that the original title just didn’t say “romance.” Sourcebooks’ editorial and marketing wizards put on their thinking caps, assessed the story, their line, and the market, and proposed a new title: Taste Me.

(double-take) Wow. Um, yeah.Taste Me was a title that said romance, all right! And I thought it was a genius title, because in addition to better communicating the book’s romantic foundations, it also highlighted a key aspect of characterization and world-building: the book’s hero, security guru Lukas Sebastiani, is an incubus who tastes emotion.

Sourcebooks determined that the book should be marketed as an urban fantasy romance, and this was perfectly fine with me. One of the reasons I signed a contract with a traditional publisher was because they possessed exactly this type of market expertise.  

So that’s the story of me being interested in writing urban fantasy. Bottom line, I didn’t set out to write a novel of any particular genre, or worry overly much about marketing, while I was writing the book. I wrote a book I’d personally want to read, injecting it with every bit of complexity, spark, passion and craft I was capable of producing.

Please let me know how I did. ;-)

Read an excerpt! (Mature readers only)   


TASTE ME BY TAMARA HOGAN – IN STORES MARCH 2011
Hot, sexy urban fantasy romance by a new author with talent to burn…

He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It…
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated…

Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees…
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful…

Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives in the Minneapolis exurbs with her partner Mark and two naughty cats.  When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she writes urban fantasy with a sci-fi twist. Taste Me was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and Golden Heart paranormal finalist under the title Underbelly. For more information, please visit http://www.tamarahogan.com/

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-- Lynda Again,

Wow, what an interesting story! Thanks for telling it, Tamara. 

As I mentioned earlier, Sourcebooks has offered a giveaway of Taste Me. I've discussed it with my alien kitten, Wookie, and she says that to be eligible to enter the drawing you have to:

1) Send an email to Lynda@LyndaKScott.com
2) Put Taste Me in the Subject line
3) Answer this question - What was the first title of this book?
4) Include your name and mailing address
5) Send the email to Lynda by noon on Friday March 25

Wookie will select two winners and I'll notify you asap ;-)

Oh, and if you have the chance, check out my review for Taste Me
http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-taste-me.html

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guest - Sayde Grace

Good morning all! Author Sayde Grace is visiting today with a very interesting post on writing cross genre.  Sayde is also offering a copy of her book, Untamable, to one lucky reader so make sure you read on to find out that can be you ;-) Enjoy!

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Is it Embarrassing to Be a Trekkie?

From the time I began writing I wanted to cross genre’s. I love blending the things that appeal to me into one story. For the most part I love writing about cowboys. I have a background in rodeo and equine industries so writing about those things comes naturally to me. But every once in awhile I really enjoy letting my imagination run wild and writing the crazy tales that it comes up with. Recently I was contracted by Siren Publishing for two of my wild imagination creations. One was my latest release Untamable, a werewolf story, and another was my paranormal story, Voodoo, I Do. Both stories dive into a world within our world. These stories have to keep some sort of reality. During the process of editing and sending Siren information about myself, I was asked to tell my readers a few things that they don’t already know about me. Well, my imagination finally broke free of his constraints and told the world that I love Star Trek! That’s right folks, I’m a Trekkie.

For years I’ve watched every episode that comes on of the show late at night. I can’t help it. Something about the show calls to me. I was kinda embarrassed to admit that I am a Trekkie. Is that wrong? I don’t know, but what I’ve found is that since I came out of the “Trekkie Closet”, a lot of my friends have too. 

Now, I don’t know that I will ever break bad and go to a Star Trek convention in full costume, but how fun would that be? For me, I love the fact that as a writer, writing sci-fi can open so many worlds. It can also allow a huge amount of freedom. By building a world in the sci-fi realm a writer can bring their wildest imaginations to reality, well paper reality that is. As a reader I love reading stories that are based with our own beings but placed far out there, way out of the realm of my everyday life. Science fiction holds that appeal to me. 

If you like science fiction, why? And if not, why the heck not? And are you embarrassed to admit you like science fiction? For one lucky commenter I’ll be giving away a copy of my latest release, Untamable.

Thanks all

Sayde

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About Sayde

A native of South Alabama Sayde Grace was raised among the cotton fields and dirt roads of the south. She has a deep love and appreciation for the rural communities and uses her experiences of small town life in her books. A lifelong story teller, Sayde  began writing full time two years ago and has written five full length manuscripts which range from romantic suspense to young adult and even erotica. In each of her five books she uses her experiences in farming, ranching, or rodeoing to make the story setting believable. Growing up in the equine and cattle industry have given her a behind the scenes knowledge of the industry.

     Sayde is currently enjoying and loving life in beautiful South Alabama with her husband and two young children. She is published with The Wild Rose Press for two novella’s and working on a third.

You may also follow Sayde for daily updates on http://www.twitter.com/saydegrace/

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Greenbacks

The high gas prices got me to thinking...what will people do to still buy books? Will they trade off other items like dining out, going to the movies or skimp on groceries to keep feeding their literary hunger? What would you be willing to give up to free up some cash to make new purchases?

Personally I haven't had a new book since Christmas when I used a gift card to buy it and got another novel as a gift. The other reading I've done has been courtesy of the local library. However they don't have all the titles I've wanted to devour. I'm not as bad as I used to be. I had a shirt that read something like "If I have money, I buy books first, then food." That was so true, especially in college...but lately other things have kept me from indulging...as much.


Would you decide to hit yard sales where you could score lots of used books for cheap? Will you go against most author's good graces and haunt the local used bookstore to get novels secondhand?
Eventhough some of my writer friends frown on buying secondhand (since they don't get a cut)...I have often hit used bookstores. My hubby and I usually make a day of it. Once a month we drive thirty minutes, do lunch at a favorite spot, then hit the used bookstore (which also has CDs, DVDs, etc.) to browse the racks. I enjoy seeing what's new and interesting since the stock shuffles in a variety of ways. Finding new authors has been fun, and I've also gotten to learn about the craft by picking up diverse titles.


Will you go digital and use your new Kindle or Nook to buy cheaper books as downloads...or potentially download some good titles thanks to free publisher promotions?

I know I delighted in downloading several free books. In fact over three quarters of my list didn't cost me a dime. Sure they might be a little older, or a little out of my normal reading selection, but it never hurts to break out of the box and try new things.

If you wanted to make some money would you hold a fundraiser? Perhaps a lemonade stand, car wash, or even a bake/yard sale to get some extra green backs.

I can't say I've done a fundraiser specifically to get book money, except for selling older titles at a family yard sell and then getting something new to replace what I cleaned out. I am curious to see what fundraisers people might do to raise money. People can brainstorm some ingenious ideas when they want to get something their heart is set on :0)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Guest - Rachel Firasek

Good morning everyone! We have author Rachel Firasek visiting us today. Rachel’s writing career began at the impressionable age of twelve with a poem dedicated to the soldiers of Desert Storm. A dark macabre affair that earned her a publication in an anthology and many raised eyebrows from family and friends, she hid her poetry and artistic style for years…

Tucked away in the heart of Central Texas, with the loving support of her husband and three children, she dusted the cobwebs from her craft. Returning to those twisted regions of her mind, she creates dark urban fantasies and soul-searching paranormal romance. 

To learn where love twists the soul to light the shadows, visit Rachel at http://www.rachelfirasek.com/

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Recently an article on Yahoo caught my undivided attention. Now, I can honestly say that I’ve never been one to jump on the UFO bandwagon, but you have to admit when a country’s government releases information in mass documents, it makes you stand up and listen.

Here’s a direct quote from the article: "These documents show absolutely beyond a doubt that over many, many years, Ministry of Defense officials, government ministers and defense intelligence staff have treated the UFO issue seriously," Nick Pope told AOL News.

Over 8000 pages of data, reports, sightings, photos and who knows what else were released. These documents dated back to the 1970s. Now, I haven’t had time to download each archive, but I have to tell you, it certainly makes you sit up and listen. I also think it makes you a little less skeptical of your pal that sits around and quotes conspiracy theories at every turn. We all have one of those pals. 

Okay, why the UFO topic? Well, after brainstorming with a friend over a sci-fi she’s writing, I realized that with our changing technology, the hype about 2012, and now with this release, the world is more open now to the sci-fi world than ever before. I normally write Paranormal Romance, but who knows, maybe this year I’ll dig myself knee deep in government documents and create the next big thing!

What do you think about the UFO articles released by the UK? What do you like to read in romance? Would a smoking hot Alien and a humanoid from Earth, peak your interest? Ever wondered why Star Trek was so popular in a time with more skeptics than not? Should I write about humans visiting other planets? I’d really like to know what grabs your attention when reading this powerful market. 

Thanks for having me today! I really enjoyed this topic and look forward to digging deeper.

Piper's Fury

It's an empath thing...

Using your "powers" to help the Dark Hills Police Department hunt down serial killers doesn't leave much time for dating. Not that Piper Anast is complaining. The last thing she needs is some guy brushing up against her and pumping his pornographic thoughts into her head.

When she meets Bennett Slade, a sexy, tormented vampire, Piper stumbles headlong into a telepathic connection with his missing daughter. She can't leave the kid to the evil surrounding her unwanted visions, nor can she resist her draw to Slade. He's the first guy she's been able to touch vision-free in, well, forever.

As she and Slade close in on the evil creature holding his daughter, Piper's powers morph into a deadly fury. To save Slade's daughter-and herself-Piper must face down demons she never knew she had and trust the one thing she keeps from everyone.

Her heart.

Stalk me at: