So, if you know anything about me at all, you know I love, love, love fairy tales. I especially love it when authors get creative with them and twist them around. This is what you should expect from the upcoming release Cinderskella from mother-daughter duo, Amie and Bethanie Borst. Curious? Oh, me too! But first, let's meet these ladies and then we'll take a peek at the cover and learn more about this middle grade fairy tale retelling.
Amie Borst loves glitter, unicorns, and chocolate. But not at the same time. That would be weird. She’s a PAL member of the SCBWI as well as a founding and contributing member of The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog dedicated to middle-grade books. Amie lives in Virginia with her three beautiful daughters, her handsome husband, and two cute dogs named Lily and Maggie. She wishes she could travel the world in a hot pink elevator but for now, her minivan will have to do.
Bethanie Borst is 17 and the author of three books. When she was only 10 years old, she wrote her first book, Cinderskella. She enjoys reading, writing, and STEM. Bethanie is fluent in both sarcasm and humor and is prepared for the zombie apocalypse and/or spontaneous combustion of the world. Because, let’s face it, both of those things are totally realistic.
First of all, huge hats off to you, Bethanie! That's an awesome achievement to have written a book so young.
So, let's talk about that book. Cinderskella is a rerelease with a brand new, shiny cover (which looks amazing, by the way) and new illustrations. It will be available in February 2018. That's a ways to go yet, but look at that cover! Doesn't it just beg you to pick it up? Let's find out what Cinderskella is about:
It’s not just monsters that go bump in the night. Sometimes it’s skeleton-girls, too.
Cindy might appear to be your average twelve year old, but since her mother’s death she has a secret. Every night she faces a horrible, terrible curse; one that turns her into a skeleton. Yup, a boney, white skeleton.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Cindy’s own father is scared of her. Plus she has an evil stepmother who makes her do crazy chores, some of them with a toothbrush. And then there’s the wild dog with intentions of making Cindy into his midnight snack. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the Spring Fling dance is fast approaching and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know she exists. Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan know she’s a cursed skeleton-girl is the best way to introduce herself. Determined to break the curse, Cindy travels to the Underworld where things aren’t quite what they seem, including Mr. Death, the strange and creepy Undertaker.
With a jar of pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortuneteller, and an cranky skeleton mouse, Cindy is afraid this curse has really gotten under her skin.
This just sounds like a fun read for young and old. If you want to stay in the loop with Cinderskella and her authors, make sure you follow Amie and Bethanie. I know I'll be anxiously waiting to pick this book up!
Amie's website: www.amieborst.com,
Bethanie's website: www.amieandbethanieborst.com
I just love release days! And today, Toil and Trouble is available!
College student Allie Jones has everything going for her. She's got a good job, is working toward her degree, and has a great car. Her life is ordinary and predictable, until one day a stranger enters her gift shop and attempts to kidnap her. Saved by a young man named Dez who claims to be a fairy guardian, Allie finds herself traveling to the Fey Realm where she learns fairies, mermaids, and elves are real and she was never as ordinary as she thought.
Together they work to discover who was behind her attempted kidnapping and what they were really after. The plot they uncover threatens not only the Fey Realm, but the mortal sphere as well. With an elderly witch, a snarky cat, and a glowing bird as their companions, Dez and Allie prepare to take on the greatest challenge either has ever faced.
Just for fun, I thought I'd show you some of the different ideas I had for the cover design. I wanted something fall and also a little ominous. Toil and Trouble has a happy ending, but it's also got some spookiness to it and some definite tension. While the original image here (left) is definitely fall, it was a little too light and cheery. So a few tweaks to saturation and hue gave it the look I wanted.
Then it was time to find a cover model. A wonderful friend of mine has a daughter who, while younger than my main character, looks exactly as I envisioned Allie. After talking with her and with her mom, we planned a photo shoot and had a great time together. Then it was time to decide which of the many great pictures we had was the right one for the cover. And I had a few ideas:
My husband and I looked at the concepts we'd created and tried to pick the best one. The left and right ones were our favorites. While the middle picture looks great as a picture, we were having a hard time getting the color and lighting to match the background we wanted to use. After sending the two we liked to my cover model to see what she preferred, we chose the left concept. And then it was time to really begin polishing. Fonts were changed out and the photos softened and blended. I'm pretty happy with how the final cover turned out. I think it perfectly sets the mood for the story. What do you think?
Toil and Trouble is available for a temporarily low price of 99 cents through the end of the month. After Halloween, the price will be raised. So, get it while it's on sale and enjoy this trip into the Fey Realm!
I can't believe it's finally release day! Fall Into Romance isn't just a preorder anymore, it's live! I know I speak for all the authors in the set when I say we are so excited to share these wonderful fall tails...tales with you.
Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.
Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed!
Finding Forever in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker
Brent's hands are so full he doesn't realize his heart is empty. But how can he convince Nicole to trust him and give them all a chance at the forever family they deserve?
Lost in Romance by Stacy Claflin
Work is Alisyn’s life. Everything is perfect until the day her boss’s son comes to town and takes her breath away. Will she risk it all for love?
At Second Glance by Raine English
Can an ornery French bulldog help a mismatched couple find love?
Blown Into Romance by Shanna Hatfield
Free spirit Brooke Roberts blows into Romance like an autumn storm, unprepared to fall for the handsome rancher who gives her a reason to stay.
Wired for Romance by Franky A. Brown
Electrician Josh Chadwick can rewire his new client’s house, but he can’t do a thing about the electricity sparking between them.
Restoring Romance by Tamie Dearen
She’s a big city chef who likes cats. He’s a small town mayor who restores antiques. But even with feline allergies at play, true love is nothing to sneeze at.
Finding Dori by J.J. DiBenedetto
She’s a loud, pushy New Yorker who drives him crazy. He almost ran her over with his truck. Of course they’re perfect for each other…
Katie’s Chance for Romance by Jessica L. Elliott
Five years ago she pushed him out of her life, but she couldn't force him from her heart.
Chasing Romance by Liwen Y. Ho
When pop sensation Chase Lockhart wants more than a room at Izzy Sutton’s Bed and Breakfast, she must decide whether it’s worth opening up her heart to him, especially when he’s eleven years her junior.
Lessons in Romance by Kit Morgan
A rooster, a tortoise and love, oh my! Now if the humans could just figure out the love part, they might all live happily ever after.
Franky A. Brown
Franky A. Brown has always called the South home and loves to write about it. She holds an English degree from the University of South Carolina and can’t seem to stop reading. She is the author of women’s fiction and chick lit about life, love, and Southern women.
Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling author and a lifelong storyteller. When she was a child, she would get into trouble for trying to convince others that her stories were real. She scarred her younger cousin for life with her Cavity Monster tale. Another time, she convinced her friends that her grandfather had made her a robotic unicorn.
Now she saves her creative imagination for novels. Whether Stacy's writing urban fantasy, suspense, or contemporary romance, she always has thrills, twists, and turns. You can count on surprises and an enjoyable escape.
Tamie lives with her very romantic husband of thirty-three years. They have two grown daughters (the inspiration for the daughters in The Best Girls Series) and one grandson, and a twelve-year-old boy, recently adopted from Ukraine. Tamie loves to play, sing, and write music. She started writing books in 2013 and published her first book in October of that year. Since then, she’s published six novels and a novella. She also wrote a free serial romance on her weekly blog, A Rose in Bloom. And in her spare time, she’s a dentist. (But she’s painless.)
Tamie met her husband as a freshman in college when she acted out of character on a whim. One night in the library lobby, she spied a cute guy with his first name written on the back of his shirt. She called out his name. When he approached to talk to her, she pretended that she’d met him before, asking about his classes and how he liked college. To her surprise and delight, he also pretended that he knew her, but of course he didn’t know her name. They continued this false relationship for two months. Each time they saw each other, an event which occurred three times per week at the cafeteria, he would pretend he knew her. Meanwhile, all of Tamie’s friends were careful not to reveal her name to him. When he finally admitted his ignorance of her name, he was astonished to learn the truth. And the rest is history.
J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost. His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing.
Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.
Since he was very young, he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally. By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years was finally put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Series was born.
Jessica L. Elliott
For as long as she can remember, Jessica L. Elliott has been telling stories. As soon as she could grasp a pencil she began writing those stories down. Reading fueled her imagination, as did spending time with her five younger brothers and sisters. Everything was an adventure, something to be treasured and stories were her first love. Jessica began seriously writing in high school and continued into college while attending Emporia State University where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She wrote and released her first novel, Charming Academy, in August of 2011. Jessica currently lives in southwest Kansas with her husband and children.
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, paranormal, and romantic suspense. She's a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and a Daphne du Maurier Award winner. Raine lives in New England with her family and two French bulldogs, Bailey and Dolly.
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Liwen Y. Ho
Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She penned her first children's picture book, "A Rainbow of Nine Colors" in high school (now available at Meegenius.com) and has been writing for grown-ups since 2014.
She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including LiteraryMama.com and MomLifeToday.com, and she is a contributor at StartMarriageRight.com.
In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at www.2square2behip.com.
A consistent Top 100 lists bestseller, Kit Morgan, aka Geralyn Beauchamp, has been writing for fun all of her life. When writing as Geralyn Beauchamp, her books are epic, adventurous, romantic fantasy at its best. When writing as Kit Morgan they are whimsical, fun, inspirational sweet and clean stories that depict a strong sense of family and community. 'His Prairie Princess' is the first of the Prairie Brides books and the first in the series of a long line of stories about Clear Creek, Oregon. One of the wackiest little towns in the old west! Get to know the townsfolk in Clear Creek and come sit a spell!
Melanie D. Snitker
Melanie D. Snitker is the author of the inspirational romance Love’s Compass series. She has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. She started out writing episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking, target shooting, camping, and hanging out with family and friends.
Readers, I can hardly believe there is only one day left until we launch Fall Into Romance!!! I'm so excited for you to read about Mike and Katie and their furry companions as well as the awesome characters and animals created by my author friends. Today though, I'm finally sharing a recipe several of my friends (and a few readers) have begged me for:
S'More Cherry Cake
Back when I was still in the writing phases of Katie's Chance for Romance, I came to the sudden realization that Mike needed a killer recipe to bribe Uncle Earl into helping him with some home improvement projects. Since my favorite place to experiment is in my kitchen, I decided it was time for me to get to work. What would a single guy with an incurable sweet tooth want to make that was easy, delicious, and cheap?
My first thought was some kind of cake. Obviously if allergies weren't an issue, he could just grab a box of mix at the store, and then go from there. But in my house, allergies are an issue, so doing a boxed mix wasn't an option for me. When we first discovered our daughter's allergies, I found this amazing recipe for cake that didn't use dairy from Sweet Little Bluebird. It, and its variations, became a staple in our house where finally my two children with allergies could enjoy a cake without rashes and discomfort afterward.
Now a cake is nice, but if it's going to impress Uncle Earl, it needs to be amazing! That's when the idea of combining two of my favorite treats, s'mores and cherries, came to mind. It took a few tries to get it just right. My husband and children had no problem being guinea pigs for me and when I took the recipe to our family reunion, it was a hit there too! So this is a tried and true, amazing cake recipe. If you want to substitute the cake portion with a boxed mix, go for it! Just follow the instructions on the box and then continue on with the instructions in my recipe. This is a great summer or fall treat with all the fun of camping without the mosquitoes.
S'More Cherry Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
Mix ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch cake pan and press mixture flat to create a crust.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 T cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
5 T canola oil
1 cup water
Sift together dry ingredients. Add liquid ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are combined in a batter. Pour over the graham cracker crust. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Leave oven preheated.
1 can cherry pie filling
Appr. 40 large marshmallows
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Graham cracker crumbs
Once cake has been baked, spread cherry pie filling over the top. Top with marshmallows placed close together (I always have 8 rows of 5 marshmallows in my pan). Place in oven and bake 10-12 minutes until marshmallows expand and are slightly browned on top. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl (or on your stovetop in a small saucepan). If using a microwave, heat chocolate chips 20-30 seconds at a time and stir between each cooktime until chocolate is smooth.
Once you have removed the cake from the oven, drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the marshmallows. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.
Delicious warm or when chilled.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius