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Teaser for Behind the Catcher’s Mask #YA #romance #shortstory

Thanks to Nancee Cain for reading and reviewing Masquerade: Oddly Suited, a young adult anthology including my sports romance short story, Behind the Catcher’s Mask.

Fast-pitch softball is Andie Wilson’s life. She’s a fierce pitcher hoping to score a college scholarship, and she hates the annoying distraction of cocky baseball players crashing her high-school charity game. But she doesn’t anticipate the impact of one baseball player: Colt Turner. As Colt stares at her through his catcher’s mask, his steadfast gaze may be just what she needs to guide her through a crisis. And Colt may need Andie, too—to cope with the secret hiding behind his mask.



Nancee’s review reminds me that I want to share a teaser from my story with you. This scene takes place after the story, from Colt’s perspective.

Sharp air fills my lungs as I stride toward Andie’s front door. This early cold snap has blown in uninvited. Welcome to Ohio.
Andie skips out and closes the door behind her before I reach the porch. She turns her face up to mine, fresh and pink in the glow of the porch light. Her pastel-striped knit hat fans out her long, blond hair over the collar of her coat.
“You sure your parents are cool with you going to a senior party?” I ask.
She rolls her eyes. “Alex will be there, so he’ll protect me.”
Her older brother’s the starting quarterback for USC. “Your brother’s in town for Christmas?”
“Just for a couple of days, then he has to head back to L.A. before the bowl game.”
When she shivers, I reach for one of her mittens, tug her closer, and lean down to kiss that irresistibly soft and rosy cheek. “C’mon, let’s go.”
I hold the passenger door open for her, and she snuggles into the seat. “Oh, it’s so warm in here!”
I hustle to my side of the car, praying, Don’t break down again. I left the car running to help my chances. As I back out of her driveway, I boast, “Vlad’s got a good heater.”
Her eyebrows scrunch. “You named your car Vlad?”
I nod.
Her head tilts.“What kind of car is this?”
“Chevy Impala. A very old Impala,” I add.
After a few seconds, her giggles fill the car. “Vlad the Impala!” She snorts. “You’re a genius, Colt.”
My dad was the clever one who came up with the name, actually. My smile fades. This will be our first Christmas without him.
We arrive at my teammate’s house and climb out of Vlad.
Her mitten envelopes my glove. “Are you okay?”
I realize I haven’t spoken the entire car ride. “Great.”
The worried look in her hazel eyes remains, sparking a stab of guilt in my chest. My denial wouldn’t impress my sport psychologist.
“Just thinking about…my dad,” I admit.
She slows her stride. “Holidays must be tough.”
I cringe. After meeting her at a charity softball game in September, I’ve already cried once in front of her, on Thanksgiving. Not cool.
The kicky beat of a pop song draws my attention to the house, where my teammate stands in the now-open doorway. “Turner!” Nate hollers. “Get your ass in here.”
Nate is a senior, like me, and my favorite pitcher to catch. Check that—Andie’s my new favorite pitcher. I lead her into the house.
“Hey, Andie.” Nate snatches her hat off of her head as she crosses in front of him.
She spins around and yanks her hat back, right before elbowing him in the gut.
“Oof.” Nate doubles over, but his grin lets on that she went easy on him.
Andie tosses her coat and hat onto the growing pile on the floor. “Don’t get grabby,” she tells Nate as she shakes out her hair.
This. This is why I love being with an athlete. Andie’s low-maintenance vibe is a total turn-on. After my coat joins the outerwear mountain, I follow her into Nate’s house.
Nate also plays wide receiver, so there’s a mix of baseball and football players trash-talking their way through video games in the family room. Andie ignores their beers and heads toward the two-liters of soft drinks in the quieter kitchen. I’m scooping ice into two cups when I hear my name.
A blond guy close to my height sidles up to me. “Congrats on your full ride, Colt. You’re going to UF, right?”
I shake his hand. “Yep. Thanks, Alex.”
“Well, I guess I don’t have to introduce you guys.” Andie shrugs.
Her brother keeps looking at me as he tells her, “Pour me one too, Andie.”
Her eyes flare as she fakes a curtsy, but she does pour soda into the third cup of ice I’ve scooped.
“I hear you could go straight to the bigs, though,” Alex continues. “The Reds want you. What’s your deal?”
I take a sip of coke. “Florida’s a lot warmer than Cincinnati.”
“California’s warm, too,” Alex says. “But I’d give my left nut to be in the NFL.”
Andie glances at his crotch and smiles as she hands him his drink. “Not much of a sacrifice.”
Alex glares at her, then returns to lecturing me. “Don’t waste this opportunity, man. You could get injured in college ball, flush millions down the toilet.”
I swallow as he stares at me. I wish he’d shut up. “I want to play in college first.”
“But, why?” Alex shakes his head. “That’s stupid.”
Andie steps in front of me, wedging herself between us. “Back off, Alex.”
“Why?” He frowns at her. “I’m just trying to help him.”
She looks at me over her shoulder, blinking up at me. As she holds my gaze, I realize I’ve been holding my breath. I exhale and pull her back into me, feeling her warmth as my hand rests on her hip.
“Colt doesn’t need your help,” she tells Alex. “His dad left early for the NFL, and he always regretted not finishing college. He always wanted Colt to get a degree. So, Colt’s doing what’s right for him and his family.”
Alex lowers his drink as his face falls. He retreats back a step. “I heard what happened to your dad.”
hate reactions like these.
“I’m sorry, man.” Alex shakes his head. “I’m an ass.”
A football player calls for Alex to join them, and it’s like he can’t get away fast enough.
Andie turns around after he leaves. “Wow. I’ve never heard him admit he’s an ass before.”
“There’s a first time for everything, I guess.”
She grins at me as she cocks her head toward the family room. “Like the first time I whoop you in Fortnite?”


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Life’s a Beach #Giveaway

Thanks to The Kids Did It and Mommy Island for hosting.

Summer is around the corner, hooray! In Ohio, that means outdoor swimming in a pool, not a beach. But I love swimming outdoors in any body of water.

Want a fun, summer beach read? My volleyball romance BLOCKED is free till 5/27. Get it HERE.

I’m giving away a $10 gift card as well as an ebook of my swimming romance, Streamline. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Swim on over to these blogs to win stuff, and watch out for sharks on the way.

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New Release! MASQUERADE: ODDLY SUITED #YA #romance #shortstory #anthology

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Find love at the ball…
Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise,Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party

“READ IT! There is something for everyone! Do you want Love? Got it! Do you want vampires? Got it! Do you want time travel? Go it!” – Jessica Renfro, book reviewer

“A diverse collection of m/f YA clean-reads romances to transport readers between thepast, present, and future, from the sea bottom to the virtual clouds.” – J. Lenni Dorner, author

“Stories that will chill your heart, bring smiles to your lips, and keep you turning pages.” – Beverly Stowe McClure, author

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130407099?ean=2940155956860

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N893HPT

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/masquerade-oddly-suited/id1451605312?mt=11

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/masquerade-oddly-suited Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43785750-masquerade



I’m honored to have written the second story in the anthology, Behind the Catcher’s Mask.


❤️Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound? ❤️

Fast-pitch softball is Andie Wilson’s life. She’s a fierce pitcher hoping to score a college scholarship, and she hates the annoying distraction of cocky baseball players crashing her high-school charity game. But she doesn’t anticipate the impact of one baseball player: Colt Turner. As Colt stares at her through his catcher’s mask, his steadfast gaze may be just what she needs to guide her through a crisis. And Colt may need Andie, too—to cope with the secret hiding behind his mask.

Thank you to author Elizabeth Mueller for creating this visual of baseball catcher, Colt!

Head to all of the authors’ blogs to read their blurbs and view their characters.

Myles Christensen www.myleschristensen.com
Available April 30, 2019

$14.95 USA, 6×9 Trade paperback, 200 pages, Freedom Fox Press

Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General (YAF052000) / Paranormal (YAF052050) / Contemporary (YAF052020)
Print ISBN 9781939844644 eBook ISBN 9781939844651
Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or publisher direct
$4.99 EBook available in all formats
Freedom Fox Press A division of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. P.O. Box 383, Pikeville, NC 27863-0383  
inquiries@dancinglemurpressllc.com  
http://www.dancinglemurpress.com

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter. http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

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Masquerade Oddly Suited Ball Bloghop: Afternoon at Upshur Estate #MasqueradeOddlySuited #newrelease #shortstory #anthology

Welcome to the Masquerade Oddly Suited Ball Bloghop!

Today I host one of the authors of the upcoming Insecure Writers Support Group anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited

I’m keeping my guest anonymous as this is the masked part of the blogshop. Authors will unmask their character on April 30th when our book releases.

Here are fun facts about our mystery author:

“Much of my writing, particularly what I consider my best writing, comes during the witching hour and graveyard shift. At one point in the past, I had an inverted sleep schedule, and would be writing while most of the world was sound asleep.

There are certain bands and musical eras I originally only listened to as a matter-of-fact writing soundtrack, but which quickly became almost mandatory for me to write with inspiration and passion.

I’ve been with many of my characters since we were very young. I like to say we grew up together. Knowing them inside and out for so many years, and maturing alongside them, does wonders for giving them greater depth and knowing exactly how they tick.”



Add the anthology to your Goodreads shelf! And you can pre-order on Amazon and other sites.

Elizabeth Mueller, author of The Cog Prince in the anthology, created this beautiful masked illustration of my anonymous guest’s main character.


Want to see the unmasked image? (I do!) Check out all of the authors’ blogs on April 30, the release date for the anthology.

Here’s a sneak peek teaser, which you won’t find in the anthology.

Afternoon at Upshur Estate
“Miss Wildblood, your gentleman friend has come to call on you.”
Jinx put down her well-worn book at the sound of Mrs. Upshur’s voice invading the library, though her younger sister Myrina continued reading Volume Eight of The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.  Mrs. Upshur turned white when she saw what her younger charge was reading.
“Where did that obscene book originate?” Mrs. Upshur asked.
“Our house,” Myrina said. “Our parents have a lot of interesting books they let us read.  I won’t scandalize you by naming some of the others.  When we go to church, the minister never feels the need to tailor his sermon to juvenile congregants in attendance.  Why should a book be any different?”
Mrs. Upshur grimaced and turned to Jinx. “Mr. Strangeways should like to ride horses with you, Miss Wildblood, but I told him ‘twould be far more respectable to walk with you around the grounds.  I do not need to be told to ascertain you do not ride horses in the most decorous way for a lady, and I do not wish to encourage that.”
“You mean sidesaddle?” Jinx asked. “I grew up on a farm, not an estate.  You’re talking to the wrong lady if you expect me to ride like you.  Everyone has her own version of normal, and this is mine.” She smiled when Felix entered the library, dressed in a pale yellow suit.
Felix returned the smile. “I hope I didn’t call at an inopportune hour and interrupt you.”
“You have much to learn about calling etiquette,” Mrs. Upshur lectured.
Jinx ignored this lecture from her summer chaperone. “I was only reading Thomas Blount’s Glossographiafor the umpteenth time.  This book’s over a century old, and full of obscure words I love finding a chance to use in my school compositions.  How many people know and use words like celeripedean, rhedarious, murklins, gardeviance, and tragematopolist?”
“Nobody should, least of all not a lady.” Mrs. Upshur grimaced at the offending book. “You must not endeavor to unsex yourself.”
“With all due respect, I’m not sure I believe in the concept of unsexing.” Jinx stood up and gave Felix her arm. “We’ll return before supper.”
“You most certainly shall, or such an unsupervised meeting shan’t come again soon.”
Jinx led Felix out of the library, down the main hall of the first floor, and into a large gala hall which look out onto the garden through central apse glass doors. A young slave in a dark pink dress and an older, tall slave in a pale green suit stopped their animated conversation on a recent scandal with another house slave and opened the doors.
“How long did it take to get used to this cavernous estate?” Felix asked on their way to the stables. “I imagine this is much larger than either of your other residences.”
“I dislike all the unnecessary space, but it’s not my home to dictate rules for.” Jinx opened the stable door and walked to a spotted horse. “This is my favorite, though no one can take the place of Xanthos and Balios at home.”
“Named after the immortal horses of Achilles I presume?”
“Who else?” Jinx smiled at Felix as he helped her onto the horse. “Are you able to stay to supper?”
“Now that you mention it, I certainly am.” Felix climbed onto a white horse. “I insist you honor my lodgings with your presence next time.  But for now, all we need to do is enjoy the ride.”
And so they did.


BLOG HOP SCHEDULE


Thur. April 18th: L.G. Keltner https://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/

Fri. April 19th: Jennifer Lane http://jenniferlanebooks.blogspot.com

Sat. April 20th: Deborah Solice https://thefabulistdotblog.wordpress.com/

Mon. April 22nd: CD Gallant-King http://www.cdgallantking.ca/

Tues. April 23rd: Elizabeth Mueller https://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

Wed. April 24th: Chelsea Marie Ballard https://www.facebook.com/masqueradeoddlysuited

Thurs. April 25th: Carrie-Ann Brownian http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com

Fri. April 26th: Myles Christensen www.myleschristensen.com

Sat. April 27th: Anstice Brown https://dustingthesoul.com

Mon. April 29th: Angela Brown http://publishness.blogspot.com/

Tues. Apr 30th: Book Release and The Unmasking (Just follow links above)!

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Masquerade: Oddly Suited Blog Tour Carrie-Anne Brownian @Anyechka #GuestPost #MasqueradeOddlySuited

Masquerade: Oddly Suited Tour Banner

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Masquerade: Oddly Suited, a young-adult romance anthology from The Insecure Writer’s Support Group which is coming out on 30th April 2019!

Please join me in welcoming author Carrie-Anne Brownian to the blog to tell us more about her story. Carrie-Anne is the author of Charleston Masquerade in the anthology. 

Can two worlds come together and find love?

Charleston Masquerade


Iynx Praxithea Wildblood, called Jinx, has always been different from the others. She comes from a Deist family; both of her parents attended the University of Bologna; and she and her sister Myrina are receiving an equal education at the Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. So when they come to Charleston to spend a summer with a well-heeled family, conflict is inevitable.

At a masquerade ball, Jinx makes the acquaintance of a mysterious young man who identifies himself as Zedekiah. From the moment they begin interacting, it’s obvious Zed is just as much of a black sheep as Jinx, from an equally unusual family. Jinx would love nothing better than to spend the entire evening in Zed’s company, but when her very prim and proper chaperone encounters them and forces them to separate, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll cross paths again. Jinx has no idea what he looks like unmasked, or if Zed is his true name. Likewise, Zed doesn’t know her true name either. Will she and Zed be able to find an opportunity to meet again and rekindle their attraction?

Find out more about Charleston Masquerade and read an excerpt here.


Author Bio

Carrie-Anne Brownian, who also writes as Ursula Hartlein, is a proud native Pittsburgher who lives and breathes all things historical. She has a degree in history and Russian and East European Studies from UMass–Amherst and aspires to a Ph.D. in Russian history. Her stories always feature characters who are outside the norm in some way, and lots of Sturm und Drang.

Blog: https://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anyechka

2nd Blog: https://onomasticsoutsidethebox.wordpress.com/


And now Carrie-Anne, take it away!

Some Thoughts on Naturally Showing a Historical Setting

Historical fiction has been my genre of choice for over thirty years. History was always my favorite subject in school, and the majority of my hobbies and interests stem from my love of history. However, learning how to naturally incorporate the historical character and setting of a story was a skill I had to fine-tune over a great many years.

Some writers go overboard with minutely detailing every last thing—clothes, architecture, carriages, hairstyles, tableware, furniture, etc. This feels more like a history lesson than a natural story. Other writers do Gossip Girl in period clothes, contemporary characters dressed up with costumes and a few reminders of the year every so often.

Think about your own life. You don’t go around hyperconscious of living through a given era. You’re just living your normal life, and naturally taking note of things which give an era its character. If you’re writing a memoir or contemporary story, do you gut-load it with topical references or constantly call awkward attention to the setting? You hopefully understand how to season it just right.

For my Masquerade story, “Charleston Masquerade,” historical details I incorporated included a horse-drawn carriage, clothes, using candles at night, the existence of slavery, a high-society woman who finds contractions low-bred, and references to then-contemporary world leaders. Another important seasoning of historical flavor was social attitudes.

Historical isn’t the genre for you if you can’t subsume your contemporary sensibilities to accurately depict attitudes and language of the past. It doesn’t mean you endorse such views, just that you recognize what a matter-of-fact part of the cultural and social fabric they were.

My protagonist, Jinx Wildblood, is quite radical for 1767. Both her parents attended university. Her family is Deist. She attends the Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, where girls get an equal education. Jinx wears jumps instead of stays in her corset, allowing much greater freedom of movement and a more natural body shape. She believes the sexes are relatively equal.

However, she also understands she’ll have to start wearing her hair up after she’s married, foresees her future as a wife and mother, accepts the sexes have different roles, and thrills at the idea of totally belonging to her love interest.

Many writers give their characters, particularly women, anachronistic views and behavior which everyone around them matter-of-factly accepts as normal. Others commit the error of making their characters too historically accurate, which makes them hard to root for.

My characters go against the grain within the parameters of their era. Even the most radical character wouldn’t have 21st century sensibilities and values. Also, if you’re depicting something extremely unusual, like a woman in 1700 who wants to become a doctor, give the reader a reason to go along with it, and show how rare and taboo that was through the reactions of other people.

Once you’ve been immersed in historical fiction long enough, depicting the past accurately and matter-of-factly will start coming naturally. You’ll be able to separate your modern viewpoints from those your characters would’ve had and understand their attitudes don’t make them unenlightened or inferior to us, just products of a much different milieu.

About the Anthology

Title: Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Release date: April 30th, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General / Paranormal / Contemporary
Print ISBN: 9781939844644
EBook ISBN: 9781939844651


Book cover for Masquerade: Oddly Suited

 Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball? 

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…



Stories Featured

Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
The silliest situations may be oddly suited for romance.
Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound?
The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The new girl in town falls in love for a mysterious boy who is maybe, probably, most definitely, a vampire.
The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince?
A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?
Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
What if life’s price of servanthood could be changed?
Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
Is he a figment of her imagination conjured to keep her sane, or is he something else…something more?
Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian
Can two worlds come together and find love?
Sea of Sorrows, Anstice Brown
What could a shapeshifting siren know about love?
Remedy, Chelsea Marie Ballard
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?


You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.

Giveaway

The authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally from 12:00 am GMT 17th March to 12:00am GMT 6th May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Visit the other blog tour hosts below to find out more about the stories and authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited.

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#IWSG Release Date Nears #MasqueradeOddlySuited #shortstory #anthology




Welcome to our writerly support group. We share hopes and fears the first Wednesday of every month. Bunny hop over to Alex Cavanaugh’s blog to sign up.

Thanks to our co-hosts for April:


As one of ten authors with short stories in the Masquerade: Oddly Suited IWSG anthology, I’m psyched about the release date in less than one month. April 30, baby!

Add the anthology to your Goodreads shelf. And you can pre-order on Amazon and other sites.

Author Elizabeth Mueller has created gorgeous masked and unmasked images of our characters that we will reveal as the release date approaches.

We also wrote 600-word teasers with our short-story characters. My baseball catcher, Colt, picks up softball pitcher, Andie, for a high-school party in my teaser, Get Your Own Girlfriend. Carrie-Anne Brownian’s blog will feature my masked image and teaser on 4.25.19.

Happy writing!

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Masquerade: Oddly Suited Blog Tour Interview

Today my pub sister, Nancee Cain, interviews me about Behind the Catcher’s Mask, my story in the Masquerade: Oddly Suited anthology!

Check out the interview HERE.

Stories Featured

Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
The silliest situations may be oddly suited for romance.
Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound?
The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The new girl in town falls in love for a mysterious boy who is maybe, probably, most definitely, a vampire.
The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince?
A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?
Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
What if life’s price of servanthood could be changed?
Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
Is he a figment of her imagination conjured to keep her sane, or is he something else…something more?
Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian
Can two worlds come together and find love?
Sea of Sorrows, Anstice Brown
What could a shapeshifting siren know about love?
Remedy, Chelsea Marie Ballard
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?
You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.

Giveaway

The authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally from 12:00 am GMT 17th March to 12:00am GMT 6th May.

Tour Schedule

Visit the other blog tour hosts below to find out more about the stories and authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited.


About the Anthology

Title: Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Release date: April 30th, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General / Paranormal / Contemporary
Print ISBN: 9781939844644
EBook ISBN: 9781939844651
Uncategorized

#IWSG Young Adult Romance Anthology MASQUERADE: ODDLY SUITED

Happy New Year to all writers!


I’m vacationing in Florida this week so I’ve abdicated all responsibility, including a timely post. Today we went to Universal and I walked 23,000 steps!

But I’m especially excited to share that my short story was selected for the next IWSG anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited

When I first learned of the anthology’s young adult romance / masquerade theme, a vision of smoldering blue eyes behind a catcher’s mask came to me. I built on that image to write a YA sports romance involving a baseball catcher and a softball pitcher.

Congratulations to all authors who submitted. Here’s the list of titles for the anthology:  

Oddly Suited by LG Keltner
Sea of Sorrows by AV Brown
Behind the Catcher’s Mask by Jennifer Lane
A Diver’s Ball by Angela Brown
Fearless Heart by Deborah Solice
The Dark Charade by CD Gallant-King
The Cog Prince by Elizabeth Mueller
Flower of Ronda by Myles Christensen
Remedy by Chelsea Ballard
Charleston Masquerade by Carrie-Anne Brownian 


The top story has the honors of being included in the title. LG Keltner’s story came out on top! Way to go, LG.

A huge thank you goes out to the IWSG administrators and judges. I really appreciate your time.

Kelly Van Sant, agent at Red Sofa Literary Agency 
DL Hammons, Write Club founder
Gwen Gardner, author and previous IWSG anthology winner

Look for Masquerade: Oddly Suited late spring.


And thank you to our co-hosts this month:

Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

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WORST CASE by @BeckAndersonID #YoungAdult #Romance #Sale

Worst Case
by Beck Anderson
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Cover Designer: Caroline Tse
Release Date: January 16, 2018

This is a lovely story. Here’s my 5 star review.

Worst CaseWorst Case by Beck Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Face the Worst Case

Anxiety is weird. When we feel anxious, we try to avoid the thing that’s jacking up our sympathetic nervous system. Too bad avoidance often increases anxiety. The best strategy for reducing anxiety is to approach it head-on–ask a honey out on a date, deliver public speeches, drive to a friend’s over snowy roads–but who has the gumption to do that?

Vivi Lewis just might be the one.

Vivi is a 17 year old whose mother’s nervous system is on overdrive. Convinced the world is dangerous, her mother keeps uprooting her from town to town, running from her fears. Her mother even has the gall to move her to Idaho in the midst of Vivi’s senior year.

What an interesting setting for the story: Coeur d’Alene. I lived in eastern Washington for a year and still remember the breathtaking views of the lake and resort when I visited this northern Idaho town. But Vivi’s mother hasn’t moved her here for the view. It’s another ploy by her mother to avoid her crippling anxiety.

Thankfully a neighbor boy, Win, makes Vivi feel right at home from the get-go. He’s got his own secret worst case that has made him wise beyond his years.

Vivi has inherited her mother’s anxious brain, which includes worry and panic attacks but also the gifts of anxiety: kindness, intelligence, and keen observational skills, like:

The space thing, I’ve always been fascinated by it. Grown-ups take up a lot of space, most of them. Men. They spread out on bus seats. They take their half of the hallway out of the middle.

Win does this, but not in a man-spread, irritating way. In a “clear the way, here he comes” kind of way. He is noticed, and people move for him.

A path clears for Win. And here I am, riding in his wake. What an intoxicating feeling.

*nods* I agree with Vivi. On airplanes, I seek a seat next to a woman, not a man, because of this space thing. I’m not a small person and the women next to me might not be small either, but they don’t tend to “spread out” like men do. (PS I love men but I don’t want to be cramped on a long flight!)

Sounds like Vivi has had some therapy–too bad her mother is reluctant to see a therapist–and I like this metaphor:

It sucks, anxiety. I had a psychologist once who told me it’s best to try to think of anxiety like it’s the flu. When you have the flu, you don’t get owned by it. It doesn’t dominate you, it doesn’t define you. It’s just something you have, and you deal with it.

I enjoyed Vivi’s quirky humor, like when she tries paddle boarding:

Win’s out in the water, up to the waist, and when I put a toe in, it’s really, really cold.

“It feels hypothermic. Like Jack-and-Rose cold.”

…or when an annoying but lovable girlfriend makes a big deal of her kissing Win:

Phoebe jumps up and down.

Win breaks the kiss and pulls me into a hug. “Don’t move. If we’re still, maybe she’ll move on.”

“She’s not a tyrannosaurus rex. She can still see us,” I murmur. But I’d be happy to just stand here in his arms.

Vivi and Win keep alluding to the big talk they need to have, revealing their inner demons, and I think it takes a bit too long for them to share their secrets. The build-up makes their secrets seem anticlimactic, when upon reflection, family problems like these would challenge any teen.

Beck Anderson’s straightforward writing style and unique observations of the world continue to impress me. I’ll read anything she writes!

So, back to facing anxiety. When I have “what-if” questions, like “What if I don’t get my to-do list done?”, instead of trying to banish those thoughts from my mind, cognitive-behavioral therapy has taught me to go deep into the worst-case scenario and imagine coping with it. I ask myself three questions: 1) What’s the worst case scenario? 2) What’s the likelihood of that event? and 3) Even if that unlikely worst case scenario happens, could I handle it? Asking these questions convinces me that I won’t *die* if I fail to finish my to-do list.

Luckily for Vivi and Win, they help each other face their own worst cases, and it’s a worthy journey.

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Will she risk the fall and take a leap of faith?

Vivi Lewis just wants to stay in one place for more than a minute. It’s April of her senior year, for crying out loud, and here she is again, packed into a beat-up white Toyota with her anxiety-ridden single mom, fleeing the Washington coast. She hopes that this move—the one that’s taken them inland to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—will finally be their true fresh start.

There’s little to indicate this time will be much different from all the others…until Vivi meets Win Kemper at the city bus stop before her first day of school. Win and Vivi are a perfect match—both self-defined weirdos. Vivi trusts Win, and their time together is a whirlwind of cliff-jumping and paddleboarding, a life immersed in nature that would have given her, and especially her mom, a panic attack in the past. Their instant spark becomes a rock-solid friendship, and might be even more, if Vivi can stick around long enough to experience it.

But having a reason to stay also raises the stakes. Running from their fears has never made Vivi and her mom safe enough before, and now everything she has to lose appears in sharp relief. Can she find the strength to separate herself from her mother? Will the burgeoning bond she and Win share be enough to get them beyond the last twenty-six days of senior year—even when the worst-case scenario comes to pass?

Beck Anderson believes in the power of perfectly imperfect women and in the healing power of love.

A two-time Rita© finalist, she’s the author of five novels including the Fix You series and The Jeweler. Her newest YA romance, Worst Case, releases 1/16/18.

Beck balances (clumsily at best) writing novels and screenplays, working full-time as an educator, mothering two boys, loving one husband, and making time to walk the foothills of Boise, Idaho, with Stefano DiMera Delfino Anderson, the suavest Chihuahua north of the border.

Email:  contact@authorbeck.com

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#CoverReveal MARKED BEAUTY by @SA_Larsen #paranormal #romance



MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen, Digital Cover Reveal Information


Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.
Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.


About the Author
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. 

Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.
Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads


Giveaway
This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.
To participate:

  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.

***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)
“A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul’s journey thru death 2 find the cure.” #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0
“Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse … steal your soul.” #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.