Monthly Archives: December 2014

In the Spotlight: Reflections by Jena Baxter

ReflectionsTitle: Reflections

Author: Jena Baxter

Publisher: Independent Self Publishing / Jenabaxterbooks

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

Pages: 320

ISBN: 978-0991167715

Genre: YA / Historical Fantasy

Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF

When Juliette has a domestic servant beaten for pursuing a young man above her station, she finds herself cursed by a witch to live in a world behind her own mirror. She is unable to leave except on the first night of a full moon.

Juliette is forced to seek what food and shelter the new world provides with the help of a unicorn, a man who is half bear, and a centaur. Together they struggle to survive against lions, wolves, and the challenges of watching their friends live and die through the back of the mirror, as their own world, family and friends moves on without them.

Reflections begins in Regency era London, and ends in Clover Springs, California, an all but abandoned Gold Rush town.

A tale of love, friendship, and facing unavoidable challenges.

Book Excerpt:

Juliette shut the front door behind her, and slowly climbed down the stairs of her home, cringing at every creek of the steps. She walked down the paved road, back straight and chin up, until the house was out of view. She looked around, pulled off her bonnet, and ran all the way to the beach.
Stopping to catch her breath, she scanned the riverbank until she spotted Emily, gazing into the clouds above the Thames. It was a gray and dreary day, but a fisherman stood in the water trying to entice the fish, and a few people were scattered along the shoreline. Sea birds flew back and forth, seeking a tasty morsel. Juliette joined Emily, and sat in the scrub.
“It took you a long time to get here,” Emily said, smiling.
“Sorry, it’s my birthday and mother is hosting a party tonight. I had to sneak out of the house, but no one saw me. Then I ran all the way here.”
Emily shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.” She held out her arm, and opened her hand. “I made this for you.”
Juliette took the hair pin with a tattered yellow ribbon tied in a bow attached to it.
Emily’s cheeks colored. “Sorry it’s not new.”
Juliette hugged her. “It’s wonderful. Thank you. I have to go back now, before they notice me gone,” she said, pushing the pin carefully into her hair.
“Okay, I’ll go with you. How old are you today?”
Juliette smiled. “I’m six years old,” she said, as they made their way back to the road. “How old are you?”
“Seven, since last month.” She ran dirty hands down her tattered and stained black dress.
“Look!” Juliette stopped, and pointed toward the water.
Emily followed the direction of her finger. “Oh! What a beautiful chestnut horse.”
Juliette shook her head, ringlets blowing in the wind. “No, it’s not a horse. It’s a unicorn sighting for my birthday.” She continued walking toward the road.
“But unicorns aren’t real,” Emily said, looking back at the animal.
“How do you know they aren’t real? That horse has a black horn. Trust me, that’s a unicorn.”
They stepped onto the dirt road.
“I’ll race you there!” Juliette yelled.
Laughing, they ran until they found Mrs. Barrows waiting at the front door of Juliette’s home. Juliette went silent and ran to her mother. Emily stopped in the road.
“Where have you been? Look at your hair, it’s a mess … and what is that ugly thing sticking out of it?”
Mrs. Barrows swiped the pin off Juliette’s head. She winced as strands of her hair fell with the ribbon to the ground.
Juliette followed her mother’s eyes as she glared at Emily, standing on the road.
“What have I told you about spending your time with people like that, Juliette? That girl has no business talking to you, and you have no business playing with our domestic help.”
“But she’s not our domestic help, Mother.”
“The girl is as good as employed by this household with her aunt Zylphia, working here.”
“I don’t want to see you with her again. Do you understand me? What if someone saw you?” Mrs. Barrows shrieked. “You embarrass the entire family associating with people like that, Juliette. Get in the house!”
Juliette jumped when the door slammed shut behind her.
Juliette picked up a glass of punch and sat with the children attending the party. She watched her mother laugh and sip tea with her guests. The children chattered beside her, she ignored them. Her mother had made it clear that the only reason she hadn’t received a strapping was so she could sit down at the party. Juliette struggled with the sting of tears, holding them back, but just barely.
Margaret sashayed over, and stood with her hands on her hips. She always has something to say about everything. Juliette frowned, waiting. All of the children stared at her.
“I heard you were playing with a servant girl today. Robert Beale said he saw you running and laughing on the road like it was the most normal thing in the world. You’re liable to get a disease spending your time with something like that.”
“It’s not your business, Margaret. I’ll spend time with whomever I want.”
“Suit yourself, but I don’t want any part of that, or you.” Margaret lifted her chin and joined the other children.
Juliette turned to see her mother, who had been just out of view. Her knuckles white as the dish she held.
“Go to your room, Juliette.”
Tears spilled down Juliette’s cheeks. She tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t. She ran to her room.
Minutes later the razor-strap slammed into her bare buttocks. The humiliation of knowing the party heard her screams was part of her punishment. When the governess finished, she had been instructed to return Juliette to the party where she remained until the last guest departed.
Her mother turned to her. “Get to your room. I don’t want to see your face again tonight.”
Juliette obeyed moving much slower than before. Her bottom and the back of her legs stung with welts. She crawled onto the bed, and wept into her pillow.

About the Author:

Jena BaxterBorn in Ojai, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California, Jena always loved to read, and dreamed of writing a novel. Having the ability, but lacking the confidence to do so, she enrolled in the UCLA Writer’s Extension, and soon her first novel was in process.

Jena writes YA, historical fantasy, and paranormal romance. She is also a screenwriter, and reads for a screenwriting contest annually. She spends her free time with her husband, amazon parrot, and toy maltese. You can visit her website at

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Interview with ‘Daughter of the Fallen’ Madeline Wynn & Win $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Madeline WynnMadeline Wynn holds a master’s degree in procrastination. When she’s not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.

Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.

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About the Book:

Daughter of the Fallen 2Most sixteen-year olds aren’t worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May’s biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can’t tell if it’s trying to possess her… or protect her.

May’s thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced. She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can’t stop.

As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth– and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

(For readers who enjoy: teen paranormal romance, teen horror, teen romance, nephilim, demons, YA, YA horror, YA paranormal, YA romance, ghost stories)

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Thanks for joining us today, Madeline. Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into the YA paranormal genre?

Madeline: I’ve always loved a good ghost story, so when I moved to New England I decided that I’d go ahead and take a ghost hunting class. I was obsessed with all of those shows on TV, so I figured it would be fun. As it turned out, it scared the hell out of me. Not so much the whole, dead Aunt Mary hanging out on the staircase part, but the demons in the attic part.

By the last week of class, sleep and I were no longer on speaking terms. So I decided to go ahead and try and write a novel about all of my worst fears and the book was born.

Is writing what you’ve wanted to do all your life?

Madeline: Yes and no. I originally wanted to grow up and be the ruler of a small country, but that hasn’t really worked out.

I’ve been writing all of my life, so it’s become a part of me more than a profession, per se.

I would love to know more about your character, May Krieg. Would you like to tell us about her?

Madeline: She’s a teen who feels a bit like an outsider. She lives in a wealthy suburb and she’s the girl who has to shop at second-hand stores and doesn’t have the money to drop on weekly manicures and things, but she’s quirky and always the first to volunteer to work at a soup kitchen or make lunch for the homeless.

She’s also a bit naïve and can be a bit too quick about drawing up assumptions about people. That being said, even though she’s not in with the popular kids, she’s extremely devoted to the friends that she does have and would walk through fire for the people she cares about.

Who is Jack?

Madeline: He’s the “it” boy. He’s got the money and the looks and the charm to rule the world.

But on the inside he’s broken. His mother has passed away and his dad is never around, and throws money at him in the hopes that it will replace any actual parenting that he should be doing. He’s left to his own devices all the time, so he has become very self-sufficient but also a bit cold on the outside. He’s slow to warm up to people because on the inside he’s worried that they’ll just abandon him the way his parents have.

What are you working on now?

Madeline: The sequel to DAUGHTER OF THE FALLEN. The book ends on a hook so I have to make sure readers aren’t left in the dark for too long!

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and readers?

Madeline: Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to reach out!


Madeline Wynn is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!



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Interview with Eve Picquette, author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships

Eve PicquetteEve Picquette has been looking for love, joy and fun all her life. Along the way she has had lots of experiences – some with more fun than others! A licensed attorney, she served as director of risk and quality management at hospital corporations in California and Arizona for thirty years. She is also a certified NLP life coach, matrix, EFT and Angel Therapy practitioner. Eve Picquette received her MSN in community mental health at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys -What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries and companion Mini Meditation MP3’s, she lives in Arizona, and her present happy work is teaching and advising clients regarding having more love and joy in personal and business relationships.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

I am a voracious reader and I had received so much from the books of others’ that I wanted to leave my own “bread crumb trail” that might help another reader have a happier life!

Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships 2Would you consider your latest book, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries to be a one of a kind? How so?

We all like to think we have a unique perspective on the world, and you won’t find another book with angel pictures and quotes like this one, certainly. However, the Shift Keys for happiness I describe have been written about by others down through the ages, so in that sense it is not new, merely presented in a way designed to remind you of what your heart already knows.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I write best when I drive into the White Mountains or to one of the lakes around Phoenix. But I also have a bright sunny great room – I love light – that works for me, too.

What inspires you?

The courage it takes to live life fully, and the amazing people I meet who, despite painful circumstances and uncertainty, choose to live with open hearts.

Why do you love to write self-help/inspirational books?

I started life, trying to figure out all the rules. Then I finally decided that the only thing I wanted was to feel light and happy. Along the way I read many wonderful books – so I have always loved to read self-help books – and many of them have been a great inspiration. The thought that something I might write could be useful to someone else that is seeking, as I was, makes me happy!

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

The most fun was getting the angel pictures painted – I wanted them to be so beautiful and evocative.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Nothing too different from most of your readers, probably! I love to read – historical fiction and non-fiction. I also adore spending time outdoors and travel, both in the US and abroad.

What’s next for you?

I am working on my next book, which is about some “dark night of the soul” traps and how to climb out of those experiences, whole and light hearted.

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Interview with Jeff Gunhus, author of ‘Night Terror’

Jeff GunhusJeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.

For More Information

  • Visit Jeff Gunhus’ website.
  • Connect with Jeff on Facebook and Twitter.
  • More books by Jeff Gunhus.
  • Contact Jeff.                                                               

Can you tell us what your book is about?

It’s been ten years since Sarah Tremont her abduction and attempt on her life in the caves under Prescott City and she and her family believe the nightmare is behind them. However, a new evil has sensed the power of her gift that’s more insidious that anything she Night Terror 2faced before. It quickly becomes clear that a new nightmare is just beginning.

Why did you write your book?

Night Terror is the sequel to my first adult novel, Night Chill. I really loved the characters and left the first book open for a sequel. Overall, the books reflect my own paranoia about my responsibility as a father to keep my family safe.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I also write screenplays which are highly structured and I’ve taken some of those work habits into novel writing. I think in terms of act structure and create an outline. However, the real fun of writing are the surprising detours the book takes along the way.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

The closest I come to writer’s block is deciding which project to do next. I’m facing that right now, actually. I have two books coming out in October, one adult and one middle grade/YA, and I just completed edits for a rerelease of my novel Killer Within that was acquired by Thomas & Mercer, so I’m thinking about my next project. There are five different books I want to write and I can’t seem to choose between them. Once I get going though, I rarely get blocked.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have five kids so my wife and I spend most of our time barely keeping up with the chaos. The kids like the Jack Templar books and they all have cameos in the books.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love when people read my stuff! Even if they don’t like it, the idea that we can have a conversation about a setting and characters that were once only in my head is nothing short of magic.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

I reread Stephen King’s On Writing at least once a year. All the advice I give writer’s really comes from that book. The greatest advice is that writer’s write. You have to put your backside into a chair and write. Every. Day. On top of that, you have to read a lot. King says if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to be a good writer. I buy into that.

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Interview with Mike Hartner, author of I, James

Mike HartnerMike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

Mike won first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Dante Rosetti Award in the YA category for I, Walter.

His latest book is the historical fiction/romance, I, James.

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About the Book:

I JamesJames Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11.

Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land.

Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires?

For More Information

  • I, James is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Early in the 00’s I needed to write a story or three about my family. To share them with relatives, I decided to publish. Then, when The Eternity Series came along, it just seemed the right thing to do.

Would you consider your latest book, I, James, to be a one of a kind? How so?

I, James is part of The Eternity Series. And in that sense, no it’s not one of a kind. But, one of the premises of the whole series is that each person needs to be admired for their own accomplishments; that nobody can be judged for their lives without at least understanding them, and in that sense, it is unique, because we all are as well.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

In my office, or more often the bedroom late at night.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

When getting your book published, keep control of your intellectual property. If you’re being asked to change something, remember they’re giving you their suggestions. Yes, the editors and agents want you to agree with them. But, if it is something you’re very adamant about, talk with them.

What inspires you?

I am inspired every day by the quality of people around me. I know people from every walk of life, and am inspired by each and every one of them.

Why do you love to write historical romance?

I love to write historical fiction because there are so many things that you can do to your characters n each of the eras. I love to include the romance because EVERY life has romance in it.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Cheerleading for my son, who currently is playing Basketball and rugby for his school.

What’s next for you?

Book Three, of course.

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