Young Adult Books

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{Blog Tour} Guest Post by Tied author Laney McMann

Published September 25, 2013 by LS Murphy

I’m going to chop this list in two. 5 reasons why I write fantasy/paranormal and 5 reasons why I read it.

Why I read Fantasy and Paranormal:

5. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s always interesting to have a different perspective—to try to understand how someone else thinks. Fantasy and paranormal stories allow readers to see into other’s imagination.

4. Making friends (or not). For me, the character’s in great stories can become friends—family, even. I know these character’s. I want to live in their worlds. Who didn’t want to fight alongside Harry Potter against Voldemort, or help Bilbo Baggins climb that mountain? Who didn’t want to scream with Katniss Everdeen? We readers love our character’s.

3. Exploring other worlds. This to me is a double reading/writing reason. How awesome is it to wander around in a world someone created from sheer imagination? Too cool.

2. Getting a glimpse into the workings of other writer’s heads. That one sounds a little weird probably. But it’s fascinating to see how other author’s imaginations work. Especially if I love their books. As a reader and writer, I believe we have a few geniuses in the writing community, and it’s an honor to be among them.

1. Most important reason: transportation. Good stories have the ability to take me off the couch, out of the car, away from my surroundings, and sit me in the middle of someone else’s world—someone else’s problems. Their life. Nothing is better than that. 😉

Why I write Fantasy and Paranormal:

  1. Flow, speed, movement. Although I sometimes try to slow it down, my writing style seems to have a quickness to it. A rapidity. I like to read stories that move. And for me, young adult fantasy and paranormal stories want that speed. It’s a natural fit.

4. Creative expression, of course. Writing is an outlet. A way of seeing the crazy images and dreams rattling around inside my head on paper and then sharing them.

3. Exploring other worlds. Like number 3 above, except on the writing end. I get to create my own worlds to wander through. Amazing.

  1. The ability to let my ideas and imagination go uncontained. I can’t think of another genre that allows so much creative freedom. (Well, maybe sci-fi. 😉 Maybe.)
  2. Because it’s in me. Other writer’s hear this all the time, and I’ve given this answer several times, too. Why do I write fantasy? Why paranormal? Why YA? The answer is always the same: Because it’s in me. It’s what comes out when I sit down at my laptop to write. And I’m really thankful for that.


Thank you, Linda, for hosting me. 😉

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure you check out Tied everyone. It’s sure to rock your boat. 🙂

About TIED:

Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.


About Laney: 

With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. A vivid imagination helped set the stage for creating her own worlds and placed her onto the writing path.

By the time she reached her teens, she’d accumulated notebooks full of poems, which led to short stories and finally novels. Young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology are among her favorite genres.

A former classical dancer and chef, she grew up in sultry Florida where she still resides with her family.


You can find my occasional ramblings on Twitter.

Book updates on my author page at goodreads.

My Facebook Profile for inspiration and randomness.

Updates on The Fire Born Novels at my Facebook Author Page

My interests on Pinterest.

And I’m now on Tumblr ,too.

You can also contact me by email at: laneymcmannyaauthor(at)gmail(dot)com


One signed paperback copy of TIED, 2 E-book copies of TIED, and 2 signed TIED bookmarks

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Excerpt from “The 13th Month” ~ ONE MORE DAY

Published August 29, 2013 by LS Murphy

OneMoreDay-blogHello, everyone! I’m thrilled to share the excerpt from “The 13th Month” coming soon in ONE MORE DAY!

So, without further adieu …

December 31st, 2013 4:01pm

“Stop being a douche, Jackie. This end of the world crap is nothing but a load of … well, crap. Get over it.” I snatched our shared laptop from my little brother and closed the lid, not bothering to check out the site he’d become fixated on during the last hour. Jackie’s conspiracy theories were a constant pain in my ass.

“Give it back, Nixon.” He whined, reaching across my body as I shoved the ancient computer behind my back. “This one’s real. I’m telling you; it’s gonna to happen.”

“Just like you said Rapture was real, right? Or the Mayan prophecy of December twenty-first in two-thousand twelve?” I shoved his thirteen-year-old body away from me. “Guess what, dipshit? Twenty-twelve has come and gone with the world still spinning. Get outta here so I can chat with my girl.”

Jackie stood, brushing invisible dirt of his green plaid shorts. In a few years, he’d either be modeling or coming out of the closet. I swore my brother got all the looks in the family—Mom’s California blonde hair, Dad’s bright blue eyes, and

at least two inches taller than I was.

Me? I inherited Dad’s brown hair that curled if it got too long and Mom’s brown eyes the color of dry dirt. In other words, boring.

“One of these days, you’ll believe me,” Jackie said, his voice deeper than normal. His eyes sparkled like ice held up to a light bulb. “The end is coming. Everything will stop. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.”

“Dude, did you forget your Zoloft, or something? What’s with the voice?” I fell onto my twin bed, wishing for the millionth time I had my own room. The computer lay across my

thighs, warming the denim beneath it.

Flipping me the bird, Jackie left the room and slammed our door behind him, rattling the windows from the force. The little shit must’ve started lifting weights. I glanced over to his half of the room but saw no sign that my brother had suddenly decided to add to his martial arts workout. Instead, his side was spotless, with a perfectly made bed, organized desk, laid-out clothes, and his lined-up tae kwon do ribbons. Jackie switched disciplines when he was seven, while I stuck with karate. I would’ve quit, but girls thought it was sexy. Laura included.

My shit was less than perfect. A box shoved into the closet hid my wrinkled karate ribbons. Homework and textbooks littered my desk. Even our matching blue plaid comforters were opposites—mine faded and wrinkled, his smooth and bright like the day Mom bought it.

Shaking my head, I opened the laptop and typed in the password. Laura was far more important than worrying about what was up little bro’s butt. Especially since we had big plans that night. Her parents would be out ringing in twenty-fourteen at some hotel soiree, leaving the house to us. Alone. Six years of crushing on her and six months of dating her were leading to what I hoped would be the best night of my life.

Hope you enjoyed! Stop by the other author’s blogs for excerpts from their stories. 


Happy Reading!



Why Anthologies?

Published August 27, 2013 by LS Murphy

992970_466077660144178_529536120_nWhy read an anthology? After all, it’s just a bunch of short stories by a bunch of different authors. I could just read their books, right?

As an author who has been published in multiple anthologies, I have to say yes, but no.

Anthologies provide a reader with a chance to discover new authors without committing to a novel, if the author has one. Short stories, especially in this digital age, are making an amazing comeback, and anthologies are growing in popularity. Sometimes it’s nice to sit down for an hour or two and read an author’s complete work. It’s also fun to read different interpretations of a theme. I’m always amazed by the ideas sprouting up. It’s great to see so many talented authors writing on one theme. Anthologies are a lot of fun to read because of this. 🙂

For writers, anthologies are an important tool. First, it’s a great way to study voice. Since anthologies have a cohesive theme, someone studying the craft of writing can see how each voice varies on a theme.

ONE MORE DAY (coming in December from J. Taylor Publishing) has the theme of “What if tomorrow doesn’t happen?” Each author had to come up with an idea based on this theme. The mixture of ideas and voice in the anthology is amazing. I loved each of the stories and UnCONventionalmarveled at where these ideas came from.

UNCONVENTIONAL (available from Spencer Hill Press) has the theme of strange things at a con. The styles ranged from paranormal to science fiction, from an English convention to a comic con. Each story was unique within the theme .

DETRITUS (available from Omnium Gatherum Media) shared a theme of collections gone wrong. The stories ranged from dark fantasy to horror. Some made me shiver, others totally freaked me out.

detritus coverSecond, anthologies are a great way for authors to break into the publishing world. Publishing is hard. Even if you hear of a debut author hitting the literary library, chances are they’ve been slaving away just like the rest of the pre-published authors. Getting your toes wet with an anthology gives an author a peak at the editing process and how a book comes together.

If you’ve been hesitant to read an anthology or even write a story for one, give it a shot. Anthologies can open your eyes to several worlds at once.

And, like I said, they’re just a lot of fun. 🙂

Happy Reading and Writing.

Cover Reveal: The Picture of Dulce Garcia

Published August 27, 2013 by LS Murphy



Isn’t this crazy? It’s beautiful and creepy at the same time.

And the wallpaper background? Totally cool!

The Picture of Dulce Garcia


The Picture of Dulce Garcia (The Coven #1)

by Alana Albertson

Release Date: Fall 2013

 Summary from Goodreads:

Dulce Garcia, star of The Coven, would rather spend her days sketching dresses. Instead, she works to support her family and dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer. After Teen Vogue declares Dulce, “The Hottest Teen in America,” she is stunned by how amazing she looks in their photo.

At sixteen, Dulce feels the pressure to stay youthful in Hollywood. When Dulce’s prop Book of Shadows gets destroyed, she substitutes her favorite Victorian Anthology, opened to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and says her spell during the shoot over the anthology. Afterwards, in her trailer, she discovers that she has transformed into her Teen Vogue picture, and her real body is completely airbrushed. Can she break the curse or will she remain locked forever in a picture?


Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Stiletto Contest!

Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Launching A Star Contest!

Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Heart of the Rockies Contest!


About the Author

Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters and the founder alana albertsonof Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

***Author Links***



Finishing a First Draft

Published August 18, 2013 by LS Murphy

IT’S DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it’s not. 

Yep, I’m talking about the first draft. I finished the first draft of my latest novel, currently titled NO REGRETS. I started it in the middle of June, had a few hiccups in July and August, but I finally completed it. Ahead of schedule, I might add. 🙂

So, what’s with the GIF? Well, just because the first draft is done, doesn’t mean it’s time to send it to my agent. Actually, if I sent this draft to her, she’d probably hop on a plane to slap me in person. Is it that bad? Not necessarily, but there are a lot of inconsistencies I need to fix. A few scenes I need to go back and add. And, of course, there are probably more typos than i can count.

Sometimes, writing a book is like learning how to drive, over and over again.

Each book writes differently. REAPER took forever to write. Honestly, I have no idea how many drafts I went through. My next two novels, both of which are on submission, were totally different. One was a NaNoWriMo that I completely retyped about two years after the original draft. YES, I RETYPED THE ENTIRE THING. For the better. The other came out as easy as spreading butter on corn. NO REGRETS was a battle. It took me a while to get to know my MC. She’s feisty and a little crazy. Once I found her voice, the novel flowed much better.

What’s next?

I’ll set aside NO REGRETS for about a month before I start rewriting. That’s usually the right length of time to let it settle in my head.

During that time, I have another novel to finish. It’s halfway done, and I put it aside last year because it wasn’t working. Now I know why, so I can finish it while I let the dust settle from NO REGRETS.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I LOVE MY JOB.

Now, tell me. What are you working on?

Brent Kelley Takes Over …

Published August 12, 2013 by LS Murphy

Brent Hello, folks! I’m Brent Kelley, the author of Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. It’s the second Chuggie adventure, the first being Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. These are gory, profanity-filled adventures through the monster-filled world of Mag Mell. With Bleeding Gateways, I’ve chosen to donate half of my royalties for the first year to the American Cancer Society. I wanted to stop by my pal L.S. Murphy’s site today to share what I know about Young Adult Fiction. I haven’t published any YA yet, but I think you’ll find this guest post insightful, informative, and worthwhile. Visit me at

5 Keys to Writing Good YA Fiction

1: Your Audience
Obviously, understanding your audience is important. What are kids into? What moves them? What will get them to put down their Gameboys, turn off the Power Rangers, and read a book?
Those are great questions. I remember this one time back in freshman year, we were at Luke’s dad’s house filming for a history project. The video itself was absolutely pointless. It seemed like five buddies screwing around in the woods with no interest in addressing any historical topic whatsoever. And that’s what it was. It ended with each of us being “executed” by flying sticks in front of a big mud puddle, which we all fell backwards into. It was really an amazing scene. First, Rudy got it. Then me, then Fetting, then Trevor, and then Luke. I think. I know for sure Rudy was first and Luke was last. Luke had to throw his own stick at himself, so it was difficult for the viewer to assume that an executioner was responsible. In the end, we all laid in a pile in the cold mud, appearing to be dead. My memory may not be the clearest, but I’m pretty sure the power of our acting overwhelmed our instructor, Mr. Zak, so much that he accidentally gave us a much lower grade than we deserved. Much, much lower. As I re-read this paragraph, I’m not sure it addressed anything relating to understanding YA readers, much like our video didn’t address anything to do with history.

2: Raising the Stakes
HA! The first time I typed that, it said “Raising the SNAKES”! I bet that would have made TONS of sense in talking about YA! Raising the stakes on your hero is what I meant. More and more pressure on them as the book goes on. Now, if you were raising SNAKES, that’d beChuggie 2 something else. Me? I have two snakes. An albino Nelson’s milksnake named Crabdip and a ball python named Darth Batman. Couple o’ regular little snuggle-pals! “Hey, Daddy! Can I have a mouse to eat whole?” No, DB, you just had one yesterday or the day before. Let me check my calendar. Oops! Yeah, you can have a mouse, pal! I used to have a 7-foot Burmese python back in college. Her name was Kitty, and let me tell you, that snake loved to snuggle! One time I yawned and she stuck her whole head in my mouth. Yeah, I know. Gross. So put THAT in your book!

3. Characters Need Flaws
One way you can make sure your characters are flawed enough to feel real to the reader is to answer the following 10 questions from each character’s POV: 1) What do I fear? 2) Who don’t I trust? 3) What is my darkest secret? 4) How does… Wait, I think the secret one was supposed to be first. Heh, here’s MY darkest secret: I can’t keep these things straight! Okay, maybe that’s not quite my “darkest” secret. It may not be a secret at all at this point. Anyway, I’m afraid of bees. Some will say this item – maybe even the entire post – is as useless as a lazy metaphor. That’s because they stopped reading before I got to…

4. Bad Guys Need Redeeming Qualities
That’s right, folks. Your bad guy should have something about him that’s at least a tiny bit decent. It makes the character complex and worth further examination. Like my old history teacher Mr. Zak. What a monster! Sure, most folks who know him think of him as a good man who enjoyed teaching and who made his classroom fun. But they didn’t see our historical film or the grade he gave it. They didn’t see the look on little Rudy’s face when that grade got handed down. You know who really lost out? The public. After we got the grade, none of us had the confidence to show that film to the community. I think about that, and I think about all the lives that could have been saved. How could lives have been saved? I don’t know. Somehow, I bet. I should bring it up next week at Mr. Zak’s Monthly Benefit for Orphans with Mesothelioma. That guy’s like Walter White on Breaking Bad, but without the drugs. And he’s never killed anybody. And he introduced me to Frank Herbert’s DUNE. And he’s really nice.

5. The Final and Most Important Key
You gotta go out with a bang when you do these lists. Much like, I imagine, Walter White is going to go out with a bang on Breaking Bad. I don’t think he’s going to die, though. I think they’ll leave it open to “OMG, what happens next?” And then they’ll never tell us. Maybe in like ten years they’ll do a movie or something. I’ll tell you one thing for sure: I’ll be watching on Sunday! Did you see the cliffhanger from last season? (or half-season, you know what I mean) Boy, I sure did. I’ve watched that episode a lot. Here’s a secret… It’s on right now! The only problem is I haven’t really “seen” it. I downloaded it from a Hungarian bootlegging site, so I don’t really know what was said. The subtitles are slightly off. Example: Walt Jr.:“Having is to you for to being receives… paining carwash the death!” To which Skyler replies: “One thousands of goat to soaking of goat.” So yeah, no idea what actually happened last episode, but it looks like Hank might be onto Walt. Oh, and speaking of Hungarian stuff, Google thinks all the emails I get from belong in my Junk folder! Come on, Google, I pay good money to get those emails. Don’t hide them from me!

Thanks for reading BMK’s “5 Keys to Writing Good YA Fiction”. You found it entertaining and informative.
Also, I invite you to check out Chuggie’s adventures. Help me and Chuggie fight cancer!

Cover Reveal: Running on Empty by Colette Ballard

Published August 12, 2013 by LS Murphy


I’m thrilled to show off this awesome cover! I’ve already added Running on Empty to my TBR list. 🙂 

Release Date: November 25, 2013

Running on EmptyAbout the book: What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?

You’re the killer.
River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky return to Texas. Her return means more than facing her ugly past, she must also face the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.


“Raw, romantic, and suspenseful!” ~  Katie McGarry, author of Dare You To

 Cover Designer: Marie Romero

ISBN: 978-1-939392-81-7


If you’re in the US, here’s a chance to win some signed bookmarks & a $50 Amazon gift card at Rafflecopter.