Cover Reveal: Spirit Lake by Tamar Hela

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YOU. GUYS.

It’s here. It’s finally here.

The brand-spanking-new cover for the first book of my series in Spirit Lake, appropriately re-titled Spirit Lake (formally known as Feast Island.)

What’s so special about this book? Well…for starters, it is now traditionally published through Cosby Media Productions and Tate Publishing. It’s been completely revised for pacing and reader maturity level. The stakes have been raised, and my characters are itching to be let back out into the reading world.

I’m stoked. I’m humbled. I’m excited.

Spirit Lake will be released next month on eBook, and then the paperback will be released some time in June. The followup to Spirit Lake, The Wrong Fairy Tale, will be released on eBook in May and will also have a tentative release date in paperback some time in June. Hooray! I’ll be doing a cover reveal for TWFT next month. Stay tuned.

I’m doing some cartwheels right now.

So…without further ado, here is the NEW cover for Spirit Lake:

*Drum roll, please!*

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So…what do you guys think? I love it! And I can’t wait till it’s out for your reading pleasure!

Here’s the new/updated synopsis:

Six teenagers from Northern California are assigned a group project for their sophomore English class. Little do they know, this project will literally take them on a journey out of this world. Cantelia appears much like Earth, until the teens realize magic is as plentiful as the danger surrounding them. A dark and evil ruler has placed a curse on the tribal people of Sikuku Island—the same island where the teens have been transported. Now, they must help the tribal people break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Alex and her companions quickly learn that there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary Spirit Lake.

Braxton Cosby is also hosting a cover reveal for me today over at his blog. You can read the post by clicking HERE. And feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you think of the cover—or if you have any questions for my about my book. 🙂

xoxo

 

The Best Book Boyfriends I’ve Ever Had

Happy Valentine’s Weekend! For us self-proclaimed book nerds, many of us—guys and girls—have those ultimate fantasy characters. The ones we wished existed in real life. For me, the girl characters are those who I can either relate to or wish I could be. For the guy characters, they are those who I like to call my book boyfriends. The guys who are easy to fall in love with, no matter how difficult they can be, who have something special despite their character flaws.

So, in the spirit of Valentine’s, I am sharing a list (not exhaustive, mind you) of some of my favorite book boyfriends of all time. They are in no particular order, but I will be ranking them using my “hot tamale” system. I just made that up, by the way.

Here’s how the HOT TAMALE system works.

1 Hot Tamale=Meh

2 Hot Tamales=Cute, but not my type

3 Hot Tamales=Cute, has potential

4 Hot Tamales=Handsome and sweet; definitely dating material

5 Hot Tamales=Super hot and sexy

6 Hot Tamales=So hot, so sexy, so perfect…that I’m on FIRE

Okay, so here we go: My book friends, ranked by the HOT TAMALE system

William Herondale (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

Dark and sexy, with demons—literal demons—haunting him from his past, William (Will) Herondale was introduced to the book world through the fabulous series, The Infernal Devices. Will is super hot, super angsty, and super badass. He fiercely loves his friends and will fight for them to the very end. As a shadowhunter, Will has seen lots of danger and horrible things for someone as young as he, but he has a heart of gold, which Tessa, his love interest, slowly discovers and brings to the surface throughout the series.

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Geoffrey Mitchell (The Spirit Lake Series by Tamar Hela)

Geoffrey is a bad boy of my making. He is first introduced in my series, Spirit Lake, in the book Feast Island (which has since been renamed Spirit Lake and will be re-released by Cosby Media Productions this year). He is definitely rough around the edges but has a big heart hiding under his defenses. And, he is definitely the damaged hero with a traumatic past. But he’s strong enough to move beyond his demons in order to protect those he loves.

Hot Tamale Rating: 6 Hot Tamales

Rowan Whitethorn (The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas)

Ugh…I think Rowan from the Throne of Glass series is totally a new type of hero for me. Sure, I’ve met the brooding, self-punishing guys before, but Rowan takes the cake. He has to be an instructor, protector, hero…while also figuring out who he wants to be loyal to. And, he’s a magical being—like Legolas, but with 10xs the IT factor—so he has to deal with the complication that magic brings to his world. It’s hard to predict what he’s thinking or what he’s going to do, but he proves himself over and over, even if his actions are unconventional or somewhat difficult to swallow. He is the kind of guy who will die for you if he loves you, no questions asked. 

Hot Tamale Rating: 6 Hot Tamales (and maybe 1 more!)

Jamie Fraser (The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon)

Oh, Jamie Fraser…with that hot Scottish accent and a kilt to boot. He is super sweet, straightforward, and treasures his woman, Claire, above all else. But he refuses to compromise when it comes to her safety and does what it takes to protect her—even if it’s from herself. He’s rough around the edges, but not in a bad boy sort of way. More in like a will-fight-for-justice sort of way. And in the 1700s, in the highlands of Scotland, if you want to survive the Redcoats, that’s the kind of attitude it’s gonna take.

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Aaron Warner Anderson (The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi)

WARNER. He is so alpha and sexy and demanding in every way. He knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to take it, except when it comes to Juliette, the girl of his dreams. With her, he learns that he must patiently bide his time, believing that he can convince her to choose him. With that kind of confidence, and mouth-watering good looks, it’s no wonder he’s a great book boyfriend. And the things he says…those words could easily melt away any fears or doubts of his love interest. And tattoos! Yes, please! Warner has plenty, and he’s not afraid to show them. Though he’s another damaged hero, he’s easy to love and has a soft spot in his heart for those he loves–which, really, is just Juliette. Also, he has compassion for those who are suffering, making him the perfect example of “saving the cat” in excellent character development. Can he be real, please?!

Hot Tamale Rating: 6 Hot Tamales (and maybe 1 more!)

Peeta Melark (The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins)

Okay, really, who doesn’t love Peeta? The bread-making boy who has loved Katniss for…forever. The one who sacrifices himself for the girl he loves, even to the death if need be. The one who is gentler, but still strong. The one who helps Katniss chase away her demons. And, no matter how much she pushes him away, he still comes back. Peeta is the kind of boyfriend who will treat you right…and also bake you the most beautiful cake for your birthday.

Hot Tamale Rating: 4 Hot Tamales

Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen)

If you don’t love Darcy, and you’re a hot-blooded, straight woman, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Darcy is like that ultimate, alpha male, brooding introvert who can bring any woman to her knees. He’s intense, he’s moody, but he’s complicated and sensitive. He’s the kind of guy who will always remain loyal, but if you break his trust, that’s it. And, he’s a very attentive admirer. Swoon!

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Tamaki Suoh (The Ouran High School Host Series by Bisco Hatori)

Yes, it is possible to fall in love with a cartoon. This is the only anime I have read, but I just love the series, and though I love all of the characters, my favorite is the King of the Host Club: Tamaki Suoh. He has model looks, but can be as dumb as a doorknob when it comes to his own feelings for the series heroine, Haruhi. Tamaki is playful, innocently mischievous, loves to throw out lots of innuendo, and desperately wants those he cares about to be happy. Tamaki will even sacrifice his own happiness for the benefit of others. To say the least, he is endearing, and everyone will end up rooting for this charming and happy-go-lucky hero.

Hot Tamale Rating: 4 Hot Tamales

Chaol Westfall (The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas)

Chaol, Captain of the Guard…who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Chaol is the kind of guy who is mysterious—the kind who you just want to ruffle his feathers a bit to get a reaction out of. Because once he learns to let loose, he’s amazing. He’s also smart and sexy; he’s the kind of guy who can handle a strong woman and knows how to let her be independent while also forming a partnership. Chaol isn’t perfect, but he’s pretty darn close and we love him, down to his flaws and, at times, reserved personality.

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Eric Northman (The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris)

If you’re going to fall in love with a vampire, forget Edward Cullen; it’s all about Eric Northman, the sexy 1000-year-old viking vampire, who has managed to capture the heart of Sookie Stackhouse. Eric oozes sexuality, and though any woman would throw herself at his feet, he has to put forth some effort in order to get Sookie to give him the time of day—or, rather, night. He’s confident, he’s calculating, he’s arrogant, he’s alpha, and he’s devoted and sexy. No wonder Sookie can’t resist him!

Hot Tamale Rating: 6 Hot Tamales (and maybe 1 more!)

Tyran (The Watcher Series by Robin Woods)

Okay, FOR REAL, this is my ultimate book boyfriend. Another sexy vampire, who takes what he wants and has barely a moral code. But beneath his bad boy exterior is a hardened heart that needs a touch of love from the right person. Tyran is named appropriately because, at times, he can be a real tyrant. But he’s oh-so-irresistable, so it’s frustrating to want to forgive him, especially when he gives one of his charming smiles. He will fiercely protect those he loves, and will sacrifice anything and everything when it comes to a fight. And the fact that he looks like an Armani model doesn’t hurt AT ALL. You just KNOW that he’s a teddy bear on the interior, and if I could, I would definitely watch a movie and cuddle with Tyran while he held me with his well-muscled arms. *fanning self*

Hot Tamale Rating: 6 Hot Tamales (and maybe 1 more!)

Perry/Peregrine (Under The Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi)

Perry is the savage who captivates Aria’s heart. He’s practical, clever, and endearing. And once Aria can see past his “savagery,” she falls hard and fast for the young man who has lost so much, but puts everything on the line just his people—and for her. Add in some special abilities and a guy who is truly a “man’s man” and you’ve got a perfect and sexy combination. 

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

R (Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion)

This is kind of an odd attraction. I mean, who knew a zombie could be kinda hot? R, though slowly rotting on the outside, still has enough of his sanity to form coherent thought. And, since he’s slowly learning how to talk again, he’s the perfect listener. He’s perfect for Julie, the young but tough-as-nails human who is just trying to survive another day. The thing about R is that he’s actually pretty deep for a zombie, and when his heart starts beating again, he’s ready and willing to love.

Hot Tamale Rating: 4 Hot Tamales

Cas Lowood (Anna Dressed in Blood Series by Kendare Blake)

Sassy and cool-headed Cas doesn’t get too riled up about anything or anyone. As a ghost hunter, it’s his job to remain calm. But when he meets Anna, the girl of his dreams, he definitely finds his heart beating a little more quickly. The only problem? She’s a ghost. But Cas is sweet and wants to find out why Anna just can find peace in the afterlife. He definitely shows that he’s willing to put in the time it takes to develop a meaningful relationship, and he does what he can to help the girl he loves, Anna, to find the peace she deserves…even if it means letting go.

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Michael Moscovitz (The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot)

One of my very first book boyfriends, Michael Moscovitz, is a character who gets sexier with each book. He definitely has a bit of alpha going on, but hey…someone’s got to order Princess Mia around. He has great taste in music, loves all things geek, is thoughtful in whatever he does, and insists that Linux is the only way to go. At the end of the series, when he and Mia are apart, he shows her just how much he is willing to fight for her. Because, after all, he knows they’re perfect for one another and he’s going to make sure she knows it. And, when he reaches his college years, he’s definitely model-status. I’d date this boy any day of the week!

Hot Tamale Rating: 5 Hot Tamales

Well, those are just some of my fave fiction boys. If you want to check out more of my fictional crushes and obsessions via Pinterest, click HERE to view my Fictional Love board. Enjoy!

Who’s your favorite book boyfriend or girlfriend? Leave a comment!!

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend! ❤

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My YouTube Debut

Hey, readers!

So I made my YouTube debut today! I am featured over at Robin Woods Fiction today, and we thought it’d be fun if I answered some questions via video. Okay, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s fun, too! I talk about parts of my writing process, give advice to writers, and even show viewers my journals. Go and check it out, and give Robin Woods Fiction some blog love! Until next time…

CLICK HERE TO READ MY INTERVIEW WITH ROBIN WOODS

BIG NEWS For The Spirit Lake Series!

Happy Friday, blog world!

So, I’ve been hinting at sharing some big news this week, and it’s finally time to make the announcement.

I have sold my Spirit Lake Series to Cosby Media Productions! Yay! I just signed the contract on Wednesday, so I’m officially a traditionally published author now!

How I feel at the moment. =P

How I feel at the moment. =P

I’m in the process of rewriting my first book, Feast Island, which will be retitled as Spirit Lake. My second book, The Wrong Fairy Tale, will also get some further edits to fit with the changes made in the first book. I will keep you all abreast of release dates, etc. (And yes, while we wait for these books to be released, the now existing Feast Island and The Wrong Fairy Tale will be pulled from Amazon at the end of the month. If you’d like to purchase yourself a copy of each before they are retired, click HERE.)

Once book one and two are finished and submitted to my publisher, I will obviously resume work on book three, titled Freak Show. You guys are gonna love it. Think a lighter, less sexual version of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” meets Narnia meets Dinotopia (minus the dinosaurs). I already have notes for books four and five, but they have yet to be outlined.

Exciting stuff!

Meanwhile, I began working on a secret project last year, which may or may not ever see the light of day. I also began writing an Epic Fantasy, a SciFi, and a Rom Com Suspense-ish book about an assassin falling in love. As you can see, I don’t heed the “one genre” thing. I write what I like and that’s that. So, expect to see other projects from me soon.

I hope you all have a fffffffaaaaabbbbbbbbbbulous weekend. I’m going to a wedding tomorrow and will otherwise be eyeballs deep in editing a project for one of the authors at Cosby Media. But tonight, I think I have a hot date with a good book. May you all fall in love with a new fictional character this weekend. ❤

(If you just want to LOOK at cool fictional characters, click HERE to access my Fictional Love Pinterest board.)

Blog Hop: How/Why I Write & 2 Writers You Should Check Out

Author Thomas A Fowler tagged me in this continuing series of blog hops.

First up: Props to the tagger. Thomas A Fowler and I are Twitter friends, and have been for quite some time. (You can follow him at: @thomasafowler) In fact, Thomas wrote about me in one of his blog posts last year, and, being that I am your typical narcissistic human, it earned him a spot in my “favorite tweeps” list. But in all seriousness, I like reading his posts and tweets, and it’s very exciting to be part of a writers’ community on social media.

To quote his “about” section on his blog, Thomas is a “Broadcast and Digital Producer at a Denver Ad Agency by day, Writer of Commercial Mainstream and Science-Fiction by Night. Bringing you all the Marketing & Writing advice you need as we take on the Writer’s Conquest together.” Sweet.

Now, onward and upward.

1. What am I working on?

I am working on several different projects, though, my next Spirit Lake Series book is taking precedence for the next few months. Since I just released book two, I want to keep the momentum going by getting book three out in a timely manner. So far, I have over 3K words in my WIP, and am super excited to be world building again. You can click HERE to read the synopses for the first two books in the series.

Another project I am working on has to do with the retelling of my exciting and adventure-filled summer in Spain. I lived abroad this year, for part of the summer, and definitely had some story-worthy experiences.

I also began penning a non-fiction sort of inspirational/self-help kind of book. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of this year, or at least by the end of January 2015. We shall see what happens.  

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first book, Feast Island, is a Young Adult Fantasy with, as one reviewer put it, “a refreshing lack of make-out scenes.” Feast Island is the type of book that borders between middle grade and young adult, so it’s fairly “clean” and even the gruesome stuff is not as crazy as could be. However, The Wrong Fairy Tale, Feast Island’s follow-up, is definitely more young adult in that there is some romance, cursing, and (at times) grisly violence. The characters are growing up, and I wanted to convey that. I think that the contrast makes my work different from what’s generally and currently out there, and I like hearing from my readers that my books are unique and surprising. 

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3. Why do I write what I do?

Growing up, I was a total bookworm. I was THAT KID who got in trouble for staying up late because I was reading. My dad introduced me to the coolest books, and I blame him for my fantasy genre addiction. There I was, this 13-year-old kid, reading adult fantasy books about King Arthur and stuff. I just couldn’t get enough!

My mom was always cool with my book addiction too, and she bought my sister and I a book every time a book magazine came through our mail. Granted, it was usually Christian fiction, but I managed to find the series that were more obscure and (to me) provided hours of real life escape. One of my favorite series was The Seven Sleepers by Gilbert L Morris, and some of my ideas for my series were inspired by his middle grade books.

I think that fantasy fiction provides a healthy escape from the mundane–or tragic–in life. Middle school wasn’t particularly kind to me, and books were some of my greatest friends. I felt like I could relate to many characters I was reading about, and that I was right there with them, living their adventures. Because this particular genre had such a positive influence on my life, I hope that my fantasy fiction stories will do the same for my readers. That my books will provide them with a healthy escape and the means to see themselves more clearly.  

4. How does my writing process work?

I have been asked this many times, and every time, my process has changed a bit. I think that it’s important for writers–and any artist, really–to continually evolve in their craft. Every story is different, and as such, every story needs permission to be told the way it wants. Typically, I DO outline each book I write, but even the outlines differ.

I have experimented with writing purely on Scrivner, only to find that I prefer Word. I have also tried outlining on Word, which worked well for a while until I went back to outlining by hand. I keep a separate journal for each book so that my ideas are confined, and I focus on that particular story. Oftentimes, ideas hit me at the most random and sometimes inconvenient times, so it’s important that I keep my journal with me to capture those ideas. I DO sleep with my journal on my nightstand and have had a few instances where I woke up at 2am with an idea and wrote it down. 

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When I was living in Spain this summer, I began going on walks around 9pm, my journal in tow. The sun didn’t set until 9:30pm or so, and I was most definitely inspired by the beauty of nature. I lived in Alicante, a beach city, so I’d go to a more quiet area by the beach (avoiding the huge touristy area) and sit on a bench to take in the scenery. Sometimes I’d write down something to move my story forward, sometimes I’d journal about general life reflections, or sometimes I’d simply sit there and let my mind wander. That routine actually helped me to write so much more this year than ever before, and I think it’s important to remember that quiet reflection can be more productive than we realize. 

And, of course, I read a lot. Since I am also an editor, I read for work besides reading for pleasure. This year alone, I have edited 12 books, in addition to reading 30+ for fun. I read AND edit in several different genres, and my brain soaks up everything. Though I can always improve, I have definitely developed a writers’ coach sort of mentality, and I can spot what makes a story great–and what makes it a flop. Because of this, I am that much more nit picky about my writing, and catch so much when I edit my own works.

Tag, you’re it!

http://robinwoodsfiction.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/robinwoods.jpgYoung adult fiction writer, Robin Woods, was born and raised in San Jose, CA where she earned a BA in English and a MA in Education from local universities. In addition to writing, Robin has been teaching high school English for close to two decades. Her love of working with teenagers and her love of books inspired her to begin writing in the teen genre.
 
Robin’s love affair with vampire lore began at age eight when she was mesmerized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. She took advantage of her summers off and traveled all over Europe; she even managed to find herself in one of Vlad Dracul’s castles in Romania. She escaped unharmed.
 
When she is not torturing her high school English students or chasing her two small children around, she is sitting in a local coffee shop wondering how vampires like their lattes.

 

IMG_1577.JPGBrea Essex is a wife, mom, YA/NA author, recovering soda addict, and wannabe pop star (but only in her own home). She is owned by several cats, and one cat-dog. Her books, Foreshadow and Overshadow, Book One and Two of The Shadow Imperium Trilogy, and Ouroboros, Book One of The Seven Relics Saga, are available now on major outlets.