Release Day! The Shadow Aspect, The Harvesting Series Book 2, & $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's release day for The Shadow Aspect!

It's been such an interesting ride for this series. I'm so pleased to finally bring this novel to you. 

Insportation comes from a lot of different places. One of the main settings in The Shadow Aspect is a college. Why? Well, in the novel you'll see just how well fortified this old college really is. I took my inspiration for this setting from somewhere I used to work. Here is a shot of me a couple of summers ago at Mercyhurst University in North East, PA:

The place where Layla ends up, Claddagh-Basel College is inspired by MNE. I love all these old colleges in the northeast, many of which were designed based on castles. Claddagh-Basel is no exception.

The Shadow Aspect has gone though a few transformations over time. To match with The Harvesting's first cover, we have a few other covers we tried, both of which were designed my Michael Hall Photography. I love the eerie feel of both of these covers. Aren't they pretty? The problem was we though they spoke to a younger audience. And there is quite a bit of steam on The Shadow Aspect, so we went with the new design from Liliana Sanches.

I hope you've been enjoying The Harvesting Series. Check out Witch Wood, which is a 2.5, coming this October! The paperback of this novel is coming soon and an audiobook is well underway too!

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The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless is FREE this week & a Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

FREE 7/14-7/18

Happy release day for Poppy Lawless! The Falling in Deep Collection, of which INK is a part, continues with this latest release!

Novella Description:

I'm the last mermaid. 

I’m back on shores of Lake Erie, but the cold waters are silent. There is nothing here for me but ghosts and the beach glass that litters the rocky shore. Long ago, I lived below the waves. Now, I am the sole survivor, and at long last, my mermaid glamour is leaving me. 

Every day, I walk the beach. Every day, I wonder what happened to my people. The little pieces of colored glass that wash ashore give me simple pleasure. They are gifts from the lake, reminders of home. I fashion them into trinkets: necklaces, earrings, bracelets. They are beautiful things. The humans seem love them. 

Every day, I walk the beach. Nothing ever changes, until the day he says hello. 


I’m dying. 

It’s not a question, it’s a fact. The cancer is eating me alive. They told me I have six months to live, maybe less. I came home, back to Chancellor on Lake Erie, to die. The sunsets are vivid there, and I will relish every one. 

I've never seen anything more beautiful than a Lake Erie sunset until I see her. 

All life is as fragile as glass. 

What would you sacrifice to save the one you love?

Sneak Peek

Chapter 1: Kate

The surf lapped over my feet, sea foam tickling my toes. It was early summer, but the lake water was still icy. I closed my eyes and felt the cool waves. In the deep of winter, when the lake would freeze, we always sheltered on one of the small islands that dotted Lake Erie. The humans in those days had called us lumpeguin. Sighing deeply, I opened my eyes and looked down at the rocky shoreline.
“There you are,” I whispered, bending to pick up a piece of green beach glass. I lifted it and looked at it in the diming sunlight. It was tear-shaped and worn smooth from its time in the water. A soft white sheen coated the green glass. That made seven green pieces, five light blue pieces, eight white pieces, and seven amber pieces. Not a bad haul. Alas, no red. I rarely found red anymore. The lake had stopped giving up her most beautiful treasures. If I wanted, I could swim down deep to the troves of wave-kissed glass. But I hadn’t been below the surface in nearly three hundred years, and I certainly wasn’t going to ruin that stretch over some sparkly bauble, even if all my customers begged for red beach glass.
I tucked the green beach glass into my satchel, pulled my long, straw-colored hair back, and then bent to pick up my sandals. I looked out at the lake. The sun was dipping below the horizon. There was nothing more glorious than a Lake Erie sunset. Shimmering shades of rosy pink, orange, and magenta illuminated the sky and reflected on the waves. Breathing in deeply, I tried to inhale the scene. The briny scent of the fresh lake water was perfumed with the lingering smell of snow and flowers. Not for the first time, I wondered what my old home looked like now. Forgotten under the waves, the eerie sea kingdom had been left to be ruled by ghosts and memories.
I sucked in a breath and turned to go. I wouldn’t cry. Mermaids’ tears were, after all, a special and rare commodity. They carried life itself, and I didn’t have much of that magical spark left in me. A single tear could spell my end, sapping out the last of the gift from the deep. No, I’d managed to live for over three hundred years. It wouldn’t do to weep over an amazing sunset, a nearly-forgotten past, nor the realization that I was truly alone. It was what it was. I couldn’t change the fact that I was the last mermaid.


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The Prologue I Axed: The Shadow Aspect's "The Clarion Call"

Monday, July 13, 2015

I'm very bad about having good ideas that seem good in my mind but don't work in reality. I learned from the fiasco with "The Parallel" at the end of the first edition of The Harvesting that too many ingredients spoil a soup. For those of you new to my tribe, the very first edition of The Harvesting included a brief story that told the zpoc event from Cricket's perspective. I knew I was telling the same story from a different POV, but that message didn't translate with every reader. I still cringe when I see bad reviews from people who have the OLD copy of the book. I learned my lesson, removed "The Parallel" from The Harvesting, and made it a proper novella as my muse really intended.

So at the beginning of The Shadow Aspect I'd originally written a Prologue titled "The Clarion Call." As my team worked on this novel, we decided it needed to go. Many thanks to Becky Stephens and Naomi Clewett for helping me make that call.

"The Clarion Call" was the backstory on Grandma Petrovich (still one of my favorite characters) and WHY she'd come to America in the first place. It's an interesting tale, but not one that needed to be part of The Shadow Aspect.

I released a version of this story more than a year ago, but I thought it was time for an update. While "The Clarion Call" isn't in The Shadow Aspect as I originally planned, you can read it here! Enjoy.

The Clarion Call

Prologue: Vasilisa

Soviet Russia, 1957

Vasilisa walked down The same path from her family’s farm to town every day for as long as she could remember. She was barely strong enough to carry the packs of freshly harvested roots and herbs when her mother tasked her with the job. But Vasilisa never complained. What was the use? Now that she was a young woman, her daily routine seemed as automated as breathing: wake, wash her face, dress, feed her younger siblings, comb out her wheat-colored tresses, and then harvest herbs to take to the distillery. Only now she could carry more. Only now her mother was dead.
With her eyes on the pebbly path below her feet, Vasilisa walked from her farm, through the field, and into the woods. It was a ten-minute walk to the road. If she was lucky, someone would give her a ride to town. If she wasn’t, it would take thirty minutes to walk there. If she was really lucky, Sasha Petrovich would drive by in his rusted truck and give her a ride. Vasilisa’s heart picked up a pace when she thought of him.
Sunlight shone through the canopy of green. Vasilisa stopped beside the old spring and took off her packs. Long ago someone had shifted the rocks to make a natural basin. She dipped her hands in the water and took a drink. The fresh spring water had a sharp, metallic taste. Vasilisa splashed water onto her face. That year the Soviets had sent a satellite into space, yet Vasilisa walked the same path her ancestors had followed for hundreds of years. She performed the same work they did in the exact same way. She knew this because they told her so. The spirits of her ancestors sometimes clustered around her so closely in the family home that she felt claustrophobic. They were a noisy bunch. Vasilisa’s grandmother, the stubborn matriarch who’d passed on her psychic gift to Vasilisa, was always the loudest. Sometimes Vasilisa felt like she was lost in time. As she dug in her pack to leave three cubes of sugar at the side of the spring, a gift for the forest spirits, she felt the crush of her discordant world: ancient and modern in one jumbled mess.
She picked up her packs and headed back toward the road. To her luck, a truck was passing just as she emerged from the woods. But it was not Sasha. Vasilisa waved, and the truck slowed. With a nod to the driver, she crawled into the back of the pickup and sat with the family dog. She dangled her feet off the back of the truck, smelling the exhaust, as the truck rumbled toward town. It didn’t take long.
Vasilisa hopped off the back of the truck as the driver slowed to let her out. She waved in thanks as the truck sped away. Vasilisa turned toward the town square but first stopped, dug into her pocket, and pulled out the only tube of lipstick she owned; it was cherry red. She twisted the gold casing, carefully applied the lipstick, and then trudged to the distillery.
The distillery was on the far end of the market square. The square was bustling in its grim, drab way. There were no longer any breadlines. That was a thing of the past, but the townspeople still looked miserable. They carried their baskets and sacks of produce, their faces blank, their feet scurrying.
The sign above the distillery door squeaked as it rocked in the wind. Its sound carried on the wind. Vasilisa pushed the door open. As usual, Yuri was in the front office laboring over heaps of papers, the room a blue haze of cigarette smoke. Crates of vodka bottles were stacked to the ceiling. The clear glass bottles twinkled in the morning light.
“Good morning,” Vasilisa said.
“Good morning,” Yuri replied absently. He didn’t even look up. Why would he? The routine had become mundane.
Vasilisa took her packs to the scale on the other side of the room. She set them down, noted the weight, and picked up the empty bags from yesterday’s delivery. The unbleached cotton bags still smelled like the anise, mint, lavender, and basil they’d carried.
“Five and a half kilos,” she told Yuri.
Yuri never looked at Vasilisa but turned to the till and started counting bills.
As he worked, Vasilisa noticed she was there again. She stood beside Yuri, watching him work. The spirit of Yuri’s sister often came around him, but she rarely spoke. Vasilisa saw her and saw through her all at once. It seemed to Vasilisa her shade seemed cloudier today, her facial figures less distinct than they had been on other days.
The shade looked at Vasilisa. “Tell him to stop smoking,” she said then dissipated back into the ether, her cloudy, spiritual form slowly fading until she was there no more.
With a nod, Yuri handed Vasilisa her pay. He was about to go back to his work when Vasilisa asked, “Can I have a cigarette?”
He shrugged. “Sure,” he said, and quickly rolled a cigarette for her. His tin and papers had been sitting open on his desk.
“I think you smoke too much,” Vasilisa told him as she set the cigarette between her lips.
Yuri leaned in and lit the cigarette.
“You’re probably right,” he replied with a nod. “Drink?” he asked then, looking Vasilisa over as he sometimes did when he stopped long enough to pay attention to her.
Vasilisa waved her hand. “Tu-tu-tu, it’s early.”
“It’s never too early.”
She shrugged. “See you tomorrow.”
Yuri nodded and turned back to his work.
Vasilisa crossed the street to the grocer. In the small, cramped shop, she went to the metal cooler and pulled out a chilled Coca-Cola. The cold glass bottle made her hands throb with chill. She popped the metal lid off the bottle, dropped some coins on the counter, and then headed outside. She leaned against the building. Tapping her heal into the ground, she finished off the cigarette and waited. After thirty minutes, Sasha still had not come. Maybe he had gone to the city. Vasilisa sighed. It was time to go back. She knew the little ones would be waiting. Her father would already be working in the field. She left the town center and headed back to the road.
She’d been walking for ten minutes when she heard the familiar purr of Sasha’s truck. She grinned involuntarily. As the truck pulled alongside her, she dropped her smile and tried to look annoyed.
“I’m late. I know,” Sasha said as he leaned across the truck’s cab and opened the door.
Vasilisa gave him a serious look.
“Come on, beauty. I’m sorry. The truck wouldn’t start.”
Vasilisa sighed and got in, pulling the truck door behind her with a heave. She slid across the seat and nestled under Sasha’s arm.
“I thought maybe your mother had you visiting Irina again.”
“My mother knows I have eyes only for Vasilisa.”
“That doesn’t mean she cares.”
Sasha shrugged. They rode in silence, soaking in each other’s presence, until Sasha pulled the truck into the small alcove at the forest path leading back to Vasilisa’s farm.
“Your father should clear a road. I could drive you all the way to the house.”
“We prefer it like this.”
“We?” Sasha looked closely at Vasilisa. He reached out and touched her pouty lips, the lipstick now faded. He stared deeply into her green eyes. “Well, it does provide privacy, doesn’t it?”
Vasilisa smiled knowingly then turned and slid onto Sasha’s lap. They kissed with desperation. Their time together could only be brief. Most of their moments were stolen. Vasilisa slid her hands around Sasha’s neck and kissed him desperately. His lips were warm and his mouth tasted like raw sugar. The sharp scent of milled soap perfumed his freshly-washed skin. Vasilisa nestled her head into the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply, then sighed.
“I won’t be late tomorrow, my love,” he whispered in her ear.
“Good. Don’t be,” she said with mock firmness then kissed him quickly. She slid off his lap onto the seat, angled the rearview mirror to catch her reflection, and then smoothed her hair. Wordlessly, she kissed Sasha one more time then got out of the truck.
Sasha sighed heavily. “Be careful,” he called, gazing toward the forest.
Vasilisa laughed, waved, and then turned toward home. As she receded into the forest, she heard Sasha’s truck maneuver onto the road. She listened as he drove off.
With the taste of her lover’s mouth still ripe on her lips, Vasilisa walked happily through the woods, planning her chores for the day, savoring her memories of Sasha. She stopped once more at the spring. She took her time washing off the lipstick and drinking the clear water. Vasilisa was so lost in her thoughts that when hear ears started to buzz, her head ring, she was surprised. Dreaming of Sasha, she hadn’t even heard the other person join her at the spring, not as if they ever made any noise. Vasilisa stiffened and looked up. An old woman stood at the side of the spring and was looking intently at Vasilisa. Her clothing, no more than tattered black rags, brushed the ground. Her hair was long, gray, and matted. Her face, however, hinted that she’d once been beautiful, even though she was now very old. Her dark blue eyes studied Vasilisa.
Vasilisa knew she was in trouble. This was not one of the departed. She was one of those from the otherworld. The woman travelled through the thin places, coming from the other realm, to join Vasilisa. Cautiously, Vasilisa leaned toward the spring and lifted the copper cup that dangled there. She dipped the cup into the water and offered the drink to the stranger.
“This spring is older than your town,” the woman commented wryly, taking the cup from Vasilisa’s hand. “But the water is still fresh—unlike the rest of your world.”
Using her peripheral vision, Vasilisa eyed the old woman over. This was no common spirit, rusalka, or leshi. Though she wore the clothes of a beggar, the woman’s stern authority, power, and presence made her identity obvious. There was not one child in Russia who didn’t know the name of the wise woman of the forest, the name of the powerful and terrible Baba Yaga. And Vasilisa knew, without a doubt, that it was this ancient matriarch who was staring at her. What did the ancient one want from her? How many lusty leshi men had Vasilisa turned away since she learned to recognize the other beings in our world? How many near misses had she had with the dark fiends of the night? But Baba Yaga was something different, something rare and powerful.
The old woman took a sip then handed the cup back to Vasilisa.
“You must leave Mother Russia and go to America,” Baba Yaga said then.
The randomness of the directive startled Vasilisa so much that she stared Baba Yaga in the face. The ancient matriarch’s hard gaze told her that this was not a debate. It was a command.
“Why?” Vasilisa asked.
The old woman laughed.
Vasilisa’s cheeks reddened. The moment the word left her mouth she knew she should have taken a more respectful tone. But the United States? She and Sasha had talked about going to America, about starting a new life there, but to leave Soviet Russia was difficult and relations between the United States and the Soviets were not good. She also had her family to consider.
“Because you must,” Baba Yaga said seriously.
“Because you said so?”
“You question me?” Baba Yaga replied, her tone precariously balanced somewhere between warning and amusement.
Vasilisa shrugged. “One should never follow blindly.”
Baba Yaga seemed to like this answer. “If you value life, if you value the heart that beats within you, the blood in your veins, then you will go. You will be needed, and you must go to America to fulfill your role.”
Every hair on the back of Vasilisa’s neck had risen, and her skin chilled. “But, I have a life here, Sasha . . .”
“What matters is that you go to America.”
“For my important role,” Vasilisa replied smartly, but this time she saw that Baba Yaga was losing her patience.
The old woman’s lips curled. “No more questions. If you can really see, you will know I am right.”
Behind them, a flock of crows cawed, fighting one another over the remains of an animal carcass lying on the forest floor. Vasilisa turned to look. When she turned back, Baba Yaga was gone.
Vasilisa sat down on the ground beside the spring. She rested her head on the cool stones. Her heart was beating wildly. Could she trust the word of the ancient matriarch? Could she trust the witch in the forest they had all grown up to fear? Surely Baba Yaga had taken pains to cross the border between the worlds, but why? And why Vasilisa? What could Vasilisa possibly do that would be so important?
She turned again to the cawing crows. They pecked and danced as they fought over the bloody carcass. With their sharp beaks, they pulled at the pulpy, blood-covered sinews of meat. Their battle looked more like ballet than argument, but their caws rang loud and long and filled the forest with their clarion call.
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Witch Wood, A Harvesting Series Novella, Coming October 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I'm so pleased to share that The Harvesting Series will include another tie-in novella, Book 2.5, with Witch Wood. Witch Wood is part of a Halloween-themed multi-author collection, The Witching Hour Collection, that will release in October. My contribution, Witch Wood, will release on October 1st. I had already planned to incorporate the character of Amelia into The Torn World, the third Harvesting book, and even knew her backstory. I'm having so much fun fleshing out this character for you to get to know in the same way I introduced Cricket in Midway.

Novella Description:

Harm none, and be ready for zombies. 

In the little town of Brighton, Amelia’s practice of Wicca makes her an outcast in school and the subject of disdain at home. But Amelia can’t change what she is. Knowing how to use herbs, see auras, and create spells comes naturally to her. Only Madame Knightly, the ancient matriarch and owner of Witch Wood Estate to whom Amelia plays caretaker, doesn’t seem to mind her conjoining. In fact, the library in the crumbling old mansion is full of old books and oddities. 

However, when modern treatments fail to make a dent in the flu outbreak sweeping the globe, those who once ridiculed her white witchcraft turn to Amelia for help. While her eucalyptus tinctures prove no more effective than western medicine, her spell-casting is another matter. The residents of Brighton soon depend on the very magic they once ridiculed to save their lives. 

The novella is available for preorder on Amazon:

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The Shadow Aspect Releases 7/15! How about a Sneak Peek?

Friday, July 10, 2015

With the release of The Shadow Aspect coming on the 15th, I wanted to take a moment just to say thank you to everyone who has shared this ride with me. Many of you have been waiting patiently for this book for quite awhile now, and I hope it holds up to your expectations. If y'all could just expect it to really suck so then you're super suprised and pleased when it doesn't, that would be a HUGE burden off me... just sayin'...and just kidding :) Expect some BIG twists and turns, greater insight into the other-world creatures roaming around, and, of course, zombies. Thank you so much for coming along on this ride with me.

As a thanks, how about a sneak peek of Chapter 1? It's kinda EPIC. :)

Just a warning...the are some MAJOR events in Chapter 1. I won't spoil anything else from the book, but Chapter 1 sets the stage for the entire novel. Just sayin' :)

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Release Blitz: How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes, The Falling in Deep Collection

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Novel Description:

All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.

So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.

Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.

Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.

About the Author:

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at and she'll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.


1.       Below is a list of songs that I listened to while writing How to be a Mermaid. Each of these songs helped to get me into the right mindset in order to pretend that I was a mermaid!
2.       Go – Grimes featuring Blood Diamonds
3.       Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
4.       Never Let Me Go – Florence and the Machine
5.       What the Water Gave Me – Florence and the Machine
6.       Start a Riot – Jetta
7.       Believe – Mumford and Sons
8.       I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons
9.       Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men
10.    Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
11.    Part of Your World – Jodi Benson from The Little Mermaid ß No mermaid soundtrack would be complete without that song!

Giveaway Time!

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Just Couldn't Put it Down July Blog Hop

Saturday, July 4, 2015

It's July and summer reading in my house is well underway. I've been reading my kids Russian fairy tales all summer (Grandma Petrovich would be proud) and I've been reading all things mermaid! One of my forages afield this summer was to read a work by another steampunk author dipping their toe in zombies. I was so delighted to read Ella the Slayer by AW Exley. I read it all in one sitting! Look at this lovely cover.

Here is the Blurb:

Ella is an Edwardian Cinderella with an undead problem.

The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks. Except it wasn't flu, and death gave them back.

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Vermin they're called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella's world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.

Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office -- to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn't expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.

Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society's boundaries, Ella could lose everything - home, head and her heart...

My Review:

A great zombie twist on a classic fairy tale! I really adored this genre mash-up. Exley is a master at writing engaging characters, well-developed worlds, and incorporating vivid description. This was a fun play on zombies and the cinder-girl story. The setting added an entirely new flavor to this classic work. The depiction of zombies in the story was well done, and Exley did an excellent job giving depth to the "walking dead" mystery. I loved how she wove Celtic myth into the story. Ella is a lovable character, her "prince charming" is swoon-worthy, and her minor characters are well-drawn and engaging. The "dance" at the end of the book was my favorite part. Another wonderful book from this talented author.

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Christmas in July! Chasing Christmas Past FREE July 1st-5th

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hi everyone!

I'm not quite sure if I love on the sun or in Florida these days so I decided to throw a Christmas in July celebration! Through the 5th, you can catch Chasing Christmas Past (steampunk romantic adventure), my Airship Racing Chronicles short story, FREE!!

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