New Adult Month: Music in the Serendipity Series

Music in the Serendipity Series

I’ve always been a music lover. There’s a magic that happens when I listen to a song with a driving beat and perfect lyrics. I bond with the singer and catch the song’s mood. As I write, a great song inspires me to make a scene come to life.

Music plays a vital role in my New Adult Serendipity series. In the first book, Chasing Luck, heroine Malerie is a podcaster with a show called Rock Universe. She co-hosts the show with an online friend, and they interview new bands. She and her friend, Collin, have their big break with a very popular band called Jelly Bean Queen.

Coincidentally, Jelly Bean Queen (JBQ) is Malerie’s favorite band in the world. Their music helps her to cope with her PTSD. She recites JBQ lyrics when she needs a focus and a calming mechanism. 

As the stars align—as they sometimes do—it was lucky that Jelly Bean Queen met Malerie and Collin.

In creating Jelly Bean Queen, I knew I needed to give the reader a feel for their music through words. So, I inserted song lyrics from the band at the beginning of each chapter of Chasing Luck. These lyrics lend a mood to each chapter and were one of my favorite parts of writing the book. 

In the second book of the series, Tempting Fate, Jelly Bean Queen is still present. This book features Collin. In addition to being a podcaster, Collin is the webmaster for Jelly Bean Queen’s fan site. 

This isn’t a rock and roll series, but music plays a part in the lives of the characters. Malerie (Chasing Luck) and Collin (Tempting Fate) have a great love for Jelly Bean Queen.  Do you have a band that influences your life?

Tempting Fate by Brinda Berry 

(A Serendipity Novel #2) 
Publication date: October 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

When two worlds collide, it can only be fate. 

Collin knows trouble when he sees it. A beautiful girl crashing into his car? She should be flashing a neon DANGER sign. He knows better than to get involved with a fresh-faced babe who could break his already-tattered heart. After graduating from college, he's on track to start over in a new place. He's discovering what he wants from life, away from the shadow of his overbearing father and the betrayal of his cheating ex-fiancé. 

Veronica's home life morphs from trailer park to homeless after a bloody fight between her brother and her ex. She's on the run from a situation that promises to be deadly. Without a home, money, or friends, she's at Collin's mercy. 

Fate brought them together. Will a secret from her past tear them apart?

On Amazon   /   B&N   /   Kobo    /   iBooks   /   Scribd    /   Page Foundry   

Chasing Luck By Brinda Berry

(a Serendipity novel #1)
Publication Date April 30, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense

Sometimes surviving doesn’t feel lucky. Especially when you’re a sole survivor... 

At the age of seven, Malerie walked away from a bombing that left hundreds dead—including her mother. When a crazed gunman kills her guardian on her eighteenth birthday, Malerie suspects there may be more to her survival than luck. A mysterious code holds the key to her future, and a reluctant white knight holds the key to her heart.   

A loner wearing emotional armor… 
Ace is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur focusing on two things in life: financial security and a life without ties. A life that doesn't risk losing the ones who matter. When Ace is hired to secretly act as a bodyguard for Malerie, he faces an unwanted attraction that threatens to sabotage his heart. Can Ace find the courage to love a girl with a death wish?

On AMAZON /  KOBO  /  B&N   /   iBOOKS   /   Scribd

Brinda Berry Bio:

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason. 

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Raine Thomas's Rise of the Faire Amanti, Pre-order today!


Stranded in the desolate Dark Lands, Kyr and Ty share a bittersweet reunion. Alametria lies on the brink of darkness. Their people are still reeling, believing she’s dead at Ty’s hands. With no other choice, many have turned to the Guardians and Advisor Vycor for guidance, never suspecting they’re being led to slaughter.

Kyr and Ty encounter overwhelming challenges in their fight to save their people: a deadly environment, murderous Marauders, and powerful protections preventing them from reaching the palace. When the journey itself could mean their deaths, the one thing that keeps them going is the thought of bringing VycorDane to justice.

Facing a battle on multiple fronts, lacking resources, and significantly outnumbered, Kyr and Ty must rely on each other in the race to save their planet. Will they beat the odds and restore peace to Alametria…or will Vycor’s evil destroy them all?

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Author Bio
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She's a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn't writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida's beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

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Xpresso Book Tours: Fissure

This week Fissure is on Tour with Xpresso Book Tours, you can check out the stops here: And you can also enter this International Giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Adult Month: Guest Post by Stormy Smith, author of Bound by Duty

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to 350 7th graders at a local elementary school. I really had no idea what the conversations would be like across the three class periods, but it was fascinating to engage with them and to hear the questions they asked me about the process of writing a book.

I’ll preface with the fact that while I’ve had a love affair with words my whole life, I never really thought I would write a book. And then one day, the story was just there. Bound by Duty (originally titled Duty Bound in my epiphany moment) showed up out of nowhere. Amelia and Aidan were standing inside my head, showing me their faces and telling me their stories. The kids wanted to know how I came up with the idea, how I decided what they looked like and sounded like, and random things like why they went to community college instead of a university?

The strangest part was that as I stood there, all of them looking at me expectantly for wise answers, I realized that I didn’t really have them — because writing a book is not an act of imagination that you are allowed to direct. You aren’t allowed to stand at the front, the conductor to these characters’ lives and decide who and what they’ll be. They already know who they are and they know the story that needs told. As an author, if you try to decide their story, all you’ll end up with is a blinking cursor and a blank page.

So, I told the kids the truth. That initially I didn’t trust myself as an author (I had never been one, after all) and my characters looked and acted like people in my life. Amelia has my build and sarcasm, Aidan’s mannerisms resemble my husband and Bethany is a combination of all the best parts of my best friends throughout life. But as I wrote and rewrote, edited and rewrote some more, it got to a point where they changed. They evolved into themselves because I listened to their stories. I felt their emotions. I cried with them, and for them, as I wrote the hard parts of what they faced.
I told the kids that I was proud that Amelia was real and relatable. Some people review Bound by Duty and are annoyed with her waffling and emotional outbursts. They hate her impulsiveness. But I love it, because that’s what 18-year-olds do. They are unsure and sometimes selfish. They make decisions rashly and depend on those around them to help direct their path even though they claim to be adults. Looking back on your college years, I’m sure you can relate more to Amelia than you want to admit. J

Aidan is cocky and sure of himself. He’s charming and you can’t help but be drawn to him. But he’s broken. He hides the depths of his emotion and fear just like most men do, especially at 18. You can learn more about Aidan in his alternate POV on my website, and more is to come as he alternates POV chapters with Amelia in book two of the series (Bound by Spells).

The themes in Bound by Duty are a change from a lot of the YA/NA story lines that are popular right now. I refused to tell a story where the main struggle the heroine faced was a choice between two boys. While Amelia makes mistakes, she learns from them and grows with them. I wanted girls and women to read BBD and relate to the fact that family and friendship can change us and mold us in just as important of ways as love. Amelia is betrothed, but she hasn’t met the prince. She wants Aidan but she isn’t head over heels in love with him. While there is a boy at each end of the spectrum, her real choice is the life she wants versus the destiny that’s been handed down to her.

I left that day, after answering no less than fifty questions from the kids, feeling even more confident as an author. I realized that I do trust myself now. I trust that my mind will give my characters the freedom to tell me their story, to show me who they will become as my series continues and to help me articulate that story in a way that captivates readers and makes them want more. Bound by Duty has been out just over three months and at ten weeks spent four days at number one on Amazon’s New Adult and College Fantasy best-sellers list. It has over 80 reviews, averaging 4.7 on Amazon. Every day I’m blessed to receive more messages of excitement and encouragement as I work on Bound by Spells and every day I send up a “thank you” for whatever unlocked the part of my brain that allows me this gift.

Book(s): Bound by Duty (Bound Series, Book One)
Release Date:  July 24, 2014

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, and Paranormal

Bio: Stormy Smith calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly that stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn’t be stopped. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.

Sites where your book can be purchased: Amazon (affiliate link)

Synopsis: Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an Elder, but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control, but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and doesn't even know his name.

Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky southern girl, or fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is, not what she will become.

As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head win the battle, or her heart?

Excerpt: Bound by Duty - Prologue

Her stark white hair fell down around her face. For the first time in one hundred years it wasn’t pulled back in a waist-length braid. Her crimson robes were torn and stained. She bit back a groan, her lips a tight line as the pain ripped through her once again. The invisible knife raked its way up her back as wounds no one could see flayed her skin and weakened her resolve. It had been days of this and she wasn’t sure if she could continue. As she looked up and met the queen’s eyes, Lavignia pushed the anger down and forced compassion to rise yet again.

“What is it you hope to learn, Julia? What is it you think you have to gain from all of this?” she asked weakly as she tugged on the restraints that kept her tethered to the heavy wooden chair. Her power was already weak when the Hunters had found her, and the enchanted chamber had dampened what remained to a tiny flame.

The room was dark, but the sun was slowly rising. An orange and pink glow filtered through the small window above Julia’s head. The colorful rays that should have resembled hope of a new day only shed light on the reality that Lavignia would never leave this room alive.

Julia stepped from the shadows and walked slowly toward Lavignia. She stopped and crouched down, putting herself at eye level.

“Oh, Livvy, dear. Don’t do that,” she said, her tone patronizing as her ice crystal eyes narrowed. “Don’t pretend you can still look down on me from your Elder tower. Don’t pretend you can utter your polite words and suddenly I’ll remember who you are versus who I am. I know exactly who I am. I am the one who rules them all. I am the one they will bow down to and worship. I am the Queen. Not you. Or your sisters. Your time is done.”

She looked back over her shoulder to the Hunter who stood in the still dark corner of the room and nodded. The Hunter’s eyes burned bright orange as Lavignia’s screams echoed off the walls. Julia raised her hand and the screams dropped to whimpers. With that same hand, she reached out and took Lavignia’s.

“Livvy, look at me,” she commanded. Dazed, dim violet eyes struggled to focus and find hers. Julia tightened her grip, digging her scarlet nails into Lavignia’s already tender flesh, making her yelp and their eyes connect.

“Livvy, you need to tell me,” she said.  “I know you see it. You knew this day would come and you know I won’t stop until you tell me. I scoured the lands for you. I know there are others left, but they can be saved. You can save them, old friend. You just have to tell me.” Her tone was persuasive and gentle, but the frantic look that passed through her eyes told Lavignia the truth the queen couldn’t hide — she was scared.

“You won’t harm the others? You will let them live out their lives hidden and free? You will swear an oath?” Her words trailed off and Lavignia’s eyes closed, the torture of the last few days taking its toll. She could only hope the oath would keep her people safe.

She didn’t see the triumph that straightened Julia’s posture or the sneer that twisted her thin, painted lips. “Of course, my dear. I swear to you that I will not seek out and harm the remaining Elders. I swear that I will not take their freedom.”

“Your blood,” Lavignia said, her words barely audible.

Julia removed a small dirk from the folds of her skirts and repeated the words as she slid the blade down her palm. As the deep red drop hit the floor, she sent a small wave of power through to heal the wound, reveling in the knowledge that she had won.

“Now, Livvy, darling, you must tell me.” When Lavignia didn’t respond, Julia whipped back around to the still silent Hunter. “Help her. Give her what she needs. NOW!” she commanded, panic finally breaking through her controlled facade.

The Hunter flicked a wrist at Lavignia and she suddenly straightened, her eyes luminescent and shining at the welcome invasion of power that flooded her system, giving her renewed life for a few precious seconds.

With sudden clarity, she saw the future that had eluded her. She looked down on Julia with authority and pity as the words that would cement the queen’s fate fell from her lips.

“You will have your time, but it will end. She will be born to the one who got away. Inside her, the five families will merge and only a man who is both king and companion will tame the wild and set her free. She will be your undoing. She will lead them all.”

Julia reared back, Lavignia’s words not the ones she expected. Seconds later, her dirk was buried deep in Lavignia’s chest. Lavignia collapsed back against the chair, a content smile mocking the queen from her lifeless face.

Julia’s breath heaved in and out in short bursts as she turned to the Hunter. “I made an oath. You did not. Find them. Kill them all.”

New Adult Month: Heather Smith Guest Post

It all starts with an idea.

No matter how you write [outliner (plotter) or discovery writer (pantser)], every novel starts the same way—with an idea.

The story spawned from that spark of an idea won’t always end up like you expect, but without it you can’t start writing your novel.

The Devil’s Assistant started out as a light Urban Fantasy about a girl that had a job as the administrative assistant to the Devil. She had to deal with maintenance (who wants dental) and the VP of Finance who doesn’t want to deal with telling “The Boss” that the IRS wants to audit them—again. Oh, and she also had to handle “retirements” which are HR’s version of having your deal with the Devil come due.

It turned into a murder mystery, where Claire (our assistant) is framed for the murder of the Devil’s oldest hellspawn (one of his kids). She goes on a quest, has to deal with the four most dangerous hellspawn alive (more of his kids), and is apparently “the girl” in a prophecy no one has ever told her about … and did I mention she time travels to the past?

As you can see, the simple idea of the Devil’s Assistant quickly turned into a time traveling murder mystery quest adventure with a kick ass heroine and a guy that isn’t dead yet.

All in all a fairly normal day in the office :)

What’s in a name?

For many years (yes I said years) the story was titled The Devil’s Assistant. During a pitch session with an agent I proposed my top three titles for the book (to get her feedback):
-          The Devil’s Assistant
-          Hell’s Pawn
-          The Fallen Queen

I was told that “titles are subjective (yada, yada, yada), but I’ve seen the first two a lot”. Okay, so basically my title was possibly getting me rejected or over looked, because it’s just another “Devil’s Assistant” story … nothing new here. Needless to say, I changed the title.

I brainstormed possible title options, considering many factors. I created a document and put random words together to see what looked good, and what might catch someone’s eye. I then narrowed the list down to my favorite ones, then Googled and Amazon searched them. I finally decided on Dark Hope, because the only hits I got were for an album and a non-fiction book that had a really long subtitle. So I thought I was safe and went with it. The new title got noticed by a small press publisher (long story, short version, I’m no longer with them). It had a publication date set and they asked me for a series title. They liked The Devil’s Assistant, which had always been near and dear to my heart, but unfortunately isn’t very unique (there are lots of series out there with this name). I however decided to stick with the series title when I republished. The book title (Dark Hope) actually had a few more hits after publication, but it can be hard to be totally unique. There are bound to be duplicates. Oh, well, I still love it!

My book Dark Hope: The Devil’s Assistant Book 1 is available in Print, eBook, and Audio. If you’ve never tried audio, but have considered it, you should check out Amazon’s “Professional Narration” option when you buy an eBook with Whispersync. The price is usually very reasonable ($1.99 for my book when you own the eBook, the eBook is on Sale all this month for $0.99). You can listen or read from your kindle app, switching back and forth whenever you want. It’s a really cool feature.

I plan to release book 2 (still untitled) by the end of the year! I enjoyed being on the blog today, and I hope everyone enjoyed a little insight into the world of novel writing. Thanks Marilyn for inviting me to participate in your New Adult Month blog extravaganza :)

Loving a demon isn’t the end of the world—losing him is.

Book Blurb:

Claire, the Devil’s assistant, knows very little about the world she was dropped into five years ago, when she inherited her mother’s unpaid debt to the Demon King. She certainly didn’t expect to be a contender for the Fallen Queen’s throne, a target for the Druid King’s mafia, or a suspect in the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hell spawn.

In a last ditch effort to save her life and get out of her deal with the Devil, she sets out to solve Junior’s murder only to be taken prisoner by the four most dangerous immortal hell spawn alive.

Not to be out done, the Pagan Queen Mab, claims Claire for entering her realm uninvited. She has an old debt to settle with her brother the Devil. Taking Claire from him after losing her years ago is just icing on the cake.

Will Claire win her freedom, and save herself from the Devil? Or be trapped by Mab forever?

Author Bio:
HD Smith has been writing as a hobby for over ten years. DARK HOPE is her first full length novel. She has previously published two middle grade novellas in ebook format. She is a software developer by day, working for an awesome cruise line in Celebration, FL.

HD grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has Computer Science degrees from Clemson University (BS) and Florida Institute of Technology (MS). Her other hobbies include painting and screen printing. She enjoys creating t- shirts inspired by the places in her books. For more information, visit HD’s website at

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New Adult Month: Featured Author: Kristen Hope Mazzola

Kristen Hope Mazzola

New Adult Romance Author

You want to know more about me? Well, let's see...
I am just an average twenty-something following my dreams.  I have a full time "day job" and by night I am author.  I guess you could say that writing is like my super power (I always wanted one of those).  I am the lover of wine, sushi, football and the ocean; that is when I am not wrapped up in the literary world.
Please feel free to contact me to chat about my writing, books you think I'd like or just to shoot the, well you know.
A portion of all my royalties are donated to The Marcie Mazzola Foundation.
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Available Books:


Crashing Back Down (Crashing #1)

Mags McManus has just become a war widow in her mid-twenties. Her late husband, Randy, left for the Army right after their wedding. Instead of celebrating his homecoming and living in marital bliss with her soulmate, Mags finds herself living in constant agony. Dealing with the guilt of still living without Randy, are Randy's best friends and parents.
Rising from the ashes of this tragedy, Mags starts to learn how to love and trust again, finally being able to find happiness. But sometimes things really are too good to be true and again Mags learns how cruel the world can be as she crashes back down.
**18+ for sexual situations, cursing, and adult content.***

Falling Back Together (Crashing #2)

“I don't know if it’s fate, coincidence, or my curse, but I'm still breathing, and my breaths are for you.”
Mags McManus is far from a normal woman in her mid twenties. Being a war widow, a business professional, and a brokenhearted train wreck only skims the surface of the layers of who Margret McManus truly is. Waking up in a hospital bed, alone and confused, Mags once again has to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart. With her best friends by her side, Mags slowly starts to learn the answers she so desperately longs for. But is everything going to continue to spiral out of control? Or is there a light at the end of this dark, twisting tunnel where all the broken pieces can finally fall back together?
**18+ for sexual situations, cursing, and adult content.***

Coming Soon:


The Hysterics

Release Date: January 2015
Once upon a time, I was Fallon Dunbar.
Rock and roll, drugs, and bad decisions were the life I lived.
I’d fallen so deep into the dark rabbit hole that I was certain I would never make it out alive. People like me didn’t get second chances. People like me didn’t get lifted from the darkness. So when the opportunity showed up, I had to take it.
I walked away from everything I loved, everything that was killing me, and I became Fae Dunham. After that, I hid behind makeup, long sleeves, and a closed-off heart.
All was well until I met Dane Pearson. He wasn’t convinced of the new me, and whenever he was near, I felt like the old me, the real me, filled with passion and a love for music. Every day was a struggle of self-discovery. Every day was a fight to not fall back down the rabbit hole. And every day, somehow, someway, I slowly began to discover what it meant to find myself.
It was a hysteric ride, but it was ours. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

New Adult Month: Tawdra Kandle, Guest Post

One of the weird—and wonderful—things about being a writer is that a myriad of characters live in my head full time. This has always been the case, from the time I was little, but since I began publishing, it’s only gotten worse. Now that they know there’s a platform for them, they’re demanding their time in the sun. Or on the page, as it were.
            At any given time, I probably have the next five to six books I’ll write smoldering in different corners of my brain. Sometimes it’s a vague idea or character, sometimes, particularly if it’s a sequel, it’s a rough outline for a character I already know pretty well, and every once in a while, it’s a fully formed story. The Posse, an adult contemporary romance, was one of the latter. It fell neatly into my lap after I’d finished The King Series. And after I was done with The Posse, I full expected to write more books about the characters in that world.
            However, I thought the next story would involve an older character, one of Jude’s friends. I was surprised when my mind kept returning to Jude’s daughter Meghan. Meggie, as she’s called in her hometown of Crystal Cove, captured my attention because out of her whole family, she’s the only one left with an unresolved ending. Her father has passed away before The Posse begins. Her mom finds second love in the course of the book, and her brother also embarks on a new path. Meghan’s difficult at times, particularly as she comes to grips with all the changes in the lives of those around her.
            I had no idea what her story was going to look like. I knew she was an art student in Savannah, and I had the sense that she’d been restless, adrift in her life, but I didn’t know where that might lead. As it began to fall into place, and when I met Sam, I really fell in love with these two and their rather unorthodox beginning.
            I thought Meggie’s story would be classified as part of the Crystal Cove books. And then about a third of the way into their book, I realized that Sam’s sister Aly had a story, too, and it was too much for Sam and Meghan’s book. Thus was the trilogy born: The Last One, The First One and The Only One.
            Aly’s story is actually one that’s been percolating in the back of my mind for nearly ten years; I just didn’t realize who Aly was until recently. I’m excited to share it with everyone who fell in love with Sam and Meghan, and Aly and Flynn are ready to take center stage.
            But don’t worry, there’s plenty more characters just waiting in the wings.


Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone's life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan's looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun. 

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects. 

Sam Reynolds doesn't need excitement, and he doesn't want romance. Fun is out of the question. He's been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life. 

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won't be easy. Sam's tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle. 

Nobody ever said love was simple.

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Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.