Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lovely Fan Art

I know most writers say it, but in my case it's absolutely true: I have the best readers in the world! Here's just  piece of the proof. One of my sweet readers from Mexico, Karime Andrade sent me this amazing fan art she's drawn of a scene from Geek Girl. I absolutely adore it. Not only is she crazy talented (she's only 12!), the fact that she felt strongly enough about the story to take the time to create fan art makes me grin like a fool. I love that she captured the spirit of both Jen and Trev. I'm sharing with you not only the art, but the scene from which she takes it. Enjoy! (I know I did.)

From Geek Girl:

He takes me to an Italian restaurant, where we are both out of place. I’m like a nightmare to the patrons as I walk in. The hostess at the front desk would turn me away if she weren’t afraid I’d cause a scene (I would). And Trevor is way too buttoned up for the chic-type clientele.
I like it. Because he is now out of his comfort zone along with me.
They seat us at a table along the back wall in a cove, partially hidden from view by draping curtains held back by a hook sticking out of the dividing wall. I know this is on purpose to hide me from the rest of their guests, but Trevor acts as if it is an honor to be sitting here.
Our server comes over, definitely looking down her nose at me. Her eyes widen a little when she sees Trevor and her eyes shift quickly back to me, and then to Trevor again in astonishment. We are an odd pair.
“Can I get you something to drink?” She directs her question to Trevor, not so desirous of looking at my offensive person again. I wonder how badly the hostess will have to pay when this particular server is finished with her shift for having seated us at one of her tables.
Trevor looks at me.
“Diet Coke?” he asks with a grin. “They have some really good Italian sodas, too. I like the strawberry one.”
I almost smack my head at my own stupidity. Of course he’s been here before; he’s not out of his comfort zone, he’s just oblivious to how out of place he is.
“I’ll have what you’re having,” I say.
“Two strawberry Italian sodas, please.”
She doesn’t say anything, just writes the order on her pad and walks away, giving me another quick glance, sneer barely concealed.
“You’ve been here before?” I ask.
“Oh yeah, my family comes here all the time. It’s pretty good. Haven’t you ever been here?”
“Do I look like this is the kind of place I normally visit?”
He sits up even straighter, if possible.
“I’m sorry. Do you not like Italian?”
I roll my eyes at him.
“Italian is fine, Trev—Trevor. This is just a little . . . fancy, I guess.”
He looks around at the other customers as if noticing them for the first time, then back at me, taking in my black and red hair, heavy makeup, tight black clothes.
“Oh. Sorry. I guess I’ve just gotten used to . . .” he trails off, flustered, looking away. “Do you want to leave? Go somewhere else?”
I have to admit I’m a little surprised; I’ve never been on a date where my discomfort was worth consideration.
“Nah, it’s okay. It smells good. Besides, it’ll give all these people something to go home and talk about. The freak they saw at dinner.”
“You’re not a freak.” His denial is immediate, unexpected.
"What makes you think I'm referring to me?"
He freezes, cheeks darkening with embarrassment, and I smile at him, let him off the hook.
"Just kidding, Trev. You really need to relax a little." He forgets to correct my shortened version of his name. I lean forward. Subconsciously he does the same.
“So, really, Trevor? You don’t think I’m a freak at all?”
“No.” He sounds sincere anyway.
“And before you met me? Did you then?”
He shakes his head. At my lifted brow, he explains himself.
“No, not a freak. I mean, obviously I can’t go to school and not notice you and your friends because you all dress a little differently.”
“A little differently?”
He smiles with his killer dimples and I find myself wondering why girls aren’t all over those.
“Okay, a lot differently, especially with, you know, the makeup and all. And the piercings. But you don’t have any of those.”
“Not that you can see, anyway.” I say this low, seductively. The effect on him is immediate. His eyes drop a quick perusal over my body and I can see his mind clicking, wondering just where those piercings might be. I decide to let him fantasize and not burst his fantasy by telling him the truth; currently I am pierce-free—or at least jewelry free. I suppose the holes are still there.
After a few minutes, he swallows the lump in his throat and squeaks out, “Oh.”
I can’t help it, I laugh. His eyes meet mine, and he smiles slightly.
“Are you teasing me?” I just shrug—and leave him hanging, counting on his ever present courteousness to stop him from asking again.
The rude waitress comes back to take our order. I change my mind purposely three times so that she has to keep scratching it out on her pad, only to wind up back at the first thing I ordered. Trevor watches, eyes scrutinizing, recognizing that I am doing this on purpose. Then, to my utter amazement, he follows suit and changes his four times. By the time he’s finished, she is vibrant with irritation. As she walks away, Trevor looks at me and grins.
“She deserved that,” he says.
“Yeah, but I can’t believe you did it.”
He shrugs, then looks at the table, chagrined, drawing an imaginary pattern with one long finger. “I’ll leave her an extra tip to make up for it,” he mumbles.
I laugh again, and he grins, peeking up at me from under what I notice are incredibly long lashes covering an amazing shade of green. Huh, I think. I haven’t noticed his eyes before. They’re not bad. Kinda nice, actually. Almost killer.
After dinner, which he insists on paying for—lucky for me since I'm short on cash—he drives me home, walking me to the door. It almost feels like a real date, which suits me just fine. It’s important to my goal for him to start thinking of me as something other than a strange acquaintance.
“Did you have fun tonight at the Senior Center?”
“Oddly enough, I kind of did,” I tell him. “The whole night was fun. Maybe next weekend we can—”
My words are cut off as my foster mother pulls the door open. She seems surprised to see us there.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you two were out here. I was just going to go for a walk.” Which I know is true because she goes almost every night—sans the straw hat—always trying to drag me along. Exercising is not the way I want to spend my evenings. Neither do I want to spend that much time hanging with her.
“Hi, Mrs. Grant. How are you?” Trevor asks.
“I’m fine, Trevor. Did you two have fun tonight?”
Trevor looks at me, as if expecting me to answer. I shrug.
“Yeah, we did,” he says.
“Good, good,” is her inane response. “Do you want me to wait for you Jen? You can walk with me.”
I give her my normal response, which is a look that says you’re kidding, right? She translates correctly.
“All right, I’ll be back soon, then. Bye.”
“Bye, Mrs. Grant,” Trevor says. I remain silent. She walks to the end of the driveway and starts stretching. Could she be any lamer? But Trevor either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care. He is watching me, a question in his eyes—one I don’t want him to ask.
“I’ll see you at school next week then,” I say, turning to go into the house. He hesitates, but seeing that I’m not going to satisfy his curiosity, he sighs.
“Okay, see you later,” he says. “And thanks for coming. I’m really glad you did.”
I want to scream at his politeness, but instead I turn back, the little secretive smile that flusters him pasted firmly on my face.
“Me too,” I say quietly, closing the door on his darkening eyes.
It is going well.

Want to read more? Get your copy of Geek Girl today.

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“Think I could turn that boy bad?”
My two best friends--my only two friends, really--follow my gaze and laugh.
“Trevor Hoffman?” Beth scoffs. “No way, Jen.”
“I bet I could,” I say, shrugging.
“Why him?” Beth asks. “Why not any of the other nerds sitting there with him?”
“Because,” I say slowly, “he isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill geek. Trevor Hoffman is different. He would be a little more difficult to take down--more of a challenge, you know?”

Jen’s teenage life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice geek, into a “bad boy.” Unexpectedly, she is pulled into Trevor’s world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even--ugh!--bowling. Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn't so bad after all. But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Willem of the Tafel


In conjunction with the release of his new novel, Swedish author Hans M Hirschi stopped by today to share an excerpt from the book, and he's written a guest post about his take on faith in an apocalyptic future.

Faith in the 26th Century
Hans M Hirschi

Faith doesnt play a major role in Willem of the Tafel, but I realize it plays a major role in society, so I had to consider what faith might look like in the future. What we typically see is faiths change as leaders change, as societys change, particularly when those changes are of a radical nature. If you look at Europe, weve seen faiths change quite a few times in the past few thousand years. In the bronze age, which came later the further north you go, peoples faith revolved around mother nature, the sun and the moon. It was then replaced by mighty and powerful gods, inspired by similar beliefs in the middle east. From Greeces Zeus to Romes  to the Germanic Oden, which were powerful and lively way past the first millennia in Northern Europe. It was followed by Catholicism which reached different parts of Europe in the second half of the first millennia, often made official when kings converted. Then came Protestantism and millions and millions of Europeans changed faith again, sometimes back and forth, at the whim of the ruler in place. Also, Islam spread across Europe (e.g. Spain, South-Eastern Europe), through conquests and - most recently, through migration, just as judaism once had. These days you can add atheism and any world religion into the mix.
So what would happen, if tragedy struck, and we lost everything? Would people still cling to their faith? This is a difficult question, and I suggest they do not. It is difficult to know of course, as societies generally tend to become more religious in perilous times, but I still believe that an event of such horrendous proportions would undoubtedly lead to significant changes. How could e.g. catholicism survive without Rome? Or Islam without Mecca or Medina?

In the greater context of Willem of the Tafel, peoples faith, as strong and steadfast as it may be, doesnt play a significant role as it doesnt really add to telling the story. However, as an author writing a society that does not yet exist, I still had to figure out how people in the 26th century might lead their lives. This is but one tiny example of a very important aspect of our everyday life that didnt make it into the book.


Willem of the Tafel by
Hans M. Hirschi
Published by
Beaten Track Publishing
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, LGBT, Post-Dystopian, Young Adult
194 pages
Release Date: May 28, 2015

The world we know is gone, destroyed by greed and ignorance. On a post-apocalyptic Earth, centuries into the future, few have survived the Great War. Some have taken refuge deep inside a mountain. One of them, Willem, is exiled to the surface... Alone and struggling to survive, Willem embarks on an epic journey, making a discovery that could once again alter the future of humanity. Willem of the Tafel is an epic tale of survival, second chances, hope, and undying love.

Crime was virtually unknown to Tafel society: there was no police force, no one to guard Willem. He was accompanied to the surface by an elder from each of the three main groups, and an engineer to operate the main door, which hadn’t been opened in over two centuries, although it was regularly maintained, just in case. No one really knew what awaited Willem on the other side of that concrete and steel door. Opening it was the most difficult task. It had rusted shut and resisted the guards’ strenuous efforts. Willem didn’t put up a fight or resist; he simply watched as the guards struggled on. He had accepted his sentence with equanimity. Even if he’d been acquitted, he knew that he would still have been considered guilty by the population and shunned by them, at best. Willem didn’t want to die; he wanted to live, wanted to see the sun, wanted to lie naked in the warm light that tanned his skin, wanted to enjoy life like anyone his age. But that wasn’t to be, so he accepted the situation as it was.

He stiffened slightly, as the door finally moved, and a whiff of the outside air reached his nostrils. The others had put on their masks to protect themselves from the radiation and pollutants in the air, and Willem instinctively held his breath, his last one ever…

Check out the trailer for Willem of the Tafel




Follow the Willem of the Tafel Virtual book tour here


Hans M Hirschi (b. 1967) has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life efficiently put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years. A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world and had previously published non-fictional titles.

The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to unleash his creative writing once again. With little influence over his brain’s creative workings, he indulges it, going with the flow.

A deeply rooted passion for faith in a better world, in love, tolerance and diversity are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work. His novels might best be described as “literary romance, engaging characters and relevant stories that won’t leave you untouched, but hopeful.”
Hans is a proud member of the Swedish Writers’ Union and the Writers’ Center in Sweden.


The giveaway for Willem of the Tafel has 11 randomly chosen winners; 10 will receive $15 Gift codes to the author's shop, but the grand prize winner will receive a free ticket to GayRomLit retreat 2015, in San Diego, CA, happening October 15-18th, 2015. Ticket value is $175, but if you win the grand prize, you're responsible for travel and accommodations. Please notify the author in advance should you win and be unable to attend, so we can choose another recipient to enjoy the prize!

Good luck and happy reading and winning!
Willem of the Tafel Tour brought to you by...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Romance

#1 Bestselling Authors of Christmas in Snow Valley, have teamed up again with six wonderful summer novellas that are sure to make your summer sweet and sassy!

Excerpt from: Tin Foil Tiaras
A Snow Valley Romance

By Jeanette Lewis
(All rights reserved)

Careful of the mud,” he said, pointing at the low spot ahead where water had pooled, creating a large mud puddle across the trail.
The banks on either side of the puddle weren’t high, but they were steep and covered with long grass. Annalisa and Josh were picking their way along the edge and Cameron could see the mud creeping up over the soles of their shoes.
“I’ll be so ticked if I ruin these,” she moaned, holding out a sequin-clad foot.
“You and your shoes,” Kyle said with a light chuckle. He turned his back. “C’mon, I’ll piggyback you.”
“Ah …” He was much bigger than she was and he was obviously strong, but she’d always been self-conscious about not being a stick.
“What’s wrong, afraid I’ll drop you?” he teased.
“No, but I’m not exactly light …”
“Oh brother,” he bent his knees and held his arms out to his sides. “C’mon, jump.”
Her throat felt dry as she put her arms on his shoulders and gave a small leap. His hands clamped behind her knees as he straightened, seemingly without any effort.
“Hold on,” he instructed.
Cameron didn’t need to be told. She wrapped her arms around his neck, careful not to choke him. His hair tickled her nose and smelled like shampoo and his shoulders were warm and muscled under her arms.
Kyle maneuvered around the mud and she prepared for him to stop and set her down, but he didn’t. He kept going, walking easily down the trail with her on his back.
“Uh … you can put me down now,” she finally said.
“Yeah, I could,” he agreed … and kept walking.
“We’re over the mud, thank you very much,” she didn’t really want him to put her down, but it seemed polite to suggest it.
“Okay,” he said … and kept walking.
“Now you’re just showing off,” she muttered good-naturedly and he threw her a grin over his shoulder.
She tightened her arms slightly and her heart leapt when she felt him squeeze her knees in return.
Oh yes, taking the day off had definitely been a good idea.