Please welcome today’s Featured Author, A.J. Myers, and her novel Something Wicked. Book Two in the Mystics & Mayhem series. Check out A.J.’s fantastic post on writing YA Paranormal Romance, and exclusive excerpt from Something Wicked, and enter the generous giveaway to win a messenger bag, thermal mug, and a copy of the novel!
Find It: Amazon
Welcome back to the World of Weird! I’m Ember Blaylock, and I’ll be your guide through this treacherous—sometimes downright deadly—world I call my own. Because if you thought our last trek through my reality was a rollercoaster ride, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I thought I was going to get my life back. I swore off all things witchy. I lied to everyone I cared about. I was even dealing with the nightmares that plagued me every night—souvenirs of my first foray through this not-so-wonderful world of mine. Seriously, if the World of Weird doesn’t leave you with your fair share of issues, nothing will. I really thought I could go back to being a normal senior in high school.
I was so wrong.
Between my doubts about giving my heart to my vampire boyfriend, uncovering a whole new set of secrets and lies, and seeing my old friend Jack every time I turned around, there was nothing ‘normal’ about my life.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep a girl on her toes, Moonlight, Missouri just got its very own serial killer. A real psycho who seems to think it’s fun to turn his victims into Ember clones—and this creeper isn’t working alone. He’s got help. The witchy kind. Sucks to be me, huh?
And you thought just surviving high school was tough…
“Not Another YA Paranormal Romance!”
Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot—usually said with a groan. YA paranormal romances, despite being some of the hottest sellers in books today, get this response all the time. So, how do you make yours stand out in a crowd? It’s easy. Be Different.
When I started writing the Mystics & Mayhem series, that was the goal I had in mind. I wanted something different than what I was reading—over and over again. Seriously, it was like every book I read was the same book, the only difference being that the characters’ names had changed. I’m not saying they weren’t good books, they were just way too similar.
The one thing I kept thinking again and again was that there was plenty of tension, more than enough drama, and absolutely no humor. Also, having a teenage daughter myself, I couldn’t help but see how wimpy and whiny the female protagonists were. Young women today are not waiting on Prince Charming to come save them, nor should they be. They’re perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I thought it was about time for those strong, capable, independent young ladies to be represented.
Which is how Ember Blaylock came into existence.
Of course, like most authors trying to write a different kind of novel, my first draft went a little overboard. My mentor and editor, Sara King’s, favorite thing to tell me in her comments, all in caps no less, was “SPIDERMAN VS SUPERMAN”. Sure, we all love Superman, but Spiderman—who gets his butt kicked more often than any superhero in history—is more accessible. He’s more…human. In trying to make Ember different, I had turned her into a demigod. All-powerful in 2.5 seconds—or chapters, anyway.
But as we painstakingly fleshed her character out, Ember’s flaws became the funniest aspects of the book. Is she powerful? Sure. Is she good at being powerful? Absolutely not. Is she whiny? Yep, just like every teenage girl. Is she wimpy? Hell no! I don’t think Em even knows how to be a wimp. She’s the jump in first, ask questions later kind of girl. Just like most of the teenage girls I’m privileged to know.
The point is, if you want to make it writing YA paranormal romances, you have to find a way to stand out. In most of the reviews of the first book in the series, Something Witchy, got on Amazon, the fact that it was different was commented on the most. Yeah, it had the drama and tension and romance fans of the genre were looking for, but it was also hilarious. That’s what made it different. That’s what you have to look at when you’re writing for the YA genre—or for any genre, really.
Therefore, my advice is this: Don’t be afraid to be different. You never know what kind of trend you might start by not following the crowd!
Those girls, I thought, my chest tightening even more as a tidal wave of fresh guilt hit me. They died in my place. They died because of me.
“It’s not your fault, baby,” Nathan said quietly, sounding as miserable as I felt. “It’s not, Em.”
“It is,” I whispered as a tear rolled down my cheek. “They’re dead because I wasn’t strong enough to get rid of him!”
With a sad sigh, Nathan walked over and wrapped his arms around me, tucking my head under his chin. I let the tears fall then, tears of anger and sadness and a frustration that ran so deep I could feel it in my bones. I let him comfort me because I knew he needed it as much as I did. I let him wrap me up in his scent, breathing it in deeply to help ease my aching conscience and my worried thoughts. I leaned on his strength, wishing I could borrow just a little of it.
“We have to call Shea, Em,” Nathan said softly when he thought I was calm enough to be reasonable.
I tensed against him and bit my lip to keep from saying something I wouldn’t really mean. Grams and I hadn’t exactly parted on good terms when she left for Washington. After banishing the body of one of my best friends, I had sworn off all things witchy. Grams had begged, pleaded, and even tried to bribe me into reconsidering, but I had refused to even hear her out. Finally, in a fit of temper, she had packed her things and gone home. Her parting words hadn’t been lost on me, however.
“Deny your heritage all you want, Ember Leigh,” she had told me, giving me one of the piercing glares she was so well known for, “but mark my words, a day will come when you can’t run from yourself any longer. When that time comes, I will be waiting.”
From where I was standing, it looked like that day was coming sooner rather than later.
“Fine, call her,” I agreed finally—albeit grudgingly. “When you do, though, tell her I’m really not in the mood to hear her say I told you so.”
“Noted,” he said with a slight smile, dropping a kiss on top of my head.
I sank onto the stool next to me as he walked out of the kitchen, his phone already pressed to his ear. When I was sure he was gone, I folded my arms on the counter and laid my head on top of them. I closed my eyes and tried to center myself the way Grams had taught me to, but I shouldn’t have wasted my time. As confused and overwhelmed as I felt, my center was probably in the bottom of the Pacific or something.
“If I could just find him,” I whispered to myself. “If I could find him, I could stop him before he hurts anyone else. I have to stop him.”
“Good luck with that, babe,” a familiar voice said sarcastically just as a blast of freezing cold air hit me, causing me to shiver.
I lifted my head to find my least favorite ghost—ever—leaning against the counter across from me, smoothing out his orange-streaked hair. I narrowed my eyes at him, but Snake just shrugged, causing the chains on his leather jacket to jingle.
“To what do I owe the pleasure, Snake?” I asked with a sigh, leaning back on my stool and crossing my arms over my chest—more to keep warm than to be intimidating.
“Aw, Ember! You know I love to watch you wallow in self-pity,” he quipped with a grin, hopping up to sit on the counter behind him. “You’re my sole form of entertainment. I mean, what else do I have to do? I’m dead, hot stuff.”
“But not gone, unfortunately,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. “Really, Snake, what do you want?”
“Hmm…” he murmured, rubbing his chin like he was really thinking about it. “Well, I guess I want what I wanted yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. The stairway to heaven. On the other hand, if that old guy is really there ticking off names on some list, there’s probably a reject stamp next to mine, so there’s no hurry or anything.”
“At the moment, though, I’m here to help you. Again,” he said, winking when I arched an eyebrow at him.
“And just how do you think you can help me?” I asked, not really in the mood to play games with him.
“I know how you can find your demon.”
“And how would you know where he is?” I asked, my eyes widening to the size of flying saucers. “Aw, Snake! You crossed over to the dark side, didn’t you? What? Are you playing errand boy for this creeper now?!”
“Do I look like the kind of dead guy who hangs out with demonic pieces of crap?” he snorted, looking genuinely offended. “Give me some credit, Ember!”
He was right, that had been out of line. When he was in front of me, though, with his smartass attitude and smug smirk, I forgot how much I owed him. If it hadn’t been for Snake, Jack would have killed Nathan and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything but watch. It had been Snake who’d told me how to break Nathan’s vampy mental bind so I could save him. I owed him more than just his imaginary stairway to heaven for that.
“Okay, so you’re not in league with the demon,” I conceded, sighing again. “But I can’t stop him if I don’t know where he is, genius.”
“God, you’re thick!” he muttered, rolling his eyes and shaking his multicolored mullet. “Ember, what am I?”
“Annoying?” I suggested, biting back a smile when he scowled at me. “Inconsiderate? A pervert? Yeah, don’t think I don’t know you like to play Peeping Tom in the shower, Snake. That jacket of yours jingles like sleigh bells every time you move.”
I thought maybe I’d hit my mark with that one. Snake looked like he was ready to flicker out from pure embarrassment. I smirked at his mortified expression and he flipped me off.
“I’m dead, dumbass,” he said with an exasperated huff, pointing at the counter next to me. “And if you can see me, why can’t you see her?”
Frowning, I turned to find a copy of the Moonlight Herald on the counter next to me. I picked it up with a shaking hand and stared at the picture of Jack’s latest victim. Annoying as he was, Snake had a point. The cops hadn’t been able to find Jack. Grams hadn’t been able to find him with her demon searches and Mrs. Amelia hadn’t picked up anything from the wards around town. That meant the only three people who knew where he was…
“Light dawns on marble head,” Snake muttered to the ceiling like he was praying for patience when my mouth fell open.
“Snake, you really are a genius!” I told him excitedly. “There’s just one small, tiny, itsy bitsy problem…”
“I haven’t seen this girl,” I told him, turning the paper around so Jack’s victim’s picture was facing him. “Her or any of the others.”
“So? You’re a sorceress or something right?” he asked, giving me a look that said he thought I was being dumb on purpose.
“A bandraoi,” I corrected him, rolling my eyes.
“Whatever. Bandraoi, sorceress, the hag with the flying monkeys, it’s all the same thing,” he said huffing impatiently. “You’re a witch. A witch who sees dead people. So go find her.”
With that, he was gone. For a long time, I just sat there staring at the counter where he’d been perched and thought about what he’d said. I didn’t usually have to find my ghosts. They just showed up and never left. How the hell did one go about finding a dead girl?
The Giveaway is Open to US Residents Only
1 Winner Will Win:
A Messenger Bag, Mug, eBook Copy of Something Wicked
About The Author:
AJ Myers lives in her own little world—but according to the IRS, she actually resides in Mississippi—with her husband, who she loves more than life, her four amazing kids, and a crazy cast of family and friends who keep things interesting.
Facebook at www.facebook.com/ajmyersnovel
Twitter at https://twitter.com/AJMyersNovel
Web at www.ajmyersnovel.com
Email at email@example.com.
Parasite’s website, www.parasitepublications.com
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