Monday, July 29, 2013

One Indie Author's Response to John Green's Self-publishing Rant

As I near the end of this my journey with Left (Still Standing #1) - release scheduled for 9/1/13 - & Underground (Secrets #2) - release scheduled for 10/1/13 - I have to once again reflect on John Green's recent arrogant and ignorant rant. It's the one where he - not so eloquently and very vulgarly - said, "We must strike down the insidious lie that a book is the creation of an individual soul labouring in isolation. We must strike it down because it threatens the overall quality and breadth of American literature." 

According to the article, he was referring to self-published (or indie) authors. As an indie author, I am the face of the insidious lie that is threatening the overall quality and breadth of American literature, and his impassioned plea to strike me - or my work - down is as offensive as anything anyone has ever said to me or about me. 

Having John Green paint every indie author with the same brushstroke does everyone a real disservice, and hearing him speak on a topic about which he knows nothing makes him look (sorry, but I just I have to say it one more time) ignorant. I've never traditionally published a book; therefore, I would never go out and say self-publishing is the best path for everyone and/or disparage traditionally published authors in any way, form, or fashion. The biggest reason I would do this is because I'm not a total ass, but I would also refrain because I absolutely respect any human being - including 
John Green - who is brave enough to write a book - pouring their heart and soul into the story, its characters, and their honest interactions - and release it for others to read... and periodically criticize. Unless you've experienced a release, you have no idea how very hard it is or how incredibly brave an author (both indie and traditionally published) is.

I would also like to point out that indie authors do not labour in isolation. Contrary to what John Green assumes to know about me and my book publishing process, I work with an entire team of experts in order to get my books published. Without them (and some very vocal fans/friends/beta-readers), my books would not be all that they could be. In fact, I can absolutely assure you that Mr. Green's views are nothing more than propaganda... lies spread in order to protect the only way of life he knows. 

According to his prejudices, if you can't get or you chose not to be traditionally published, you should not self-publish. In my opinion that is comparable to a Harvard professor saying if you can't get an ivy league education, you should not be educated at all... or Wal-Mart/McDonald's saying that small businesses/restaurants should fold up and let big businesses supply every consumer need... or John Green or his publisher demanding that very talented women/men give up their hopes and dreams of writing and releasing a timeless novel because traditionally published authors are the only ones who can achieve this type of greatness. Anyone with good common sense can tell you that none of the blanket statements above are good for our young people who are graduating from high school or the small businesses fueling our economy or our indie authors who are bringing books to the marketplace that would never have been released under the gate-keeping eyes of traditional publishers.

I can use Left as the perfect book release example to prove to Mr. Green that self-publishing requires as much collaboration as traditional publishing. When I write books, I envision the story, invent the characters, create the settings, and embed the emotions. I write books (just like every traditionally published author writes theirs).

I have an amazing editor (editor/copy editor/proofreader) who will spend long hours pouring over every word, punctuation, sentence structure, and plot weakness before providing objective and professional feedback to me. I'll review her recommendations and work with her to make the book and its message as strong as it can be. She edits my books (just like traditional publishing company editors edit books).

I have a phenomenal book designer, Claudia McKinney (Phatpuppy Creations), who as soon as I contacted her, went to work bringing to life my vision for Left's book cover. In order to make the cover intriguing... in order to draw people into this story through a single picture, Claudia enlisted the help of Teresa Yeh who did a photo shoot - after recruiting two models, Shana Leah O'Rourke and Calen Burr - specifically for my cover. This cover designer... this photographer... these models worked together to create Left's book cover (just like the book cover designers/photographers/models working for traditional publishing companies).

I've worked with a few book tour companies (AToMR Tours CBL Tours) who have assisted me in the marketing of my books. I intend to contact them for LeftThey market more than just indie author's books. They market traditionally published books/authors, also. 

When it comes to formatting, I've recently taken on a partner, ebook launchebook launch has taken my files and made sure they met Smashword's Premium Catalog Distribution requirements, making them available to anyone with an ereader/IPAD and putting my book on equal footing with traditionally published books.  

As an indie author, I will upload my books myself. Even then, that does not mean that I'm an individual soul labouring in isolation... as evidenced by all of the help I must have in order to release my books. It simply means that there are things that I still do myself. Honestly, once ebook launch formats my books, the uploading only takes a few keystrokes and a couple of minutes.

After my books are uploaded, they will be sold by distributors, booksellers, and librarians. Again, these are the very same people selling traditionally published books. The biggest difference here is the availability of paperback books. Most traditionally published books will be available within brick-and-mortar stores. That is not the case for my paperback books. They will only be available to buy on-line at Amazon and B&N. For Now.

Where some see this paradigm shift as something to be feared... something to be rallied against... something to be demeaned and demoralized, I see it as something powerful and futuristic because of the way it has already (and in significant ways) changed the way books are bought, the types of books that are being bought, and the authors that are being revered. If I were a traditional publishing house and/or an author represented by them, I, too, would wonder about my place within this world of fast-coming and unavoidable changes. Especially if I were unwilling or unable to make the changes necessary to keep pace.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Indie Author Series: Blogging (Dos & Don'ts)

If Emily Post wrote a book on blogging etiquette, what would be the dos and don'ts? This week the YA Author Club sponsors try to put into words the common sense rules that allow bloggers to show respect to one another/fans/friends/followers while keeping their posts relevant and edgy. 

For me, this topic boils down to the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simply put, I don't say anything to or about anyone that I wouldn't want said to or about me. I know there is a world of reality TV junkies (my daughter) who love to watch family/friend drama as it unfolds before their eyes, but I go out of my way to avoid drama/conflict/etc. It is not because I can't handle it or because I'm afraid of people and their negative reactions. It is because I don't think it is necessary. I'm much more at ease in a world where people support one another... build each other up rather than put each other down. Helping the person next to us to get up (in the real world or the virtual world) makes all of us better people and strengthens our humanity. It's in that spirit that I write all of my blogs and my reviews. 

Now, that does not mean that I won't speak my opinion periodically, but even then, I remain respectful and stick to supportable facts. It does mean, however, that I will not review a book that I would rate with anything less than four stars, meaning that I either loved the book or respect the author's writing, character building, story-line, etc.  There will never be one false or inaccurate statement within my reviews. From there, others can decide if the book is right for you.

The final recommendation I have for blogging Dos and Don'ts is to follow back when a fellow blogger/author follows/fans/friends you. It goes a long way toward opening the virtual lines of communication. It's comparable to saying 'Hi!' to a passerby who has just offered you a salutation. There are those who think they can't follow a site they don't know or 100% support because they are afraid of what others will think. I don't think that long or hard about it. If someone wants or needs a fan/friend/follow/LIKE, I'm willing to give it to them without over thinking it or without acting as though I'm signing my life away. The worst case scenario is that later (after the person has committed some horrendous crime) you can un-fan/un-follow/ un-friend/un-LIKE the person/site.

Take a few minutes to see what my fellow sponsors have to say about blogging etiquette.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Release Announcement: Left (Still Standing #1)

Left (Still Standing #1) by T.R. Graves to be released 9/1/13 with book cover reveal 8/15/13.

Genre: New Adult Romance - 18+ and older due to language, sexual situations, and violence

Summary: Your own two feet are all you have when you've been left.

A naive Baylee loves Colt, her boyfriend of four years, more than she ever thought possible. After a little snooping, she's convinced she's well on her way toward hearing an once-in-a-lifetime proposal and starring in the wedding-of-the-year event. Instead, she's blind-sighted by a very public break-up and the crushing news that Colt is marrying someone else... someone more befitting him and the role his father expects him to take in his law firm.

Baylee may have spent years resenting Ariana, her mother, and her suicide, an intolerable show of weakness in Baylee's opinion, but after Colt leaves her just short of the altar, Baylee sees the world through her mother's eyes. She sympathizes with Ariana's actions and realizes that some things—soul deep aches—can irreparably damage you and make moving on nearly impossible.

At least, that's how she feels until she meets Ryker. With his help, Baylee discovers there is life after Colt, and she prepares to move on by pulling herself up by the bootstraps, holding her head high, and standing on her own two feet. Unfortunately, a new jealous and hateful Colt has his own plans for her, and they are plans no one—especially not Baylee—ever saw coming.

Special Message: $0.50 from every regular priced ($3.99) book will be donated to Houston Area Women's Center (Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence) for three months post-release. This is an organization with a mission that has become near and dear to my heart after the last two books I've written (the research associated with them too painful and disturbing).

Announcement: I'm excited to reveal that I've written the first book, Left, in a new series, Still StandingLeft is not a book I'd planned to write. It's a story that found me and would not let me go until it was done. In fact, I was nearly finished writing Underground (Secrets #2) (84k words) when I had a dream... one that haunted me for the entire day afterward. I tried to stay focused on Underground (Secrets #2), but Left's (Baylee's) story couldn't be silenced. I decided to take an hour and write the first chapter, see if the story was as good as it seemed in my head, send it off to my beta-reader, and let him decide if the story lived or died. His words: "Stop everything you are doing and write this book. It must be told." Because my gut was telling me the same thing, I followed his advice. 

I wrote morning, noon, and night. I was so consumed with this story that it woke me in the middle of the night and insisted that I get back to work writing. I've never written anything that went as quick and easy as this book. In four weeks, the book was conceived and written (while working at my full-time job during the day). You read that correctly. This 87,500-word book was written in four weeks. Two weeks later, I've read, re-read, smoothed out some rough patches, and sent it off to the editor (GATHERING LEAVES - Cassie McCown). I'm not sure how long it will take for her to finish the editing, but she and I have agreed on a release date of 9/1/13.

Like every book I've ever written, there are amazing characters. There are also exciting twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. Since no story is complete without them, there are tragedies and injustices that break your heart and make you want to kill characters off yourself. Left is a complicated book that can't be described with just one word. There are times when the characters are warm and emotional right before they become hot and passionate. The story vacillates between heart racing and deeply disturbing.

Characters (as I envision them): 

Baylee Messenger is woman who loves as deeply as she hurts and who is as loyal as she is naive.

Colt Henderson is the man Baylee has given the last four years of her life to only to find that he's not nearly the man she's made him out to be in her heart.

Ryker Russell is enough of a knight in shining armour to step in when he sees a woman in need and stay with her until she finds her way back from despair.

Final Author's Note: I want to take a few minutes to assure the fans of the Warrior Series that I'm working hard to have Dark Angels of the Cross (Warrior #4) released by Christmas (fingers crossed that all goes well). If you haven't already added it to your To-Read list on Goodreads, you may want to do that. Here's the link: Dark Angels of the Cross (Warrior #4)

(P.S. When you get there, ignore the 1-Star rating. Some asshat - see urban DICTIONARY definition - rated the book with a 1-star even though I've not even finished writing it. Argh!)

Then, I'd like to assure the fans of the Secrets Series that I fully intend to release Underground (Secrets #2) sometime around the first of October (again... fingers crossed that all goes well). If you haven't already added it to your To-Read list on Goodreads and you enjoyed Grave Bound (Secrets #1), you may want to do that. Here's the link: Underground (Secrets #2)


Friday, July 19, 2013

Spotlight: Introducing Toni Lombardo's Big Six Journey

The YA Author Club is expanding is author presence and bringing on new talent every single week. This week, we are introducing the newest member of our team, Toni Lombardo. She is not an indie author, and she does not plan to become one. She's working hard at establishing herself within the traditionally published world. We wish her the best of luck in her efforts and thought it might be kind of cool to offer our fans/friends/followers a new voice within the club. 
Instead of posting information about indie publishing, Toni will take a few minutes every few weeks to fill us in on her trials and tribulations as she journeys toward the Big Six.

Also... leave us a comment and let know which Big Six pic you like best #1 (first one) or #2 (second one). The one getting the most votes/comments will be the one we use to introduce Toni's posts from this point forward.

Social Media Sites for Toni:


Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Toni Lombardo:

Hello there blog readers! Toni here, I am going to talk about myself now.  Hope you don’t mind.
Okay, so first off I am a twenty something (21)  and striving to be a writer!  I am currently(ish)  a student at a community college (although at the moment I am taking a break from school)  and my plan is to major in meteorology.  Of course I’ll have to transfer to a four year.  In some moments I want to major in English, because I am in love with words (a good thing for a writer, right?) .  I would like to teach an elective class in a preppy school to do with the appreciation of old timey writers (Stoker, Melville, Shelley, etc.) and introduce the kids to modern day writers who I think are fantastic such as John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) , Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) , *clears throat* T.R. Graves (not kissing up, she is actually really great, like go read her books now!) .
I have been writing since I can remember.  I wrote short stories or was forced to by teachers, but I always enjoyed it and nine times out of ten exceeded the length required or well wanted (sometimes they weren’t happy) .  My dad also made up stories for me when I was little, I hope to one day publish and anthology of them (I do attribute that to my love of the plot) .  I actually sat down to write a book when by hand when I was fourteen? Maybe? But I gave up on that book (I will one day reapproach that book, but for now the characters and I are not mixing…it’s not my fault blame them)  to write what I wanted to publish as my first.  I started that book when I was fifteen and finished it when I was sixteen and went onto the next.  I am on the third in the series and am currently rewriting the first book.  I was young when I wrote it and afraid of words like sex, so I would dance around the word.  Plus other things I wrote in it are just cringe worthy and embarrassing.  Trust and believe if a writer says their work is cringe worthy it is…we are our biggest critic yes, but if we can make ourselves cringe it is pretty correct to believe that the reader would wonder what the heck the writer was thinking.
I spend my days working at a clothing store.  I love it.  I work with kids ranging from size 6-20.  I love working with the girls who aren’t societies standard of ‘beauty’.  It’s great because you can see the kid coming in so self-conscious (because they are a size 16 not 12 like their friends)  and leave smiling because you told them they are beautiful and helped them pick out clothes and raved over how amazing the kid looked and sometimes the kid even hugs you.  I know this sounds like I am saying ‘oh look at me.  I’m so great.  Blah, blah, blah.’  That is not my intention.  Today’s society is so messed up, these kids are so self-conscious at such a young age, and they are getting bullied.  Their parents telling them they are beautiful is one thing, when a someone else makes a big deal about it the kid feels good.  I think it’s a thing everyone should do.  Encourage people, because one day you will need it.   Okay enough about my job.
I also spend my days plotting up stories and plot twists.  I like listening to music and sometimes it even inspires or curbs scenes. I like going to the gym and reading, it is where I get most of my reading in.  In one day at work…working on stock in the back room, five new book ideas came flooding in.
I have one dog, a Beta named Platelet in one tank with a snail, eight goldfish all named after characters in my books and a Plecko and a snail in another tank that is huge.  I have the plecko and snails to help keep the tanks clean.
I’d like to write more often and I need to.  It is the best and worst thing in the world, if you are a writer you will understand that sentence; if you are not a writer ask one that you know.
I use Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to interact with writers and friends and share stuff about my books and from time to time excerpts! 
I hope to change the publishing world by introducing them to new styles of writing!  And once you get to know me you know I don’t just dabble in things, I jump in whole heartedly with both feet, and most of the time without a safety net.   I am beginning to blog under the supervision and guidance of Graves (I just love her) .  Please come back bi-weekly to join me on my journey of publishing and writing on my blog series called Toni’s Big Six Journey. 
It can be found here:
Listening to: Wishing Well by Ben Moody: All for This
Quote: “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” - Unknown

Spotlight Interview Questions:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (TFIOS) .  It is just perfect.  I cried on every page and went hysterical at Chapter 21.  I re-read the book within two months and re-experienced all that beautiful pain (readers of this book will get it #nerdfighter) .  Also, I bonded with my IBBF (internet best friend forever)  over this book.  We’ve known each other for a little over two months as of 7.12.2013, but it is one of the greatest friendships I have had.  So, beyond being a great book it brought me a great friend.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
Oh gosh, this is a biggie.  I don’t really know.  I have my own style, but some of my darker pieces, like “The Tale-Tale Heart” which is a re-doing of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by E.A. Poe for a final English paper, have been associated to Poe.  I’m actually about to start a second mirroring piece of his, that T.R. Graves is up-to-date about.
As far as characters…People are going to think TFIOS for some of my characters, because I talk about the book ALL the time and it is a book about kids with cancer.  But my book is about a kid or two with cancer but there is more of a story to it than that, just like Green’s.

As far as my characters relating to other characters…oh I don’t know, never thought about that.  I’ve read books with characters that reminded me of mine, but never really thought about it that way.  I think Devon would like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
“If you don’t know, you do not deserve to know!” –Devon
Oh my, how can I explain, Devon?  Okay so in this scene Devon just found out something in his family. Sorry for being vague, don’t want to give away plot points. He is really struggling in his life at the moment and this news was just devastating.  Like a lot of teens Devon struggles with the idea of self-harm and when his brother is talking to him he (Devon)  hints to wanting to hurt himself, and when his brother doesn’t get the hint he says the above quote possibly angrily. 

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Things that inspire me to write…I don’t know.  Sometimes I just see something, okay I was in a store the other day and saw a beautiful all glass frame, free standing.  I saw it and instantly knew it belonged to a character in one of my W.I.P.s, and when I got home it was already done the character would have it in their house.  So it is just kind of random, if I see something and it attaches to a character, I say it inspired me.

People- My best friend Anne is who I write for along with a few other people.  Anne is my muse and my ‘first reader’.  She keeps me going when I don’t want to write and pushes me to finish projects. So she inspires me as well as Graves, Green, Asher, and others.

Music!!! Ahh, such an inspiration!  Don’t want to say too much here because this topic is going to be a whole blog post for me!

What makes me want to keep writing—my characters.  I get a points where I miss them and I physically feel missing them, I feel pain of sorts.  Sometimes just thinking and plotting and writing notes just does not suffice, so I write to subdue the longing for interacting with them.  And I love writing, so that helps.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
They are random.  I write whenever and wherever.  At one point I was writing (more than this at home)  every Friday night at the bar in Red Robin, where one of my friends works.  I would buy an unsweetened peach tea with EXTRA regular syrup and she kept me in well supply.   It was a great writing environment and the support was great!

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
I love, love, love peach tea, but I can’t have too much caffeine otherwise I can’t sleep.  So at one point it was that, but now….yeah, it is still that, I just can’t have it all the time.

7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover) ?
Sooooo many things! The book I am working on to get published first is Life’s Not a Fantasy I have a cover idea, but no cover yet!  An excerpt? Sure!  Here is the introduction.  It is written by Devon:

It wasn’t ever supposed to be like this.  Our family was always so torn apart, even before what I’m, about to write.  Dad was out fighting for ‘our safety’ but was never home...he was a ‘lifer’.  Mom chose her favorites and clung tightly to them, and I fell to the bottom of that spectrum.  I was okay with it though.
I was always the ‘untypical typical’ teenager, meaning I was or still am the loner.  I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but more on that later.
He, Cameron always held us together.  He was our rock.  He could make or break our family and now his name resonates with pain.
How can one name ruin everything?  How can one name bring so much pain?
It’s been days, moments, but his name already feels like a curse. 
Thanks for reading!  Hope this was entertaining.
Keep writing,

Friday, July 12, 2013

Indie Author Series: Social Media (What Works)

The YA Author Club is talking all about Social Media this week. The sponsors will be sharing their stories and explaining what they love about each type and/or why their preferred  network of choice is just that.

I could go on for days about this topic. Instead and because I have a book just itching to be finished tonight, I'm going to stick to some very, very basic information that has taken me awhile to learn. 

Facebook: It's worth every minute you put into it.  If you haven't, you must create a Fan Page and put updates about your book, your signings, and your future projects. 

I think it's important to be generous with your space and share releases and billings with others. It makes your page more interesting and proves you are selfless when it comes to helping others. 

The most important feature of the Facebook Fan Page is the promotion option. I promise that you will get LIKES if you do a promotion. Within a few weeks, my LIKES went from a few hundred to well over a thousand. 

Goodreads: Don't neglect this site if you are an author. It is the first place I go check for an author or their book, and I'm always disappointed when an author has not taken the time to add themselves and their books here. 

There are so many good things about this site for an author, but hands down the biggest boost to my books come with giveaways. It's important to mention that their official giveaways are mean for paperback books only. 

Pinterest: Oh... how I love Pinterest! It inspires me and sucks me in so quickly and so easily that I can be on there for hours before I realize it. I love to go to my boards and look at the pictures, people, clothes, places, etc. when I'm writing. It saves me all kinds of time because I have my characters outfits (houses, hometowns, cars, ....) all picked out from shoes to jackets.

Twitter: Trust me. I know I should be using this site more than I do. I have author friends who swear by it. They tweet any and every thing, and they have lots of followers. I'm just not good at keeping up with the tweets. When exciting things happen to me (which is a rare situation), it takes a few days for me to even think about posting or tweeting or blogging about them. When I finally do, I decide people will think it's weird for me to mention something that happened days ago. Before I know it, I've totally forgotten all about it.

In some ways, I'm too intimidated by it and feel like it may be a little too high maintenance for me. I want to write nonstop... not tweet nonstop! 

Don't forget to check out the other author's sites.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Release Announcement: Unseen by Melissa Pearl

Now Available:
Danger surrounds the Seekers. Having already faced overwhelming odds, Kyla and Jethro discover it is only the beginning. Now they must face the power of nature itself. 
Each day is a test of faith. 
Two elements remain undiscovered. The light is yet to be resurrected. Dark forces prepare to descend upon the heroes of prophecy and they have one more power they must over come...their forbidden love for each other. 
Each moment is a test of loyalty and courage. 
In Taramon, Athra faces his own demons as he frets over the safety of his fiancée while trying to counter a dark evil that is brought to his doorstep. Treachery lurks in the shadows, forcing the future king into an action that could destroy his beloved city. 
Through it all, they must cling to the truths hidden in the unseen. 
"The plotting is sublime and the pacing is perfect. I held my breath as I turned the pages, hoping that Kyla and Jethro would return in time to help save their kingdom. What a fabulous addition to this series! I can't wait for the third book!" Taylor Longford, Author of the Greystone Series. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Release Announcement: Thundering Luv by LM Preston

 LM Preston's Summer Romance THUNDERING LUV!

Release Date: June 1st, 2013

Format: Ebook Only Release, but will be part of a print book in 2014 that includes 3 short YA Summer Romances by LM Preston to include (Flutter Of Luv, Thundering Luv, and Double Trouble Luv)

Publisher: Phenomenal One Press

Jewel has always been able to get the guy she wanted. The starting jock on the football team, the team captain on the basketball team, and the lead swimmer on the swim team. Problem is, she didn't find them the least bit exciting. Was she cold or a she-wolf for guys? Colin thought so, and he'd do anything to bring her down a peg or two. When these two collide on the sandy beach during their mixed up summer vacation, sparks fly, making this a summer neither will forget.


LM Preston,YA SciFi Author

Monday, July 1, 2013

Release Announcement: Whispers of Razari by Cindy C. Bennett and Jeffrey Moore

Whispers of Razari by Cindy C. Bennett and Jeffrey Moore

When sixteen year old Olivia Adams wakes from a horrible car accident that killed her parents, she knows she’s something different. Olivia died, and now the soul inhabiting her body needs to find out who - and what - she is. A glimpse of a world called Razari burning is the only clue to her previous existence—a tragic memory, sparking events that endanger the people helping her.

Jacobi McKenzie has lived in Crescent, Montana for more years than he can remember, even though he's only seventeen. He's been waiting, but for what he isn't sure. Jacobi recognizes Olivia for what she is before she's even aware of it herself and the effect she has on him threatens to expose his true identity--a thing he’s worked hard to conceal.

They come together in an explosion of emotion that neither of them is supposed to feel. As Jacobi fights for Olivia's life, protecting her from those who would use her for their own selfish purposes, together they unravel the mystery surrounding the destruction of their race.

Sales links:


The smell of blood, iodine, peppermint, and ammonia blending with sweat is my first sense of awareness. These are scents I recognize. A dozen other foreign smells seem to be a mix of different elements. If I could concentrate and study the odors, I’m certain I’d be able to break them down into their base elements, but the noise is too distracting. I’m not as good with sound as I am with smell. I can make out several distinct voices and artificial sounds that are probably machines. If I could open my eyes, I’d be able to connect the noises with the smells. I think my eyes are fastened shut.

Slowly, I begin to explore the body of the host I’m in. I come upon damaged areas that cause intense pain and I quickly retreat from these areas. The body is broken in several places. I sense voices come from those repairing the host body. A name comes to me: Olivia. With effort, I crack open my eyes. Gauzy images of people work on me. A tall man has his hands in Olivia’s body and he speaks softly, as if afraid of startling anyone. I retreat and turn to exploring Olivia’s memories.

Reliving Olivia’s life from her earliest memory is instinctual for me. I think I’ve existed for a long time. Parasite. I find the word while searching through Olivia’s memories—a parasite is what these people would think of me if they knew what I was. But a parasite by definition lives in or on a host and steals everything, giving nothing in return. I’m not really like that. I entered Olivia shortly after her soul departed. Her body’s not the ideal place for me to be, being only sixteen earth years old and badly broken, but I was drawn to her. What made me choose her? I can’t remember. Typically I acquire a host much younger and definitely less broken—at least, that feels like the thing I’d do.

As I’m learning about Olivia, her culture, and the society in which she lives, it sparks the knowledge that I don’t remember where I came from. I know I’m not human, and I know what I need to do to exist in Olivia, but why I’m here eludes me. With that comes the idea that my kind only moves to a different world as a last resort, so I figure something terrible must have happened not only to me—or actually my former host—but the world from which I came.

Bennett is the YA author of several books. She lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters. Both of her sons have married, giving her two more daughters (in-law). She loves gooey cookies, dark chocolate, and cheese popcorn. She hates housework and cooking, and has no plans to become a domestic goddess. She occasionally co-hosts a geek podcast with her son, called Geek Revolution Radio. Her favorite pastime is riding her Harley.

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Geek Revolution Radio

Moore was born in Germany. As a military brat, much of his childhood was spent abroad, growing up in Germany on military installations. He subsequently enlisted in the military and served for ten years as an army pilot. While in the military, he lived in Italy and South Korea and deployed to many European countries. He has traveled to Australia, Japan, Singapore and most European countries. His experiences and contact with many different cultures helps form some of the elements in his stories. He currently works for a global IT company and lives in Massachusetts.

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