Sneak Snippet from Render by Stephanie Fleshman

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Render: An Excerpt

I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in.

Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back.

“You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear.

Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know.

“Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch.

“Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously.

Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that.

She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home.

“How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes.

I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.”

This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small
smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.”

I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now.

“It suits you.”

I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?”

“Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.”

“Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.”

Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body.

I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us.

“I wasn’t finished,” I say.

I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.”

“Wait?” I mutter against her lips.

I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts.

“I got your note,” she says.

When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now.

I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and
green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all? Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?”

Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.”

“You don’t need words for that.”

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Guest Post by author Stephanie Fleshman

Please enjoy this guest post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

The 5 Guys You’ll Meet in YA Fiction:

A Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman

According to GalleyCat, YA eBook revenues increased 120.9% last year. The great news is whatever YA male character types keep you reading, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of books anytime soon. After a while contemplating my favorite YA reads, I noticed a pattern when it came to the male heroes in these stories. Without further ado, here’s a run-down of the 5 guys you’re likely to meet when reading a Young Adult novel…

Guy #1: The Broken and Vulnerable

When I think of broken, I think of Josh from Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy. The sad thing about Josh is that he knows he’s broken but blames himself instead of the person at fault.

When I think of vulnerable, two characters come to mind: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Wake series. Cabel is doused with gasoline, then set on fire by his alcoholic father. He wants to be loved, yet is scared. What makes him strong in a not-in-your-face kind of way is that he wants to love. His lack of resentment and hate is what makes him attractive.

Guy #2: The Abusive

In Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End, Cole is the product of “like father, like son.” In Swati Avasthi’s YA novel Split, however, Jace is the product of being victimized by his own abuser. Unlike Cole, Jace is capable of remorse and guilt. He not only owns up to his actions, but he wants to pay for them. By comparison, Jace makes Cole look like a sociopath.

Guy #3: The Obsessive

It’s no secret that Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is borderline stalker when it comes to Bella. She is his world entirely. In his mind, though, he is only being protective. So, is Edward protective, overprotective, or obsessive? You decide:

  • Protective: Capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
  • Overprotective: Having a tendency to protect someone, esp. a child, excessively.
  • Obsessive: Of, relating to, characteristic of, or causing an obsession; Excessive in degree
    or nature.

Guy #4: The Dominant

A good example of this type of YA male lead character is Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. Patch is 100% boy. He’s self-confident, strong, and stands his ground against Nora. Though he is dominating, I don’t believe it’s in a harmful or abusive manner.

In the second book, you get to see more into his heart as he begins to really care for Nora’s well-being.

By the third book, he’s thinking of Nora’s safety and how he can stay with her. He sacrifices what he wants in order to protect her and their relationship, which seems non-existent to Nora by this stage. Not everything is what it seems, though.

Other good examples are Alex from Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry and Avi from the same author’s How to Ruin series.

Guy #5: The Lovable

I’m going to start with Koldan from my own YA novel, Render. Koldan is firm but not so dominating that he feels the need to control. He’s confident and strong, but recognizes his weaknesses. He’s romantic in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to keep Raya safe, even if it means risking his own life. And he’s not afraid to show his feelings for Raya.

Now, I cannot move forward without mentioning Holder from Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Thirteen years! Thirteen!!! That’s all I’m going to say. Those of you who have read Hopeless know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, there’s nothing about this guy not to love.

Now I’ve got a question for you: What’s your favorite YA male character type?

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

The Rundown on Render

So, I finished Render by Stephanie Fleshman in about a day and a half. A ten hour road trip helped considerably. All in all, it was much better than I expected to be, so I decided to post my review early. First the book trailer to get you started, then my review:

Why you’ll love Render

It’s well written. Are you a writer? Editor? Have an English degree? Have you ever put a book down because despite the story, you were constantly pulled out of it due to the misuse of it, it’s, and its? Don’t worry, you’ll be safe in Render. Lately, some of the big blockbuster hits have had… shall we say less than impressive writing? Instead it’s all drama and feelings and action, but not long term satisfying. There are a couple of metaphors I could think of for this, *giggle* but I’m going to use the PG version. A meal of Chinese take out will taste great but everyone knows you’ll be hungry an hour later. With Render, you get a well-rounded steak dinner with a salad and a dessert. You are full, not stuffed sick, and you will definitely visit this restaurant, I mean author, again.

It’s not angsty.Or at least what I would consider “stupid angsty.”

Its not Twilight. It’s not Mortal Instruments. Its not Percy Jackson or Hunger Games. In fact, Render is the most grown up YA novel I have read to date. Thank you Stephanie, really. As much as we of the “mom” age enjoy reading and remembering our teenage years, it’s refreshing to have something that keeps me from rolling my eyes. The difficulties these characters experience are real, important, and feasible. Not only that, these kids, Koldan, Raya, Lucas, and Ethan, think beyond their own selfish wants. They sacrifice for each other, and even for people they don’t know and may never meet. The main crew could just as easily be 25 as 17, and I dig that.

It won’t slow down. I was never bored. I was never saying, “keep it moving!” I never found my eyes skipping down the page, because I knew if I did, I would miss something important.There are so many subplots in Render, you’re always unraveling a mystery. Then Stephanie  switches to a different conundrum and you’re off in another direction. I chased this story the way a cat chases a laser pointer. (Without running into a wall.)

It has history! I’m such a history nerd. As soon as I finished the book I was scouring the web for more about the Russian royal family. Having been fortunate enough to see the Catherine the Great exhibit when it came to the States in… well hell, it was awhile ago. I was little, but I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Have you seen her carriage??

This is but one of many. Ol' Cathy rode in style!

This is but one of many. Ol’ Cathy rode in style!

And the end of the Romanov dynasty with the possibility of missing Prince Alexi and Princess Anastasia? Such a good base for some seriously juicy fiction. I’m so glad Stephanie decided to use it. Now if we could get the Assassin’s Creed franchise on board… I’ll sidebar that for another day.

Why Render may not be the book for you

You want the typical, mainstream YA novel. If you need a moody, brooding, teenage vampire/billionaire/angel/half-angel/werewolf/ghost/zombie/fairy/wizard or any combination of those as a leading man. If you need the worst thing that could happen in the story to be not getting to kiss that guy. If you need the world to revolve around that guy and his love interest. If you are 14, or an adult who thinks Fifty Shades was the best novel ever written. If you want the main female character to rebuff the protectiveness of her male counterpart. If any of these things are what you want in a book, you may be disappointed. The closest you’re going to get in Render is Koldan, and he’s closer to Doogie Howser with an ulcer than anything listed above. Maybe Mikihail in later books, but still, he’s not exactly what you want either.

Don't worry ladies! He's still available... oh, wait!

Don’t worry ladies! He’s still available… oh, wait.

You want strong paranormal elements. No ghosts/vampires/zombies/fae/were-creatures to be found. I was terrified, but that could be from reading Render at the beach, after catching what I thought was a jellyfish, but turned out to be a moon jelly. Oh, and remembering that documentary about those teeny, tiny, evil little box jellyfish, with their nematodes, and how people react to their stings. Yeah, that’s the stuff of nightmares. Give me a vampire and a wooden baseball bat, and I give myself better odds. (Oddly enough, Stephanie mentions the same documentary in her acknowledgements, so I included part of it below. Yeah, she gets it.)

You have to know, right now! Look, we all know that it takes time to craft a sequel, and if its not done right, we’ll all be disappointed. I’m not asking you to wait say, seven years *cough* George R.R. Martin!*cough* or anything. But if you need all the answers at the end of the book, you are so screwed. Render is Lost, but with (thankfully) more answers. I can’t wait to see what happens next, but what I really mean is  I can if it means its done right. That’s a good book to me, but you may be different.

Still wondering what's going on. What happened to the polar bear?

I’m still wondering what’s going on. What happened to the polar bear?

You need the characters to be just like you. While I can relate to some of the more personal or moral feelings the main crew has, there’s always a bit of disconnect. My family wasn’t wealthy, nor was I a child prodigy, so I can’t relate to Lucas or Koldan. We’re certainly not in the billionaire club, so Ethan is out. I never even dated a rich guy like Raya. Strip their world away, which sort of happens on the island, and it’s much easier to feel for them. I just worry that it might happen too late in Render for some readers.

My favorite line

Koldan: “It’s not how I want to remember him. But the picture is more oil than water, and I know it will never fade.” I liked this line so much, it became the first intentional bookmark I’ve ever put on my kindle.

My favorite character

Ethan. I want more Ethan. I have a soft spot for Southern gentlemen, being from the south myself. I love his charm, his easy-going attitude, and the perpetual cigarette he’s always sporting. He can be sweet, without making Raya, thus me, uncomfortable or worried about his intentions. Yeah, give him his own series and love interest someday. I’d read that in a heartbeat.

I'm a die-hard lover of his older brother Chris. Still, the more Liam Hemsworth looks like his brother, the more I feel like a lecherous old woman. If Render makes it to film, here's my nominee!

I’m a die-hard lover of his older brother Chris. Still, Liam Hemsworth makes me feel like a lecherous old woman. If Render makes it to film, this guy is my Ethan.

Thing I want to see in the future

Better classification. I’m still waiting to see the paranormal aspect of Render. Unless something easily identifiable as paranormal shows up, I would lose it. Render is strong enough on its own, without adding anything else.

Raya’s back-story. I’m sure this will be covered in future books, but as she is the most relatable character to the other 99% of our country, I need to know about the normal girl. What the hell do I know about billionaires?

A sequel. Post haste!

Two things bear repeating. Render was way better than I expected. Maybe I’m becoming jaded by the carbon copy YA I’ve been reading lately. Secondly, from the beginning, Render reminded me of Lost, a show I loved. I say loved because eventually, I got tired of questions and needed some answers. Stephanie takes care of us in that aspect. Suggest Render to your YA friends, or at your next book club meeting. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, I’m ending this review before it gets any longer… damn. Oh, wait. Tour notes:
Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Welcome to Stephanie Fleshman Week!

Please enjoy this interview with Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

An Interview with Stephanie Fleshman

Author of YA Paranormal Novel, Render

1. How do your experiences traveling and growing up in a rural town help you to write?

Traveling has always stimulated the passion I have for learning other cultures. Render definitely depicts that, since I bring so many other cultures into the story.

2. You are among many new authors who went to a post-secondary school for something completely different from writing. How does your degree in psychology play a role in your writing?

Psychology is the study of human behavior, so that has definitely helped to create multi-dimensional characters.

3. Do you have any advice for others who have stuck to a career path, but find that writing is their true calling?

I don’t believe you have to choose. Experience and knowledge of different fields can benefit a writing career, depending on what you want to write.

4. Who are two of your favorite authors, and why do those authors speak to you?

Cormac McCarthy. I think he is a literary genius.

J.K. Rowling. She is a true storyteller, which I believe is different than telling a story.

5. You use some really unique names in Render like Koldan, Raya Whitney and “The Russian.” Where did you get the inspiration for the names? Secondly, when in the writing process do you name characters?

I start with names, but those names have a tendency to change throughout the story. For Render, most of the names had to do with origin.

6. “Koldan Holdt knows what he wants.” He knows, but his fate has been determined since before his birth. Can you discuss how people find their way around the obstacles of life as well as any suggestions you might have?

Recognizing there is no such thing as complete control–the control you do have is determined by different variables, one being the choices you make.

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Review of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease

When I asked for books from my Indie author friends to review on my blog, I can’t say that the request was completely altruistic. I wanted new stuff to read. I needed things to blog about, because the journal-keeping inclination was never something I possessed. Considering how much I liked this book, I’m really starting to feel guilty.

The Setup

(From Goodreads) Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had.

Why You’ll Like It:

You are a Percy Jackson fan. I love me some Percy Jackson. Actually, I like just about any YA that Rick Riordan writes. While Mammoth Trouble isn’t the exact same thing, it has a similar feel. There is something about these guys (Pease and Riordan) that makes them really get the adolescent guy. Well, at least, I think so. I never was one, so I can’t say for sure. But this is how I’ve always imagined them to be.

You like a bit of history added to your books. The Hubs doesn’t, I do. It must have something to do with my minor in college (history). I find the blending of historical fact with fiction in a way that makes it interesting rather than tedious a great thing for any YA book to have. In Mammoth Trouble, much of what you read is in the future, but there are still peeks at the world that was here and there. I hope to see more in the sequels.

You like new interpretations of classic stories. I’m a sucker for these too. Total Once Upon a Time addict on ABC. For me, the reinterpretation of something I know to be “old hat” makes it new all over again for me. Is Noah from Mammoth Trouble told to build a ship by God before the oncoming flood? Of course not. That would be pretty hard to reinvent, wouldn’t it? But you can’t have a series titled Noah Zarc without some similarities either.

You’re a Sci-fi fan. Who doesn’t love some good imaginary tech? The gadgets in this book are amazingly well thought out. What’s even better (maybe because of the YA genre,) is that everything is explained to you in a way that makes sense. It’s not dumbed down, but it’s not described like Hamilton would explain it either. Read the book. You’ll get the Hamilton thing later.

You need books to have a sequel. Nothing drives me more crazy than just one book. If I love your characters, I don’t want a one night stand so to speak. While some books have the probability of a sequel, I’m always disappointed when I feel like I can see the overlapping story arc and it’s not as big as I would have hoped. It’s like knowing the day your milk is going to expire, only exponentially worse. Thankfully, Mr. Pease has left this series open for quite a few more sequels, which makes this reader happy.

Why you may not like it:

YA isn’t your thing. Hey, I understand. I live with that guy. I had to beat him over the head with Order of the Phoenix just to get him to read Harry Potter for cripes sake. And that’s a big book. Look, if you need serious drama cover to cover in all your books, I can’t make you want to read this. This book is for those of us who feel they have enough drama in their lives. This is an escape, where we’re invested in the outcome of the story, without needing to stress ourselves. These are my feelings on not only Mammoth Trouble, but all YA. It’s also why YA is one of my favorite genres.

Time travel makes your brain cramp up. I can get this one. If I go back in time and thump myself in the head, why haven’t I felt it yet? This cyclical argument about time has been addressed in things like 2001: A Space Odyssey to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The truth is, since no one has figured it out yet, one answer has as much validity as another. Thankfully, while there are a few spots in Mammoth Trouble where you have to stop and think a few things out, completely grasping the spacetime continuum isn’t required.

Here’s looking forward to the next installment of Noah Zarc. You can click here for purchasing information on Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble. You can also find D. Robert Pease’s Goodreads page here.

As a side note, Mr. Pease: while the title is very clever, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to backspace and retype it because of how it sounds in my head.

I shake my fist at you sir.

Now get writing.

Until next time, happy reading, happy writing!