A sixteen-year-old shifter who is the last of her kind. A school for magical creatures on the brink of catastrophe. Learn who to trust fast or it’s extinction, baby. Her entire life, Kat dreamt of studying at Moon Shifter Academy. Finally, she'll be able to ditch Diurnal—the drug that keeps her stuck in boring human form—and harness her bad-ass wolf-shifter self. Against her parents’ advice, she heads to New York City before school starts and moves in with Eddie, a cute boy she met upstate. First summer love fast becomes first summer heartbreak and then, just before school starts, Kat's parents are murdered. If she’d listened to them and stayed put, they might still be alive. Guilt and regret hound her. Nothing to do but throw herself into her studies and somehow make 'em proud, right? Wrong. School is a total bust. The principal’s single-minded goal is to protect the students from their sworn enemies, blood mages. With her Mom gone, Kat learns that she is the last female shifter in the wolf line. Now the blood mage who killed her parents wants Kat dead too. But not if she can kill him first.
It's not every day that one finds themself in an alternate reality. Since the age of seven I have wanted very much to walk through the rear of my closet into Narnia or some other wondrous place. Lately all I find are clothes that no longer fit me! Often we miss the enchantment of every day, "boring" life. That notion inspired this section. I wanted it to be a reminder to readers (and to myself) to open their eyes to the wonder that surrounds them no matter where they are.
Luckily, I've never experienced the extreme types of responses that Kat finds as she scrolls her feed. As an author I've had my share of odd interactions. ("How would I know if I was a mermaid?" I didn't dare give the actual answer to this because I didn't want to be responsible for a drowning!) Overall I've found that a measured dose of social media is just what the doctor ordered...enough to stay connected, but not too much to lose one's sanity.
As I continued to get to know Kat while I wrote, I grew to admire her dark sense of humor. Even when things grew tough she managed to keep her spirits up with humor. It is something I strive for myself! (Contrary to popular belief author's characters are often very different from the authors themselves - I learn as I write them):)
To fear the unknown is a common human trait. Our instincts provided us with all the tools we needed to deal with the daily rigors of life. A rudimentary brain and a simple nervous system that didn't require constant stimulation, and staying in tune with the environment required little more than a heartbeat to keep us going. As we evolved, our bodies adapted to the challenges placed before them all while simultaneously creating new challenges. Kat and her friends face the additional challenge of an evolution that incorporates *both* animal and human.
Okay, you may not be a shifter, but I bet there is an animal you identify with. Perhaps it’s the type of pet you own? Or maybe it’s a wild animal you have always felt an affinity toward? Many years ago, a friend who also worked as a professional psychic offered to reveal my power animal. We’d been friends for about six months then. I’d never received a reading from him. Turning down the lights he closed his eyes, and began channeling (this was his thing and he became quite famous for it so I won’t reveal his name here:)). He told me a bunch of stuff. Much of it came true (although he always emphasized that we control our own destinies). Long story short before long he blurted out my power animal...here I expected perhaps a wolf, lion, fox, eagle...those were all some of my favorite animals. Instead, he said: Platypus! At first, I knew little about these elusive and rare creatures back then but they have become one of my favs. So, what animal are you?
Someone once said, "the greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment." While this is not always true, Kat finds herself in this state-of-mind as first impressions of her new school threaten to overwhelm. And yet here she is, in a hidden world-- the world of the supernatural. Kat finds herself thrust into a world where creatures from her nightmares walk among us, and where she may be the only one who can save them.
Kat's fantasy is shredded beyond recognition when a hallway accident results in a less than romantic ending. This is a theme that is explored throughout the book.Expectation versus reality is often very different...especially when it comes to romance.
Have you ever had your expectations dashed? Most of us have unless we've led a very sheltered existence. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield recounts his adventures in New York City over the course of a few days. Holden is a teenager who has been kicked out of boarding school and is now living with his parents. He spends his days wandering around the city, meeting people and getting into trouble. Catcher in the Rye provided some of the inspiration for this story...with many twists of course!:)
Years ago a friend gave me a deck of Tarot cards for my Birthday. I loved the imagery but after the novelty wore off they were relegated to a bookshelf. One night several friends and a guy I'd never met before (I think his name was Aiden) came over for drinks. "Oh you read Tarot cards!" Aiden said. "Umm, errr....no?" I responded. Somehow Aiden convinced me to try. I followed the instructions for the layout and Aiden began to turn over cards. The storyteller in me emerged...I barely knew this person so I began saying the first things that came to my mind. It became quite an elaborate story with some darker elements to it (I remember something about a sick relative and a conflict with an instructor in college). When I finished, Aiden was pale. "Did they tell you stuff about me?" he motioned to my friends who sat watching a movie in the other room. Aiden left soon after. The next day one of my friends asked me what I said to him. They didn't know him that well either but they never heard from him again.:( I always felt bad about that. I played with something I did not fully understand and perhaps tapped into something...I never made that mistake again.
Several characters in 'The Last Wolf' (protagonist included) are Russian. Perhaps this goes without saying, but it's easy to get caught up in the emotions behind current events and mistake politics for people. Putin's actions are condemnable. However, Russians as a group of citizens have not changed. Most simply want the opportunity to live their lives, to thrive, to love, to earn a living...and I think it's fair to say that the large majority would choose peace over war. #peace
Taxidermy disconcerts me on numerous levels. This scene was inspired by a visit to a store in NYC's East Village years ago. I had just moved to the city and to this day I've never again found the shop nor do I remember its name. Sometimes I wonder...did I fall into some strange alternate reality? In any case, the shop was filled with an assortment of strange objects from around the world. I'll never know for certain what the long, thin, shriveled objects were...they MIGHT have been giraffe's penises. At least that's what they looked like!
First love and first heartbreak. Eddie and Kat puzzle each other. They share a strong, magnetic attraction...in some ways beyond all reason. That aspect inspired me to describe them sleeping in a tiny bed “like puzzle pieces”. On the one hand, they are the perfect fit. On the other... pieces are missing and it won’t be until much later that Kat learns what those are.
A violent past. An ill-fated mission. A love that refuses to die. After years in suspended animation, Griffin and Luke wake up alone on the star-ship Calypso. Griffin recalls fragments from his past. However, he has no clue what happened to their fellow crew members. TOM, the ship’s beat-up android is no help. He informs Griffin that their mission is of critical importance. The problem? TOM has no clue what the mission entails. Meanwhile, Griffin's intense attraction to Luke builds. TOM is determined to squash the budding romance. Does an even more sinister agenda lurk in his silicone brain? Evidence of violence lies hidden in a restricted zone. Griffin hacks TOM to learn what happened. But everything goes wrong. They crash land on a storm-ravaged planet called Sian. Populated by incredible extraterrestrial beasts and amid an uprising against a brutal dictator, Luke is captured. The fate of the planet will depend upon Griffin saving his friend and accepting his destiny. Can he unravel the extraordinary truth about their mission before it's too late? Thunder's Rhyme is the first novel in the Lost Planet series of YA new releases. If you enjoy lgbt teen romance novels with intricate world building and plenty of action, adventure and suspense you’ll love this book!
What is your mission in life? Some people know exactly what this is from a young age, for others it develops later. It is a question that can be asked in many different ways: ‘What do you want to do with your life?’, ‘What do you want to achieve?’ and so on . . . . There are many different answers to this question but I know one answer that will never change, it is the answer you gave when you were a child.
Primal fears defy logic. They come from that deep part of ourselves--the limbic system--that serves to protect at all costs. The fact that we are frightened of a bear and a snake is proof of our evolution. We have come to understand the value of being afraid, for if we were not, we would be so much more vulnerable to predators. In this case, the fear runs even deeper. Nothingness, annihilation, that is the predator that lurks. Here, we have revealed the true message of fear. It is not rooted in our physical selves, but rather the inner self.
One of the reasons I like writing Young Adult fiction is that it captures a very specific time in life. It is a time filled with potential but also fraught with uncertainty. Although the situation here is beyond what most teens face, the sentiment is similar. All of us face a mission of one sort or another, even if we don't realize it.
Up until now the android in this story, TOM, has proved to be entirely unreliable. His wiring is clearly screwed up! Meanwhile, as teen hormones rage through Jacob and Luke's body, they struggle with short circuits of a different sort. There seems to be a hard-wired human urge to express ourselves (sometimes through dancing) when intense feelings like these arise. That is what inspired this scene.
I wanted this part to be equally funny and scary. The idea of an android with fried circuits deciding to dole out a punishment while undergoing a digital seizure seemed to meet the mark...at least for me.:)
What would you do if you woke up suspended, naked in a sphere tubes attached to various parts of your body?
Androids are often portrayed as emotionless or menacing. This one is a complete mess and completely clueless as to what is going on. Or is he?:)
I wanted to explore a very broken Artificial Intelligence (TOM) who also happens to be unintentionally hilarious. I've read many books where the AI is an evil, malevolent force. What if there was an AI that lacked competence but still had a hidden, ulterior agenda?
Seventeen-year-old Marei lives on Alabaster Island, a remote tropical isle inhabited by twenty-one families. Nobody under the age of eighteen has ever left to visit the mainland. The island and its strange customs are all that Marei and her friends know. For years, Marei dreaded the Binding. On that day, each teen must write his or her choice of life mate. But with her childhood sweetheart drowned long ago, Marei has no boy in mind. And so she leaves her paper blank. This sets off a chain of events that ruptures the bedrock of her life and leads her to question the only home she’s ever had. She encounters a mermaid, beings thought to have gone extinct. The mermaid tells Marei to leave the island and offers to help. When a handsome teen from the mainland becomes stranded after a supply drop, Marei falls in love. Her secret plan to flee becomes an obsession. But the mermaid has a hidden agenda of her own. Now Marei must confront the shocking reality that lies beneath island life. The choices she makes threaten to upend her fate and that of her island community forever… but only if she can escape alive. If you like Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, Dylan Farrow, Melissa Albert, Michelle Madow, Maggie Stiefvater, Shannon Hale, Kiera Cass, Kami Garcia, Carrie Anne Noble or Adrienne Young, you won't be able to put down the wildly addictive Mermaid Curse Series.
This section was inspired by an article I read about dolphins. Paleoneurologist Harry Jerison proposes that dolphins share a collective soul. This might explain other research that indicates dolphins communicate with images (either via a form of telepathy or three dimensional sound depending who you ask). Either way, dolphins enchant me and I feel grateful to have witnessed them in the wilds of the ocean (NEVER in captivity).
If a man like Marlow planned to make a cheese, nettle cheese seemed like just the sort of thing he would choose. Fussy, idiosyncratic and potentially noxious if he got the recipe wrong. Full disclosure: I have tried nettle cheese and it is actually quite tasty. On the other hand I have also been 'stung' by nettles and can attest that they must be handled with care!
Life is made up of choices made and not made. Here, Marei in many ways fears life. She feels that if she can avoid making decisions life will stay safe and sane. However, life doesn't work like that. Not making a choice, is also a choice...and in Marei's case it comes with dangerous consequences.
Love and its loss can cause people to take drastic and foolish actions. Here, Chloe has made her plan partly because of Marei's confession that she wishes to leave the island for good. Both girls--best friends--stand on a precipice. One step further and there will be no return.
The ancient magics that pervade this island are very strong. In fact, they point to the origins of all forms. As a girl who walks between two worlds, Marei must come to terms with the great power that she has been given and learn how to wield it with wisdom.
Choices have consequences and can influence our lives in ways we'll never fully understand. A decision is being made as to who Marei must marry. In the end the only way she will be able to regain her autonomy is to make no choice at all.
Practicality vs whimsy.... Practicality is all about function, while whimsy is all about form. Which one is better? That’s up for debate. Some people believe that practicality is key, while others believe that whimsy is more important. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. When it comes to Marei...she will choose a beautiful balloon any day. :)
Love and especially first love carries with it a powerful momentum. Anything seems possible. In these moments reality becomes heightened. This is what inspired me to write about stars "so bright that they pricked my eyes."
Marei and her island friends are so cut-off from conventional, life that she is sixteen years old when she sees her first balloon. Later, that balloon is destroyed in an act of violence. This small event is part of what sets Marei off on her journey to escape the confines of her insular island community.
In some cultures various forms of arranged marriage still exist. The idea fascinates and scares the crap out of me. Some people get lucky, but not all matches are made in heaven...
I have always loved stories within stories. Marei whispers her tale into a story shell and tosses it into the ocean in the hope it will one day find its way to her daughters who also happen to be mermaids.
Seagulls sometimes get a bad rap but I love them and they often appear in my books. :) They are incredibly adaptable, smart birds and I love watching them soar above the sea.
At this point she has fallen in love with Dylan but hasn't admitted it to herself. When she finally does sparks begin to fly.
Heart pounding with a surprising twist ending, bestselling author M.S. Kaminsky takes you on a thrilling paranormal adventure you won’t forget... Alysa Grey has no memory of the boating accident that almost drowned her. Meanwhile, her twin sister was never found and Hawaii Search and Rescue gave up long ago. Yet she feels certain her sister lives. When Alysa meets Nate, a handsome surfer, he presents the opportunity for answers. She sneaks off to Hina where Nate lives with a secretive group called the Ocean Alliance. But behind his dimpled smile and surfer scruff, Nate carries his own secrets. Alysa ends up trapped on an aging ship bound for Alabaster Island where her mother, Marei, was born. Far out at sea the sinister agenda behind the Ocean Alliance’s facade is revealed. To survive, Alysa must claim her destiny and face an enemy that has plagued her female ancestors for generations. As she uncovers the shocking truth about her past, she learns that sometimes it's much easier to be lost than found. If you love paranormal romance with a shocking twist ending then dive into The Atlantis Twins: The Mermaid Curse Book One today! "Not many books surprise me like this one did.” ★★★★★ “The writing is beautiful and so too the story…” ★★★★★ "Plenty of twists and turns!” ★★★★★ “No reader can come away untouched.” ★★★★★ "There were more than a few times that I gasped out loud.” -Amazon Review ★★★★★
Would you turn your parents in if you were certain they had committed a serious crime? I've seen this transpire both ways (parents reporting children and children reporting parents). Of course it all depends how serious the crime is and its nature (and whether or not the parent/child might be considered an accomplice). The legal aspect is not what fascinates me though, it's the moral conundrum. That is what Alysa struggles with here. She loves her father...and yet...
Perhaps because I'm not the strongest swimmer, the idea of free diving (diving without any equipment) floors me. As part of my research for 'The Atlantis Twins' I researched free driving, tried some basic practices and went to the ocean to experiment. It is extremely challenging! Breathing is *not* overrated.
Everyone has had them--those cringe-worthy moments in life where you do something so embarrassing you want to crawl into a dark hole. But the fact is, we all have the potential to be embarrassed (and embarrassing). In this instance Alyx tries to cover-up her humiliation but is not quite successful. What is your most embarrassing moment? Share your stories in the comments below!
Alyx feels certain something is amiss with her father. Furthermore, she suspects he has some involvement with the loss of her twin sister--even if it is just information he has held back. Although she told her best friend Charlie that she fears her father may have harmed her twin sister, hearing it from her best friend proves that deep down she does not believe it.
If anyone has ever experienced a supremely anxious period they will know that mere butterflies does not do the sensation justice. (I know this from experience!:)) Between her missing sister, unreliable father and tragic past Alyx has her share of worries...but NEVER call them butterflies.
Is Alysa's father protecting her or is there a darker truth behind her mother's disappearance? Secrets abound. What is her father hiding? Secrets have always been a fascination for humans. We want to know what's going on behind closed doors, and we love discovering secrets. Whether it's a family secret, a celebrity secret, or a secret about our own lives, we can't help but be intrigued. Secrets can be powerful things, and they can shape our lives in ways we never expected.
This is based on an actual conversation I had with a friend and I knew Charlie would feel the same way. We were on a long drive and I was streaming music from my phone. As we traveled along unfamiliar roads, Yvette suggested we flip on the radio. "Don't you want to know what the locals are listening to?" I shrugged, but acquiesced. The music was horrible but it gave us something to laugh about. I realized that the radio connected us to our surroundings.
My grandmother was Ukrainian and the current conflicts weigh heavy in my heart. I send out my thoughts and prayers to all those who face the real and immediate threat of violence, injury and death. Unlike my fictional world there is no invincibility here, only the somber reminder that each one of us is mortal, precious and fragile. #peace
Most everyone has had those moments where we desperately wanted to be the ideal "someone" for another. Here, Alysa's perfect afternoon is ruined when she is honest about her age. At least, that's how it feels at the time.
Whenever I'm in a coastal area that has public docks one of my favorite things to do is meander along the pier and enjoy the names people have given their boats. They often speak to the magic that water and the ocean can bring: peace, tranquility and most important: Magic (in this case magical mermaids).
One of the sub-themes that runs through "The Atlantis Twins" is Alysa learning to reconnect to her body. Because she is half-mermaid this launches the story in a wonderful, fantastical direction! However, there is truth in what she says--people--myself included--store many memories in their bodies some of which we are unaware of...
With apologies to any collectors of vintage dolls--they weird me out! May creates what Alysa calls "Frankenbabies" from discarded baby doll parts. This odd career choice became the perfect element to bring May to life for me and I hope for my readers.
Keeping a seagull as a pet is a bad idea for both you and for the seagull! No spoilers but Alysa learns her lesson later...:)
This book started as a thriller about twenty-something guys lost at sea. During a writing workshop, our instructor encouraged us to "free write" from the perspective of a new character. Alysa's voice came to me and took over. I loved her much more than my original characters. Without delay, I scrapped my original idea and wrote 'The Atlantis Twins' in what felt like one (underwater) breathless sitting. Alysa, I'm still not exactly where you came from and I've never said this but...THANK YOU.
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