Insanity by Cameron Jace

Title: Insanity
Author: Cameron Jace
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Expected publication: December 20, 2013

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

Excerpt from chapter 1

The writing on the wall says it’s January 14th. I am not sure what year. I haven’t been sure of many things lately, but I’m wondering if it’s my handwriting I’m looking at.
There is an strange key drawn underneath the date. It’s carved with a sharp object, probably a broken mirror. I couldn’t have written this. I’m terrified of mirrors. They love to call it Catoptrophobia around here.
Unlike regular patients in the asylum, my room is windowless, stripped down to a single mattress in the middle, a sink, and bucket for peeing–or puking–when necessary. The tiles on the floor are black-and-white squares, like a chessboard. I never step on black. Always white. Again, I’m not sure why.
The walls are smeared with a greasy pale green everywhere. I wonder if it’s the previous patient’s brains spattered all over from shock therapy. In the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum, politely known as the Warneford hospital, the doctors have a sweet spot for shock therapy. They love watching patients with bulging eyes and shivering limbs begging for relief from the electricity. It makes me question who is really mad in here.
It’s been a while since I was sent to shock therapy myself. Dr. Tom Truckle, my supervising physician, said I don’t need it anymore, particularly after I stopped mentioning Wonderland. He told me that I used to talk about it all the time; a dangerous place I claim I have been whisked away to when my elder sister lost me at the age of seven.
Truth is, I don’t remember this Wonderland they are talking about. I don’t even know why I am here. My oldest vivid memory is from a week ago. Before that, it’s all a purple haze.
I have only one friend in this asylum. It’s not a doctor or a nurse. And it’s not a human. It doesn’t hate, envy, or point a finger at you. My friend is an orange flower I keep in a pot; a Tiger Lily I can’t live without. I keep it safe next to a small crack in the wall where a single sun ray sneaks through for only ten minutes a day. It might not be enough light to grow a flower, but my Tiger Lily is a tough girl.
Each day, I save half of the water they give me for my flower. As for me, better thirsty than mad.
My orange flower is also my personal rain check for my sanity. If I talk to her and she doesn’t reply, I know I am not hallucinating. If it talks back to me, all kinds of nonsense starts to happen. Insanity prevails. There must be a reason why I am here. It doesn’t mean I will easily give in to such a fate.
“Alice Pleasance Wonder. Are you ready?” the nurse knocks with her electric prod on my steel door. Her name is Waltraud Wagner. She is German. Everything she says sounds like a threat and smells like smoke. My fellow mad people say she is a Nazi; that she used to kill her own patients back in Germany. “Get avay vrom za dor. I an coming in,” she demands.
Listening to the rattling of her large keychain, my heart pounds in my chest. The turn of the key makes me want to swallow. When the door opens, all I can think of is choking her before she begins to hurt me. Sadly, her neck is too thick for my nimble hands. I stare at her almost-square figure for a moment. Everything about her is four sizes too big, all except her feet, which are as small as mine. My sympathies, little feet.
“Time for your daily ten-minute break,” she approaches me with a straitjacket, a devilish grin on her face. I never get out. My ward is underground, and I take my break in another empty ward upstairs, where patients love to play soccer with a hedgehog’s head.
A big muscled warden stands behind Watlraud. Thomas Ogier. He is bald, has an angry-red face and a silver tooth he likes to flash whenever he sees me. His biceps are the size of my head. I have a hard time believing he has ever been a 4-pound baby.
“Slide your arms into the jacket,” Waltraud demands in her German accent, a cigarette puckered between her lips. “Slow and easy, Alice,” she nods at warden Ogier, in case I misbehave.
I comply obediently and stretch out my arms for her to do whatever she wants. Waltraud twists my right arm slightly and checks the tattoo on my arm. It’s the only tattoo I have. It’s a handwritten sentence that looks like a thin arm band from afar. Waltraud feels the need to read it allowed, “’I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.’” I was told I have written it myself while still believing in Wonderland. “That Alice in Wonderland has really messed with your head.” She puffs smoke into my face as she mocks me.
The tattoo and Waltraud’s mocking is the least of my concerns right now. I let her tie me, and while she does, I close my eyes. I imagine I am a sixteenth century princess, some kind of a lucky Cinderella, being squeezed into a corset by my chain smoking servant in a fairy tale castle above ground, just about to go meet my Prince Charming. Such imagery always helps me breathe. I once heard that it was hope that saves the day, not sanity. I need to cool down before I begin my grand escape.

Things you might want to know:

Cameron writes books that he can’t find elsewhere, basically to amuse himself. Everything Cameron does is for fun, so don’t take him seriously. Never call him a writer. He hates that. He prefers the word: Storyteller, or the boy next door who claims he can tell stories.

If you like his books, horaaaay! He loves ya too. If ya don’t, hoooray! Now we know in advance that this relationship isn’t going to work.

Although his books are ordinary on the surface, they hold many secrets that he might reveal one day. What matters the most to him are characters struggling to find their identities and place in the world.

Things you don’t need to know:

He celebrates his birthday twice a year, the day he was born and Friday the 13th. He wants to live in a bubble house. He is a damn good guitar player. He is damn good architecture college drop out. He likes boats, beaches, bears, beards, bananas, bars, barfights, beans, bikes, bones, butter, babes, bakery, blizzards, and pirates (he thought it was spelled Birates when he was a kid.)

And honestly, writing in third person sucks! It’s so fake. 

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Author Interview with D.M. Sears

Welcome today to D.M. Sears, author of Eden’s Mark and Eden’s Darkness, the second novel of the Ellethny series–forthcoming in 2014!

• Tell us a little about yourself.
Let’s see, that is kind of hard. I usually don’t talk about myself, but since you asked…

I am a mother to a 12 year old daughter. I start with that because she is my life. This whole book series began because of her (it was a bedtime story). We live in Mid-Missouri, which most of you probably think is boring, and you are right! However, I love it here, the country is peaceful.

I am a baker on the side, when I am not working or writing, and recently was told my name about town is Cupcake Diana! I sing a lot, used to sing for weddings and such, now it is reserved for the unfortunate souls in my car and karaoke!

• What inspired you to write your latest release?
The Ellethny Series began as a bedtime story for my daughter when she was young. Her middle name being Eden, I thought it would be exciting for her. As the years went by, the story unfolded into this world that I never knew was inside my head. The voices began to scream at me until I wrote them down, gave them names, and a place to live. They are perfectly happy now ;).

• Was there a certain moment of the book that was your favorite to write?
I enjoyed the moments when Eden really has to think about things, come to terms with her life, her reality. We all have these moments and my goal was to create the link from character to reader, hopefully I did that.

• Who is your favorite author?
I have more books than I can count, so picking one is too tough. I will say, I read Eon and Eona by Alliason Goodman, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and the four books in the Inheritance Cycle by Paolini at least 15 to 20 times a year, if not more. I am also an Anne Rice, Christine Feehan, J.R.R Tolkien, and P.C. Cast book lover too!

• Tell us one thing about yourself that people would be surprised to find out.
I am the biggest nerd you have ever met! I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Legend, Hobbit, and all those Sci-fi movies! My movie collection is full of them and that makes me happy. I also game, no really, WoW, Diablo 3, etc…love it all =D.

• Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to write their first novel?
Just keep at it! Nothing comes easy, and your first novel, novella, etc. is the same. You will find your groove and when you complete that work of art you toiled over forever, the feeling of pride and accomplishment will flood you!


Eden's Mark

Eden’s Mark, Book One in the Ellethny Series

What would you do if you had to save a world you knew nothing about?

Eden Arik was a typical teenager who lived the typical teenage life…until the pale eyes showed up in her dreams. The birthmark, Eden had always ignored, burned at the new nightmares, raising questions about her past. Eden finds out she is more than a mere human that is destined to save a world she never knew existed. Her only solitude is the woods behind her house where she meets a mysterious stranger with steel eyes. With the help of her guardians, two unlikely shape shifters, and a vampire who can bring her to her knees with one glance, Eden goes on to search the secrets of her past, present, and future. Along her way to discovery, Eden comes across Circenn; her grandmother, consort to the Darkness and the evil magic he possess. Circenn will stop at nothing to bring Eden to the darkness so she can harness her granddaughter’s limitless power. Seduction, power, and death pave the way towards Eden’s destiny and the fate of Ellethny.


Eden’s Darkness, Book Two in the Ellethny Series (Forthcoming)

Time waits for no man, or so they say. Darkness has but a little time to find a vessel to inhabit so he can find his true form, only problem is…Eden is the key. She is tied to his future, giving him his true form, or casting him back into the shadows for another millennium. Circenn is mad with jealousy at the revelation and wants to destroy her granddaughter more than ever.

For Eden, things just go from bad to worse. Terrifying nightmares of death and betrayal surrounds Eden, nightmares about her beloved. With a child on the way, she must protect the future ruler of her new home and raise an army to defeat Circenn and Darkness.

The life she hoped would be hers hangs in the balance in the second installment of the Ellethny Series. To be released in Feb/March 2014 from Solstice Shadows.

About the Author


D.M. Sears lives in Missouri with her daughter and one crazy cat. Her first paranormal fantasy, Eden’s Mark, was recently published by Solstice Publishing. D.M. Sears is a Director of an early childhood center and bakes cupcakes on the side. She loves most genres of books and has just signed a publishing contract for Eden’s Darkness, Book 2 in the Ellethny Series, which will be out Feb/March 2014.

Connect with D.M. Sears

Twitter: @DMSears1

Five Types of Regency Romance Heroes by Giselle Marks

Welcome today to Regency Romance author Giselle Marks, here today to discuss Five Types of Regency Romance Heroes.


Are there 5 types of Regency Heroes?
By Giselle Marks

I had a great deal of difficulty writing this article, because no matter which way I categorise Regency heroes there are always some that fit into more than one category or do not fit in at all. So with the caveat that this only covers the majority but not all Regency heroes, this is what I came up with:

1. The Byronic or rakish:- this is where the dark brooding hunks of manhood go. So Heathcliff, Mr Rochester, and my favourite Jasper Damerel, Justin and his son Dominic Alastair all slot in here. (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, by Emily and Charlotte Bronte. Venetia, These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer.

I will admit to being an unapologetic Georgette Heyer fan so many of the examples I will use are from her novels. I think the Byronic is the largest group of heroes in Regency Romances and they are frequently so predictably written that they lack depth to their characters.

2. The Martial:- former soldiers, sailors or even possibly pirates and duellists. So Hugh Darracott, Jack Staple, Caleb Armitage, Richard Sharpe and my own Edward Charrington. (The Unknown Ajax, The Black Moth, Death of a Fop, The Sharpe series, and The Fencing Master’s Daughter. The first two by Georgette Heyer, the others by Sarah J. Waldock, Bernard Cornwell and me, respectively.)

I have added Richard Sharpe here, knowing perfectly well that he is not considered a Regency Romantic hero as Bernard Cornwell writes historical fiction not historical romance. Here I confess to sitting on the fence because I try to write historically accurate Regency Romances. I often find the martial characters like Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower more interesting because they are implicitly capable leaders and have more to them than a title and a social standing.

3. The Corinthian:- this group includes the sportsmen, the expert riders, whipsters and those who have specialist interests or hobbies. So here we have Beau Wyndham, Sir Waldo Hawkridge, Matthew Lotherwood, Marquis of Bradbourne (The Corinthian and The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer and The Grand Passion by Elizabeth Mansfield.)

The flattering terms Corinthian and Nonesuch from Heyer’s titles say it all; these are men’s men who are admired for their sporting prowess. I wonder whether their brides were so happy for their husbands to engage in dangerous sporting activities after their marriages.

4. The Understated:- the quiet non-flamboyant man. I put Gideon, Duke of Sale, Gervase Frantin and George Knightley into this group. (The Foundling and The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer and Emma by Jane Austen.)

These are men who do not have to yell out their orders to get things done. They are practical, charismatic men without the complicated temperaments of the brooding Byronic heroes. Not so sexily romantic but would probably have made excellent loving husbands.

5. The Decided:- also called the waiting bridegrooms. These are men who have made up their minds on the lady they want quickly but may have a wait before she can marry them. Colonel Brandon, Lord Henry Marchnight, Lord Worth and Lord Farndon can all be put in this group. (Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, Lady Polly by Nicola Cornick and my own The Marquis’s Mistake)

Circumstances may have prevented the hero proposing earlier, such as the bride being much younger than himself, his financial situation, parental opposition or other temporarily insurmountable obstacles.

I have left out a number of Regency heroes who could be placed in more than one group and have largely decided to keep to the period and traditional Regency Romances for examples. There are sub-groups and exceptions but most of the most memorable Regency heroes fall into these groups.


Books by Giselle Marks:

1Fencing_Master (1)

The Fencing Master’s Daughter by Giselle Marks

Edward, Earl of Chalcombe, walking home, is attacked by footpads. He attempts to defend himself but is bludgeoned to the ground. Death seems inevitable when a fat ugly man carrying a stick and a beautiful slender young lady appear.

The young lady stumbles and picks up his dropped foil, dispatching one footpad and injuring another. The fat man belabours a third with his stick. The footpads flee, leaving their deceased comrade behind. The rescuers bundle Edward home.

The young lady, Madelaine summons the Bow Street runners. Refusing reward she provides no address. But Edward fascinated by both Madelaine’s beauty and swordsmanship intends to pursue the acquaintance. Edward seeks his rescuers and the culprits who wish to terminate his life. Offering the elusive Madelaine marriage but she repeatedly declines. Her father accepts an invitation to visit his estate with her over Christmas as he takes a liking to Edward.

As Edward pursues Madelaine, the attempts on his life continue. The sinister French spy, Major Furet, discovered as the arch nemesis in both Edward and Madelaine’s stories. The mystery intertwines as their romance progresses and Madelaine eventually reveals the secret making her refuse to marry him.



The Marquis’s Mistake
by Giselle Marks

Devastatingly handsome Sebastian, Marquis of Farndon awaits a lady, a present from his best friend Stephen for his thirtieth birthday. Alicia Lambert fleeing from a forced marriage is shown into his room by mistake. Inebriated from celebrating his return to England, Sebastian disbelieves her protests and is reluctant to let her escape. Meeting him later in London, Alicia is relieved he does not recognise her. But when he pursues her and proposes marriage, she doubts his feelings for her are real. Sebastian wants to protect Alicia from the machinations of the blackguard Major Mallinder as he fears for her life and that of her aunt Maud. But will Sebastian’s natural intelligence be enough to deal with the ruthlessness of Alexander Mallinder?


About the Author

1ladies head

Giselle Marks has been writing for many years. She has written two Regency Romances and a Fantasy/ Sci-fi series with erotic content. Her first published novel, The Fencing Master’s Daughter was launched by Front Porch Romance in September 2013. Her second Regency Romance, The Marquis’s Mistake was released by them in December 2013. Her Fantasy series, The Zeninan Saga is currently being edited by Nevermore Press and should start appearing in the near future. They hope to release the first in the saga, Princess of Zenina in February to March 2014. Giselle is currently working on an erotic fantasy novella called Lucy, which she hopes will be available in next year and a number of other projects.

UtopYA Authors Holiday Giveaway

Hello, and welcome to the Unofficial UtopYA Authors Holiday Giveaway!

What is this giveaway all about? Getting you — the readers — into the holiday spirit! Each day there will be a new prize pack being given away, loaded with awesome authors all united by the fantastic YA/NA Convention, UtopYA! We hope you’ll love our prize packs, but that’s not all that’s being given away. To top off the holiday spirit, we’re giving away TWO, that’s right, TWO fully loaded Kindle HDs! Two lucky winners will receive Kindle HDs, loaded with EVERY book being given away in the giveaway prize packs! So what are you waiting for? Check out today’s prize pack, and enter to win one of twenty-seven fantastic prizes! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 🙂

Without further ado, here are the amazing books in the Day 17 Prize Pack after the jump!

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Tagged for a Blog Hop by Tianna Holley

Author Tianna Holley tagged me on Twitter for a blog hop, and you can find her answers to these questions on her blog. You can also find her on Twitter as @holley_tianna (seriously–follow her! 🙂 ). Here are my answers to the questions, and now I will find five random authors on Twitter to continue the hop. Should be fun reaching out randomly to others and seeing what everyone has to say!

What are You Writing?

Right now, I am in the process of editing a young adult fantasy entitled Fairy, Texas (due out in 2014 from Solstice Shadows Publishing); editing a contemporary romance; and writing the sequel to Waking Up Dead. I’ve also started sketching out ideas for several other novels including a sequel to my forthcoming novel Legally Undead (World Weaver Press, 2014) and another contemporary romance. I have more ideas than I have time to write!

How Does This Differ From Your Last Work?

I used to write one novel at a time! Also, I just recently started writing contemporary romance novels; I’m in the process of learning all of the tropes and general guidelines for category romance novels. But the biggest difference is that I started my most recent novels by putting together synopses. By nature I’m a seat-of-my-pants kind of writer (a “pantser” in NaNoWriMo terms!), but I’m enjoying the process of figuring out the story ahead of time.

As for how writing a sequel differs from writing the first novel in the series? In the sequel to Waking Up Dead, Callie continues to solve mysteries–but we learn more about her own life and the lives of her friends. I’m enjoying the chance to make the characters deeper; I feel like I spent the first novel just barely getting to know Callie, Ashara, Maw-Maw, and Stephen!

Why Do You Write?

I write because if I didn’t, I might wither and die. In some ways, it hardly matters if other people read my books–I write them because I love getting lost in the story, in other people’s worlds and thoughts and dreams and problems and successes. If other people like what I write, it’s an exciting bonus.

What is Your Writing Process?

I have an office that I use for all my work: academic writing, fiction writing, editing, and online teaching. My desk is against a window so I can see outside. I’m surrounded by books and papers. I write directly on my laptop, but when I get stuck, I sometimes switch to handwriting; this seems to shift my brain onto a different track and helps me get over writer’s block. I don’t have a set time that I write, but I try to write every day, whether it’s academic writing, fiction, or my blog.

When I write fiction, I tend to think in “scenes.” Thinking in scenes means that I often write scenes out of order. When that happens, I use a separate file from the primary one and shuffle the scenes around as necessary. But the single biggest thing that I do to write? It’s narrating. I have an internal monologue—and sometimes dialogue–going on all the time. I think in words; when I have a mental picture, I practice translating it into words in my mind. I tell myself stories and I work out plot lines and I figure out arguments to make about literature. I think about the words to use to explain writing to my classes and I practice describing my surroundings. I think in my characters’ voices and in my own voice. When I get blocked, I go for a walk and let my characters take over for a while until I have another scene.

What I’ve learned in all my years of teaching writing is that writing is a deeply personal process; everyone has different writing rituals, and those rituals can change over time. I used to have to have a clean space in which to write. Now I just need a place to put my laptop (having a three-year-old child might have influenced that change). I used to have to set rules for myself: writing two hours a day, not going out to the pool in the summer until I had written three pages, and so on. I still use those when I’m stuck or resenting the need to write, but these days, the only rule I have for myself is this: Just write.

Waking Up Dead

Spotlight On: The Shepherd by T.W. Luedke


Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyant visions and reincarnation…

…THE SHEPHERD is unlike any other Young Adult novel you have ever read.

Mike Evans here. Sixteen year old skate punk squatting in a white-trash trailer park with my loser drunk Dad. Seems I lost most of my friends when Dad lost our home in foreclosure. Only Anita stuck by me. Worse, I keep having strange clairvoyant visions of things that always come true.

Then I almost ran over Nadia in my Geo. A passing truck finished the job – left a crumpled heap of skin and bone on the road. I fixed her. Me.

Now this fourteen year old girl won’t leave me alone. I sorta let her sneak in my window when she needs a place to crash.

I have a double life: daytime at school, Anita, skating, and then my nights with Nadia. She’s my secret friend, gives me money and listens to my problems when nobody else will.

My world is spinning out of control. Old friends have turned enemy, my grisly visions of death won’t quit, and Anita’s intentions make my head spin. Even with all that, I’ve got bigger stuff to worry about.

Nadia’s hiding something.

Buy The Shepherd here.


About the Author


TW Luedke ~ Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.

As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.

His new series is the Shepherd series.

Author Website
The Nightlife Series on Facebook
TW Luedke on Facebook