Guest Post by David Estes: Do you believe in soul mates?

Do you believe in soul mates?

David Estes

I do! And I’m a guy! Is that weird? Are you saying “Awww, that’s so cute!” or are you saying “This dude’s a cheeseball for sure!”? Well, regardless of whether you think I’m a hopeless romantic with my head in the clouds and no clue about reality, let me explain why I believe the way I do. Yep, this is my true love story!

Before I met Adele I wasn’t so sure about the whole “soul mate thing.” I didn’t necessarily have an opinion either way, because I didn’t have enough experience to decide on it. Well, all that changed when I met my future wife. Adele and I, although not exactly alike in every single way, connected in a way that made it impossible for us to stay away from each other. We love each other’s conversation, jokes, laughs, touches, and everything else. We moved in together after 6 weeks, were engaged in 3 months, and were married in 9 months. Yeah, we moved fast!

She’s my sunrise and moonbeams and crashing waves and lightning bolts. She makes life better and happier and more worth it. I’m sure I’m hitting plenty of clichés, but they’re all true, and here comes another one: she makes me a better man. Without her, I’m loster than the plane crash victims on the hit TV show Lost. In short, she’s my soul mate.

In fact, it was Adele who encouraged me three years ago to start seriously writing, which had always been a dream of mine. I wouldn’t be a fulltime writer today if it wasn’t for her!

So, regardless of whether you have a soul mate yet, or believe in that sort of thing, my belief in the concept absolutely has an impact on my writing. I like the characters who I believe are meant to be together, to find each other, to have the chance for their relationship to grow, and to stay together. When I believe two characters are soul mates, no other characters can get in the way no matter how attractive or smooth they are. I rarely do love triangles for that reason.

So does that mean all my books are cheesy romance novels with sunshine and picnics and stolen kisses? Not at all! My characters have endless and brutal struggles in their quests to be together, many of which will tear them apart before they’re eventually brought back together. Happy endings aren’t always a sure thing in my dystopian novels, leaving the reader in suspense and hoping for the best. Challenges make my characters stronger and more appreciative of the time they do have together. That’s real life, whether you have a soul mate, a best friend, a sibling, mother, or father. Our trials define us and mold us together like super glue.

Now I’d love to hear from all of you! Do you believe in soul mates? Do you have a soul mate already? Why or why not? All opinions are welcome as I believe everyone has a different take and there isn’t any right or wrong answer! Leave your opinions as comments below!

I’d like to thank Tiffany for the chance to come on her awesome blog and talk about soul mates!

David Estes

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Book Review & Giveaway: Fire Country by David Estes

Fire CountryTitle: Fire Country (Country Saga #1)

Author: David Estes

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb: In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer’s even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life’s hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

My Review: Fire Country starts off with a girl, surviving in a dystopian world. She is trying to mentally prepare herself for the traditions of her tribe, The Heaters. All while dealing with bullying, an abusive father and circumstances beyond her means. She has a best friend, Circ, who she’s starting to see as possibly more than a friend but she knows their romance is impossible as there is a way for mating among the Heaters that doesn’t even allow them the possibility.

Siena, the main character, was real. Her insecurities, I very much understood, related to and believed. She’s not only dealing with insecurities and emotional and physical scars but there is a world of suspense and conspiracy going on around her. She puts herself in situations to try and unravel these mysteries and boy, was I in for a treat. Siena has a strong will and an even sharper mind. She is physically lacking- too skinny and weak. Yet this does not stop her. She learns to accept who she is, her body and see what she thought were negatives as positive. I love her transformation and seeing her become as physically strong as she is mentally.

So characters: As already covered, Sienna is awesome. Circ, her best friend, is beautiful. He is there for her. Both emotionally and physically. He is strong, a warrior, and uses his strength to protect his people and her. Their romance is truly something I loved. Perry OMG, Perry! He is fricking amazing. I love his banter with Sienna. He has such a prickly personality (Ha!) and dry sense of humor and I loved him! If his name was anywhere on the page, I laughed. And then laughed some more. The best thing about Perry? So much about him is amazing but I won’t spoil the best part.

Estes writes in a way that allows for the reader to completely immerse themselves in the novel. From the language to the imagery to emotions that run so pure that you sometimes forget yourself while reading. You laugh and cry and mourn and leap with joy. Speaking of laughs, there was something I thought of after finishing this novel that I just want to share. Have any of you watched Laugh At My Pain a comedy special by Kevin Hart? He has this ongoing joke throughout the show. He’s joking about money and how when he can’t afford something he explains his financial situation, “Because the way my bank account is set up… I have a checking and a savings but all the money is in my savings…” The more he tells it, the funnier it becomes. Estes, did something to that effect in Fire Country. An ongoing joke that even in the most suspenseful or heated moments cause a laugh. This novel gave me an insight to Estes’ sense of humor and I gotta say, you are a funny man!

The novel ended well and after all the bangs and fireworks one would expect of a grand finale and then the pace slows to fill in all the blanks that we wondered about throughout the novel. It also set the tone for the sequel, which quite honestly, I’m looking forward to. I also know this series is described as a sister series to The Moon Dwellers, but I didn’t really understand it at first. Now I do and I feel that these books, in both series, are a must read.

*I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: It’s that time again, where you get the chance to enter another amazing giveaway. This very emotional and gushing girl is offering you the chance to win an ebook copy of this novel. To get a little colloquial, you would be wooloo, to not enter. This is once again a Rafflecopter giveaway and to enter, just click here. Good luck!

Author Interview: David Estes

Thank you David for granting me this amazing interview. Yes, I am patting myself on the back here. 😉 I really think we have done a great job collaborating to make this possible and I hope you guys enjoy reading this as much as I did.

Q: How did your love of literature come about?
A: First off, thanks for having me come on your blog to answer some questions. Great first question! I fell in love with books at a really young age. I really have to credit my mom, because she started reading to me when I was too little to read on my own. She was a great storyteller and sometimes made up her own stories, many of which could have been made into books!

As soon as I learned to read, I grabbed every book in sight, devouring them like cupcakes! I even won a contest in second grade by reading the most books! By age eight I’d read The Lord of the Rings half a dozen times, and by twelve I’d read every Agatha Christie book my dad had.

I never looked back and as I grew up and went out on my own, my favorite place to go was the library. I’m a book-addicted nerd through and through!

Q: What inspires you most to write?
A: I love storytelling and bringing out emotions in people. There’s a certain thrill to having a story to tell and then telling it to the best of your ability. Shaping character’s lives, putting roadblocks in their way and then letting them tear them down is so fulfilling. And I love that feeling at the end of a long writing session when I know I’ve written the scene the way I wanted them to be. Of course, when my readers finish one of my books and tell me they cried or laughed or were on the edge of their seats, well, that makes all the long hours and stress more than worth it!

David EstesQ: As you are now a full time writer, what would you say is the best part of living your dream?
A: Wow, tough question, because there are so many awesome things about it! I like the way you said it—“living your dream”—because that’s really what it is for me. The best part is waking up and knowing I have readers who actually care about what I’m about to create. When I open my laptop, a cup of coffee beside me, pondering worlds beyond our own, worlds that are only in my head, I know that I’m doing it for my readers, many of whom are friends.

Q: You have written both children’s and YA novels. Was aspect of the transition of writing in these two categories was the most difficult to overcome?
A: The characters’ voices. While writing you always have to be mindful of whom your audience is. Ensuring that your younger characters actually sound their age is crucial and can be extremely challenging if you’re switching between young adult and children’s on a regular basis. But that’s all part of the fun of it!

Q: Congratulations on having reached and surpassed your one million word count. Now that you have overcome that right of passage as a published author, what hurdle are you planning to overcome next?
A: Wow, thank you very very much! It was a huge milestone for me, not only because of the experience I gained along the way, but also because it increased the size of my backlist to 8 YA books and 4 children’s. Having such a variety of books under my name really helps to increase my readership. My next hurdle is finding a publisher. Although I love many many aspects of being an Indie author and am so excited I’m able to do it fulltime, I would love to partner with a publisher that shares my vision to get my books out to an even broader audience.

Q: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
A: If there’s one thing that’s certain for me, it’s that I’m always in the middle of a new project while trying to publish my old projects. Well, given I’ve just published the sequel to Fire Country, I’m working on the third book in the series, Water & Storm Country. The first draft is complete and with my beta readers, so I’m just waiting in anticipation for their feedback. To keep me occupied while I wait, I’ve begun work on the 4th book in the Dwellers Saga, which will consequently double as the 4th book in The Country Saga. Because the two sagas are sister series, they’ll come crashing together in the 7th and final book in the combined series, titled The Earth Dwellers.

After that, I’ve got plenty of ideas for my next series, but one in particular stands out; however, I can’t be too forthcoming with information at this time. Just know it has an awesome title and will combine more than one genre within YA! I’m more excited about my new series than anything else I’ve written so far!

Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
A: That I’m just like them! My Goodreads fan group, which has grown to over 1,200 members, doubles as a YA Book Lovers Group, because first and foremost I’m a lover of books. Just because I write books doesn’t mean I’m any different from my readers. I get excited about new book releases, cry at the sad parts, and laugh at funny lines. That’s why I’m so interactive with my readers, chatting with them every day. I feel like I get way more out of the relationships than they ever could from me writing a few books for them.

Q: Being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
A: Just that I feel privileged to have met so many awesome people, like you, from my journey to become a fulltime Indie author. No, more than privileged—blessed. The people I’ve met along the way have proven in a million ways that there are good people in this world who are selfless, kind, funny, and down to earth. I love all of you!

Q: Where can your readers follow you?
A: Thank you so much for having me on your awesome blog!! I pledged when I started writing to always respond to readers, and love getting comments and questions, so please contact me using one of my favorite social networking sites below. As always, happy reading!!

Where you can find David Estes hanging out:
Goodreads Fan Group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70863-david-estes-fans-and-ya-book-lovers-unite?clear_facebook_session=true
Blog/website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130852990343920
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/davidestesbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/davidestesbooks

Other YA Books by David Estes!
The Dwellers Saga:
Book One—The Moon Dwellers
Book Two—The Star Dwellers
Book Three—The Sun Dwellers
Book Four—The Earth Dwellers (coming September 2013!)

The Country Saga:
Book One—Fire Country
Book Two—Ice Country
Book Three—Water and Storm Country (coming June 6 2013!)

The Evolution Trilogy
Book One- Angel Evolution
Book Two- Demon Evolution
Book Three- Archangel Evolution

Children’s Books by David Estes
The Nikki Powergloves Adventures:
Nikki Powergloves- A Hero is Born
Nikki Powergloves and the Power Council
Nikki Powergloves and the Power Trappers
Nikki Powergloves and the Great Adventure
Nikki Powergloves vs. the Power Outlaws (Coming in 2013!)

Author Spotlight: David Estes

This month I have the pleasure of spotlighting David Estes. As for you Homeland buffs, no not that Estes. This month we will be enjoying the work and the pleasure of getting to know the author of both Children’s and YA literature.

David Estes

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

Estes has surpassed his one million word count in a total of 14 novels both published and soon to be released. He is very social and can be constantly spotted on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook. With that being said, be sure to add him and say hello. We have some great things planned for you this month. Including book reviews, giveaways, interviews and a guest post. David, thank you for allowing us to spotlight you!

Author Interview: Cindy C. Bennett

As many of you know, Bennett is an amazing author whose work I have been devouring this Spotlight. She seems to always manage to write novels that are captivating, relatable, romantic and all out amazing. Cindy has provided me this wonderful interview which I hope you all enjoy! Also don’t forget that the giveaways for Immortal Mine and Geek Girl are open until the end of the month. Enjoy!

Q: What was the first story you wrote that gave you the maybe I can do this for a living’ feeling?
A: I’d have to say Geek Girl, which was actually the second book I wrote (following Heart on a Chain). I’d really written both of them for my daughters, but after I finished Geek Girl, my daughters asked why I didn’t have them published, and it occurred to me that I should.

Q: Name one random thing about you your fans are not likely to know.
A: I have an irrational, deeply disturbing fear of spiders (and most creepy-crawly things, really). Not just an “eww, there’s a spider” kind of fear, but the kind of terror so deep that I can’t even pick a dead one up to flush it. If I see one, I spend the rest of the day thinking that they’re crawling all over me. It’s crazy, I know. I know I’m bigger than a spider and that, with the exception of the poisonous ones, they can’t hurt me. Doesn’t matter. Just speaking of it now makes me shiver.

Cindy Bennett

Fav Five

1. What is your favorite pastime? Hanging with my kids, watching TV or movies or playing games with them.

2. What is your favorite film? Ever After

3. What is your favorite novel? Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (which is not at all within my preferred reading and writing genre)

4. Favorite season? Fall

5. Favorite place to write? On my couch, surrounded by noise, family, and dogs

Q: What was the first YA book that you read that helped mold your love of this genre?
A: I’m not sure which I read first, but around the same time I read Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (JK Rowling), Eragon (Christopher Paolini), and Dreamland (Sarah Dessen). I was amazed there were so many great books available for teens. I fell immediately in love with the YA genre and began reading it almost exclusively, which lead to my deciding this was a genre I could write.

Q: Of your many published works, which one is closest to your heart? Why?
A: Heart on a Chain, probably because it’s the first completed novel I wrote, which began as a labor of love for my daughters. To this day it remains my best selling novel – though Rapunzel Untangled is giving it a run for it’s money.

Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
A: I hope my characters stay with them, at least for a little while. I hope something within the story spoke to them and made the characters sympathetic, empathetic, or at least feel like a friend.

Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
A: I want to thank Tiffany for the opportunity to hang out on her blog for a while. I hope you all get a chance to read as much as you’d like, and that if you happen to pick up one of my books, you enjoy the journey while you’re in one of my worlds.

Q: Where can readers follow you?
Blog: http://www.cindycbennett.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/authorcindycbennett
Twitter: @cinbennett

Book Review + Giveaway: Immortal Mine

Immortal MineTitle: Immortal Mine

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Niahm (pronounced Neeve) Parker is thoroughly content with her life in the small town of Goshen. Her parents, who travel frequently for their work, have raised a headstrong, independent teen. While her peers can hardly wait for the opportunity to leave, Niahm plans to stay forever.

When Shane Coleman and his nephew Sam move into town, it’s the biggest event to happen in as long as anyone can remember. It’s quite remarkable for anyone to move into Goshen rather than out, but when it’s discovered that Sam is 17, it requires some serious burning of the phone lines. All the teen girls are thrilled to have a new hottie in town—all except Niahm. Sam Coleman represents a threat to her perfect way of life.

Sam is drawn to Niahm against his will. He’d prefer to not be bound to this angry, stubborn, unlikeable girl. Unfortunately, he has no choice. However, Sam didn’t plan on falling for Niahm. For Immortals, love is not only forbidden, but dangerous for her. He finds himself in a fight not only for Niahm’s heart, but to protect her from being harmed by those who seek to destroy Sam and those like him.

Niahm finds herself attracted to the tall, copper-headed boy, who becomes her friend and then her support when tragedy strikes. Soon, she begins to realize that there may be more to Sam than she ever suspected… much more. But what he truly is, she can’t begin to imagine.

My Review: Niahm is a self-sufficient 17-year-old who has been taking care of herself and her farm while her parents travel the world. She loves her hometown of Goshen and pretty much has her life planned out. People moving into this small town is unheard of. But when it is found out that these two guys are hot and single- one a teenager and one an adult, the whole town goes out to meet them. Niahm and Sam get off on the wrong food. It’s all pretty silly but man do they seem to hate each other. They are so focused on the tension they hardly see the sparks flying.

The book is pretty good. I enjoyed it and it turned out to be more than I expected. It’s addictive and felt very real. I laughed, cried and fell in love. Also, I would get so caught up in the book (with the characters, emotions, storyline) I would forget myself. I would catch myself, look around and realize I was actually reading and not watching a film or something. This was the book for me. An amazing escape that keeps you guessing and is addictive.

Niamh is a relatable character. She is head strong and self-contained and a good mixture of strong and vulnerable. Sam is a total sweetheart. He lacks the ability to think things through but he is patient and loving and sweet. Sam and Niamh make a great couple. Honestly though, all the characters in this novel are great.

Reading a story about immortals, I expected it to be generic and along the lines of: boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall irrevocably in love. Boy reveals inhuman-ous to girl. She may or may not freak out. She gets over it.They live happily ever after. I expected this. I thought I knew where the story was headed. Honestly I found that it followed my blueprint to a point then I was left not knowing what to expect. I found the pacing slowed alot on a couple of parts but even that did little to deter me from this read.

I found this book to be great. I loved many things in this novel: the romance, the characters, the action… But above all, the ending was amazing. I found that it ended well but with a few questions in the air. Cindy, if you ever write a sequel for Immortal Mine you can count me in on the list of readers who will be anxious to get her hands on it.

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: For a chance to win an ebook copy of this great novel, be sure to enter this Rafflecopter giveaway by Clicking Here

Book Review + Giveaway: Geek Girl

Geek GirlTitle: Geek Girl

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Blurb: “Think I can turn that boy bad?” 17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even-ugh!-bowling. To truly belong with him-and with her new foster family-she must first come to terms with her violent past.

My Review I’ll start by saying that I read this novel a little over a month ago and as the emotion is not fresh in my mind all I have is my notes to go off of. For those of you who tend to enjoy my long, emotion filled rants- I apologize. 🙂

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect with this book. Lets see: It has great overall reviews and seems to be one of the novels Bennett is best known for. I went into this novel not really knowing what to expect but with high expectations. After all, I have read and loved a few of Bennett’s other novels. With that being said, I was not at all disappointed.

Geek Girl is a pretty amazing novel about a girl with a tragic childhood who finds herself a young adult lost in the pain of her upbringing. Jen is a total goth who attempts to turn the schools golden boy “bad” after a dare brought out of boredom. In the beginning of the novel, the book was all high school drama with all of its drama and gossip. Which in truth, I’m usually bored by but Bennett managed to make it entertaining. I also found myself constantly wondering what would happen next. Geek Girl turned out to be quite the roller coaster ride of the reader not knowing what to expect and loving every minute of it.

Trevor, Jen’s love interest is amazing. He is… wow. One of those guys you would clone if you could and bring home to meet your parents. He is an all around amazing guy. Well Jen didn’t account for him being such a great guy and finds herself drawn to him. The romance is beautiful and their relationship is absolutely heart warming.

Bennett is apparently fluent in geek and some references I was familiar with while I found myself being educated on others. I guess I’m not the geek I thought myself to be. 🙂 I found Geek Girl to be perfect reading for anyone. It’s greatly addictive and the romance is quite beautiful. The character developement is realistic and the read is emotional. This novel has a great pace and if my 5 stars wasn’t enough of an indication, I absolutely loved this novel.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: For a chance to fall in love and see just how great this book is, be sure to Click Here. As one lucky person will walk away with a ebook copy of this novel. Good luck!

Guest Post: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing by Cindy C. Bennett

Cindy Bennett

    Traditional vs. Self-Publishing by Cindy C Bennett

Up until a year or two ago, most readers were unaware of the difference between traditional and self-publishing. One simply chose a book, read it, and then judged it based on the quality of the story. Then self-publishing exploded and with it came a slew of both amazing books from new and established authors as well as some less-than-stellar books.

Traditional publishing means a book is published through an established publishing house. Self-publishing means the author has chosen to bypass a publishing house and do it on their own. I’ve published my books both ways. Geek Girl and Rapunzel Untangled are both published through Sweetwater Books, and everything else I’ve self-published. I love that self-publishing has given the world some fantastic authors who might otherwise remain silent. Because of my experience, I’ve learned quite a bit about the pros and cons of both methods.

I actually self-published Geek Girl originally because I was worn down by all of the agent rejections. However, I knew nothing of marketing a book so I began looking for a publisher who would accept a previously self-published book. In the meantime I self-published Heart on a Chain. Then Sweetwater Books, a subsidiary of Cedar Fort, sent me the spirit-lifting acceptance letter. I’ll admit it—I felt somehow justified, legit, vindicated, like an authentic author for the first time, no matter how many copies of my books I’d already sold.

That’s when I discovered some of the cons of traditional publishing. It takes months for your book to go from acceptance to publication, whereas with self-publishing you can be in print within a few weeks of final editing your manuscript. It was 9 months for Geek Girl, and that’s very fast for a publisher. Sometimes it can be up to 2 years before your book sees the light of day. It requires patience for sure. As an author, it takes a leap of faith to hand your baby over to someone else to mold. You have little to no say on the cover, book layout, sometimes the title and even content can be changed by the publisher.

However, a publisher can do things for an author that as of yet a self-published author can’t do for themselves. My publisher was able to put my books on the shelves at places like Costco and Barnes & Noble. A self-published author doesn’t have a prayer of getting their books in either of those stores. Plus, there’s a certain validation that comes with having been accepted by a publisher. Because of the way I published, I don’t have an agent (which I’m grateful for since that’s one less person taking a slice of the pie) so I can’t really speak to what it means to have an agent and publisher both.

Other than being on bookstore shelves, some of the disadvantages of self-publishing are that it can cost you some money up front for things like editing, a cover, formatting, and book layout unless it’s something you know how to do on their own. There are ways of doing those things cost free, but it’s a matter of making the choice to spend the time to learn. Some advantages are much faster publication, more creative control, and a higher royalty percentage.

As far as marketing your book goes, it’s equal work for both traditional and self-published books. As an author, you are your marketing team. If you are willing to put in the time and hard work—and you’ve written a good book—you’re going to get your title out into the world and into your reader’s hands. If you don’t, and just sit back and wait for others to find your book, it’s probably going to languish in oblivion.

If you have a book ready to publish, I suggest you study both routes and decide which is best for you and your future as an author. Go into it educated and informed, with the understanding that both ways have pros and cons, and neither one is the magical answer to putting you on the bestselling list—but both can lead to the bestseller list if you have the talent and are willing to put the work into it.

Thank you Cindy for this amazingly informative guest post.

Book Review: Beautiful Beast

20130208-103127.jpgTitle: Beautiful Beast

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Calli is cursed by her beauty.

Though she knows it’s cruel, Calli agrees to accompany her friends to Monster House where it is rumored the beast howls at the moon each sunset. When she hears him for the first time, her heart is wrenched by the anguish she hears in the sound.

Facing trespassing charges for her folly, Calli is forced to move into Monster House where she is to befriend the beast. Using the bribery offered by his father to gain some desperately needed money for her father, Calli accepts his terms. Horrified but trapped by her circumstance, Calli steps inside the doors of the great house to face the unknown.

Alex is cursed by his beastliness.

Alex believes Calli has bribed her way into his home in order to get a look at the beast of Monster House, and is determined to hate her. He isn’t prepared as she batters down the hard walls of his soul with her kindness and humor.

Alex allows Calli into his inner sanctum, sharing with her the most private parts of his heart. But when he finds out the truth, will her love be enough to convince him of her true feelings, or will she lose him forever?

Note From the Author:
Beautiful Beast is the first short story for Enchanted Fairytales, an anthology of modern day fairytales told as if the original fairytale does not exist. Beautiful Beast is the contemporary story of Beauty and the Beast. I have long been fascinated by fairytales, and have wanted to write re-tellings of some of my favorites. So, I decided to do something about it.

New short stories in the Enchanted Fairytales will be released approximately bi-monthly (every two months) in eBook format if all goes according to plan. When all the fairytales are completed, they will then be compiled into a single anthology and will be available as both eBooks and in printed form.

I consider them the lead up to my full length Rapunzel novel to be released by Sweetwater Books in February 2013. I hope you enjoy them!

My Review: Let me be honest. In my childhood I was one of those girly girls completely in love with fairytales. Pocahontas, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and yep you guessed it Beauty and the Beast were among my favorites. So you can already imagine my joy in being able to snuggle up to a modern interpretation of one of these fairytales.

So here’s my take on Beautiful Beast: it is a short story that somehow manages not to feel like one. It has great character development and the storyline is also well set up and well developed. The characters felt real and I in particularly really liked Calli. She was strong and stubborn yet sweet, funny and humble. Alex is haunted by his past and his story is sad and turns out to be pretty heartwarming. The romance between these two was quite beautiful as was their friendship.

I love Bennett’s interpretation of this classic. This is, hands down, one of the best YA short stories I’ve ever read. I would recommend this read to those of you who enjoy happy endings, romance and/or fairytales.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

Author Spotlight: Cindy C. Bennett

Cindy C. Bennett is the published author of countless works including Geek Girl, Heart On A Chain and her anticipated upcoming release of Rapunzel Untangled. She won me over with Heart On A Chain (see review here) and I’m really excited to be spotlighting her and allowing you guys the opportunity to get to know her and her work. You can read her full bio here but below is an excerpt to hold you over:

I write contemporary YA, though I am currently working on a book which dips a tiny toe into the paranormal. I have four amazing kids – two boys, two girls. I’m married to a man who makes it possible for me to pursue this crazy dream. I live in Utah, have my whole life, and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I started writing a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . no, wait, that’s Star Wars’ intro, not mine. I did start writing a long time ago, that part is true. I can’t remember when I started making up stories and putting them down on paper, it seems I always have. Then, in high school, I had an amazing English teacher, Mr. Bickmore, who really expanded my passion for writing. Every day as we came into class, he had a “ten-minute writing” assignment, which is exactly what it sounds like. I looked forward to that ten minutes each day like you can’t believe. He taught me a love of pure, creative writing, and a love of great literature. (Who knew Romeo and Juliet begins with two pages of dirty jokes?)

cindy bennettThen at some point, YA became a popular genre, and, having two teen daughters, I found my house inundated with it. So I read many of the books, and fell in love with them. I mean seriously, who doesn’t have a crystal clear remembrance of that time in your life: the awkwardness, the insecurity and drama – the flush of new love. A few years ago, I began writing Heart on a Chain. And I found my niche.

I followed the completion of that manuscript with Geek Girl. My daughters encouraged me to publish them. I decided Geek Girl was the easier sell, so I began writing the dreaded query letters. In the meantime, I joined an online critique group from a real editor, telling you whether your first page would capture the attention of an agent, and subsequently a publisher. I received high praise for my first page, and with renewed enthusiasm began sending out even more query letters, deciding the original agents who had rejected me didn’t know what they were talking about.

I resubmitted the dreaded query to the ones who would even take a look, received a couple of rejections, and then (cue angelic music and light from the heavens) I received an email from Cedar Fort Publishing, saying they wished to publish Geek Girl.

In the midst of this wonderful insanity, I’m still being a mom, helping my husband run our cabinet business, co-hosting a podcast with my son called The RyTime! Geekcast, where we talk all things geek, along with the time I spend volunteering with a group of girls ages 12-18. Jeff, Cami and I have added another author to our little group, Kimberley Patterson, as we all work on our next books together. I could use a clone of myself to double my time!

We have a lot of great things planned for this spotlight but in the mean time to find out more about Bennett or interact with her visit her on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog.