Déjà You, an Anthology by Five Authors . . . Cover Reveal!
Mar27

Déjà You, an Anthology by Five Authors . . . Cover Reveal!

TITLE: Déjà You PUBLISHER: Emerald Lily Publishing RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017 In Déjà You . . . Five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves. Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor. Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford. Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual. The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house. Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ. Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances. The Birth of Déjà You . . . About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.” During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.   About the Authors . . . Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a...

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After the Madness . . . Twitter Pitch Party Today!
Mar23

After the Madness . . . Twitter Pitch Party Today!

FOR ALL THE RULES: See the official #PitMad page. There’s a twitter pitch party on the Twitter hashtag #PitMad today, March 23rd, from 8AM to 8PM EST. Get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include all the appropriate hashtags, especially #PitMad, in your 140 character tweet-pitch. If you need help creating the perfect pitch, there’s a post about it here: The 35-word Twitter Pitch . . . Simplified THE RULES . . . Be polite and don’t say anything mean about a writer’s pitch. Please, don’t “like” any pitches. That’s only for agents. If you want to show support, reply with a comment or re-tweet the pitch. You can quote the tweet with your support or praise, or just re-tweet without quoting. Any genre can be pitched. Pitch up to three times per day, per manuscript. It helps to pitch when you see an agent on the hashtag (throughout the day for a better response). Add #YA, #MG, #NA, #A, or #PB in your pitch to help the agents find the ones they represent. For more detail with your hashtags, see all of the hashtags here! If your tweet is “liked” (or hearted) by an agent, please confirm they are a legitimate agent, search the agent’s feed, and see what the agent would like #PitMad participants to send them. Then send the requested materials. QUESTIONS? Tweet or DM me at @HeatherCashman For added fun, get some popcorn and scroll through the #fakepitmad pitches. ALL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS...

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brenda Drake! We LOVE You!
Mar22

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brenda Drake! We LOVE You!

  Hope it’s the best day ever! Just a note to the creator of Pitch Madness, #PitMad, and Pitch Wars . . . We love and appreciate you, Brenda, for all you do for the writing community. For ignoring all the nasty reviews people give you for not getting into your contests. For all the love you give without any thought for yourself. For the community you faithfully serve. The writing community, the world, and our lives are better because you’re in them.   ALL OUR...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Astrid Scholte and her mentors, Joan He and Mara Rutherford
Mar15

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Astrid Scholte and her mentors, Joan He and Mara Rutherford

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Astrid Scholte and her mentors, Joan He and Mara Rutherford. Astrid signed with Hillary Jacobson of ICM Partners and in February you announced your two-book deal with Putnam after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Astrid, Joan, and Mara on their Pitch Wars Success! Astrid, what was it about Joan and Mara that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? I read Joan and Mara’s Wishlist and felt as though they’d already read my manuscript and described the main elements of my book and what I wanted to develop further. They also seemed really lovely and easy to work with. And I liked the idea of having two mentors—twice the feedback and fun! Joan and Mara, what was it about Astrid’s FOUR DEAD QUEENS that hooked you? Joan: Oh gosh where to start? The premise was already amazing, but once I got into reading, I couldn’t pull away from Astrid’s masterful pacing and feisty characters. Then the big twist pretty much sealed the deal. I’d read the synopsis, so I knew what was coming, but had I not, I could have sworn that I wouldn’t have seen it coming, which is very rare for me. Mara: I thought the combination of sci-fi and fantasy elements was really fresh and well done. I could tell this was a book with a lot of commercial appeal, and I thought the unique concept would help Astrid stand out from the crowd. Astrid, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I received my edit letter soon after the Pitch Wars Mentee announcement and got straight to work. Joan and Mara were fantastic at respecting what I’d already written while questioning certain character motivations and plot points. Most of my notes were around fleshing out the world, which was something I already wanted to focus on, so I knew we were on the same page. I started with big picture edits and delivered the revised first half of the book for Joan to read about a month into Pitch Wars. She gave me a few final notes and then I dove into revising the second half. Once that was done, Mara concentrated on line edits to make the manuscript really shine. She also helped me put together a kick-ass pitch for the agent round! Overall, I found the process really enjoyable. Mara and Joan were such professionals and were always there for any questions, brainstorming sessions or...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kit Grant and her mentors, Rosalyn Eves and Erin Summerill
Mar13

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kit Grant and her mentors, Rosalyn Eves and Erin Summerill

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Kit Grant and her mentors, Rosalyn Eves and Erin Summerill. Kit signed with Josh Adams of Adams Literary after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Emma and Jennie on their Pitch Wars Success! Rosalyn and Erin, what was it about Kit’s A COURT OF MIRACLES that hooked you? Rosalyn: I was first drawn to the premise–Jungle Book meets Les Miserables. And then when I started reading, the story was so fast-paced and the world so fascinating that we both agreed we wanted to work with this story. Kit has a very distinctive, spare, lyrical style that I loved. Erin: Hmm…good question. I don’t think there was one thing exactly, but the overall ring of A Court Of Miracles sounds nice. I’m drawn into any courtly settings. Kit, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? We did 3 rounds of revisions. Two big picture and a line edit. I agreed 100% with their vision for LeBook. We removed a main character, changed the mushy middle, and added new scenes. They also worked on my synopsis, query and pitch. My favourite part of working with them was the hilarious swooning over my MC’s love interest that happened in the track changes comments. I did get stuck for two weeks on 1st round edits that I agreed with but couldn’t fathom how to implement. I brainstormed, shared with my mentors, tried to write through the issues, had to trash newly written scenes. Finally I cornered my husband (who had never read LeBook) and threw the plot problems at him. As someone completely removed from it all, he was able in 5 minutes to solve my issues. I’ve decided to keep him. I was finishing line-edits during the agent round which was a SUPER good distraction. Rosalyn and Erin, tell us about your experience mentoring Kit. Rosalyn: Erin and I took turns on various rounds. I took Erin’s notes and put together an edit letter of some big picture things we wanted to change, then Erin went through a second time to make comments on the drafts, and I did some final line edits/copy edits. Kit was a great sport about the edits–she took the comments seriously and worked hard to overhaul her story. Erin: She was lovely to work with because she took our suggestions and gave them consideration instead of shooting our ideas down instantly. I like that she would think about the changes we wanted her to make and she would...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kara McDowell and her mentors, Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman
Mar09

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kara McDowell and her mentors, Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman

  Brenda and I have extra cause to celebrate this success story! Kara McDowell was our very own mentee! And we love her bunches and bunches. Kara signed with Kristy Hunter of The Knight Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help Brenda and I to celebrate Kara’s Pitch Wars Success! Kara, what was it about Brenda and Heather that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Because I was the scavenger hunt winner, I didn’t get to choose my mentors. That said, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I consider myself so lucky to be mentored by the people who make Pitch Wars possible. Brenda is so sweet and supportive, and Heather’s edits were amazing. Brenda and Heather (yep, that’s me), what was it about Kara’s NOT HER STORY that hooked you? She won the scavenger hunt drawing! And we are so happy she did. Kara, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I never told Brenda this, but when I first read her edit letter, I cried. I’d never received an edit letter before, so it was a very new experience for me. I’d also been hearing stories about mentors sending 15 page letters with instructions to cut characters or rewrite entire sections of the manuscript. Brenda’s letter was not like that, and it threw me for a loop. She focused a lot on the characters, and suggested that I find ways to help them connect better with each other and the reader. At first, I thought her minimal changes meant that my book was beyond saving. Over time, I realized that she was letting me take ownership of my revisions so I could keep my story and my voice intact. We planned that I would spend the month of September working on those big picture revisions, and October would be dedicated to line edits. I finished my first round of edits a few days early, and sent my final pages to Heather with a note telling her I was going to try to give birth to my baby that weekend. That kind of thing rarely goes according to plan, but my baby did end up coming that Friday! I took a week or so off while Heather worked on line edits, and then jumped back in as soon as she got the pages to me. (I’m honesty not sure how I did this. I was so tired the entire month of October.) Line edits were a lot more work than I was expecting, but it was so encouraging to see my manuscript transforming before my eyes. I...

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A Pitch Wars Success Interview with Emma Nelson and her mentor, Jennie Nash
Mar08

A Pitch Wars Success Interview with Emma Nelson and her mentor, Jennie Nash

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Emma Nelson and her mentor, Jennie Nash. Emma signed with Amanda Ayers Barnett of Donaghy Literary Group after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Emma and Jennie on their Pitch Wars Success!   Emma, what was it about Jennie that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? When I decided to apply to Pitch Wars, I spent several hours obsessing over each of the mentors. I checked out their mentor bios, websites, and social media. I was so drawn to Jennie because of her online presence and the fact that book mentoring was literally what she did for a living. I loved that she seemed so disciplined and structured and successful at helping many books come together. I wanted to be part of that! Jennie, what was it about Emma’s manuscript that hooked you? Emma’s manuscript had something about it that just kept calling to me. It had a very ambitious concept, a fun plot, great characters and all kinds of action — which are all great things — but a lot of entries had those things. Emma’s writing had something else that was special about it — a kind of pizazz. I could tell I was in the presence of a real storyteller. Emma, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? The first thing we did was have a long call, I think it was almost two hours, where we talked about things we needed to nail down. They were big questions like genre, age category, MC’s internal goals, stuff like that. It felt like the most work was in the weeks before I actually started revising, because Jennie was adamant that I had to solidify the underpinnings before I could do anything with the plot or characters. After that, we did a few rounds of big content edits, and then some line edits/minor tweaking. We worked big to small, and it was a really great process that improved the book tremendously. Jennie, tell us about your experience mentoring Emma. She was the dream writer because she did a TON of hard work BEFORE we even started doing revisions. It was all the work she needed to do to answer who her main character really was, and what was actually happening to her on a soul level. It was the hard stuff, and Emma never complained or balked or said there wasn’t time. Plus in the middle of it she has...

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FORGOTTEN by Kristin Smith . . . Cover Reveal and Giveaway!
Mar03

FORGOTTEN by Kristin Smith . . . Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

  TITLE: FORGOTTEN (The Deception Game, #2) AUTHOR: Kristin Smith PUBLISHER: Clean Teen Publishing RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2017 Pre-order your copy here.    About the book . . . The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series. Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers. The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more. When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.   a Rafflecopter giveaway Book One is Now Available In Stores and Online . . . CATALYST by Kristin Smith (The Deception Game, #1) Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo Too pretty. Too smart. Too perfect. In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant. With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait. In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.   About Kristin Smith . . . Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl
Feb28

Pitch Wars Success Story with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Annette Christie and her Pitch Wars mentor Sonia Hartl! Annette recently signed with Jess Dallow of Brower Literary Management, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Annette and Sonia as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Annette, what was it about Sonia that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? In the weeks leading up to Pitch Wars, I learned Sonia is the perfect combination of approachable and intimidatingly knowledgeable. When I read her bio, I could see we have overlapping tastes and senses of humor. I knew I wanted to learn from her and connect with her. Sonia, what was it about Annette’s FLORENCE LEARY’S THEORY OF FLIGHT that hooked you? It was so fun and fresh! I love characters with interesting hobbies, it was one of my top wishes, and Annette’s ms about a girl who games the reward points on credit cards to fly everywhere for free was so intriguing. I’d never seen anything like it before. I checked out her pimp my bio and began stealth stalking her before the submission round, keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that the writing would hold up. When her ms landed in my inbox, I fell in love with her voice right away and I jumped on the request before I even finished the first chapter. Annette, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Sonia’s notes made so much sense. She had a really clear vision for where my manuscript needed to go, which made my job a lot easier. Revisions started out just swimmingly. And then I hit a wall. I remember the day I spent hours tweaking one chapter and still couldn’t get it right. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. That’s when I remembered writing isn’t meant to be a solitary vocation. I reached out to Sonia and to my critique partners. They helped me take a sledgehammer to that wall. Everyone who’s ever been involved with Pitch Wars says the community is the best part. It truly is. Sonia’s been my cheerleader and sounding board through this whole process—and she’s not going anywhere now. She’s a fiercely loyal person, someone you definitely want to have on your side. The class of 2016 is comprised of creative, intelligent, and hilarious people. My book, and my writing in general, is so much better because of this community. Sonia, tell us about your experience mentoring Annette. Annette was an absolute dream to work with. She took tough critique like a...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen
Feb14

Pitch Wars Success Story with Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen. Jeanne signed with Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Jeanne, Laura, and Tricia on their Pitch Wars Success. AND HAPPY VALENTINES’ DAY! WE LOVE YOU! Jeanne, what was it about Laura & Tricia that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? There were a lot of wonderful mentors, but the thing that kept me coming back to Laura & Tricia’s Wish List was when they said, “If you’re looking for a mentor to help clean up an almost-there manuscript, someone else will be a better coach…” I loved this because I knew they were going to expect a lot from me and that they would help me dig deep into the heart of Ruby’s story to tell it in the best possible way. Plus, they are like SO AMAZINGLY TALENTED! Laura & Tricia, what was it about Jeanne’s RUBY IN THE SKY that hooked you? Tricia: Reading submissions was an educational process. We adored the heart in the middle-grade submissions, which was exactly what we asked for. Because we were working as a team, we also had to agree on shared criteria. Jeanne presented us with a manuscript that was the perfect blend—a likeable narrator, an intriguing plot, gorgeous writing, and real characters with real problems.  We loved what we read and had a good sense of how we could help Jeanne as well. Laura: Tricia and I sent follow-up questions to several PitchWars hopefuls. One question was, “Why are you the right person to tell this story? We’d like to hear about your expertise/real life experiences connected with the characters and their story.” Jeanne’s thoughtful and honest response sealed the deal for me. Through Ruby, she’s exploring how an admirable quality like courage might be confusing for a ‘tween. In RUBY IN THE SKY, a parent’s courageous act upends the main character’s life. Jeanne, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Rigorous – in the best way possible. I still can’t get over how hard Laura & Tricia worked reading, editing, encouraging, skyping. They went above-and-beyond. I was so happy I’d met deadline on the first round of revisions, I hadn’t expected the second-round edits to be so intense. But I love that feeling — when you’re totally immersed in your story (it was time for the kids to learn how to cook...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow
Feb09

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow. Tosha signed with Jennifer March Soloway of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Tosha and RuthAnne on their Pitch Wars Success. Tosha, what was it about RuthAnne that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? RuthAnne’s Pitch Wars wishlist mentioned she’d love a sports book. She also listed one of my comps as a book she enjoyed. Then in her mentor bio, she mentioned some strengths that were items I needed help with. After watching the mentor video chat and doing a teeny bit of Twitter stalking, I just knew she was someone I’d get along very well with. RuthAnne, what was it about Tosha’s manuscript that hooked you? First, I did love Tosha’s comps! Then I was immediately hooked in by the main character’s voice. Picking one mentee was so hard because I had so many great manuscripts to review, but there was something about Callie Whitfield’s voice and her problems that spoke to me more strongly. Tosha, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? RuthAnne was a fabulous mentor! First, she sent me an editorial letter a couple days after the mentee list went public. She pinpointed exactly what my manuscript was lacking!! Most notably, I need to change the romance centric story to a contemporary with a strong romance subplot. We exchanged TONS of emails and shot ideas back and forth.  She was always so willing to help me when I needed it, but she also let me take ownership of the revision process.  I’d give her updates as to how it was coming, or ask her advice and run scene ideas by her. She was always so very supportive of me and my work and my ability to get the revision completed on time.  I loved the entire Pitch Wars revision process. Although 3 months sounds like a long time, it flies by, but it’s enough time to tackle both big and small issues with a manuscript. It was great having someone who got my book and my vision and could help me take my story to the next level. RuthAnne, tell us about your experience mentoring Tosha. Tosha was great, she took suggestions and ran with them. Her manuscript was great when I read it in my slush, and then she just took it to a higher level through her revisions. I was very impressed...

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GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake . . . Release Day and Giveaway!
Feb07

GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake . . . Release Day and Giveaway!

We’re celebrating the release of Brenda Drake’s GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2), today! Check out the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below!     GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2) by Brenda Drake Publisher: Entangled Teen Publication Date: February 7, 2017 Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it. And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia. Maybe. If she survives. Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes Excerpt from GUARDIAN OF SECRETS She did a U-turn and drove off. I sprinted to the area where I spotted the lightning. A shadowed figure sat on a white bench near the water. Another flash of light kissed the sky and illuminated Nick.   Since discovering he was a wizard, Nick struggled with his new magic. And he was careless. Anyone could spot him out here. How would he explain it to someone who was human and not from the Mystik realm? I couldn’t imagine how it felt to have that much power. Unlike him, I was a Sentinel. I had little magic and relied on my battle training to best wizards and other-world creatures. He only needed to shock or electrocute his adversaries.   “What exactly are you doing?” I asked, approaching.   He almost fell off the bench. “Shit, Gia. Don’t sneak up on a person like that.”   “Seriously, Nick? What are you doing? Someone might see you, and then we’d be discovered.”   “Just leave me alone.”   “I’m not going to just leave you alone.” I sat down on the bench beside him. A light breeze swept loose strands of my hair across my face. The briny smell of the ocean filled my nose. “Talk to me. You’re my best friend, Nick. I’m here for you.”   He formed an electric charge on his palm....

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