Sex in Young Adult Books

THE RISING-final coverI am currently writing my third and final novel for ‘The Painted Maidens Trilogy’. The first book ‘The Rising’ is available now on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, and iTunes. The second book ‘The Betrayed’ will be available this fall.

Without giving too much away, in the third book (tentatively named ‘The Taking’) the main character, Serena – who is 18 – makes the decision to share herself with her boyfriend. This is not within the confines of marriage because well, they are mermaids and they don’t get married.

I’ve done my fair share of research on sex in young adult books and am admittedly nervous to include it. I want to do it right. The best article I found so far is by ‘Writing Teen Novels‘. Advice in writing sex in young adult novels includes “how important it is to be honest, to be sober and to be in a committed respectful and loving relationship before you take the leap” and “girls should decide that they are in control of their bodies and of their decision-making”.

Another great article I found is by Amber Skye Forbes. Here the author says “Sexual experiences vary widely among teenagers, which is what is so great about YA literature. It encompasses experiences from a myriad of teenagers from all different walks of life” (like mermaids – LOL) and “sex between two teenagers doesn’t always have negative consequences”.

These are exactly the points that I want to portray in my book. My work up to the scene does include a lot of soul-searching for the main character as mermaid 2to why she is choosing to do this.

My next conundrum is how graphic should I get? I have to keep it PG-13 but I don’t want to completely gloss over the event.

One big benefit I have to this is my oldest son just turned 15 – and he reads this series. I can keep myself in check knowing he will be reading the book, but I can also include everything I want him to know about it wrapped into an entertaining fantasy story.

I would love to hear your advice on the subject – especially coming from avid readers, other YA authors, parents, and even teens. What lessons should I preach (without sounding too preachy, of course)? How graphic can I get? What were some of your favorite YA books that touched this subject?

It’s My Birthday – Let Me Treat You!!!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I’m having a great day so far, and it is about to get better.  My husband has tickets (don’t know where), he got a babysitter (my oldest son), and told me to dress nice. Needless to say, I’m very excited! So…..

Let’s Have a Giveaway!!!

Okay, this morning started out a little discerning – at 5 am I woke to my 7 year-old standing over me with blood smeared all over his face and hands. He also had the widest grin I’ve ever seen. I pushed myself up, eyes wide.

“Something very exciting just happened!” he said.

My eyes got even wider.

“My wiggly tooth came out!”

* * *

As a good friend pointed out, there could have been much worse endings to that story. But I figure I’m just being prepped for the future.

So, to enter the giveaway, comment below with your BEST birthday story.  Good or bad, awesome or gruesome, it doesn’t matter. Then I will pick one winner to giveaway my entire selection of e-books. There will be  six in all, plus several short stories.

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THE RISING-final coverThe Kindred Curse Cover

So give me your best, and don’t forget to include your email so I can contact you (or email me with your contact info terra(dot)harmony11(at)gmail.com). The giveaway will close Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at midnight EST. Good luck!

World-Building with Werewolves

werewolf skullFollowing my World Building with Mermaids Blog Post about nine months ago, I thought I’d give the wolves their fair share of the spotlight.  I’m currently writing the second book in ‘The Painted Maidens Trilogy’. In this book, tentatively titled ‘The Betrayed’, we rise up from The Deep and explore the world of The Dry a little more. I have to admit, I’ve not done a lot of research on werewolves, possibly because I don’t want my ‘wolf world’ to turn out too cliché.  So here is what I’ve come up with so far, comparing commonly accepted facts about werewolves to the wolf clan in ‘The Betrayed’:

  1. A person becomes a werewolf by being bitten or scratched by another werewolf. Not true in ‘The Betrayed’.  I definitely don’t want to give anything away for those that haven’t read ‘The Rising’, but werewolves come from somewhere else entirely.
  2. Silver will kill or slow down a werewolf. Haven’t touched on the subject in ‘The Betrayed’, and I’m not sure if I will. They are, however, extremely afraid of wolfsbane, a small, yellow and poisonous flower.
  3. Werewolves communicate through a form of telepathy. Absolutely not true in ‘The Betrayed’.  I didn’t play that card with mermaids and I certainly won’t do it with the wolves!  Good old fashioned growls, scents, and body gestures will have to work.
  4. Werewolves in the same pack or clan have a link that binds them together. True in ‘The Betrayed’. This is why Liam, the good Werewolf, can’t part from the pack no matter how hard he tries.
  5. Werewolves are afraid of the water. True in ‘The Betrayed’. However, they feel bonded to it, unable to go far from the shores just as they can’t part from the pack.
  6. Werewolves only transform with the full moon. Nope! But their transformation in ‘The Betrayed’ is not always under their control, and it does occur as a response to the energy around them (again – don’t want to give too much away).

So what are some of your favorite werewolf myths or facts? What are some of your favorite werewolf books?  Comment below and help an author with her research!

‘The Rising’ Now Available

THE RISING-final cover

Finally available across all channels for purchase! ‘The Rising, Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’ has been described as a wonderfully unique story. I guarantee this young adult series sets apart from any mermaid story you’ve read, or what you might come to expect.

The ebook is $4.99 on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, and iTunes. For the rest of November, I’m willing to send out a free copy of ‘The Rising’ for anyone who agrees to post a review on either Amazon or Goodreads, or both. Send me an email at terra.harmony11@gmail.com or comment below. And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR List. I encourage you to take the plunge – you might just love what you discover down in the deep!

THE RISING-final cover“It was a great ride. I devoured every page and loved the whole thing through.” by Ariel Avalon, Book Blogger

“This is a wonderfully unique story.” and “I recommend this if you enjoy mermaids or werewolves with some great action, mystery and a bit of romance.” by Darker Passions Book Blog

The book is fast paced filled with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end, add in a little romance and mystery for the perfect balance. The author has written a beautiful story that sparks the imagination. I loved everything about the story and can’t wait for the next one to see what happens to both Serena and Liam as their stories unfold.” by The Reading Diaries Book Blog 

Amazon Smashwords  |  B&N  |  iTunes  |  Goodreads

The Painted Maidens Blog Tour

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TOUR TIME!!!

With the help of Patchwork Press, and a handful of amazing book review bloggers, we will kick off the Painted Maidens Blog Tour on October 21st. It will run all the way through November 9th with several reviews of the book, a character interview, an author interview, a dream cast reveal and a couple different guest posts by yours truly.

But the best news of the whole thing is that I will be giving away some awesome prizes; 5 lucky winners will receive a free e-copy of ‘The Rising’, one winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, and the grand prize is a brand new Kindle Paperwhite!

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Enter Now via my Facebook Page

The contest runs from October 21st through November 8th and is open internationally. You can enter as much as one per day by tweeting about the giveaway. Click above to enter and good luck!

THE RISING-final coverThe Rising
Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean—and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down.  As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

Add to your Goodreads TBR list now!
Pre-order on iTunes, B&N, or Smashwords.

Akasha Series Book Trailer

Some exciting stuff happening over the next month, and no – I’m not talking about Congress finally passing a budget.  I’m talking about ‘The Rising’, baby!  If you missed the cover reveal and blurb, click here. ARCs are now available via NetGalley (if you request a copy of the book and are denied, just email me and let me know – I’ll make sure you get a copy). The blog tour starts on Oct. 21 and goes through Nov. 9th, where I’ll be giving away several e-copies of ‘The Rising’, plus a grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive my blog posts via email (over on the right), so you don’t miss out on this contest.

Finally – something fun for The Akasha Series fans – a new book trailer!  See below and let me know what you think!  It was put together by Kellie Sheridan of Patchwork Press (thanks, Kellie!) and the vocals are by Emily Gittelman, the narrator that did the entire Akasha Series on audiobook!

Official Cover Reveal

I’ve kept this jewel under wraps long enough. You have no idea how much I wanted to just put it out there. Without further ado – the official cover to ‘The Rising, Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’:

THE RISING-final cover

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean—and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down.  As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

Add ‘The Rising’ to your Goodreads TBR list now.

 

My Journey from Scrap Paper to Novel; Six Times Over

Several days ago, I clicked ‘save’ then closed the document on the first draft of my sixth novel. ‘The Rising; Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’ is now with my awesome editing team, and an equally awesome bunch of beta readers.  I welcome the break as I wait for the feedback, but my fingers can’t stay idle for long – it is a curse and a blessing.  They itch to get back to the keyboard.

I’ve already started on the second book of the trilogy, but want to take some time to reflect on my writing journey, and how it came to be.  My first novel, ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’, took nearly ten years to write.  It started in high school, when I would be stuck in class daydreaming. I daydreamed of a cute boy coming into the classroom to sweep me off my feet. I’d dream of an equally cute villain coming into the classroom to take us all hostage. I dreamed of fighting the snobby girl next to me. How would I react? What would I do?

I went through the same daydreams over and over in my head, changing minor details until the scene was perfect – then I’d go over it again. I couldn’t stop. Finally, in order to keep some level of sanity, I began writing them down. They were just scenes; not even complete short stories. It worked well in class, I looked like a very studious note-taker.

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I graduated high school and tried my hand at college. It was…boring. So, I joined the Marine Corps. Boot camp wasn’t so boring. And neither was the first two years in the corps.  But things settled down, and the daydreams started as once again, I sat behind a desk, this time at work but in cammies and boots. I can’t sit still for long.

I got married, had a child, and went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I also resumed writing.

 

After five years, I left the corps for a career in the translation business.  The job was good, but I still continued to write.  Eventually, I took all these little ‘scenes’, saved in a folder from my high school years, and melded them into a story. I typed them up, working on my lunch break at work, in the early morning, or in the evenings.

IMG_3576In September of 2011, more than ten years after I started, my first novel was finished. My second novel, ‘Air’, only took two months. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of writing, editing, and marketing. I have six books and seven short stories to my name, and I still have so much to learn and do. The ideas are still flowing – I’m not sure I will ever be done writing.

One thing I’ve learned from writing on scrap paper, literally on the back of my biology notes, and eventually turning them into an actual published novel – even if it takes ten years, never give up!

Keep pushing for your dreams. If you never quite get there; the journey itself will be worth it.

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