A Norse of a Different Color - Meet Ull, Master of the Smolder!

Happy Friday, gang! If you're into frosty fantasy with some smooching thrown in, this is THE week to be hanging at my blog. Earlier this week, I shared news of Lynn Rush's latest, Absolute Zero. It's all about a girl with "frozen' super powers heading off to college--and probably saving the world. You can check the details HERE, and be sure to enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire at the bottom of the post.

TODAY, I've got author S.T. Bende on celebrating the re-launch of her Elsker Saga with Tur, Elsker Saga 0.5. It's all about this Norse god named Ull and a girl in modern times who befriends him after he's condemned to Earth. Okay, based on the covers, I'm thinking she maybe spends more time ogling than "friending".

But don't be fooled into thinking, "I've seen this movie, it's called Thor." S.T. has woven some serious fun and charm into this series, and if you've ever bumped into S.T. on Twitter, you'll know it's going to be unique experience. (Take that however you want, S.T.! :D)

S.T. also has a super power of her own, it's called being awesome and determined. Her series debuted with Elsker as a traditionally published book, now (after some handwringing and gnashing of teeth) she's a one-woman show, doing the indie author thing to its fullest.

So y'all know I'm thrilled to offer her some support (and hope you will, too). :)

Without further ado, I present to you, THE SMOLDER! Er, I mean Tur and Elsker.

Title: Tur
Series: The Elsker Saga #0.5
Author: S.T. Bende
Genre/Age Range: Paranormal, Romance, New Adult
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Goodreads Link: http://tinyurl.com/kmnttof

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all -- great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

Title: Elsker
Series: The Elsker Saga #1
Author: S.T. Bende
Genre/Age Range: Paranormal, Romance, New Adult
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Goodreads Link: http://tinyurl.com/lo4y6oz

You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way.

Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting. He’s an honest to goodness Norse God - an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms. Her orderly life just got very messy.

Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of the musical Cats. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the ELSKER series. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day pastries will be considered a health food.

You can follow ST Bende on Twitter @stbende, or send an e-mail to stbende@gmail.com.

Links: Website + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads


“Are you sure you will be all right on the stairs?” Ull stood in the grand hall of Cardiff Castle, glancing at the four-inch, shiny death-traps Victoria called shoes. Since Ull’s eyes practically bugged out of his face when he picked me up, I had no intention of changing into the emergency flats I’d stuck in my purse. Victoria had scored another hit.

“Probably not. Walk behind me in case I fall?” 

“It would be my pleasure.” 

“On our right, the coats of arms,” continued the tour guide. He’d been talking for a good five minutes and I couldn’t remember a single word. That was because Ull had started stroking the small of my back when our tour began, and it took all my concentration just to stay upright. 

“The castle is gorgeous.” I admired the stonework as we made our way toward the stairs. There I shifted focus to my feet, staring at each step until I’d reached the top. “Made it.”

“And I was so hoping I would get to catch you.” Ull came up next to me and skimmed my hand with the pads of his fingers. 

“Well, the night is young and these shoes are high. You may still get your chance.” 
“Tease.” Ull kissed my palm. 

“Um.” I swayed on the heels and he chuckled. 

“Come, Miss Tostenson. We are losing the group.” 


We walked the long corridor framed with paintings. All of the history in these walls was kind of overwhelming. The castle was two thousand years old. The oldest thing we had back in Nehalem was probably the Homestead. Cardiff Castle had about eighteen hundred years on that farm. 

“This place is huge,” I whispered when we’d caught up to the tour. “I can’t imagine living here. How could you ever get comfortable?” 

“You get used to it,” Ull shrugged. “Find little corners to make your own.” 

“How on earth could anyone get used to all of this?” 

“When you are stuck in it every day it gets old. Trust me.” 

“Right.” Like Ull was an authority on royal dwellings. “Living in a castle sounds sooo terrible.” 

“Depends on the day.” 

“What does that mean?” 

“Just that these walls did more than keep people out -- they kept people in, too.” 

I thought about my vision from Friday night -- of Ull and me in a meadow by a castle. Huh. 

“Where did you say your family lived, exactly?” I probed. 

But Ull bristled. I’d hit a nerve. “Come Kristia, we have lost our group again.” He gently pulled me down the hall. 

“You may have noticed the Animal Wall in front of the Castle. Though William Burges designed the Wall in 1866, it was not constructed until 1890 -- nine years after Burges’s death.” The guide lifted an eyebrow as we caught up. “Please do try to stay with the tour,” he admonished before turning down another corridor. The rest of the group followed closely. 

“Sorry.” I ducked my head. 

Ull raised a corner of his mouth in a smile. “Why, Kristia, you are blushing.” 

“And?” I lifted my chin, and took a step back so I stood against the wall. 

“It is sweet.” Ull paused and lifted a finger to my cheek. My knees buckled and he grabbed my arm to steady me. The touch sent shockwaves straight to my head, leaving me with the unnerving sensation of being underwater. I lost my bearings again and Ull wrapped both hands around my waist to stop my fall. 

“Sorry,” I mouthed. “Must be the shoes.” I couldn’t stop staring at his eyes. They almost looked nervous. 

“Must be.” He ran his finger along my jaw, stopping to grasp my chin between his thumb and forefinger. His eyes focused on my mouth and my heartbeat accelerated. He ran his thumb lightly over my lips. They parted under his touch. A wave of heat shot from my lower lip straight to my abdomen, creating a slow burn that wasn’t altogether uncomfortable. I watched as his eyes slowly moved down then back up, lingering at the neckline of my dress. Victoria had been right about the push-up bra. 

“Must be,” I repeated. 

Ull drew his eyes away from my cleavage and took a step closer. He leaned one forearm against the wall, leaving me enveloped between the cold stone and his warm chest. I was suddenly very dizzy. 

“Kristia,” he spoke in a whisper. 

“Yes?” I whispered back. Ull was looking at me with an intensity I wasn’t prepared for. He stepped in, closing the last inch between us. 

“Look at me.” He spoke again, lifting my chin so my lips were tilted towards his. If his body hadn’t been pressed against mine, I would have collapsed in a heap that instant. Instead, I took a shaky breath as Ull dropped his head. He ran his nose along my jaw line, pausing when he reached my ear. He breathed in, the cool air sending a shiver down my neck. With painstaking slowness he drew his nose across my cheek until our lips were almost touching. Now when I looked into his eyes I saw something entirely different. He was strong. Confident. And very much in control. 

I let out a small sigh and immediately he covered my mouth with his. It wasn’t a gentle kiss -- it was commanding, almost forceful. I melted against him as he claimed my lips, moved down my jaw to consume my neck. My insides throbbed. In that moment, I would have done absolutely anything he asked me to. 

“Kristia,” he whispered again. 

“Mmm.” It was the best I could muster by way of response. 

“I think we need to stop.” 

In God’s name, why? 

“Will you be joining the rest of my tour, or shall I leave the two of you here?” The guide stood at the end of the corridor, literally tapping his foot. Oops. 

Ull placed his hands around my waist to right me. I smoothed my hair and straightened my dress, my cheeks burning the whole time. 

“Great timing,” I muttered. Just when things were getting good. 

“Do not worry Kristia.” Ull winked. “We have all the time in the world.” 

I sure hoped so.

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Fire & Ice - Absolute Zero by Lynn Rush

Hey, gang! Bringing you a quick book blast from my author-pal, Lynn Rush. The second story in her Touch of Frost series (YA/NA Paranormal) is out this week. 

Absolute Zero is about a girl with icy powers trying to blend in. And it sounds like she might be struggling to do that. :) 

To heat things up, Lynn is sponsoring a giveaway with a Kindle Fire as a prize! So be sure to enter below the post.

Congrats, Lynn!

Book Title: Absolute Zero (Touch of Frost #2)
Author: Lynn Rush
Release Date: 5/21/14
Genre: Upper YA/New Adult Paranormal

Death may be the only way I can live…

The Center is destroyed. Mandy and Georgia have their own place near campus and are ready to start their new lives as college students. All that’s missing is Mandy’s steamy relationship with Zach. His sudden distance and irritability has Mandy wondering…and possibly wandering.

Nate Ashcroft, a beautiful, but mysterious, guy literally falls into Mandy’s life, shattering her already unstable relationship with Zach. When an unknown agency sets its targets on Mandy and Georgia, ugly truths of Mandy’s powers, her parents’ deaths and the people she’s chosen to trust send her life into a tailspin.

One only her death can stop.

Absolute Zero on Goodreads 
Absolute Zero on Amazon

Originally from Minnesota, Lynn Rush currently enjoys living in the sunny Arizona desert with her husband of seventeen years and her loveable Shetland Sheep dog, Maddux. Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. When she’s not busy writing her next trilogy, she can be found pounding the pavement, training for her next endurance event.

Lynn Rush is a contributing blogger at the widely popular site New Adult Alley and has been part of the New Adult revolution for years having penned over thirty novels in the exciting new category.

Connect with Lynn on Twitter, through Facebook or her website. Lynn also writes as Reese Monroe and you can find her alter ego here.


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How I Found The Write Path

Hey, gang! What if we could write a letter to our past selves and share the wisdom we've learned along the long, bumpy writer's road?

Or, like in my case, just say: 

"Never attempt a story in second person omniscient with multiple POVs and a sentient, singing goat... 


Just kidding, I've never tried that. (Although, the goat isn't a bad idea...) But I've certainly done my share of stupid things as I've crawled along one writing path after another. So naturally, the How I Found The Write Path blogfest was too good for me to pass up. 

Here's the mission:

Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication. The only thing I ask is that you keep it under 800 words, including as many (or as few) of these elements as you like:

- A lesson you learned the hard way
- Something you didn’t expect about the industry (positive/negative)
- A writing-related resource you could never do without now
- One thing you’d change about your journey
- One thing you’re glad you did
- Your number one tip for pursuing publication
- Anything else you feel is worth passing on

The blogfest is the brain child of Carrie Butler & P.K. Hrezo, and they plan on compiling all of this wisdom into a free eBook resource for growing writers. 

Since this is for a good cause, AND it might actually see print, I'll try not to screw past me up too much. But I'm definitely going to give me a hard time, because I know I'll appreciate that. :)


TO: Past E.J. Wesley, Future author of the Moonsongs series

FROM: Future E.J. Wesley, Author of the Moonsongs series

CC: All of writerdom

Dear Past E.J.,

You're probably tripping out right now, but yes, you will actually publish something. Oh, and there'll be technology that will allow me to communicate with you and share wisdom and warnings from the future! 

Whatever you do, do NOT take the bus on April 24, 2004. You'll get the last seat, forcing another man to wait for the next bus. He's a scientist, and you just caused him to miss a very important meeting. Furious, he'll set off a chain of events eventually leading to the melting of the polar icecap and the end of the world! 

*waits for mind to explode and reassemble*

Calm down, I'm messing with you. 

God, were we really that uptight and gullible? 

I'm only here long enough to offer you a few words of writerly wisdom. Other than that, you're basically on your own. 

Well, not completely alone. You're going to bump into a lot of writers along the way to that first publication. They're determined, vulnerable, creative, fun--basically, they're everything you're going to need to be to reach your goals. 

These writing friends will carry you when you think you can't move forward, push you when you're too afraid to make the next jump, and be the first to cheer when you do cross the finish line. Get to know as many of them as you can, and always be willing to help them along in return.

You're just getting started. I know it's hard to see anything beyond the mountain you're staring up at, but there's karma involved in this writing business. The energy you put in, both positive and negative, always come back to you. So strive to be a force of positive energy in the writing community.

In fact, we'll call that one of Future E.J.'s writing proverbs. Let me share a few more with you:

  • You'll never be as talented of a writer as you want to be. That's a good thing.
  • Quit worrying and write.
  • Quit researching agents and write.
  • Quit blogging so much and write.
  • Quit eating so much red meat (seriously, you don't want to know what our cholesterol is going to look like at 32) and write.
(You're getting the idea by now--just write.)

  • Throw away word counts and tell the story.
  • Slow, fast, pantser, plotter--who cares, tell the story.
  • Finding your voice requires listening to feedback. 
  • Focus on what your critique partners are saying you're doing right instead of fretting over things you're doing wrong.
  • Fixing mistakes isn't nearly as important to your writing development as accentuating what you do well.
  • Using first person POV is a good way to let your personality shine through your writing. If you get stuck trying to write like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, give it a shot. (PRO TIP: You're never going to be J.K. Rowling or Stephen King ... also a good thing.)
  • Until you've identified what's right and wrong with a story, it--and you--will never be as good as they can be. So embrace feedback, don't fear it.
  • The real work of writing is in revisions. It's also the dividing line between authors and writers. You won't crossover until you learn to put just as much (or more) effort into perfecting the story as you did creating it.
  • Stories aren't babies. They don't come out of your brain fully developed and beautiful, and you aren't obligated to love them just as they are. 
  • If you insist on calling a story your baby, then be a cruel parent. Judge them harshly, discipline them regularly, and never let them cut corners.
  • The first thing you write that makes you wonder if others will think you're insane, evil, or suicidal for coming up with will likely be the best thing you've written. Do it again and again.
  • If your rational brain thinks something you've written is funny, sexy, scary, or intense you're likely not going deep enough. When you start coming up with things you couldn't even imagine, you're onto something.
  • Nothing is a waste of your time so long as you turn it into fuel for your writing. And in writing, everything can be used for fuel.
  • Writer's block is just another expression for procrastination. Simply choose not to do it. 
(And--you guessed it--keep writing.)
  • The only truly unworthy story is the one that goes unwritten. So write them all. Once the words are out of your head, you've succeeded in furthering your craft and ability if nothing else.
  • A writing career isn't what you think it is. It's better. All of the limitations you think you have, all of the barriers you imagine in front of you, and all of the failures you believe you've had will be stepping stones on a journey to always greater things. You'll only fail if you quit going.
Well, that should be enough to get you started. There are plenty of non-writing lessons you'll learn along the way, like understanding that nothing in the publishing industry is certain. And to never trust anyone who says there's only one way to do something. 

Those things, however, are always secondary to the writing. The words must always come first, and so long as you remember that you're going to be very proud of me ... I mean you. Us. We? Oh hell, just keep writing.


Future E.J.



E.J. Wesley, author of the Moonsongs series

"I give permission for my entry to be included in the e-book compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation."


ONE NON-BLOGFEST THING OF NOTE: We're having Susan K. Quinn on New Adult Lit Chat tonight (Thursday, 9 PM E) if you'd care to listen in to what Sue has to say about jumpstarting your writing career, you can tune in here. Also, if you'd like to submit a question for Susan to answer on air, and enter for a chance to win a copy of her book 'The Indie Author Survival Guide' or a free consultation with her, fill out this form: 

Not Dead Yet ... And Book Launch FYI

Hey, gang! Loooooonnnnnggggg time, no blog. :) So, I took most of A-Z month off, because--well, everyone was busy and I wasn't participating. Great time to disappear, right?

PLUS, I've got this novel I'm trying to get out in August. The final revisions are going great, just slowly. It'll be my first full-length novel, so I'm trying to really get it JUST right. (Cue the thieving blonde tramp and the hungry bears! Seriously, who steals food from bears anyway?!)

I'm also working on new Moonsongs stuff. (A spinoff short story for one of my characters, Marshal, is coming soon!) And I've also been busy over at New Adult Alley. We recently decided to divide an conquer, and I'm now working mostly on the website side of our operation  You can sign up for our fantastic newsletter HERE if you're dying to have me show up in your inbox on occasion. :)

Then, there has been a lot of travel lately. We attended a wedding in South Carolina last week, and were away for a week prior to that for a vacation trip up the northern coast of California. 

Here are some pics from those trips:

This guy was hanging out on the golf course near where we stayed in South Carolina!
I spotted him while riding a bicycle around the island.

This pooch had epic drool issues! LOL He was cursing around Charleston, SC.

Charleston scenery.

More Charleston scenery.

More Charleston scenery.

View from our No Cal hotel room! 
There's a bird standing on top of the rock. :)

The seals had their pups out sunning with them. :)

My wife taking in the view on our bike ride. :)

We took a train ride through one of the redwood forests.

Sunlight through the trees.

At the feet of giants. :)

The trees were so tall I couldn't get far enough away to photo an entire one, so I improvised, and shot looking up from the base. :)

All together, I kind of just lost track of the blog. But I'm back now. :) 

Speaking of blogs, I bumped into one of my favorite author-bloggers (Eve of The Desert RocksIntangible Hearts blogs) at our New Adult Lit Chat last night, and it made me realize how much I missed y'all!

So what's coming in this blog space? Details on great new releases and covers from my author friends, more of my thoughts on this writing adventure we're on, and I'll be incorporating a lot more of what we're doing over at NA Lit Chat (#NALitChat on the Twitters). 

I've been remiss sharing all of my work over there, here. But so much of what we talk about can be applied to all kinds of writing and authors--not just New Adult--so I want to include y'all in that as much as possible from here on out.

Specifically, I wanted to pass along the transcripts from our chat last night. We had a couple of fantastic authors on as guests (Lynn Rush & Nazarea Andrews) to talk about book launches and share their tips & tactics. 

Be sure to keep a pen and paper handy as you listen along (and read tweets), because there are a lot of useful things you'll want to stash away.



You can keep up with everything we've got cooking at the chats HERE

Hope you've all been doing great, and I'm looking forward to reconnecting. Have a great weekend!