Friday, July 21, 2017

Sharon Skinner - Collars & Curses is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Sharon Skinner's New Book: Collars & Curses.

Award-winning poet and YA Author Sharon Skinner is the author of The Healer's Legacy and The Nelig Stones.

Collars and Curses

Author: Sharon Skinner

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Think being a High School sophomore is hard? Try doing it when your messed up genetic code turns you into a wolf every full moon. Not only does Merissa have to deal with high school divas, bullies and pop quizzes, she also has to hide the awkward truth that once a month she really does get bitchy. And just when she thinks she's found someone she to whom she can actually relate, her new classmate Bree turns out to be an arrogant witch. Literally. If they weren’t the only non-Norms in the entire town of Fair Glen—aside from the annoying half-Elf, Jeryd, who shows up and complicates things—Merissa might not give Bree the time of day. But when Bree is drawn into a curse that causes chaos at school and threatens the town, Merissa must find a way to vanquish the dark power behind the curse and keep her parents from finding out about it. All without failing biology.

Excerpt from Collars & Curses


When I walk into the Coffee & Cues with Joey Marsh on a Monday afternoon in April, it seems like my life has finally taken a turn toward normal. Just two teens stopping for mochas. No big, right? Yet, the sun shines brighter, the coffee smells richer, and our rinky-dink hometown is suddenly less claustrophobic. It feels big enough to finally let me breathe—if I can just calm my pounding heart enough to catch my breath.

Joey grips my hand in his, refusing to let go even as he digs out his wallet and I can’t stop the smile that spreads across my face.

Two weeks and three days. That’s how long it’s been. I’m still dizzy at the newness. I’d pinch myself, but I don’t want anything to spoil this moment. For most of the year in tenth grade, I’m this girl no one has ever noticed. Till one day I trip over my big size elevens and dump my books in front of this guy in a leather jacket, and the next thing I know, I’m dating the best-looking boy in school.

I glance over. Joey’s dark hair that’s just a little too long, hangs down in blue eyes the color of a summer sky. He sees me looking and smiles, that amazing dimple destroying every girl within range.

Including me.

Okay. So, he isn’t perfect. His grades aren’t the best and I know my parents don’t like him because he’s been in trouble. He’s even spent time in the Youth Detention Center. But he’s stayed out of trouble since then, and he’s been really sweet to me. Anyway, there’s something exciting about a guy who rides a motorcycle, and yeah, maybe I’m attracted to bad boys. Which makes sense if you know my genetic history. Plus, he smells great. Leather and motorcycle oil with an overlay of chocolate.

“Let’s grab a couch.” Joey leads the way into the store-front-turned-game-room that’s connected to the coffee shop. Mochas in hand, we skirt the pool table, snake our way around the kids playing video games, and head for the alcove where secondhand furniture surrounds a low table with a chessboard painted onto the top.

We just reach the couch when I hear a shout. “Hey, Merissa! I’ve been lookin’ for you.” Kandi Johnson, the biggest, meanest girl in school, stands in the doorway, hands on her hips, and glares.

“What’s up with her?” Joey asks.

I shrug, trying not to look concerned, but adrenaline crashes through my veins in a fight-or-flight frenzy. “I don’t know.” I step toward the couch, only to freeze when Kandi yells again.

“Hey! I’m talkin’ to you.” She points at me. “What’sa matter? You too stupid to know your own name?”

My hackles rise as I swing around and watch her march toward me. Crud. Kandi Johnson is a bully—a great big Amazonian-sized bully—and she is headed right for me. Things go quiet. The crowd vibrates with anticipation.

Kandi crosses the room in three steps, stopping in front of me, scowling like she’s just eaten something nasty. Or is about to.

She’s taller than me, and I have to look up to meet her stare. It feels like there’s a heavy rope wrapped around my chest and the longer we stand there, the tighter it gets.

I force myself to breathe.

“What’s going on?” Joey asks, but I can hardly hear his words over the rushing sound in my ears.

Kandi’s voice is right inside my skull when she growls, “Stay out of it. This is between me and her.” She jabs a finger in my direction.

When Joey shrugs and sits down on the arm of the couch, something inside me withers.

“What is it you want?” I ask, trying not to look as betrayed as I feel. My teeth are clenched. My voice sounds thin through the storm in my brain.

“I heard you called me a bitch.” She steps closer, flexing her thick arms.

“Wh—what?” I take a step back and bump into the coffee table. First off, there isn’t anyone I know well enough to talk to like that. Second, it’s a compliment I’d never bestow on her. But I sure as hell can’t tell her that.

“I heard you called me a bitch!” Her hands squeeze into tight fists, knuckles cracking loud in the quiet room.

Is she making it up, or . . .? I look around, wondering if the jerk who put me in this situation is in the room. A dozen faces stare back like feral animals waiting for blood, but no one moves. “I don’t know where you heard that, but it isn’t true.”

“Well, that’s what I heard. And now you’re gonna be sorry.” She spreads her feet and raises her fists.

“I don’t want to fight you.” My voice sounds throaty, the roaring in my ears louder.

“Too bad,” she snarls. “’Cause you don’t get a choice. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you take the first shot.”

“Excuse me?”

“Go ahead. Hit me.” She opens her arms.

My mom is going to kill me if I can’t talk my way out of this, but all I can think to say is, “I’m not going to fight you.”

“Yeah, you are. Hit me.” She feints toward me.

I shake my head, digging my nails into the palms of my hands to keep from swinging on her.

“Hit me!” Kandi yells, smacking her chest with a balled hand.

“Listen, Kandi—”

Her left fist comes up quick, lands hard on my right cheek. My hand goes up to my stinging face and I spin around. Everything goes red, then black. There’s a buzzing noise; a screaming wind; a cyclone tearing through me. Until, slowly, a gray mist fades from my eyes like I’m coming out of a fogbank.

I’m sitting on Kandi’s chest, my hands wrapped around her neck. My teeth are bared and an angry growl tears from my throat. Her eyes are wide and a look of fear-coated surprise has replaced her former sneer.

Panic rises and I stare at my hands. It takes me a moment to realize they’re still human. Then relief flutters over me like flapping crows’ wings. “I said, I won’t fight you,” I tell her through gritted teeth. “Understand?”

She tries to nod her head and I loosen my grip. I draw in a raspy breath and stand, trembling with the adrenaline rocketing in my blood. I step back to give her room. She crab-crawls backward to the pool table, hits her head with a loud thunk, then leaps to her feet and runs. I watch through the big storefront window as she streaks past outside.

The room is quiet. Not one video game bleeps and every kid in the place seems to have stopped breathing. They’re all watching me, staring at me like I’ve grown fangs. Or ears and a tail.

Not this time.

I purse my lips and give them a shrug, trying to be nonchalant, but my body feels rubbery from bouncing between anger, fear and relief. With the show over, everyone breathes normally, including me, and the plink and blip of video games slowly resumes.

When I turn back to the couch, Joey is gone.

For a second, I think I might actually cry. But then I get angry, again. He could have tried to help. He could have made some kind of effort instead of backing down like a useless jerk, just because Kandi told him to. Not that I needed his help, obviously. But he couldn’t have known that, could he? I mean, I’m not model-thin and helpless-looking, but it’s not like my body is covered in muscles, either. And, anyway, what kind of boyfriend just sits and watches when the girl he’s dating is attacked by the school bully?

So much for bad boys.

I plop down onto the worn sofa and stare at the coagulating mochas. Across the room, kids are totally absorbed in their games. Not surprising. It wasn’t much of a fight, after all. But if my mom hears about this, I’ll be grounded till I’m forty-seven. Why did Kandi have to pick a fight with me? And why today, just four days before the full moon?

Author: Sharon Skinner

Author Genre: Children's Books,Fantasy

Author's Blog: Livejournal
Twitter: @sharonskinner56
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

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Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: Sharon Skinner has been writing stories and poetry since grade school. She is a voracious reader of anything and everything, but her writing tends to be focused on fantasy, Steampunk, and the odd ghost story. She holds a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and works hard to continuously improve her craft. Sharon also teaches workshops on creative writing and engaging audiences. She is an active member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and currently serves as the Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI AZ. When she isn't traveling around the country teaching writing workshops or doing book signings and author appearances in fun places like Emerald City ComiCon, Phoenix ComiCon, and various book festivals, she spends her time writing, re-visioning, and editing.

Author's Book List
The Matriarch's Devise - The Healer's Trilogy Book 2
“If we turn our backs on who we are, who knows what danger we ourselves may become?”

Orpahned by war, haunted by unknown origins, KIRA is a young woman with a secret. She can psychically communicate with certain animals.

Determined to discover the truth of her heritage, Kira resumes her journey following the events of The Healer's Legacy. Together with Milos, and accompanied by her loyal companions, Kelmir and Vaith, she sets sail for the strange land across the Faersent Sea.

But when she arrives in her mother’s homeland, what awaits her is not the welcoming arms of loving relatives, but a land filled with political strife, dark intrigue, and a family secret that could shatter everything.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
iTunes Store

Mirabella & the Faded Phantom
“Something hissed and a wet chill wrapped around Mirabella’s wrist and crawled toward her shoulder. She whipped around and glimpsed the outline of someone sitting on the edge of her bed. But as she stared, the image faded to a blur.”

When twelve-year old Mirabella and her mother move into Great Aunt Clovinia’s old house, Mirabella discovers they aren’t the only ones living there. A mysterious faded specter haunts the place.

When the house is scheduled for demolition, Mirabella must unravel the mystery of the ghost’s identity, and free it from the old house before it’s too late..

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

The Nelig Stones - Volume 1
Stefani and Robbie aren’t friends. In fact, they can barely stand each other. But when they find themselves magically transported to a land where dragons rule and faeries carry swords, their only way back home is to work together and find the five magical talismans known as the Nelig Stones. But the dark dragon, Ashkell, and his villainous advisor Greenback, are also searching for the powerful Nelig Stones and plan to use their magic to usurp the Anorian throne and seize control of the realm. Through perilous adventure, and with the help of some unusual companions, Stefani and Robbie learn that things aren’t always what they seem, that inner strength and friendship are mighty powers that can stand against even the darkest magic, and that home, while not always perfect, might not be such a bad place after all.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
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The Healer's Legacy - The Healer's Trilogy Book 1
Orphaned by war, haunted by unknown origins, and chased by a warlord and his army of brutal soldiers. KIRA is a young woman with a secret. She can psychically communicate with animals. She is also on the run from her abusive mate Toril, the hero turned warlord, who led the country’s forces to victory against the outland raiders. Only that was before his love of power consumed him. Now, his only focus is on tracking down Kira and making her punishment an example of his power. But the quest for freedom isn’t the only struggle Kira faces. She must also come to terms with her past choices, whose echoes drive her present. And now, the future of the land and people she has come to love depends on the decisions she will be forced to make.

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
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In Case You Didn't Hear Me The First Time
A tremendous collection of poetry and prose from Sharon Skinner. Whether samples of poetry from over the last 15 years, a great story about traveling in the Indian Ocean in the Navy, or a fantastic story, this book is sure to give you a tremendous read, not to mention introduce you to this amazing, award winning author. Includes the award winning poems Another Grandmother Poem and The Dancer. Sharon Skinner is an award-winning poet who received her B.A. inEnglish from Ottawa University and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Prescott College.She is currently a board member for Anthology, Inc. and the AAGP(American Association of Grant Professionals), and is a Certified Grants Professional (GPC).

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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