The Benefits of Being VIP

I just wanted to take a moment and talk about some of the benefits of hopping onto the mailing list for this site. I know on WordPress especially, I’m bad about just hitting the Follow button and not thinking about it, but that can really limit you on what access you have and what you’re missing out on! So here’s a quick primer on some ways you can keep up to date and get early access to my content.

What You Get

  • Early Cover Reveals. I’m actually drafting one of these right now. And let me tell you, you won’t want to miss this gorgeous cover!
  • Early access to short fiction. I just released a never before published YA Dark Fantasy piece at the end of July exclusively for my VIP groups (for now). And knowing how slow I am, it’s going to be a while before it’s available on my blog haha.
  • Input on all the bookish decisions. For the Facebook group, you can vote on what short story is coming next, have a say on what kind of book swag is coming, and even get to share in any milestones along the way!

Ways To Follow

  • Join the Mailing List
    • You should see a link to it on the menu for this page! Just drop your email address in, and boom, you get the mailing list delivered right to your inbox. If you just want to be kept up to date on everything, organized in a concise fashion, this is the best option.
  • Join the Moonlight Wanderers
    • If Facebook is more your style and you would rather not have more emails in your inbox (I hear you!), then join the Moonlight Wanderers group on Facebook! This team of amazing fans get to experience the journey as I go, and possibly share a few memes along the way.

So why not try one out? If you don’t like it, you can always unsubscribe or leave the group. I just like to make sure my fans don’t miss out on exclusive content!

Library Love!

It sure does feel like the last Friday of the month has rolled around again. I don’t know about you but July flew by. So I guess it’s time for a little slice of optimism served on a neat digital plate. I’m very happy to be part of the “We Are The World Blogfest” once again – cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Now if you’re at all connected to the book world, you might have heard about an article that was getting a lot of attention earlier this week. Forbes released an opinion piece from an Economics department chair regarding the value of libraries. His verdict? That they should be replaced with Amazon instead.

If you love your libraries as much as I do, you can imagine the type of backlash that comment received. Forbes pulled the article, citing pretty much that the author of the opinion piece was misinformed, like apologizing for a burned piece of toast and quickly removing it from the kitchen table. Kudos to them for acting quickly and not just racking up the hits that this article would surely have continued to receive.

The part that really made me want to share this story this Friday with all of you though was the reaction on Twitter. That was where the majority of the backlash came from, and people came out of the woodwork to defend their libraries and to reconnect with their love of these sacred public spaces.

 

If you want to see more of these tweets and responses, check out this fantastic collection! I hope this helps you not only appreciate the libraries that you have, but that there are still a whole bunch of people who will also leap to defend them. Happy Friday, everybody!

Release Day, Giveaways, and an Excerpt!

I’m so excited to celebrate my book birthday with all of you! This YA Dark Fantasy novella is now available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook. You can find it at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Google Play

As part of the Launch Party over on Facebook today, you can read the first section of The She-Wolf of Kanta below. Be sure to drop by, we’ll be doing giveaways and talking about werewolves all day – including a beautiful She-Wolf bracelet, a wolf paw print pin, and a signed copy.

If you enjoyed reading this, please let me know and share with your friends! It’s the release day and I hope to get this novella out to as many werewolf-loving YA readers as possible.

 

First Section from

The She-Wolf of Kanta

 

I

 

The crickets were deafening as moonlight streamed down through the branches. Mercy’s pulse rang in her ears and her entire body was tense. Her left calf kept cramping up, but she ignored it. A moment’s delay when the beast showed its face could mean a gory death. She couldn’t fail tonight, not after months of practice. Behind her she knew Father was watching, and she wondered if he felt as nervous. The forest was deceptively peaceful, but Father said they were close, and that if she remembered her training, she could hear them, too.

She got into position in the middle of the clearing with her foot poised above the pedal switch. She tried to calm her mind and focus. The clamor of crickets surrounded them, but that was merely wrapping the noises beneath. She tried to listen closer. She heard an owl in a tree, her father’s raspy breaths, and the heavy, padding paws of the beast stalking her. Her mouth was dry and her body began to tremble. Father had said she would panic, that it was a normal reaction to facing one in the wild for the first time. That was the deciding moment, he had said. She needed to keep control of herself, but that was so much easier when she knew they weren’t near, when she knew it was safe.

Then she saw it. Through a thick patch of bushes, a pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked on to hers. Mercy froze. It was said when you looked into a werewolf’s eyes, you felt how easy it would be to become its prey. Facing one required both a strong mind and a strong body. It was as much a mind game as a physical one, and never had Mercy felt so small and insignificant. She had a very sensible and primal urge to run away. There was no way to prepare for that moment, Father had told her. That was the gamble of going trapping to begin with, whether or not you would be able to contain the urge to flee. She felt her legs shake but forced herself to stay rooted to the spot. If she ran, both she and her father could be torn apart.

When the werewolf lunged forward, the only thing Mercy could think of was how big it was. The careful planning she and Father had done over the past months was suddenly forgotten, and her mind went blank. When the creature leapt into the air, its arms out to its sides and its black claws extended, she went rigid with terror. All she could do was stare and gape and be fascinated by the size of it. She forgot the warnings, she forgot everything, until her father cried out behind her.

“Mercy!”

He cocked the gun and pulled her free from her trance. If he shot it, the beast was useless, and their work wasted. She slammed her heel down on the switch and jumped backward just as the beast landed. Four long black claws sliced at her back as she turned on her heel. She winced but didn’t slow down. Five seconds, Father had said. That was all the time she had before she was caged in with the beast. She locked her eyes on the branch she had put down as a marker and forced her legs to move. It was actually easier when she didn’t have to look the beast in the eye. Mercy leapt at the last moment, clearing the branch. Behind her she heard the cage hit the ground and the metal pin lock into place.

The werewolf was snarling, biting at its cage, its teeth making tiny indentions in the metal. The cage always made them hunch down so they looked smaller.

She turned to her father. “I’m glad you didn’t shoot.”

He was standing with his rifle held out, still aiming at the frantic, caged werewolf. “You were slow.”

She took a deep breath to get her body to stop shaking. “I panicked.”

He nodded and finally relaxed his arms and lowered the gun. “I warned you about that.” He went to the front of his truck and pulled out a long tube and a metal dart. Mercy had crafted many of them over the years, from whatever metal scraps they could find. The dart’s long metal tip was about three inches long, made to penetrate any part of the beast’s body. He loaded the dart and walked up to the cage. The werewolf within snarled and backed away, almost as if it knew what was coming. Father held up the tube, and with a single puff of air struck the beast in the leg. It let out a long, lonely howl and slumped to the floor. Its eyes drooped and a bit of saliva dripped down between a pair of sharp canines.

“It works fast, doesn’t it?” she whispered.

“You move that slow again, you’ll get worse than a few cuts on your back. You’ll be dead, or worse, one of them.” His blue eyes were hard as he glared at her. “I’d hate to have to hunt you down, Mercy.”

She didn’t look away or flinch under his gaze. “I know. It won’t happen again.”

He walked around the cage until he was near the beast’s rear then cursed under his breath.

“What is it?”

“It’s a female. I thought for sure you would have attracted a male, but I guess you’re too young for that still.”

Mercy felt a pang of frustration at her father’s words. She wasn’t technically a woman yet, and that would hamper her usefulness as bait. Male werewolves were drawn to women, not little girls. She didn’t understand why a female werewolf would come for her, though she supposed that considering how the males were preferred, there were probably more females left in the forest. Females were worth far less though.

Father slammed the side of the cage and crouched down to eye the beast with a curl of his lip. “If I had known it was female, I wouldn’t have wasted a dart on it. I should have checked first.” The werewolf rolled its eyes lazily to look in his direction.

Mercy put a hand to her father’s shoulder. “It’s alright. Maybe we can still bring her in. Surely somebody can use her.”

He sighed and got to his feet. “I doubt it, but I guess since I’ve already wasted the money, it couldn’t hurt to try.” He motioned to the leather straps hooked on to the tail end of the truck, and the ramp they would use to pull the beast into the truck bed. “Strap her up. We’ll drag her worthless ass in.”

Mercy nodded and set to work.

New Review for SWoK!

A big thanks to BookDragonGirl for the amazing review for The She-Wolf of Kanta. I’m so thrilled that she liked it so much! Go by and check out what she had to say, and I highly recommend subscribing to her site. Her book reviews are always so detailed!

The She-Wolf Of Kanta by Marlena Frank Releases April 17, 2018 Summary: “A pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked onto hers.” Mercy has always dreamed of becoming a werewolf trapper like her father. In Kanta, one must learn how to survive one way or another. A […]

via My Review of The She-Wolf Of Kanta by Marlena Frank —

Young Adult Books Prove It Is Possible

There’s something about the teenage years that fascinate us. That’s become clear simply from the amount of movies and books that star teenage characters. From high school romances, to young wizards battling a Dark Lord, to teens surviving in a world of utter destruction, the appeal is undeniable – but why? Why does the plight of teenagers pull at our hearts so much? Looking at the age group itself is misleading. You can’t just write a book with a teen in the lead and call it YA. It requires more than that. It requires complexity.

YA books capture something that is beyond just an age group or a setting. It captures that changing point that occurs somewhere after we hit ten and before we reach our twenties. It could be argued that this is the most formative portion of our lives. It’s a time when we have little control, but at the same time are expected to make concrete decisions about our future. It’s a time to learn proper morals and how to subvert social systems. Teens are expected to fit into groups, but somehow express their uniqueness. They may be given the keys to a car, but are told not to drive too far.

Being a teen in today’s culture is a series of gray areas. The oldest child in the family may experience more restrictions than their younger siblings. The child of a dentist may be expected to follow in their parent’s footsteps despite their lack of interest in the field. They are surrounded by unspoken social rules that they are somehow expected not to break. They learn by example. They learn by failure. They learn by watching others make horrible mistakes, and by making their own. Every day requires remaking themselves and remaking their view of the world. They have to break off a piece of themselves and reshape it to the size they are told it should be. For some teens this process is easier than others. Some only go through a difficult time during these years, others go through a living hell.

Good YA books understand this complexity. They understand the struggle, both external and internal. They understand that teens are trying to forge themselves into the adult they will be: a mixture of what is expected and what they want. Growing up is a compromise between the old guard and the new, and some may not be given the choice to compromise at all.

In my novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, I try to capture this internal tug-of-war. I try to show how Mercy is pulled between various groups, and how her future is hardly ever her own to choose. She is a victim of the society she lives in as much as she is part of it, but she must learn that she can forge her own path. She must learn that she has the ability to choose for herself what her future will be. Even if it means risking her life.

Perhaps that is the most inspiring part of YA books. They show that it is possible to resist expired social norms. They show that it is possible to be the person you want to be instead of who you are told to be. They show that it is possible to change the world. In fact, teens are doing that right now.

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This is the first in a series of weekly blog posts where I analyze aspects of books & media from teen representation to diversity. I hope you’ll join me.

The She-Wolf of Kanta will climb onto bookshelves April 17th. Available now to Pre-Order.