Excerpt From My Latest Release, SAKE.

Today, I decided to share with you all an excerpt from my newest work: Book 4 of the Core Series. I’m getting really excited because there’s only one more book to come in the Core Series and I can feel the end forming in my mind. Today, please enjoy a glimpse into the world of Ima, Judge of Pain, as she becomes one of the most heartbreaking villains you’ve ever met.

Sake eCover


From Chapter Six


Ima brushed her silver hair herself. Her sprite had gone to do her bidding, and she knew that once she had Sirce out of the way, once the Great War commenced, the phoenix would bargain with her to save her pathetic world and the red dragon who lived in it.

“It’s almost time,” she told herself. In a few moments, the ninth turn would end and the tenth would begin. One thousand years.

She was alone as she walked over to the mirror that sat on her wardrobe, always covered in a cloth of black velvet. She felt…different than she ever thought she would. It was as though bones that once were made of glass had been encased in stone. The book and the truth it held gave her courage—not to rule the world or sit on the highest throne, but to tear it apart. It’s all wrong. The whole world is all wrong.

She sat at the wardrobe and prepared herself, her eyes closed. She knew that once she removed that velvet cloth, she would have to stare at herself—her real self. And she would not be young. Her skin would not be soft and frost-kissed. Her hair would not twist over her shoulders. She would be one thousand years old. She would look how she’d felt inside. Like dying. Like a prisoner to her immortality—all bones and rust and dried blood.

A knock on the door.

Ima left the covered mirror and twisted the key in her lock, opening her heavy door without a moment of hesitation or fear. If it was Sirce, the Accuser would not be able to hold her much longer. If it was Lor, she would curse him for keeping silent when she stood up to Sirce, but she would not kill him. Not yet.

The swinging door revealed a tired, worn Papu. He was the same as he always had been, but the light had gone out of his eyes, his skin a dull gray, his shoulders slumped.

“Sirce had no choice but to let me come to the courts for the birth ceremony. Rules are rules.” He reached out, touched his hand to hers, though Ima did not move. “I am here for a night. I thought I would come see you.”

Ima only stood, unmoving, unmoved.

“Ima? Aren’t you glad to see me?” But his hollow eyes said that he was not glad to see her, either.

He moved to her, like a ghost over deep waters, and put a cold hand to her back. Her skin prickled, but she did not move as he forced his lips to hers. Ice against ice, they kissed for as long as they could bear it. When Papu finally pulled away, there was no telling smile, no wink. No light.

Ima didn’t know what to say.  Her heart did not race, her breath did not catch. Papu might as well have been a tree in the sky garden or a root half-buried in the soil.

“Ima?” he whispered, his arm still around her, their chests still touching.

“You left me.”

He shook his head.

“You left me, Papu. You left me with him.”

“I told you—”

“No!” And a rush of pain knocked him off his feet. “You are the same as the rest of them. The same as Sirce.”

“Ima, we never asked to be put here. I never wanted this. We deserve more. We deserve to live and to die. Life is worth nothing if death doesn’t chase it.” He got to his feet and stepped toward her. “Our hearts cannot find one another if the paths we are on never converge. I want more. I want…I want an end. I want to die.”

Ima took a shallow breath. “Good things, once dead, are meant to be buried. Hearts are meant to be burned.”

Papu stood inches from her, and he would have kissed her again if not for the pain that leaked from her lips. “So burn them, Ima.”


Click here to read all of SAKE.

Click here to sign up for my emails for more sneak peeks.

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Today I get to be a part of an awesome blog hop. So you get to see the rather mysterious and sometimes frightening inside of my brain. Much thanks to the author who got me involved, Shari Sakurai. She wrote ‘Demon’s Blood,’ to be released in print July 19th. WOOT! Go Shari! Check her out and let her know she rocks via her website and her Goodreads page.

Now, let’s do this thang!


What am I working on?


THE SEQUEL TO CORE!!! I am so excited it’s coming together. I’ve been chipping away at it every day I can, and I’m pleased to say I’m a fourth (almost a third) of the way done. The first chunk is already with my glorious editor and I’ll have feedback on that as I continue to craft the goods. My goal is to have it out this November. And let me tell you…it’s goooood, guys.


How does my work differ from others in its genre?


I love movies. And I dabble in screenwriting. So I think I tend to pace my YA novels differently than most. I’ve gotten reviews that point out how something is “always happening.” It creates an edge-of-your-seat effect that most rather enjoy. When I write, I see it in my head like it’s already a movie, and if my characters are just lounging around yapping, my movie brain goes “this is boring, Combs! Make something happen NOW!”



Why do I write what I do?


I write for young adults because I want them to write, too. My greatest dream is that someone will pick up one of my books, love it, and think “I want to do this too. I CAN do this too.” I write for the future dreamers. I write for that “one.” I was that one once.


How does my writing process work?


When I wrote “Core” and the System, I had no process. I had time in buckets, so I just wrote until my fingers went numb. Now, I have a baby boy, so I’m a bit more structured. Right now, as I type this, it’s 6am. I write until 8:30 when he wakes up. Then, I market during his naps and write again at 9:30 when he goes to bed.

A lot of research goes into my books. For example, I have thirty pages of dragon lore research I did for “Core.” And I actually had to have my little brother walk me through how to assemble and fire a sniper rifle about a dozen times so I could write one scene in The System.

Once draft one is done, it goes to my number one editor (my best friend), and she dissects the content line by line. Then I rewrite, usually from scratch. That draft two goes out to a few more editors, then I revise. Draft three goes to my beta-readers. Revise one more time. Proofreaders take me to draft four. And there we go! A few more tweaks and the final version is ready! Phew!

It’s a lot lot lot of work. But how I LOVE what I do! This is my dream. And I get to do it every single day. So check out “Core” and “the System” before you gear up for next week’s blog hoppers!



Madhuri Blaylock, author of The Sanctum trilogy.  Love on her and read her stuff, including book one, “The Girl,” and her new release, “The Boy!” Goodreads and her website.


Kyra Hylland, author of author of “Sarya’s Song,” and many other crazy fantastical and highly original romances. Give her some love and read her stuff! Goodreads and her website.

99 Cent Kindle – Hot New Release – The System is HERE!

ImageIt’s my 25th birthday!!!
So i’m asking a BIG favor from literally everyone on the planet. That means, especially you, friend!

Please help fuel my dream by buying my new book ON my birthday. Even if kindle isn’t your thing, gift it to a friend. Buy two copies and give one away. I don’t know, Just…help me! Because this is my dream.

1. It’s only 99 cents
2. It’s a brand new series
3. Available on kindle right NOW.
4. Please SHARE with everyone you can!!
5. Thank you thank you thank you!

This is going to be the best birthday ever. Because of you.

6. Oh, if you’ve never read my other series, ‘Core’ is FREE for 2 days 🙂




Cover by Underground Graphic Design. The YA action/sci-fi/romance will be released on my birthday, April 22, 2014.



1 + 1 = Dead.

That’s the only math that adds up when you’re in the System.

Everywhere Nick turns, he’s surrounded by the inevitability of his own demise at the hands of the people who stole his life from him. That is, until those hands deliver the bleeding, feisty, eye-rolling Nessa Parker. Tasked with keeping his new partner alive, Nick must face all the ways he’s died and all the things he’s forgotten.

Nessa might as well give up. The moment she gets into that car, the moment she lays her hazel eyes on her new partner, her end begins. It doesn’t matter that Nick Masters can slip through time by computing mathematical algorithms in his mind. It doesn’t matter how dark and handsome and irresistibly cold he is. Nessa has to defeat her own shadows.

Together and alone, Nick and Nessa make sense of their senseless fates and fight for the courage to change it all. Even if it means the System wins and they end up…well…dead.