Favorite Things…

In case you missed it…

In my November newsletter, I announced that I would be featuring things I love, mostly made by small business owners and artisans (hopefully many by my readers). This month I featured Sidewalk Candle Co., a Laguna Beach-based small business run by two of my lovely beta readers and their mom!

A selection of candles offered by Sidewalk Candle Co.

These candles are made from 100% soy wax grown in the USA, and they smell fantastic. Book lovers seem to also love candles for some reason. They go together like cookies and milk… hmm, snack time!

Let’s give these ladies our love! Grab a few presents for friends, or just hoard them for yourself while curling up with a good book. Might I suggest the Fresh Brew candle paired with The Love Project! Oliver’s obsession with coffee fits nicely with this coffee-scented candle.

I’ve burned mine for several hours, and it’s nowhere near ¼ burned yet, so I feel like I really got my money’s worth from this purchase! You can find their website here!

The Stars Wait Not Book Review

Ryllis Camden has a secret—she can talk to nature, and it speaks to her in return. But her gift is forbidden by the Vilarian Star Realm who controls her planet, and the penalty is death. When she’s falsely accused of treason and exiled to the Vilarian home world, hiding her power becomes even more critical. But how can she hide anything when she’s forced to toil in the home of the emperor’s youngest son?

Kresten Westermark might be a prince, but long ago he shunned a life of luxury to work as a telepath in the Vilarian Imperial Fleet. His job demands he treat his new prisoner as a slave and test his deteriorating telepathic powers on her, but the only thing on his mind is the growing attraction he feels toward the earnest young woman tending his gardens.

As the mountain winter fades, a reluctant respect between the two becomes trust, and trust soon blossoms into affection. But when the Fleet arrives to arrest Kresten for treason, Ryllis must make an impossible decision.

Save Kresten’s life—or hers.

Sometimes you want a book filled to the brim with action and adventure, high-stakes and intense relationships, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Other times, you want something immersive that lets you develop a relationship with the characters while they are on their own journey. It’s slow and steady, building to a conclusion that gives you peace.

For me, The Stars Wait Not by Anne Wheeler was a breath of fresh air. It was a little infusion of science fiction, a touch of sweet romance, and a storyline that kept me involved to the end. I read the book in about three days, which is a record for me since my schedule is usually packed! I loved the characters, their interactions, and how the story progresses at a pace that is reasonable while still offering little bits of surprise here and there.

An added special touch are the illustrations. How many adult books can you find with illustrations? It’s a thoughtful gesture by the author that helps draw the reader further into the story while not being so intrusive they distract from the story. While not necessarily filled with high-stakes adventure, the book is, in fact, a more realistic depiction of a prisoner’s life on an alternate world, and that is enough to make you feel genuinely connected to the protagonist.

And the cover? I love the constellations mixed with the leaves, and after reading the book, it makes so much sense. It’s simple yet beautiful.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! If you’d like to purchase the book, you can find it here!

New Release!

The second book in The History of Goranin trilogy is here! I’m so excited to share this next installment of the story with my readers. There are so many new characters, twists and turns, and surprises you’ll need a seatbelt (and more tissues).

In case you haven’t started the series, you can find the first book, Eiagan’s Winter, at Amazon (or click the title for a link.)

Check out the blurb and bonuses below! Click on the books to redirect to the Amazon page!

When Eiagan Allurigard sacrificed herself to save her people, the Kingdom of Goranin was supposed to prosper, but now dark forces threaten to wipe the kingdom from the map permanently. The new Queen Emora continued her sister’s fight for freedom, but at what cost?

The once amiable princess has become a tyrant worse than Eiagan ever was, and the rebels are run out of The Banished Lands, forced to make a new life on the Rynkald Islands where they work to build a new army—one that can turn the tide against their once beloved rebel leader.

However, things are not what they seem in the ravaged land of Goranin. Immortals with dirty hands and hardened hearts and those who prey on the weak wait to strike, ready to take all the land for themselves. What was once a battle to save Goranin becomes a struggle to save every kingdom from the clutches of evil. Chaos abounds as our band of rebel fighters struggle to stay alive and reclaim their homeland.

The Revenant Queen is packed with adventure, unbelievable monsters, deep roots and layers of intrigue, and the strength of a family forged in pain and grief.

Want to listen to my Spotify playlist? Just click here: The Revenant Queen

All About It Blog Series – Week Seven

Here we are in week seven of the All About It series! This week I want to talk about a new series that doesn’t have any releases just yet. Christmas in Chatswain City was born from my love of the holiday season beginning in October on my daughter’s birthday! There are so many wonderful times to be had from then through the New Year, but it all seems to fly by so fast! I wanted to create a series where people can fall into that holiday spirit even when it’s 100 degrees outside!

Those of you who used to follow me on Wattpad will recognize some of the books in the series since they were initially written and posted there! However, they will be reshaped to fit in a new town—the fictional town of Chatswain City—and will center around Christmas (for the most part, but I might venture into other seasonal fares from time to time.)

As usual, many of the characters will be loveable, quirky, hot messes with loads of heart. I can’t wait for you all to read the first installment, The Cupcake Criminal, which I hope to have rebranded and released in time for Christmas (fingers crossed), but if I don’t, then it will definitely take you back to the holidays no matter when it comes out!

Here are some commonly asked questions about this series:

  1. What is the target age group?

Anyone can enjoy these books. They will be clean and free of too much dark drama. The drama will be minimal and contained, solved by the end of each book, and focus on positive outcomes.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

This will vary, but usually early to mid-twenties, with a few minor exceptions.

3. What is the content rating?

PG to PG-13 depending on the situational content, but it will always be free of cursing, vulgarity, and sex. Topics such as depression, anxiety, and others might be addressed.

4. Why did you start this series?

Because I love winter and all things cold (Seriously, what was Olaf thinking with this summer business?)

5. Should I read the series in order?

Nope. Each book is a stand-alone novel or novella that takes place in the fictional town of Chatswain City, but the characters will not be making any cameos in each others’ books.

What is already available? Well… nothing yet, but if you are signed up for my newsletter or to this blog, you’ll be the first to know when The Cupcake Criminals releases!

Here’s a look at the first book coming and a short quote scene:

What happens when a down on her luck woman gets hit with bad news one too many times? Why, she steals a cupcake delivery van, of course!

When a hot delivery guy brings an elegant proposal to the wrong doorstep, Abby can’t help herself. She’s already lost her boyfriend, her job, and now her mind, so what’s left to lose? In a moment of clouded judgment, Abby kidnaps the delivery man and steals his van. What ensues is nothing short of catastrophic, but when things go from bad to worse, Abby realizes there was always one thing she could count on—or maybe four. Her best friends.

Abby’s best friends since high school pull out all the stops to save their friend from going down in a blaze of glory. And if they can’t help her, well, then they’ll just go down with her.


Lucas sighed. “Look, we can ride around town all day in a stolen cupcake van, or you can pull over and walk your happy butt home. No harm, no foul. I mean it. I’ll make up a lie my boss will believe, and we can just pretend we never met.”

I caught a glimpse of his hand from the corner of my eye. He was fishing around in his pocket, and I remembered that I had no idea how to be a good kidnapper. Kidnapping 101, take your hostage’s phone before he calls the police.

“Hey! Give me that!” I grabbed at him, nearly driving us off the road. There was another honking serenade behind me as I swerved this way and that in a haphazard attempt to relieve Lucas of his cell phone. I wouldn’t stop until I got it, which was, in effect, the best way to get him to just hand it over.

“You’re going to get us killed you nutcase!” he shouted, then threw his phone at my head. It bounced off my shoulder and hit the dash, illuminating the screen for a moment before it landed on the floorboard. His home screen displayed a candid snapshot of an adorable little girl.

“Is that your daughter?” I asked. My heart began to race as extreme guilt sank in. I had not considered Lucas’ life outside of his shady, spicy cupcake dealing business, but now that his personal life was literally glaring at me, I knew I had to give up my plan to… Well, I didn’t know what my plan was or its purpose, but surely, I had one… right?

“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes, it is my daughter,” Lucas said as he scrambled to snatch his phone from the floor before I could. I swerved again, because cupcake vans are a surprising pain in the bootie to drive, but regained control quickly. Lucas whacked his head on the dash, but he did not retrieve his phone. It slid under my seat ensuring there would be no additional covert calls to the police, the FBI, the CIA, or any other national security agency that might want to arrest a woman who’d stolen a bakery van.


After that, I have no less than ELEVEN more books ready to in this series. Many are already written and just need some tweaking, while others are partially written or have detailed notes and scenes ready to go. I hope you all enjoy reading the series as much as I enjoyed writing the first drafts of these books!

Here is a peek at a few to release down the line!

All About It Blog Series, Week Five

Welcome back to the All About It blog series that introduces readers to my book series!

On today’s agenda is the series with the weirdest name (maybe) ever: The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses!

This series is a seven-book series of fairy tale adaptations with big twists! It has mostly great reviews with a few who just didn’t like the premise at all—the magical system, the time and setting, and other things (and that one person who really hated that I omitted everything the Grimm brothers did in their lives other than writing fairy tales)—but that’s okay! Not everyone has to love my books! I’m just glad it has a following of folks who really do love it!

This series is geared toward young adults, but I have many adult readers who like it too! If you like fairy tale adaptations flipped on their heads, you would love this series. I call it my Teen Wolf meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales with a Wicked twist series because it has a little to appeal to everyone—werewolves, magic, a twist that makes your beloved princesses the bad guys, and more!

Here are those commonly asked questions again:

  1. What is the target age group?

Adults and teens who love fairy-tales with a paranormal twist.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

Once again, that’s hard to pin down because some of the characters are reborn, some are immortal, others have magic that keeps them from aging the same as humans—but ultimately, the characters range in age from 18 into adulthood, and includes multiple generations.

3. What is the content rating?

There are no sex scenes or cussing in these books, but there is violence against monsters and some human death. I’d say PG to PG-13.

4. Why did you start this series?

I wanted to add a twist to the fairy tales I loved as a child, but with elements of magic and paranormal creatures people love so much in modern-day fantasy.

5. Should I read the series in order?

Yes, yes, yes! If you don’t, you will be so confused. Each story has its own conclusion, but it sets up the next book in the series. The series has many small hurdles in each book, but a long plot that follows the whole way through.

Here are all the details:

Snow Kissed, Volume One, is the first look into the world of Schwarzwald.

Eighteen-year-old Calla Benson is like any other normal teenage girl. She has a secret crush on her best friend, likes music and movies, works hard to make good grades, and does her best to stay out of trouble. But once in a blue moon, Calla is anything but normal. There’s a predatory animal lurking inside her, just waiting to rampage through the forest once a year.

One fateful night, Calla comes across something she’s never seen before—someone like her. After a tense meeting in the forest, Calla dives headlong into a fantastical land she never knew existed. She learns things are not always what they seem, and she is farther from normal than she ever imagined.

With the help of her best friends, a pair of quirky brothers, and a family she never knew she had, Calla embarks on a mission to save her people from a treacherous queen. With wolves, witches, deathly secrets, and mysterious lands (and a few confusing boys), Calla’s life is flipped upside down. It’s the stuff fairy tales are made of… because being a teenager wasn’t already difficult enough.

Here is a look at the main characters in the first book, Calla and Wil!

Artwork by Ana Karina

To view additional characters from other books in the series, you can visit my website character art page here:

There are currently six books released in the series! You can find descriptions of the books on my website here:

The final book, The Heart of the Darkness, is in the planning and outlining stages. Some scenes are written, and it is coming together nicely. I hope to have this available by the winter of this year! Soon after that, I hope to have a complete illustrated Grimm Guide with everything fans need to know about the series!

All About It Series – Week Four

Welcome back to the All About It blog series that introduces readers to my book series!

Today we jump into my favorite series! The overall series is called Archives of the Ancient Kingdoms, but within it are shorter series. Currently, I am writing The History of Goranin. This trilogy began with Eiagan’s Winter, and its sequel, The Revenant Queen, will release on September 1!

This series is a lot different even from my fantasy series because it is focused on an older audience, and the writing style is drastically different. While young adults might still like the series, I wrote it for adults who like sprawling epic fantasies like Game of Thrones. Side note… I’ve never actually read or watched Game of Thrones. I know, I know… I’m so behind!

This first trilogy in the “franchise” of the Ancient Kingdoms follows Queen Eiagan Allurigard, a feared-dragon rider whose rule is… well… less than ideal. If you are a fan of dragons, magic, and the gray between right and wrong, this series is for you!

As an interesting addition, I will say I wrote the first book, Eiagan’s Winter, based on a dream I had. I had been praying for inspiration for some grand idea that would help me take my writing to the next level. That night, I had a dream so vivid, I immediately got up to write it all down when I woke up. From that, the book was born.

There is a lot of me in Eiagan. By that, I mean, as someone who suffers from anxiety, I often find myself stuck in my own head. I also must remind myself to see the beauty in the world, because so much of anxiety is rooted in fear and darkness. I channeled all of that into Eiagan and found myself more connected to her than any other character I have ever written. I mean… if she were REAL, she would terrify me, but I suppose that was the point of writing the book—to remove those feelings from me and put them elsewhere. In this case, I put it all on Eiagan.

Here are those commonly asked questions again:

  1. What is the target age group?

Adults who enjoy epic fantasy and long-game plot. Young adults might also enjoy the series, but the characters are adults.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

Um… that’s hard to answer. The protagonist was made immortal when she was nineteen, but she’s actually several hundred years old. Others range from mid-twenties and up. Flashback scenes are from birth to adulthood. Short answer—all of the ages?

3. What is the content rating?

There are no sex scenes or cussing in these books, but the violence is graphic—very, very graphic—but not gratuitous. It’s what you would expect in a book that describes war. Probably an R based on violence, but otherwise PG-13.

4. Why did you start this series?

I wanted to bump up my writing game, but I was also stuck in a battle with anxiety that had no end in sight. This was my outlet.

5. Should I read the series in order?

Yes. Each smaller series under the umbrella of Archives of the Ancient Kingdoms should be read in order, or the story will not make any sense. However, once additional sub-series release, those can be read in any order. For example, when I complete The History of Goranin trilogy, I will be working on The History of Nelaravore duology. You could read either series first, but those books within the series should be read in order.

Here are all the details:

Eiagan’s Winter  (available now at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited, coming soon to audiobook):

The land of Goranin has survived the rule of the dreaded Allurigard bloodline for centuries. Suffering perpetual winter at the hands of a tyrannical, bloodthirsty queen, the people seek out a savior to restore their land to its former glory. They find one in Moriarian of Varrow. Moriarian makes grand promises, and the people of Goranin invite him in as their new leader.​

Eiagan Allurigard, the feared dragon-riding Winter Queen, wants nothing more than peace and quiet. Her people push her to the edge, stage uprisings, and revolt against her absolute authority. When her immortality is stolen and Moriarian attacks, Eiagan barely escapes her castle alive. With a gaping abdominal wound and nowhere to hide, she seeks out an unlikely ally in her quest to reclaim her throne.

​Moriarian’s promise of salvation is too good to be true, and the people are subjugated to a fate worse than death. As Moriarian ravages her land, Eiagan seeks revenge against him and those who betrayed her. Haunted by memories of her past, Eiagan joins forces with a band of rebels, a healer who believes he can save her blackened soul, and a den of dragon-shifters determined to free the land of oppression once and for all.

​Traitors, a wicked sorcerer, and deadly creatures threaten their survival, but the queen is determined to win back her birthright at all costs—even if it means sacrificing everything.

You can click on the image below to order!

Here’s what’s coming!

The Revenant Queen, The History of Goranin II, is in the final stages of editing! It is available for pre-order at Amazon now! To order, you can click on the image below!

New Release!

100 Grand took the world by storm, but the family-made band wasn’t always mega-famous. Once upon a time, they were just a bunch of siblings with nothing more than hope, prayer, and desperation to save the life of one of their friends.

When Caden Grand suggests they enter Band Wars, a national competition for up and coming bands, the family joins together to help him succeed. His best friend needs money for her medical bills, and the payout for taking third prize is just enough to get her by. No one ever expects them to win… but they do, and it rocks their world.

A fictional memoir told by the 100 Grand frontwoman, Olive Grand!

If you love happily ever after (for everyone), strong family bonds, amazing friendships, and the power of hope, then this book is for you!

You can find 100 Grand at Amazon! Here are some quick links for US and UK readers!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All About It Blog Series, Week Three

Welcome back to the All About It blog series that introduces readers to my book series!

Once again, I’m diving into a newer series. Oddly enough, the whole series is already written! It’s a group of stand-alone books that actually worked well together, so I am tweaking a few character names, settings, and situations and releasing them in a new series!

The Projects of Life series is a group of ten books that should be read in order. Each book has its own conclusion, but the series follows three generations in one family. The series focuses on those big moments in life—falling in love, dealing with frustrating relationships, personal and societal fears, navigating friendships, and much more!

This series also has some quirky, loveable characters, but the themes are a little darker in some of the volumes. Clean and short, this series is also good for binge reading.

Here are those commonly asked questions again:

  1. What is the target age group?

Young adult to younger new adult. The books are clean, free of cussing, and tackle real-life struggles. Some tackle deeper, darker topics like mass shootings, abandonment, and abusive relationships, but they are told in a way that highlights the damage and destruction those issues cause rather than portraying them in a positive way.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

High school to early college age, so roughly 16-25. In the epilogues, most characters are mid-twenties. Since the series follows three generations, you can count on the early generations popping up everywhere, even as adults. I like that because I can show how important parents are in a teenager’s life.

3. What is the content rating?

Most likely PG-13 for the harder hitting situations portrayed in some books.

4. Why did you start this series?

At first, they were a group of stand-alone books, but as I was editing, I saw commonalities among them. I decided they worked better that way, and now I am rewriting parts to better fit a family scenario.

5. Should I read the series in order?

Yes. Each book has its own arc that completes by the end of the book, but since it follows three generations, they should be read in order.

The Love Project, the first book in the series, is already available! The second book is in alpha review and should release in the fall!

Here are all the details:

The Love Project (available now at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited):

Wesley Baker is a jaded human being. Giving up on love at the ripe old age of seven, she set her sights on much more obtainable goals for her life. She worked hard and eventually found herself exactly where she wanted to be—Professor Saxton’s Introduction to Modern Psychology course, the first step to becoming a world-renowned psychologist. Getting into Brown University was the hardest thing she had ever done, and the most satisfying. And studying psychology was all she ever wanted to do. Only… not like this.

Certainly not alongside Oliver Williams and not discussing the one thing she knows does not exist—love. Why does the semester project have to be a study on such preposterous things? And why, oh why, does she have to be partnered with him? Oliver’s devil may care attitude, his sarcastic humor, and that darn British accent make Wesley wish he’d walk into traffic—until the day he accidentally does.

Left to complete the project on her own, Wesley soon realizes all she’s been missing. Will she get the chance to tell Oliver, or will her heart forever be broken and alone?

Here’s what’s coming!

Where to Find Me!

There seems to be a lot of folks searching for me on social media, and since I will be utilizing it more for updates, promotions, and interaction with readers, I wanted to make sure you had the most accurate information. So, here it is in one place!

To reach any of the pages, just click the hyperlink!

My website MJ Padgett Books

  • Here you will find information about my series and published books
  • Lots of bonus extras and fun stuff
  • If you sign up for my newsletters, you get a free book!

Facebook

  • I post tons of stuff here—everything from promotions, book updates, new release information, quotes, games, and more
  • Here is where I also interact with readers!

Instagram

  • Almost everything I post on Facebook also goes on Instagram since some people prefer it
  • I will most likely follow you back if you follow me here!

Twitter

  • I’m not as active on Twitter, but I hope to change that soon!
  • I’ll post some material from Facebook and Instagram, but also some Twitter exclusive material

Blog (that’s here)

  • I feel like that one is pretty self-explanatory… updates, ramblings, and whatnots.

Youtube

  • Here you will find book trailers
  • Coming soon—book updates, readings, and more!

Bookbub

  • I’m not very active here, but I will add more book reviews and favorites lists as I get more accustomed to using this site

Amazon Author Page

  • If you don’t want to sign up for the blog, you can also read it here!
  • This is a great place to see my entire collection of work, too.

Goodreads

  • My blog also posts here
  • I am a bit more active with reviews here, and you can browse my insane “want to read” pile! I’m always open to recommendations!

Pinterest

  • Here I post inspiration boards, but will soon add more content like book quotes and more!

How I Blindly Co-Wrote a Book… And Made a Great Friend

Writing a book is hard. Co-writing a book has a whole other set of rules. I had no idea how to write with another author when Crystal Crawford and I came up with the idea to write what we affectionately call our weird alien romance. In hindsight, that was probably a blessing. If I had known what I was doing, I don’t think our book would have become the strange, funny, wonderful thing it is.

Crystal and I first met on Wattpad, a writing app where authors can post their work for others to read. I read her book, I Am Not a Stalker, and she read mine, The Yellow Note, then we started messaging privately about our writing. From there, we started beta reading each other’s books, then I joined her hugely supportive beta reader group (who are also dear friends of mine now). After that, the next logical step seemed to be to co-write something.

Grab I Am Not a Stalker here!

Grab The Yellow Note here!

Even to that point, we had never met in person. We had also never spoken on the phone. We did all of our planning via Facebook Messenger and in Google Docs, proving the level of our itnrovertedness. Is that a word? No? I’m making it a word… introvertedness.

introvertedness

Moving on, with some semblance of an outline and a lot of pantsing, we managed to chug out quite a few chapters on our own from our individual character’s points-of-view—Grace and Alexia. Then came the tricky part. We had to seamlessly merge our writing styles and our characters into a meeting scene, then move forward to complete the book together. It was definitely an interesting experience that taught us a lot.

We had loads of fun on Google Docs, taking turns writing bits here and there, live on the Doc at the same time. It took us a while to get into the groove (and a lot of laughs), but soon we were building something amazing.

What started as a little idea we bounced back and forth became The Extraordinary Extraterrestrial Love Lives of Doppelgangers! We didn’t intend to write a 100K+ word soft science fiction novel, but we did! We also entered the book in the Wattys, a writer’s award presented by Wattpad. WE WON for our category! And it was the day we won that Crystal and I finally picked up the phone and had a real conversation.

Find The Extraordinary Extraterrestrial Love Lives of Doppelgangers here!

We had a lot to discuss that day, including what we wanted to do with our book. At first, we left it on Wattpad, but we decided to leave the platform and self-publish our book. Together, we created Considerate Malice, our joint publishing brand, where we will also publish the sequel to TEELLoD and a NEW superhero series that is under construction! That’s all sort of hush, hush for now, but I can say if you liked TEELLoD, then you will love the superhero series!

Now, here we are, years later, and Crystal is one of my best friends. We still haven’t met in person, but we spend a lot of time messaging and discussing our brand via lengthy phone conversations (that almost always take multiple tangents, with many ridiculous ideas for books).

So, the point of my blog post today is this… sometimes jumping into a project with little to no idea what you are doing can be great. I mean, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re, say, an architect, but for two writers, it turned out to be a great thing that let our creativity thrive!

And that’s sort of the point of writing, isn’t it?