Tagline: When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.
Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.
Probably because they’re not nightmares.
When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.
When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…
Book Trailer http://youtu.be/fN1JvOOntWw
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
Honestly? I have no idea. I wanted to write about something original, and I’ve always been intrigued by the Maya civilization. I love writing in a contemporary setting, so with those few cornerstones, I took what I learned about the Maya, formed a basic idea, and then got to know my characters. To be honest, that was harder than developing my story world. But the plot of my book really took on a life of its own after that.
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
The Stone Guardian was the most representative title I could give my book. It was the first name I thought of, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
- Which came first, the title or the novel?
My novel came first, but it didn’t take long for the title to follow. I think it was about a quarter of the way through when the name was born. The series name on the other hand was the very last thing I came up with. I wanted to keep it focused on the stone, so the series name is the Stone Legacy novels. It made the most sense, as the stone is Ashley’s only legacy passed down from her mother.
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Getting my book cover was certainly exciting. But so was being offered a contract when the book was under review. Then again, my editor just requesting my manuscript was pretty amazing. There’ve been quite a few highlights along the way. I have to say though, hearing from my readers is quite possibly the most addictive feeling I’ve ever had. My readers are so amazing, and I adore hearing from people who have feedback or comments about The Stone Guardian.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to curl up with a good book, but Darker Still by Renee Hieber is waiting for me in my Nook. I’m not very good at writing historical, but I love reading it, so I’m sure the Magic Most Foul series will be awesome.
- What was your first book that you ever wrote (very first one you wrote, not published)?
The Stone Guardian is actually the first novel I’ve written. No...seriously. Now, I don’t know what awesome debt I owe to God for having it published so quickly, or if it was just an incredible stroke of luck that my editor loved my book enough to suggest publication. Either way, I couldn’t be happier.
- What is your writing process?
I find a story goal, and then decide who my main characters are. I usually try to figure out what their backstory is since that always effects demeanor and motivations. Once I get that far, the story fills itself in while I write.
- Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Edgar Allan Poe is one of my earliest favorites. I memorized The Raven in eight grade as my English final, and rocked it. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great author, and I’ve recently been turned onto Toni Morrison from a friend who suggested I read The Bluest Eye. In the young adult genre, I have really enjoyed Cassandra Clare, who wove a truly unique and complicated series of novels.
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I’ve never actually done a book signing, but if I did...well, first I’d probably pass out from excitement. But after that, when readers lined up around the block to get their hands on a signed copy (that’s my overactive imagination at work) I would probably ask if they wanted me to write a note, and if they had anything in particular they wanted it to say. That way each reader got something unique, which is the least I could do for someone who waited in line to meet me.
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I don’t have a sense of smell. Like, none—at all. It’s worked both for me and against me over the years. I can’t smell dirty diapers or skunk, but that also means I miss out on the smell of home cooking and really nice perfume.
- How do you react to a bad review?
I’ll never get a bad review. This is what the review fairies have told me in my dreams. You know that’s true because I am incapable of lying, and since my house is made of chocolate, I’m always in a good mood. So even if I did get a bad review, I’d just snap off a chunk of trim and life would go back to normal. But even if I decided to remove my gumdrop blinders, even then, bad reviews don’t exist in my world. Every review is a reader’s opinion, which is their right to voice because literature is highly objective to personal taste. Some people will love it, and others may not. Even the best selling books of all time have bad reviews.
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I had a dinner at Cheesecake Factory with my closest friends. It was so much fun, and I’m eternally thankful to my loved ones for being so supportive—even if that means I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like.
“Where are we going?” Ashley asked, walking a few steps behind. Arwan slowed his pace for her much shorter stride. She wasn’t used to hiking in the jungle, but she didn’t want to show it. He found that a cute addition to the many things he admired about her.
Without offering an explanation, he grabbed a stick from the ground. If he told her where he was taking her, it would ruin the surprise. He just hoped the creatures hadn’t taken shelter somewhere else because of the heavy rains.
Soon they arrived at a clearing where hundreds of tall, thin bushes with elegant purple blooms covered the ground. Mature trees formed a canopy overhead, while gaps in the branches allowed the sun to speckle the jungle floor with light.
“I thought you would like it here.” He watched for her reaction.
She inspected the space. “It’s neat.”
Of course, she didn’t know why they were really there. He watched her shift her weight. Did she lie when she said he didn’t make her uncomfortable? It seemed like he did. Every time he smiled at her, her cheeks flushed or her muscles tensed.
Arwan gently took her hand. She allowed him to, without hesitation. It was the first time.
Carefully, he guided her through the maze of shrubs. When they reached the center, he stood in front of her and put his lips close to her ear. “Can I hold you?” She took a small step back. He waited for her to decide and, at the slightest nod, took her hand. “I just want to show you something.”
He slid his hand gently around her waist and drew her close. Her chest jumped when they pressed together. He savored the feeling of her drumming heartbeat. In fact, he could almost hear it.
She rested her hands against his chest, and he wondered if she felt his heart drumming too. “You’re blushing.”
She pressed the backs of her hands on her face. “I am?”
He caressed the silky curve of her cheek. “You’re lovely when you blush.” The stick secure in his hand, he extended it to the side. “Watch.” With a powerful strike, he whacked a nearby bush on its base. Dozens of butterflies launched into the air.
The flight of few caused a chain reaction, and soon they blanketed the sky. Several landed in her hair and on her arms while more flew overhead.
Arwan tilted his head back to the sky. Ashley gasped and stared at the countless array of colors gliding overhead. A butterfly rested on his shoulder, pumping its cobalt blue wings. She gently blew on it, her warm breath caressing his neck.
His chest swelled with longing. He clenched his jaw. Watching her lips form into a soft circle, she continued to blow on its colorful wings. He had never wanted someone so fiercely. She brought something out of him he couldn’t control. Something instinctual, animalistic. He watched her lips, longing to kiss her. To feel her mouth pressed against his. The need surged in his chest and spread throughout his limbs. He tensed and pulled her closer.
He knew he had to be gentle. As much as he tried to conceal the need, it threatened to destroy him if he didn’t at least try. Slowly, he leaned in to kiss her. His lips hovered above hers. Her hot breath broke over his mouth.
Ashley gasped and stepped back. Her teary eyes forced him to look away. He silently cursed himself. He’d pushed her too far.
“I…” The hurt in her voice surprised him. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Before he could respond, Ashley ran back toward the house, leaving him alone in the clearing.
He watched her stumble through the trees until she was gone. The jungle was quiet, except for the sound of chirping birds and the rustling of lemurs in the trees.
He turned, balling his fists. What the hell was he thinking? He’d known that if he tried to kiss her, it would push her away. He should have shown more restraint.
Each of his steps pounded against the jungle floor. The birds’ chirps ceased, and the lemurs took quiet refuge in the branches. When he escaped the maze of bushes, he charged his fist into the trunk of a mature tree, spitting layers of bark and redwood in every direction.
About the Author:
A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance.
Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.