Stephanie Worlton is an author, designer, gabber, and sugar addict! She was raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City where she developed a passion for the creation of space, color, and design. Her love of design drove her to pursue a degree in architecture. Her love of family pulled her home to be a mom.She enjoys hanging out with her family, reading, writing, making massive project lists, doing remodeling and building projects, playing in the dirt, and snuggling with her dogs. She collects power tools, camera equipment, shoes (though barefoot is always best!), and books.
Ali Cross, the award-winning author of the Desolation Series, has always had a flare for the dramatic. As a child she organized backyard performances of classic plays and musicals and hosted tea parties for invisible friends and pets dressed in doll clothes. Her teens were a haze of boys, drama (of the real life variety), and music. So it really didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the girl her family called a dreamer, ended up writing drama—with angels, demons, and other supernatural creatures thrown in for fun.
After university, Ali traveled from the Great White North to the Utah desert for love and now entertains her devoted husband, almost-grown twin sons and adorable yorkies with her wacky song renditions and random movie lines. As the only female in the house she considers this her right and her duty.
Never one to conform to expectations, Ali enjoys writing in multiple genres:
Ali Cross books for young adult paranormal romance; Ali Banks Cross books for middle grade adventures; and Ali M. Cross for inspirational romance. She promises to entertain you no matter which of her books you pick up.
TARA C. ALLRED Award-winning Author
I had lots of imaginary friends when I was five years old, and I guess you could say some of those friends never left me. In fact along the way, I picked up some more imaginary friends who have had lots to say.
I love watching stories unfold. And some of those stories seem worth sharing with you.
So, I have written a few books. And have several more in the works.
Meanwhile, some of my books have won some awards. And even more importantly, my books have made friends with some wonderful and supportive readers. I absolutely love it when a reader connects with one of my stories.
Stacy Lynn Carroll has always loved telling stories. She started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English, learned how to western swing, and watched as many of her fellow students became ‘True Aggies’. She then finished her BA at the University of Utah where she got an emphasis in creative writing.
After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers. When her first daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer.
Eight books and four small kids later, Stacy has truly learned the necessary skills of balance and time management. Dr. Pepper and chocolate also help. She and her husband live in Utah with their four children and three dogs. Bear Lake is her favorite place to write.
He was right—her hair was dark. Nearly black, actually. She was white, but there was a slight warmth to her skin and with her coal-dark eyes, straight black hair and long, straight nose, he was pretty sure she might be part Native American. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
“You guys can hang your coats up there,” the petite girl said, pointing to the coat rack by the door. “Your timing is perfect. We were just getting started.”
“Glad to see you made it to your destination safely,” Bent said, offering the girl what he hoped would be a kind smile. There was something about her, something wild but skittish. He’d never been around horses or anything, but she made him think of wild horses. Curious, but scared, too. “I’m Bentley. But everyone calls me Bent.”
“Mel. I remember. Is that short for Melanie?”
She shrugged and threw him a coy glance. “Call me Mel. But why do you go by Bent?”
Bent chuckled. “I’m Bentley Brown.” He leaned over the couch that stood between them and offered his hand. “And yes, I’m named after the car.”
She shook his hand. He liked the press of her small, warm palm against his and he was disappointed when she broke the contact.
“I like Bentleys.”
Oh, she could flirt, could she? Bent took off his coat and hung it up without taking his eyes off Mel. “Mel suits you. It’s tough. Like you.”
She laughed and looked down, shaking her head. “Oh, I’m anything but tough.”
He looked at her sideways. “You sure about that?”
Q&A With Ali M. Cross:
1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
Quirky and fun (or dorky and lame, but I’m going with “quirky and fun”). Sun worshipper, happiness enthusiast, believer in hope and magic. Devoted mom to twin 18yo sons and two adorable yorkies, and happy wife to the love of my life.
2. What do you love most in the world?
God and my family.
3. What inspired you to become an Author?
Stories that moved me and inspired me. I wanted to be a part of that.
4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?
My favorite Christmas tradition is we have a little basket we set on the mantel along with some yarn strips to represent “hay”. For every good turn during the holiday season (from Thanksgiving to Christmas), we each fill the basket or “creche” with yarn until by Christmas Eve, we have a nice soft bed ready for Jesus. Before we go to sleep, we gather around and sing “Silent Night.” I’ll put out the porcelain Jesus in his bed, then on Christmas morning, before we open presents, we’ll sing “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful”. Helps us to slow down a little bit and remember the “reason for the season.”
5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?
My trick is to keep on writing! I’ll literally write “blah blah blah” or just free write–in my MS–until the words pick up the story again. OR, I’ll jump ahead to a part of the story I DO feel inspired to write. If neither of those tactics work, then I’ll for a walk, or do something else that fills my creative well. My best advice is to not be overly hard on yourself if the words won’t flow…but also to give yourself a chance to open that spigot by sitting down and writing ANY words, even if they aren’t the right ones.
6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?
My parents divorced when I was four years old. I remember one Christmas Eve when Daddy was coming to see me, AND I was singing a solo in the Christmas Eve mass that night. I wanted my mom and dad to come hear me sing as I’d never done a solo before and even my mom had never heard me. I think I was about ten. I sang “O Come, O Come, Emanuel”, and I remember how, standing in the choir box, my voice carried across the cathedral and the elegance of the procession beneath me. It was a powerful moment in my little life. A real “core memory”. I discovered my sister had come to hear me, but no one else. We rushed home because Dad was there–only to find that he had come and gone. He hadn’t wanted to hear me sing, or to even stay and see me. Everyone else got to see him except for me. And Mom was crying. It was another core memory. These two extremes on one night had a powerful impact on me. Now, I try very hard to always let my sons know that they are loved and that what’s important to them is important to me. That night was bittersweet for sure, but it hasn’t dulled my love for Christmas, only reminded me that I have the power now to help it shine–for myself and my family.
16-year-old Eridale Storm must leave the only home she’s ever known and brave the dangers of the unknown wilds to escape capture by Imperial soldiers.
The only safe place is with her mother, who abandoned her to lead the freedom movement when Eridale was just a child. On her journey, Eridale learns that she holds a key role in the confilct between the Empire and the Freedom Fighters. Her choices could lead the people back to freedom or shackle them under the imperial throne forever.
Can Eridale face the heritage that will define the rest of her life?
Melanie is an author, designer, photographer, and flight attendant all rolled into one. She has told stories all her life and finds her passion in sharing the plots that spin through her head. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her two dachshund-chihuahua dogs. She loves the beauty of the Pacific Northwest that feeds her imagination.
When no one is listening, Melanie loves to belt Broadway songs in her living room and car. Someday she hopes to be on a flight where someone is reading her book.
Scot tugs at my elbow, urging me toward another natural passageway that widens into an open space twice the size of the previous cavern. I stare up at the rounded ceiling above my head. The formation appears natural though the six hollowed openings all around the edges do not. Each of the six openings has a man-made desk situated in it, and each opening looks like it serves a specific purpose. Some have computer screens attached to the wall, others have devices that look like strange ear muffs.
Before I can find out more, Scot leads me down the dimly lit hall to the left. With each step my body tenses. If these people aren’t who they say they are, I’m in big trouble. I scan the area, mentally mapping my surroundings and searching for the best possible escape routes. My fingers tighten on my bow. I take a breath to calm the rising paranoia, telling myself that if they were the enemy, they wouldn’t take a chance leaving me armed.
We turn a corner and enter another cavern. This one is more than triple the size of the first. The whole stinking mountain must be hollow. Several levels of openings, each with their own group of busy people, rise above me to the ceiling nearly forty feet overhead.
My mouth drops open, and my eyes dart around the room, trying to take in everything all at once. On one side of the cave, six computers surround a screen similar to the one Melami used to show Leahli and me the information about Mericon. The people at the computers watch the screen intently, accompanied by a low murmur of voices. Opposite the computers I notice a short passage to another room where, at a glance, I make out all sorts of gadgets and equipment.
On the second level people move around dressed in white coats, and I wonder if they are medicine men and women, or doctors as Tolaree’s textbooks termed them. I turn in a circle, craning my neck to see what is on the third and fourth levels, but my limited height hides them from view.
As I turn, the murmur of voices slows and eventually stops. The eerie silence captures my attention. My gaze comes full circle to meet a slightly older but otherwise mirror-image version of myself. Everything from the petite frame right down to the flaming red hair and violet eyes is the same. My mother, Guinolen Storm.
Now that I regard her in person, I notice the subtle differences between us. Her milky white skin is much paler than mine, and her hair is much tamer and more controlled, with a lot less curl. She’s a fraction of an inch shorter than me, and her mouth is heart-shaped while mine is more oval.
The silence around us makes my stomach twist, and I shift my feet.
Guinolen smiles. “Eridale.”
Her smooth voice holds a lilting hint of an accent. As it sounds across my ears, a thousand brief memories assault me. I remember that voice singing softly in the darkness. I remember it crying as well as fighting. I remember it pledging love to Tanier McClough and later telling me I have a sister. Tears spring to my eyes as these memories flood in, momentarily pushing the harsher feelings back. That lasts for about five seconds before all the longing, sorrow, frustration, and anger return with a vengeance. I swallow hard, working to rein in my tumultuous emotions.
My voice is flat and emotionless when I respond. “Mom.”
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