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.

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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.

***

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.

Pre-Orders, a Giveaway, and a Festival!

It’s been quite a busy time for The She-Wolf of Kanta lately! We had a blog tour a few weeks back and if you check out the header up top, you’ll notice that the reviews have been just shining for Mercy and her werewolf adventure. I’ve been so pleased with how much people love her story and I’m so excited for my readers to learn about her world.

If you’re not sure, what I’m talking about, then you may want to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be the first to find out about any official appearances this year. Like I’ve said before, there’s a LOT going on right now.

First up, Pre-Orders are OPEN for SWoK! I was fortunate enough to see the previews for the print copy, and let me tell you, they are simply gorgeous. The werewolf motif throughout would be enough to get me to buy it even if it wasn’t my book, being the werewolf fan I am. It’s just THAT good.

If you missed my posts on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, there is a Giveaway right now for SWoK along with an Amazon gift card. Currently there are over 2,000 people who have signed up, but 27 copies will be given away, so the odds aren’t too bad!

Finally, I will be attending the Geranium Festival this year in McDonough, GA. Considering that I’ve attended it ever since I was a kid, it’s crazy that I’ll be a vendor there this year. I’ve joined forces with several other artists, including my sister MorbidSmile, to sell a variety things from knitting work to art prints, and of course my novella SWoK. And since folks have asked me, I WILL be signing copies there upon request.

Whew! So many updates and I’m still a little under two months away from release day. Did I mention that the recording for the audiobook has also begun? Guys, I can’t express how excited I am. As an author, it’s terribly ironic, I know.

Story Unlocked: Against Our Better Judgment

I’m pleased to announce that my Instagram followers have just unlocked a new story!

Against Our Better Judgment

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A vampire and a werewolf meet in a New Orleans graveyard to settle an old score. Then things go horribly wrong. When their scuffle is interrupted, the two are forced to put aside their differences and try working together for once. The results are a mixed bag of action, deception, and a sprinkle of humor.

Read the new Story Unlock: Against Our Better Judgment

Story Unlocks

Congrats to my Instagram followers for unlocking the first story in my Story Unlocked series! Check out the link in my Profile page to read it. 💖

What happens to stories that are lost or forgotten? Sometimes they can be picked up in a reprint anthology, but most writers will tell you that unless you are a huge name, that is not common. For those quirky stories that don’t fit cleanly into those anthologies, they get lost to time. Out of print means that the book isn’t even printed on demand any longer, and the only sellers are the ones who have copies of their own to sell. So the price goes up, and the chance to read those stories goes down.

I don’t like that. I want my work to be accessible to as many as possible. Even my older stories which may not be as refined, but are just as fun. What about if I mixed it with new stories, ones that are homeless and don’t quite fit what editors are looking for? That’s when my Story Unlocked series was born. The more milestones I hit in Facebook and Instagram (my main hunting grounds), the more stories I’ll post. What are those milestones? That part is a secret. You’ll know once they get hit. 😉

Part game, part unearthing, part sparkly and new, I hope this series is as fun for my readers as it is to put together. Eventually I’ll probably collect them into an anthology, but who wants to wait for that?