Authors Rock Tour: Sidelined by Kendra C. Highley

by Kendra C. Highley

Contemporary YA (Entangled Publishing, September 2013) 

Note: Book cover coming soon!

Eighteen-year-old Genna Pierce (aka Imogen Sawyer Pierce…no thanks to her dad), is the star basketball player on her high school team. After being pushed to excel in her sport since age six, she’s about to fulfill her mother’s dream of playing at the collegiate level. University scouts are taking notice of Genna’s talent, her high school team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the source of Genna’s daydreams since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out, sparks fly. As their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can’t get better than this.

Then, it’s over.

Genna’s dream shatters in seconds at the state tournament when she comes down wrong from a jump ball and breaks two bones in her leg. In a tailspin, Genna feels like her life is falling apart: her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don’t get what she’s going through, and Genna’s not even sure who she is without basketball. Jake tries to help her cope, but Genna doesn’t understand why he’d want the broken version of the girl he fell for, straining their relationship to the breaking point. Left to wonder why this would happen to her after she worked so hard for so long, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.
GUEST POST by author Kendra C. Highley

When I first thought about writing about an elite athlete, I laughed. See, I’m a klutz. No, really. I walk into the side of my desk at work all the time, I trip over my own feet and I frequently drop things. If you looked up the definition of an athlete in the dictionary, I’d be listed under the antonyms.

Writing Sidelined took a serious education. I love sports. I love watching the poetry of motion as super talented people play. But getting inside the head of an athlete, a basketball star with multiple scholarship opportunities, was going to be a stretch. Genna Pierce, my main character, is tall, fast and has a near-perfect hook shot. We only have one of those things in common (I’m 5’9”). So how did I get into her head? How would I be able to convey her fears and dreams, and how would I show the crushing despair of losing the game she loves?

I started with stories. Two good friends from high school played varsity basketball for our women’s team. One became a physical therapist who works with leg injuries. The other went on to play in college, and now coaches a high school team in Moore, Oklahoma. I asked them a bunch of questions about games, the camaraderie of a team and most of all, how it felt to play. The emotions, the stress, the all-out desire to win and their extreme dedication to excel. Anybody who wants to get really good at something has to put in the hours, and these women did. I also asked about weird moments on the court (jostling around under the basket and getting an elbow in the chest, being pinched when the ref was wasn’t looking, people throwing up on the sidelines) to add some authenticity.

In the end, the story is as much about Genna’s spiral out of control as it is about her single-minded focus on basketball and how she has to discover who she is outside of the sport she loves. Understanding her motivations was tough at times, but it was a really rewarding process.


 Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most critical job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

New Releases 8.20.13

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Blog Tour: Steel Lily by Megan Curd

AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued.

But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

The Polatzi woman’s broad body blocked the view of my intended hallway. Her hands were on her hips, and her piercing gaze felt as if it might actually impale me. Do they teach that death stare to every Polatzi, or is this woman particularly nasty?

“Avery Pike?”

I jutted my chin in the air. “Who’s asking?”

“You were off the grid last night.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I pushed past her before she could say more and felt the smooth fabric of her cape slap my legs as I passed. Fiery anger consumed me, but I kept my expression neutral. Damn Polatzi. They gave me nothing but unanswered questions and a lice-ridden bed at an overcapacity orphanage, yet expected me to revere them. Providing steam–being an asset they couldn’t get rid of–gave me immunity to the Polatzi as long as I didn’t do anything stupid.

Like skipping class and going to see Alice during a night of sweeps. Yeah, that would fall under the category of life-threateningly stupid, which was a couple notches above incredibly stupid.

Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.

When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to snowboard and travel to new places, and doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.
Megan currently resides in Stanton, Kentucky with her husband, son, and Great Dane named Dozer.


Exclusive Excerpt of The Liberator by Victoria Scott

Who has two thumbs and is an official member of the V Mafia?
This girl!   *holla WHAT!*

What is the V Mafia, you ask?  The V Mafia is a special group of readers who support Victoria Scott in her quest for world domination career.  We will be assisting in bringing you, fellow fans, all the latest and greatest news about her Dante Walker trilogy, her upcoming Fire & Flood trilogy and more!

To kick off this momentous occasion, and for me to earn some points with my Don *wink*, I am bringing you an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) releasing on Aug 27.

Title: The Liberator (Dante Walker #2)
Author: Victoria Scott 
Publication: August 27, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Pages: 350 pages
Bad boy, meet bad girl.

Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance.

When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard.

With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.

By Victoria Scott

Charlie’s smile falters. “I’m going to miss you.”

“Are you?” I ask, my voice raspier than I intended.

Her face falls. “Of course I am,” she says. “Why would you ask me that?”

I shrug. “You seem pretty cheerful about this assignment.”

Charlie’s face brightens again, her blue eyes shining. “That’s because I know you’re going to do great.” She tilts her head, grinning. “Because I know you’re a good person, and you can do good.”

Something in me snaps. I know it’s probably the fear that she won’t be truly safe while I’m gone, but it’s also that I’m afraid what she’s saying isn’t true. “Maybe I don’t want to be good, Charlie. Maybe I want to be me.” I lean down and get in her face, beat my chest with a closed fist. “Maybe I’m bad to my core. And maybe I wish you were a little more like me.”

She’s going to flip me off. I just know it. I’ve screwed up this goodbye, and now she’s going to tell me to jump out of the plane at thirty thousand feet. But instead she sucks in a breath like I’ve gut-punched her, and her eyes fall to the floor.

“Charlie . . .”

“You and I are going to be fine,” she says in a voice so calm it almost scares me. Her eyes flick up. “You hear me? You don’t want to leave because you’re afraid to be away from me. Of how you’ll be when I’m not around to influence your behavior.”

My brain nearly splits open, because she’s right. I’ve been rebelling against becoming a liberator, and the only thing that’s kept me from becoming the Dante Walker I was when I was alive is her. I’m afraid I can’t be a good person.

Charlie puts a hand on my chest. “I care about you. I’ll care about you wherever you are in this world.” She smiles. “And Denver isn’t so far away.”

I pull her against me and hold her tight. I have an assignment to complete. And what’s more, I have to learn how to be a liberator. I’ve been putting off my transition from demon to…whatever…for too long. But I guess now is as good a time as ever.

There you have it folks!  

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