EskieMama and Dragon Lady Celebration

Good morning amazing people out there,

I’m super excited that today I was invited to celebrate with Melissa and Jara their first aniversary. To celebrate, they organized several spotlights and giveaways… there’s a Facebook Hop, a Facebook Party and a Big Giveaway.

Honestly, you can’t miss it!

Visit their Facebook Celebration Event Page to learn all about the celebration, fun and prizes. It all starts today.

I couldn’t miss the chance to party with EskieMama and Dragon Lady, so you’ll find my name around. But first, let me share with you the Facebook Hop links.

Facebook Hop

Celebration FB Hop

Andy Peloquin
Ani Bishop
Autumns and Author
Cajun Heat Book Blog
Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott
Clare’s Mad About Books
Dahlia Donovan
Irish Daisy Loves Romance
Dena Garson
Elizabetta Holcomb
Ember-Raine Winters
Eva Charles
Izzy Szyn
Jadyn Lucas
Janet Nissenson
Jennifer Sivec
Joanne Rock
K. Reese
K.T. Castle
K.M. Lowe
Kristen Collins
Kristine Dugger
L.V. Lewis
Lucy Belle
Lucy Farago
M. Eror
Marie Landry
MM Billiter
Megan Lowe
MK Meredith
Mustang Prairie
Natalie Rios
Once Upon An Alpha
Randi Perrin
Roisin Black
Sandra R Neeley
S.E. Redd
Sexy Sirens Book Blog
Escape Reality
Victoria Monroe
WS Carmichael
Zeia Jameson
Karen Raines
EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads

Make sure to follow the hop, there’s different prices that each stop is giving away!

Facebook Party

EskieMama &

As part of the celebration there will be a FB Party where many authors will be talking about their work, answering questions and, of course, many prizes. I posted it on my facebook page, but if you missed it, here’s the link.

Here!

You don’t want to miss this one! Here are some of the people that will participate in the Spotlight: Virginia Carey, Mary Billiter, Victoria Monroe, Dahlia Donovan, Ember-Raine Winters, LJ Shen, K.M. LoweNatalie-Nicole BatesKaren RainesBrittany CrowleyJanet NissensonDavid Kummer, Lucy FaragoKristine DuggerMegan LoweElizabetta HolcombK. Reese, Joanne Rock, Genevieve Ryan, N.D. Jackson, Liv Moore, Lucy Belle, Bre Meli, Ani BishopCari Quinn & Taryn ElliottAndy PeloquinEva CharlesRandi PerrinIzzy SzynZeia JamesonKristen CollinsRoisinJennifer SivecScarlett Redd and many others!

Big Giveaway

Like I mentioned before, there’s a huge giveaway that many people contribuited on.

YOU HAVE TO PARTICIPATE!

To do so, click here: GIVEAWAY

EskieMama and Dragon Lady have friends lots of friends that pitched in to creat an amazing prize. One so big, that it was divided into three. Here’s how they broke it down:

GRAND Prize #1

$25.00 GC by Cajun Heat Book Blog; $10 by GC Bre Meli; $5 GC by Ani Bishop; Paperback of Mister Moneybags by Virginia Carey; Paperback of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding, 1 pin, a thermos, a bookmark & $5 GC by K.T. Castle (ME!); Paperback by WS Carmichael; Jewelry pouch, earrings & swag by Dena Garson; $5 GC / ebook copy of The Wanderer by Dahlia Donovan; ebook of winner’s choice valued at $7.99 or less by Janet Nissenson; ebook of Savannah’s Legacy by Scarlett Redd; ebooks 1 & 2 of Pride and Honor Series by Ember-Raine Winters, any Amazon Book 7.99 & less EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads.

Grand Prize #2

$25 GC by Rockstar PR; $10 GC / ebook by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott; ebook & swag by Kristen Collins; Paperback of Burning Hearts by Author KM Lowe; a keyring and a ribbon book marker plus an ebook by LUCY FARAGO; ebook by L.V. Lewis; ebook The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride by Joanne Rock; ebook My Abigail: A Psychological Thriller by David Kummer; any Amazon Book of 5.99 & less by EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads; Two ebooks of choice by Sandra R. Neeley; The Eva Series Collection (two books) by Jennifer Sivec.

Grand Prize #3

$10.00 Amazon GC / swag by Shelley Springfield; $5 GC / ebooks of Holding on Forever and Falling Forever by Victoria Monroe;  $5 GC by Natalie-Nicole Bates, Swag by Mary Billiter; ebook by Randi Perrin; ebook Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin; ebooks of three novellas and the full length novel by Roisin; ebook by Elise Faber; ebook Waiting for the Storm by Marie Landry; ebook by Once Upon An Alpha, any Amazon book 3.99 or less by EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads, Paperback by Sawyer & Fin Zeia Jameson, ebook by Kristine Dugger.

I sincerely can’t tell which prize is better. So good luck to everyone!!

The giveaway will run from Monday June 12th – Friday June 16th. Winners will be drawn on Saturday June 17th.

Thank you, Melissa and Jara, to make this Spotlight and inviting us to participate!

Kind regards,

K.T.

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How to create the perfect cover

Hi, everyone!

This has been such an exciting year.

Now I’m giving other authors a hand here in the blog. It’s so exciting to learn so much about people working the same trade!

I’ll start doing author interviews soon, so if there’s anything you could think of asking an author send me an email.

One of the questions that often arise for author is about the cover.

  • Is that how you picture your character?
  • Where did you get the image from?
  • Is it accurate? because when I was reading I imagined it differently.

I’ve been asked this an other questions. So I thought you might want to know about my covers.

Purchase my books here

 Laura's Wedding  /  Marisol's Wedding

I always work hard to get the best images for my covers. There’s plenty of options to do so, like downloading images from sites such as Pexels and Shuttershock (my personal favorites). But I really want to offer my readers something that’s original and excusive, I wouldn’t want them to find the same picture in another cover, so Victor (my designer) and I do a lot of work to create beautiful pristine artwork.

Laura’s Wedding

book 01In my first book, Laura’s Wedding, I needed a portrait of Laura and Edward with the background of Bora Bora, where the wedding “took place”. I had the opportunity to use a picture from a couple of beautiful models who never before used their images in a book. Those pictures are from their actual wedding, and they were kind enough to allow me to use them. For the background picture we actually used an image of Hawaii (from the models’ honeymoon, hehe), not Bora Bora but we made it work.

So you see how we used everything we had at our disposition to create the final product. I’d haven’t visited Bora Bora, so pictures from the exotic island weren’t an option at the time.

Marisol’s Wedding

BCL2 softcover 024.pngNow, from my second book, I wanted to follow the same style. A breath taking background with a stunning model that once again was looking straight at the reader. As with Laura, I found someone who was willing to allow me to use her wedding pictures to portrait Marisol. But in this case, I wanted a real picture of the actual setting of the wedding.

Marisol’s wedding, in the story, happened in Finca La Devoción. A small hacienda in Atotonilco in San Miguel Allende, México.

I visited the finca last year for a wedding, so when I was writing Marisol’s book it easily came to mind while picturing settings. I even had some great pictures of the event and place, but sometimes our “great” pictures aren’t cover worthy. So I did the only thing I could think of doing, contacting the manager of La Devoción and asking them for pictures.

Surprisingly they were kind enough to allow me to use their images and they gave me their blessings. Now I want you to know a little bit of who they are.

Finca La Devoción

Finca La Devoción is a place where they want to create a merry space for any special event. They have an natural organic architecture, with great yards, a clay-cobbled esplanades, water fountains and a millenary aqueduct.

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They offer a beautiful house with two bedrooms and four terraces, they also have twelve bedrooms (each of them with their bathroom), a lovley spa with jacuzzi, thermalwaters, and a salon with a warm kitchen, colorful aviary, water mirrors, tented gardens, parking lot and the mezcaleria “El Tinieblo”.

I invite you to visit San Miguel Allende, a place considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and drop by Atotonilco to visit its sactuary and finca. You will certainly have a wonderful adventure visiting their vineyard and looking at the amazing scenery.

Regardless if you read my book or not, San Miguel Allende and Finca La Devoción are a beautiful place to visit.

Book cover design process

Design a cover for a novel is not an easy task. You need to know about your genre, your audience and many other things. It is always recommended that you hire a professional designer who has experience in this area. There are some very affordable sites that may help you out, such as fiverr or The Book Designer. If you decide to give it a try and create your own design there’s several software you could use to accomplish it. You could go as simple as Word and PowerPoint, an online program such as PicMonkey or Canva, or go pro with Photoshop.

  • Start by making some research. It is extremely important that you know your niche upside down. Look at the most important authors in your genre and study their covers. Choose your favorite and keep them in mind while designing your cover.
  • Think about the elements you want to include. Sure you’ll need an image and title, but what else do you need? What information are other authors including? What information would you like to include? Make a list of the elements that you must have in your cover, spine and backcover.
  • Make sure your designer has enough information about the book. Idealy he or she will take sometime to read the book and know what it is about. If this is not possible, you need to let the designer know about the story and its characters. You could write a small burlb and a list of important elements to consider.
  • Always have several options. When creating a cover you can’t settle for having one option and sticking with it, regardless who is creating the cover you’ll need several drafts to choose from. Ask for at least three option that you’ll then analize and consider.
  • Express your likes and dislikes. Something is not right with the cover the designer came up with? Make sure to mention it. Most writers aren’t visual, that’s why sometimes we struggle explaining what we want. Be sure to give your designer feedback about the things you liked about the options and specially to point out the things you didn’t like. That’ll help the designer narrow down your ideas.
  • Fonts say a lot. Trust your designer to choose fonts that will speak about the book and ask him to play around with them (and their sizes) using the selected image covers. You never know how a good font can improve your cover’s message.
  • Ask for feedback. I’m sure you have people around you that would love to help you through this process. Have them take a look at the final ideas and help you decide what’s the best option for your book. Keep in mind that you’ll not please everyone and that’s completedly fine.
  • Consider cover sizes and formats. You might have our book published in print and ebook. Make sure that the cover is visible and makes sense in all publishing formats.
  • You’ll need a print ready file. To be ready to use your cover, you’ll need the file to be appropriate for each platform. If you’re publishing in CreateSpace, Amazon, IngramSpark, or any other, make sure you read the guideliness for cover format so the image that the designer (or you) created is someting you can successfully upload. To have multiple image formats never hurts.
  • Want to make it extra fun? Create a contest or poll! See how people react to your cover. You coud even use their feedback to improve the final version.

Best of luck creating your cover.

Regards,

K.T.

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Happy Valentines!

Friendship and love should be something we cherish and value every single day. But in case we’re overwhelmed with life, there’s February 14. A day where we can make it a mission to show the people around us how much we care about them.

If you’ve read my books (and I hope you have), you know that they deal with romance, but more than that I’d like to think that they deal with friendship. The friendship of five very different girls and how life has presented love to them in singular ways.

  • There’s Kassandra, who has a hard time accepting love,
  • There’s Laura, who battled to find the love of her life,
  • There’s Marisol, who struggles with cultural differences,
  • There’s Natalie, who married a man that’s old enough to be her parent,
  • and there’s Denise, who married her high school sweetheart.

Regardless of their differences they’re there for one another.

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The Bridesmaid’s Checklist series is a new adult contemporary romance that deals with the love stories around this group of friends. Sometimes their relationship is fun, easy and uncomplicated… some others it can be the complete opposite.

Here are some reviews of the story:

I adored this book.

Ms. Castle wrote a great contemporary romance (with a hint of spice/kink) … It’s about self-discovery for Kas and events that shaped her from her college days that still felt raw and unresolved … You’ve all read about the Bridezilla or even been around the Bridezilla, right?  …  Laura is the worst one…EVER!  I can’t wait to read their stories in the future.

Harlie’s Books

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Bridezillas, ex-boyfriends, and Bora Bora. Oh, my!

Kassandra is the resident planner in her group of friends. So, of course, when another one of the ladies gets engaged, Kassie is tasked with planning the wedding along with all the other events that come with it… The journey is full of twists and bumps along the way. Secrets are exposed, some even I could not have predicted. Kassie has to learn to let go of past hurts and trust her heart. The pacing was steady and there was quite a bit of humor sprinkled throughout.

In closing… A quick read with humor and a sweet romance.

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

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The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding

The Bridesmaid’s Checklist is a fun romantic story that has a great mixture of drama, humor, and romance, that easily kept me engaged and turning the pages. Anyone can relate to the craziness surrounding wedding event planning, and how the best laid plans can unexpectedly go awry, especially when romance issues and buried secrets are added into the mix. I really enjoyed following Kassandra’s personal journey of self discovery, especially when she makes necessary changes in her life, and finds an unexpected romance in the arms of a charmer like Josh, who is determined to break down the walls that surround Kassandra’s heart.

Jersey Girl Book Reviews

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Kassandra is a smart, beautiful and loyal woman so when her friend calls to say she’s getting married there is only one thing to do, help.

There is only one problem Kassandra knows the groom a little too well … Josh is a lover of women and enjoys trying new things. He has had a fair share of relationships and his reputation isn’t the best… There are some hot moments between Kassandra and Josh that were well written and I was glad there was an HEA. The characters whether you love or hate them are well written and engage the reader… I recommend it to a lover of contemporary romance and it’s a great start to a new series.

Romance Authors that Rock On

 15-1-quote-12-wet-dreams

This was a brilliant wee book!

Sometimes being the strong, independent woman can mean that you are also the silent, lonely woman (or man!) and this book proves that point exactly. Our main character is strong and works hard to get to the point in life where she is sound and able to carry herself. However, she isn’t quite happy and is definitely feeling stranded at sea… I recommend this read, especially if you want something that has a deep side, but is very fun and easy to enjoy.

Natural Bri

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To celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day and friendship I decided to have my book FREE for February 14. Download your copy on today.

Laura’s Wedding links:
U.S.A. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IOOBO0I
U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IOOBO0I
Canada https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01IOOBO0I
Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01IOOBO0I

Mexico https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B01IOOBO0I

But the celebration doesn’t have to last for only one day. I decided to have a giveaway for the rest of the month. Visit Rafflecopter to win a paperback copy of Laura’s Wedding or a $10 dlls Amazon giftcard (open internationally).

Click here to participate.

Thanks for celebrating Valentines with me and The Bridesmaid’s Checklist!

A gift to you…

The year is about to end, 2017 will start and wash away all the good, bad and ugly 2016 gave us. It was a different kind of year full, of different challenges on many different levels. I grew a lot: it was exciting, it was fullfilling and sometimes it was also painful.

There’re many things I can be prouf of myself for:

It’s certain the new year will bring new challenges and hopefully lots of satisfaction. But before the year ends I want to give you a little something that may help you start 2017 with a smile on your face.

For a few days I programmed my very first instaFreebie giveaway. Why? Because I want you to be able to read my book and because I want to know what you think of my writing. Please feel free to contact me and tell me if you liked my book.

Follow the link and get The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding (#BCL1) free!

InstaFreebie

Happy New Year!

-K.T.

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Marisol’s Wedding comes out TOMORROW!

The next book on The Bridesmaid’s Checklist series is coming out on December 22. You can preorder it today for only 99 cents.

blc-preorder
UNITE STATES https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT0ECVP
UNITE KINDOM https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MT0ECVP
GERMANY https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01MT0ECVP
FRANCE https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B01MT0ECVP
SPAIN https://www.amazon.es/dp/B01MT0ECVP
CANADA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MT0ECVP
MEXICO https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01AT0ECVP
AUSTRALIA https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01MT0ECVP

 

Here’s what the book’s about:

bcl2-synopsis

Kassandra’s last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she’s the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn’t single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem─dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.

Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh starts reaching an amount of commitment that she wasn’t expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh─a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer─leaves his womanizing days behind and can’t seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they’re ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.

Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life─A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go back to work.

Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren’t the ones in the path before you.

Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol’s wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.

Scroll down to read an excerpt 🙂

 

bcl2-meet-the-author

K.T. Castle loves reading, writing, and painting. She’s on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She loves reading Paranormal, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that’s what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless of whether it comes from a nice person or an ass—mundane or even vampire.

When she’s not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, profile pic 2she makes her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Jon Snow, Daenerys, Barney Stinson, Saint, Rome Archer, Rush, Gretchen McKay, and Cinderella.

 

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

Get to know her more on her social media pages.

Facebook: @KTCastle.author

https://www.facebook.com/KTCastle.author/

Google+: K.T.Castle

https://plus.google.com/b/112477461847437130851/

Twitter: @KTCastle_author

https://twitter.com/KTCastle_author

Pinterest: KTCastle_author

https://www.pinterest.com/KTCastle_author/

Website: www.ktcastle.com/

 

OTHER WORKS

Cover preeliminarGet a FREE copy of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding on Amazon during Marisol’s Wedding launch day.

https://amzn.com/B01IOOBO0I

 

 

 

bcl2-giveaway

There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway going on from the 20 of december until the 3rd of January.

You could win a $10 Amazon GC or a signed copy of BCL!
Here’s the link http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9963f4522/?
There’s also another giveaway on Facebook.

You could win paperback copies of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist and some other BCl goodies by suscribing to my newsletter (http://eepurl.com/b8WO99).

This will run until the 22.
Here’s that link https://www.facebook.com/KTCastle.author/photos/a.986805471361618.1073741827.127145400660967/1312261222149373/?type=3&theater

bcl2-teasers

 

banner-excerpt

I hadn’t been sick in a long time. I was usually the healthiest person in the room; I ate healthy and exercised regularly. But somehow I caught some sort of bug and felt like crap.

To my surprise, my grandma decided to visit—something she rarely did. It was actually a very nice surprise. I called her religiously every Sunday, and she was still more demanding than any parent should be. But she loved me dearly, and I loved her back.

Neglecting her was not a situation she accepted, and with my new relationship advancing, I realized I wasn’t paying as much attention to her as I usually did. So she came to check on me. Thankfully, I’d called Josh and told him that any plans we’d made together were cancelled. I wanted to see him, but I didn’t feel well.

“I really don’t feel like eating anything,” I said to my grandma. “Especially not beet soup.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying, child,” my grandmother said. “You might feel like that now, but after eating it, you’ll feel much better.”

“Really, I’m okay. I’d rather have some tea, take a shower and go to sleep.”

“I know you’re an adult and know how to take care of yourself. But sometimes, even you, Kassandra, need someone to look after you.” My grandma eyed me from the kitchen where she cooked. “So keep resting on that couch. You’ll have some tea, and then I’ll leave you alone.”

Then my doorbell rang, and I had no idea who it was. I knew Josh wasn’t coming tonight, and I hoped Marisol was sorting things out with Michael. A month had passed since she’d told me about her unexpected pregnancy, and I hadn’t heard much from her since then. I wanted to check on her soon.

I was about to stand up, but my grandma said, “Don’t stand up. I’ll get it.”

Hopefully it wouldn’t be any of my other friends with some problem for me to fix. I was in no-fixing-anything condition.

“And who are you?” I heard my grandma say from the doorway.

“I’m Josh. How are you doing this evening?”

I was more concerned about Josh meeting my grandma right now than I was impressed with his usual charm. This was actually a situation I’d wanted to avoid. Not because I didn’t want my family to meet him. Not because I didn’t want him to meet them. What concerned me was that my grandmother had always expected me to introduce her to my boyfriends a month into the relationship, as part of our Russian customs.

I was actually proud of myself for holding it back this long. Now the moment had come.

“May I ask who you are?” Josh asked sweetly. I couldn’t imagine what he might be thinking—a nurse, my housekeeper, a neighbor, a friend…. I was sure he wouldn’t guess that she was my grandmother. The woman and I were so different. The caramel color of my skin totally contrasted to her whiter-than-white, pale tone. My golden brown curls were the complete opposite of her straight, ash-blonde hair. I was the perfect combination of my mother’s Russian ancestry and my father’s African American.

Not at all easy to see any resemblance.

“I’m Kassandra’s babushka.”

“And what exactly is that?” Josh asked again.

“My grandmother,” I explained from the living room.

“Of course. You have the same eyes,” Josh said matter-of-factly. It was probably the only feature the old lady and I had in common.

“May I call you ba-boo-ska as well?” Josh charmingly said.

“Who are you?” grandma asked Josh.

“Kass’s boyfriend. So, can I?”

My grandma grunted in response and walked back to the kitchen to stir her soup concoction.

Josh shrugged as he smiled at me from the entrance, placing his light jacket on the entrance organizer near the door. Then he walked to my kitchen counter and set down a white paper bag full of containers. I couldn’t tell what they were, and the bag didn’t give any indication, either. If I had to guess, I was almost sure he’d brought me takeout, but the smell of my grandma’s cooking drowned out any other smell in the apartment.

“What’s inside the bag?” she asked as if reading my mind.

Josh took the white half-liter containers out of the bag and responded, “Kass told me she wasn’t feeling well, so I brought her some chicken soup.”

“Kassandra is not having that for dinner,” the old blonde stubbornly said. “Neither are you.”

“What’s there for dinner, ba-boo-ska?” Josh asked as he approached her.

“Babushka,” she corrected.

“Ba-boo-sha,” he tried once more.

“Babushka,” I said.

“Ba-boo-sh-ka.”

“Better,” Grandma said. “We’re having borscht.”

“I’m not even going to try to say that word,” Josh said with a big smile. “It looks like soup.”

“Of course it’s soup,” my grandma said. “It’s a Ukrainian soup, but we eat it also in Russia. It’s made with beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. I usually cook it with beef, but I don’t want to upset Kassandra’s stomach.”

“Now I understand why it’s pink,” Josh said as he walked away from babushka and closer to me. “It’s made for the princess.”

“Kassandra is by no means a princess,” my grandmother said. “She’s a fighter.” For the first time since Josh’s arrival, she smiled.

“She sure is.” Josh sat by me and gave me the most tender kiss on the tip of my nose. “How are you feeling, little fighter?”

“Better,” I said.

“Liar,” he whispered, as if he knew it was our secret to share. It amazed me how he could be so in tune with my needs and feelings.

“Dinner’s almost ready. I suggest you go wash before coming to eat,” my grandmother said. She was a fan of everything being clean and neat. She always sent me to wash before any meal, no matter how formal or informal it was.

“I’ll go with you to wash up, too.” Josh walked beside me, and I was thankful. I was feeling a bit dizzy, and him walking with me to the restroom made me feel safer. Besides, I was sure grandma had implied that he needed to clean up a bit too.

Josh took my clammy hand and accompanied me to the restroom near my office. I led him there instead of the one inside my bedroom—the one we always used. Even if my grandmother could imagine that I was old enough to have a boyfriend staying over with me, it was a completely different thing to see. I washed as quickly as I could, just to keep her from getting suspicious, and took advantage of the cold water to refresh myself.

Beautiful blond Josh held my waist from behind and looked at me through the reflection in the mirror. When I finally met his eyes, he smiled at me and kissed my neck. “You’re warm,” he said. “Do you know exactly what you have?”

“Some kind of bug. I’m sure it’ll go away by tomorrow.” It had to be that. I couldn’t think of anything else. Being lucky enough to work mostly from home, I didn’t have the disadvantage of getting sick with something a coworker brought to the office. Plus, I always believed that with healthy eating, exercising, and the right vitamins, all illnesses could be avoided.

“You should’ve gone to the doctor,” he said. Concern looked cute on him.

“It’s fine. I’ll be all right in the morning.”

“I hope so.”

My grandmother was waiting for us in the kitchen when we returned. Josh pulled out a stool for me at the kitchen island. Babushka had already served the borscht in the white ceramic dishes I rarely used; they were meant to be used when entertaining guests. Well, in a way I guess I did have guests, even if they were entertaining themselves.

Josh waited until my grandma sat next to me on the same side of the island, so he chose the stool across from us. The space wasn’t that big, but we had enough room to eat our soup comfortably.

“Bon appetite,” Josh said. “The pink soup smells wonderful.”

Grandma snorted again.

It was easy to misinterpret her reactions; she wasn’t one to express herself emotionally. It was a Russian trait—one I’d definitely inherited.

My parents died in a car accident when I was five years old, and my Russian grandparents took me in. They’d immigrated from Russia after the war and settled in California because they enjoyed the sun. I’d never lived outside the U.S.A., although, on my sixteenth birthday, I was sent to stay with a relative in Omsk, Russia for a summer instead of going to Florida with all my friends.

In my short stay in my grandparents’ country, I learned that Russians were unpredictable. It was very difficult to know how they were going to respond to anything, and even though I’d known my grandparents very well for a long time, they still surprised me with their reactions. I learned that it was always better to be myself and be respectful. They were very passionate people, and when they cared deeply about something, there was a tendency to be fairly intense in offering a solution, advice, or comments—even if there were better words to express the same sentiments in a much kinder way.

“Josh, tell me why you haven’t visited Kassandra’s bahba and dzed?” Right to the point, grandmother of mine.

Josh courteously smiled at my grandma and said, “Visited who?”

“Grandma and grandpa,” I offered, trying to concentrate on my soup.

“Yes,” Babushka said. “I know you and Kassandra have being dating for a while, and I asked her to invite you over. She told me how busy you always are.”

“I have been busy.” Fortunately, he didn’t rat me out, saying that I’d never passed along the invitation. He’d actually been making comments about me meeting his family or us visiting my grandparents before, but I wanted to avoid it for a little longer. Being in a relationship was a big enough step for me, and I wasn’t quite ready for it to feel that official. Meeting each other’s families seemed particularly official. And when there were cultural differences between both families, problems could arise. I had seen Marisol go through that before. It wasn’t something I wanted to experience, and I knew how people could misunderstand my old folks. “But I’ll make sure to make some time soon to visit.”

“Good.”

We ate our soup and the conversation stopped for a short moment. I didn’t really know what to say, and in all honesty, I was sick and didn’t want to participate in any kind of meeting-the-family pleasantries.

“My little Kassandra here is a gem, and if she chose you to be part of her life, I need to make sure you’re good enough for her,” my grandmother explained. “You’re good-looking, and Kassandra told me you have a good job, although I don’t like many people who work in the media.”

“I’m surprised Kass talked to you about me,” Josh replied, not even mentioning or responding to her negative comment.

“We talk every week, and lately, most of her conversations are about you.” Apparently, Grandma was the one ratting me out today. “My Kassie is always kind and works hard to get everything she deserves and help the people around her. Dzyedooshka and I need to make sure she’s not making a mistake.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” Josh said, and for a moment I was afraid of how the conversation would proceed and finish. Now it was Josh’s turn to surprise me. “She’s always helping someone out, no matter how big or small the situation might be. She pays attention to every single detail—eyes like a hawk and everybody knows it.”

I could hear them talk in my daze, agreeing with each other over how much they each praised me. I tried to eat as much soup as I could, but I felt nothing like eating. Borscht or not. Their conversation was actually lulling me to sleep.

At some point during their conversation, I was sure that I was actually in bed sleeping and all of this was only a dream. My grandmother wasn’t here, Josh wasn’t having dinner with us, and I was alone in my apartment. I felt really, really terrible.

“I’m sorry, Babushka, but I better help Kass into bed,” Josh said at last. “She looks like she’s going to fall off that stool.”

“Sure, sure,” my grandma said. “Poor child. I better stay here tonight to make sure that she rests well.”

Josh held me up and tried to carry me before I stopped him.

“There’s no need for that, bahba,” I told her. “I’ll be fine. I just need a good night’s sleep.” I tried to walk on my own, only to fail. My body felt so heavy that I couldn’t move on my own.

“Nonsense, I’m staying here.”

“If you don’t mind, ma’am,” Josh added, “I would like to stay, too. If it’s fine with you.”

What exactly was Josh trying to do? My grandma would never let him sleep with me in the same room, not on her watch. Especially because when she spent the night, she did in my bed with me.

“Where are you thinking of sleeping?” Grandma asked.

“On the couch, of course,” Josh smartly explained. “I just want to be here in case you need to rush to the pharmacy, or she needs help moving… With all due respect, she isn’t exactly light,” he added with a charming smile.

If I’d had the energy to be mad, I would have been. But at that point, I only wanted to go to bed and get some sleep. I needed Josh to carry me.

I could hear bahba’s loud laugh at Josh’s comment. “She certainly isn’t light. She’s a woman after all, and I’m an old lady, so I appreciate your offer. Help me put her in bed, and then I’ll come back to fix the kitchen and make some tea.”

“Don’t worry about the kitchen, I’ll clean it up. Though tea sounds wonderful.”

That was probably when my grandmother decided she approved of Josh. “Then I’ll fix you a cup before I go to sleep.”

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“Kass, what’s going on?” I heard Josh’s drowsy voice from somewhere behind me.

I couldn’t even turn around to give him a decent answer before I started hurling again.

“Shit, Kass.” He was next to me in a second, holding me from behind and making sure to get my hair out of the way.

Pink vomit covered the inside of my white porcelain toilet, and all I could think about was how much this would upset my grandmother.

I’d woken up what felt like ages ago. My stomach was completely upset, and I knew vomiting was inevitable. Unfortunately for me, my babushka was sleeping tranquilly next to me. I didn’t have it in my heart to wake her up—not just to tell her how sick I felt. Not with the noises I knew would be coming from my bathroom. I’d eventually wake her up, only for her to find me turning my stomach inside-out. I decided I had to leave my room and go to the guest restroom on the farthest side of my living room.

During my very long walk there, I accomplished the herculean feat of not throwing up on my wooden floor or creamy carpet. I didn’t even notice Josh sleeping on the couch; he could’ve helped me get there sooner. Then again, my intentions while almost crawling my way across my apartment were to not disturb my grandma’s sleep, which in a way included not disturbing anyone else’s.

“Are you done?” Josh asked as soon as he saw that my heaving stopped for a few minutes.

“I hope so.”

“Stay here,” he said. As if I could move anywhere else. He returned quickly, accompanied by a warm, humid cloth and a glass of fresh water.

I couldn’t express my gratitude enough.

Josh sat on the floor next to me. “Why didn’t you let me know you were this sick?” he asked.

I could understand his confusion. If he was ill, I would expect him to tell me so I could help take care of him. It would have made a lot more sense if I’d used my own bathroom. “I didn’t want bahba to know I was sick,” I confessed. “And I totally forgot that you spent the night.”

He grunted his disapproval and demanded, “Are you ready to go back to bed?”

“Not really.” That only made him grunt again. “I’d rather go with you to the couch, if that’s okay.”

“Totally fine.” While his words were a bit cold and cutting, his touch felt warm and caring. Josh carried me back to the couch with him. I rested in his lap for a little while and relaxed back to sleep.

What felt like seconds later, I felt movement underneath me. I opened my eyes and stirred a bit before I heard Josh’s soft whisper. “I think your grandma woke up. I just want to put my pants back on.”

I mumbled an okay and sat up straight. If my grandmother was coming out of my bedroom any minute, I needed to look as healthy and awake as possible.

A few moments later, Josh had managed to clean up the living room—and possibly the restroom—place some tea in the pot, and get ready for the day. I imagined he and my grandma had to leave sometime soon. I guessed I could fend for myself. I was almost sure the worst was over.

“Good morning,” Babushka said as she came out of my bedroom looking well-rested.

“Good morning,” Josh and I answered almost simultaneously.

“Glad to see you’re doing better, Kassandra.” After all that vomiting, I’d probably lost some weight, too. “It was good to stay with you and help you recover.”

“Would you like some tea, Babushka?” Josh asked the old lady.

She approached the teapot and said, “It’s only chamomile tea, but I guess it’ll do. Do you need me to fix some breakfast before I go?”

“I took the liberty of boiling some eggs for Kassandra as soon as she’s ready for them.” Eggs were probably the last thing I wanted to eat at the moment. “A friend of mine will be here any minute with sour bread from the bakery in case either one of you want some.” Bread sounded more appealing—or saltines. I thought I had some in one of my cabinets.

“Eggs for me. Kassandra, do you want some?” my grandmother asked.

“Tea is fine, thank you.”

“Good. If you get hungry, Josh has managed to prepare a half-decent breakfast,” she said. “I guess that since you’re sick, there isn’t much else that might be good for you.” Grandma fixed her egg with some mayonnaise and paprika. Their interaction was a nice distraction from how horrible I felt. Somehow, I’d managed to convince my grandmother I was doing much better, and she concentrated her attention on my boyfriend. Her gaze constantly followed his movements, probably contemplating the ease with which he moved around my place. Josh’s eyes constantly returned to me, searching my face, his composure oddly rigid. But it wasn’t because he felt uncomfortable under my grandma’s eye; he kept looking at me, as if he wanted to ask some question—that was, when babushka wasn’t talking to him.

“Josh, can I cook something for you?” she asked.

“I’m doing fine with my coffee, Babushka. Thank you.”

It didn’t take her long to finish her light breakfast and comment, “It seems there’s nothing much for me to do. I better call a cab so I can get back to your dzed.”

“I would offer to take you, but I’d rather stay with Kass for the rest of the morning,” Josh said. “But I’m sure my friend Mindy will be happy to take you home. She’s the one bringing us the bread.”

“Oh, nonsense. I wouldn’t want to impose,” the stubborn old lady answered.

“Really, babushka, please. It will make Kass and me feel better,” Josh explained, “Besides, Mindy loves driving and today she’s driving my car. You would be doing her a favor.”

“Well, if it’s a favor for this girl, then I accept.”

Josh stepped into the hall outside my apartment, probably to call Mindy and inform her of the new task she’d been given. Not so long ago, I’d been really jealous of this Mindy character. She was one of the most beautiful twiggy blonds I’d ever met, and during Laura’s wedding preparations, I’d noticed that she was always hanging around Josh. He later explained that she was actually his PA. I felt a little embarrassed after learning about their relationship, although I still kept my eyes open in case she decided to make a move on her boss.

My grandmother approached me. I hadn’t moved from the couch since Josh had helped me there. “He’s a good man,” she said. “Your Dzyedooshka should meet him. Soon.” She patted my leg and kissed my cheek. “Bring Josh home soon.”

“Mindy’s downstairs waiting for you, Babushka,” Josh announced. “Let me walk you to the car.”

We said our farewells and my grandma made me promise that I would call her that night to let her know how I was doing. I would agree to anything in that moment just to get her to leave. I could feel the dizziness and nausea coming back at me. I could do with Josh leaving, too. I was alarmingly embarrassed given he had witnessed me vomit over and over again in the night.

As soon as they left, I rushed to the bathroom inside my bedroom. Kneeling before the porcelain toilet, I heaved and heaved, leaving only water and tea. I wondered then what I could have done to deserve something like that. Where and how could I have gotten this sick?

Josh was soon with me again, hovering over me and making sure I was all right. I insisted he go home, but he wouldn’t listen. He stayed with me all day, taking care of me as if I was a baby. He fed me when I decided I was going to try and eat something. Saltines and sour bread with some butter was the only thing I could keep down. He helped me shower and put me to bed, too. Our day was spent between trips to the restroom, showering, and sleeping. We didn’t talk much. Josh had been extremely sweet by staying and taking care of me. Thankfully, my stomach’s antics had stopped at some point around noon.

Later that night, I remembered I’d promised to call my grandmother, and I shamelessly told her I felt much better. When we were finally in bed, Josh hugged me tenderly from behind. He kissed my bare shoulder and told me as I was falling asleep, “I may have managed to knock you up.”

That comment was enough to keep me awake for most of the night.

BCL’s second story coming out soon!

Hello, everyone,

I’m very happy to announce that the second story of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist will be coming out in a month.

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A year ago I was participating in #NaNoWriMo and this is the story that I wrote. Now it was revisited, edited, rewrited, revised,  and it’s finally ready for the world to enjoy 😉

This is the cover I drew last year for the contest. As you can imagine the cover changed to follow the lines that Laura’s Wedding marked for the series. I’ll have a cover release event on December 6, where I’ll be giving some books and trinkets away. Follow me son social media to hear all about it.

bcl2-4As a little spoiler I want you to have some information about this “cover” that I created. The picture was taken by me when I attended a wedding at Finca La Devoción, which is the actual setting of Marisol’s Wedding. I really hope you recognize some of the place in the descriptions I wrote in the book. The characters were drawn by me also, and that’s how I picture them. I’ve been asked before if the models on my covers are exactly how I picture my characters to be. I must say that I’ve been lucky to find beautiful people to feature the cover, and I could easily picture them as Laura and Marisol. Someday I’ll share with you all the images that I use to inspire me while I’m describing my characters. I also want to mention that the dress that you see in this drawing is exactly how Marisol’s dress was confectioned. One day I’ll ask the owner of the dress for permission to publish some of her pictures. What I can tell you right now is that Finca La Devoción gave me permission to use their images for my book and you’ll get to see the actual place that in a way inspired this wedding.

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

Kassandra’s last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she’s the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn’t single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem─dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.

Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh reaches a level of commitment she wasn’t expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh─a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer─leaves his womanizing days behind and can’t seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they’re ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.

Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life─A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go to go back to work.

Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren’t the ones in the path before you.

Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol’s wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.

If you’re interested in reading the first chapter, it’s published somewhere in my page.

You’ll be hearing from me soon!

Later,

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Last day of Book Blast

Today is the last day of my Book Blast.
I really appreciate the support I’ve received on these last days. I’ve had many great experiences and I love that many of you have been part of it.

Please keep liking and sharing my posts on FB.

The last blogs I’m visiting are:
1: The Avid Reader
2: Liz Gavin’s Blog
3: Queen of All She Reads
4: Underneath The Covers
5: Harlie’s Books
6: Natural Bri
7: Romance and Authors That Rock
8: Two Ends of the Pen
9: The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
10: Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
11: Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Don’t forget to participate. You could be the winner of the prizes I’m offering on the tour.

Thanks for sharing the information below these lines.

Regards!

─ K

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THE BRIDESMAID’S CHECKLIST: Laura’s Wedding
#Free #BookBlast Last day.

U.S.A. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IOOBO0I#navbar
U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IOOBO0I
México https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B01IOOBO0I
Canada https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01IOOBO0I
France https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B01IOOBO0I

BLURB:

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. But when she’s asked by her best friend Laura to be the Maid of Honor in her wedding, Kassandra finds herself questioning her lifestyle. Helping Laura plan the wedding is no problem—she’s done it before for all their other friends. The first time was a blast, the second super fun, but doing it without receiving any help from the rest of the girls gets old really fast.

The whole event kicks off with the worst kind of surprise when Kassandra discovers who her friend’s fiancé really is, and she’s torn between supporting Laura’s future happiness and hiding the deeply buried, intimate past she shares with the groom-to-be. Struggling to be the bigger person and do all the hard work on her own, Kassandra finds surprising comfort in Josh, the best man in the wedding and someone she’s been avoiding for years. He’s charming, thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of womanizer, but she just can’t seem to stay away. All the while, Kassandra can’t help wondering if the wedding could be any more cliché—until she finds unexpected ways to change things up a bit.

Read an EXCERPT

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. I’d heard that saying more than once now. And it seemed that I was about to hear it once again.

“Kassie! Kassie, wake up! I’m getting married,” a high-pitched voice squealed at me at 3:00 a.m.

Who the hell is this? I had picked up the phone without even looking at the caller ID.Oh, Laura. Great. I found out that even if I was almost asleep, my brain preferred sarcasm.

Laura was one of my best friends. I was one of those lucky people who managed to keep my childhood friends throughout my life. It had always been the five of us from elementary to high school: Marisol, Natalie, Denise, Laura, and me. The perfect number for the perfect friends.

“Kassandra, are you listening? I’m engaged!” Laura screamed from the other side of the phone.

“Yeah, wow,” I said. “Congratulations.”

“I can’t believe you, Kassie. You should be more excited. You’ll get to be my bridesmaid!” The volume of her voice kept rising. “I’m the last of your friends to get married, and I chose to call you first. Show some real happiness!”

“I’m happy for you, Laura.” I really didn’t know at the moment how I felt. I was trying to look around to see exactly where I was. “Believe me. It’s just…it’s three o’clock, and I was sleeping.”

After looking at my surroundings, I remembered I was in my own house. Good, I’m home. I had a minor headache, probably from all the drinking the night before, and my body ached a bit. I looked beside me and found the reason for my hurt.

Next to me I found the silhouette of a no doubt beautiful man, probably blond—I had a thing for blonds—and I was pretty sure he was built. I wouldn’t settle for anything less. The memories of the few hours before my abrupt awakening came back at me:

A bar. A blond. My home. Some sex…in that order.

Wait, we had sex at the bar before coming home. Yeah, I was sure now.

“I know it’s late, but I had to give you the good news.” Laura sounded as cheerful as I ever heard her. She really was excited.

“And news it is.” She was the last of my best friends who was single; not so long ago we roamed all the bars in town together, looking for men to hook up with, andsuddenly she was engaged. “Laura, I haven’t seen you for a month, and now you are telling me you’re getting married. I didn’t even know you were dating anyone.”

“I wasn’t. Until recently,” she confessed. “Remember the trip I was supposed to take with my family? I met him there, and we’ve been inseparable since.”

“For real?” I honestly couldn’t believe it. “You met him a few weeks ago and now you decided to get married?” I really needed to wake up and have a little chat with my friend.

I pulled the luxurious sheets off my bed so I could go somewhere else to continue my phone call. Unintentionally, I woke up the sleeping beauty beside me.

He probably looked as confused as I’d been some moments ago. “Hey, pumpkin. Where are you going? Come back to bed,” he said in a sleepy voice. I assumed he’d used pumpkin because he couldn’t remember my name. Just as I didn’t remember his.

I hated pumpkins. “Hey, babe. Sorry, emergency call,” I said as I placed my cell phone over my chest to mutter a bit of the conversation with my beautiful stranger. “Do you mind giving me some privacy?” I used the cutest voice I could pull out.

“Sure, pumpkin. Go ahead and take your call,” my nameless lover said as he settled himself back into my pillows. “I’ll just go back to sleep.”

“You know what, I’m sorry, but I might have to step out to help a friend.” There was no simple way to kick someone out of your bed. I’ve learned with time that honesty was the best and more effective policy. “Do you mind going back home for the rest of the night? I’d really appreciate it.”

“You mean I can’t stay the night?”

“You’re so sweet.” I really meant, ‘No, hon. Suck it up,’ but I learned through experience that that particular phrase wasn’t really polite. “It was fun.”

He stood and walked to the corner chair to pick up his clothes. I was impressed, both by the fact that he even remembered where he left his clothes and because he had a glorious ass. Even in the dark, his luscious body seemed to glow, appealing to me all over again. Maybe I should reconsider.

“Kassie! Kassie! Kassandra, are you still there?” If I’d though Laura had screamed before, this was worse.

I placed the phone back on my ear and said, “Oh, yeah, Laura. I’m sorry. I’ve got company. I’ll be with you in a minute.”

“You’re terrible, Kassandra. Can’t you spend a night on your own?” She was a bit dramatic. I never had a different man in my bed every night, let alone every weekend. She wasn’t any better. Laura had good taste in men, too. That made me wonder what kind of man had her so hurried to ‘settle down’.

Certainly, I wasn’t settling with the one standing in my room. He was good-looking—great-looking, to be honest. But he wasn’t enough. His body, on the other hand, was good enough to eat. It was a shame to see it all hiding under those designer clothes.

I ushered him to my front door and gave him a goodnight kiss. He was a good kisser. Really good.

I practically melted by the door, and if it wasn’t for the phone in my hand, I might have just fallen to the floor and let him have his wicked way with me all over again.

“See, pumpkin, we can still have some more fun together,” he tempestuously said. His lips delicately traced my neck as one of his hands followed the same trail until he reached the hem of my camisole. It was tempting—so very tempting. My latest conquest gave me a look that only meant business. He had the most beautiful baby-blue eyes I’ve ever seen, with an impish glimmer hard to resist. It matched his sexy grin.

“We will, babe, if you remember my name.”

His smile was dazzling, and I knew exactly what it meant: no fucking idea.

“Can I at least get your digits?” he tried once more. It was really cute when men did that. And flattering, too. It meant he’d enjoyed himself and wanted more.

“Sorry,” I said as I moved my head from side to side. “Have a nice life.”

“Bitch.”

Well, what could I say? He might have been right.

After I closed my front door, I went back to my phone call. “Okay, Laura. I’m all ears. Tell me everything I need to know about this engagement.”

Learn about KT

K.T. Castle is an author/artist in progress. She’s on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that’s what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless if it comes from a nice person, an ass—mundane or even vampire.

When she’s not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, she makes her best to be creative or relax with a good book and a snack. Some of her favorite characters are Sookie, Rule and Shaw, Bella, Edward, Clary, Jace, Wrath, Hollywood, Blaire, Woods, Ethan, the Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel.

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