Thursday 27 March 2014

Losing Logan by Sherry D Ficklin Promo and Guest Post!

LOSING LOGAN by Sherry D. Ficklin

Release Date: May 2, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Suspense

"What if the one thing you never meant to hold on to, is the one thing you can't let go of?" 

Losing_Logan_EbookNormally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn’t irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem.

Mostly because he’s dead.

As the only person he can make contact with, he convinces Zoe to help him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on. Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.


SO WHAT IF LOGAN WAS DEAD? I mean, it’s not like he owed me money or anything. I pause at
the top of the stairs, letting my mom move around me and walk inside. To my left a group of girls are holding each other and ugly crying. I try to assure myself that the display is genuine and has nothing to do with the swarm of reporters behind me, their cameras clicking like insects. 

“I bet not one of those girls even knew Logan,” I grumble. 

“Firstly, everyone knew Logan. And secondly, quit being such a judgy-Mc judge-sickle.” 

To my right, Carlos holds out his hand, which I take and allow him to lead me inside and down the hall. Leaning over he whispers in my ear. “I can’t believe you wore that.”

I look down at my dark jeans, carefully tucked into tall brown boots. My steel grey scarf hangs over my light tan sweater. I’d even taken the time to throw my long brown hair into a messy bun. “We can’t all afford to look like movie stars,” I mumble back.

Carlos, with his rich brown skin and dark hair looks like he should be on a billboard somewhere, and the dark fitted suit he’s wearing only enhances the effect. He’s gorgeous. One of those genetically gifted boys who could bat his eyelashes and have any girl he wanted. You know, if he actually wanted girls. He weaves our arms together and pulls me up to a tall pedestal with an open book laying on it. A few people in front of us are signing in like they are registering for a giveaway at the mall. I shift uncomfortably. 

“Relax, Zoe. It isn’t a funeral. Just a viewing.”

I shake my head, “That’s even worse.” I lower my voice so no one else can hear, “Who would want to look at a dead body? I mean, it’s just kinda twisted, right?” He pats my hand. “Closure, darling. It’s a chance to say goodbye.” 

“I said goodbye to Logan a long time ago,” I say while looking ahead at the room beyond the pedestal. Rows of neatly assembled chairs are nearly filled with people from our quiet little town. Some are talking, most crying. A few are just texting or playing on their phones. I feel my breathing pick up as a warmth spreads under my skin and wraps tightly around my chest. I shudder and it slices down my spine like electricity. 

“You guys were friends, right?”

I feel the frown on my face. Friends. Yeah, right. “Our parents were friends when we were little,” I say dismissively. The truth is, once we hit middle school, everything had changed between us. He got popular, and I got weird. We went our separate ways and never spoke again. Here we are, getting ready to start our senior year, and Logan would have been the reigning king of the school. I, however, am doomed to spending another year eating lunch in the drama department with Carlos while he updates his vlog, watching the school lacrosse games from under the bleachers, and spending my Friday nights reading in my bedroom. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. A shove from behind pushes me into the group in front of me. Kaylee Greely brushes past us. She and her entourage of well dressed clones don’t bother to wait in line, they go straight to the front and the crowd parts for them. Scribbling quickly like she’s signing an autograph she strides into the main viewing room, not even bothering to remove her large sunglasses as she takes a seat in the front row. As Logan’s girlfriend, I feel a genuine twinge of sympathy for her. Right up until she pulls out her compact and reapplies her lip gloss with a loud smack of her lips. 

Carlos tilts his head and sighs deeply. For a split second I think he’s admiring her ass, then I realize his eyes are laser fixed on her designer handbag and I chuckle out loud. Everyone in line turns to stare at me. I can actually feel the blood rush into my face. Carlos turns, blocking me from view and I can breathe again. He fiddles with my scarf, twisting it and tucking it until it’s sitting perfectly against my small chest. “I really don’t want to do this.” 

Carlos tugs on my earlobe. “Don’t worry Zoe Bowie, I’m here.” 

I shake my head. “Let me rephrase. I’m not doing this. I don’t even like half of these people. Hell, I didn’t like Logan when he was alive, and I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I miss him now that he’s gone.” I swallow. Imagining myself sitting in one of those black folding chairs, listening to crying girl after crying girl get up there and whine about what a great person he was and how he changed their lives. I throw up a little just thinking about it. “If my mom asks where I went, tell her I had a nervous breakdown and had to go home.” 

He smiles deviously. “I’ll tell her that you, being the delicate flower you are, were overcome with grief and had to excuse yourself to the fainting couch,” He says in a thick southern accent. 

“Why thank you Miss Scarlett.”

I can’t help but grin. I know it’s been his dream to play the lead in the local theater company’s production of Gone with the Wind since he was five. My remark earns me a kissy face and a wave as he turns to go inside. 

I’m all ready to make a break for it, when I get a glimpse of something out the corner of my eye. As I turn to get a better look, I see a boy walking away and into the coat closet at the other end of the hall. I don’t know why I follow him, but my feet are moving before I can fully rationalize it to myself. My boot heels clack on the stone tile floors and sounding like a heartbeat, slow and steady. I run my fingertips along the beige walls as I pass by what I hope is the casket showroom and not some sort of demented waiting room for whoever’s next in line for viewing, then a room full of comfy looking floral chairs, and finally an office. At the very end of the hall, the door to the coat room is ajar. As I reach out and push it open, an army of shivers march up my back. 

If this was a horror movie, this is the part where I would die. 

As soon as I step inside the door, the boy turns and my heart sinks into my feet. For a minute, I just stand there, staring at him like an idiot. All I can feel is icy cold air from the vent in the ceiling blowing down on me, chilling me to my core. Then the anger flows in, replacing the cold shock with a flush of heat. I reach behind me and slam the door shut. 

“What is your freaking damage, Logan?”

He stares at me, his green eyes wide. “Excuse me?” My eyes narrow. I know what’s going on here. 

“I’m being punked, aren’t I? This is some stupid reality TV show or something right?” 

He just stands there looking confused. “Does your family know you’re alive? I mean, seriously, if this is some dumb publicity stunt for the reporters out front...” I’m so angry I don’t even know what to say. Logan has always been a bit of an attention whore, but this is a new low. My hands are balled onto fists at my hips. “Say something, Logan. Please. Find the magic words to make this whole mess not be the most horrible thing a human being has ever done in their entire life, ever.” 

“Zoe?” his voice is soft and he has a dumb half grin on his face that I remember from when we were kids. I have a desperate urge to remove it with my fist. “What are you talking about?” 

Oh, sure. Like I’m the crazy one. “You are a giant douche hammer, you know that? I mean, what is this? Some idiotic attempt to get extra credit in English class? Tom Sawyer 101? I mean, those people think you’re dead! We all thought...” I trail off again, the words jumbling in my brain before I can get them out. I’m so angry I’m bordering on incoherent. My pulse is racing and my whole face feels hot. I need to calm myself before I completely lose it. I take a deep breath, hold it for a second, and then release it slowly. 

He takes a step toward me, tilting his head curiously. “You can see me?” 

“Okay, that’s it. I’m not falling for this...whatever this is. I’m going to march in there and tell your mother right now.” 

He straightens, a cocky grin spreading across his face. That’s a look I’m more used to seeing on him recently. “You’re going to go tell my mommy on me? What, are we five again?” 

I grunt and flip him off, throwing the door open. “Wait!”I hear him call behind me but I keep going. 

Inside the main room his parents have taken seats next to Kaylee in the front row. Ignoring the minister speaking from the pulpit I stride up the center aisle, stomping angrily. I’m almost to the front when I realize something. The dark brown casket is open. My pace slows and I see Logan’s face, his eyes are closed like he’s sleeping inside the white satin lined box. I spin, looking behind me, but he’s gone. I spin back around and take the final steps to the coffin, clutching the sides for support. 

Up close, I’m not sure what I’m seeing. He looks kinda puffy and waxy. Maybe that’s how he’s doing it. Maybe it’s some kind of wax dummy. I reach out to touch his face when a sob from behind me snaps me out of it. Two pairs of arms grab me from either side, Carlos on my left and my mother on my right. They quickly usher me back down the aisle to a chorus of sobs and camera snaps. I’m shaking. Around me there is a thick white fog clouding the very edges of my vision. 

“Mom?” I ask. She’s soothing me, patting my hair and rubbing my back. Outside they lead me to the car amidst more cameras clicking. I can barely walk. My knees are like Jell-O and I feel like I’m breathing through a straw. I gasp and the fog gets worse. I feel Carlos slip me into the passenger seat of mom’s old Camry then he thrusts a bottle of cold, sweaty water in my hand. 

“Are you okay Zoe?” My mother asks, kneeling in front of me. She has her nurse face on and I know if I say the wrong thing, I’m going to end up spending the night in the hospital.

“I think she’s in shock,” Carlos says, patting my hand gently. I pull it away.

“Not helping, Carlos.” I look over at my mother who is clearly on the edge of panic. “I’m fine. Just, overwhelmed. Can we just go home?” She nods, patting my knee before moving to the other side of the car. Carlos gently turns me in my seat, trying to help me buckle. Behind him, on the steps to the funeral home, Logan is standing in the sunlight. Only, the reporters are all ignoring him. 

I grab Carlos by the lapel and jerk my head towards the stairs. “Do you see that?”

He turns and looks over his shoulder. “What?” 

“Do you see anyone on the steps?”

He frowns, “No. Why?” 

I shake my head, squeezing my eyes shut. “Never mind. I think my breakfast grape juice fermented. I’m gonna go home and lay down for a bit.” 

He shuts the door and I lean out the window to give him a peck on the cheek. 

“Take care, sweetie. Call me later when you are feeling better.” 

I tug my hair out of the bun and let it fall around my shoulders. A familiar ache is growing inside my skull and I know if I leave it in, it’ll only make it worse. “I will.” 

He steps back onto the curb and we speed off. I don’t open my eyes all the way home, I just let the cool wind blow knots into my hair and try not to think of the thousands of pictures of me freaking out coffin-side that are hitting the web as we speak, or of Logan’s face in that coffin. I fail on both counts.

Guest Post : 

Be Stupid

 Losing Logan is my newest YA/Teen novel and is my first paranormal romance. Last October I was working on another project, something that I’d sort of lost my way with. Any writer will tell you that often we will start projects, only to discover that, for whatever reason, they just don’t really work.
And it sucks when that happens.
Like a lot.

That week a friend of mine and I were chatting about real-life ghost stories. It so happened I had a sort of minor experience with something like that. I didn’t think much of it at first, but being near Halloween I was in the mood to do something a little bit scary, a little bit ghostly.

Now, let me say that putting aside something you’ve been working on for months to write something ‘just for fun’ was really hard for me. My rational side felt very guilty, especially knowing that YA paranormal was a really tough sell in the current market and that my virtue of that alone, even if I did finish it, I’d probably never be able to publish it.
That knowledge was something that sat in the back of my head, taunting me. It felt risky. It felt stupid.

But, at my friend’s insistence, I sat down and wrote. And the pages literally flew out of me. I don’t think I’d ever in my LIFE had a better experience writing a novel. The story flowed out, seemingly of its own accord. I found myself laughing hysterically and sobbing like a baby as I sat in front of my computer, letting the story basically tell itself.

So what began as a tiny spark of a real personal experience, evolved into this massive, powerful story. I maintain that it’s the most honest thing I’ve ever written, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of anything. Because, probably for the first time ever, I gave myself permission to let go and tell the story I wanted to tell, as I wanted to tell it. (And this is probably one of the reasons it received a mature rating from the publisher. Woohoo for PG13!) It was liberating to say the least.

And just like that the story was complete. In a mere 30 days I had a finished novel. I know some authors can hammer out a novel in 30 days with little effort, but as an author who normally takes 3-4 months to write a book, it was amazing for me. So when it was done I began the dreaded query process. I sent it to about a dozen agents, all of whom said the same thing. We love the book, but we can’t sell YA Paranormal right now. Try again next year.

I was not surprised by this—just the opposite. I understood what they were saying, but I had also grown to love the book deeply. So I went around the agents and began submitting directly to mid-list publishers in November.

Within 2 weeks I had 3 offers of publication.

To say I was shocked and amazed would be putting it mildly. At the end of the month I had to make a very tough decision and eventually went with a publisher a fellow author recommended me to, Clean Teen Publishing. I won’t go into too much detail about how COMPLETELY AMAZING AND AWESOME they are, but you can see more about them on their website. Basically, they were as excited about the story as I was and we had a very similar vision of what we wanted for it. I literally cannot say enough wonderful things about the team over there.

They were able to get Losing Logan into production right away and we are releasing the book in MAY! For those of you counting, that’s concept to publication in 8 short months.

This is by NO MEANS a typical publishing experience. I’ve had books that took years to sell and publish (1-2 years from sale to publication is pretty standard, and that doesn’t include the time it takes you to write and sell the book) so this was a total anomaly.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I think it’s a testament to two things.
The first is allowing yourself the freedom to try new things and write what inspires you. Never be afraid to let go of something and begin something new. And secondly, don’t let yourself get too hung up on trends, on what’s selling or popular. I’ve got news for you, there will always be a market for great books, no matter what the genre.

So go forth, my friends. Be fearless. Be bold. Be stupid.

Because you never know when stupid will turn out to be amazing.

Sherry's-an-Author-030Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2015 with a second book in that series to follow. Her newest YA steampunk novel, EXTRACTED: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is due for release in 2014 from Clean Teen Publishing.


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