An Event and a New Book

I haven’t been blogging much this year. The truth is, I have been in a very deep depression and my anxiety is out of control. I finally went to see my doctor about a month ago and we’re trying a mix of meds and therapy. So far, it is helping a little bit, but not a lot. I need to completely unlearn almost forty years of unhealthy coping mechanisms and replace them with healthy ones. But what I haven’t been doing much of is writing.


Secret Magic is still coming, but right now it’s on an indefinite hold while I work through the worst of my issues. I did manage to write a few short stories during my black times, though, and those will be coming out later this year. The first one is called “A Change of Heart” and it will be out in July in the anthology Born to Love Wild. More on that in a few weeks, but for now, check out the cover to the left and click this link to reserve your copy on Kindle!

In the meantime, I am still making my annual trek back to my favorite place on earth, Seton Hill University, aka Hogwarts for Writers. I graduated with my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction in 2012, but I miss it so much I go back every year for the alumni workshop, In Your Write Mind. If you’re looking for a small but very craft- and business-focused event where you can make connections with other authors as well as industry professionals like agents and editors, check out In Your Write Mind.

And if you’re going to be in the Pittsburgh area this Saturday night (June 23rd) from 5:30-9:30, you can come see me! I will be at the Seton Hill Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg, PA at the mass booksigning. I’ll be signing from 5:30-7 and 8-9:30. That hour break isn’t for dinner, either—it’s to hear amazing historical romance author Beverly Jenkins speak!

I will have copies of all my books, including Kindle download codes for cheaper than what you’d pay online! So come see me, pick up a book, and then stay to visit with all of the other awesome authors who will be there. I hope to see you!

Cover Reveal: Love at the Edge of Seventeen

Long time no post! I had a very rough winter this year. I won’t go into too much detail, except to say that times have been difficult. They aren’t perfect now, but I am trying to get back up to my previous level of productivity. And that includes this announcement!

Back in the fall, I mentioned a young adult romance anthology that I am editing. It turned out that several of our authors could not contribute stories by the deadline, so I also ended up writing for it! My story is called “Three Jagged Pieces” and tells the story of three high school seniors who overcome prejudice, homophobia, and transphobia to find love.

My initial idea when I started to write the story was to focus on an overweight heroine who gets the cute, popular guy. But as I sat down and started working on that, my own high school experiences started to overlay the story. I have a good friend who I have known since the age of eleven who struggled in high school and has now come out as nonbinary, generally presenting male. I also know several other transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid people. One of my writer-mantras is “representation matters,” so in addition to the traditional boy-meets-girl story, I added another layer: a transgender boy who loves them both.

I hope you enjoy the story. The book will be here in early May.

Coming Soon from Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.

It’s never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, and prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

Spring 18 Digital

M.T. DeSantis – “Be Null, My Heart”
Teen love…with superpowers.

A.E. Hayes – “Her First Fever”
Can a smart, stubborn girl look past the things she desires the most in life to help out her annoying, enigmatic biology partner – even if helping him comes with an emotional price?

Serena Jayne – “Dead Man’s Party”
Despite formidable evidence to the contrary, Xander was magic.

Cara McKinnon – “Three Jagged Pieces”
Boy meets girl meets boy.

Mary Rogers – “The Crayon Thief”
The last time they talked, he stole her crayon. Now he wants to take her on a date. But why?

Kylie Weisenborn – “Now I Am”
Annalyn is dead…so what is she waiting for?




Secret Magic Cover Reveal

Secret Magic Coming Soon

I couldn’t be more pleased to reveal this new cover.

You’ll notice that it is different from the previous three covers in style and design. That’s a conscious choice. With this book, the series is moving in a new direction, both geographically and historically.

(Some spoilers for the first three books will follow)

After the events of Memories of Magic, Percy Seward, youngest son of the Marquess of Hazelby, and Evie Finn, adopted sister of Ronan McCarrick, head to the Continent in search of proof of who currently holds the Aegis Spell–and who is receiving the power the spell is draining from England.

Their search will lead them from the mountains of Austria to the glittering world of turn-of-the-century Berlin–and then into unexpected territory: the Realm of Faerie, where Evie’s past–and her future–will be fully revealed.

Secret Magic 03

Secret Magic will be available in time for the holidays, on December 12, 2017. Pre-order is coming soon!



Cover Reveal: Love Across the Universe



Love Across the Universe

Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Stars and Stone Books
Date of Publication: August 1 2017
ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9
13 Stories of
Science Fiction Romance Set on Intergalactic Shores 


Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your
spacecraft or time machine and travel across time and space with these
thirteen tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars.
Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara
McKinnon, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J.
Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena
Jayne, and Oriana Maret.

Traci Douglass – “A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

Can passion bloom between a bookish botanist and an analytical android?

Cara McKinnon – “The Pirates and the Pacifist”

Kai doesn’t believe in violence. Sam and Dek believe the ends justify the
means. Will passion be enough to bridge the gap between the pacifist sent to
broker galactic peace and the space pirates hired to keep him away at all

A.E. Hayes – “Tristan’s Tryst”

One mysterious being. Two lovers who find her. Can this threesome handle
the heat of this scorching summer?

Sheri Queen – “Red Sand”

If she can only save one thing, which will it be—the red beaches of Mars
or a love she can’t imagine living without?

M.T. DeSantis – “The Princess of Sands”

Secrets and lies. Can they be each other’s freedom?

L.J. Longo – “Breathless”

The manager of a resort planet and the head of its secret defense unit
team up to save the guests—and discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

K.W. Taylor – “Reprogramming”

Alex didn’t want to be marooned on an alien planet with a robot, but it
may just be exactly what she needs.

Mary Rogers – “Breakfast on Pluto”

Doing the right thing isn’t always what’s best—but sometimes it pays
off.  A chance meeting of two people unaware of their destiny with each
other results in a bond too difficult to break, but even duty has its
boundaries. Will love help them break free—and will love be enough?

Elsa M. Carruthers – “All B+ut You”

Lou is looking for the right guy and finds him where she least expects.

Emmerite Sundberg – “Fluid”

She’s everything she’s ever wanted but with one flaw – they can’t
actually touch.

Serena Jayne – “You Only Love Once”

Carpe diem the hell out of love.

Oriana Maret – “Renewal” 

She’ll brave the arms of destruction to shed the arms that betrayed.


FACEBOOK        TWITTER        AMAZON     

Cover Reveal: Shattered

Shattered with coffee 02Coming 9/12/17
from Terra Publishing
Memoirs of an Amnesiac
by A.E. Hayes

“You’ve been captive far too long,” she whispered. “So I’m releasing you.”

The universe was bathed in white light, and as I touched the azure and ruby stars dancing above my head, the crack within me split and fractured into madness.

I felt the shatter. But I was powerless to stop it.”

Shattered features a mixture of nonfiction and creative nonfiction stories about Hayes’ real-life experiences with a traumatic brain injury that caused retrograde amnesia, as well as the events prior to and following the event. However–is the internal shatter she experienced really due to the amnesia, or due to something else? That is what Shattered aims to reveal.


A.E. Hayes is a published author who has been writing since she was about four years old. She has been featured under various pseudonyms (Manda L. Earp, Mandi Hayes, Amanda Earp, and as a ghostwriter) in myriad anthologies, poetry collections, music magazines, and newspapers. She is currently finishing her 6th novel, On Common Ground, as well as working on a collection of supernatural stories for an anthology titled “The Eynes Anthology.”

She studied English and Writing at Hood College, where she earned her B.A., and later studied Fiction Writing at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. A.E. resides in Maryland with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing or singing (or doing both at the same time), she spends her time drinking far too much coffee, logging miles by pacing around the living room floor in order to make her Fitbit happy, studying the violin, teaching children the joys of music theory, pretending to be a Cylon, talking about Battlestar Galactica when people don’t know what a Cylon actually is, and plotting ideas for several new projects (which usually happens during her living room pacing time).

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or her website, where she is likely to be ranting about something on a daily basis.

Side note from Cara–this is my 75th post on this blog! I feel like I should do something fun to celebrate, but if my calculations are correct, I should hit 100 right about the time that book 4 releases, so I’ll save the big celebration for then.

Cover Reveal: Memories of Magic

One of the reasons that I needed to redesign Essential Magic‘s cover was because of this cover. I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for a model that looked like Olivia. After you read the book, you’ll know that even this one isn’t an exact match–but the emotional expression is a perfect fit.

Once I’d decided on this model, and this particular image, I knew I would have to do something different with Essential MagicA Theft of Magic still worked, for the most part. I tweaked it a little for the redesign, but it already used the same visual language. Essential Magic didn’t–but it does now!

Here it is, the cover for Memories of Magic:


The print version isn’t  100% done. I’m still tweaking the back cover copy and some of the minor details. But this is pretty much what it will look like:


What do you think? Are you excited to read Olivia’s story? A firm release date for Memories of Magic is coming soon–just as soon as I get my edits back and can estimate the time needed to revise, have copy edits completed, and do the final proofing/formatting.


Feel free to share this post!

Here are all of the covers together. Don’t they look great?

Cover Reveal: Redesign for Essential Magic

A while ago, I posted a blog describing the formation of the cover for Essential Magic. It was a very long process, involving a great deal of trial and error, and the purchase of a number of image licenses that I didn’t end up using (I later learned to download comp images until I was absolutely certain about what I wanted).

So you can understand how reluctant I was to go back to the drawing board. But I already knew that the cover for A Theft of Magic felt different. Although the prequel isn’t as widely read, its cover seems to exist in a different world, too. And when it came time to design the cover for Memories of Magic (which will be revealed soon!), I had to admit that my original vision had altered, and I needed to make a change.

In addition to completely redesigning Essential Magic, I also decided to update the fonts and some other details on A Theft of Magic and A Merge of Magic to tie the whole series together. You can see those new covers at the top of this post.

But Essential Magic needed more than a few details. I needed to start over from scratch. Thus began a very long and headache-inducing hunt through stock photography across the internet. At some point in my career, I will have the funds and time to set up a photo shoot with models wearing period-appropriate clothing and who look at least somewhat like the image in my head of the characters. But until then, I have to go with what’s available online.

I finally found an image that spoke to me, and a model who was close enough in looks, but well-matched in spirit, to Etta. Even better, it fits well into the look of the rest of the covers in the series. Here it is, the new cover for Essential Magic:


That’s the eBook cover. There is also a new print version:


The new eBook cover should go live in about 24 hours. The print cover may take a few days (up to a week) to go through the review process.

BUT, when the update goes through, the eBook will also be on sale for $0.99! This sale will only last a short time (through 3/1), so if you haven’t started the series yet, now’s your chance to do it for super-cheap!

If you already own copies of the eBooks, Kindle will not automatically update the cover. I am planning to upload a new version of the text on books 1 and 2 soon that corrects some missed proofing errors and adds buy links and excerpts for future books. When I do that, I will flag the new versions as being substantially different, and that should prompt Amazon to push the new files out to everyone who owns a copy.

For those of you who own the print version–you now have a rare first edition! 🙂 Unfortunately, if you want the new cover, you will have to buy it again. BUT–if you send proof of your original purchase to me (cara at caramckinnon dot com), I will send you a CreateSpace coupon code to get 50% off of the cost of purchasing a new copy. Note that I would discount it even more heavily, but there is a minimum price that I can’t go under for CreateSpace. 50% off is about as far as I can go before we reach the actual printing costs for the book.

So what do you think of the new cover? Do you like this vision of Etta as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!

To get the shiny new cover on your eBook go to:

For a new physical copy:


A Merge of Magic – Fay of Skye Prequel


A Merge of Magic

A Fay of Skye Prequel – Part One of Six

Viola Fay Seward had the terrible misfortune to fall in love with her soul mate at the age of sixteen. Rather than inform him of this calamity, she ignored him, in the hope that it would go away. Teenaged love doesn’t actually last, right?

Ian MacAlasdair grew up envying his neighbors, the Sewards. As children of a marquess, his much lower-titled father encouraged him to make friends with Malcolm, the closest to him in age. When the Seward children’s magical talents bloomed, they were allowed to train their gifts. When Ian’s power arrived, he was packed off to a boarding school that didn’t teach magic. But every summer he came home, and every summer his attraction to his friend’s bewitching little sister grew.

Now a man, Ian has started learning magic and joined a decadent crowd that encourages him to cast elaborate illusions. With every success, Ian becomes more aware that the bewitching younger sister is a sensation in society, and he is far beneath her notice.

Except that Viola has never been able to stop noticing him, which irritates her to no end. She is an independent woman, and tells herself she doesn’t believe in soul mates.

Until the day that Ian lets himself be goaded into casting a spell beyond his limits, and Viola uses her own magic to help him–and that magic stays in Ian.

Now, the two are permanently connected by magic, and must find a way to separate their gifts without giving in to the unwelcome desire that continues to grow between them.

The first of six serialized installments is available now for $0.99 from Amazon! If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read for free as part of your subscription.

When completed, the full serial novel will be available as an eBook and trade paperback.

Cover Reveal: What’s Left of Me by Jennifer Loring

I am so excited to be able to announce this book! I loved Firebird and I’m looking forward to the next chapter for Aleksandr and Stephanie!

WHAT’S LEFT OF ME by Jennifer Loring
The Firebird Trilogy, Book #2
Cover Designer: WICKED BY DESIGN
Recovering from years of living the superstar hockey life wasn’t easy, but now Aleksandr Volynsky finally has everything…

He’s married to the love of his life, expecting a daughter, and has a new job as an assistant coach with his old team, the Buffalo Gladiators. His happiness is short lived, however, when a sexual assault allegation surfaces, and Alex is forced to cooperate with an investigation for a crime he didn’t commit.

Stephanie Hartwell is juggling her dream job with marriage and motherhood, but she’s not convinced she’s doing any of it well…

Stephanie’s stress level goes from bad to worse when she’s diagnosed with a serious illness. Battling declining health and the critics who question her commitment to Alex in light of the allegation, she makes a decision that could change their relationship forever.

Alex is afraid he’s about to lose everything—especially when he sees Stephanie’s friend kiss her…

Devastated that his life is spiraling out of control again, Alex turns to his friend, Natasha, a Russian pop star. Convinced that Stephanie and her friend Brandon are having an affair, Alex resumes his self-destructive behavior.

What Alex doesn’t know is Stephanie has been conducting a secret investigation of her own. She learns the truth behind the sexual assault—a truth no one, especially Alex, expects.

With everything now out in the open, can Stephanie and Alex commit to a fresh start for the sake of their daughter, or will the ghosts of their pasts finally tear apart everything they have left?

Jennifer Loring’s short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. DarkFuse published her novella Conduits in 2014, and her debut novel, Those of My Kind, was published by Omnium Gatherum in May 2015. Jenn is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Horror Writers Association and holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds.
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