Category Archives: Amy Durham

Writer Wednesday: Hitting the Mark with Amy Durham

I am pleased to welcome author Amy Durham back to Writer Wednesday! Amy has a captivating new release, Asher’s Mark, a New Adult Romance book. Please check out the book’s description, excerpt and buy links after Amy’s wonderful guest post about doing the hard stuff.
THE HARD STUFF
by Amy Durham
My oldest son is a junior in high school. YIKES! It seems like just yesterday I was writing about him on my website as he was beginning middle school!
High school is a really fun stage in his life, as he’s discovering the things he loves to do, fine-tuning the things he’s good at, and beginning to make decisions about his future. I’m enjoying every minute of watching him become a young man.
When he was a freshman, he auditioned for All-State band for the first time. This is a rigorous audition process – that involves 2 different “cuts” – to determine the very best instrumentalists in the state. For his instrument (French Horn), only 20 players from the entire state are selected each year. He made it through the first cut, finishing 5th overall in our district. Already a tremendous accomplishment for a freshman competing against students who are sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school. When he didn’t make it through the second cut to be one of the 20 selected, he was bummed. So was I. But not too terribly disappointed.

We had a talk about what it meant to do the “hard stuff”. Auditioning for All-State band, especially as a freshman, was hard. He didn’t have to do it. He CHOSE to do it. And choosing to do the “hard stuff” is how we improve, how we grow, and how we eventually “get there”. There’s such value in doing the hard stuff. When we stretch ourselves past what is comfortable or easy, that’s where we find who we truly are. Where, after several tries, we find success.

I told him it was sort of like writing a book. Writing a book is not easy, as all authors know. It’s difficult, toiling, gut-wrenching work. It takes a long time and can drain you mentally and emotionally. But authors choose to do it, because we know that by “doing the hard stuff” and stretching ourselves beyond where we’re comfortable, a book eventually comes to fruition. And with each “stretch” and each “completed product”, we grow and improve.

This idea is true no matter what area you pursue. So… dream big… run, don’t walk toward the things you want most out of life… even if it means you have to do the hard stuff. It’s always worth it in the end!

I agree with what Amy says in her post. It’s all too easy to slip into a comfort zone, doing the same thing day-after-day more because it’s comfortable than because it’s the best thing for us. I retired from the practice of law last year and threw myself off of a proverbial cliff to pursue a writing career. And boy, is it a hard thing! A full year later, I still feel like I’m trying to figure out my day, my routine and truly own my choice. But I can absolutely agree with Amy that doing the “hard stuff” is worth it. 

Back to Asher’s Mark, Amy’s newest release:

Asher’s Mark Book Description:
 
Asher’s Mark by Amy Durham
Grace Ballard has been
in love with Asher Howell for a long time. When she was sixteen, he became her
hero, and she fell head over heels for the boy with a ring through his eyebrow,
a big heart, and an unending sense of justice. But two years ago he left for
college without a backward glance, leaving Grace to wonder if she’d imagined
everything.
With no reason to wait
for Asher to return, Grace moved on, and Asher’s brother, Adam, stepped in to
help her pick up the pieces. But Asher never left her thoughts … or her heart.
Now, two years later,
tragedy brings Asher home and back into Grace’s life. The boy who left her
behind is now very much a man – a licensed tattoo artist, much to his parents’
dismay, and still carrying a major torch for Grace. But two years apart has
changed them both, and the things that happened during their separation may
create a divide that can’t be crossed.
Asher and his brother both left their mark on
Grace’s heart. Will Asher’s be able to stand the test of time?

**This New Adult romance features characters 18 years and older. However, this title does not carry a content warning, indicating readers should be over the age of 17.

Would you like a little preview? You’ve got it. Here’s an excerpt of Asher’s Mark:
Asher

I’m kissing Grace. Finally. Every molecule in my body screams with the rightness of it. How had I ever thought I could stay away from her? How could I

have put so much distance between us?
         I have no answers. All I know is that my arms are locked around her as her mouth
fuses to mine, and I never want to let her go.
         There are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t be doing this… namely Adam… but I can’t stop. I don’t want to. Something in me shouts I saw
her first!
Two years of wanting her, loving her, have finally exploded between us. She’s in my arms. In my lap. Under my skin. In my heart.
She is everywhere and everything.
         Maybe to her it’s just a way to forget. A way to stop thinking about losing Adam. But I just don’t care. I don’t care at all.
         All that matters is that we are together in this moment.
         I pull back a fraction of an inch, still hugging her close. Her golden green eyes
are glassy and gorgeous, hazy with the desire we just stirred up. Strands of her auburn hair have escaped her ponytail and now hang wistfully around her
face. She’s so beautiful it makes me ache.
         She doesn’t look upset, which is a relief. I thought I’d gauged her reaction
correctly, but I’m glad to know I was right.
         She’d wanted to kiss me just as badly as I’d wanted to kiss her.
         I refuse to think too much about the ramifications of it.
         I run my hands up her back, from her waist to her shoulder blades, pulling her toward me again. Pressing a kiss to one eyelid, then the next, I take a deep
breath and speak.
         “Mom’s gonna text me any minute,” I say, already dreading the moment I’ll walk out her door. But I know it’ll be better to leave now, while things are still dreamy between us.
         Grace nods, letting her hands slide out of my hair, over my shoulders, then coming to rest on my chest. My stomach flips over.
         No one’s ever made me feel like this. Not even close. A simple touch from Grace does so much more than…
         I shove that thought way down and slam a lid on it, knowing that after all the stuff I’ve done the past year to try and forget Grace, I shouldn’t even be touching her.
        “I should go,” I whisper, leaning in to brush another kiss on her lips. “Before she gets antsy.”
         Grace smiles. “Okay.”
         “I don’t want to, though.” I grin back at her.
         All this talk about me leaving, and yet she’s still on my lap and my arms are still
wrapped around her. If I don’t go now, I might not ever.
         I stand up, taking her with me and placing her feet on the floor. I grab my button-up shirt from the love seat, throw it over my shoulder, and turn back to
face her. Our hands find their way to each other, fingers lacing together as we walk toward the door.
         I shift close before opening the door, intending to ask if I can see her tomorrow. On the bulletin board by the light switch, I see the picture… the picture I drew her just before I left for Flagstaff two years ago. Had it been
there the night before? I think back and realize it wasn’t. It must’ve been covered up by the big picture of Grace and Adam.
         Between last night and tonight she’d uncovered my picture. My mind races with what that might mean. I open my mouth, unsure what I’m about to say.
         But she speaks before I do. “We should probably talk about…” She doesn’t finish the sentence.
         But I know she means Adam.
         The guilt bounces around inside me, but I can’t find it in myself to regret what just happened. What I hope very much will happen again. Very soon.
         “Later.” I reach up and push a stray tendril of hair behind her ear, my hand lingering on the soft skin of her neck. “I know we’ll have to, but not right now. I just want to feel this right now.”
         She nods. “Me too.”

         Leaving her right then is about the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I do it, before something ruins what was absolutely the most perfect moment of my life.
 
*     *     *
If you’d like to check out more of Asher’s Mark, please use these handy buy links:
 

 
 
Author Amy Durham
After spending every work day with classrooms full of tweens and
teens, then going home to three boys of her own, two of whom fall into the
tween/teen category, you’d think that Amy Durham might like to leave the world
of teens and young adults behind. Not so!
Instead, she spends her spare moments – which sometimes consist of
waiting twenty minutes for her oldest kiddo to get out of band practice – with
her laptop and a multitude of teenage characters trying to navigate their way
through the twisted, difficult road of adolescence.
You might ask… “Why Young/New Adult Fiction”? Well,
because it’s what she knows. As a teacher and a parent, Amy is around teens and
young adults on an almost constant basis. And while it’s true they can be – ahem
– challenging, they are also full of life, vision, and dreams. And that’s a
really cool place to be.
Young Adult and New Adult Fiction allows young readers the opportunity
to find hope for the situations they find themselves in, find determination to
keep on going, and courage to pursue their dreams. It also allows adult readers
the chance to revisit the exuberance of youth, remember the joy and poignancy
of first love, and recall how it felt to dream with abandon.
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Amy
Durham is a wife and mother, an author, a teacher, an avid reader, and a
musician. If she weren’t writing books, she’d be a celebrity chef!

 
You can touch base with Amy here:
 
Twitter – @amy_durham
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Instagram – @authoramydurham

 
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Writer Wednesday: Into Dusk with Amy Durham

Author Amy Durham
Please welcome the lovely and talented Amy Durham to the blog this Writer Wednesday. Amy writes stories for young adults and is the author of the Sky Cove series (Once Again and Once and For All).  Today Amy introduces us to her newest release, Dusk, a young adult paranormal romance.

“Not all who wander are lost” – J.R.R. Tolkien

I love quotes from famous people. I love how little nuggets of wisdom are contained in just a sentence or two. This quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and more, is so simple yet so profound.

Tolkien lost his father when he was 4 … his mother at the age of 12. An orphan then care for by the Catholic Church, many would’ve considered the young boy “lost”. I’d like to think it was his imagination that sheltered him, nurtured him, and gave him not only the strength to survive the difficulties and tragedies of his childhood, but also the skills to succeed as an adult. Clearly, his imagination served him well, both as a boy, and as a grown man who became one of the best-loved authors of all time.

Reading is such a gift, because it allows our minds to wander. It allows us to imagine and envision. Books are another world, just waiting to be opened!

A love of reading and creativity is the reason I became a writer. My latest young adult paranormal romance, Dusk, is now on sale. It’s a story of forgiveness, grace, and second chances … something I think everyone can relate to. The following excerpt shows the heroine, Zoe, meeting the hero, Adrian, for the first time. She’s at her locker, looking for her best friend, Vivian, when Adrian steps into her vision. It’s a scenario I think we can all appreciate!
Looking to my left, I saw Viv making her way down the hall. And then he stepped into my vision, blocking out Viv and the rest of the chaos in the hallway.
         Umm, wow. He was even better up close. The ability to speak left me.
         “Hey,” he said, and considering he was standing so close, I knew he was talking to me.
         I looked up. Way up. He had to be over six feet tall. And looked straight into the most gorgeous set of baby blues I’d ever seen. The deep green shirt he wore today accentuated the color of his irises.
         Black hair and blue eyes were totally hot together.
         “I saw you yesterday,” he continued, unaffected by my stunned silence. “I’m Adrian.”
         Adrian. It suited him. His name was just as beautiful he was.
         I should talk. Say something. Introduce myself. Wipe the drool from my chin.
         “Zoe,” I squeaked, cringing at how stupid I sounded. “Zoe Gray.”
         “Adrian Shaw.” He stuck his hand out, waiting for me to shake it.
         I stared at his hand. He wanted me to put my hand in his, and even as I told myself it was just a simple greeting, the thought of feeling his skin against mine left me frozen.
         Snap out of it! Act like you have a brain, not just raging hormones!
         I gripped his hand. His fingers closed around mine, and everything inside me went still, calm… right. The noise around me stopped. The bustle of the kids in the hall faded away. And I found myself lost in the feeling of my hand in his, drowning in the way his eyes searched mine.

DUSK

Zoe Gray lost her father … in more ways than one. Angry and bitter, Zoe spends the summer before her senior year of high school doing everything she can to forget, legal or not. But a close call triggers a reality check, and Zoe decides to put her life back together, a task that proves a lot harder than she thought.

Adrian Shaw shows up on the first day of school, creating quite a stir with his striking good looks and gleaming black motorcycle. But Adrian is much more than a “biker boy”, and as Zoe discovers, he may just hold the key she needs to put her life back on the right path.

But as they do battle with evil forces that want nothing more than to destroy Zoe’s chance at a normal life, will their feeling for one another make them stronger, or be the reason Zoe’s happiness slips away forever?

And will Zoe learn to forgive before it’s too late?

Learn more about Amy at the following places:


Amy Durham discovered her love of writing in the sixth grade. What began as a love of writing poetry soon turned into stories scribbled into school notebooks. In the eighth grade, her English teacher told her she was good at it and encouraged her to continue to put pen to paper. At that moment, the die was cast, and writing would forever be a part of her life.

As an adult, Amy focuses her efforts on writing Young Adult Fiction… adventure, romance, and life-lessons… woven together as imagination and escape for young readers. Amy holds a firm belief that books are not only entertaining, but have the ability to transform young lives. A book can educate. A book can teach compassion and kindness. A book can spark interest. A book can be a companion. Simply put, books can accompany and guide young readers as they try to navigate their way through the twisted, confusing roads of adolescence.
She lives in Kentucky, where she is a middle school teacher. She and her husband are raising three wild, intelligent, and creative boys, giving her plenty of fodder for the love and adventure she enjoys putting in her stories!

Amazon.com Widgets

Summer Teen Reading Party with Amy Durham

The Summer Teen Reading Party continues! Have you snagged any fun books yet? If you’ve read any of the books featured, leave me a comment on my blog here and let me know what you thought.

Please welcome my Writer Chat Wednesday guest Amy Durham, author of Once Again, a book that sounds very intriguing to me! Check it out:

NATALIE WRIGHT (NW): Do you have any news to share about your work?

AMY DURHAM (AD): My first novel, “Once Again”, a Young Adult Paranormal, is currently available in both eBook and print format. It’s the story of Layla Bradford and Lucas Ellis, two teenagers who discover they are the reincarnations of a young married couple from the mid-1800s who suffered a horrible tragedy. The madman who hurt them was never brought to justice, and no one ever knew the truth about what happened. Layla and Lucas must solve the mystery of their past life in order to keep the tragedy from happening again.

NW: What genre do you write in?

AD: I write Young Adult Fiction. Most of what I’ve written and what I’m working on falls into the “YA Paranormal Romance” category, but I also have plans for a non-paranormal YA Romance. I love YA for it’s cross-over appeal. And I love that it give young readers hope and encouragement, while at the same time taking young-at-hearts (like me!) back to the exuberance and excitement of youth!

NW: What works in progress do you have?

AD: I’m currently working on the sequel to “Once Again”, which is titled “Once and for All”. It follows two of the secondary characters from “Once Again”, as they encounter their own reincarnation mystery, as well as an ancient curse that has never been broken. I’m also working on “Dusk”, book one in “The Messenger” series. Messengers are a bit like angels, but not exactly! Readers will just have to wait and find out!

NW: Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

AD: There’s a LOT of me in Layla Bradford, the heroine in “Once Again”. She’s a typical middle-of-the-road student in her school, not popular but not the bottom of the social ladder either. She’s comfortable in her own skin, but still a little insecure when it comes to others’ opinions of her. Her journey in “Once Again” isn’t just about falling in love with Lucas or figuring out the mystery of their past life, but also of discovering exactly who she is, and learning that who she is is absolutely, positively good enough!

NW: Who is your favorite author and why?

AD: I have several favorite authors. First and foremost, JoAnn Ross, whose book “Fair Haven” was the book that finally said to me, “THIS is what you should be doing!” She’s a wonderful example of how to create vivid settings and write with a sense of community and family. She’s also a gracious and giving writer and a super person all the way around. On the YA side of things, I really like Rachel Vincent and her “Soul Screamer” series. Talk about teenage angst!
NW: How long have you been a writer?

Author, Amy Durham
AD: I’ve wanted to be a writer since the 6th grade. It started out as poems and silly stories. In the 8th grade I began to take it more seriously, and from that point on, I always wrote. But I didn’t pursue it seriously…more as a hobby. I kept thinking “Someday, I’ll write a book.”  In 2003, just before my second child was born, I decided that if I kept saying “someday”, I would never do it. If I was going to write a book, I was going to start NOW. I spent a lot of time learning from other writers and practicing the craft of writing fiction. This year, I felt like I was “ready”, and my first novel, “Once Again” was published.

NW: Do you have a “day job”? And if you do, what do you do when you’re not writing?

AD: In my day job, I’m a middle school music teacher. I also have three sons. So, I stay busy! When I’m not teaching, parenting, or writing I LOVE to cook!  It’s a very big creative outlet for me. I also love to read (no surprise there), and when time and finances allow, I like to travel.

NW: Who is your favorite fictional character and why? 

AD: My favorite fictional character is Jude Murray from Nora Roberts’ “Jewels of the Sun”.  I read this book when I was pregnant with my second child, just before I made the decision to pursue writing in earnest. I identified greatly with Jude, who was a teacher (a college professor) who longed for something “more”, and then found herself when she began writing.

NW: What is your favorite movie – the one you can watch over and over again?

AD: “When Harry Met Sally”, followed closely by “Notting Hill”.

NW: What do you hope readers will take with them from your writing?

AD: I hope young readers come away from my story feeling like they were able to escape into their imaginations for a while. I also hope they are encouraged and feel hopefully that the struggles of adolescence won’t last forever and that they will survive! I hope young-at-heart readers are able to remember the beauty and the heartache of first love, the disappointments of youth, and the joy that followed when they survived into adulthood!

You can find Amy online at the following places:
You can purchase “Once Again” at the following retailers: