Category Archives: New Adult

Welcome, Ashley Stambaugh!

We’re excited to welcome Ashley Stambaugh. She’s a debut novelist and fellow Astraea Press author — a “sweet” publisher. If you’re looking for a gripping journey into the supernatural, you won’t want to miss Collide. Enjoy! –Jo Grafford, Highlighted Author Co-Hostess


A Note from Ashley

Author pictureI live in central Illinois with my husband and our two young boys.  I’ve always loved to read and write since I was a little girl, but it was just more of a hobby for me.  I didn’t get serious about my writing until a couple of years after I graduated from college when I realized I wanted to be one of those people who could say that they truly loved what they did.  My debut novel, Collide, is the first book in a planned trilogy.  It’s a New Adult Urban Fantasy, but Paranormal Romance is in my future.  I have a fascination with anything supernatural, so that will always be an aspect of my stories.

Follow Ashley on Social Media

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Melina Rowe never thought her quiet, simple life could change to one full of fear and confusion just by accidentally bumping into someone. But after she collides with an elderly man named Walter, she starts to hear people’s thoughts and have unsettling visions.

Collide Cover ArtWalter reveals himself as a guiding angel and explains to Melina that she’s a rare type of human who can absorb angel powers. But her special ability is more of a problem for her than a gift.

The powers are too strong for humans and will eventually kill Melina unless she can successfully use them to help a select individual who’s in need of guidance. Her chances are slim, though, seeing that the handful of other humans this has happened to before didn’t survive.

Scared for her life, Melina desperately tries to help a young man named Lee, but his continual resistance and her struggle with the powers make it almost impossible. Her situation only grows worse when a trio of soul-snatching demons is sent by an unknown entity to take her soul and kill her.

As a determined Walter sets out to discover who sent the demons and why, Melina must defend herself from their relentless attacks all while trying to use powers she doesn’t fully understand to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. If she can’t figure out how to break through to Lee, the powers will ultimately destroy her. But if the powers don’t kill her first, the demons will.


Purchase now on AMAZON or BARNES AND NOBLE.




COLLIDE – Chapter One

Melina Rowe peered out of her bedroom window and wrinkled her nose. It was late October, so she knew it was cold outside, but it also appeared to be windy. These weather conditions weren’t her favorite, but she was determined to continue with her morning runs until snow prevented her from doing otherwise. She pulled her long brown hair up into a ponytail, slid a fleece headband on over her ears, and zipped up her coat before heading out her apartment door and down the stairwell to her bookstore below. The store didn’t open for another hour, so she had plenty of time. She took a quick look around and then turned to exit through the back.

Starting off in a slight jog, she followed her normal path toward the park, taking in the city in its early morning state as she went. Traffic was light, and there was only a handful of people out and about. The sky was a dull gray, and brown, dried up leaves swirled and danced around her, giving the city an even gloomier feeling. She hoped the blustery wind didn’t mean rain was on its way.

After only a few short blocks, the wrought iron gates that surrounded the park appeared alongside her. She picked up her pace and rounded a corner to her right, making her way toward the entrance, when she came upon an elderly man walking from the opposite direction. They met each other so suddenly that neither of them had a chance to move out of the way. Melina collided with the man, and it was in that moment that it happened.

As soon as their bodies made contact, she felt a powerful surge of energy pass through her and then a bright white light exploded between them, knocking them both away from each other. Melina, who had been knocked to the ground, pushed herself up to her feet, wondering what had just happened. The sensation that went through her body was like nothing she had ever felt before. It was very sharp and intense, like an electric shock, but at the same time it was soothing and warm. The feeling still lingered in her body as she finally looked over at the man.

After catching his balance, he looked over at her, and she noticed his expression of confusion and shock. His mouth opened as if to say something, but nothing came out. He stared at her for a moment and then finally he spoke to her.

“You,” he muttered.

“Excuse me?” she asked, returning his confused look.

“You’re one of them.”



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Welcome To The Family, Jo Grafford!


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Charlene A. Wilson, Hostess

In November 2010, Highlighted Author was born. It grew quickly, many great authors having to wait nearly a year to be featured. By March 2011, it was clear the little blog spot just didn’t offer what was needed. In June 2011, we moved into our very own domain,

Highlighted Author has featured Best Selling authors from around the world, from Veterans’ Memorials to Paranormal Romance, Children’s Literature to Self Help Finance, and Poetry, with weekly Features filled with audio/video trailer and clips, beautiful cover art, and intriguing excerpts. This year, Highlighted Author had the honor of being voted 4th in the P&E Readers’ Poll for Best Promotional Firm, Site, or Resource . Rarely has a week gone by that a new author hasn’t been introduced for you to add to your Favorites list.

Three years after its inception, Highlighted Author added a special interest segment. In March 2013, Highlighted Author Special Interest was born. And just like its parent partner, this unique area, reserved for New Releases, Book Tours, and Giveaways, has boomed. Now, yet one year later, March 2014 brings us to another milestone. With the growth and love shown us by authors and readers alike, I’ve seen the need to add to the family. I’m so proud to introduce to you my new Co-Hostess, Jo Grafford.

Jo Grafford
Jo Grafford, Co-Hostess

As an mega reader of all genres, I am excited to join Charlene as Co-Hostess. It’s a privilege (and a whole lot of fun) to be a part of introducing you to new and established authors here on Highlighted Author. Charlene has done an amazing job of developing and growing this blog. I look forward to helping her continue to bring you the hottest promotions and newest releases of our diverse and growing lineup of authors.

Our regular features are booked out till June already, but please keep them coming. I have no will power to resist a good book and frequently stay up past my bedtime reading titles rich in period history, talented successful women and their strong alpha males, Native Americans, and an occasional creature from the otherworld – dragons, vampires, or time travelers.

From St. Louis, Missouri, I move a lot with my soldier husband. We’ve lived in the Midwest, the deep South, and now reside in Bavaria. Along the way, I’ve served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher and am an active member in the Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter.

I write historical and paranormal romance. My current project is the Lost Colony Series, published by Astraea Press. It’s based on one of the world’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries, a missing persons report of epic proporations.

For excerpts, character lists, contests, newsletters, and more – visit the world of Jo Grafford at:

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A cursed island, chilling betrayal, and unexpected encounter with love...
A cursed island, chilling betrayal, and unexpected encounter with love…

BREAKING TIES, first book in the Lost Colony Series is available at:

Amazon Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | iBooks | Astraea Press 


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Welcome Charlene A. Wilson

Join me in welcoming Charlene A. Wilson to Highlighted Author.


Charlene A. Wilson Charlene is a multi-published author of tales that take you to other dimensions. She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters.

She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so amazing she brought them to life through her books.

A member of Romance Writers of America, Published Authors Network, and Vice-President of Diamond State Romance Authors, Charlene believes in giving back to her fellow authors and her readers. She was recently voted #3 in the P&E Readers Poll for Best Author.

Charlene resides in a small community in Arkansas, USA, with her two beautiful daughters, husband, and a very chatty cockatiel named Todder.


One for Kami


Kami crosses dimensions to find true love, but her heart’s desire never left home.

Kami is faced with a heartbreaking truth; instead of being a member of the poor lower class who are allowed only one spouse, she finds the love of her life is an elite and bound by law to wed three wives to do his part to eliminate the poverty-stricken condition of their world. How can she stand to share him? Why can’t he be poor the way she thought he was when she fell in love with him?

Desperate and determined to find a realm that doesn’t have such dictates, she travels to dimension Three-Two-Three to begin her search. But is love truer in a place that only allows one spouse than it is in Ian’s heart?



What they’re saying:

“Sweet, romantic, and heartfelt.  A great introduction to the author’s world.”—J.D. Brown Book Club

“One for Kami is a delightful little read.”—Jean Murray, Author

“One for Kami is a story that will have you willing to give up everything for your one true love.”—Annette, Gothic Mom’s Book Reviews

“[Wilson] spins a tale of true love spanning time and dimensions that will inspire the reader to sacrifice everything to find their soul mate.”—Debbie, Read2Review





One for Kami coverKami’s blouse bunched up her back as she slid down the wide oak’s trunk. She cringed as aged bark grazed her skin and snagged her hair until her bottom hit the ground. She folded her knees to her chest, buried her face in her arms, and welcomed the sharp pangs. Hurting Ian pained her more than anything she’d done in her life.

Autumn leaves crunched as he paced the woodland’s small clearing. Each stride matched two beats of her heart and crushed the sweet memories of their grove. Dust scented the air as he shuffled through a turn.

“Why are you just now telling me this?” His breath hitched, and he cleared his throat.

Words wouldn’t form as Kami lifted her gaze.

His hazel eyes shifted to the shadows of the young birch trees as he set his hands at his waist. A cloud of insects drifted through the pale trunks. Soft hums filled the air as they paused.

He ran his hand across his jaw and looked back at her. “You know I love you, Kami.”

Tears seeped beneath her lids, and she blinked to relieve the burn. “I need to be the only one, Ian. I can’t know you might love someone else more than me when you choose another wife.”

She stared at the thick roots that surrounded her and then traced the curve of one nearby with her fingertip. They wove into the caramel-colored ground, creating a perfect lounge for two lovers in an embrace. How many times had they sat there and shared their secrets, their love? How many times had he told her she was the one? She cursed the fact that she had been gullible enough to believe it could be true.

Kami forced her voice through her tight throat. “When I first saw you, you were playing in the park with that scruffy little dog. Its hair was so long and matted, I thought you couldn’t afford to pay a groomer. I thought that sock with the knot in it was all you could come up with to be his toy.”

His gaze dropped to the ground. “That stray lives at the park, and I removed my sock to have some fun with him.”

“I know that now. But then I assumed you were poor. And after the third date of peanut butter sandwich picnics by the river, I thought I knew for certain. I mean, who could love peanut butter that much? And what member of the elite class chooses such a simple activity for a date?”

She scanned his solemn countenance. His love of nature was one of the things she adored about him, alongside the fact that he didn’t feel the need to flaunt his wealth. But to keep such a fact from her under the circumstances… “I fell in love with you, believing you would make me the one choice you were allowed as a member of the lower class.”

A gust of wind lifted his black hair to dance around his face. The cheery motion seemed to mock his lips as they dipped into a deep frown. “If it were up to me, I’d have only you. Can’t you believe that? I’ve waited, pushed the age limit to wed, looking for the right one to be my first. My first, Kami. The others will never mean what you do to me.”

“If you really love me, you’d want me alone. No other. Period.” Frustration bubbled in her chest at her misconception of their love.

He tilted his head and bit his lips together. “I can’t help that I was born an elite. If it were possible—”

“If it were possible, what? You’d give up your birthright and join the ranks of the vagabonds who can’t afford food for the one wife and child they’re allowed? Or you’d buck the system and refuse to wed the other two? That would only land you earthbound, exiled to a foreign dimension, and stripped of everything but the clothes you wear. And while you’re considering it, I’d advise you to wear a thick coat and heavy boots, because I hear they choose some pretty rough climates for those who refuse to live by this law.”

The sarcastic response rolled off her tongue before she realized it, but she didn’t care. It wasn’t right. None of the counsel’s decisions on eliminating poverty were. Lower class men wedded one spouse and fathered one child, while the elite had to choose three wives and produce as many offspring as they could.

Find another way to spread the wealth than through inheritance.

She looked at him, and her voice rose. “I can’t stay here and conform to the laws of this dimension. Not when I know there are other places that don’t require such things. I need the freedom to love whomever I want, whoever they are, without the stipulation of a quota. And if that means transferring, then that’s what I’ll do.”

“If your mother was alive—”

“Well, she’s not.” Kami scowled. She had expected him to try to bring her mother into the conversation, but it hurt just the same. “But I can’t believe she wouldn’t want me to be happy. She was one of a quota, Ian — one that had only one child. Father’s attention stayed on the others.”

His broad shoulders lifted as he took a deep breath and looked back to the trees.

“I’m leaving for a six-month stay in Three-Two-Three. With me gone, you’ll be free to start your family before you turn twenty-five. I won’t stand in your way to fulfill your obligation. You’ll have time to find a woman who will happily live by the law.” She lowered her voice to a mumble. “And I won’t have to see you do it.”

Ian’s heavy brow furrowed, and his dark lashes narrowed his gaze. “And what will happen if you find someone while you’re there? That realm doesn’t know we exist, Kami. What will you tell him when you leave every six months to come back to renew your travel rights?”

“When I choose someone, it will be because our love is true. He’ll understand I need some time away.”

His mouth dropped open, and he shook his head. “What love that’s true has those kinds of secrets?” A scowl crossed his face as he drew his hand through the air. “And what makes you think a love there would be truer than my love here?”

“They choose only one. They pledge their hearts, and it lasts a lifetime.”

“Promises can be broken, whichever realm you’re in.” Orange and yellow leaves scattered as he marched across the small tract and sank to the ground before her. He took her hands in his and then looked into her eyes. “Stay here. Marry me. Be my elite choice. There can be only one first time, and I want it to be you. Let it be enough.”

It took all Kami’s strength to look away. She clenched her jaw, tried to control the hiccup that would surely release a sob.

Ian shook his head, and his voice lowered to a plea. “Please, Kami. Don’t go.”

She pinched her lips together, and the hiccup forced its way to her throat. Snatching her breath, she kept it silent, but it jarred her into action. “The consort has already granted my leave. I’ve taken the training, and temporary employment is waiting for me. If I can make it work, I’ll arrange to stay longer.”

The frank tone of her voice gave her strength as she stood. “Good-bye, Ian.”

His hands slowly released her as he rose and stepped back. His square jaw flexed. “Never say good-bye. This isn’t the end.”

Kami tore her gaze from his hazel eyes and focused her thoughts on the Inter-dimensional Courtyard. A wave of heat sizzled through her veins as her elements prepared to shift through space. The scene before her distorted, and a soft buzz filled her ears as she synced into the atrium.


Air rushed from Ian’s lungs. “No,” he uttered with his remaining breath. How could she believe another woman would mean more to him than she did? He clenched his jaw, spun, and punched at the cloud of tiny insects that had flown up behind him. “No!”

Birds quieted overhead, and the bugs slowly parted, as if to scoff at his harsh behavior. A brash breeze whipped through the clearing and blew them away. Dried leaves scattered. He kicked at the animated foliage and then raked his fingers over his scalp.

She had to realize I wasn’t one of the needy. Everyone knows the Belrose name is synonymous with wealth and elitism.

He caught sight of the bandana tied around his right bicep and lowered his arms. Surely she had known he hid the family emblem inked on his skin to make it easier to move among the poor during his service to them. He rolled his shoulders to dispel the chill traveling up his neck.


He bunched his fingers into fists and launched into long strides. Ten paces carried him to the edge of the patchy ground to face the birch trees that separated him from her housing tower. They needed to talk this out… really talk before she went through with it.

“This isn’t the end,” he said aloud, as if his words could reach her. “I refuse to give up on us.”

Heat sizzled through his veins as he prepared to sync with space. He paused before he attached his elements to the atmosphere near her suite’s entrance. If she was to the point of throwing their love away, he would need all the help he could get.

I’d better get some heavy artillery.


Get your copy of One for Kami now for $.99!

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