Monday, July 18, 2016

LOST GIRLS cover reveal & giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and helped to promote the cover reveal for LOST GIRLS!



I’m so excited that I can finally reveal the cover of my upcoming YA psychological thriller novel, LOST GIRLS. Published by Entangled, the book releases on Jan. 3, 2017. Yay! The very cool thing is you can pre-order the book now. Plus, I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (below) for a $25 Amazon gift card. So the winner can buy some BOOKS! (We all want more books, right?)

First things first, here's the cover:

(So pretty, right?)

The LOST GIRLS synopsis is below, and my favorite line is ‘The only rule is: There are no rules.’

Book Synopsis:
Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grandma’s afghan, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.

Book Excerpt:
His Harley was parked at the curb, in a pocket of shadow, blocked from the streetlight and behind one of the flowering trees Dad had planted earlier this year. Dylan started to hand me a helmet, but stopped, as if there was something else more important.

“There’s something I have to do,” he said.

I thought maybe he needed to give me a few pointers on how to ride a motorcycle, that I should lean into the curves, that I should hold onto him, that I shouldn’t be afraid because he was a great driver.

I was wrong.

He slipped one arm around my waist and pulled me close, so close that I couldn’t have gotten away if I wanted to, while his other hand cupped my jaw, thumb just below my mouth, long fingers brushing against my ear. “I’ve wanted to do this since you got back,” he said, his voice a low, hoarse whisper.

I wanted to say, me, too, but I didn’t get a chance.

His lips found mine in the darkness where we could barely see each other, where the heat of his body melted into mine. There were two short, gentle kisses as if he didn’t believe I would be here very long, that I might disappear at any moment, and then after that came the third kiss—

The third kiss stole my heart.

And my soul.

I didn’t remember our first date or what we had in common or who was his favorite band, but I remembered this. I remembered a thousand kisses, a hundred nights, a million stars glittering overhead. We leaned into each other, as if we were each drawing an electric charge from the other, as if we’d been unplugged and powerless but now we were stronger, invincible, immortal. The world stopped spinning and we were all that existed; there were no other people, no cities, no countries; there was only this.

His lips pressed against mine, his scent filling the air, his hands touching me.

And then at last, the kiss ended and we stared into each other’s eyes, me remembering, him knowing, both of us breathless.

“I almost lost you,” he said, his words soft as if he couldn’t say them very loud because it would show how strong the emotion was.

“I’m here, I’m safe.”

He shook his head. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” he said. “I haven’t always been”—he hesitated—“a very good person. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure no one ever hurts you again.”

He had a way of enchanting me with his words, maybe it was the poet in him, maybe this was easy for him, but it didn’t matter. I knew he was telling the truth.

I just didn’t know if I wanted to be safe.


Where You Can Find The Book:
Goodreads Book Link:
Amazon Buy Link:
Barnes & Noble Buy Link:
Kobo Buy Link:
Entangled Publishing:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:
Born in the Midwest, former magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Author Website Here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Man With Eyes Like My Father

His name was David and his eyes were the same color as my father’s. Blue with a hint of gray, the color of machines and hard work and oil that got trapped beneath your fingernails. During the day, he lived on the corner of Main and Bristol. No one knew where he lived in the evenings. Some quiet alley or corner behind a restaurant. All I know is that there must have been a roof or an overhang of some kind because I asked him once, where do you go when it rains. He had smiled and said he had a safe place, a dry place. But when the rains got fierce one winter, one very cold winter for Southern California, I noticed that he looked more tired every day, like he’d been fighting that rain all night long.

I brought him coffee and burritos and warm socks. Once I gave him a rain slicker that could double as a blanket. But it was never enough and I knew it.

My heart ached whenever I saw him on the corner, legs tucked below him, useless and dead, his wheelchair pulled beneath the awning where people waited to catch the bus. He never begged for money or held up a sign, will work for food. He just waited beside people who had someplace to go, and someone to spend time with.

His eyes would haunt me at night. My father’s eyes in a crippled body. All alone and forgotten. I wished I had the courage to ask him, where is your family, why are you alone.

Instead I brought him bottles of water and In-N-Out burgers.

I worried about him when it was cold outside and when it was hot. Maybe he was someone’s father and they didn’t know where he was. Maybe he’d had a fight with his only son and now they’d never talk to each other again.

My husband and I went on vacation one year, out of state, and we were gone for a week. When we came back, David was gone.

There was no one to ask, where is he, is he safe, did he move or did he die. To everyone else he had been invisible and unwanted.

To me, he had been a man with eyes like my father.

A man who disappeared with the wind. And the corner of Main and Bristol is now empty and lonely, because he is gone.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love Is ...

At the end of crazy, frustrating day—that also happened to be interspersed with wonderful, beautiful things—I decided to make something lovely to share with you.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Five Stages of Writing a Book

Below are the Five Stages I go through when I write a book:

1. I really want to reach 50 pages. Really. Really. Really.

2. It's never a REAL book until I reach 100 pages.

3. What was I thinking?? I'll NEVER get 200 pages done. Who invented the middle of a book? They should be flogged and driven out of Dodge.

4. I have to write the END now? But what's supposed to happen? Didn't I write notes about this, I had to have written some notes...where did I put those notes...wait, didn't I write the ending already? I KNOW I wrote the ending, but what file did I put it in?

5. It's over. It's OVER??? *sobbing, flailing, laughing, then more crying*

NOTE: I am currently in Stage Number Three: What. Was. I. Thinking.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Books That Took My Breath Away in 2012

Once in blue moon a book comes along that takes my breath away, compels me to read it, astonishes me with its brilliance and makes me wish that I had written it. In 2012, five books came along that impacted me like this. They are:

Wow. This book was flawless. I adored the contrast between the peaceful existence found within an Amish community and the horror of what was happening to the rest of the world. Laura’s book grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let me go. Even months after reading this story, I am still thinking about it.

IRONSKIN by Tina Connolly
From page one, I was immediately immersed in another world, where Fey and humans lived side by side, and captured by Tina Connolly’s lovely prose. I was also enchanted by the fact that this was a retelling of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books.

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
This book felt timeless, like an instant classic. It could have been written 25 years ago or 25 years in the future. Maggie built a world that was both familiar and alien, and every bit of it was believable. I’d never heard of water horses before, so the legends were all new and wonderful, and expertly woven into the fabric of the story.

ENCLAVE by Ann Aquirre
This book really amazed and surprised me. On the surface, it read like another post-apocalyptic YA—which I love. But it was so much more. Layers upon layers of deeper meaning surfaced throughout the book, always adding to the story and the complexity of the characters and the world where they lived. The love story was one of the best I’ve ever read and if I say too much more, I might be giving away spoilers. [Note: This book was published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]

ASHES by Ilsa Bick
A wonderful example of how horror and literary fiction can be combined. Ilsa’s lovely prose often switched gears to describe gruesome details, but it was always done flawlessly. She made me believe the terrible things that were happening and she made me root for the main character’s survival. [Note: This book was also published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today you'll meet the last of the four main characters in FATHOM. This girl is another one of the mysterious teenagers that comes to Crescent Moon Bay during tourist season—Riley.

Played by Alexis Knapp, with short hair. (Doesn't she look dangerous?)

• Name: RILEY
• Has lived so many places, nowhere feels like home
• Should be a junior, but she is so done with school
• Favorite class: Really? None
• Best friend: Herself
• Hobbies: Practicing survival skills
• Favorite bands: No time for music
• Favorite drink: Coffee
• Social standing: In charge and everyone knows it
• Greatest joy: When people finally decide to do things her way
• Biggest nightmare: Being eaten by a sea monster