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By: C. C. Gevry,
Today we’re celebrating the release of Entangled Teen’s November books! Read about them and enter to win the giveaway below!
Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette #3)
by Andria Buchanan
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Although she’s still stuck in the magical world of Nerissette, Queen Allie is finally ready to build a relationship with the half hottie, half dragon next door, Winston. But all isn’t really fair in love and war.
Unrest is quickly forming at the borders and soon Allie realizes that the Fate Maker wasn’t the only one who wanted her crown. When her trusted aunt Bavasama sends her troops into Nerissette on a campaign of murder and mass destruction, Allie has a tough decision to make.
She can’t take the chance of letting more people die or letting those she’s lost disappear from memory, but there is more at stake than even she knows. Still, Allie has to do something. And in the process she’ll discover what she’s truly made of when faced with a series of options…each more horrible than the last.
In the Blood
by Sara Hantz
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
For seventeen years Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare.
His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.
In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood…
Spring Moon (Indiana Teller)
by HRH Princess Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Amid the expansive plains of Montana, the Lykos Ranch stretches for miles. The inhabitants who live in near isolation from the outside world are members of the most powerful clan of werewolves in North America. Among them lives just one human: Indiana Teller.
Grandson of the clan’s leader and offspring of a werewolf father and a mysterious yet human mother, Indiana is rejected by his peers and heads to the University of Montana to find a normal life. Despite warnings from his grandparents, he falls in love with a beautiful human, Katerina.
Before too long, he is the victim of an accident that would have killed him had he not miraculously vanished at the moment of impact. Are these strange occurrences just chance or the machinations of a hidden enemy out to destroy him? Facing his destiny, Indiana will have to choose who to believe, and who to love.
by Vivi Barnes
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.
At least at this moment, I don’t care.
Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…
I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.
To celebrate the launch of these books, Entangled Teen is giving away three ebooks. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway down below for more information!
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Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
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By: C. C. Gevry,
“As daughter of our ruler I grew up in the crossfire of an ongoing war… All I’d ever wanted to be was a great warrior and ultimately lead my people into victorious battles.”
With only a small army at her command Halíka Dacomé, a skilled warrior and daughter of the Elemental King, is ready to lead one final battle to save her planet. A battle against the savage, bloodthirsty Primords who want to extinguish the diminished race of Elementals once and for all.
But before battle commences her father is given an ultimatum from the enemy leader, Arfron Uhnok. If the king agrees, Halíka Dacomé must marry Arfron Uhnok to prevent further bloodshed. If the king disagrees they, as a race, will all perish.
Horrified by her father’s decision, Halíka Dacomé leads her army onward regardless of the consequences. Because her heart belongs to another. A love that blossomed many years ago. A love that her father has forbidden.
Halíka faces her toughest battle yet and learns that not all battles are those fought with a sword…
The Battle for Arcanon Major is an epic love story set against the backdrop of war and is the first Prequel to Elemental: The First.
What do we want from a Strong Female Character? by Alexandra May
It’s hard to decipher what the term ‘Strong’ Female Character actually means. Do readers want to read about a heroine who takes no prisoners, fights to the death and answers to no one? Or do we want to read about a character that tries her best, has flaws but deals with situations to the best of her ability.
What does ‘Strong’ mean exactly? Strong as in strength? Strong as in compassion? Strong as in confidence? Many of our leading female protagonists in YA literature are strong characters, but flawed as much as they are strong.
One of my favourite characters is Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. She’s sassy, mouthy, kicks a mean roundhouse and is devoted to her bonded best friend, Lissa. Critics might say that being bonded creates the first flaw in Rose’s character. The fact that she devotes her own life to ensure Lissa stays alive is maybe a flaw but shows strength of character. She’s already accepted that Lissa’s life comes first in all things. At the end of Book 3, Shadow Kiss, though, Rose takes an unexpected path. She’s about to follow her love, Dimitri to kill him. This is where her strength reaches out revealing that not only is she flawed, she’s also human (or dhampir, whichever way you look at it.). She’s leaving Lissa behind for the first time ever.
The most important points when I created Halíka Dacomé were not only to show her strong character but also show how human she was. She’s an Overlord, or General, of a mostly male army. She’s fights well, takes ownership of her decisions, and accepts advice from others and ultimately her strength in character is what drives her army to follow her. They believe in her, wholeheartedly.
Underneath all of that she’s deeply flawed. Her love for her brother brings on an awkward situation when he won’t return to his post, preferring to stay with her in the final battle. Not even her strong will can remove him. He is her weakness but also her strength. When her childhood friend and love interest arrives, her emotions become twisted. She even sheds a few tears in his close company. He is also her weakness. Some might say that her love is her strength. This really all comes down to how the writer wants to define that particular aspect of the character. Love can always make a situation better or worse.
The next most important aspect when writing a romance with a strong character is writing an equally strong opposite. Some readers were upset at the end of book 6, Last Sacrifice of the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway chose Dimitri over Adrian. In truth Adrian was never Rose’s equal. The relationship was born more of friendship and lust rather than equalling Dimitri in other ways. Dimitri and Rose know, really know each other. They work because they’re in sync. They know each other’s strengths and weakness as though they were their own. They balance one another in a way that Adrian and Rose never had.
For Halíka Dacomé her biggest weakness, her biggest flaw was her compassion. She followed her heart and was led by it to make a decision that she would not have normally made. That decision led to her downfall.
So, my next task when I write the sequel to The Battle for Arcanon Major is to show how she overcomes the realisation that her heart got in the way of her rational thinking. Will her strong character enable her to overcome her moment of weakness?
Alexandra May is an English author of three books, bringing together the epic saga of Halíka Dacomé and her modern day equivalent, Rose Frost.
Elemental: The First, Elemental: Origin and The Battle for Arcanon Major draw in Alexandra’s love of strong women characters, sci-fi, history, romance and a little warmongering on the side!
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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The Invisible Boy, a new book that deals with the isolation quiet children can feel, is the kind of book that serves multiple purposes in an elementary school classroom (e.g., interactive read aloud book, teaching demonstration text, mentor text for strategy lessons). Previews of the book and giveaway information come at the bottom of the post.
13 Shocking Reasons Real People were Committed to a Lunatic Asylum by Sarah Ballance
If you thought you had to get your crazy on to land in a place like Ruby Hill, you’d better think again.
The following list of reasons folks were locked up for “treatment” between 1864 and 1889 at the RUBY HILL-esque yet very real Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum is absolutely true. (My commentary, however, may be prone to exaggeration.) (Source)
Bad Whiskey – I don’t know if this guy drank bad whiskey, sold bad whiskey, or manufactured bad whiskey, but you’ve got to feel for anyone forced to sober up a lunatic asylum. I’m pretty sure that type of residence is exactly where I’d most need whiskey, bad or otherwise.
Drospy – I admit I had to look this one up. It’s the old word for edema, which is what happens when you carry excess fluid. Basically this means if you’ve ever taken off your socks to find they’ve left dents in your legs, you could have been committed. Now THAT is lunacy.
Fighting Fire – Not setting them, but fighting them. Apparently firefighting in the 1800s wasn’t always considered the heroic profession we know it as today. And someone at the admissions desk is a pyromaniac.
Menstrual Deranged – What does that mean, exactly? Aside the menstrual part – we get that. Monthly, even. But deranged? We probably don’t want to know, but what do you want to bet a man came up with that one?
Masturbation for 30 Years – Erm, okay. But why THIS GUY and not EVERY OTHER GUY ON THE PLANET? I’m just sayin’….
Suppressed Masturbation – So what we’ve just learned is there is clearly a target zone for this particular activity—somewhere between once and 30 years’ worth. Good luck with that, boys.
Ill Treatment by Husband – Okay, so he’s a jerk so they lock HER up? I bet a man thought of that one, too. (I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for my fabulous husband, who—in over 16 years of marriage—has not once sent me to an asylum.)
Seduction and Disappointment – I’m not sure who was seduced in this scenario and who was disappointed, but apparently this was not the time to oversell oneself. (No wonder that one guy just stuck to masturbation for 30 years.)
Scarlatina (Scarlet Fever) – You there, with the contagious disease. Into the criminally over-crowded asylum. Yep, that’ll fix you. That will fix all of you. Muahahaha.
Medicine to Prevent Conception – To be fair, all forms of contraception were made illegal in the United States in 1873, so this was at least technically a crime. By the 1880s, though, there was a handy-dandy sausage casing device (yes, that would be animal intestine) alternative. Might have been worth a shot because…
Dissipation of Nerves – There’s nothing to indicate the dissipation of nerves was in any way related to conception rates, but my husband and I have six children (one of whom was conceived after I was surgically sterilized) and I’m telling you, asylum people. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. It a classic inverse proportion, and if you don’t believe me just ask all those people who see me with six kids and immediately assume I’m crazy. But I digress.
Carbonic Acid Gas – I’m not sure of the particulars here, but just so y’all know, this is a byproduct of breathing. BREATHING WAS A CRIME.
Novel Reading – ERMAGERD, YOU GUYS. First we can’t breathe, and now they take away our novels! But fear not, for RUBY HILL is not a novel, but a novella. Which can only mean READING RUBY HILL WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF AN INSANE ASYLUM!
Okay, so my logic might be a bit flawed, LOL, but I’m going to distract you quickly so you won’t notice. ?
Here’s a related little historical twist that blew my mind.
In September, Entangled Scandalous released my historical romance, HER WICKED SIN, which is set during the Salem Witch Trials. Back then, the Salem in question was actually Salem Village, which has since been renamed Danvers. Danvers is home to the Danvers State Lunatic Asylum (reportedly one of the most haunted places in the world, and they turned it into APARTMENTS, y’all!), which sits on Hawthorne Hill, the very site of the gallows where the Salem witches were hanged. Nice little coincidence, right? But it gets better. Back in 2011—long before I’d given any thought to writing about the Salem Witch Trials or a haunted lunatic asylum—I had out there a little novella about a haunted house. Its name?
Now that you’ve been properly wooed (yes-I-said-wooed), are you ready to dive into the dust, abandonment, terror—and yes, romance—of an abandoned mental institution? (Come on—you’ve got to see how the romance fits in there, right?) If so, I hope you’ll consider a dark, dangerous trek (or, you know, just click over) to your favorite e-tailer for the scoop on RUBY HILL!
PS: I’m probably hiking with grizzly bears as you read this, so bear (ha!) with me if I don’t respond immediately to your comments. I do look forward to your replies—and I have been promised nightly wifi—so if I’m not mauled, eaten, or otherwise incapacitated, I will SO come back for you! ?
Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance
From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she’s not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it’s Ashley’s job to find out what.
Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn’t believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won’t turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn’t living with his own demons, but losing her for good.
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Death had a flavor. Equal parts bitter and bland, the damnable taste was more sickening than the stickiness in Corbin Malone’s throat. It soured his gut, leaving him with an unease he couldn’t quite swallow, and the deeper they drove into the countryside—the closer the car brought him to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum—the more potent the flavor. Five years a cop, he’d neatly sidestepped the ugly aftertaste until things got personal.
Until the body belonged to his brother, Cash.
Nearly six months had passed since Cash Malone fought for his last breath inside the dismal, abandoned halls of Ruby Hill. Though his body now rested six feet under a distant patch of cemetery grass, Ruby Hill remained his tomb—a giant, crouching headstone marring acres of otherwise beautiful, rolling hills. And for Corbin, a visage of murder.
About the Author:
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.
She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.
$25 Gift Certificate to winner’s choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble AND Skelton Key blue Swarovski heart Art Nouveau necklace (US/Canada ONLY) (http://www.etsy.com/listing/88152504/silver-butterfly-key-blue-swarovski?ref=shop_home_active )
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Guest Blog by E. J. Russell
My youngest (by eight minutes) son is a lifelong aficionado of the macabre. Nick’s favorite book in grade school was an oversized, cheerfully illustrated book on historical disasters (his favorite was – and still is – the Black Plague), and post-grade school, he graduated to all-things-Stephen-King.
It’s only natural, then, that when he was a senior at the local arts magnet high school, he and his friends decided to make a horror movie. Their script involved a too-good-to-be-true free vacation at a B & B that turned out to be the lair of cannibals. The location for the creepy isolated hotel?
I didn’t know whether to be insulted or flattered.
True, the very remoteness of our out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere house can be alarming. We live on a six-mile-long, partially paved road, with no feeder streets – you can only enter from one end or the other. Our house, screened from the road by a stand of shaggy Douglas firs, sits at the back of a grove of ancient, gnarled walnut trees that have almost forgotten how to leaf out, and the blackberry brambles looming on either side of the bumpy driveway rival Sleeping Beauty’s daunting thorn hedge.
To my husband, this set-up is a dream come true. For him, our virtual fortress on the hill is the perfect sanctuary, a retreat where he never has to see a neighbor if he doesn’t want to. But for our extrovert daughter, who gets freaked out by the least hint of the weird, it’s a nightmare in the making. She avoids being home alone like she’d avoid Nick’s favorite disaster, and if for some reason she can’t, she turns on every light in the house. Every. Stinking. One.
Nick, pragmatic opportunist that he is, was perfectly willing to exploit the creep factor for his film, even though he’s just as quick to embrace the seclusion when he’s feeling anti-social.
My two heroes in Northern Light have a similar love/hate relationship with rural isolation.
For desperate painter Stefan, the remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, off the grid and hugged by the forest, is a refuge. There, away from the stress of his financial difficulties and the reminders of his personal failures, he finally has a chance to reconnect with his artistic vision and start to rebuild his shattered life.
But the solitude that Stefan finds so comforting nearly sends Luke, my art investigator, running for…well, not the hills. He hates those damn hills. For Luke, who once endured a disabling traumatic event in the mountains, safety is a well-populated sea-level community, where he can see the horizon whenever he looks out his window, and know that he’s not trapped.
So how about you? City dweller or country cousin? Hustle and bustle or peace and quiet? Or are you like Nick, who’ll take which ever one suits his mood at the moment?
Northern Light by E.J. Russell
Genre: M/M Romance
Nothing gives art fraud investigator Luke Morganstern a bigger rush than busting forgers, the low-life criminals who dare victimize true artists. But when his latest job sends him to a remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, he’s stunned to discover the alleged forger is his former lover, Stefan Cobbe, the most gifted painter Luke has ever known.
Stefan, left homeless and destitute after the death of his wealthy partner, doesn’t exactly deny the forgery — he claims he doesn’t remember, an excuse Luke can’t accept.
But Luke’s elderly client suggests Stefan may be telling the truth and presents another possibility – a dark presence in the woods, a supernatural fury simmering for decades. Luke must face down his fear of the uncanny – and admit his feelings for Stefan – if either of them is to survive.
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Luke slammed the heel of his hand against his forehead. Shitgoddamnsonofabitch. He’d asked the fucking question. Now he’d have to listen to an answer he could never un-know. His chest heaved and he stared Stefan down, waiting for the words that would either damn him as a liar or condemn him as a forger. Either one would force Luke to choose between rebooting his career or destroying the man he’d once loved.
Stefan blinked. Blinked again, brows drawing together in a tight vee. "What?"
For some reason, maybe aftershocks from his Fiat-flashback or mortification that Stefan had witnessed his resultant freak-out, the bewildered affront on Stefan’s face kicked Luke into art investigator asshole mode. "Did you think you’d get away with the fake Arcolettis because he was a relative unknown? Because all his pieces except one are in private hands?"
"Who the hell is Arcoletti?"
Luke guffawed, sounding unpleasant even to himself. "Good one."
"No. I mean it. Who’s Arcoletti?"
"Jeremiah Arcoletti. American realist painter. Disappeared in 1945 along with all thirteen canvases from his last collection.” Luke’s eyes popped wide. "Holy shit. That’s it, isn’t it? The lost collection." He poked Stefan’s shoulders with stiff fingers, peripherally aware arguing in the middle of a dark mountain road was ridiculous and possibly suicidal, but he didn’t give a flying fuck. They’d finish this now. "Is that your plan? Recreate the lost collection out here in your little studio in the big woods?"
"Stop it." Stefan batted Luke’s hand away, his gaze fixed on the ground, avoiding the question. Pleading the artistic Fifth. Last refuge of the guilty.
"Where’d you see his work? The museum in Amsterdam? Hell, in all those years of prancing around with Marius, you could have seen every fricking one of the privately held pieces. Marius had the connections for it. You could toss his name around to get access to the Gordon letters too. Damn it." He dropped his arms, suddenly spent. "The Stefan I knew would have cut off his hands before he’d counterfeit another artist’s work. What’s happened to you?"
"What hasn’t?" Stefan’s eyes were wide, his pupils huge in the combined light of headlights and flashlight. "But I swear. I’ve never heard of this Arcoletti."
"No? Then tell me. What’s coming off your easel these days? Studies in Monochrome? The Picture of Oregon Gray?”
"I…I don’t know."
The feeble disavowal flipped Luke’s asshole switch back on. "Don’t give me that shit. You don’t paint with your eyes closed."
"No. I just…" Stefan’s voice was hoarse, and he clutched his flashlight to his belly, casting warped, inverted shadows across his face and distorting his features into a death’s-head mask. "I’ve been painting, but I don’t remember them. I’m not even sure how many there are."
"Artistic amnesia? Bullshit. You must have seen them when you handed them over to Boardman."
Stefan shook his head and pinched his eyes closed. "Thomas always loaded them into his car. I never looked. Not after…not when they were finished."
"No. I was afraid…" Stefan wrapped his arms across his stomach, pointing the flashlight into the woods, and his face was his own again, drawn and haunted.
"Afraid of getting caught?"
"Afraid of what I’d paint next," he whispered.
Luke’s lips twisted. "Denial. It’s what’s for dinner. No wonder you’re so fricking thin."
"Why is everything black and white for you, Luke? Let in some color, for Christ’s sake." Stefan forked the fingers of one hand through his hair. "Even a little gray would be a change."
Luke refused to allow the broken edge of Stefan’s voice to influence him. He’d let sentiment sway him once before and it had cold-cocked his career. "Right or wrong, Stef. It’s not that tough a choice."
"Fine." Stefan raised his head and met Luke’s gaze, his shoulders shifting as if bracing for a blow. "You’ve already made up your mind, as usual. Go ahead. Turn me in to the art police."
Luke searched Stefan’s face for some flicker of remorse, some acknowledgement he accepted the enormity of his crime. Nothing. Only the droop of his lips and a telltale glitter in his eyes, hinting at unshed tears. "Can you give me a reason not to?"
Stefan’s breath caught in what might have been a laugh if his face weren’t so bleak. "Guess not." He saluted Luke with a middle finger. "Enjoy your drive."
Stefan strode uphill, the beam of his flashlight bouncing from road to hillside, and Luke’s last trace of adrenaline drained away. He sighed, deep and exhausted.
The lousy car sat perpendicular to the road, driver’s door ajar. If he was lucky, he’d manage to creep down the hill by midnight. He shut the damn door before the brainless chime of the key alarm drove him nuts and leaned his forehead against the car roof, the beaded rain icy against his heated skin.
About the Author:
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer and business intelligence consultant. She returned to her childhood love of writing fiction after her twin sons learned to drive and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class.
Her daily commute now consists of walking from one side of her office to the other — from left-brain day job to right-brain author cave — where she’s perfected the fine art of typing with a cat draped across her wrists and a dog attached to her hip. Her stories include gay and straight characters because her life includes gay and straight characters (as does everyone’s).
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
The Oregon Chill-chaser bundle: (US ONLY)
Mystic Water handwarmer mug from Clay in Motion Pottery
9.5 oz Dark Hot Chocolate mix from Moonstruck Chocolatiers
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Author Interview with Jan Coffey (aka May McGoldrick, aka Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick)
Q. What inspired you to become an author?
We’ve always been writers and readers! Nikoo used to write stories for her grade school friends. After high school, being very good at math and sciences, she was encouraged to go to engineering school. After all, that was where the JOBS were. So she did…and tucked away her love of writing (in a safe spot) in favor of her immediate responsibilities. Later on, writing took a backseat to paying a mortgage and raising a family. She never lost her love of storytelling, though.
Jim wrote poetry and ‘007’ skits for the other kids in the neighborhood. He later became an English major and at least tried to stay in touch with his desire to write. In fact, after finishing college he wrote a screenplay that almost sold to Robert Redford’s production company. But real life again interfered with dreams as he pursued a career in a submarine shipyard before going back to school and getting his PhD some ten years later.
Q. Why did you decide to write together?
After our younger son successfully came through heart surgery as an infant, we found ourselves reassessing our lives and our goals. We have always been storytellers and readers, and we decided to try writing a short story together. That story, a prizewinner in a national writing contest, was the first step. The next step, naturally, was a full-length historical novel!
Q. You are somewhat unique in that you are a married writing team. How well does that work for you, and what are the pluses and minuses?
We can no longer even imagine writing separately. In our nonfiction book, Marriage of Minds: Collaborative Fiction Writing, we talk about the difficulties and the delights of working together, but we can tell you that the joys outweigh the hardships by a mile…at least for us. To sum it up, everything comes down to our ability to separate the work from the person. We came to the realization early on that just because we don’t like a passage or a paragraph or a chapter that our partner wrote, that doesn’t mean we don’t like THEM. Another thing that has made our writing career possible is that we had a solid foundation in our marriage (thirteen years!) before we started collaborating on our fiction.
Q. What is the biggest challenge and the biggest pleasure about writing as a team? Do you each have a particular area of specialty in the writing?
Two heads being better than one should be the theme song for every collaborative writing team. You are never alone. You always have someone to talk over your ideas with. But of course, having two heads doesn’t necessarily mean that you have twice the brain… or that you can write twice as fast. Also, feeding times are difficult…bathroom times are hell.
The biggest pleasure that we’ve found in the actual act of writing is the feeling of complementing each other. While we don’t really have specialty areas, Nikoo could be characterized as the screenwriter type (she loves writing dialogue), and Jim is more the poet type (he loves imagery and language, descriptive passages… he also loves sleeping in late, long walks on the beach, old movies… anything to keep from working.)
Q. Do you write in different genres?
We do. Our choice of historical romance was simple… Jim had the historical information from his dissertation work and his PhD, and Nikoo had the stories. And we’re both fervent believers in satisfying endings! So May McGoldrick was born.
After more than a dozen historical romances under our belt, we pursued romantic suspense and suspense thrillers under the name Jan Coffey.
Our decision to write nonfiction grew out of our desire to help other writers who might be looking for an alternative way to successfully tell their stories. Also, we’re teachers, so many of our handouts and exercises went into our Step Write Up collection.
We also write young adult under both names.
Q. How did you come up with the story for Mercy? Is the book, the characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
For many years we lived in Newport, Rhode Island. Our house was an early nineteenth-century home that was rumored to be haunted by two sisters—very friendly ghosts. During our years living there, we experienced some strange things. There were many occasions when our dog would wag his tail and bark excitedly at an empty doorway. Also, our toddler would smile and wave his hand at the same invisible people that we couldn’t see. Doors closed on their own. There were creaks in the old plank floors after we go to bed. On one occasion, Nikoo was baking in the kitchen when a cold hand touched her face. She turned to find the baby monitor had gone off. Running upstairs, she found our son was choking in his crib. To this day, we credit the sisters for saving our child’s life.
An old seaport town, Newport is famous for the ghosts of pirates and seamen and the families that they were left behind. There are stories of executed buccaneers being buried on the shore below the high tide line so the souls would never rest as the waves washed across the sands. There are so many ghost stories about the historical homes on the island.
Our novella Mercy was pieced together from many of those stories. An inn on the bluffs, a widow’s walk on a house on another corner of the island, an angry ghost who unsettled every occupant of the home she haunted. Isn’t this the way all stories are born?
Q. Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
We start with a working title. The final book title always goes through a constant revision because the two of us have to agree. That often takes some negotiating before deciding on the final name. Of course, there have been many instances when the marketing departments at our publishers have changed the title in the eleventh hour. We still get letters from fans saying, “Why can’t I find a copy of the novel Jeweled Cup that was advertised in the back of one of your earlier works?” Jeweled Cup became Flame. And that is another ghost story, but set in the Scottish highlands…
Q. Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
We have been working on Road Kill (working title) about a small-town Connecticut photographer that discovers crime scene photos are mixed in with her work—pictures of a slayings that have not yet been discovered. As the result, she becomes the center of a police investigation and the target of a killer’s obsession.
We love to hear from our readers. So please stay in touch.
Nikoo & Jim
Mercy by Jan Coffey
Julia Klein’s life has begun to unravel—her daughter Amy has been suspended from school, Julia is about to lose her job, and her boyfriend Garrett is being transferred thousands of miles away.
Overwhelmed, she and Amy leave for a weekend at a rambling old colonial inn. Julia never suspects that Garrett, desperate to find a way to keep Julia in his life, has decided to surprise her by joining them. Nor does she expect her daughter to befriend a mischievous ghost…or that she herself would be possessed by the malevolent spirit of a long-dead mother.
As a dark secret emerges, Julia, Amy, and Garrett find themselves pitted in a fight for survival against a savage presence that intends to resurrect/repeat/relive a horrible crime committed two centuries ago. And this time, Amy and Julia will be the victims.
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Starting up the stairs, Garrett tried to bury the image of a teary Julia when she’d closed the door on him yesterday after he’d arrived at her house. She’d been too upset to talk.
He shivered as a gust of cold air rushed down the stairwell, slapping him in the face. Garrett hesitated, startled by the sharpness of it. At the top of the steps, a shadow moved, catching his eye. But when he reached the second floor landing, he was surprised to see no one there and no open window.
Doors were visible on both sides of the well-lit hallway. A light flickered behind him. Then, halfway down, a bulb buzzed, blazed intensely, and burned out. He stopped dead. A tall woman in a long, gray dress was standing beneath the darkened light, glaring at him.
Something in her face kept him from looking away. Her eyes burned with emotion. Bitterness. Anger. Hatred.
The hairs on his neck rose when she started in his direction. She moved toward him, filling the narrow hallway.
Garrett turned to make room for her, shuffling his overnight bag from one shoulder to the other, but as he did, his room key dropped to the floor.
When he bent down to retrieve it, chilled air, oppressive and gray, hit him like a wave.
He froze. He’d felt this sensation once before, diving with a film crew at the raising of a sunken slave ship. It was in the ship’s cargo hold. It was a feeling so icy, so overwhelming, that it went straight through him, infusing his bones, numbing him. With it came a sudden memory of some forgotten nightmare—a barren winter field, the gaping black hole of a bottomless grave. He could almost taste the dank odor of death.
Cold panic washed through him. She was on him, all around him. He could feel the woman’s fury. Snatching the key, he straightened up.
She was gone.
Garrett looked up and down the hallway. He was alone. No door had opened or closed. The woman had disappeared.
He was in a colonial inn in Newport, he thought. Of course it could be haunted. He ran a hand over his face. Key in hand, he continued down the hall. By the burned-out light, he saw a set of stairs going up to the third floor. Peering up, he saw the chain across the steps with a sign. ‘Private Residence’. It was dark beyond.
Julia had no idea that he was coming. He’d been on the phone with her this afternoon, and they’d even sent texts back and forth a couple of times tonight. He had given her no inkling that he was already on his way to Newport. Yesterday, he’d been shut out. By showing up here today, he wanted to show Julia that the promotion and the move didn’t change the way he felt. He wanted to be part of their life.
His room was just beyond Julia’s. With one last look down the hall, he turned the key in his door and entered the dark room. A gust of autumn wind blew in from an open window, rattling a picture frame on the wall and causing the gauze curtains to stand straight out like ghostly wings against the ceiling.
Standing inside the door, Garrett sensed that he was not alone in the room. He could feel the eyes of someone watching him. Hating him.
He switched on a lamp by the door. Yellow light bathed the room, throwing deep shadows into dark corners.
The door slammed and Garrett jumped, his eyes sweeping the room. The wind eased, and the sheers fell calmly against the sills. No one else was there.
"Halloween, a wicked draft, and exhaustion," he muttered. “Get a grip.”
The temperature had dropped considerably since he left Boston this afternoon. He closed the window and glanced around at the furnishings. Four-poster bed. The usual dressers and tables. Two reading chairs by the window. Exposed ceiling rafters of rough-hewn timber completed the colonial feel of the room. At one end, the bathroom. At the other end, a door that he knew must lead into Julia and Amy’s room.
He checked his phone. The last text from Julia had come a few minutes after seven. They were walking into the theater to see a movie. Almost two hours ago.
His eye was drawn to Julia’s door. He walked over and unbolted the latch, but it was locked from the other side.
He stopped, hearing faint voices. Snatches of conversation.
I want to stay…
A woman and a child’s voice. But the woman didn’t sound like Julia. And it couldn’t have been Amy. For a second, he wondered if the receptionist downstairs had put him in the wrong room.
"Julia?" he called, pressing his palm flat against the door. The wood felt like ice.
The voices stopped.
The knob turned from the other side, but it didn’t open. Suddenly, a heavy bang rattled the door.
Shocked, he jumped back. Over and over, the doorframe shook.
"Unlock it, Julia," he called.
As suddenly as it started, it stopped, and the sound of scratching began. Someone was sitting on the floor on the other side, clawing at the door. Then, as he stared, long lines of claw marks started to show through the paint. Garrett took another step back.
“This isn’t happening,” he said, feeling the hackles rise on his neck.
Just as the words left his mouth, the scratching stopped. Even as he stared, the claw marks disappeared.
The sound of moaning came through the door. A woman crying.
About the Author:
Jan Coffey aka Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick are storytellers, teachers, and partners in the truest sense.
Nikoo was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to United States on the eve of Iranian revolution. After receiving a degree in Mechanical engineering, for fifteen years she worked in shipbuilding and robotics, holding manufacturing and higher level management positions. Always a writer and teacher at heart, she gave up her engineering career to pursue writing full time over a decade ago. These days, she also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a visiting author at middle and high schools.
When their first son was born, Jim gave up a successful career in shipbuilding to pursue a PhD in Medieval and Renaissance literature. After being awarded tenure at a university in Pennsylvania, he found that the opportunity to write novels full-time could not be ignored. Since then, he and Nikoo have written well over two dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. Along with his writing, he currently teaches English and Creative Writing in northwestern Connecticut.
Together, Nikoo and Jim write historical fiction as May McGoldrick and contemporary suspense thrillers as Jan Coffey.
These prolific and popular authors have been the recipients of numerous awards for their work. They now reside in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
$20 digital gift card (Winner’s Choice: Amazon or B&N) and a Nautical brooch for every tour stop.
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Guest Blog: Thrills & Chills While Doing Laundry (Wait. What?)
By Lindsey R. Loucks
Instead of taking one of the buses speeding through campus during my college career, I always walked, my gaze aimed at the ground for anything shiny and round. If I found treasure in the form of a quarter, it was well worth the few bumps on the head or rude comments I got from not looking where I was going. Like most college students, I was poor.
But I became a pretty successful quarter tracker, and when I’d find one, I’d add it to my carefully stacked pile with the hope I’d have enough to do laundry soon. With all that walking around campus, there were days when I came home smelling a tad ripe.
The washers and dryers were located on the basement floor of my apartment building, and let’s just say that going down there, alone, was the equivalent of walking into a dragon dungeon with my arms loaded with raw meat. That’s what it felt like anyway.
Storage cupboards took up the far wall that led from the stairs to the laundry area, each one about three feet long and three feet wide. Sometimes one of them would be open a crack. The single overhead light only cast a faint orange glow, deepening the shadows inside that open cupboard to an inky black.
Whenever I’d see one of those open cupboards, I’d stop in my tracks while my imagination tumbled over everything that could be lurking inside. Usually the things I imagined involved segmented legs, machetes, Brazilian poison dart frogs, porcelain dolls, or a combination of all of the above, just waiting to spring out.
My pulse racing, I’d give my laundry bag a squeeze and check to make sure I still had my quarters. Then, with my breath held, I’d race past the open cupboard, dump all my clothes into the washer, throw in some soap, push my quarters into the slots, start the machine, and sprint back out before I’d used up all the stored air in my lungs.
It was such a rush! It made laundry day pretty much the best day ever! Of course, I’ve always lived for that pump of adrenaline that fear gives me. I watch scary movies alone in the dark by myself on purpose. I guess I’m weird like that.
On one of my trips to the laundry room, my boyfriend’s brother went with me (I can’t remember why exactly, but I may have told him about the spooky basement). When he saw the wall of cupboards, his exact words were, “A serial killer stores his victims in these, huh?”
And that’s when I stopped doing laundry in that apartment building. Nah, just kidding. I still did. Remember that adrenaline rush thing I was talking about? Yep.
All of this was the fuel I needed to eventually write Haunted Chemistry. Who knew laundry could be so delightfully scary?
How about you? What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you while doing laundry? Have you ever done laundry in a particularly frightening place?
Haunted Chemistry by Lindsey Loucks
When bookish college co-ed Alexis heads to the laundry room in her new apartment, she runs into Ian Reese, the chem lab partner she crushed on all last semester. And the guy who stood her up on their first date. But she’s down for an awkward reunion, and no better place than her creepy laundry room.
Ian has every intention of making amends, but just when Alexis begins to trust him again, a new threat calls more than their future together into question. A ghost from the apartment’s past is hellbent on revenge, and if he wants to get his girl, he’ll have to get the ghost first.
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My name on his tongue sounds amazing, but I try not to notice. I turn, the bulk of my laundry bag holding the door open for me. “What?”
He swallows and glances at his black boots. “It’s great to see you again.”
I nod. It’s great to see him, too, but I’m not the one who didn’t show up for our date at the end of last semester and who vanished for an entire summer with no explanation. Maybe he forgot about our non-date, because he sure isn’t trying to explain himself. But why didn’t he call to tell me he wouldn’t be coming instead of making me wait for him?
My bag bites its weight into my shoulder. When I shift it to the other one, the door creaks closed in Ian’s face. I wince. I didn’t mean for that to happen.
“Well.” He frowns through the broken squares in the window. “See you.”
“Yeah.” With a sigh, I watch him walk away. I’ve missed our group study sessions where we’d always sit next to each other and accidentally nudge each other’s knee or foot. I’ve missed how easy it is to be with him. I’ve missed him. He doesn’t seem like the type who wouldn’t call to say he couldn’t make it. But he didn’t.
About the Author:
Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.
She’s been with her significant other for almost two decades.
$50 gift card. Winner’s choice of Amazon or B&N
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Here’s another cover reveal – this time for Rachel Van Dyken’s sexy The Wager. Check out the excerpt, and then enter the fun giveaway!
By Rachel Van Dyken
Lose a bet, lose your heart…
What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they’ve been thrown together in a wedding party. It’s awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she’d always hoped he could be.
If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend’s other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn’t forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake’s already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake’s falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .
Author’s Social Networking links:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1bMQisp
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
“Jake!” Grandma peered around the mannequin and yelled. “Help her out of that dress! We have a wedding emergency! Hurry!”
“Right.” Jake released Char’s hand and shook his head as he took a step away. “Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve helped you out of your clothes, huh, Char?”
And special moment gone.
Ignoring the burning sensation on her face, Char walked into the dressing room and pulled the curtain.
“Don’t you need help?” came Jake’s voice.
“I think I know how to undress myself, Jake.”
“Yes.” His warm chuckle made Char want to smack him. Shivering, she reached for the zipper. “But when I do it, it’s unforgettable. That’s all I’m saying.”
Fine. She’d had enough. Refusing to let him think she was afraid of him touching her, she took his challenge. With a huff Char pulled open the curtain. “Prove it.”
His eyes widened and then a wicked smile curved his lips. “My pleasure.”
The way the man said “pleasure” did really unfortunate things to Char’s body, things that made her re-think her rash decision.
“Where’s the zipper?”
“Aww… can’t find it? That happen to you often, Jake? Can’t find the zipper, where does my equipment go…”
“Oh that, I never have problems with. You should know.”
Her eyes narrowed into slits as she watched him close the curtain and then do a turning motion with his finger.
She turned around and faced the mirror. Jake placed his hands on her shoulders then ran them down both of her arms. She would not shiver, she would not react!
He placed his hands on her hips, then unzipped the dress. Slowly he ran his hands back up the sides of her body, all the way until he hit just below her breasts. Her breath hitched as he winked at her in the mirror, bypassing her breasts and finding the fastener behind her neck.
Char chewed on her lower lip as she watched him delicately undo the fastener and then held the dress to her body so it wouldn’t fall.
“You have beautiful hair.” He ran a few pieces through his fingers and sighed, locking eyes with her in the mirror.
He wasn’t smiling. Was he seriously paying her a compliment? To her face? Or her reflection?
“It’s just a compliment, Char. Not a proposal.”
She blushed profusely. “Thank you.”
The way he looked at her made her feel naked. And now she remembered why things had gone haywire in the first place. She never knew which Jake she was talking to. The one who had been her friend when she was little, or the millionaire playboy who had no soul.
Char doubted he even knew which one he was. She just needed to make sure she remembered, lest she end up with a broken heart again.
“Everyone decent?” Grandma called from the other side of the curtain.
Jake stepped back and winked. “Unfortunately.”
Char felt her face heat.
“Damn,” Grandma called. “You’ve lost your touch, son.”
“Don’t I know it.” He licked his lips and nodded one last time at Char before stepping on the other side of the curtain.
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1 WINNER: "Wits and Wagers" Board Game, plus e-copy of THE WAGER
5 WINNERS: SIGNED Forever gift bag, print copy of THE BET and e-copy of THE WAGER a Rafflecopter giveaway
Love and Other Games by Swoon Romance releases today! To celebrate, Swoon is having a Facebook party! Details here -
There will also be a Facebook party on release day filled with fun, surprises, and PRIZES! You can find the event here! https://www.facebook.com/events/353106031489358/
You can also enter a giveaway to win awesome prizes! Just fill out the widget below to enter.
Title: Love and Other Games (Collection)
Author: Melinda Dozier, Ana Blaze, Aria Kane, Kara Leigh Miller
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Love and Other Games Book Blurbs:
LOVE AND OTHER GAMES is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller.
Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running. Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.
Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier
US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers. Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she’s not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult. Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?
The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane
Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans’ hearts. “Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia. The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want – but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.
Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup’s abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she’s hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn’t want apologies — he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it — and her — in the process.
Love and Other Games on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18365891-love-and-other-games
Melinda Dozer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelindaDozier
Ana Blaze on Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=ana%20blaze&src=typd
Aria Kane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane
Kara Leigh Miller on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraLeighMille1
Swoon Romance (publisher) site: http://www.myswoonromance.com/
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Jus Accardo and Engtangled Publishing are celebrating the upcoming release of RUINED. To get the party started, they have a cover reveal today, and they have an Amazon gift card up for grabs! Get all the details below.
by Jus Accardo
Ruined by Jus Accardo
Hell is looking for a way to break loose…
Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world’s first murderer, he’s plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely… And it’s killing him.
After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can’t outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she’s thrown into the path of a past—and a guy—she’s been trying to forget.
Sam strains Jax’s control over his darkness, but running isn’t an option this time. Someone—or, something—followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ruined-jus-accardo/1117003674?ean=9781622661848
About Jus Accardo
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
Jus Accardo is celebrating the cover reveal with a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway! Enter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway
The six heroes from this month’s BRAZENS are battling it out to be your Mr. September. Who gets your vote?
Each day this week the six heroes are stopping by some awesome blogs to answer both sexy and sweet personal questions, so you can really get a taste of what they’re like Each day you get to cast your vote, and at the end of the week one sexy hero will be crowned the winner of the #MrSeptember Throwdown!
Remember, each vote also counts as an entry for one of SIX prizes so be sure to follow along and vote every day to increase your chances of winning! Visit Entangled in Romance for a recap on the awesome prizes!
Now, to meet the men competing in the #MrSeptember Throwdown!
Whew! Hot, hot, hot – these men have definitely turned up the heat!
Ian: Wicked Games by Samanthe Beck (part of the anthology)
Grayson: Seducing Mr. Right by Katee Robert (part of the anthology)
Landon: Tempted by His Best Friend by Cari Quinn (part of the anthology)
Derek: Protecting What’s Theirs by Tessa Bailey (part of the anthology)
Jett: Wicked Heat by Nicola Marsh
Trick: Dirty Trick by Christine Bell
Here are today’s questions for the men
Question #7: What’s the sexiest fantasy you’ve had about your leading lady?
Ian: Well, there was the shower thing, but we’ve done that. And then there was the Halloween, incognito thing, but we’ve done that too. Then, of course, there was the bondage thing, and, yep…you guessed it…
Grayson: It involved bending her over my desk…
Trick: How much time do you have? Not a lot? I’ll just tell you the dream I had last night, then. We were at a little Italian restaurant tucked into a dark corner. Right when the waiter came over, I ducked my hand under the table and slipped it between Gracie’s legs. She was wearing a skirt but no underwear, and as soon as I touched her, her face went all pink and her eyes got glassy. She was so hot and…*clears throat* anyway, when it was her turn to order, her voice did that sexy little hitch it does? She didn’t move away though. She just sucked in a shuddery breath and asked for a glass of wine. When the waiter left, she looked me dead in the eyes and said “You better be prepared to finish this, buddy. And remember, payback is a bitch.” That was a lie. Because payback? Was fucking mind-blowing.
Derek: I’m working late and she comes into the police station. Dripping wet from the rain. I can tell she’s feeling a little desperate for me. Which is perfect, since I’m always desperate for her. As usual, I’ve been growing restless…I always do when I’ve been deprived of her too long. Without a word, I walk her to my office and tell her to strip while I look my fill. Then I put her on my desk, where she’s been inhabiting my head for hours. Then I make her ask nicely for every thrust of my hips.
Jett: The moment I saw that Kink Kit in Allegra’s hotel suite, I imagined exploring what was in that box with her. Tying her up, teasing her mercilessly…oh yeah, frigging hot.
Landon: Refer to the law firm encounter mentioned above. Steff bent over the counter, her firm, supple body bared to my touch, her moans echoing off the walls… *clears throat* Next question, please.
Question #8: Favorite comfort food?
Ian: Bourbon or whiskey
Grayson: Breakfast food–eggs, French toast, bacon, hash browns.
Trick: Rib-eye steak, medium rare, baked potato with sour cream and butter, creamed spinach on the side, followed by Apple pie with caramel sauce.
Derek: Ginger’s chicken pot pie. The way she keeps trying to improve the recipe…she doesn’t realize I love it just because she made it.
Jett: Pav. Nothing beats the perfect Aussie pavlova. Meringue base, lashings of whipped cream, topped with strawberries and passionfruit. Best comfort food ever. Plus there’s always whipped cream left over and I can think of many sensual uses for that…
Landon: Pizza at Mama Leone’s, with optional garlic enhancements. Ah, the memories.
Now cast your vote!
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Sourcebooks and Julie Ann Walker are celebrating the release of Born Wild with some swag and a giveaway! Full details below. You can also enter below for a chance to win Thrill Ride!
A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering BORN WILD by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julie Ann Walker
For US and Canadian Black Knights Inc. Lovers!
Send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you a Black Knights Inc. bandana!
We’ll send a bandana to anyone who shows us their pre-order receipt until October 31, or supplies run out. Just email your receipt to email@example.com.
As an added bonus: EVERYONE who receives a bandana will have an opportunity to win a fabulous motorcycle-themed gift basket, inspired by the Black Knights.
- All you have to do is post a photo of you with your bandana and show it to us!
o Post your photo to one of the following places:
§ Julie Ann Walker’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor
§ Sourcebooks Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sourcebooks
§ Or you can Tweet your photo—be sure to tag @jawalkerauthor or @SourcebooksCasa
- You have until November 15, 2013 to send us your photo! The winner will be chosen at random, and announced on Julie Ann Walker’s Facebook Page on Monday, November 18.
About the book:
1. Trust no one… Eve Edens has been abandoned, used, or manipulated by almost everyone she’s ever met. Born into ridiculous wealth, she’s dealt with the petty jealousies and sordid little resentments for nearly thirty years. But after three botched attempts on her life, she can no longer ignore the truth. Someone wants her dead.
2. Avoid the bad boys at all costs… William "Wild Bill" Reichert, the wonderfully sexy boy who abandoned her years ago, is back in town. Only he’s no boy. Now he’s a covert operative – and he’s all man. When Eve hires Bill to help her discover who is behind the attacks, Bill soon comes to suspect it’s someone much closer to Eve than she dares to believe.
3. And never fall for the same ruse twice… The search for the killer takes Bill and Eve deep into the dark secrets and strange world of the rich and famous, and into the heart of red-hot passion re-ignited by the peril that threatens to consume them both. But does Eve dare risk her heart on Bill a second time?
And now for my giveaway! Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Thrill Ride to give to one of you!
About the book
He’s Gone Rogue
Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.
She Won’t Back Down
Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…
US and Canadian addresses only, please
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By Samantha Clark
for Cynthia Leitich Smith
In celebration of Austin SCBWI
's upcoming Graphic Novel Workshop
, Cynthia Leitich Smith
, answers questions about her graphic novels, Tantalize: Kieren's Story
(2011) and Eternal: Zachary's Story
(2013), both illustrated by Ming Doyle
(Candlewick), and hosts a giveaway of the books.
The Graphic Novel Workshop is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at St. Edward's University
is now open! Seating is limited. The speakers are:You’ve written picture books, short stories and novels. What made you decide to try graphic novels?
I’ve been reading what we now call graphic-format literature—or comic books—since toddlerhood. My father worked six days a week, Monday through Saturday, but on some Sunday afternoons, he would load me into the front seat of the Oldsmobile and drive me to the local convenience store to pick up superhero and science fiction comics. (I also liked horror comics, but those were harder to find.)
|A very young reader|
It was an opportunity to spend time along with him, even if it was less than a half hour, while he also was trying to juggle time spent with my mother, the extended family and working on the house and lawn.
So some of my affection for the format is nostalgic—I feel for it the way a lot of adults do about the picture and prose books they read as children (as a regular school-and-public library kid, I read those, too).
After a break in high school, I began picking up comics again in college and then dived in with gusto from law school on, subscribing to more than fifty books a month. The format was finding its footing.
A greater variety of books, including more sophisticated titles, was becoming available, though I still enjoyed the art and storytelling in superhero comics—a classic American form, if there ever was one.
We tell beginning writers to read, to study form. To read hundreds of any particular type of book before trying to write one. I’d been doing that with comics for as long as I could remember. These were among the books that taught me how to read. Having consumed thousands over a lifetime, I instinctively understood how they flowed and delivered.The Tantalize series
struck me as a great fit for graphic format. The books are genre benders--Gothic fantasies with strong elements of romance, mystery/suspense and some humor. They're high action, rich in setting – an alternative Austin; Dallas; Chicago; small-town Michigan; Montpelier, Vermont – and offer diverse protagonists and visually arresting creatures (angels, vampires, werearmadillos).
I talked to my agent Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
, who pitched the idea to my editor, Deborah Noyes at Candlewick Press
. I put together the first script, and—after we all consulted online portfolios—my text was matched with illustrator Ming Doyle
, who had a background in comics.Tell us about your graphic novels and how they relate to the Tantalize series.
The graphic novels are Tantalize: Kieren’s Story
and Eternal: Zachary’s Story
, and they retell the prose novels, Tantalize
(2007) and Eternal
(2009), which I think of the gateway novels to the series.
Either Tantalize or Eternal can be read first, and then the two casts crossover in Blessed
(2011), which, in turn is followed by Diabolical
All of the books can stand alone. They each have a complete arc with a beginning, middle, and end, though Tantalize and Blessed are perhaps the most tightly tied as the latter kicks off in the moment the former leaves off.
That said, the graphic novels are not simply a straight adaptation of their corresponding prose novels. In addition to showcasing Ming’s wonderful art, they also offer readers new scenes and previously existing scenes from a new point of view. Again, they're not dependent on the series as a whole, but dedicated readers will certainly find much to reward their enthusiasm.How did you learn how to write a graphic novel?
Again, foremost by having read and studied thousands of them over a lifetime of reading.
I also had been paying attention to the rising role of graphic format in children's-YA literature.
Some of my favorite books are the Babymouse
series by Jennifer
and Matthew Holm
(Random House. 2005-), Joey Fly, Private Eye
by Aaron Reynolds
and Neil Numberman
(Henry Holt, 2009), and the hybrid prose-graphic novel So Punk Rock And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother
and David Ostow (Flux, 2009).
Format preferences vary from publisher to publisher, so Candlewick sent me a couple of models to study.
I also studied overviews of the format and how-to books by folks like Stan Lee
, Alan Moore
, Dennis O’Neil
and Scott McCloud
Just getting started? I recommend McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
(William Morrow, 1994)
Having been a picture book writer
also was helpful. I was used to writing visually and had no ego resistance when it came to putting the art at center stage. My motto: get out of the way of the illustrator!
What were the challenges in moving to graphic novels for the first time? And did they get easier with your second book in the format?
|Inside Tantalize: Kieren's Story|
With Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, I originally included too much text. When the early sketches came, I wanted nothing more than to slash and condense—to leave more room for Ming's art.
Definitely, Eternal: Zachary’s Story went smoother. I had more experience and more of a sense of Ming’s style, and how she would translate the story into art. I'd also been through the process before and had more faith and confidence in it.
In both cases, my editor and I spoke on the phone for hours, going over the sketches, panel by panel.What has your reader reaction been like?
Teen readers have been enthusiastic. The series has both male and female protagonists and attracts a dual-gender audience. Many are visual and reluctant readers.
In much the same way that the prose novels Tantalize and Eternal are gateways to the series, their graphic novel adaptations serve not only that purpose but also can encourage graphic-format readers to crossover to prose fiction.
A half dozen or more readers (all of them boys) who started with one of the graphic novels have told me that, afterward, its prose companion became the first prose novel they’d ever finished.
More have said that reading the graphic novels inspired them to read the prose versions by choice—something they previously would’ve only done if the books had been school assignments.
I’ve also heard from prose readers of the series that they were inspired to try graphic format for the first time. This is just as important.
Visual literacy, processing visual communications cues, is ever more important in our increasingly global business and cultural exchanges, in our increasingly media-centric society. It serves as a foundation for analytical and interpretive thinking. As a life skill, it’s priceless.
Do you plan to do more graphic novels?
|Frankie croons over the loudspeakers at Sanguini's, a setting from the Tantalize series and Feral trilogy.|
Not in the short term. I fully enjoyed the process of creating both graphic novels, but at the moment, the projects calling loudest to me are best suited to prose format. That said, I remain an avid reader and would certainly consider another graphic-format (or hybrid project) in the future.Would you recommend graphic novels as a format to other writers?
I would—with the caveat that it’s still relatively new territory in traditional children’s-YA trade publishing. Some great work is being done, and teens love the format. But we’re still in the process of educating the wider community of grown-ups.Finally, can you give us a sneak peek at what you'll teach us at the Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Oct. 5?
I’m leading two workshops:
"Breaking Down Story: Adapting Prose Writing to a Graphic Novel Script." How to take already written novels and turn them into a script for a graphic novel. Note: I’ll also be sharing a few insights gleaned from other creators on collaborative graphic-format projects.
"Story Creation 101 for Illustrators, New Writers & Forgetful Authors." A nuts-and-bolts look at how writers build story from the ground up with group exercises and participant readings/show-and-tell.
Cynsational Notes & Giveaway Samantha Clark
|Inside Eternal: Zachary's Story|
writes middle-grade and young adult stories and is the regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
. A journalist and editor for 20 years, she also works for Yellow Bird Editors
The Feral trilogy (Candlewick) is a spin-off of the Tantalize series, and Feral Nights
(Book One)(Candlewick, 2013) is now available. The books set in this world also are available from Walker Books in the U.K. and Walker Australia and New Zealand (among other publishers from around the globe).a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'm giving away two, not ONE but TWO, audiobooks of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
Just leave your name and email address in the comments section or send to me at barbaraoconnor at mac dot com.
I'll be drawing the winners on October 1.
Give it a shot.
What have you got to lose?
By Chris A. Bolton
for Cynthia Leitich Smith
How do you make a graphic novel?
Short answer: any way you can!
Much like eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, there's no wrong way to do it (as long as it gets done). Unlike, say, screenwriting -- where the format is extremely specific, and there are countless books explaining all the rules and guidelines -- each comic creator uses whatever method works best for her, personally.
When my younger brother Kyle
and I decided to make our long-gestating idea about a ten-year-old superhero named Smash into a real, live comic, we explored several possible methods for working together.
What seems to work best is for me to outline the plot in broad story beats so we're both clear on what's happening. For instance, here's part of my outline for the second Smash book, which we're working on now:
After a brief recap of Book One in a news report (being watched on ZEKE'S smartphone), we follow small-time crook ZEKE HUSTON to a midnight meeting at an abandoned Air Force base. DR. COBB -- who built the machine that absorbed SMASH'S powers in Book One -- waits with the suit he's designed, one that uses electromagnetic bursts to propel the wearer at great speeds, like a bullet. ZEKE attempts to steal the suit by booby-trapping a gym bag supposedly full of money, but COBB'S gigantic henchman BRUTE unwittingly sets off the explosives too early. ZEKE hurriedly dons the BULLET armor and fights off BRUTE to (barely) make his escape. An injured DR. COBB promises they'll get even.
When I've finished the outline (for Book 2, it totals eight single-spaced pages), Kyle reads it over and gives feedback.
Sometimes he doesn't like a plot element or the way a scene plays out. He might want to move a chase from a freeway to a dockside shipyard, for instance, or he might disagree with the way I've handled a plot twist.
Now we have to talk it out.
Our general rule is, if one of us has a problem with a scene, we bat around ideas on how to fix it or change it so it works better. The new version of the scene that comes out of these discussions is always, always better than what we started with.
Once we agree on the outline -- usually after at least a few revisions -- I get started writing the script, which is a breakdown of the action in each panel on every page, plus the dialogue.
When we first started putting Smash together, I favored taking an old-school Marvel Comics "plot first, script later" approach. In that instance, the writer jots down a big paragraph of all the action that occurs on the page (not unlike my outline excerpt above), then hands it to the artist to break down into panels, angles, and specific actions. When the artist hands back the finished comic page, the writer scripts the dialogue to fit what she's been given. That certainly helps with problems like writing a long, passionate monologue for a panel so crammed full of action and detail that there's only room for a two-word balloon.
However, in our case, Kyle wanted the panels to be broken down for him -- and, frankly, I wanted to be able to help set the tone and pacing of the layout. What a comic panel contains, how big it is, even the number of panels per page are all important storytelling tools in the comic form.
So, after much searching around the internet, we settled on a script format that we liked, which looks something like this:
I use a specialized template in my Final Draft screenwriting software for ease (it does a great job of positioning all the dialogue and character names with just a single tap of the TAB key), although it would be easy enough to write this in Word.
I note the total number of panels for each comic page at the top of the script page, so Kyle has a general idea as he starts to read. Then I describe each panel, providing the dialogue, captions, and sound effects. Things don't always work out the way I script them, of course. Sometimes Kyle calls me with a new idea, other times he might find he can't fit all 15 panels onto a single page of comic book paper without reducing the characters to half a face and a couple of fingers.
Sometimes there just isn't enough room for all the dialogue I wrote, or there isn't as much need because Kyle's expressive style gets the point across without any excess words. In that case, I'll make alterations while I'm lettering (more on that in a bit).
Kyle draws by hand on a drafting table, using professional comic book paper from Blue Line Pro, which is 11" by 17" acid-free paper that has the borders of the finished comic page already printed on them in blue. The pages he draws come out much larger than the actual printed page of the comic, which allows him to draw in a more detailed fashion.
When it comes to drawing, Kyle doesn't get all fancy with a Cintiq tablet or anything like that. He does it all by hand, old-school-style, on the drafting board he's had since seventh grade, using a 0.5mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead and a Strathmore eraser.
For our first book, Smash: Trial by Fire, we wanted a sketchy quality to the art, so Kyle didn't ink the pages. He just drew a darker line over his sketches with a harder-tipped pencil. However, he had to push down really hard to make the line dark enough to see and scan into the computer -- which actually ended up causing some nerve damage to Kyle's wrists. As a result, for future books he's decided to ink his pencils using Micron pens of varying ink weights ranging from .02 to .08.
To start with, Kyle gets to work sketching from the script. Because he isn't fond of doing thumbnail layouts, he starts with very light pencils. He sketches the outline of the characters and their action; they practically look like stick figures at this point. When he's happy with the positions and the size of the panels, he starts filling in the rough sketches with details, adding bulk to the bodies and working on facial expressions.
Around this time Kyle will take a camera-phone picture of the page or a given panel and send it to me. I'll look it over and give him feedback: "Wow, looks great!" or, "I can't quite make out what that is" or, "Can we try a different angle?" Once we agree on the pencils, he starts inking.
The next step is lettering the pages, where we add all the dialogue and thought balloons and the caption boxes (like "Meanwhile..."). Kyle scans his finished pages and sends them to me. Our letterer, Christina Mackin, uses a program called Adobe InDesign to draw and position the balloons in the panels. We have two special fonts for the comic, both from BlamBot.com: Anime Ace 2.0 for dialogue, and Badaboom for sound effects. (These fonts are free to download for personal use, although our publisher, Candlewick Press, paid a licensing fee to use them for the printed book.)
Finally, the pages are colored using Adobe PhotoShop. The easiest method would be to pick a color and use the paintbucket feature to fill in a whole section, such as Smash's glove or mask or goggles. However, because Kyle only sketched in the art with pencils instead of using solid ink lines for Trial by Fire, the lines were often rough or incomplete, which meant clicking on paintbucket could fill the entire panel with one color instead of just the gloves.
So Christina, who was also one of our colorists for the book, had to painstakingly color in every piece of the panel, much as you would the pages of a coloring book. She laid down the flats (a basic wash of all the colors) and then the pages were passed along to Sarah Barrie Fenton, who added shading, highlights, and visual effects. With the use of finished inks from here on out, the coloring should be much faster and easier for future books.
That's our process! Thanks for reading! We invite you to pick up a copy of Smash: Trial by Fire and see for yourself how the process comes together in the final result.
Cynsational Notes & Giveaway
From Chris's website
: "Chris A. Bolton has written short fiction, stage plays, sketch comedy, and screenplays. He wrote and directed a web-series called Wage Slaves and had his first professional short story published in Portland Noir
(Akashic Press, 2009). He...lives in Portland, Oregon."
Check out other stops on the Smash: Trial by Fire blog tour
Enter to win one of three copies of Smash: Trial by Fire
by Chris A. Bolton
, illustrated by Kyle Bolton
(Candlewick, 2013). Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: North America.
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Two years ago at NJ-SCBWI, someone mistook Tory Novikova for my daughter.
Eek! Am I that OLD? No, really, Tory is quite young, so let’s just say that if I were a teenage bride, it could be a possibility. I mean, look at those eyes and hair! Totally plausible.
While Tory’s definitely not my daughter, she does work with her mom, and that’s pretty cool.
Torynova’s adorbable Mushroom Fairy Print leggings.
Her mom played a heavy role in inspiring the styles for Tory’s own fashion company, Torynova Couture.
“The woman had me drawing as soon as possible, so kudos to that child-rearing dedication. She’s a fashion designer, graduated from Moscow’s Textile Institute and had worked for the top fashion houses there and also made costumes for theater and ballet. Even my great grandparents worked on costume and stage production for the Bolshoi Theater, so one could say appreciation for the classics runs through my blood.”
With Tory’s talent and drive—she also illustrates for video game, comic and apparel companies—I knew picture books couldn’t be far behind for this Pratt Institute 2010 BFA. Flash forward to NOW and her book TUKE THE SPECIALIST TURTLE is swimming your way!
Tory, how did you land the job illustrating TUKE?
I was approached really out of the blue (for me, anyway) by Jim Ritterhoff about illustrating this children’s book he had written and meant to publish through his company, Chowder Inc. Profits were to benefit CCMI, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Central Reef Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining coral reefs in the Caribbean. He seemed really dedicated to the marine ecology of the reefs, being a diver himself. So I came on board and drew him Tuke.
Your illustrations for TUKE are so vibrant and fun. They really bring the ocean and Tuke’s personality to life. Could you give us a little background on your process for creating the art?
I think there is a natural juiciness to my color palette and aesthetic, no matter how far I try to run away from it. It must be a side effect from having my eyes stuck to the TV, growing up watching too many cartoons for it to be healthy. Thankfully, it came in very handy with Tuke because the story takes place in the Caribbean Reef. Though I’ve never seen it in person, I’ve researched enough about it to know that it’s riddled with colors beyond imagination. In fact, the very first spread I finished in full color was the entire reef, which comes in right after the introduction. The reaction I got from Jim, who is an avid diver and knows the reef so well, was pretty much like—YES! This totally works! So after that point, there were no doubts about color constraints. Though, I did get to play around with different depths of blues, which was lovely.
As far as my process goes. The entire book, 60+ pages, was laid out in clean pencil sketches like a storyboard. And for me, clean is a relative term…since my lines are pretty gestural and loose (I really dislike the look of pencil lines that have been traced over lovely loose sketches). Anyway! After each page or spread was drawn, I went over it with an ink brush, picking up and adding textures that I could snap up and use later for the finish. Eventually these were all scanned and saved for later. Then came the flat vector shapes. I really enjoy drawing freehand in Illustrator – is that strange? There is a satisfying gravity about a solid mass that contorts to form the daintiest of details. The expressions of the animals were probably my most favorite parts to draw!
And finally, the image is completed in Photoshop, all the bits are assembled, and the color is fully applied. It may be a little tedious of a process, but it lent itself a lot to the look of the book, and Tuke! And of course there were many moments of going back into inks, rescanning, and altering the finished pages by administering bits of texture for the final polish.
So, what’s next for you, Tory?
Hmmm…what IS next?!?! Well for starters, I’m about as knee-deep into education and new media as I’ll ever be. In fact, I’m currently involved in the creation of an entire educational game world revolving around children’s books and characters due for release in 2014. So I’m definitely still deep in pursuit of creating for kids—video games, books, products, cartoons—you name it! But it’s always been a dream to illustrate picture books. So I’m very much looking forward to the next opportunity that comes my way! Any takers?!
Well, I’ll bet there will be plenty of takers for our special TUKE giveaway!
One lucky blog reader will win a custom sketch of Tuke made especially for them! You can even enter twice!
Comment or leave a question for Tory here on the blog for one entry, then Tweet or Instagram an image of the book with hashtag #TuketheSpecialistTurtle and tag @torynova for another entry. Contest ends September 21st and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.
For more about Tory and her various projects, visit ToryNova.com.
By: Angela Muse,
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, children's books
, Christmas and holiday season
, My Favorite Time of Year
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I don’t know about you, but this is my absolute favorite time of year. The weather is getting cooler, football is on t.v. and soon leaves will be falling off the trees. We have Halloween, Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season to look forward to. This is my favorite time of year. I love seeing the pumpkins already in the produce departments and knowing that soon I’ll be able to decorate my home for the upcoming holiday season.
In gearing up for fall I found this great children’s book, You Are My Pumpkin, and it is FREE through 9/13/13. A beautifully illustrated bedtime story to tell your own little pumpkins you love them. Also, a fun way to get children excited for Halloween with adorable characters, colorful scenes and a sweet story.
Make sure to pick up your copy today while this fall freebie lasts!
By: Jessica Piazza,
Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
***First Excerpt Reveal***
I drove across the US of A, left my family without an explanation, and now I’m either too late or there was never anything here to begin with. F my life. Rearing back, I kick the door as hard as I can. Then I wrap both hands around the door handles and release a noise like a wild banshee as I pull back.
The doors swing open.
I’m not sure whether to celebrate or freak out. I decide to do neither and slip inside. As I walk around the inside of the museum, listening to the sound of my footsteps echo off the walls, I imagine I am moments from death. It’s sad, I think, that this is all it takes to break my sanity.
Two curling flights of stairs bow out from the first-floor lobby, and red and white tiles cover the floors. There are gilded picture frames everywhere. So many that I think the placement of the frames — and not their contents — is the real art. Everything, absolutely everything, smells like wax. I mosey up to an abandoned reception desk and leaf through the glossy pamphlets littering the surface. I hold one of the pamphlets up to my nose. Yep, wax.
I glance around, having no idea what to look for. Will there be a sign like at school registration? Students with last names A–K this way?
On my left, I notice a long hallway dotted with doors on either side. Nothing looks particularly unusual. But when I glance to my right, I spot something. There’s a door at the end of the corridor that has a sliver of light glowing beneath it. I’m sure it’s just an administration office, one where someone forgot to flip the switch. But I’ve got nothing better to go on, so I head toward it.
I pause outside the door, wondering if I’m about to get busted for B&E. Then I turn the handle and find myself at the top of another winding staircase.
You’ve got to be kidding me. What is this, Dracula’s bachelor pad?
I’ve watched a lot of scary movies, and I’ve learned nothing good is ever at the bottom of a winding staircase. Pulling in a breath and preparing myself to be eaten alive, I head down. My shoes are loud against the steps. So loud, I imagine they are intentionally trying to get me killed.
When I reach the final few stairs, I ready myself to look around the bend. My heart is racing, and I secretly pray the worst I encounter is an angry janitor with a wax addiction. I turn the bend — and my eyes nearly pop from my skull.
The enormous room is perfectly circular, dotted with candles to light the space. Surrounding the walls are rows and rows of dark, rich mahogany bookshelves. A large round table stands in the center of the red-and-white-tiled floor. The room is spectacular, but what it holds is so jarring, my ears ring.
Across every shelf, every spot on the table, every tile on the floor — are small sculptures of hands. And in a few of those hands — the ones still performing their duty — are eggs. There are only nine eggs left, it seems. For a moment, I imagine how amazing it would have been to see each hand holding an egg, but it’s enough just to see these nine.
The eggs seem to dance in the candle flame, and as I move closer, I realize why. The surfaces of the eggs are almost iridescent, their colors changing depending on how you look at them. They are different sizes, too; some as big as a basketball, others as small as a peach.
I don’t need the device in my pocket to tell me what my gut already knows.
This is the Pandora Selection Process.
Scholastic is giving away a finished copy of THE DARK UNWINDING to a US winner, and Chicken House is giving away a copy of THE KILLING WOODS to a UK winner. a Rafflecopter giveaway
By: Jessica Piazza,
A Wicked Kind of Dark
Robert Duncan no longer believes in magic. A mysterious call about a blood moon, however, leads him back to the magical world of his childhood and to Luthien, the beautiful girl with flame-coloured hair, who he loved and lost. As Robert unravels the secrets of his childhood, darkness enters his life and an ancient evil awakens. To have any chance of defeating the dark forces that would destroy two worlds, Robert must find Luthien before the rise of the blood moon. He must, once more, believe in magic … A Wicked Kind of Dark mixes vast and spectacular fantasy landscapes with gritty urban reality. A must-read for people of all ages who believe in the power of imagination, and the importance of never losing touch with your inner child.
About the Author: Jonathan Benton always wanted to write books, having won first place in a short story competition when he was ten. Inspired by writes such as Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Jonathan first discovered the crossover genre of literary/fantasy while reading Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Jonathan grew up in New Zealand, dreaming of travelling to London and finally making the pilgrimage in his mid-twenties. Returning from England, he settled in Australia, the country he now calls home, and decided to take his writing seriously.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com
and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
By: Jessica Piazza,
Today I have a "this or that" from Nessa to share with you guys! Also, don't forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway.
Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!
Title: Heavenly Hell
Author: Aria Williams
Publication Date: April 24th 2013
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
You'd think being stuck in the body of a beautiful seventeen year old girl forever would be a gift. But when you are fallen, it is more like a curse.
Indiana was a beautiful angel, enjoying the perks of Heaven, until she was tricked by a demon to fall in love with him. She was forced to fall from Heaven and remain in her seventeen year old form, banished to Earth, for all of eternity.
Now, unable to cope with her banishment, she is a seemingly normal seventeen year old girl by day, while she spends her nights punishing men for the wrongs they have committed against women.
Although Indiana has lived on Earth for thousands of years, she recently settled into a small town, where she has finally been able to make some lasting friendships. When a handsome, mysterious boy comes to town, Indiana knows something is not right. He might end up her ally, or she might end up in the fight of her life.
*** This or That***
Chocolate or vanilla - vanilla
Ballet or modern dance - Ballet is more elegant.
Sporty or biker boys - No, I like my boy, he’s a skater.
Paranormal YA or Contempory Romance - Why not both?
iPhone or Android - Android most defiantly!
Pizza or salad - pizza
Sweet or savoury- savoury
Vampire Academy or Bloodlines - Oh I'm more of an Adrian fan, so Bloodlines.
Hot or cold weather- Hot, so I can wear my pretty dresses.
Tea or coffee - Tea
About the Author:
I am an author with Limitless Publishing who loves to write YA and paranormal romance. Author Links:
1-ebook copy of Heavenly Hell + swag pack
(1x canvas print bag, 2x bookmarks, 1x key ring and 1x charm bracelet)
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I've been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it in Publishers Weekly. Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, two popular YA novelists, have collaborated on their first MG series, The Blackwell Pages. I finally bought a copy of the first book and yes, I will be giving it away. Details at the end of the post.Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr (May 2013, Little, Brown, for ages 9 to 13)Source
: Hardcover purchased from Books-A-MillionSynopsis (from Indiebound):
"The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."
Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.
While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendent of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.
But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.Why I liked it
: It's a fast-paced, thrilling adventure for kids and young teens. The authors waste no time in sending Matt, Fen, and Laurie on a dangerous journey to find the other descendants. There are trolls, giant wolves, and police officers trying to stop them. In addition, the authors do an excellent job of filling us in on Norse mythology without hitting us over the head with it. Boys and girls will enjoy this, since Laurie certainly holds her own against the guys. Give this to fans of The Lightning Thief
For other MMGM links, visit Shannon's blog.
Now for the giveaway! I will be giving away one hardcover of Loki's Wolves
to one lucky follower of this blog. International entries welcome. You MUST be a follower and you MUST leave a comment on this post. I'll give you an extra entry if you mention on Twitter (I'm @JoanneRFritz) and another entry if you mention on your own blog. Please let me know in the comments. This giveaway ends at 10 pm EDT on Saturday Sept 21, 2013 and the winner will be announced on Sunday Sept 22.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for CynsationsSara Kocek
is the first-time author of Promise Me Something
(Albert Whitman Teen/Open Road Media
, 2013). From the promotional copy:Reyna didn't mean to become friends with Olive Barton . . .
But when Olive kept talking after the lunch bell, Reyna didn’t say no, and she didn’t stop Olive when she followed her into the parking lot after school either. Olive is blunt, headstrong, and unapologetically honest—nothing like Reyna’s other friends, or anyone Reyna’s ever met. But as Reyna begins to drift apart from her childhood clique, she finds herself growing closer to Olive.
Then Olive tells Reyna her secret, which changes everything. And as Reyna weighs her choices, she must find the courage to decide what
really matters…before she loses Olive forever.Could you describe both your pre-and-post contract revision process? What did you learn along the way? How did you feel at each stage?
In college, one of my professors divided all writers into two categories: diamond polishers and swamp drivers. Diamond polishers have to make each paragraph shine before they feel ready to move onto the next paragraph. Swamp drivers plow straight through their drafts and go back later to clean up the mess.
I confess to being a diamond polisher. I revise my work almost constantly as part of my drafting process. I write a paragraph. Then I revise it. Then I revise it again. Finally—when I don’t hate it—I write the next paragraph.
So by the time I reach the end of my first draft, my manuscripts are already fairly clean—at least on a sentence level.
This was all fine and dandy before I got a book deal.
When I received my editorial letter for Promise Me Something, I felt a rush of dread. Suddenly, for the first time, I was being asked to make revisions that spanned across the entire book.
It’s one thing to revise a clunky paragraph or a poorly written scene—I can handle that. I’m fine with revisions made in isolation. But my editor raised questions that were bigger than a single scene. She rightly pointed out inconsistencies through the book at large, including character motivation, pacing, and other fundamentals.
In short, she did all the things a good editor is supposed to do. And I quietly freaked out.
So I did what everyone recommended: I took a few days to let the feedback settle, and then I went back and read her letter again. Lo and behold, on the second read, it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming. In fact, the more I dived into the manuscript, the more manageable her suggestions seemed.
In the end, the process was incredibly instructive for me. Sure, I had to put on my swamp driver gloves and dig up a few pieces of the manuscript, making a bit of a mess along the way. But now I feel much better equipped to write—and revise—my next book.How did you go about connecting with your agent? What was your search process like? Who did you decide to sign with? What about that person and/or agency seemed like the best fit for you? What advice do you have for other writers in seeking the right agent for them?
When I finished my MFA program in 2010, I knew I didn’t want to let go of the momentum I’d worked so hard to build. I finally had a finished manuscript, and people in my program were full of suggestions about who to query. So even though I was terrified, I took the plunge and sent out my first batch of queries to my 5 top-choice agents.
Amazingly, two of them wrote back within the same week! With rejections, that is. Fortunately, the other three requested the full manuscript.
Out of those three, two invited me to revise and resubmit. One—Sarah Burnes at the Gernert Company
—said that she had some “concerns” about the manuscript but invited me to come “talk things through” in person.
At that point I still lived in NYC, so I jumped at the opportunity and scheduled an appointment.
This began a long
journey of revising and drafting. You see, the manuscript that I queried about was not Promise Me Something. It was a different novel—a middle grade novel. And the problem with this middle grade novel was that it didn’t quite have an audience. It wobbled between middle grade and YA in a way that made it neither.
Sarah liked it, but she wanted to know if I had anything else—anything solidly YA. At that point, Promise Me Something was all of 50 pages, but I sent everything I had and she encouraged me to finish the book. So, for more than a year, I revised my middle grade novel and drafted Promise Me Something. And in the end, that was the one Sarah decided to represent.
Of course, along the way, there were many back and forth emails with Sarah’s assistant, Logan Garrison. In fact, Logan was the one who read my initial query and requested more pages. She was my champion from the very beginning. Through it all, I absolutely loved (and still love!) communicating with Logan. Her emails are like a cup of chamomile tea—they calm my jittery nerves and put me at ease. While my manuscript was on submission, she sent me updates every step of the way without me having to ask. (This was great because I’m super self-conscious about not wanting to pester people.) And when Promise Me Something
eventually sold, Logan was there to share in my excitement and talk me through all my questions and concerns.
My advice for other writers seeking agents is simple—Find an agent whose communication style meshes well with your own. You don’t want to feel like you’re constantly bugging your agent or that you’re low on his or her priority list. And while you’d be lucky to nab a big-name agent, don’t discount newer agents who are just beginning to build their own lists—they have more time and headspace to dedicate to your career.
Most of all, look for an agent who is respectful and makes you feel important—because you are!Cynsational Giveaway
Enter to win a signed copy of Promise Me Something
by Sara Kocek
. Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: North America.a Rafflecopter giveaway
By: Jessica Piazza,
Today I have a very insightful guest post into the life of Ednah Walters to share with you, and don't forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway!
Author: Ednah Walters
Publication Date: May 20th 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.
Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.
Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.
Title: Immortals (Runes #2)
Author: Ednah Walters
Publication Date: August 5th 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something...
Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.
So Raine comes up with a plan…
She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again.
But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves.
by Ednah Walters
How Do I Find Time to Write (while raising five children, a husband, and having an ADHD cat.)
Writing is like reading, which means I have to do it or I’ll go insane. I accepted that a long time ago. My husband gets it. The kids get it (most of the time). The mice get it. BUT darn it, the cats just don’t seem to get it.
They sleep on my keyboard. Stand on their hind legs, lift themselves up and nudge me with their front paws. They curl up on my chair and act like I’m bothering them when I try to kick them out. And when pick them up and put them outside my door, that’s when they push on the door like bratty little kids. I swear, my cats are possessed. One is worse than the others.
So what do I do when I wanted to write undisturbed, I turn on the radio, lock the door and write. Don’t call animal control on me, okay? They are well fed and their litter cleaned, and their fur brushed. By the way, this is what happens when kids are not at school. The cats get to bug them when they are at home.
During school days:
M/W/F: I drop the kids off at school, come home, check my e-mail, stop by FB to check DMs, swing by my critique group because we always check in on Mondays, then I fast draft. For 2-3 hours, I write and do research… Do research and write, until lunch time(cup of spicy noodle soup or salad). In the afternoons, I do internet rounds then going over what I wrote in the morning.
Pick up kids time at 3, take them to their activities, back home and cook while they do their homework. Translate that to chaos in the kitchen/dining room area. After dinner, the kids get to watch something on Netflix (we don’t have TV, we watch everything online) while I sneak in an hour of writing.
Then it is off to listening to audiobooks (while I either clean up the kitchen or write-if I get my teenage daughter or son don’t have homework and remember to do it).
After everyone is in bed at 9:30, I’m back writing until mid-night.
T/Th, I mix it up a little. I have zumba class from 9-10, then back to writing. Saturday morning, zumba in the morning then back to writing as the kids take their piano lessons. Afternoons, some fun time with the kids—crafts, movies, games, laundry.
Sunday, rest time, movies at the theater, folding laundry, picnic or we go fishing in the summer. During winter, DH and the kids ski while I sit in the lodge and type (I hate downhill skiing).
EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.
Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN.
Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS.
Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She's presently working on book six. You can visit her online at www.ednahwalters.com or www.ebwalters.com.
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Prizes (open internationally):
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This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!
Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″.
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The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
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